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How to Create a Digital Planner to Sell

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Life can get hectic, and it’s important to be able to organize and keep track of everything going on in your life! Having a planner that can help you jot down all your tasks, events, and appointments can help you improve your productivity and help you achieve your goals!

Physical planners and notebooks can be a pain to carry around or may get misplaced, so digital planners are the new way to go! This means there is a demand out there for unique and beautiful digital planners, which is where you come in!

Creaitng digital planners gives you an opportunity to bring out your design skills and turn it into a way to make passive income from the comfort of your home. Here is everything you need to know about creating digital planners to sell!

Digital planners are different than printable planners (pictured here) because they have hyperlinked tabs. They are for use on a tablet versus printed for use with a pen.

What is a Digital Planner?

A digital planner is basically a digital version of the paper planner, and typically is an interactive PDF that you are able to download. They can mimic the experience of using a physical planner, as you can also write in them as you would in a traditional planner. 

It’s an easy way for someone that is constantly on-the-go to keep track of tasks that doesn’t want to carry around a physical planner. 

Typically digital planners can be used on apps like Goodnotes or Noteshelf, and these apps can be used on your iPad or Android tablet and use a stylus to write in your planner. It also is usually hyperlinked on the tabs so that when you tap on a tab, your planner flips to that spot instantly so you don’t have to manually flip through it. 

What do you need for a digital planner?

If a digital planner is something you plan to use or create, what do you need to do so? First is a tablet of your choice. To use a digital planner this is a necessary aspect. This can also be helpful for creating a planner as well, so it may be something to invest in if you don’t already have one. 

Next would be a stylus. A stylus will give you a way to easily write in a digital planner, or potentially create designs for your planner. 

Finally, to use a digital planner you will need a PDF annotation app, like Goodnotes or Noteshelf like mentioned above. Being familiar with these programs will help you to create the best digital planner. 

How does a digital planner work?

Digital planners are pretty simple, and it can be very user-friendly even for those that aren’t as comfortable with technology. 

You simply need to use a PDF annotation app where you can import or upload your digital planner, and then you can start writing in it with the tools that the app provides. This is where your customers can upload your digital planner design! 

How do I Create a Digital Planner to Sell?

It’s time to get started creating your digital planner! This is the fun part, where you can put your ideas into a design. But what do you need to know about creating a digital planner? We are going to cover how you can get started creating a digital planner to sell. 

Plan out your design

First, you need to figure out exactly where you want to go with your digital planner. One way to do this can be to narrow down on a niche, that you are not simply creating a planner that may be similar to the many taht are out there. 

Finding an area that you are passionate about and interested in can help you really create a planner that can fit others interested in that same topic. Just create something that reflects you and where you may see a need out there!

Another step would be to outline some of your pages for your planner. What are some things you want to include on your pages? Are you doing weekly or daily pages? What color scheme do you want to include? What extra pages do you want to add? 

You can also do some research once you have an idea of hte direction you want to go. What are your competitors already doing? What could you add to improve on what is out there already?

Then you can start sketching out and planning out the creative and design aspect! You can do this physically by hand or on a digital sketch program to start getting the look of your planner down.

Choose the right design program

Next, you can take these ideas and plans and actually start creating! You’re going to need to choose a program that you feel best works to create your digital planner. There are multiple options out there to choose from, so it depends on what you’re looking for and what you feel comfortable with. 

You may want to make sure that the program you choose will allow you to create hyperlinks, because these are a big part of a digital planner. Hyperlinks allow you to click on an aspect of your digital planner and it will take you to the destination, rather than having to scroll through. 

If the design program you choose doesn’t allow you to create these, you may need to import it into another program to create these hyperlinks. So this is something to keep in mind!

Here are a few potential options for creating a digital planner: 

  • Microsoft Powerpoint: this program is included with Microsoft Office, and can be used on desktops, tablets and typically on cell phones as well. 
  • Keynote: this is an app on all Apple devices only
  • Google Slides: this is one of Google’s free programs that is compatible on all devices
  • Adobe InDesign: this is a paid app at $20.99/month, but can be accessed with a free trial to decide if it is worth the cost
  • Canva: a platform that can be used on all devices with both a free and paid version

These are just a few options to choose from, and we are going to go more in depth on how you can use Canva to create your digital planner!

