[153] The New Etsy Seller Fees – Let’s Compare the Cost…

So – Etsy are putting their fees up for the first time in 13 years. And a lot of people are unhappy about it.

I’ve shared my brief thoughts on this already on social, but I thought it would be helpful to put together an episode outlining my thoughts – as well as some financial comparisons so you can make an informed choice on this change.

I’ve researched and compared the fees of Etsy, Shopify, Amazon Handmade, Bigcartel, Ebay, and your own website (using wordpress and woocommerce) to give you a feel for where Etsy stands in the marketplace after these fee changes. (I’ve shared the maths below for you, as well as some comparisons of old/new fees).

In short: I don’t think this is a big deal. Considering Etsy has NEVER put their fees up in 13 years of business, and the fact that it’s a minor increase hasn’t got me worried, personally. I know that’s different for some folks (especially those who sell inexpensive items or supplies) but I share my detailed thoughts on this in the episode below.

My main point for you to take away from this episode: if your price is so low, or your margin is so tight, that this small fee increase will break your business – you need to review your pricing!

If you have feedback or thoughts to share, please do so over on Instagram (look for my post about this @createandthrive) or on Facebook. And if you find this episode useful, please do share it so other people can listen in, as well. Pin an image from the page, or take a screenshot of this post or your podcast app and share it on your IG story.


Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
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  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.





Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:


1. I am not overly bothered by the fee increase – it’s small, and still very affordable compared to other venues. It will ALWAYS cost money to do business, it’s about finding the best value for money. Etsy brings me customers. Most of my sales there come from Etsy search, so the work they do to advertise the platform and bring shoppers in works for me, and I’m happy to pay for that. Let’s do a comparison…

  • Etsy: 20c listing fee. 5% transaction fee. Plans – Plus starting at $10 (going up to $20) (CORRECTION – I believe I may have referred to the Plus plan as the Standard plan in this episode. Etsy will have Standard (free) Plus (as costed here) and Premium (as yet uncosted) plans.)
  • Amazon Handmade: 12% transaction fee – this may be 15% for some (or min $1 referral fee)? I found details a bit conflicted and hard to come by. $39.99 pm as of Jan 1 2019.
  • Ebay: 50c listing fee. Up to 9.5% transaction fee. $24.95 pm biz seller (This is Australian and in AUD, all others fees here are in USD)
  • Shopify: Basic plan is $29 pm (up to 100 listings). CC and other payment gateways like PayPal range from 1.75% to 2.9% and a 30c transaction fee (free if using Shopify payments with stripe).
  • Bigcartel: Up to 100 products $19.99 pm
  • Own Website: $12 domain OR included with hosting. $8 pm with Dreamhost. Security $200 ($17 pm). Backup $5 pm.

DON’T COMPETE ON PRICE. Be a brand, not a commodity. Competitive doesn’t mean cheapest! (Anecdote about $20 sterling rings).

Further listening on this: Episode 72 – Stop Focusing on Number of Sales and Start Focusing on the Numbers That Really Matter

2. Fees on shipping has made me decide to offer free domestic (and maybe international, still working that out) shipping storewide, and just put the shipping cost into my product price. I always avoided this in the past because Etsy didn’t take a percentage of shipping.

I can do this as my shipping is pretty low already, so it’s been the kick in the pants I needed to make this change. If I’m paying a fee on shipping now, I may as well gain the psychological benefit of shoppers seeing ‘free shipping’. They’re still paying for it, just not in the shipping section.

If you can move your domestic fee into the item price, that then lowers your international fee, too!


3. I will be putting my prices up a little to compensate. I am lucky enough to have the margin to be able to do this, but I understand some folks with lower-priced items may find this challenging. Remember though – it’s a percentage, so you may only need to add a small amount to make up for it on the lower priced items.

Some example cost comparisons:

$5 item with $5 shipping

  • 3.5% product only fee: 17c
  • 5% product & shipping fee: 50c

$50 item with $10 shipping

  • 3.5% product only fee: $1.75
  • 5% product & shipping fee: $3

$100 item with $10 shipping

  • 3.5% produce only fee: $3.50
  • 5% product & shipping fee: $5.50


4. I don’t yet see any benefit to any of the ‘packages’ for me. I’ve been experimenting with promoted listings, and will keep trying that for a while. So I’m glad they aren’t (yet!) taking away any of those tools. I have – and will always have – my own website, so the .com etc. doesn’t do anything for me. I am curious as to what the premium package will offer, though!


5. One concern I heard mentioned: they are making it easier for ‘big brands’ to use the platform, so I hope they don’t go too far in that direction.

