The ultimate guide on how to sell printables on Etsy are:
- Choose a profitable niche
- Pick your tools/softwares
- Decide what kind of printables to sell
- Create and design your printables
- Set-up your etsy store
- Create your printables listings on Etsy
- Price your printables
- Set up billing
- Promote your Etsy printables business
Having an Etsy store for your printables can be an effective way to earn extra income. By selling printables on the Etsy marketplace, you eliminate shopping hassles and the need to maintain a physical inventory. Startup costs are also minimal, plus there are available tools and software that can make your work easier.
According to reports, Etsy has over 95 million active buyers, 60 million listed items for sale, and 462.1 million visits per month. While this can mean plenty of opportunities, you also have to be ready to face overwhelming competition. In fact, there are over 7 million active sellers and 5 million printables on the e-commerce website. Moreover, you’ll have to pay several fees and do plenty of work to maintain your Etsy shop.
For this feature, we will define what an Etsy printable is, name the best-selling printables, and also mention the business model's pros and cons. So, is selling printables on Etsy really worth it? And how much can you earn from it? We answer these questions and also point you to a better business model that can help you gain passive income faster and with less work.
What Are Etsy Printables?
Etsy printables are digital files creators and sellers can offer to potential buyers online. Examples of these files include:
Typically, a printable product is available on Etsy as a downloadable JPG, PNG, and PDF file. People then print the files at home or use the services of a professional printing company. As an Etsy seller, you may sometimes need to offer buyers the option to customize your designs for their specific needs (such as personalizing birthday banners or invitations, or even a t-shirt design).
How To Sell Printables On Etsy: Ultimate Guide
1. Choose A Profitable Niche
Choosing a profitable niche is important if you’re selling printables on Etsy. The market can be quite competitive. You’ll have to focus on a niche where you can have higher chances of success. This will also allow you to build your brand better and connect with your target customers faster.
2. Pick Your Tools/Softwares
Picking the right tools/software will help you in creating printables to sell on Etsy. There are many For the most part, which tool you use will depend on your designing skills and budget. These 3 are among the most popular to use for designing printables.
3. Decide What Kind Of Printables To Sell
Deciding what kind of printables to sell on your Etsy shop is the next step. With research done and your tools ready, you can then choose what types of products you will offer online. Among many others, some digital printables to sell may include:
- art print
- clip art
- educational posters
- party banner
- personalized calendar
- printable planner
- wall art
4. Create And Design Your Printables
Creating and designing printables for your Etsy store can be done using different ways. You can use pre-made options, create your own printables, or hire professionals.
Leverage Pre-Made Options
With pre-made options, you can immediately start creating printables for your business without designing from scratch or hiring professionals.
You can find hundreds of free printable templates and images from these platforms.
The tools are mostly user-friendly. Even beginners can edit and customize pre-made designs for almost any printable product.
Pre-made templates allow you to save time and money.
You’ll have to pay for subscription fees to access more pre-made templates and additional features.
Licensing requirements and restrictions may limit what you can use for commercial purposes. Be sure to read up on policies to avoid violating rules.
Your finished outputs will not be as unique. You may encounter similar products on Etsy if you’re mostly relying on using pre-made designs.
Create Your Printables from Scratch
Creating printables from scratch can be an option for those with graphic design experience. With this, you get greater control over the digital product designs you sell online.
You can create printables that align better with your branding and target market.
The flexibility allows you to customize designs, content, and functionality depending on your preferences.
Creating your own designs can help you save money. You won’t have to buy new templates or outsource services to professional designers.
Designing your own printables can be time-consuming.
Quality control can be a constant challenge. You’ll have to check your own work to avoid formatting or typographical errors.
If you’re not an expert designer, you may need to invest time and money in training.
Hire An Expert
Hiring a graphic artist or other professionals can help you have unique printable designs. You can find freelancers for your projects on platforms like 99Designs, Fiverr, People Per Hour, and Upwork.
