Etsy is a global creative commerce platform that builds markets, services, and economic opportunities for creative entrepreneurs. Within Etsy markets, millions of people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell, and buy unique goods. We believe that we’re creating a new economy—the Etsy Economy—that is powered by the spirit and passion of millions of creative entrepreneurs. Our 2016 survey of Etsy sellers in the United States, coupled with ongoing interactions with our seller community, bring to light a nuanced look at the changing nature of work. The global economy is shifting in ways that make it easier for anyone with an idea and an internet connection to start and grow a global business. Today, more people than ever work independently, combine income from multiple sources, and pursue work they are passionate about.
Powered by technology, these fundamental shifts allow for the emergence of the unlikeliest of entrepreneurs to truly transform not only the way we work, but our basic assumptions about what it means to start and run a business. Certainly, small businesses garner plenty of attention, but microbusinesses (those with under ten employees) have very different challenges from even a ten- or fifty-person business that often go unnoticed. While individually their businesses may be small, together these microbusinesses represent significant economic and societal impact. By understanding Etsy sellers’ motivations and challenges, we can craft policies, programs, and products that better prepare us for the future of work and entrepreneurship in the US.