6. Overall – if this means Etsy continues to focus back on their core offering (being THE place to shop for handmade, vintage, and supplies online) and grow the platform by doing more advertising, then that will only benefit me and other people in those niches in the long term. They have never put their prices up in 13 years of business, so if it pays off, I do believe we, as sellers, will benefit. But yes, always do remember – they are a for-profit, public company, and they have to always now be thinking of their shareholders and profits, too.




[152] How to Get More (& Better) Product Reviews {Premium Episode}

This month’s member-exclusive episode was inspired by a question asked on our last Thriver Circle monthly call.

“How do I get more of my customers to leave reviews?”

I had a pretty lengthy answer on the call, and I realised… I have quite a few strategies that I use to improve the quality and quantity of customer reviews – no matter whether you sell on Etsy, your own site, or elsewhere.

In this episode, I share 7 strategies you can implement to improve the number and positivity of your customer reviews – without bugging your customers.


To get immediate access to this premium episode, become a member of my private membership community for makers – The Thriver Circle.


Once you join you’ll get access to this, and all previous premium podcast episodes, as well as:

  • Hundreds of fellow makers in our vibrant private community.
  • Live coaching calls and video mastermind sessions with Jess each month.
  • Your Year to Thrive – an epic year-long course – to super-charge your biz growth.
  • A library of video workshops on all aspects of handmade business.


Join now or find out more.


Have a sneaky listen to part of this episode below…

[151] Being Boss with Emily Thompson


Have you heard of the Being Boss podcast? If so, you’ll know my guest today – one half of the BB duo – Emily Thompson.

If not, you’re in for a treat.

In this episode, I interview Emily about what it means to be the boss of your business and your life.

We cover a lot of juicy mindset topics, and we discuss Emily & Kathleen’s new book – Being Boss.

I loved talking with Emily, and I hope you get a lot out of this episode!

In other news… I introduce you to something very exciting happening on the pod in July!

Listen below to find out more!




Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Emily started with her first business at age 18 and her career has shifted and changed many times since then.
  • It is very unlikely that you are going to find the things you are going to do for the rest of your life early on.
  • Confidence is a muscle – the more you work it the stronger it gets.
  • “Find the ways to remind yourself that you are awesome at what you’re doing or you will figure it out along the way.” {Emily}
  • Being stuck in fear will not allow you to lead a fulfilling life and work.
  • “Confidence is something you will have to practise and you will always have to practise.” {Emily}
  • Look for proof in your past experiences of times the thing that scared you worked out.
  • Take a breather from the problem – get some perspective and change gears and then come back with fresh eyes.
  • Entrepreneurs are making it up and figuring it out as they go along.
  • “We are all experimenting. You have to be willing to do the experiments and take the risks.” {Jess}
  • The more you try the more you will fail – get comfortable with failure to allow you try new ways and new things.
  • When things are no longer fulfilling in your business it is time to let consider what you need to change to get back to fulfillment.
  • “There are times when a dream job is no longer dreamy.” {Emily}
  • Systems and process are very important to business it is important to leave space to be creative.
  • “You can systemise yourself into a rut where you don’t have the space to allow your creative juices to be flowing.” {Emily}
  • Find out more about Emily, the podcast, and the Being Boss book here.


[150] 10 Unmissable Episodes from the Last 3 Years


To celebrate hitting the 150 episodes milestone, I’ve put together a roundup of 10 unmissable episodes from the last 3 years of the show!

It was a tough choice – but I’ve narrowed it down to 5 solo shows and 5 interviews that will inspire you, educate you, and give you a ton of practical advice to help you grow your handmade business.

I also want to give a HUGE thank you shout-out to all the wonderful members of the Thriver Circle.

I know that most of you didn’t join the Circle to support the podcast – but you are, anyway.

The same goes for anyone who has ever bought a course, guide, critique, or anything else from me over the years.

I don’t accept sponsors on my show – it is completely self-funded – so to those of you who have trusted me enough to purchase one of my products – thank you.

You are a patron of the podcast, and I couldn’t do it without your support.



The Episodes…

Solo Shows




Browse all previous shows here.

Get access to the Handmade Biz Toolkit – including the downloadable pdf of the ’25 Essential Tips’ by joining the C&T email list here.

Learn how to take stellar product photos from an expert in the C&T Guide to Product Photography.

Become a member of our amazing community – the Thriver Circle.



Why I Don’t Have a Free Facebook Group for My Business


Do you want to start a Facebook Group for your business?

Perhaps you already have one. Perhaps you’re thinking about it. It’s something I’ve considered many times over the years.

With the changes to the Facebook algorithms this past January, Facebook groups are being touted by many as the saviour of Facebook marketing for small business.

