How to Sell Printables on Etsy for Beginners
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One of the easiest and most profitable ways to grow your income is to sell printables on Etsy, but figuring out how to do that, especially if you’re a beginner, can be tricky.
Below are some of the things you need to know to get started.
What is a Printable?
Since you’re probably new to the printables game, let’s first explore the definition of a printable.
A printable is a digital file that you can download. Printables cover a wide variety of files, including worksheets, digital planners, stickers, artwork, and more.
Is Selling Printables on Etsy Profitable?
The reason that many people turn to printables as an income source is because of the massive benefits a successful printable business can provide.
Low Start Up Costs
For one thing, a printables business has low start up costs.
Creating a printable requires software. Luckily, there is free software on the market that can do just as much as paid-for software. Paid-for software does a more than adequate job for people starting in the printables business.
Software like Canva operates online. It has free and paid-for versions, but the free version is robust enough to create several different and quality printables to sell online.
Another great option is Inkscape. Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics software that’s easy to understand even if you’re a beginner in the design realm. For more details on using Inkscape for beginners, check out this previous post on Inkscape Tutorials.
By using free software, you can start your printables business for little to no money at all.
The other benefit of a printables business is that it can become a steady source of passive income. Once you create a printable, you can sell the digital file over and over and over again.
You do not need to recreate the file. You do not need to fulfill orders. You simply upload the file to your selling site, and the buyer receives the download instantly after they make their purchase.
You receive payment without doing any more work.
Can you Make Money Selling Printables on Etsy?
This leads back to the question, can you make money selling printables?
The short answer is: yes.
The only thing creating printables costs you is your initial time investment and the listing fee. On a site like Etsy, that fee is just 20 cents per four-month listing. That’s a small cost to pay for something you can sell over and over and over again.
Where Can You Sell Printables?
There are several places to sell printables once you create them.
If you’re creating educational printables, then a site like Teachers Pay Teachers may be your best bet. This is where teachers and home school parents find well thought out worksheets.
If you want to sell on your own, you can sell through a Facebook Group or create your own website through Shopify or WooCommerce.
But perhaps the best place to sell your printables is Etsy.
Etsy is a massive marketplace that attracted 81.9 million shoppers to its site in 2020, meaning there are plenty of customers there.
In 2021 and 2022, that number is looking north of 90M shoppers!
Is it Worth Selling Printables on Etsy?
Whether it’s downloadable wall art, bachelorette party games, or designs for t-shirts, Etsy has everything the DIY crafter could want. You can also find custom fonts, custom images, and stickers.
In other words, Etsy is home to the widest variety of printables on the market, and people know it. Etsy has developed a reputation for selling printables, so people will visit the site specifically to buy printables.
What’s more, when you use SEO properly, your items on Etsy won’t just show up in Etsy searches, but they’ll also show up on search engine searches such as Google and Bing.
The traffic combined with the 20 cent listing fee makes selling printables on Etsy well worth it.
For more details on why selling printables on Etsy can be lucrative, learn more about how selling on Etsy is worth it here.
How to Create Printables to Sell
To start your Etsy printables business, you need some ideas for the printables you want to create.
Get Familiar with Etsy Printables
If you’re not familiar already, get familiar with the printables people sell on Etsy. What’s there? What printables sell the best? What types of printables are interesting to you?
Getting an idea of the printables available helps you determine what kind of printables you want to create. Need more ideas? Here are 35+ printables ideas to help you get started.
Pick a Category
Saying that you want to create all of the printables on Etsy is simply too broad. Most successful Etsy shops start with a niche.
Whether it’s day planners or stickers or party games, most Etsy shops offer one or two types of printables and focus on those.
Decide what types of printables you want to focus on, and then stick with that, at least to start.
How to Make Printables to Sell
Once you know what type of printables you want to create, it’s time to get designing.
As I mentioned before, software like Canva and Inkscape are free and are your best bets to start with. If you’re familiar with designing, then you’ll probably be okay getting started.
However, if you’re new to designing, you have a couple of options. You can play around with the software and eventually figure out what you need to do, or you can jump right in with a design course.
Gold City Ventures has a printables course designed for every skill level. If you’re pretty sure all you need is a walkthrough before you start creating your printables, take their E-Printables course. It will give you a step-by-step lesson on how to use Canva to create great-looking printables. You’ll also receive design tips and tricks.
If you’re not exactly tech-savvy, then the Gold City Ventures e-Printables Course is probably the one for you. Not only will you get that step-by-step walkthrough on how to use the software, but you’ll also receive templates, so most of the work is done for you already.
The cool thing about the e-Printables Course is that it talks you through the listing creation and helps you with that daunting task of choosing SEO-friendly words.
