Do you want to learn how to sell printables online? Here’s how you can find printable ideas to sell, how to create printables as a beginner, how to make extra money, and more.
I first talked about selling printables online in How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy. Today is time for part two!
Many of you are interested in this, so I asked Cody, the co-founder of E-Printables Side Hustle course, to come back and answer more of your questions. I also asked him to connect me with some of his students of his printables course, so that I could ask them for their best tips.
Learning how to sell printables online can be a fun side hustle because it not only brings out your creative side, but you also only need to create a printable once, and you can sell them an unlimited amount of times.
Cody started with zero graphic design skills and didn’t know how to create printables when he first started. It’s something he learned as he went along.
Are you wondering questions such as:
- What is a printable?
- Why do people buy printables from Etsy? Is selling printables on Etsy profitable?
- What printables sell best on Etsy?
- How do you know what to price each printable?
- How do I get started selling printables on Etsy?
Today’s article will help you learn how to sell printables online.
Also, you can sign up for Cody’s free ebook that helps you figure out where to start when it comes to selling printables on Etsy. This can be a great way to get started and learn how to sell digital downloads on Etsy.
Here’s how to sell printables online.
Please tell us about yourself and how you got started selling printables on Etsy.
Hey! I’m Cody – the co-founder of Gold City Ventures and a 20-something digital nomad and side hustler. I’m always looking for fun, new ways to make money and that’s how I stumbled into printables.
If you knew me at all, I’d be the last person you’d expect to be selling printables on Etsy. I’m not artistic, I’m definitely not creative when it comes to crafts, and I had never even used Etsy before I started selling on the platform!
In early 2019, my friend Julie casually mentioned that she was selling printables on Etsy and that she had made over $6,000 after only about 50 hours of work.
Intrigued by the $120/hour side hustle, I decided to give it a shot. The rest is history!
What is a printable?
Think of anything that can be printed — calendars, planners, stickers, labels, cards, resumes, brochures, wall art, business cards, banners, coloring pages, games, postcards, workbooks, etc. The list goes on and on. These are all printables.
If you look around your room or office right now, you’ll probably see a few printables right away. Maybe a quote sign? Maybe a family picture? Maybe a daily planner? There are so many printables that we all use in our everyday lives.
With the rise of technology, digital downloads are gaining immense popularity as well. Digital downloads are remarkably similar to printables except that they’re consumed via technology (laptop, tablet, smartphone), not printed out. Think digital planners, Pinterest pin templates, Snapchat filters, digital stickers, online invitations, media kits, and many more.
Why do people buy printables from Etsy? Why are they such a big money maker?
People buy printables and digital downloads from Etsy for many different reasons. I’ll outline some of the major ones.
1. To solve a problem: This is where planners, trackers, and other printables in that category come into play. Whether you’re selling a financial planner, a wedding planner, or a fitness tracker, your printable is directly addressing a problem or goal that someone has. The customer types “____ planner” or “_____ tracker” into the Etsy search bar with every intention of purchasing whichever product seems most appealing.
2. As a gift or for fun: This would include cards, invitations, games, banners, and similar items. The potential customer might be coming onto Etsy to give a gift for an occasion or to find a fun game or activity.
3. For decoration: Wall art, family photos, and quotes are also popular on Etsy. Although they don’t serve a specific purpose like the other two categories, most people like to have nice decorations around the house. Who doesn’t!
As I’ve already outlined a bit, people are coming onto Etsy (or from Pinterest to Etsy) with every intent to purchase the item that they’re looking for. If you’re the one selling these products to customers, well, you’ll start to earn yourself a nice side hustle income!
What printables sell best on Etsy?
All of the printables I’ve mentioned above are hot sellers on Etsy. But the key to making money on Etsy is to differentiate yourself from the competition.
This may be through your presentation (listing pictures), keywords (what people are typing in), customization (editability), or through some other method.
For example, let’s say you want to create a Mother’s Day card to sell in your Etsy shop. You scout the competition, and you see that very few people are selling editable Mother’s Day cards, where the customer can edit the text and the images.