Expert designers can turn your vision into reality.
You can focus your time and energy on other important aspects of your business.
Geographic location should not be a problem. You get to access a worldwide pool of talents as you use freelancing platforms online.
The ongoing costs of hiring designers can cut into your overall earnings.
You don’t have opportunities to interact face-to-face and give instructions in real time when you’re working with a remote designer.
Language barrier can be an issue, especially if you and your designer do not have the same native language.
5. Set-Up Your Etsy Store
You’ll need to set up your Etsy store so you can sell printables on Etsy. This allows you to become part of the global marketplace and for your products to be found by its users. Here’s how you can get started:
Create a free account. Go to Etsy.com/sell and click "Get Started" to start your own Etsy account. You can enter your email address. Alternatively, you can also choose to continue using your Google, Facebook, or Apple account. Next, click or skip the question prompts.
Choose your shop preferences. Select your preferred shop language, country, and currency.
6. Create Your Printables Listings On Etsy
Creating your printables listings on Etsy is your next step.This requires uploading images and information your prospective buyers can check out as they view your shop and products soon.
Begin adding photos of your printables. For your product listing, you can upload up to 10 images and a short 5 to 15-second video for each printable. Consider using product mockups to show buyers how your printable will look like as a final product. Specify that your product is available to Etsy buyers as digital download.
Add additional product information. Give your printable a title. Indicate who made it, what is it, and when did you make it. Select the right category, and then add your description. Write a detailed product description and use targeted keywords.
7. Price Your Printables
Pricing your printables will, for the most part, dictate how much you can earn from each sale.
Indicate your printable's price per quantity. When doing this, consider the cost of material, labor, and other related expenses.
Provide payment information. Sign up with Etsy payments. This will allow you to receive payments through bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, and other transactions. Add your payment details by providing your personal information connecting your bank account. Also, indicate the frequency of your desired deposit schedule (once per month, every two weeks, once per week, or once per day).
8. Set Up Billing Information
By setting up your billing system, you get to indicate how you'd like to pay your Etsy bill.
Set up billing. Be ready to give information about your credit card number, its expiration date, CCV, and your indicated name on your card. Other important details include your country, complete address, and contact number.
9. Promote Your Etsy Printables Business
Promoting your Etsy printables business will help you grow your online shop and boost your sales. There are free and paid tools you can use to market your products to potential customers, such as those listed below.
11 Top Printables To Sell On Etsy
1. Planners, Fillable To-Do Lists, and Chore Chart Checklists
Planners, fillable to-do lists, and chore chart checklists, are highly popular among people who use Etsy to buy printables online. These productivity tools can help people stay organized and productive. Also, consider selling digital planners - which are interactive PDFs that function like traditional paper planners for mobile devices.
2. Logos and Business Cards
Logos and business cards are also a hit among Etsy buyers. For example, small companies prefer purchasing personalized printables when printing business cards. In most cases, this alternative can be much cheaper than hiring a graphic designer to do the work.
According to CreditDonkey, 27 million business cards are printed per day in the United States alone. This translates to about 10 billion printed business cards per year.
3. Wedding Printables
Wedding printables are often in high demand on Etsy, particularly during the wedding season (May to October). Budget savvy couples about to tie the knot turn to digital download printables to save money on invitations, programs, menus, signs, and thank you cards.
4. Event Printables
Event printables are among the most popular to sell on Etsy. Examples include event planning templates, flyers, gift cards, invitation cards, posters, and more.
5. Baby and Children Printables
You can sell printables for babies and children to parents, teachers, and care providers. Some examples include baby shower checklists, daily schedule for kids, educational posters, flash cards, nursery activity sheets, wall art, and many others.
6. Printable Cards
Printable cards like birthday cards, get well soon cards, and holiday greeting cards are also popular among Etsy buyers. People turn to the platform to buy evergreen and seasonal printables.
