Small Business

I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom Who Made $23,000 in 3 Months on Etsy. Here’s How I Built a Business

Business InsiderMay 8, 2024

  • Kelly Byrnes, a stay-at-home mom, sells wall art on Etsy using a printer in her garage.
  • She has made $23,000 in revenue this year after introducing framing and personalized prints.
  • Byrnes works around her kids’ childcare and is using the extra income to save for a house deposit.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Kelly Byrnes, a 33-year-old Etsy seller. Byrnes’ income has been verified with documentation by Insider. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

When my now-8-year-old twins started full-time school in September 2019, boredom started to set in for me. I had been raising my children as a stay-at-home mom for years. While my husband worked, I wanted to bring in my own money.

I started thinking about what I could do from home. We couldn’t afford childcare if I got a job where I’d be at work during school vacation. I also wanted to be around for their sports days, plays, and other milestones.

In the summer 2020, I started looking at prints for our home and noticed everything seemed expensive for what they were — just a piece of card stock with printed pictures on them. 

The low barrier of entry for a print shop on Etsy appealed to me

After researching what I needed to set up an at-home printing business, I was confident I could start one. I knew that the up-front costs were quite low, with the biggest expenditure being the printer. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t have lost much.

I told my husband about my business idea in July 2020. We didn’t have much in savings, but we set aside a little over $360 to get started.

I had briefly researched using a company to print on demand to fulfill orders but decided against it. It was too expensive, and I wanted to be able to control everything.

I bought a printer for $250. Instead of ink cartridges, it used a bottle of ink that could be refilled — much more economical. 

I purchased A4 card stock, envelopes, cellophane wrappers, and a postage printer from Amazon. As my business has grown, I’ve started using independent sellers instead of Amazon to source the materials I need.

I bought images to print from an online platform that were popular on TikTok and Pinterest

Since I’m not especially artistic, I decided to buy images from that were popular on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. Each image cost me between $2 and $3, and I planned to sell the prints for between $4 and $5. To start, I bought only a few designs — ones that included text and were quirky.

Once I owned the designs, I used Canva to resize them for the paper I’d be using, which was only the A4 size in the beginning. 

I set up an Etsy storefront because I had shopped there before and loved that customers consciously supported independent sellers.

My first print was sold the day I opened the shop in July 2020. During the first month, I made about $2,000 in revenue, with a profit of about $500. Even though I knew I hadn’t made loads of profit, it felt like a lot of money to me.

In the beginning, I didn’t do any marketing for my products. One of the reasons I chose Etsy was that people were already going there to find unique items. Later on, I did start marketing through Etsy for $1 a day, but it hasn’t made much difference.

My first year of Etsy was slow, but I didn’t give up 

The rest of my first year was slow. I made $5,000 in profit from July 2020 to April 2021.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was forgetting to change my postage price for international shipping. 

But when I opened up my Etsy shop to international buyers, I forgot to charge for postage, and the orders ended up costing me money. I sent them anyway because I didn’t want to let people down. This little mistake cost me about $150.

Early on, I wasn’t keeping close track of my expenses. I use QuickBooks but would pay attention only to my revenue. Keeping track of both revenue and expenses has made me keep an eye on my profits — ensuring I make money on everything I buy. Since my sales have picked up, I’ve hired an accountant.








Personalized prints and framing, as well as good reviews, have boosted my Etsy sales

At the start of the year, I bought a printer for $2,500 to print larger images, and I started offering framing and personalized print services.

These services, along with the fact I often fill orders the day they’re submitted and have great reviews from buyers, have led to my sales massively increasing.  

Between January and March 13, I made revenue of close to $23,000, with a profit of about $15,000. It’s a 303% increase from the same time period last year.

My Etsy shop has given me exactly what I wanted — independence and money of my own

On top of money and independence, my Etsy shop has given me great flexibility as the primary caregiver of our three children. I’m excited to use the increased profit to save for a deposit to buy our first house. 

Each day, I wake at 6 a.m. and head to our garage — my workspace at the moment — to fill any order that came in overnight before I get the kids ready for school.

After the school run, I drop the orders at the post office — today there were over 100 packages from over the weekend — before coming home to fill more orders and carry on with administrative work.

I often stay up working after the kids go to bed. With more orders, I’m spending a lot more time working, often printing and packaging items until 10 p.m. 





This article was written by (Lauren Crosby Medlicott) from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to