My Step-By-Step Workflow for Making, Organizing, & Selling Printables on Etsy

sell printables on etsy workflow

Last week I received an email from a reader who’s about to open a printable shop. They were curious about my workflow process for creating digital products and putting them up for sale, which I thought was a great question that could be turned into a blog post.

We’ve already gone over 20 different kinds of digital products you can make and sell, my tips on how to make and sell printables, and how to master SEO for Etsy success (an essential tool no matter what you’re selling). This post will cover every step I take to turn my digital product from an idea to a passive little cash cow.

(This post contains affiliate links)

Refer to Idea Lists

Some days, I’ll wake up and have something in mind that I want to make ASAP. Other days, I want to spend time making products but have no particular idea in mind. I have lists of ideas in Google Keep and Trello, so a quick glance at those is usually all I need to start creating a new product.

To give you an idea of how I keep my ideas and workflow somewhat manageable, here’s a screenshot of my Trello board for my main shop:

This feels weird to share, kind of like being on that MTV show Room Raiders where guys would dig through a girl’s room and decide if she’s too gross to date.

Create Design in Illustrator or Canva

Depending on the complexity of the design and what it is, I’ll create it in either Inkscape or Canva. I keep several templates in both programs that are used for products with a similar style to one another. You can buy a bundle of 25 commercial use Canva templates to help get your shop up and running faster here.

Name the Files

Before saving, I make sure to name my file something that is both easy for me to find in my computer and will be easy for the customer to find once it’s downloaded.

It can be helpful to keep an inventory spreadsheet of all your printables and their names so you don’t get them mixed up. I have a “digital download inventory sheet” in Google Drive that includes the file names, a description of the product, and a SKU so that I can easily find it if needed. My printable SKU numbers start at DD001 (DD stands for digital download). That number can also be included in the file name if it makes organization easier for you. For example, one of my Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote printables would be named something like “RBG Quote Printable DD001”. Easy for the client to identify and easy for me to keep organized.

Save Files

For each design I make, I save a JPG, PDF, and a PNG with a transparent background in case I want to put it on a product in Printful. I compress each group of files into a ZIP folder so they’re all together, and I add the name of the ZIP file to the inventory sheet so it can be easily found in the depths of my hard drive.

Create a Product Mockup

I make most of my mockups in either PicMonkey or PlaceIt depending on the type of product. PicMonkey has been my quick and dirty mockup maker for a while now, so I usually default to that when all I’m doing is overlaying an image in a frame. I like it because you can easily save all your mockups in the hub, then edit a copy and drop in your design.

Create Etsy Listing

Once you have your files and mockup made, it’s time to create your Etsy listing.

(Still need to open your shop? Use my referral link and we’ll both get $8 worth of listings for free.)

I have templates for all of my product descriptions in Trello. Make sure your description includes the size, type, and printing details of the files they’ll get, printing or display suggestions, extra emphasis that they’re not receiving a physical product, and any other relevant information. Make sure to read my post on Etsy SEO if you need help getting your listings ready to publish.

Add Listings to Sales and Coupons

I have a couple running coupon codes on Etsy that apply to everything in my shop. In order for these codes to apply to new items, I have to go into the sales and coupon page and manually select any new listings. This is important to remember if you have, for example, a welcome email coupon code that goes out whenever someone signs up for your email list. You’ll want to make sure all of your items are included.

Schedule Social Media Posts

Lastly, I schedule social media posts for my products. I’m admittedly lazy about social media. SEO is more my thing. Still, I try to keep up on it when I create something new in hopes of creating some sort of habit.

Most of my social media traffic comes from Pinterest, so I always schedule them to pin on a handful of boards via Tailwind.

I hope this helps make your process a bit easier as you add items to Etsy and try to stay organized. Feel free to share what your workflow is like in the comments or reach out with any questions!

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