Are you looking for a creative way to make money online from home? Selling printable products like planners, wall art, games and educational resources can be a lucrative business. With just a computer and internet access, you can start earning passive income with a digital download shop on sites like Etsy, Creative Market or your own website.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through every step of starting a profitable printables business, from choosing a niche to marketing your products. With the right strategy, your handmade creations could make thousands per month!
How Selling Printables Works
A printable is any type of digital file that customers can purchase and download instantly. Once downloaded, the customer can print the product at home. Common printable products include:
- Planners, journals, calendars
- Adult coloring pages
- Party invitations, signs, decorations
- Stickers, labels, tags
- Games, puzzles, flashcards
- Arts and crafts templates
- Budgeting, meal planning, goal tracking sheets
- Wall art, prints, posters
- Learning activities, educational games
As a printables shop owner, you would create these digitally either from scratch or by altering templates. After uploading them to your shop, customers can buy and access the files immediately. There’s no physical shipping involved, which means:
- No printing or inventory costs for you
- No trip to the post office for customers
- Very high profit margins on each sale
- Passive income that can scale exponentially
Top sellers make over $10,000+ a month with printables! But it is work to consistently create new products, market your shop and manage customers. Follow this guide to build a real business around your creative passion.
9 Steps to Starting a Profitable Printables Business
Follow these steps to start earning with printable products:
1. Choose a Niche
Picking a specific niche will help you identify the right keywords to optimize for and tailor your products. Consider your interests, skills and experience. Popular printable niches include:
- Planners and stationery: calendars, agendas, stickers, budget trackers, meal plans, habit trackers.
- Educational resources: flashcards, activity sheets, games, learning activities for kids.
- Party supplies: banners, invitations, signs, dessert and food labels, favors, decorations.
- Art prints: wall art, posters, adult coloring pages, calendars, planners.
- Seasonal: holiday and event designs, advent calendars, decorations.
- Home and family: chore charts, budgets, baby shower games, grocery lists, cleaning schedules.
Research each niche to assess the competition, demand and opportunities. Make sure your niche has enough demand but isn’t completely saturated.
2. Set Up Your Printables Shop
You have several options for hosting your printables shop online:
- Etsy – Best for handmade creators. Huge existing buyer base.
- Creative Market – Top resource for creatives selling assets like fonts, graphics and templates.
- Your own website – Gives you full control over your brand and customers. Requires more skill.
For beginners, Etsy is the easiest way to start selling printables with minimal upfront investment. As your shop grows, you can expand to your own site and other marketplaces.
When setting up your shop, carefully brand it around your niche. Write compelling shop descriptions and product listings focused on benefits to the customer.
3. Create Your First Products
Start with a small collection of 5-10 printable products so you can start making sales quickly. Ideas include:
- Journal and notebook templates
- Adult coloring books
- Seasonal/holiday designs
- Printable wall art
- Party packs with assorted templates
- Educational activities and games
Use designer tools like Canva, PicMonkey, Cricut or Photoshop to create your digital files. Study best-selling products in your niche to make your designs as professional as possible.
Focus on quality over quantity in the beginning. It’s better to have a few stellar products than dozens of mediocre ones. You can expand your catalog as you build your brand.
4. Price Your Products Profitably
One major benefit of printable products is the high profit margin. With no printing or shipping costs, most of what customers pay is profit.
When pricing items, research competitors’ rates for comparable products. Set prices based on what similar designs sell for, the quality of your products and buyer demand. Generally price in the $5-$15 range.
Also consider bundling products, like selling 10 coloring pages or a party pack with matching templates. This offers more value.
Experiment to find the optimal pricing. You can always run sales or discounts to increase conversions. But avoid pricing too low just to make sales in the beginning.
5. Promote Your Shop and Products
Now it’s time to get the word out about your printables shop! Some promotion ideas include:
- Optimize SEO – Use relevant keywords, titles and descriptions so your products show up in search results. Research what terms your target buyers use.
- Write blog content – Blog about your niche and embed product links. Optimize articles for SEO.
- Share freebies – Offer limited free designs or sampler packs to build your email list.
- Run sales and deals – Discount older products or offer sitewide sales around major holidays.
- Partner with influencers – Do giveaways or create special designs related to influencers in your niche.
- Pinterest marketing – Create pinned product images for your niche. Write compelling descriptions and link to your shop.
- Social media – Engage your target audience on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook groups and more. Run contests and advertise.
- Email marketing – Send regular sales, new products and promotions to subscribers.
The key is spreading the word to your ideal buyers. Start conversions by offering high-value freebies and special deals.
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6. Develop New Products Steadily
Once you have a solid foundation of top-selling printables, add new products regularly to keep customers engaged.
Aim to create 2-5 new designs each week. Offer a mix of evergreen products like planners along with seasonal items around holidays.
