Etsy printables are my favorite digital product to sell online. My journey starts a few years back when I was listening to a podcast episode on my lunch break and realized I was sick of sitting on the sidelines with all of my ideas for starting a business. I was jealous of what these other people were accomplishing and it dawned on me in that moment that the only difference between them and me was that they had this feeling they wanted to do more and they actually took action. I decided in that moment it was time that I finally did something about all the dreams I had.
I decided on temporary tattoos after getting the idea from a friend and picked the bachelorette party niche because that is what I knew. I had been going to so many bachelorette parties and spending a ridiculous amount of money on throwaway decor and accessories for the weekend. I knew there was a market there.
Turns out I was right! I sold over $1,000 of product! That stopped working for me though.
Why I switched to selling printables on Etsy
The margins on the tattoos were CRAZY and sales were steadily increasing…but I was stressed. I had to remember to check for orders everyday and ship them out quickly to customers. This was taking up mental bandwidth that was distracting from my life and full-time job. If I was late on an order, a customer could write me a bad review which could negatively impact my Etsy shop and also ruin my day because I’m a perfectionist and getting a one star review really makes me feel bad about myself.
That’s when I discovered the concept of selling printables on Etsy and my life changed. I went to a conference for women in blogging and met this woman in line for the food truck at lunch. We were making small talk and she told me about selling printables on Etsy and it changed my life. It was like a LIGHT BULB went off and I realized I could get out of the physical product business but still get my creative passions met by selling on Etsy.
I dove headfirst into this business plan..even if myself I didn’t even own a printer! The first thing I did was buy a printer so I could test printables myself. Some people are super into printables and buy or make them all the time but this concept was new to me. People actually pay money for these things?
What I did like about the business though was the passive nature, or near passive nature of it. I truly believe there is no such thing as truly passive income but I was looking to get as close to it as I possibly could!
Is selling printables close to passive income?
I could make the printable one time, upload it, and sell it to hundreds of customers with no additional work from me. This blew my mind because I only had to put in the work of making the printable once, yet I could profit off of it over and over again for months and years to come.
I started selling scavenger hunts and other printable games in the same niche (bachelorette) and saw success! Best of all, I was much less stressed out and was LOVING watching the passive income come in. There’s no better feeling that making money when you sleep, which is exactly what selling printables allowed me to do.
I’ve made over $5,000 with just a few weeks of work total on this side hustle. I have a baby now, a full-time job, husband, and multiple other side hustles (blogging, podcasting to name a few) so this side hustle fit into exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something that I could put in a few hours on a weekend and get some pretty incredible return on that time investment.
How much money can you make selling printables?
There are printable sellers who make $0 and there are printable sellers who make millions, yes literally MILLIONS. Examples of the latter are sellers like Sarah Titus who sell on Shopify and some printable planner sellers on Etsy. I don’t think the latter is possible for everyone and I think if you are someone like me who doesn’t have tons of time for this side hustle, you won’t become a millionaire doing it.
That is why I recommend everyone starting this side hustle start off with some realistic goals. It would be totally realistic to aim for $500-$1000 per month as your printables goal. I think you have to put in alot more time and be really sure this is what you are passionate about before you invest enough time to replace your full-time job or get rich selling printables. That is true with anything in life though and I think anyone who is selling “the secret” to that level of success might be overlooking the hustle, passion, and drive required for that.
Personally, I am pleased to have had months where I’ve made hundreds of dollars off a printable that was a few hours of work for me to create and that is good for me. If you have more time available than I do, you can throw yourself at this and aim higher but that is my recommendation for new sellers getting started in the printables game. Walk before you run! If you get to $500 or $1,000 per month and want to throw even more time at it, DO IT! That’s an incredible position to be in.
The types of printables I sell in my Etsy shop
Here is my printables shop focused on bachelorette parties and I have even more sales since this picture was taken – over 1,000 now! I still spend less time on this side hustle as compared to my blog, podcast, and now my online courses. This side hustle is probably my favorite out of all of them though and I wish I had more time to put into it.
Once you get started making printables, you can get sort of carried away by it because it’s FUN! It feels super creative and you can actually make things that you can use around the house. I’m getting tired of just making printables for bachelorette parties though. I also find that my friends are phasing out of the getting married phase and into the having babies phase so I am more drawn to making printables for that stage of life. And that is the stage of life I’m in now too! I just had my first baby last year.
For example, I made mommy milestone wine labels that you can give a new mom friend with a bottle of wine. You print them out on sticker labels and put them over the wine label. They say things like “first girls night” or “first time sleeping through the night” and are super cute.
I also made wall art for the nursery and Christmas gift tags that were an absolute hit with my family! I think I am going to expand my shop offerings soon to be beyond bachelorette parties so I can offer more products and make more money. I already put up a few products and when I have more time I have a list of product ideas that I’m going to explore adding to the shop.
How to Make Etsy Printables
You can definitely use YouTube to get ideas on how to make printables and also check out my longer blog post on the different tools you can use to make printables and where to get font and clipart to customize them. I am not someone who has an “eye” for graphic design so I also read up a little bit on using white space, picking cute fonts, and researching other printables I liked on Pinterest to get inspiration. You do not have to be a graphic designer to start this side hustle!
I have a YouTube channel where I have some tutorials on making printables like this tutorial on how to make gift tags. YouTube is a great place to start and see if you even like this side hustle to begin with. If you hate making printables you can move on but if you love it like me you can double down on it and invest in a course. I have a course and I also have taken many courses myself on this topic. Consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel to get this information for free from me and my friend Cody in weekly videos.
