"Slangin' Art at the Etsy Swap Meet"Etsy has become the go-to place on the web for moms looking to find bargains for craft supplies, handmade items and vintage finds. According to its website, it now has 15 million signed up buyers and sellers.

Etsy has the additional advantage of having a targeted customer base — those who appreciate buying from small start up businesses — unlike larger competitors such as eBay, which covers sellers of everything. Etsy feels like a swap meet, while eBay, along with Amazon, are the Web’s acknowledged department giants.

Etsy shop main page image by slipstitch_designs via Flickr.

Etsy Businesses Are Quick and Inexpensive to Set Up

If you enjoy shopping on Etsy, how about considering setting up your own Etsy business? All you need is a small amount of cash and a reputable Internet service provider. You’ll need a reliable Internet connection, so keep an eye out for deals from services like CenturyLink Internet , which also has bundling options for 4G— an ideal setup for your new online business.

Joining Etsy and setting up your shop is free, and the cost to list an item for four months, or until it sells, is just 20 cents. You can set up an account with a valid credit card or through PayPal, a service that many online shoppers prefer.

Etsy uses an instructive, user-friendly, DIY approach to setting up your online store site. Follow the directions to set up each of the four tabs your shop page will show: establishing a shop name, listing items, getting paid and billing. You can then browse through Etsy’s many designs. You can change your look and your written content as often as you like.

Etsy offers useful tips on how to select a store name if you don’t already have one, or if you discover someone else already uses the name you have in mind. It will help you create a banner at the top of your page, and instruct you on how to upload photos of the items you plan to sell.

What Can I Sell?

Use your Etsy business to sell items you’re already creating, such as artwork, jewelry or clothing. If they’re good enough to wear and give away as gifts, they could quite possibly sell! Or, if you like the idea of being a supplier, you can specialize in selling materials other artists need for crafting.

If antiques are your thing, Etsy classifies anything 20 years or older as an antique that may be listed for sale.

Why Not Just Set Up at the Flea Market?

Think of Etsy as a swap meet, flea market or yard sale, without the bother of being outside for hours on end, dealing with heat or sudden changes in weather. Not to mention, you don’t have to pay for a reserved space or worry about arriving ahead of the buying crowd. When it’s online, it’s always open! Your products will also reach a much greater audience.

Finally, working from home lets you keep an eye on the kids and even involve them in the business. For example, odds are good your older children already know how to upload photos. Help them develop their writing skills by creating vivid product descriptions. Who knows, maybe your Etsy store can become a family business!

A Few Tips for New Business Owners

Keep in mind that taxes are a reality in the online sales world. If you open your own business, you must become familiar with your new tax responsibilities , something many online shop owners forget. Online sellers who find they have made a profit need to file IRS Form 1099K, where you will list your credit or debit card transactions.

In addition, be sure to obtain an employee ID number (EIN), which identifies your business separately from yourself, even if you are a sole proprietor. You can get it online, for free, from the IRS website.

Now get online and sell!

Author Bio: Karen is a merchandising specialist for a large distribution business. She studies trends in the business world and writes about it whenever she can.