How to Make a Digital Planner on Canva to Sell

Hopefully at this point you already have an idea of where you want to go design-wise with your planner and you’re ready to start designing on Canva! One thing to keep in mind is that on Canva you are unable to add hyperlinks as mentioned above. So you will need to use another program to do so. 

But if Canva is where you feel comfortable creating your design, then you can create your beautiful digital planner there and then use another program to add those hyperlinks, which we will explain to do with Powerpoint. It is completely possible, so if that’s the route you want to go, it will totally work!

Now it’s time to start designing!

Create a new design

If you don’t already have a Canva account, that will obviously be your first step. But if you have an account already then you can jump right in to designing your planner! You will first want to create a new design. You can choose from the pre-sized planner page of 8.5×11, or you can create custom dimensions that work well specifically for digital planners.

Once you have your blank canvas, you can add a background if you’d like one for behind your planner. This can be a simple color, or even a pattern that you can find in the “Elements” tab on Canva.

Then you can use the Shapes feature to add in a square that you can adjust to a rectangular shape that looks like the flat lay of a book. You can select this rectangle and change the color as desired, or you can choose to leave it white. 

This is the base of your design, and now we can get started adding more of the details!

Add binder rings

A fun touch to add to your planner design and really give it the feel of a typical planner is to add binder rings. These can be found a few different places, but a great option is on Etsy. You can search for “digital planner rings” and find many options to choose from! 

Once purchased, you can upload them to Canva to add to your design. If you are creating one page at a time you can add them to the left side and can even lock in the graphic so it stays put while moving around other elements. 

Create digital planner tabs

Use the Canva elements option of shapes to select a shape that looks like a tab that would work for your planner. You will need to resize it to be able to fit 12 of the tabs on the right-hand side. If you are planning to add any other types of pages, you may need to add tabs on top as well for things like notes or other extras. 

Once the shapes for your tabs are laid out and organized, then you can start to add the text. Use the tool to add text and then rotate it 90-degrees and resize so it fits within the tab. You can always do this one time and group the elements together so that you can copy and paste for all the other tabs and avoid as much formatting. 

You can also change the color of the tab, choose different fonts, and any other little detail you may want for your tabs. 

Then you will select all of the tabs and select “Position” and “Send backward” to move all the tabs behind the paper of your planner.

To make your tabs stand out you can potentially add in a shadow element, which is something you would need to import or find in Canva elements or upload your own. Or, you can always add shadows in PowerPoint.

Want the tab to be highlighted a different color when it’s selected? For each page with the monthly layout, simply change the color of the correct tab for that specific month. So for the first monthly layout page, make January a different color; for the second layout page, make February a different color and so on. This will add a fun touch to your digital planner!

Create your planner inserts

Once the basic elements are created, you can begin designing your inserts. You can take advantage of a Canva template that you can recreate to just be able to use the basic elements of lines and boxes. 

Otherwise you can start creating your own by looking for lines and shapes in the Elements section on Canva. This will take time to organize and put it together to look like a typical planner. 

Remember to include yearly views, monthly views, as well as weekly or daily views for your planner. This is also the time to create pages for notes, or any other extra pages that you want to include in your planner. 

Add in any fonts that you want to use for your pages, customize the colors of the elements, and you can add in other design and image elements. If you’re wanting to add quotes or other fun details, this is the time to add them! 

Exporting to PowerPoint

After you are done designing your digital planner pages, it is time to export your Canva design to PowerPoint! To do this you will go to “Share” in the top right corner of Canva and then scroll down to “More.” 

From here you will scroll down until you see the “Save” section where you will see an option for Microsoft PowerPoint. This will then export it!

To add hyperlinks to your dates, buttons, and icons, go to the menu bar and pick the shapes icon. Use your mouse to cover the space you want to hyperlink with the shape, and the shape will be blue. 

