The answer will probably surprise you- I know I never thought Etsy would be paying my rent.
But here’s the thing: I’m actually making more than enough to cover my rent.
I’m selling $7,000 worth of digital products a month on the platform.
And it’s essentially all passive income- I’m only putting in a couple of hours of work every week.
When I tell people I have an Etsy shop, they don’t take me seriously. I’m usually confronted with, “okay, but what do you actually do for a living?”
Honestly, I’m surprised more people don’t know the income potential of things like printables, digital planners, resume templates, and social media templates.
I thought I would share my actual earnings on Etsy- and what I did to make that money- so you can decide if setting up a shop is right for you.
How much money can you actually make with digital products on Etsy?
The first month that my shop was open, I earned $700. This was from printable planners and templates- at the time, I had about 30 different products listed.
In the coming months, I really focused on expansion. I ended up with over 90 items for sale, and I expanded to more products than just printables.
I also bundled some products together and sold them as packages.
All of these changes together added up to a serious increase in sales- after 3 months, I started earning at least $7,000 a month.
Your earnings will greatly depend on the number of items you have for sale, and the number of options for offer customers (ie. buying just one product, or being able to buy several products at a discount in a bundle).
Of course, you’ll also need to make sure you’re offering quality products that people want to buy, and that they think will help them.
This can involve some trial and error, as you try to find out what your customers really enjoy buying from you. Enjoy the creative process and try making a few different items you think buyers will like!
Once you start getting a few sales, you’ll see which items people like and want to buy from you. Use this information to create more products that they’ll come back for.
I did not rely on paid ads and had very little external traffic (maybe 1–2 visits a day from Pinterest) when I got to the point of earning $7K a month.
This showed me the real potential of selling on Etsy, even when I didn’t already have an audience.
Who can make money selling digital products on Etsy?
I had never started a successful online business before my Etsy shop. I had no email list or social media following. I also had no money to invest in a new business.
With these things in mind, I think I’m a good example of what an average person can accomplish on Etsy.
Anyone with basic computer skills and a desire to learn can start making and selling digital downloads.
You can create digital products for free with a program like Canva (which is super user-friendly, by the way).
I’m not a graphic designer by any means- my background is actually in insurance. I simply made products with fonts and colors that I thought looked good together, and that I knew I would buy as a consumer.
Opening a shop on Etsy is also free. They do charge a $0.20 fee for each new listing you post (as well as other fees when an item sells), but as you can see, the cost of getting started is low.
What types of digital products can you sell on Etsy?
There are a lot of digital products you can sell on Etsy! Here’s a few examples:
- Printable planners
- Printable checklists
- Printable wall art
- Resume templates
- Social media post templates (you can design them in Canva and sell them to customers to edit themselves)
- Digital planners (a digital version of a planner that can be used on an iPad)
- Ebooks & guides
Of course, whatever you decide to sell, there will be differing levels of competition from other sellers. There will also be varying degrees of demand from customers.
You can do some quick searches on Etsy to see how many other sellers are selling that item, as well as if any of these items are flagged as bestsellers (a good indication there is lots of demand for it).
The best way to do this research, however, is to use an Etsy keyword tool like eRank or Marmalead. These tools will show you the exact levels of demand and competition for the item you’re looking to sell.
How to figure out what digital products you should sell on Etsy
Start with what you know! Believe it or not, there are probably a few topics that you know more about than others.
You can draw inspiration from:
- Your personal interests
- Your education or degree
- Your career and work history
- What your friends usually come to you for advice on
- A product you would really like to have that no one has made yet
- Your own social media accounts. If you’re good at designing Pinterest pins or putting together a cute Instagram feed, could you also design templates that business owners could use for their social accounts?
If you’re still feeling stumped on what you could do, here are a few more specific ideas:
- Real estate is a niche on Etsy that seems to be doing well right now. Do you have experience in real estate or even just sales in general? Realtors are buying things like social media templates, ebooks, and selling guides.
- Do you have experience with accounting? You could sell small business bookkeeping templates.
- Do you enjoy cleaning and organization? Customers are buying house cleaning checklists and daily planners.
- Are you a blogger? You could sell content calendars or lists of content ideas to other writers.
As I mentioned before, you’ll also want to take a look either on Etsy or with a keyword tool (like eRank or Marmalead) to see if there is any demand for your idea.
How to make digital products to sell on Etsy
This might be the easiest part!
Almost every type of digital product can be created for free in Canva.
Canva is a user-friendly design tool (they do have a paid version, but you can still make almost any product you like with their free plan).
Canva lets you pick what you want to design (like an Instagram post, a printable template, or a YouTube banner), and then it gives you a blank template with the correct size dimensions.
They do have some pre-made templates that have already been designed, too- just make sure you don’t re-sell these (you can only sell things that you have made yourself).
Designing digital products is one of my favourite things to do.
It’s an even better feeling when someone else likes what I’ve made. They might buy it, leave me a five star review, or even send me a personal message to say how it’s changed their lives (seriously, I get messages like this every week).
If you’re looking for a satisfying, creative outlet that can also make you money, starting an Etsy shop could be exactly what you’re looking for.