According to Hallmark, around 1.3 billion holiday cards are sent in the United States each year. As an Etsy shop owner, you can tap into this large market and make money selling printables during the holidays.
Calendars make hot items on Etsy since people use them daily throughout the year. Customers usually buy these printables for personal use or even as business giveaways.
If you’re a newbie trying to learn how to sell printables on Etsy, calendars can be an excellent way to start since they’re easy to design. You can offer wall calendar or yearly calendar printables. Other sellers also throw in bonus clip arts and make sure their calendar designs are fully editable.
Digital photos can be a source of extra income for photographers. If you have original images people can use for invitations, programs, wall arts, and various purposes, then you can make money selling printables on Etsy.
9. Coloring Pages – For Kids or Adults
Coloring pages for kids or adults also sell well on Etsy. Children love coloring as a pastime or as a school activity. Adults also use them to relieve stress. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, coloring “calms the brain and helps your body relax.”
You can create coloring pages to sell on Etsy by hiring professional artists or by using online graphic design services like Kittl and Creative Fabrica.
10. Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are not only popular among newspaper and magazine readers. Some customers on Etsy also buy them in printable form. Some solve crosswords as a hobby, while others print them as study aids for children in schools.
11. Hand Embroidery, Crochet, and Knitting Patterns
Other best-selling printable products on Etsy include hand embroidery, crochet, and knitting patterns. For example, TheKnittingTimes website names Etsy and Ebay as a great source for vintage knitting items. That said, you can target needlework enthusiasts as you sell printables on Etsy.
Can You Make Money By Selling Printables On Etsy?
Yes, you can make money by selling printables on Etsy if you target high-demand niches and best-selling products. “I highly recommend that people start with selling on a platform like Etsy that already has buyers,” says printables seller Julie Berninger in a CNBC feature. Another money making strategy is to price your products “right in the middle of whatever is out there,” she adds.
Berninger earns around $10,000 per year selling Etsy printables. She is also the co-founder of e printables course Gold City Ventures.
How Much Can You Make On Selling Printables On Etsy?
You can make up to $1,000 per month selling printables on Etsy. In a Medium article, business owner Sarina Chiu says earnings vary among Etsy sellers, with some making “as little as $25 a week” while others earn “thousands every single month.”
How much a printable seller can make depends on the number and quality of products you sell, how you market them, and also the time of the year. Seasonal printables (such as halloween decors, spring wall art, etc.) can boost your income in certain months. Meanwhile, evergreen products can help you earn money all year round.
Is Selling Printables On Etsy Profitable?
Yes, selling printables on Etsy is profitable if you already have an established brand name. As you gain positive reviews from your buyers, more people will start looking and buying your products. You can do this as a side hustle or you can even later transition to making it into a full-time venture as you consistently grow your earnings.
Another great thing about Etsy printables selling is that it can be a way to generate passive income. Once your digital products go live on the platform, Etsy handles everything else. You can keep making money from them without doing additional work. Of course, this only works if you get enough attention from prospective buyers. Otherwise, you may struggle to earn anything from your Etsy shop.
Is Selling Printables On Etsy Worth It?
Yes, selling printables on Etsy is worth it if you can produce quality products and can market them well to your target demographic. As mentioned, it can be a source of passive income but just don’t expect it to happen overnight. It requires time and effort to succeed, especially now that competition is fierce in the marketplace.
3 Major Edge Of Selling Printables On Etsy
1. Selling Printables On Etsy Eliminates Shipping Hassle
Selling printables on Etsy eliminates the hassle that comes with shipping a physical product. For example, you won’t have to ship your digital art to a buyer since it’s available for them as a downloadable file. You don’t have to spend money on shipping supplies or worry about tracking packages. As Rosemary Ellen Harris shares on Quora, you can sell your printables “unlimited amount of times” on Etsy.
2. Selling Printables On Etsy Doesn't Require Inventory
Selling printables on Etsy doesn’t require inventory since you’re offering digital products. The advantage of selling on Etsy without inventory on hand makes it possible for you to run a business that doesn’t need further attention and expenses on your end.
