Jessica Dollar has been using Etsy for years! She is not a crafty or artsy person, but understands vintage! She utilizes her knowledge of vintage and creates vintage book sets for people.

What is your full-time job?

Currently, Jessica Dollar is selling on Etsy part-time and is a stay-at-home mom full-time as she is a mother with young children! Being stuck at home, she didn’t want her husband to be the sole income for the family. At the same time, Jessica did not want to get a job either.

That is when she turned to side hustling on Etsy!

Why Sell on Etsy?

Having an Etsy shop has allowed Jessica Dollar to work when she wants, and where she wants. She could also be as hands-off or hands-on as needed. Jessica knew that she did not want to be at the mercy of clients and dealing with them.

For that reason, side hustles like a cleaning business or window washing were not of interest. Knowing what kind of lifestyle you want is important to choosing the right side hustle for you.

David Emmons, who came on episode 54 of The Hobby Hustler Show, shares his experience selling art on Etsy!

What Makes An Item Vintage?

To sell on Etsy in the vintage category, it has to be 20 years old or older! It is that simple. You do not have to prove everything being over 20 years old, but in most cases, the buyers on Etsy will know.

What Platforms Do You Sell On?

Jessica Dollar sells her books on Etsy, Instagram, and her own website! She sells to people, but also interior designers who are decorating other people’s houses! When Jessica got into the business, she found a huge niche on Instagram of people selling books on their accounts.

Jessica also has experience selling directly through her email list. An email list is a great asset you should build in your side hustle! In fact, sometimes the worth of the list can be greater than your actual business!

All they had was an Instagram page and a PayPal account!

Where Do You Source Your Products?

Jessica Dollar sources her product in Goodwill Outlet stores. They are different than regular Goodwill stores because they do not sort through their inventory and sell by the pound.

Although the quality is hit and miss, it is much cheaper than going to the Goodwill stores!

Sometimes, Jessica will also find inventory at garage sales or antique stores.

She knew relying on one place was not good for her business, so she challenged herself. For one month, she could not go to the Goodwill Outlet store. Coincidentally, after that month, the Goodwill Outlet near her actually closed down.

Estate and Library Sales

During the month that she was not going to Goodwill, she found out about Estate Sales and Library Sales. Estate sales are hit and miss, but you can typically get an overview of what is in the sale on the website preview. You can find Estate sales by searching “Estate Sales Near Me” on Google.

Library sales are when the library is trying to sell off old inventory or inventory that was donated and they cannot take it for various reasons. Library sales are a great way to get book specific inventory for cheap.

How Much Time Do You Spend Sourcing Inventory?

Right now, Jessica Dollar is batching her sourcing. In one week, she may do a lot of sourcing, whereas other weeks she will do none. It depends on the estate sales happening and if she can hit a few of them in a day.

On top of that, over the course of a week, Jessica Dollar and her kids try to visit the library to see what is new.

How To Create and Optimize an Etsy Listing

Jessica is always batching the Etsy listing part of the job. Without batch posting, you will spend much more time trying to upload all of your listings.

Spend the time on the front to build a solid storefront page. This can include:

  • Add a picture of yourself
  • Put a descriptive bio and description of your store
  • Create a nice listing for your products, make them the best you can
  • Launch with 10-15 products on your Etsy store, don’t go crazy with 100s of listings

When Jessica started her Etsy shop, she looked at her competitors selling the same items and saw what they were doing well and not so well.

Tools For Spying on Your Etsy Competitors

You can spy on your competitors a few different ways on Etsy. The first way is to click through their shop and see how many sales they have. You can view the reviews they are getting and see what people love and don’t love.

There are also 3rd Party Tools that can help you spy on your competition! These tools may cost you, but they will save you time in the long run.


You can go into eRank, enter any shop you want and it will give you a lot of information about their shop. It will tell you sales, what they’re ranking for, and information on their listings.

The pricing plans start at $5.99/month, but they do have a FREE plan to get started that allows up to 25 listing lookups per day!


Marmalead is another great tool for Etsy sellers and offers a solution very similar. Marmalead is based around keywords and finding you keywords that will rank!

They have one plan starting at $19/month!

How To Ship on Etsy

A lot of people are scared to start shipping things, and it is a natural feeling. Once you start to ship a few items, you will realize that it is easy and sometimes issue may arise that are not in your control. At the time of the recording, Jessica Dollar had to refund a $400 order because they were lost in the mail!

Jessica uses Media Mail, which gives any Media (CDs, Books, etc.) a great deal on media shipping! When you use this, you can pass those savings onto your buyer with free shipping!

What You Need To Start Shipping

It is very simple! Etsy’s platform will actually walk you through every step of the process. You will need access to a printer to print the shipping label as well as a box.

After that, it comes down to measuring and weighing the box, entering them in Etsy and then dropping them off at a local post office.

Challenges Etsy Sellers May Face

If you are a handmade seller, you are in a different position as Jessica. This is because if you make an item, you can make that every time it is ordered. For Jessica, each of her items is one-of-a-kind, meaning that she needs a listing for every item.

That means that Etsy sellers that are doing handmade items should take the time and make the listing perfectly optimized. If you are doing vintage, there is more wiggle room and let go of perfection.


One of the most important parts of your Etsy listing, handmade or vintage, is photography. Photography is what is going to make people stop when they are scrolling through the Etsy feed. Jessica uses a designer poster board, which is the background for all her photos.

She also edits her photos so they all look the same and the store has a theme. Do not let not being good at it stop you from putting up your listing. A listing with a decent picture is better than no listing.

Connecting With Your Etsy Buyers

You are not allowed to email your Etsy sellers and go around the platform, but sometimes Etsy sellers will give them an incentive to enter their email address. Getting your customers email address is important to increase retention and build a customer journey.

There are several ways to get your buyer’s email address, the most common is to give a “Thank You” Card with a 20% off discount when they first make a purchase.

Etsy’s Ads Platform

Esty’s ad platform is one of the most talked about advertising platforms there is! You can choose to promote your listing within Etsy. You can budget as low as $1/day, a very affordable way to get more sales! By doing this, you also get more information and data about keywords.

Etsy also has an off-site ads platform that is optional if you have less than $10,000 sales per year. If a sale comes through those ads, you have to pay a fee to them. If your item does not sell, you do not have to pay any advertising commission.

Opting into this platform is totally dependent on the margins that you are working with. You can also increase your pricing a little bit to make up for the margin.

#1 Tip For Side Hustlers Just Starting Out

Learn Etsy SEO, take the time to research that. Start with only 10-15 listings and edit them so they look great! Make sure the listings are eye-catching and have an overall theme.

Connect with Jessica Dollar

You can find and connect with Jessica Dollar on her website at