RIght click on the shape and from the dropdown menu, select Hyperlink. Choose This Document, then Slide Titles to connect it to the corresponding slide that fits where you are hyperlinking. 

Then right click on the shape and select Format Shape and choose No Fill and No Outline to make the shape clear.

You will need to do this for all of your tabs, and dates that you want to link to specific pages. This is a huge aspect of digital planners that you want to include, so it’s important to take the time to add these hyperlinks.

How to Create a Digital Planner Sticker in Procreate

Want to add a fun touch to your digital planners or add this as another potential income opportunity? DIgital planner stickers are a perfect way to add more unique and decorative touches to a digital planner!

Procreate, an app available for Apple products, helps you draw or design digital images. This makes it the best option to create digital planner stickers that you can add to your digital planner or sell separately! Here’s what you need to know about using Procreate for stickers. 

First you need to open the New Canvas menu in Procreate, which you can do by tapping the “+” at the top-right where a list of new canvas sizes will be expanded. The size and settings for your canvas will depend on how you want to create your stickers. 

Since you are creating digital planner stickers, you will want to use RGB as the color profile with 300 DPI as the resolution, but you can potentially go lower if you are worried about the file size. If you were going to be creating high-quality printed stickers, then you would be choosing CMYK.

Next you will choose the dimensions, which if you are creating an individual sticker you can select 5” x 5”. If you are looking to create a full sticker sheet then you can choose the option of 8.5” x 11”. 

Creating your own sticker

If you are wanting to draw your images right onto the sheet, this is when you will do so! Just choose your preferred drawing tool and you can start sketching. Don’t feel like you have the drawing skills? You can always upload an image to get you started and make changes and updates to make it your own. 

Then you will create another layer by going to the Layers Panel at the top right of your toolbar. Tap the ‘+’ to add a new layer. This is for drawing sticker outlines, so you will need to move this layer underneath your artwork. 

Next, draw a thin white outline around your artwork to really give it a look of a sticker and fill in teh white. Outlines may not always be required, you may want to skip this aspect if you are doing a digital sticker and only add shadow. 

To add shadow, you will duplicate this white layer and fill it with black. Click the selection tool and move the object to make it have a 3D look. Then you can click the French tool and find “gaussian blur” and adjust between 8-10% on the current layer. 

This will make your sticker stand out from the background!

Finishing up your sticker

Next, you can go back to the Layers Panel and find the “Background layer.” Uncheck the box to the right which will turn off the background color and make your canvas transparent.

You’ll need to crop around your final work so there is no extra space around what you drew. Go to the top right of your toolbar and choose the icon that looks like a wrench. This will pull up the Actions panel and tap on Canvas, then Crop & Resize.

Finally, you will go back to the wrench icon to Actions, then select Share and PNG. 

Then it is ready to use on your digital planners or to sell individually!

Digital Planner Template Kit

You may be feeling overwhelmed with the idea of creating your own digital planner from scratch, but you still have the desire to create a planner that can bring in passive income. This is possible! There are many stunning templates out there that are easy to customize and make it your own, which includes the landscape planner templates created by Cupcakes & Haystacks

We’re big fans of the Digital Planner Template kit from Secret Owl Society. These templates help you easily create the planner that you are envisioning, without the hours of work spent designing each small aspect. Her template bundle also includes all of the necessary graphics to add your planners to Etsy, share them on Pinterest, as well as other social media platforms.

You can check out the landscape version of the digital planner template kit here. Landscape planners are becoming more and more popular on Etsy so may give you a competitive edge.

How to Make a Digital Planner to Sell on Etsy

Once your planner is done and ready to be shared, it’s time to figure out where you are going to list it! One of these options is Etsy, which has a large marketplace for digital planners, as well as physical planners. Buyers seek out planners on this platform because they are looking for something unique and beautiful that they can’t go and pick up from the store. 

Create a digital planner that stands out and is in demand and the buyers will be drawn to your planners on Etsy! But what do you need to know about selling a planner on Etsy? Here are some of the important steps to go from your finished design to bringing in sales on the platform. 

Create an account

To get started on Etsy, you first have to create an account on the Etsy platform. Go to Etsy.com and click on Sign in. 