3. Selling Printables On Etsy Doesn't Require Huge Startup Costs
Selling printables on Etsy doesn’t require huge startup costs at all. For the most part, you will only need to create original printable designs, upload them on Etsy, and wait for buyers to start making purchases.
Of course, it should be noted that some who sell printables on Etsy may have to invest in artist services. Others may also have to spend on software subscription, which may require monthly fees. On top of that, Etsy implements several fees on their platform.
3 Major Drawbacks Of Selling Printables On Etsy
1. Selling Printables On Etsy Has Fierce Competition
Selling printables on Etsy has fierce competition because there are over 7.4 million active sellers and over 5 million printables on the platform. This can be a big challenge, especially for beginners. Standing out from the crowd and gaining enough traffic will not be easy.
Former Etsy seller growth manager Jennie Smith also points out that only 26% of Etsy shops achieve success and turn into a full-time business. This means that around 74% of Etsy shops eventually fail.
2. Selling Printables On Etsy Requires Fees
While it’s absolutely free to create an Etsy account, selling in their marketplace is not. To begin with, the website charges a flat rate of $0.20 for every listing. This listing fee is charged whether you make any sale with your printable item or not.
Once your printable sells, Etsy automatically charges you with a 6.5% transaction fee based on your pricing, plus applicable taxes in your location. The fees increase further if, say, you use Etsy Ads and Offsite Ads. For additional information about other Etsy fees, go check out the Fees & Payments Policy page on their website.
3. Selling Printables On Etsy Demands Tons Of Work
Selling printables on Etsy can demand much of your time and attention. While some sellers profess the business model has helped them earn passive income, it definitely doesn’t happen for everyone. Not each seller gets to make money since, as mentioned earlier, only a small percentage of Etsy sellers manage to succeed on the platform.
On Reddit, lil_schmitty13 says selling printables on Etsy is simply “not worth the hype it's getting if you're looking for easy, passive income.”
The creative market is definitely a competitive one. With global sellers offering digital products on Etsy, you’ll have to be consistent in promoting your work to get sales these days. You’ll also need to monitor trends in the industry to see if you have to update or improve any of your designs.
More on Etsy Selling
Of course, some may argue that it’s possible to make money on Etsy without making anything. This can be done by selling printables or using the Etsy dropshipping business model. However, both of these options mean you will have to compete directly with thousands of Etsy entrepreneurs selling similar products.
Conclusion: Why Building Digital Assets Is Way Better Than Selling Printables On Etsy?
While possibly profitable, selling printables on Etsy definitely has several challenges that may make it hard for some to earn any money at all. With printables, you’re constantly dealing with high volume competition against established sellers. You’ll also have to produce interesting designs to attract your target demographic. Moreover, selling tons of printables is the only way for you to generate a sizeable income.
Building digital assets is better than selling printables on Etsy. With local lead generation, the market is not as saturated. You are not competing against millions of active Etsy sellers but are only on a mission to reach a high search engine ranking for a location-based keyword. This means you’re only going against 10 to 15 business websites in a specific area.
When you hit high rankings on Google, your lead gen website will start gaining organic traffic and leads. Local entrepreneurs will gladly pay you a fixed monthly amount to rent your digital asset and reap all those benefits for their businesses. Unlike selling printables when you constantly have to spend hours creating new designs, lead generation requires little to zero maintenance once your website ranks high enough.
The profit margin is also another advantage. With printables selling, you’ll need to have numerous bestselling designs to earn up to $1,000 per month. With 1 good lead generation site, you can easily make up to $2,000 per month.
I speak from experience when I say this because this tree care website has made me that amount each month since I built this digital asset years ago. Today, I own several of these sites and they make me a monthly income of $52,000. If that sounds interesting, be one of our 7,000+ students and counting. Go sign up with our local lead generation coaching program to learn more.