Sometimes Free Ain't Free

Ah, what a difference a day or two makes.

I have an Etsy shop. I sell digital cross-stitch patterns of geeky/nerdy/internet/sci-fic things that interest me. They’re weird, and sometimes profane, and I have a lot of fun with them. I’m not trying to live off the store, just make some pocket change, and maybe brighten someone’s day with my, admittedly, weird and snarky sense of humor. So I’ve never really cared about the fees that get charged. I figured anything I get is more than I’ve got now, and it’s not like I have to put any additional time into a pattern once it’s published (usually – sorry for the few errors that have been caught!). So I felt like it was free money!

But it’s tax season. I recently asked our accountant about the status of the store, and she vomited a bunch of taxese at me, and asked that I bring in some totals. Ya know, gross receipts, fees, that sort of thing.

So I sat down and started pulling information together. Gross receipts were easy. Etsy likes you to know that figure. Then there were Etsy’s fees. Things got a little harder. You get a bill each month. I downloaded the bill for each month and started looking at it. It got easier when I figured out how to cross-reference sales, to show sales fees. Then I figured out that the remainder was listing and relisting fees.

But then there were Card Processing Fees? Those were a little more hidden. Seems that if customers pay directly with a credit card, there’s a fee for that…and it’s more than Etsy’s fees.

So there were extra fees with credit cards that I hadn’t been thinking of. What about Paypal? Etsy doesn’t show any fees when customers pay with Paypal. But….in digging through Paypal, whaddayouknow? Paypal fees too.

Well, I finally puzzled through all of it. Come to find out, my net sales are HALF of gross sales.

So I’m feeling a little ambivalent now. I mean, it’s still pretty much free money. I’ve already done the work, and the patterns can continue to sell without additional work. But now that I know I only get half of that money makes me feel…I don’t know…ambivalent. <Sigh>