If you’re looking to create passive income then there are a number of online options that can be profitable. However, you need to be prepared to put in the initial hard work.
One of these is selling printables
While you do need some basic tech knowledge to get started, this is relatively easy to learn. Although, if you are a complete beginner there are plenty of tutorials and courses online.
One such course is Printables by Number by Suzy Whitford at Start a Mom Blog.
This is the course that encouraged me to get started. I’m now earning passive income in my sleep.
Take a peek at my very own Etsy Shop.
What Are Printables and Templates?
Printables are purely digital products that you create and which people can then download for a certain price. They can include artwork, graphics and even documents.
All you need to do is create the printables and then find somewhere to sell them.
The good news is there are some well-established marketplaces online that you can easily sign up for.
Some areas you might want to explore include:
Artwork: This can include downloads of famous works that are out of copyright as well as your own designs, paintings, drawings and photographs.
These can include things like fonts, emojis, banners, social media posts and clipart.
Business Forms and Templates
Business forms that will help new businesses save time and money such as my photographer’s wedding shot list that I purchased from one of Jessa Bellman’s courses and made it my own. If you want to get a head start then check out the template society.
Planners and Calendars
There are plenty of examples out there of these, everything from study planner printables and daily planners to diet journals and the like. Check out Jess Bellman’s 100 templates to fast track your planner creation.
What is the Best Software for Creating Printables and Templates?
If you are creating printables, then you will need some software.
Again, the good news is that you can find this online.
Furthermore, most are relatively easy to learn and they don’t cost too much.
Here are just a few that you might like to consider:
Canva allows you to create everything from short videos and calendars to posters and logos and it has a very easy to use interface. There is a wide range of resources including graphics, videos and images as well as fonts and layouts.
The free version gives you access to a small number of resources but you can use this to get started and sell canva templates. If you want everything, it costs £11 a month.
However, it is important that you check the licensing carefully. Just because you have the paid version doesn’t mean that you can sell printables with elements. You would be best sticking to the free elements.
Similar to Canva, PicMonkey has a few more tools for those who want to create things like graphic downloads or edit photos and other images. They offer a free trial so you can try out most of the features first. A pro account will cost you about £14 a month.
PowerPoint & Word
Many people who work in an office will be familiar with PowerPoint and Word which are useful if simple, tools for creating a range of graphics, documents and other printables. For those with limited software and design skills, this can be a great starter option for creating content.
As part of the Microsoft Office 365 package, you can download it for about £7 a month.
As I have over 30 years’ experience of using Word this is the software that I use. Also, having worked with a dog walking / boarding business I decided to create forms for the pet industry.
If you want to learn more about creating printables using Powerpoint Suzy Whitford at Start a Mom Blog is an expert. Check out her courses Printables by Number by Suzy Whitford at Start a Mom Blog.
If you are searching for a more high tech solution with greater options, InDesign is probably the industry standard. It gives you all the tools you need to make high-quality graphics, digital books and magazines, interactive PDFs and a whole host of other digital products.
InDesign is available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud which starts at £19.97 per month.
Where to Sell Printables: A Quick Guide
Printables are a great way to build a passive income stream. If you get the approach right and create or design the right products, you can expect them to continue working for you well into the future.
There are plenty of tutorials online about how to generate a wide range of printables – all you need is some software, a decent computer or smartphone and you’re ready to go.
Creating printables is one thing, however, selling them is another. Here we look at the options available and how to get your business off the ground.
Create an eCommerce Website
The first option people often go for is to create their own website. This is pretty easy to do nowadays and platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce are fairly cost-effective. You also get a bunch of templates to work from which means you don’t need much in the way of technical experience.
In addition, there are dedicated digital download platforms such as Sellfy that allow you to create your website to sell products from pdfs, ebooks and documents to digital art and photographs.
Pros of Selling Printables through an E-commerce Site
Branding and Customisation: With your e-commerce site, you have complete control over branding, design, and user experience, creating a cohesive and professional image for your brand.
Product Flexibility: You can offer a wide range of printables, organise them into categories, and easily update your product offerings based on customer demand.
Data Ownership: You have full access to customer data, allowing you to build a customer base, implement personalised marketing strategies, and maintain control over your business data.
Marketing Freedom: You can use various marketing strategies, such as SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and social media, without restrictions imposed by third-party platforms.
No Competition from Other Sellers: Unlike marketplaces like Etsy, your e-commerce site focuses solely on your products, reducing competition and distractions.
Scaling Potential: As your business grows, you can expand your website’s capabilities, add new features, and integrate with third-party tools to enhance customer experience.
