How To Make Money Selling Printables


How You Can Make Money Selling Printables, My Story On How I Made $30,000

First as a forewarning, this is not a get rich quick post. If you’re looking for a career change or you’re a stay at home mom, creating printables can be a lucrative way to make money! However, it takes a lot of time to get to a steady income. For me, it was a slow process and I didn’t make a ton of money the first year. With that said, making printables and being my own boss is the best investment I’ve made!

My Back Story

If you follow me on Etsy you may know a little about my back story. I have a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and was an undergrad instructor. My boyfriend (now husband) and I decided it was time to take our relationship a step further after my graduation and get married. He’s in the military so I relocated and found a job teaching where he was stationed.

After several moves to different states I got tired of having to reapply to college instructor jobs. I ended up getting office jobs. I felt like a robot going to work and sitting in a cubicle with no windows. In 2016 I felt a career shift was coming.

Maybe this sound like you?

One day, I was looking for worksheets and came across printables on Etsy. I remember looking at a listing on Etsy thinking to myself “I designed a PDF just like this for my students”. From there the idea popped into my head to start posting my teaching materials on Etsy.

Starting Out On Etsy

For anyone that wants to sell handmade goods, Etsy is a great place to start out. First, there is a low overhead cost for selling printables. Listing is only 20 cents, and if you’re starting out you can get 40 free listings. Second, the traffic is already there so you don’t have to worry about building traffic while starting out. Finally, if you work full-time you can list new products on the weekends.

I was working full-time when I started. On weekends I created printables and listed new items. My first listing was a wedding planner that I still offer in my shop. It took me hours to make this wedding planner and a week just to get the courage to post! Two weeks later I got my first sale! Sure enough now this is one of my best selling printables on Etsy.

When you start out on Etsy, it may take 2 weeks or even 2 months to get that first sale. If you’re in doubt, stick with it! To increase the likelihood of a sale look at the Analytics and share your listing on social media. When you have the chance alter your titles and tags to increase views. Learn how to price printables so that you are making a profit but you are still competitive. Finally, the biggest thing for growth and sales is to list new products whenever you can!

Setting Up For Etsy Success – Year One

Eventually I reached a tipping point of hate for my office job and I got the courage to quit! I talked it over with my husband and he was more than ok with me quitting. With my open schedule I dove head first into my Etsy shop.

First, I decided to treat Etsy like a 9 – 5 job but ended up working way more in the beginning. Next, I created a professional logo and banner. I also brainstormed new products, based on what was trending on Etsy and Pinterest. Finally, I read up on color design and launched social media and networked like crazy (this is what many Etsy stores don’t do and it’s important for success).

If you truly want success on Etsy, you must establish hours. Even if you are working full time and maintaining your Etsy shop on the weekends, keep set hours and a task list ready to go.

For further success on Etsy, you must create a plan! I’ve talked with a lot of Etsy shop owners and the biggest reason shops fail is they fail to make a plan! The plan doesn’t have to be huge, but you should make weekly, monthly and yearly goals. More importantly, write your goals down!

My plan included one new listing per day, one Instagram post and 30 scheduled Pinterest posts everyday. I would also update the title and tag of one low performing listing each day.

Be sure you are offering amazing customer service! I took pride in responding to customers within the hour. Now that I have a baby it’s not always within the hour, but I will respond within the same day if I’m not sleeping.

Finally, accept all custom orders! In the beginning I accepted all custom orders I received. Through custom work and awesome customer service, I grew a following of customers that loved my work!

The key categories that will lead to Etsy success:

  • Establish set hours.
  • Create a plan and write it down.
  • Create one new listing per day.
  • Offer amazing customer service.
  • Accept any custom order that comes your way.
  • Create printables that follow trends (Pinterest is a great place to start).
  • Instagram post every day.
  • Schedule at least 30 Pinterest pins everyday (and post to pin groups).
  • Establish your Etsy shop with an About section, cover photo, logo, profile picture and bio.
  • Use EtsyRank to fix low performing listings. Fix one listing per day.


During the first year I worked super hard and made $3,000.

Thriving On Etsy – Year Two

If you implement the key categories above, and practice consistently for a year, you will reap the rewards. Guaranteed!

Starting in early 2017 all the hard work began to pay off. What came next seemed to be a miracle. The wedding planner that I mentioned earlier started trending on Pinterest and Google Images. This became one of the best selling digital items on Etsy. Fans began to feature it on their blogs and Youtube channels!

Also during this time, I met a woman that worked for a direct sales company. I designed a custom business planner for her. She loved the planner so much she recommended that I list it and she would promote it to everyone in her down line. Low and behold she was very high up in her business! I gained many new clients through listing this planner.

During 2017 I continued my daily routine of listing new products every day, social media and custom work. By the end of 2017 I made a little under $30,000 and a name for myself!

Etsy And Beyond – Build a Website and Conquer The Passive Income Game!

Building a website that monetizes is naturally the next step! Self-hosting is affordable once you make consistent sales on Etsy.

There are a variety of ways to make money online:

  • selling products (make money with printables in this case)
  • affiliate income
  • advertisement revenue from blogging

The easiest way to make money is through advertising revenue. This is a great way to start out making money right off the bat while you’re building traffic. Affiliate income requires consistent traffic which is better for established websites. Selling printables is also great way to expand your customer reach. I don’t have this established because I’m content with Etsy being my sales platform.

To start making income with advertising, write blog posts. It can be about anything! Share with readers something unique and establish trust.

How do you generate traffic to your website? Easy! Share your website with your Etsy customers – post in the header, on your cover image, in the purchase message and anywhere else you can think of!

The second strategy is to share images leading to your posts on Pinterest. Create a couple freebie printables that lead to your website. Share printables in exchange for the readers email (this is a great way to grow your newsletter). People love freebies! The more freebies you offer and advertise, the more traffic you can generate.

The Takeaway

Wherever you are in the game of building your brand, know that it will take time to build your empire. It’s hard work up front but it is SO rewarding to be your own boss!

Once you’re established you will know what money-making strategies work best for you. Best of luck!

Are you excited to start your money-making journey? Learn to make printables. Check out my review of the best software to create printables. Also, here are 40 free Etsy listings to get you started!

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