Once you create your editable product… BOOM! The sales start coming in.
Because you created a product that was slightly different than everything else that was available.
Or maybe you’re thinking of creating a wedding planner… After a lot of research, you realize that trying to compete for plain old “wedding planner” is too difficult. Instead, you create a “pink floral wedding planner” and… BOOM! The sales start coming in.
Because you niched down and focused on a less competitive keyword.
There are a million ways to make money selling printables on Etsy, you just have to find the method that’s best for you.
How do you know what to price each printable?
Whenever you’re ready to list and price a product, the first thing you should do is scope out the competition.
Where are their prices?
Depending on the printable, prices range widely (like $2-$100), so make sure to do your research!
As a general rule of thumb when you’re starting out, it’s best to price your printable toward the middle of the range, but on the lower side.
You don’t want to price extremely low because customers will be worried about the quality, but you also don’t want to price too high and get no sales.
How do I get started selling printables on Etsy?
The first step is to think of a printable idea. It’s much easier said than done, but once you have one in mind you can start designing!
If you can’t think of anything, my friend Julie and I actually created an ebook to help with idea generation called the Seasonal Products Secret. This ebook will give you printable ideas to sell all year long and allow you to create trendy and season products without sacrificing your own brainpower. Oh yeah, and it’s free.
Anyway, once you have your idea, then it’s time to start designing. You can make printables in literally any graphic design program including all Adobe products, Canva, PicMonkey, ProCreate, and even Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. My personal favorites are Canva and Adobe Illustrator.
Once you’ve created your printable, then you can open up your Etsy shop and list your first product. This is where you’ll also need to create listing pictures, a title, a description, tags, price, and other relevant information for your printable. Once all the information is in there, just click Publish.
And that’s it! Once your product is live you can start making sales.
You can multiply your brand awareness and sales using social media, blogs, videos, paid ads, and a host of other options as well.
How do I start selling printables online as a beginner?
To answer this question, I want to share what bloggers who took the E-Printables course had to say about how they got started. Their answers are super motivating and show that getting started with selling printables online for beginners doesn’t have to be difficult.
I asked questions such as:
- When they started selling printables online
- What kind of printables they sell
- When they earned their first printable income (how long it took them to earn it, how much it was for, and how they felt).
- Their top tip for those trying to get their first sale.
In the answers below, you’ll be reminded that everyone has to start somewhere. The hardest part for most people is taking the leap to get started.
Earning that first income always takes the longest time, but it gets easier from there!
“I opened my shop at the end of August 2020. I had quit working full time after having my son in 2019 and by summer 2020 I was feeling creatively bored being at home all of the time and started talking about picking up a side job for some added income. But I told my husband I wanted to be a mom first and if I was going to work, I wanted it to be enjoyable. On a blog post about side hustles I first learned about selling printables and it connected me to the Gold City Ventures printables course and from there I just dug in and started creating printables and opened my shop.
When I started selling printables, I decided I wanted to sell what I know, which is being a mom and all of the fun and difficulties that come with that. As such, I created Print it Momma, an Etsy shop for moms (and of course dads too!) that helps them organize their chaotic lives and keep their kiddos entertained. I initially focused more on the entertaining kids aspect of my shop, creating printables that would be fun activities for kids and families to print and use at home such as dice games and scavenger hunts. These are mostly holiday and seasonally based products because in the printables, Etsy and digital world there is already a lot of search traffic for seasonal products. I just found a way to make my niche seasonable. Now that I’ve made it through nearly every holiday, I’m taking time to expand on the organizing life for parents segment of my shop by creating things like emergency information kits, babysitter’s guides for parents, chore charts and more.