Your account is less likely to be suspended.
Cons of Selling Printables through an E-commerce Site:
Higher Initial Investment: Creating and maintaining an e-commerce site requires more initial investment in domain registration, hosting, website design, and security measures.
Technical Expertise: Setting up and managing an e-commerce site may require technical knowledge or hiring professionals to handle web development and maintenance.
Marketing and Traffic Generation: You are solely responsible for driving traffic to your site, which may require more effort and investment in marketing compared to established marketplaces.
Less Immediate Visibility: New e-commerce sites may take time to gain organic traffic and visibility in search engines, unlike established platforms with built-in audiences.
Payment and Security Concerns: Managing payment gateways and ensuring secure transactions on your e-commerce site requires careful attention to security measures.
Customer Trust: Building trust and credibility with customers may take time for a new or lesser-known e-commerce site compared to selling on established platforms.
An easier approach is to join a platform that allows you to sell printable products. These sites already have a sizeable and ready-to-buy customer base. This is how I started.
Selling Printables on Etsy
One of the most popular sites to sell on is Etsy. With more than 11 million subscribers worldwide and growing. Most people think that it is purely focused on physical, cottage industry products like artisan shelving and jewellery. However, you are allowed to sell digital downloads on Etsy.
On the Etsy site you can find a range of digital products such as artworks and photographs to graphics, templates and font designs.
It’s worth taking a look at what existing stores are selling on Etsy to see what types of printables sell well. These will give you the most profit. In addition, check out how the Etsy products are presented. The key to success is having a wide range of products. You also should make sure that you use important keywords on your product title and tags. In addition, make sure you use up all the characters in the title.
I had experience of working with a dog walker / boarder and her forms were pretty poor. So I offered to revamp them. This made me think that there must be other dog walkers who need forms. I revamped the forms again and started to sell forms / templates on Etsy. And I have to say they have done really well on Etsy.
Pros of Selling on Etsy:
Large Marketplace: Etsy is a well-established and popular platform with millions of active buyers, providing you with access to a broad customer base.
Easy Setup: Setting up an Etsy shop is relatively straightforward, and the platform offers tools and templates to help you create attractive listings.
Low Cost: Etsy has relatively low fees compared to other e-commerce platforms. Listing a product incurs a small fee, and there is a percentage-based fee on each sale.
Built-In Audience: Etsy’s existing user base means you don’t have to spend as much effort and resources on marketing and attracting customers.
Supportive Community: Etsy has a strong community of sellers who share tips, insights, and support, which can be valuable, especially for newcomers.
Global Reach: Etsy allows you to sell your digital printables worldwide, opening up opportunities for international sales. My templates have been purchased from people in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Cons of Selling on Etsy
Competition: Due to Etsy’s popularity, you might face intense competition, making it challenging to stand out in some saturated markets.
Limited Customisation: While Etsy provides some degree of personalisation, sellers have limited control over the appearance and functionality of their shops compared to having their independent website.
Transaction Fees: In addition to listing fees, Etsy charges a transaction fee on each sale, which can reduce overall profits.
Strict Policies: Etsy has specific rules and policies that you as a seller must follow, and failure to comply can result in shop suspensions or closures.
Lack of Ownership: On Etsy, you don’t own your shop fully, and the platform has the right to make changes or shut down accounts at their discretion.
Dependency on the Platform: Relying solely on Etsy for sales means that your business is at the mercy of the platform’s policies and changes.
However, you have to think of it that once it is created you can just leave it to earn you money over and over again.
Passive Income from Etsy is great and you can choose to be paid weekly 🙂
Selling Printables Through Facebook
One way to get around the marketing challenges of creating your own store is to sell printables through a platform like Facebook. There are billions of potential customers available worldwide on the most popular social media platform and you also get a few valuable tools added in.
If you want a low-cost approach, you can organically build your following and join groups to reach the right demographics. However, this takes time and effort. You can also take advantage of other tools such as Facebook Ads to attract the right customers.
The Pros of Selling Printables Through Facebook
Large User Base: Facebook has billions of active users, which means there is a massive potential audience for your printables.
Existing Community: If you already have a Facebook page or group with a strong following, you can leverage that community to promote and sell your printables.
Easy and Fast Setup: You can quickly set up a Facebook Shop or create posts and events to showcase and sell your printables, without the need for a separate website.
Personal Connection: Facebook allows you to interact with customers directly, building a personal connection and fostering customer loyalty.
