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Having an Etsy Shop – Part-Time Passion or Full-Time Pursuit

Etsy is a global online marketplace that connects creators with buyers looking for unique, handmade, or vintage items. With tens of millions of active buyers, it represents a significant opportunity for artisans to monetize their crafts. However, prospective sellers face a pivotal decision: Can a modest investment of 20 hours a week yield success, or does Etsy demand an all-encompassing commitment? In this blog post, we will unravel the complexities of Etsy entrepreneurship, exploring the considerations between a part-time and full-time approach.

Why part-time?

Many Etsy sellers embark on their entrepreneurial journey during breaks from primary commitments, such as while taking care of their children. What begins as a hobby, whether it’s knitting or graphic design, transforms into an opportunity for additional income. This allure draws in thousands of new Etsy shops each month.

Benefits of approaching Etsy as a part-time job

The benefits of approaching Etsy as a part-time job are numerous. Here are some of them:

  • Flexible time management: Part-time engagement offers the freedom to balance Etsy responsibilities with other life commitments.
  • Reduced financial risk: Operating part-time provides a safety net during the initial stages of building a business, especially from a financial standpoint.
  • Platform familiarization: Utilizing part-time commitment allows sellers to acquaint themselves with Etsy’s intricacies before considering a full-time leap. It provides an opportunity to understand the market dynamics and customer behaviors gradually.
  • Incremental growth: Starting part-time can be a strategic approach for gradual, sustainable growth without overwhelming oneself.

Can you really run an Etsy shop part-time?

Everything sounds promising so far. However, dedicating 20 hours a week to maintaining an Etsy shop isn’t suitable for everyone. This commitment doesn’t always align with a successful business model. Nor does it guarantee that artists will be happy earning extra income through Etsy. Below are some issues and drawbacks associated with the part-time approach to Etsy:

  • Running an Etsy shop demands constant attention and is less flexible than often perceived. For instance, it’s not feasible to work 10 hours each on Saturday and Sunday and then remain inactive throughout the week. You need to respond to customers promptly, process orders quickly, or else they won’t trust you enough to make a purchase.
  • Managing an Etsy shop requires juggling numerous tasks, from creating art to conducting keyword research and packaging orders for shipping. This multitasking can be exhausting. When all these tasks must be done with a limited supply of time, the challenge becomes even greater.
  • The competition is fierce, and dedicating just 4 hours a day may not be nearly enough. To be honest, even 8 hours a day might not suffice for those aiming to run a truly successful business.

Is your Etsy shop a hobby or a business?

Full-time vs part-time

Understanding the nature of your Etsy endeavor is pivotal. In fact, the primary question you need to answer may well be: Is this a hobby or a business?

  • If it’s a business, 4 hours a day are unlikely to suffice. After all, running a business is work. Is generating a satisfactory income with just 4 hours a day realistic? Probably not. It’s important to remember that making money online is no easier than in traditional offline businesses.
  • If it’s a hobby and you’re not relying on these earnings as your primary income, then 20 hours a week, or even less, may suffice. The focus here is on the joy of creating and delighting customers who purchase your products. In this case, there’s no need to heavily invest in competition research or to master the latest trends in organizing ad campaigns.

When is 4 hours enough?

Apart from when you’ve decided it’s just a hobby and you’re listing items to delight your customers with your craftsmanship, without relying on it to sustain you financially, there are two other scenarios where it’s okay to view your Etsy shop as part-time work.

When you’re dipping your toes

If you’re still testing the waters to see if this gig suits you, it’s tough to bid farewell to your old routine and fully commit to the Etsy shop. You might find that sewing or knitting brings you joy, but all the additional tasks tied to Etsy maintenance might overwhelm you. You can’t be sure until you wade into all things Etsy-related. It’s wise to take it for a spin before tossing all your eggs in one basket.

During the transition to full-time hustle

Sometimes the transition needs to be gradual. Perhaps financially, you can’t afford to leap headfirst into your shop full-time. Or family commitments prevent you from dedicating a solid 8 hours a day or more. But at the same time, you don’t want to squander the chance to immerse yourself, build a product and shop history, and garner glowing reviews. So, don’t hesitate to dive in as much as you can. You dictate the pace until circumstances allow you to allocate more time and maximize the potential of your shop.

How to tackle some of the challenges?

If you find yourself pressed for time on Etsy, you’ll encounter a host of hurdles. The key to overcoming them lies in effective time management, smart prioritization, and making the most of tools at your disposal.

How to handle time constraints when managing your Etsy shop

Manage your time effectively

When you can only spare a few hours a day, make those hours count by staying focused and fresh. Often, our only available time is late at night after putting the kids to bed. However, by then, we’re usually too exhausted to give our best. During the day, interruptions from awake children, household chores, and other responsibilities can make it even harder to focus. Find a routine that works for you, aiming for at least one uninterrupted hour of work. Four short computer sessions of 15 minutes each aren’t as effective as one solid hour-long session.

Prioritize wisely

With countless tasks on your plate, it’s essential to discern what matters most. If you have client messages or pending shipments, address those before diving into creating new product photos or videos. If you have listings with less than 13 tags and without descriptions, prioritize fixing those over developing new products. Consider jotting down your tasks on paper, a Google Sheet, or an app like Trello, and spend a few minutes organizing them effectively to maximize your productivity.

Leverage time-saving tools

Numerous tools are available to streamline your workflow. From Canva, which allows quick creation of banners and addition of discount stickers to photos, to specialized platforms like Koalanda, designed specifically for Etsy sellers. These tools can help you search for keywords more efficiently and make direct edits to your listings.


If you aspire to turn your Etsy store into a thriving business and a primary income stream, viewing it as a part-time gig won’t cut it. However, if it’s more of a hobby, you’re still unsure about its potential, or you simply need time to fully dedicate yourself, then managing an Etsy shop is feasible even with a smaller time commitment. Nonetheless, it’s essential to use your time wisely, avoiding distractions and prioritizing the most essential tasks.

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