When I decided to take the dive into selling printables and buy a roughly $200 course to get started, my goal was to make that money back by the end of 2020. I opened my shop at the end of August 2020 and made my first sale about 2-3 weeks after my shop opened on some Halloween kids activities I created. In September, I had about $60 in sales which I was surprised by for just starting. By early-October I had received another $100 and was feeling like my shop was catching on and I was looking at things in terms of what I was contributing to the household. I even remember posting in a group I’m in about printables saying I had covered a grocery bill for the week and I was so excited! As the time went on and I continued to make seasonally-based products that fit my shop’s niche, my sales just continued to snowball. By the end of 2020, I had over 2,000 sales of items in my shop totaling nearly $6,500 in sales. This exceeded my highest expectations more than I ever imagined and I was shocked by the power of selling printables and how much this added income could loosen things up for our family on a single income.
From September 2020 to March 2021, I averaged about $1,300 per month in sales in my shop. My monthly income before starting my shop was $0 per month. To say I’m excited to be contributing financially to the household again is an understatement!
My top tip for those trying to get the first sale is to find something you know and dive in! While I didn’t know anything about creating or selling printables (or selling anything on Etsy) before starting my Etsy shop, I did know about the life of being a mom. I just make things I find useful and fun in my life and the lives of my friends at the same stage in life and sell it on Etsy. My ideal buyer is myself, so that makes things easier than trying to design for something I know nothing about. I try to be tactful about what I create by making sure it is something that is sellable and there’s already an interest in by doing some research on Pinterest, Etsy and Google so I’m not spending time making something that no one has an interest in. But if you can find a way to make products that align with your interests that others are also looking for, you’ll surely get a sale!
When I said I wanted a side hustle that allowed me to be a mom first, I meant it. I do not do printables work while my son is awake unless one of his grandparents is over to play with him. I work on creating and listing printables while my son naps, maybe half the days of the week. That’s it. I’d say less than 10 hours a week is spent on printables and my Etsy shop. And when I do spend time on it, it doesn’t even feel like work to me because it is a fun, creative outlet where I also happen to make some good money! I’m expecting baby #2 this August and I don’t have to write a maternity leave plan, explain to my boss that I’ll need flexibility after returning to work or anything else that comes with the traditional job setting. When I need to step away, I can do it. When I feel the time is right to start spending time on my shop again, I can do that too. And while I’m away and not creating new printables, the products I’ve already made will be selling all by themselves in my shop, no attention required!” – Kristy Kowalski from Print it Momma (For 25% off all items in the Print it Momma Etsy shop use code: MAKINGSENSEOFCENTS21)
“I bought Cody & Julie’s course in June 2019 and opened my Etsy shop in August 2019. I decided on wedding and party printables because I was a newlywed and had so much fun designing our post-elopement party invitation. I researched a few other shops selling wedding invites to see how I should set everything up (listing photos, item description, tags, etc.) and then I dove in with listing a few items. I decided to use Templett.com from the get go because I felt it would give my customers the best experience.
I think it took about 20 days or so to get my first sale that wasn’t from friends or family. That first sale felt amazing! Someone liked my design enough to spend their hard earned money on it. They wanted my design to be part of their special day. After that I was hooked!
When I first began I had a full-time job so I was throwing extra money towards Etsy ads to get my shop off the ground. I wasn’t so concerned with making a profit and focused my resources towards getting found. I think I made my first profit a few months after opening my shop. It wasn’t much, maybe like $100 or so, but it showed me that I was capable of making money for myself. That was a powerful moment for me. My shop really took off in February 2020 before COVID and I felt like I was on my way to making more than a part-time income. After March 2020, people weren’t celebrating together and didn’t need invites so sales slowed. I pivoted and made change the date templates and some social distancing signs which helped keep my shop afloat. Now I’d say I’m making a part-time income again and things are starting to pick up now that lockdowns and restrictions are being lifted.
I think it is important to note that if you are using licensed graphics be sure you are clear on the usage. That sounds like common sense but, licensing legalese can be tricky. Especially when I started and Templett and Corjl weren’t as popular. They weren’t listed in the licensing requirements like they are now so it wasn’t as clear. I was recently asked by an artist to take down listings that used her graphics. Unfortunately for me, that was about half my shop! I was under the impression I was able to use her graphics for editable templates but that wasn’t the case. Now, I make sure to get explicit permission from the artist before purchasing graphics and fonts. Luckily, I was able to replace the graphics and keep my shop moving forward.
