How to Make Passive Income With Etsy Printables

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” By Warren Buffet. I am sure most of you have heard about this idea of making money while you sleep or the passive income idea in the book Rich dad, poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki. There are so many ideas for working and making money online. And today, we will be sharing about how you can earn passive income with Etsy printables.

There is unlimited potential income that you can earn out there. But there are just 24 hours a day. Even with how efficient you are, there is a limit to the work you can complete each day to earn money. The idea of passive income is good as it creates a side income where you create a virtual person to work 24/7 even without your presence. And this is how people get rich.

You don’t work all day to get rich but to leverage systems and processes to duplicate what’s working to create more wealth for you.

Etsy is a marketplace that focuses on handmade, vintage, custom, and unique gifts. This is the unique selling proposition for the marketplace so it focuses on these items only and avoids direct competition with other marketplaces. People visiting Etsy are looking for these items only.

If this is the first time you heard about it, don’t worry. We will guide you through the processes required to start your successful Etsy Printable shop.

What Are Digital Downloads?

Etsy Printables

Digital downloads are the products that you complete the designs and upload the file somewhere. It can be cloud storage or stored locally. And when someone purchases your products, you will give them the link and unique time-limited passcode for them to download the product.

In this process, there are no physical products involved. They will download the digital file and then print it out themselves. And if they want, they could even change some contents in the design and personalize it.

Some ideas for digital downloads include digital planners, invitation cards, event cards, birthday cards, logos, wall art etc. The benefit of selling digital products is that it does not require any cost to reproduce. You make it once and upload it to the storage. And then, when someone purchases you just direct them to download the file from the link. You will not need to do anything during the order fulfilment process.

Not to forget, you can even upload the digital file to Etsy and leverage Etsy for digital product fulfilment. Once purchased, your customers can download it from Etsy directly. No order process and shipping is required.

What Are Printables?

Printables are a type of digital product that customers can print out themselves and use it. This saves the hassle for to go out and buy a huge copy of the designs but gives them the pleasure of printing only the copy they need. And not only that, everything can be done at home without the need to go out, search for it and buy it.

And in some cases, if they are not satisfied with the design, there is no way for them to change.

A printable on the other hand provides the flexibility for them to edit the text, colours and layout based on their moods and feelings.

For example, a birthday or wedding invitation card where they can change the date, and names and include their photos in the card. This customization might seem to be small, but it will cost them if they need to hire a designer to custom it for them.

You are here to solve their problem by saving money and time them.

 Why Selling Digital Downloads?

Etsy Printables

Digital downloads are easy to create or outsource. You can start from scratch or start with a template and modify it to different variations in terms of colours and the arrangement of the elements.

No Reproduction Cost

For example, if you are selling a digital planner, you can always start designing it with Canva. Canva provides lots of ready templates for different digital products, including digital planners. You can start with the template and modify it. A new product is ready in no time. You can also create the same design in different sizes to suit different needs. And also, to show your customers that you are providing them with different things to justify the price.

Then, after creating it, all you need to do is to sell it again and again. There is no cost for reproduction. Your only cost will be the listing fee for Etsy and the payment processing fee.

And what if you don’t know how to design or are looking to outsource it?

There are platforms selling different digital plr products. All you need is to buy from them to get the right to sell it. I would recommend that you do some changes to the design before selling it thou as anyone can go and buy the same plr template.

No Shipping and Handling

Next, is also the best thing, as there are no physical products involved. No shipping is required for the order fulfilment. You will not need to handle complaints about slow shipping, broken items or low-quality products. What they see is what they get. And they are getting it almost instantly.

Easy Return & Refund

Finally, for return and refund. In every business, we do expect returns and refunds. For physical products, it involves sending the product back and then a refund to the customer. This is hectic as in most cases you are not going to sell it anymore. As for my eCommerce business, if it’s my product problems and they can fulfil the terms to refund, I will just refund them and let them keep the product. This is better than requesting to take it back.

But for a digital download, a refund is easy as it does not involve additional costs. And there is no product cost.

Easy Bundle for Discounts

At times, you can also bundle different products together and give some discounts to your customers. Since there is a huge margin for digital products, you can have different creative bundles and discounts to attract more customers to your Etsy shop. 