Bestselling printables ideas
Okay so I should first mention that I use printables and digital downloads interchangeably in this post. A printable is obviously something you can print out..but there is also a market for digital downloads on Etsy and those are things like social media templates and other digital files like clipart that the customer never plans to print out but it’s still passive income for the seller. An example could be stock photos that a blogger might want to download and use on their website. It’s still passive income for the seller but the customer never plans to print it out.
Here are 5 examples of ideas of printables you could sell on Etsy:
- birthday invitation
- cupcake toppers
- candle labels
- holiday gift tags
- greeting cards
Here are 5 examples of digital downloads you could sell on Etsy:
- snapchat filters for special occassions
- resume templates
- press kits for bloggers
- Etsy shop banner art
My favorite tip for getting ideas of what to sell on Etsy is to look on Pinterest, look on Etsy, but then to also look up trends in the free tool, eRank. I use the eRank keyword tool and just type random things in until I see an idea that has more than 1,000 searches per month on Etsy. You don’t have to do keyword research but that always helps me!
Shops selling printables that are doing well!
In the spirit of giving you more inspiration, I want to highlight three shops that are crushing it right now selling printables and digital files. This first one will blow your mind.
1 – Selling psychic inspired drawings
The seller of this shop is a psychic and has made over 32,000 sales so far after starting in 2020. It looks like one of their bestselling digital downloads is the “I Will Draw Your Soulmate Within 24 hours” listing for $30 at the time I’m writing this post! It’s possible that this person is an artist but they could also outsource this work to someone on Fiverr anytime an order comes in as well. You never know! If you are into astrology, tarot, psychic type work, maybe you could sell a digital file in this niche.
Just make sure you read the seller handbook on Etsy to be sure you are meeting policies. It looks like Etsy requires that a physical good is provided to the customer when working in this niche – you can’t just do a phone reading or something – and you also can’t promise a certain outcome like guarantee that someone will fall in love based on a spell. Read more about selling divination products on Etsy rules here in the Etsy seller handbook.
2 – Selling baby shower printables
This ShowerThatBaby seller has over 100,000 sales! Here is an example of a diaper raffle printable card that they offer in their shop. It definitely makes sense why baby shower printables would be a huge niche on Etsy. They are definitely events that people DIY and also want cute signs, games, and decor that can be printed. I think there are certain events like bridal showers and baby showers that are really big for printables and great event-focused events to choose for your shop niche.
3 – Selling digital planners
Aimee Today printables has the most GORGEOUS digital planners. She is one half of the Passive Income Planner Girl course team and I think she makes some beautiful digital planners that really motivate people to achieve their daily goals. Her graphic design is also super on point! I love the pink and orange watercolor color scheme. That is another thing to consider with your printables shop – what is your color scheme going to be?
Etsy Printables Courses
Recently I launched a course with my friend Cody to teach others how to sell printables on Etsy. It has a combination of video tutorials and text lessons designed to get you started from Day 1 and we are SO passionate about helping students achieve their online business goals.
Cody sells printables on Etsy too and actually sells printable gifts for valentine’s day, mother’s day, and father’s day! Holidays are another niche to get into and we have seen many students see success in that seasonal niche. That’s actually why we created our Seasonal Product Secret ebook so we could give people 12 months of printable ideas.
I write and teach others how to sell digital downloads on Etsy because I’m so passionate about it. I started out testing the idea on my podcast offering listeners a chance to join a mastermind with me where we could intensely focus on building Etsy businesses for 6 weeks together. That was a huge hit and I realized that others were super into the idea of selling printables on Etsy too. I decided to turn all of my knowledge into a course and now have been responsible for over 800 students starting their own Etsy businesses selling printables.
Check out my Etsy Printables course here.
Our course teaches you everything you need to know to get started with an Etsy printables business but if you already have a certain product in mind and know you are dying to sell planners, you might want to check out Michelle Rohr’s course: Passive Income Planner Girl. Digital planners are like planners you might be used to using but you use them on an iPad or other type of tablet. I’ve been getting into digital planners lately and took Michelle’s course. It only focuses on planners and it’s really high quality. Linked above is my review of the course and I have actually taken three of Michelle’s courses and loved them all. She created these courses with Aimee Johanan who was the digital planner shop example I linked to above and together they make a great team!
Podcast Episodes about Etsy Printables
I host a podcast and have interviewed many success Etsy printable sellers. Podcasts are a nice way to learn about selling on Etsy because you actually get to listen to conversations between people who have had success selling on the platform. Some people find this to be a better way to learn than to simply read a blog post. The woman who I met in line for the food truck who started this whole journey to 1,000 sales for me is actually Laura of I Heart Planners who I interviewed in the first link below. She has made 100,000 dollars selling printables which is incredible and major goals right there!
Each episode has over 30 minutes of info-packed content about selling printables on Etsy.
Episode 31 – How Laura Makes Six Figures From Digital Downloads
Episode 81 – How to Create Passive Income from Etsy Digital Downloads
Episode 135 – How to Grow Your Etsy Shop to a Full Time Business
Episode 147 – How I Grew my Etsy Shop to 39,000 Sales
Above are the episodes and you can listen directly on the website. This means you don’t have to download an app to listen to the episodes. Or you can listen via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.
Other options to learn about Etsy printables
Surprising enough Reddit is actually a good place to learn about Etsy printables as well as Facebook. There are plenty of Facebook groups dedicated to printables and then Reddit has an Etsy sellers subreddit where printables are one of the topics discussed.
Do you sell Etsy digital downloads? What are your best tips?
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