It makes sense, in a way – with Facebook more heavily emphasising community and connection with friends and family, posts from groups are being shown way more in our feeds than ever before.

But I’m still not going to start a free Facebook group.

I made this decision many years ago, and I’ve stuck to it, despite the changing landscape of Facebook.

With the rise of groups, and many people encouraging businesses of all stripes – including makers – to start and grow their own groups, I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic, and discuss why I choose not to have a free group – but why you might.




This was always a huge deciding factor for me, and it’s only been reinforced lately. I’ve seen a number of folks who invested immense amounts of time into growing huge Facebook groups who have since had to shut them down.


Because they simply didn’t have the time to manage them.

Some of them had to hire multiple moderators to help them. But even then, it got to the point where they had to let the group go.

Now, I have a couple of Facebook groups.

I’ve had my Set Up Shop group since I started running that course in 2013. I am only active in that group when I’m running a live course, usually twice a year.

I have other groups for other courses.

My main group is, of course, my Thriver Circle group, which I am active in every single weekday.

So I know, from personal experience, how much time groups take to run.

If you’ve never run one, this is a really, really important point.

They take a LOT of time. I cannot stress this enough.

Not only do you have to manage people joining, moderate conversations, enforce your rules… you also have to work hard to keep the group engaged and lively.

With a free group, there will always been tons of competition – tons of other similar groups that your members could easily end up spending their time in instead of yours.

Of course, that is true with my groups, too… but the difference is, I am being compensated for the time I spend on them, because all of the people in them have paid to have access.

Now, to be clear, they haven’t paid to have access to the group per se. They’ve paid for access to my courses, or to my community, and Facebook is simply the platform I choose to use to run my community forum.

If Facebook turned around tomorrow and shut my groups down? I would just take those people elsewhere. Because they aren’t there to be in a Facebook group – they’re there to be part of a community I’ve created.




This definitely follows on from number 1.

I have limited time. I run 2 businesses. I have a life outside of my work!

When I started the Thriver Circle, I decided to use Facebook as the place to host my community forum. I chose it because I knew it would foster interaction, because when you have your forum elsewhere (such as on your stand-alone site) you have to work a lot harder to remind people to come over and participate.

I wanted my members to have access to me, and to each other, in a simple, easy-to-access environment. It’s easy for them to access the group, and each other. This is a big upside of a Facebook group, and why they’ve become so successful.

Moreover, one of the benefits of being part of the Circle is that members have direct access to me.

They can ask me questions, and they know I’ll answer.

They’ve invested in me – and I’m invested in them.

I knew that I would not have the energy to give myself constantly to people in a free Facebook group. I wanted to save my energy for the people who have invested in learning from me. Because when people make an investment in learning from you, I believe they dive deeper, and put more of themselves into the process.

Following on from this: if I had a free Facebook group alongside my course and membership groups, I don’t believe it would be fair to my students.

The ones who have paid for my time and expertise.

I believe I’d be doing them a disservice.

This is a very big part of why I still choose to not have a free group. Because I owe my paying students my energy and guidance, and I want to make sure they are getting the best of me.




You do not own your Facebook group. Facebook owns your Facebook group.

Herein lies the risk of building your community or marketing on a platform that you do not own. There is always the chance that it can be taken away from you. Or that it won’t work so well any more when they change things (just look at what’s happening to Facebook Pages and Instagram feeds).

If you invest enormous amounts of time in growing your community and presence on Facebook, it could definitely have wonderful benefits for your business.

The reason it works well is that people are on Facebook anyways, so if they are in your group, and get your notifications, they are consistently reminded of your business.

But you do not own it.

What do you own?

You own your own website.

You own your mailing list.

You own your business.

That’s about it.

Really think deeply about this when you’re making the choice of where to spend your limited marketing time and energy.

If you want to build a business that is based around community – where it’s important that the community have access to each other, not just you, then a Facebook group or something similar may be a great choice for you.

But I would strongly recommend that you spend at least an equal amount of time fostering and growing your mailing list. The thing you own.

You can combine the two! Use your group to promote your list. Let people in your group know about special deals that they can only get if they are on your list. That is a strategy that could work really well.

But don’t fall into the trap of spending all of your time growing a group that you don’t have ownership of. Move those people onto your list, so that no matter what happens to Facebook, you will still have a way to connect with them.


Should You Have a Free Group?


Am I a member of free groups? Of course! There are a number that I am a member of, and participate in semi-regularly.

I’m not anti-free-Facebook-groups.

They’re simply not the right choice for me, at this time.

They could be a great choice for you, but just keep in mind the three issues I outlined above: time, access, and ownership.

Make sure, if you do start a group, you’re going into it with eyes wide open so you can make your group an asset, rather than a liability.



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