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Top Secrets to Starting a 6-Figure Etsy Side Hustle That Earns Passive Income, According to 3 People Who Did It Etsy remains a popular ecommerce platfrom for sellers — and can be incredibly lucrative for those who know how to use it.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Fifty-four percent of Americans have started side hustles in the past year to help cover essential bills.
  • There's no shortage of side hustle possibilities, but those generating passive income streams might appeal the most.
  • Selling on Etsy continues to be an attractive option; several high-income sellers share their strategies for success.

More than half (54%) of Americans have picked up a side hustle over the past year to help make ends meet. And although people eager to earn extra cash have near-limitless options nowadays — from dog walking to driving for Uber, tutoring and beyond — some of the best gigs are those with the potential to generate passive income streams.

For side hustlers with any creative inclination, selling designs online — which can be uploaded in a digital file and printed on stationery, T-shirts, mugs and more — is one well-traveled path to financial success. These days, sellers have their choice of platforms, including Amazon, Shopify, Etsy and more, all of which can be combined with other sales channels, like a personal website or social media account.

Related: 3 Secrets to Starting a Small Business Side Hustle That Gives Your Day Job a Run for Its Money, According to People Who Did Just That — and Made Millions

Etsy, the ecommerce company with a focus on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, has been around for nearly 20 years, and it remains one of the most popular platforms for sellers, especially those who are just starting their shops. What's more, it's become a mainstay for people selling digital products and/or using print-on-demand fulfillment companies that eliminate the need for inventory.

Entrepreneur sat down with three people who started side hustles on Etsy and now see six- or seven-figure success: Kirstie Wang, owner of A Jar of Pickles; Julie Berninger, co-founder of Gold City Ventures; and Gina Van De Voorde, who runs a clothing shop on the platform.

Related: 'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Read on to learn more about their journeys and secrets for success on the platform:

Kirstie Wang, owner of A Jar of Pickles

Wang enjoyed making birthday cards for friends in college, and when her roommates suggested she start an Etsy shop, A Jar of Pickles was born. She received her first few orders in just a few weeks and kept up with the shop "in the background" as she stepped into a full-time tech role after graduation. Eight years later, the shop had grown so much that Wang could no longer balance the side hustle with her corporate job — she hit six figures in sales and went all-in on entrepreneurship.

Wang's advice: "As entrepreneurs, we dream of what new products we can offer, what our dream product packaging can look like or what our marketing plan should aspire to be. While it's wonderful to keep a list of fresh ideas to pursue, it's more important to take what you're currently working on and make sure you're seeing it to completion. Don't let 'shiny object syndrome' zig-zag your attention so you finish 10% of 10 projects instead of 100% of one. My rule is to let myself work on 'shiny object syndrome' projects for 20% of my time and 80% on projects I've already set goals and tasks around. It's always a good time to reflect and set specific goals to focus on for your shop."

Related: 'I Could Never Go Back to Corporate': She Quit Her Silicon Valley Tech Job After Her Creative Side Hustle Hit 6 Figures

Julie Berninger, co-founder of Gold City Ventures

Berninger was working as a project manager for large tech companies when she chose to give her first Etsy side hustle a try, inspired by the personal finance podcasts she listened to on her lunch breaks. She sold temporary tattoos in the bachelorette party niche before pivoting to printable digital products. Between the Etsy gig and blogging about her personal finance journey, Berninger made six figures within a few years; she also went on to co-found the online course business Gold City Ventures, which helps students set up profitable Etsy shops for digital products and now generates more than $100,000 a month.

Berninger's advice: "Don't start a business by yourself! Pick a business partner and scale faster! Also, don't waste time trying to piece information together on YouTube. Pay for a step-by-step program or a business consultant because your time is valuable."

Related: This Former Amazon Employee Started a Side Hustle Because She Wanted 'Lifestyle Freedom' — Now Her Business Earns $100,000 a Month

Gina Van De Voorde, owner of an Etsy clothing shop

Van De Voorde had a remote position at a mental health facility in 2021. She "dreaded" the work and wanted to find another way to supplement her income. After hours of research on YouTube, Van De Voorde stumbled upon a tutorial for print-on-demand services — with fewer costly minimums and less risk, she knew she'd found her side hustle. Even without ecommerce or graphic design experience, Van De Voorde was able to open her Etsy clothing shop by the end of the day. It took some trial and error and a lot of "niche research," but Van De Voorde's Etsy shop has surpassed $500,000 in sales.

Van De Voorde's advice: Don't assume it's some overnight get-rich-quick scheme. "It's a lot of work upfront. So just be prepared that you have to front-load the work in the beginning in order to get your shop off the ground — then you can kind of pull it back. But as long as you're consistent, posting every day, you'll see success."

Related: This Former Stay-at-Home Mom Started a 'Zero Experience' Side Hustle That's Earned Over $500,000 — and She Doesn't Work More Than 1 Hour a Day

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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