Remember, the better your SEO is, the more likely your listings will appear in Etsy searches and search engine search results. So, SEO is super important when it comes to running a successful printables shop on Etsy.
How to Make Printables to Sell on Etsy
If you’re just starting out on Etsy, you might want to try to make printables in some of the most popular selling categories first. These are the categories that Etsy shoppers know and deliberately look for.
Some of the bestselling types of printables on Etsy include:
When it comes to party games, you can be talking about adult party games, kid-friendly games, or kids-only games.
People go to Etsy to find games for everything from bachelorette parties to baby showers and weddings. You can find games for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas or events like birthday parties.
There are plenty of niche categories within party games to keep you creating for a while.
Everyone wants to be a little more organized in life, but sometimes they need the right tools to do it. Digital day planners and printable planners are both popular sellers, especially at the start of a new year.
In addition to calendars, planners include meal planners and diet planners.
A great digital planner course for beginners is the Passive Income Planner Girl course by Secret OWL Society. It gives you all the tips and tricks you need to start a successful digital planner business!
Just like party games, stickers cover a wide variety of categories. There are stickers for fun, stickers for your planners, and stickers that show fun phrases. Stickers are where your creativity can shine.
When it comes to stickers, yes, they can be printables. If you create SVG files, crafters can purchase the file and then load it into their Cricut and Silhouette machines to create their stickers at home.
A great course on how to create printable stickers is by Mim. She takes you, step by step, through what you need to know to start selling your own stickers.
Etsy is the go-to site for people looking to decorate for the holidays. There are cute DIY napkin holders, place cards for Thanksgiving dinner, and patterns for crafts like table runners.
One of the best-selling seasonal printables on Etsy is coloring pages. They’re the perfect things to keep the kids busy while dinner is cooking.
If you can name a holiday, you can bet there is a printable on Etsy for that holiday.
Nowadays, people are just as likely to turn to Etsy for printable wall art as they are to go out and buy it.
One of the perks of buying wall art on Etsy is that you can adjust the size of the art to fit the frame or the space that you’re trying to decorate.
If you’re a talented artist, then wall art may be a good place to start your printables journey.
While teacher supplies might be best sold on Teachers Pay Teachers, Etsy is also a good place for them. Teacher supplies don’t just include worksheets, but they can also be classroom decorations or cute crafts for kids.
How to Start an Etsy Shop to Sell Printables
Once you have your printables created, you’ll need to create an Etsy shop to sell them in.
If you don’t already have an Etsy account, you will need to create one. Then, set up your shop. Learn how to set your Etsy shop easily here.
One of the most critical pieces of creating an Etsy shop is the shop name. This is the name that people will know and recognize your shop by, so you need to make sure that your shop name is memorable and represents you and your products.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a shop name, here are some shop name ideas to get you started.
How do I Legally Sell Printables?
You need to do a few other things to make your Etsy printables business legitimate.
Get a Business License if Necessary
First, get a business license if necessary. Some cities and counties require a business license, even for online businesses. Some states require that online businesses have business tax certificates too. This is to make sure they’re getting their cut of your sales.
While Etsy doesn’t require you to have either a business license or a business tax certificate to set up your Etsy shop, that does not mean you don’t need them.
In fact, Etsy says it is your responsibility to make sure you comply with whatever online selling laws apply to you.
There is more information on getting a business license for Etsy here.
Obey Copyright and Trademark Laws
The other big thing you need to do when running your printables business is to follow all applicable copyright and trademark laws.
Unless you have permission or licensing rights, you cannot use images that belong to someone else. That means all the favorites like Paw Patrol, The Office, SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney, and more are off-limits.
This is also true for images. You can’t just search the internet for an image that suits your purposes. You need to find one that you have the licensed rights to. If you use someone’s picture without their permission, they will have the right to demand that you take it down.
Obeying copyright and trademark laws isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the only way to guarantee that your initial work does not go to waste. We wrote a tutorial on following Etsy copyright rules here.
Using Templates to Sell Printables Legally
We also have more information on using templates and PLR to sell on Etsy here. This strategy is becoming more and more popular with sellers who are looking to sell done-for-you products but don’t know how to do so following Etsy’s rules.
How to Sell Printables for Steady Passive Income
Of course, creating the printables and setting up the shop are just the first steps on your selling journey.
You also need to figure out how to make your printables stand out in the crowd. Creating beautiful designs is one thing, but no one will see them or buy them if they’re not marketed correctly.
To successfully sell on Etsy, you need to have a good understanding of SEO and product placement. You need to figure out how to make your listings stand out and appear on the first page of a search.
The E-Printables course by Gold City Ventures can help you take your printables business from a hobby to a bonafide side hustle. The course will walk you through designing your products as well as promoting those products on social media.