Study sales data to guide your expansion based on what existing products do well. Ask customers what other items they’d like to see. Stay aligned with your niche as you grow your catalog.
7. Deliver Digital Products Instantly
One of the perks of printables is instant delivery to customers. Upon purchase, they should receive immediate access to download products.
For Etsy and other marketplaces, downloads will be handled automatically. If selling from your own site, use plugins like Easy Digital Downloads.
Send download links directly in your order confirmation emails. Customers appreciate the convenience of instant access to their printables purchase.
8. Provide Excellent Customer Support
Running an online business comes with customer questions, concerns and the occasional complaint. Respond to buyers promptly and politely.
Have a turnaround time for support inquiries within 24 hours on weekdays. Be ready to help troubleshoot download issues, take returns if products are defective and answer questions about your products or policies.
Providing an exceptional customer experience will lead to loyalty, referrals and 5-star reviews to boost sales.
9. Outsource Tasks to Scale Up
Over time, you’ll need help running your thriving printables business. Outsource tasks that are outside your expertise:
- Hire designers – Experienced graphic designers can create products faster and improve quality.
- Use virtual assistants – For customer service, order processing, social media help and administrative tasks.
- Work with marketers – A digital marketer can improve SEO and run ads.
- Partner with influencers – Pay influencers related to your niche to promote products.
Focus on your strengths like product development, branding and relationships. Invest a portion of profits into contractors to scale growth.
Printables Business Tips to Maximize Profits
Follow these tips once your shop is up and running for maximum success:
Offer Memberships and Bundles
Encourage repeat business and higher spending with:
- Memberships – Offer monthly access to all new products for a flat fee like $5-$15 per month.
- Bundles – Package your most popular products together at a discounted rate.
Launch New Products Strategically
Release new designs on a consistent schedule, like new templates every Monday. Always showcase new arrivals prominently in marketing.
Time launches around major holidays, seasons and events related to your niche. For example, planners and journals sell well in December.
Mix Free and Paid Products
Attract customers with limited free designs, then upsell them into paid purchases. Freebies also help build your email list.
Run Promotions and Sales
Offer sitewide sales during peak shopping times like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holidays.
You can also run promotions like Buy One Get One half off or free shipping with minimum purchase. Send email alerts about all sales.
Reward Loyal Customers
Thank repeat buyers by offering exclusive loyalty freebies or special discounts only for them. Send surprise gifts or personalized notes.
Watch sales data, traffic sources and conversions to learn what works. Double down on the most profitable products and channels. Discontinue items that underperform.
Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Printables
Selling printables online is an accessible business model but does require knowledge and effort to succeed. Here are answers to the most common questions:
How much does it cost to start a printables business?
The startup costs are low – less than $200 to get started! You’ll need:
- Website hosting – $5-$15 per month
- Design software – Canva is free, others around $10 per month
- Professional photos/graphics – About $15 per image from stock sites
- Etsy or Creative Market shop fees – About $1 per listing plus sales commission
With digital products, you avoid printing and shipping costs. Start with what you can invest, then reinvest profits.
What sells best – original designs or templates?
Templates and altered graphics tend to sell better at first. Original art requires more skill.
Use templates from platforms like Creative Market for your first products as you build skills. Over time, transition to unique designs and branding.
How much do printables make on average?
Top sellers earn $2,000 to $10,000+ per month. Income depends on factors like:
- Your niche and types of products
- Size of your shop – Number and variety of products
- Traffic and marketing strategy
- Sales, promotions and collaborations run
With consistent new products and marketing, six figures per year is possible. But expect startup to take time.
How long until you make money selling printables?
Give it 3-6 months to hit your stride and see sales. Building an audience and shop foundation takes patience.
Maximize this ramp-up period by creating a solid catalog, optimizing SEO and running promotions to convert readers into buyers.
Should you sell on Etsy, Creative Market or your own site?
Start on Etsy to tap into existing traffic, then expand. Etsy makes the quickest sales but takes a higher commission.
Your own website lets you control branding, customers and profits completely, but requires more skill to drive traffic.
Multi-channel selling across Etsy, Creative Market, your site and other platforms is the best long-term strategy.
What design skills do you need?
Beginner skills are enough to get started. Easier products like planners, wall art and stationery only require basic graphic design ability.
For more advanced illustrations and artwork, outsource designers or use pre-made elements while improving your skills. Tutorials can teach you digital design.
The key is picking a niche that aligns with your abilities, then learning as you build your shop. Even simpler designs can make sales.
Selling printables is an accessible online business model for creatives looking for passive income with low startup costs. With digital products, you avoid the hassles of printing and shipping physical orders.
Success comes down to picking the right niche, creating quality designs, marketing relentlessly and providing awesome customer service. While establishing your shop takes consistent work, printable products can earn thousands per month.
Follow this comprehensive guide to start a profitable printables business step-by-step. Find your creative passion, set up your online shop, make sales and grow your new career working from home!
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