My circumstances couldn't really be helped. It would've been SO much better if I had taken time to plan instead of jumping in. Ideally, getting stocked all summer and opening in the fall would've made much more sense. Instead, I opened my shop during a slow retail time and had to struggle. My sales picked up in September and my best months were November & December because of holiday shoppers. Learn from my mistake and work the calendar to your advantage!
My advice is to start planning right now. Do your homework. There is a ton of great information on the Etsy blog and on Etsy forums. Read it, take notes, do whatever works best for you to figure out your game plan. I really didn't know what I was getting into and research would've been so helpful! The whole Etsy community is amazing and more than willing to answer questions!
This part is gross and boring and totally necessary. Figure out what you need to do about licensing in your state and get what you need. I live in Ohio. For me, this meant getting a vendor's license to sell things online and through the mail. I also registered my business name and got an employer identification number (EIN) for tax purposes. You will also need to decide whether you want your business to be a sole proprietorship or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). It would've been cheaper to go with the sole proprietorship, but I felt like I was better protected with the LLC. I think all my business filings cost me around $150. You can read about sole propietorship vs. LLC here.
That should be enough information to keep you busy for awhile. Look for part 2 of this 4 part series on Monday and feel free to ask questions!