There are many ways to make money on the side. You can sell your creative services like video editing or rapping. You can work at conferences. You can tutor. These are pretty social hustles, though, and if you’re more of an introvert, spending your off-time interacting with others can be draining.
Luckily, there are plenty of side gigs that don’t call for much human interaction. One of them is selling printable items people buy online and download then print on their own. Etsy is rife with printable sellers and is one possible site on which to sell them.
Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the creator of the Monday Pick-Me-Up and Odd Jobs newsletter, recommends perusing the site to get some ideas of what you can make. Type “printables” into an Etsy search, for example, and you’ll find ADHD planners, wedding planners, habit trackers, budget trackers, to-do lists, chore charts for kids, letter sound worksheets, bill trackers, vision boards, mindfulness journals and more.
Plus, “downloads are things that you don’t have to be super talented to make,” says Glantz. Once you have an idea, start building them in free design sites like Canva.com, with graphic design tools like Adobe Illustrator or even with Microsoft Excel. Some can be as simple as a Word document with the heading “Perfect Vacation Ideas.” Then turn them into PDFs and start building your shop.
Rachel Jiminez opened her Etsy store in 2019 and sells hundreds of printables ranging from Christmas scavenger hunts to digital planners. In 2021, she brought in nearly $160,000 in passive income from it.
To figure out what to sell, Jiminez recommends using tactics like best SEO practices. She herself will come up with an idea then will use sites like trends.google.com and trends.pinterest.com to see how many people are searching for it or what they’re looking for around it. In the case of her Christmas products, she looked up Elf on a Shelf to see if people are looking for Elf on a Shelf ideas, a letter from the elf, etc.
She also recommends considering your own interests, events in your life or the seasons. February might be a good time for Valentine’s ideas, April might be a good month for Easter-based ideas, and so on. Think of the communities you’re part of, too, and consider how you can serve them. Are you a fitness instructor who knows fellow instructors might be looking for exercise regime ideas? Are you a babysitter who knows others might need game ideas for their kids?
Jiminez perfected her Etsy-selling skills after taking Julie Berninger’s course about opening an Etsy store for printables. Berninger opened her store in 2017 and now sells bachelorette party activity lists, among other products. She herself brings in about $1,000 per month in passive income from the site.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re diving in: Etsy seller fees. It costs 20 cents for each item you list, plus a 6.5% transaction fee on every sale you make.
With the right market, though, you could stand to make money. “I bought media kit templates off there. I’ve bought Instagram archive circles off of there,” says Glantz. “Things that I could have created on my own but I liked them and I bought them.”
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