How to Sell Printables on Etsy for Passive Income
Whether you're looking for a new side hustle or a full-time income with part-time work, selling printables on Etsy is a solution for anyone with a computer, internet, and Canva! And yes, you can use the free version of Canva to create printables to sell.
Best Selling Printables to Sell on Etsy
Selling printables on Etsy is a great way to create a passive income for yourself. Etsy has over 81 million buyers, so chances are people are looking for what you're selling.
Etsy is easy to use and doesn't require any upfront payment – so if you're the creative type, Etsy is a great place to start your own business. Let's look at some best selling Etsy printable ideas to get you started today. Subscription boxes are another way to sell on Etsy.!
UPDATE — I made a whole post on how to make calendars to sell on Etsy, too.!
What is passive income?
Real quick, I want to address passive vs active income. Selling Etsy printables is an example of what most people call passive income. I call printable businesses semi-passive because they're not just “set it and forget it” types of businesses. While you can do that, it takes a while to get to that point.
Side hustles like this take time to build up. The more work you put in at the beginning – the more solid of a foundation you create – the better off you'll be when it's time to turn the business into something more passive.
I want to make sure you have a clear, realistic expectation of what it's going to take to be successful at selling printables on Etsy. I know there are a lot of hype surrounding “passive” income, but there's also a ton of work that goes into building up a successful shop that can be passive.
To me, passive income is something you build up now that pays your bills later. This can be affiliate marketing, blogging, or creating the best digital products and selling them. There are many ways to make a good living from home. Don't limit yourself to just one thing! Diversify your income so it's coming from multiple sources.
What are Etsy printables?
Etsy printables vary from wall art to cash envelopes to… anything you can create and print! Some of my favorites include:
- coloring pages
- wall art
These can be products that are used digitally (like a planner), or they can be created digitally and the customer prints them (like bookmarks).
Why digital prints and printables?
Printables are always in demand on Etsy because they're affordable, unique, and useful. If you can create something that another person says “wow, I need that!” about, you can sell printables in an Etsy shop.
There are so many Etsy printables to choose from – whatever your interests or passions are, you can find something that will be unique and sell well. Etsy is a great place to get started with selling prints because there is such an awesome selection of printables already on the site. That means there are BUYERS.
You can also sell digital or printed stickers, but that's a post for another day (how to sell stickers on Etsy).
How much money can you make selling printables on Etsy?
You can make any amount of money you want, based on the work you put in. I am not going to tell you that you can work 5 hours a week and make six figures, because the chances of that happening are slim to none. However, if you set a goal of say $1,000 a month, that is absolutely achievable. I've done it myself and helped many others achieve this goal as well.
Remember: the work you put in now will pay your bills next year. That is how passive income works. Are you ready to put the work in? Be honest with yourself.
Can I have two Etsy shops?
You can run multiple Etsy shops (I have several), but you have to follow the rules so you don't get shut down.
Best selling digital downloads on Etsy
Use best sellers as inspiration for your own printables, but never (ever ever!) copy. The top selling printables on Etsy are:
- planners and planner templates
- binders and bundles
- wall art
- coloring pages
- games (bridal shower, baby shower, etc)
- worksheets and educational resources
- and more!
Seasonal printables do really well on Etsy! I have a friend who has about 30 evergreen printables (ones that can be used year round like a chore chart), but over 100 seasonal printables listed because they sell so well. Follow seasonal trends by publishing new seasonal items (or renewing old ones) 6-8 weeks before the holiday.
There are some exceptions to the rule, like Christmas can sell year round sometimes, and Halloween traffic starts picking up in July – probably because Halloween is the best holiday everrrrr.
How to sell printables on Etsy
Many people search for how to create digital downloads for Etsy, and they get overwhelmed because there's no ONE place to get all of the information they need to get started. Think of it as a puzzle. Once you have all the pieces, you can put it all together.
Etsy set up tutorial
Click the video to watch on YouTube. It takes you through a very quick way to set up your Etsy shop.
How to make a digital calendar to sell
This is a tutorial that walks you through exactly how I make the digital calendars I sell. Canva has templates you can start with.
How to make printable bookmarks
Printable bookmarks sell REALLY well for me. I created this tutorial so you can duplicate my success.
How to make word searches to sell
How to create mockups for Etsy
Mockups are one of the most important parts of your business. If your mockups suck, nobody is going to buy your printables, right?
