Once you open a shop on Etsy you will immediately want to see sales and cash flowing in. Well, be patient. What we have learned is that there are some reliable patterns that occur again and again. We have also learned that there are multiple sales patterns affecting sales at the same time.
For example, sales are dependent on your product and its relationship to things like school schedules (start finish, breaks, events), weather (hot, cold, nice, rainy, etc.) and holidays. Birth patterns affect sellers who sell stuff related to babies.
Also affecting sales is the ability to show up in Etsy search results, search engine search results (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and other Etsy features (treasuries, favorites, followers, reciprocal following, a treasury featured as a handpicked treasury on Etsy's home page, featured shop, recently listed items, community, etc.)
Etsy loves fresh listings and updated content. Even relisting a product that has not yet expired seems to indicate freshness to Etsy (and an additional .20 of listing fee revenue). It seems like Etsy favors content so spend time coming up with great product titles, product descriptions and tags. All of these things affect search engine optimization (SEO) techniques used by Etsy and popular search engines.
Everything I have mentioned so far is free except for relisting products. If you are patient then you can roll some of your profits into things like ads that help direct customers to your Etsy shop. Facebook is a good place to run ads. Google is another place that is good for running ads. There are a million other options out there such as running ads on blogs related to your products or even sending product samples to professional bloggers in hopes of receiving a good review and a quality link back to your Etsy store.
Consider starting your own blogs. Offer tips for Etsy sellers. Offer how-to videos and posts to show people to do what you do. Share your expertise. If you write your own blog then you can also write about your products and link your blog back to your Etsy shop.
There is always a lot of speculation about how to appear higher in search listings. Patience, persistence, quality content (text, images, videos) and consistency are the best methods of increasing free exposure. Build that network. Once money starts coming in then use some of that money for paid advertising and networking. Don't try to keep up with the Jones's. If you look hard enough the you will surely find an Etsy shop that opened a month ago and already has hundreds of sales.
Examine shops that seem to hit the ground running. The shop owners may have previous Etsy experience so they already know what they are doing. They may have a great product that is in demand. Study their product titles, descriptions and tags.