‘I wish I’d done it sooner.’ Mum’s Etsy business earns £44,000 a year

Single mum sets up 'side hustles' to combat cost of living crisis

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Grete Somermaa started her side hustle in March 2020 when her family had to close down their family-run restaurant following the pandemic. With two young children to provide for, Grete set up an online business selling digital downloads on Etsy, which has allowed her to stay at home in Estonia while earning an income.

Rewind Grete’s life two years and it’s a completely different story to the one she lives today.

The coronavirus pandemic had such a devastating effect on her family’s restaurant that they had no option but to close for good, leaving Grete with no income yet two small children to feed.

The unfortunate turn of events led the mum to set up her own online business selling digital downloads on Etsy – since then she’s turned over £44,000 a year and now works just two hours a week.

She doesn’t need to store her supplies either as she sells digital files that people can download without a physical copy, such as printable planners, stock photos and social media templates.

Grete told Express.co.uk she had to put more work in at the start and used Toolstarter to help her set up her online business.

She said: “Everything is already done for you. Just put your listings up!

“You can always change your titles, tags, descriptions, and listing photos at a later day.

“Take constructive feedback from your customers and improve your products as you go!”

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The entrepreneur also suggested keeping an updated email list in case people decide to open their own website further down the line.

She also said that receiving poor feedback is part and parcel of the experience and it can be a learning curve.

“When I got my first one-star review, I was pretty devastated, and I thought this was the end of my shop,” she said.

“But I soon realised it happens with every business. Do your best to solve the issue and if it’s not possible, give a refund and move on. You just can’t please everyone and that’s okay!”

It’s a happy ending for Grete who can’t believe how much this business decision has changed her life.

She added: “Selling digital products on Etsy really changed my life and thoughts about making money.

“We’re often told money doesn’t grow on trees, but it actually does.

“Nowadays there are so many opportunities to make money online – you just have to look around and get started!”

She continued: “I still can’t believe it sometimes. Selling digital downloads is like magic – you really can make money while you sleep!

“I put the work upfront to initially create the products, and because the products are digital that can be accessed immediately, there’s no need for me to do anything when the sales come in.

“A customer can purchase the product at any time (day or night) and start using the file straight away.

“I was determined to make it work. I thought, “If others can do it, why can’t I?”

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