Fill out the form to register and use your email address to create an account, or select Continue with Google, Facebook or Apple.

Check your email inbox for a confirmation email from registration@etsy.com and from there follow the instructions provided to confirm your account. 

Want to start on the app? Just simply download the app, and tap sign up. Fill out the form the same as above and sign in! You can also add a profile picture and fill out your bio on your public profile. 

You can also choose to open a shop by selecting “Open a Shop” at the bottom of the site. 

Set up an Etsy account to sell

To set up an Etsy account to start selling, you can do this by clicking on Sell on Etsy on Etsy.com and setting up your account. Enter in your email, name and password, and clicking Register. 

You also have the option to create an Etsy account with Google, Facebook, or Apple, as mentioned above. 

If you already have an existing Etsy customer account, you can simply log in and then click on Open Your Etsy Shop to start creating your own store. 

This is all it takes to start your account to sell! Then you can begin setting up your Etsy shop. 

Add listings

After adding some basic details and choosing a shop name, the next step to creating your shop on Etsy is where you will begin to add all of your items to your shop. Hopefully you already have some mockups of your planners ready to go, as well as your pricing, shipping details, processing time, etc. 

Here are a few things to consider for your listings: 

  • Add your photos: Use high-quality images that will help to draw customers attention! For planners you can use mockups for digital planners and even physical planners, but you can also take photos of your physical planner with a quality backdrop. Use editing apps to make your images stand out.
  • Write a quality title: Include relevant keywords in your title and be sure they are unique for each listing. Use as many characters as you can and commas to separate keyword phrases
  • Add a description: Include all the details on your planners, how to use them, how to print them if necessary, and answer any other questions they may have
  • Optimize your tags: Tags are a big part of how your products will be found through Etsy’s search. Be sure to use up all 13 tags. Use a wide variation of phrases to raise your chance of being found. You can always get ideas of phrases by using Etsy’s search bar.

File delivery

When someone purchases a digital planner from you, the files are automatically available to them to download in their account. You don’t have to worry about sending them anything, which is what makes it such a great passive income!

When you finished creating your file and are ready to upload it to Etsy, be sure to name it correctly so it is easily identifiable for your customers. 

You want it to be simple for your customers to find it after they download it. For example, if you are selling a floral planner for teachers, then when you go to download your file, name it as “floral-teacher-digital-planner”. 

You can even add a more specific identifier if you sell multiple similar planners. That way you can easily identify the file for yourself as well. Just make it as simple as possible!

Include detailed instructions

Along with the file for your digital planner, you can include a file with detailed instructions on how to use the file. Include everything that your customer needs to know. Here are a few things to include:

  • That it is a DIGITAL planner, and not one to be shipped to them
  • Which programs it works best with
  • How to use digital stickers with the planner
  • How to navigate to different tabs
  • Details on refunds
  • There may be other details you want to include. Take time to think of anything your customer may want to know!

These are the key aspects to selling a digital planner on Etsy!

Can you Make Good Money Selling Digital Planners?

There is definitely a great income opportunity selling digital planners! You may wonder if the market is too saturated, but it may actually be a good thing. It means you need to approach it in a way that there are people out there looking for a product like yours. 

There are a few things that you can do to get your products to stand out and bring in more sales: 

  • Niche down: Because planners all can typically do the same thing, having a planner that is niched down can really help draw in the attention of a certain type of buyer. Gear it towards specific people with specific purposes
  • Learn SEO: Even with Etsy’s huge built-in audience of buyers, SEO is still important to bring more traffic to your listings. Take time to invest in your SEO. Use targeted keywords that your customer will be using to find your planner
  • Use Pinterest: This is another great way to draw in traffic. It can get your products in front of a larger audience. 

You have a great opportunity to create a business selling digital planners. There is so much you can do to help your business grow!

Final Thoughts

Digital planners are a way for you to take your creative side and turn it into a way to help others stay organized with a one-of-a-kind planner. Find ways to make your planner stand out and fit exactly what specific buyers are looking for!

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Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”
Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”

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