No Marketplace Fees: Unlike some e-commerce platforms, Facebook does not charge additional fees for listing or selling products, so you can keep more of your profits.
Cons of Selling on Facebook
Limited Customization: Selling on Facebook restricts your ability to fully customize your shop and product listings compared to having an independent website.
Competing with Distractions: On Facebook, users are bombarded with various content, making it challenging to capture their attention for your products.
Dependency on Algorithm: Your reach and visibility on Facebook are subject to the platform’s algorithm changes, and you may need to invest in advertising to reach a wider audience.
Data and Privacy Concerns: Some users may be wary of making purchases on Facebook due to data and privacy concerns.
Lack of Professionalism: Selling solely through Facebook may not be perceived as professional as having a dedicated website or using an established e-commerce platform.
Limited Selling Features: While Facebook Shops are improving, they still lack some advanced features and analytics that dedicated e-commerce platforms offer.
It also takes a lot more work to set up compared to setting up an Etsy account.
How Much Can I Make Selling Printables?
The income potential from selling printables online can vary widely and depends on several factors, including the quality of your products, your marketing efforts, the demand for your printables, and the platforms you use.
Some sellers make a modest side income, while others can earn a substantial full-time income.
For full disclosure I am doing it on a part time basis, have about 160 forms and haven’t added any in a few weeks and earn between £300-£400 per month passive income.
Here are some key factors that can influence your earnings:
Product Quality and Appeal: High-quality and unique printables that resonate with your target audience are more likely to attract customers and generate sales.
Niche and Market Demand: Entering a niche with high demand and limited competition can lead to more sales and higher profits.
Pricing Strategy: Finding the right balance between pricing competitively and valuing your work appropriately can impact your revenue.
Marketing and Promotion: Effective marketing efforts, such as social media promotion, email marketing, collaborations, and SEO, can drive more traffic and sales to your online store.
Customer Base: Building a loyal customer base and repeat buyers can lead to consistent sales and long-term success.
Sales Platforms: Selling on established marketplaces like Etsy or using your e-commerce website can impact your visibility and potential sales.
Diversification: Expanding your product range, offering bundles, or creating seasonal collections can help increase your revenue.
It’s important to note that success in selling printables, like any online business, may take time. Initially, it may take time to build your brand, gain visibility, and attract a loyal customer base. As you gain experience, optimise your products and marketing strategies, your earnings have the potential to grow.
To get a sense of potential earnings, you can research other sellers in your niche, read success stories, and calculate potential profits based on your pricing and estimated sales volume. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you can make selling printables online, dedication, continuous improvement, and understanding your target audience are key factors in maximizing your income potential.
What Printables Can I Sell on Etsy?
Firstly, you should concentrate on your software experience. In my case, it is using Word but you may be better with other software.
Secondly, concentrate on popular printables on Etsy that can help make a person’s life easier.
Such printables include printables to keep a child busy either at home or during holidays. If you’ve been thinking about selling printables don’t delay it any longer, as you could be earning passive income in your sleep.
Best Selling Printables on Etsy
Printable colouring pages
We know that most kids love to color in and that’s why colouring pages / sheets are extremely popular. Whether it’s their favourite animal or dinosaur, colouring pages can keep a child amused for hours.
Popular colouring sheets
Popular colouring sheets include Christmas colouring pages, character colouring pages, cute colouring pages, pony colouring pages, mermaid colouring pages and Disney colouring sheets.
It is important to note that you cannot sell any colouring sheets using trademarked characters such as Disney characters although some people do!
However, creating colouring pages may not be an easy option but you could always hire a designer to do these for you. Alternatively, a lot of people are now using AI software such as Midjourney.
Printable cute colouring pages by YourPrintWisdom at Etsy.
These are actually a great idea – Christmas tags to colour in.
Chore and Reward Cards
Encouraging kids to do chores is great for helping them with responsibility. Combine that with rewards and then you have a winning combination.
These are easy to create in PowerPoint and Printables by Numbers will show you exactly how to create printables using PowerPoint.
One important tip is to ensure they look good in Google Slides as not everyone will have access to PowerPoint.
Printable Chore Chart from BlossomhousePress
Printable Activity Books
Activities to do whilst in the car or away camping are a great idea. Keeping kids amused in the car on a long car journey can be hard work. To make life easier printable activity books can be a last minute addition to a journey and makes it a more enjoyable experience. Having both solo activities and group games such as car bingo are so much fun.
To make life easier printable activity books can be a last minute addition to a journey.
Reading Log Printable
Encouraging kids to read is great for development. Fun, personalised reading logs make it more exciting for a child to read.