For those trying to get their first sale, I would say research popular items in your niche, create your own version, make sure your description & tags are on point, and list! Adding a little juice from Etsy ads and Pinterest can give your listing a boost too. Also, take listing inspiration from other shops. Even today I still follow the shops I researched when I first started. I check in every now and then to see items they carry and how they set-up their listings. I think the most important thing to remember is to be patient. Sometimes you need to wait for the algorithms to work their magic which can take up to 30 days. In that time, just keep plugging away and create new listings.” – Jen from EdenwoodPaperie
“I first started selling printables in late 2018. I opened an Etsy store with a few motivational wall art printables and I made my first sale two months later. It felt amazing and I was shocked that someone paid me $3 for a printable I had made!
For the next year and a half, I didn’t spend much time working on my store and treated it like a hobby. When the pandemic hit last year, I decided to take my Etsy store more seriously and treat it like a business. Although I had made sales with my wall art printables, I decided to pivot and sell printable quarantine games.
My top tip for sellers trying to get their first sale is to be persistent and try selling different kinds of printables. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make a sale right away and don’t wait until your product is perfect to start selling it.” – Cynthia from EphemeralAesthetics
“I started selling printables in March of 2018. I sell personal finance, fitness, home organization and goal tracking printables but always looking for new ideas.
I opened my shop late Saturday night and the following Thursday I was at work and I received a notification on my phone that I made my first sale. I sold my editable debt thermometer printable, the only item in my shop at that time, for $1.99. After fees, I earned roughly $1.50 and it was the best $1.50 I ever earned. I was so happy and relieved when that first sale came. It provided validation that I could make something myself and have people want it enough to spend money on it even if it was only $1.99. Ultimately, it was very empowering, and it felt as though I too could be successful selling online and not just the people I read about in blogs or listen to in podcasts.
Whether you get that first sale within a week or in two months it is not an indicator of how successful you ultimately will be so do not put a ton of pressure on yourself. What is important is that you keep working on your shop by always trying to improve and make sure to study trends and popular keywords for new product ideas. Basically, make products people want. If you do that, the sales will come, and you will make money. Just know that it happens differently for each and every one of us and that is OK.” – Kevin from Modern Printable Shop
“I started selling printables online in August 2019.
When I first started selling printables I sold products exclusively in the personal finance niche. I have since expanded my products into the small business, home management, seasonal, digital planner, and preschool activity niche. I wanted to start selling products in more niches so that I could have a more steady income. The budgeting niche is very seasonal with most sales happening between the months of November 1st to January 31st.
My first printable sale was for $1.99. I made it after one month of having my shop online. It was the most excited I ever felt to earn $1.99.
In order to get your first sale from making printables, I highly recommend doing research to see if the product you want to make has a market on Etsy. My bonus tips would be to make sure your product listing images are irresistible and price your product competitively.” – Sasha from YourFrugalFriend
“I started my Etsy shop selling printables as a side hustle in July of 2019 after taking the Etsy Printables Course. In the beginning, I started selling personal finance printables and wall art. Eventually I pivoted to make printable and digital products for business owners. In my first month I made $57, but now I consistently bring in over $10,000 a month selling digital products on Etsy.
I made my first sale within a few days of posting my first products. It felt great to get proof of concept so fast!
For people trying to get their first sale, I recommend paying a little for ads. When you’re new it’s hard to get seen on Etsy and ads will help you boost visibility and have a better chance of getting a sale. That being said, there are some key things people should understand about ads to make it worth their while. I have a free guide to using Etsy ads on my website that shares the top tips and tricks people need to know about using Etsy ads to grow their business.” – Rachel Jones from moneyhackingmama.com
Do you want to learn how to sell printables online? What other questions do you have?