Is there an Etsy printables course?
I'm so glad you asked! There are courses for everything, so of course there are Etsy printable courses. I have my own course, and I'm an affiliate for Carmen's Etsy training because I believe both of our products have their own benefits.
If you're able to hustle up $127, I want you to not only take my Etsy Empire course, but commit – right now – to putting the work in to build your business. I am available and happy to help you along your entire Etsy journey in my private Facebook group, and I would love to help you get started.
Ready to take the leap? Sign up for my Etsy Digital Empire course!
If you're on a budget, you may want to check out Carmen's Etsy training! It is helpful if you're wanting to get started with creating printables and selling them on Etsy and don't need accountability, group support, etc.
I believe in collaboration over competition ALWAYS, so I do promote “competing” products when they're high quality like Carmen's are. I always tell people about her Etsy mockup templates because they're affordable and super cute.
After you get your shop set up, you'll want to take this Etsy email marketing course so you can grow your business fast. Email is the best way to contact your customers and unlike social media, there are no algorithms to get in the way and block you from being seen.
Ideas for printables to sell on Etsy
Brainstorming is my favorite part! If you need ideas or are struggling to figure out what you're super passionate about, start here.
Pick a theme or niche (topic):
- bachelorette planning and parties
- baby shower planning and games
- birth announcements
- birthday party planners, invites, thank you cards, decorations
- planners, calendars, anything that helps people day to day
- anniversary or romantic date night planners, cards, games
- educational, homeschooling (pick a grade – preschool, elementary, etc)
- or anything else you're interested in!!
Basically all niches work, you just have to figure out what people want in that niche. If you can't think of a niche, you can pick a type of printable, such as:
- digital wall art
- digital greeting cards
- digital or printable planners
- digital kits: date night kit, birthday kit, surprise party kit
It's still good to pick a niche, or an audience to serve, for best results. And y'all know I'm not one to tell you to niche down… I LOVE lifestyle blogs (and have built two of them to six figures), but with Etsy, niche is best 99% of the time.
Still feeling stuck? Instead of trying to pick a niche, pick a person to serve. Whether that person is just like you and loves coffee and pit bulls, or is an earlier version of you – like if you were a hoarder and now you're a minimalist… you can create printables with that journey in mind.
Pros and cons to selling printables on Etsy
Like with everything else in life, there are both pros and cons to selling on Etsy.
- You don't have to have your own website. It can help and I recommend it as your biz grows, but it isn't necessary. Etsy handles everything.
- Etsy has been around for a long time, so the “know-like-trust” factor is already built in. You don't have to do much to prove yourself, even as a new shop, because buyers know Etsy will protect their purchases against scammers.
- Etsy is simple. There's no barrier to entry. Anyone can set up a shop. The organization and running your shop are simple, too, from a technical aspect. No coding necessary.
- Etsy has no upfront fees other than listing fees (you can get 40 free[here]). Other than the $.20 per listing fee, the only fees you'll pay are after the sale is made.
- Etsy SEO is easy to learn. It's not nearly as complex as the SEO you have to learn for blogging and website building. You can learn Etsy SEO here.
- Writing listing descriptions is a heck of a lot easier than writing a blog post, especially if you use Jarvis.
- Etsy fees are always a hot topic in Facebook groups because people complain about them constantly. Get to know the platform you're selling on so you're not one of those people that act surprised when they see how much money Etsy takes from each sale. It's not a ton, especially if you price your items right, but they're worth noting. This is still your business and you need to treat it as such.
- You don't own your shop. What I mean by this is, if Etsy decides to shut you down for any reason, you have no recourse. Whether you broke their rules or not, shops do get shut down on a regular basis on “accident”. Well if they take a week to fix their mistake of shutting your shop down, you've just lost a week's worth of earnings. This is why it's very important to start an email list from the get go. An email list is something you own, unlike social media (which can also go “poof!”)
- Customization is limited. If you're familiar with design and want to do all the things to make your shop pretty, you'll be disappointed because Etsy gives very little creative freedom when it comes to how your shop looks. You control your mockups and product listings, your categories, and your header image… that's about it!
I'm ready to hustle on Etsy!
If you want to learn how to make money selling printables on Etsy, start by taking my Etsy Empire course. Then, dive in and learn Etsy SEO. After you've accomplished these two things, you'll be well on your way to earning income with your printable shop.