Reading Log Printable from Studionene
Maths can be a subject that a child struggles with. Math worksheets such as addition, subtraction worksheets, fraction worksheets and long division worksheets, can be great to print off and take out to restaurants to keep the kids occupied. And at the same time helping with their maths. I used to do this with my daughter and she loved them (maybe not now she’s a teenager!).
Great to keep a toddler busy on road journeys or in a restaurant.
Other popular printables on Etsy are planners. Hey, who doesn’t love being organised to give them more time in their busy schedules?
So let’s look at popular planners.
Work Day Organiser
A planner for the day will make a busy mom super organised and stay focussed. This could be a daily planner for the office or for home.
Work Day Organizer from BlessedDayPaper
Goal Planner Printable
A goal setting planner gives a person purpose and goals to aim for. It could be a weekly, monthly or yearly goal planner. The one below includes a vision board, quarterly goals, goal reviews, bucket list and reflections.
Goal Planner Printable from CreativeJamCo
Study Planner Printables
A study planner could help to ease stress for students.
It can be very stressful, especially in the final year, when a student has to do their dissertation or thesis. A study planner can help to plan the academic year ahead.
In addition, it can help a student plan for their exams. One such student tracker is below:
Exam Tracker Printable from PuffinPagesCo
It can be very frustrating each week thinking of meals to make for a family. I know, I’ve been there! It can be left to one person (me!) in the household to do and that is fine if they enjoy doing it.
But what if they don’t?
A meal planner could help to get all the family involved to come up with ideas. Plus having a shopping list section is a great addition to a meal planner.
Meal Planner and Grocery List Printable from OVCreativeStudio
Wedding planning is a huge topic and definitely a popular subject. And as you can imagine there are so many wedding planning products you could create from a wedding checklist template to wedding invites.
Wedding Planner Printable from BeautifullyLostShop
100+ Printable Ideas
If you still haven’t got a clue what to create here are 100+ ideas for you:
Catering Business Cards
Catering Starter Bundle
Virtual Assistant Starter Bundle
Virtual Assistant Client Intake Form
Virtual Assistant Portfolio example
Virtual Assistant Start-up Checklist
Virtual Assistant List of Services
Virtual Assistant Contract
Basic Aesthetician Consent Form
Lash Extension Consent Form
Facial Treatment Templates
Makeup Artist Wedding Contracts
CV’s – Academic CVs
Job Interview Checklist
Job Posting Template
Job Specification Template
Job Interview Form
Student Academic Report
Baby First Foods Tracker
Emergency Information Sheet
Day Care Registration Forms
Day Care Incident Report
Nursery Registration Forms
Preschool Registration Forms
Childcare Incident Reports
Book Report Form
Childcare Information Sheet
Childcare Tuition Agreement
Day care Naptime Signs
Day Care menu
Day Care Payment Log
Day Care Report Template
Client Intake Forms
Client Feedback Forms
Wedding Planning Bundles
Save the date cards
Wedding budget worksheet
Wedding table plan template
House income / expenditure tracker
Kid’s Chores Planner
Weekly Teacher Scheduling Planner
To do Lists
Meet the Teacher Flyer
Finance Tracking Printable
Wedding Budget Tracker
Household Finance Tracker
Holiday Finance Planner
Baby Fund Tracker
Health and Fitness Printables
Mental Health Tracker
Bipolar Therapy Journal
Weight Loss Tracker
Self Care Planners
Anger Management Printable
Dog Walking Registration Forms
Dog Walking Invoices
Dog Boarding Forms
Dog Walking Agreements
Dog Boarding Agreements / Contracts
Dog Grooming Forms
Dog Report Forms
Dog Wall Art Printables
Dog Walking Leaflets
Dog Walking Leaflets with tear off contacts
Dog Walking Business Cards
Dog Walking Schedule Planner
Dog Boarding Calendar
Dog Boarding Report Card
Dog Breeder Contract
Dog Trainer Contract
Dog Training Form
Key Release / Key Return Form
Farewell Thoughts: A lot of us procrastinate in life and lack confidence in what we do. I know because I was that person. It was Suzy Whitford’s course Printables by Number that gave me the confidence to have a go. My Etsy Shop is growing. I have been focussing on the pet industry due to my past experience. But there are so many digital products you can sell on Etsy. So whether you are an expert in Word, Excel, InDesign you can find something to create. Just go for it, improve on it and make passive income, while you sleep, selling printables and digital products.
Courses that have helped me on my printables journey are:
Passive Income Society
Printables by Number
The Journal and Planner Creator