Is the Etsy Market for Digital Products and Printables Saturated?

Etsy Printables

Although there are many people selling digital products and printables on Etsy, we are looking at a lot of new businesses coming up every day. And are growing very well. With digital products, it is very subjective whether someone like your products on not. Two similar products might have different sales volumes. A simple colour or font change might result in a 100x difference in sales figures.

Not only that, there are over 96.3 million active buyers on Etsy. So, you don’t need to worry about lacking customers to sell to. There are always people to you to sell your product to.

To get sales in a marketplace like Etsy, means getting more visibility on your product listings. Creating a good product and excellent product listing is the basic, but showing it to more people is the key to more sales.

One of the ways to do it is by understanding what people are searching for. And then focus on ranking on those keywords so that when someone is searching on the keywords, your product will be shown on the first page or the first few results.

And you are not going to rank for those normal keywords because the competition is fierce and it takes time to beat the current top ranker and outrank them. Hence, look for long-tail keywords that have a good search volume but with lower competition. Targeting long tail keywords is good because people who will enter such long phrases to search are those who want to buy them. 

Comparing the keywords “Planner” with “Weight loss planner for Mom”, the second one is more specific for the target customer group that will buy. The search result will filter out other planners that are irrelevant hence, less competition to rank.

How to Start Selling Printables for Passive Income on Etsy

Selling printables on Etsy is automated. You start by creating the design and uploading it to Etsy. Then, optimize your listings to rank top of Etsy search results. Once someone buys the item, Etsy will send the information to guide them to download the designs automatically. And you don’t need to do this repetitively every time a new order comes in.

Your working time will be only focusing on creating new listings, optimizing the listings and marketing the products. And the fulfilment will be done automatically. With this, you can run the business with minimal work and even if you are not around, it will still be running.

However, this is not the case before your Etsy shop is stable. I know many gurus out there taking videos to explain how easy it is to earn passive income selling printables on Etsy. You just need to upload the product listings and traffic will come.

Never believe that. If it’s that easy, many people will take action and be rich.

While this is true, the problem lies at the back. People don’t get to see the initial effort required to start the shop and run it. When you are starting a new shop, there are works required to test different listings and methods to grow your store to get constant traffic. After you work past this stage and can get it running smoothly, that’s when your passive income flows.

But many people just give up too early before they get to see the results. It’s either if you can afford, to run paid ads to your Etsy listings to get more sales. Or it takes time to build every single piece one by one to build a big online empire.

Why do People fail?

The fact that they think Etsy Is easy and jump right into the business opportunities normally fails. They launch the shop and hope that they will get lots of sales the next day or in the first week. And when it doesn’t happen that way, instead of looking at what’s wrong and fixing it, they simply give up and say Etsy Is not working.

Instead, unless you have a good mentor who is guiding you and telling you what’s right or wrong, you will need to discover it on your own. There’s still work involved.   

How Much Can I Make by Selling Printables On Etsy?

When you are starting, you can expect $10-100 per week and slowly when you start getting some traction, you can expect it to get to thousands per month. And if you launched a viral product, then it may even get to 5 figures per month.

There are so many possibilities for this. But what you need is really going back to the basics and starting from scratch, building your shop properly and creating high-quality and professional product listings.

If you are selling the product at a $10 per unit price, you will only need to sell 4 units to get $1,000 per month. And that’s for one product. The goal here is to develop more products, gain more visibility and get more sales.

All you need to do is create new listings, maintain the listings, and optimize them so that they rank and also customer support to answer customers’ questions.

What Printables Sell Best On Etsy?

It’s time to decide which printables to sell on Etsy. There are many different digital printables people are selling on Etsy. You can search for printables on Etsy and see what comes out. Millions of results will pop up. 

But to give you some product inspiration, you can start with: 

Digital PlannerColouring Pages Wedding invitation card
Wedding PlannerFlashcardsBusiness cards
Weekly PlannerParty bannersRestaurant Menu Templates
Meal PlannerBirthday cardsPrintable Games
Budget PlannerGift TagsParty Banners

And the list goes on. 

You can start with one of the products that you are interested in and start designing it. 

How To Create Your Etsy Printables Design

For me and a few Etsy sellers I know, are using Canva for the design. Canva is a free tool that is easy to use and can create different designs easily. With the free plan, you can access most features to start designing your printables. 

However, Canva does also provide the Canva Pro subscription where you can access many premium photos and fonts once you are subscribed. Not only that, there are other features like background remover and transparent background both were part of the Canva Pro. 

I have been using Canva for years to produce not only my digital products but also create other graphics like the images on this blog and different social media posts. There is a huge library of templates that you can access to start creating your printables.

You can access all the assets and elements in Canva,  but you are not allowed to sell them directly. Instead, you can use it together with your designs to create new products. 

And if you are selling editable printables, you can share with your customers the Canva share link directly and they can access the design instantly and start amending the design. 

How to Price Your Etsy Printables Products

There are many factors that you need to consider when pricing your products. First of all, you should know how much the products are worth in the market. For example, if all your competitors are selling for $20, but you are pricing it at $10, you are not only spoiling the market but also your reputation. 

People won’t feel that you are good because you are much cheaper. But people will think that your product is low quality. 

Next, the pricing level will also depend on the complexity of your design. As there is no fixed pricing for digital products, it’s priced based on their perceived value. If you can show that your design is better, nicer and more compelling. People are willing to pay more for it. 

You don’t necessarily be lowering your price to get sales. But you can provide more value by bundling more items with the same or higher price. Remember this, as these are digital printables, there is no extra cost for you. But for your customers, the perceived value is higher. 

To determine your product pricing, the best way would be to spy on your competitors and learn from those selling well in your niche. Look at their pricing and the design they are having. See if your products are on the same level as them.

Create Your Product Photos

Product photos are the best and only way to show your products. There are no physical products for you to take photos of. Hence, you will be using mockup to create the best product photos. A product photo is the first thing people see in the search results. Your product photo needs to be attractive enough for people to click on it. 

And yes, you guess it right. You can use Canva to create the product mockup photo as well. 

Using mockups is a great way to showcase your designs in a realistic setting, which allows customers to picture themselves using the design more easily. 

Etsy Shop SEO for Your Printables Products


Etsy SEO (search engine optimisation) is the main traffic source for your Etsy shop. No matter what you do, ranking high in Etsy search results is the best thing you can do to lower your marketing costs and get more free traffic. 

To rank for Etsy SEO, it starts with the words people are searching in Etsy search. You need to optimize your product listings based on high-value keywords to get sufficient traffic. A high value here means the long-tail and descriptive keyword that many people are searching for, and at the same time with lesser competition as not everyone is selling for the same specific niche. 

You can do this by using an SEO spy tool like Everbee or simply looking at your competitors’ product listings and seeing what they are targeting. Your target is to outrank them for the long-tail keywords that you want to target. 

For Etsy SEO, there are 4 elements that the algorithm considers when ranking your product listings. Product title, tags, categories and attributes. So, make sure you focus on optimizing these 4 elements for the target keywords. Etsy allows the use of up to 13 tags in each listing. So make good use of all of it.

Read more about Etsy SEO tips

Writing Etsy Printables Product Description

The product description is where you explain what your product is to your potential customers. And is the deciding factor on whether someone buys from your Etsy shop. 

So, make sure you include as much detail as possible in your product description. This includes but is not limited to, your product dimensions, file format, number of variants that you are providing, whether it is editable and which platforms your file supports. 

And most importantly, how they can order and get the actual file. Are you providing them with a link to download or a share link to access the product? 

Fulfilling the Order

By default, Etsy provides the option to deliver your printables to your customers after they complete the payment. 

For this, you can select the product as a digital download and upload your design to the bottom of the listing. You can upload a total of 5 files with 20 MB each. 

When a customer places an order, Etsy will immediately send them the link to download the file. They can also access the download page at a later time on their ‘Purchases and Reviews’ page.

 Final Stage – How to Make Extra Income With Etsy Printables

Starting an Etsy shop selling Printables is straightforward. And I believe you too can start your Etsy shop to sell printables in just days. 

However, starting one is easy, to get it successful is not. There are many things you need to do to create a successful business on Etsy. 

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