Making Money from Printables: A Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs
Selling printable products online has become an extremely popular way for creative entrepreneurs to generate income. As more people work remotely or start side hustles, the demand for high-quality printables and templates has skyrocketed. Whether you design planners, wall art, greeting cards or educational resources, you can turn your creative skills into a profitable business. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about making money from printables.
Getting Started with a Printables Business
The first step is determining what types of printable products you want to offer. Consider your skills, interests and experience. The most common printable products sold online include:
- Planners and productivity tools
- Coloring pages and activity books
- Papercraft templates like greeting cards, labels and invitations
- Party decorations like banners, signs and confetti
- Teacher resources like classroom decor, worksheets and flashcards
- Stickers for planners, laptops, water bottles and more
- Wall art including prints, posters, calendars and signs
- Craft templates for sewing, knitting, papercrafts and more
- Hand lettering and calligraphy practice sheets
- Budgeting, finance and goal tracking printables
- Meal planning pages, grocery lists and recipe cards
- Worksheets and printables for kids
- Stationery like notecards, bookmarks and journals
- And much more!
Narrow down the types of printables you want to specialize in based on your creative skills and interests. For example, an artist may want to focus on wall art while a graphic designer may want to make planner stickers and stationery. Get specific with your niche so you can tailor your products.
Next, do market research to validate your printable products. Check out the competition and make sure there is demand for what you want to sell. Use tools like Etsy and Printables Marketplaces to assess saturation in your niche. Make sure you can offer something unique that stands apart from existing products.
You’ll also need to determine where you will sell your printables. The top options include:
- Your own website or blog
- Etsy shop
- Creative marketplaces like Creative Fabrica
- Printables marketplaces like Digital Grapes
- Redbubble, Society6 and other print-on-demand sites
- Social media
Consider setting up multiple income streams across these platforms to maximize your reach and revenue.
Creating High-Quality Printable Products
The most important part of starting a successful printables business is making sure you offer excellent products. Follow these tips:
Useful and Engaging Content
Your printables must provide value to customers. Include information and designs they actually want and need. Make sure your products are visually appealing as well. Use your creativity to make templates that are both useful and engaging.
Maintain a consistent brand identity across your shop and products. Use the same logo, fonts, colors and graphic elements. This helps you stand out and builds recognition.
A Range of Options
Provide choice for customers. Sell printable bundles that come with a variety of options and customization. Or create different colors, themes and sizes.
Offer commercial licensing for your products. This allows other creatives and businesses to use your templates in their own design work and products legally. Charge more for this privilege.
Only sell high resolution, print-ready files. Use 300 DPI or higher resolutions. Make sure your templates are cleanly designed and layered properly. Proofread thoroughly.
Optimize your product titles, tags and descriptions with relevant keywords. This helps your items get discovered in searches. Do keyword research to determine the terms people use when looking for your types of printables.
Include a text file with instructions for using your printables. Explain ideal paper types, printing recommendations and assembly. Help customers get the most out of your templates.
By focusing on useful content, branding, options, quality and keywords, you can create printables people want to buy and use.
How to Make a Great Ecommerce Website for Printables
To maximize sales, you need an effective website to sell your printables. Follow these tips for building a profitable ecommerce site:
Choose the Right Platform
Use a platform designed specifically for selling digital products like printables, such as Shopify, Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. These make it easy to sell downloads.
Optimize for Speed
Make sure your site loads quickly by using optimized images, minimal plugins and a high-performance host. Speed is critical for conversion rates.
Focus on Conversions
Optimize your site for conversions using proven principles like clear CTAs, reduced friction, trust factors like testimonials, and a streamlined checkout process.
Make Search Easy
Include robust search functionality so customers can easily find specific printables. Categorize and tag products intelligently.
Highlight New Arrivals
Draw attention to your newest and best printables on the homepage and product pages. Feature them prominently.
Include Product Details
For each printable, share important details like number of pages, file type, software needed, commercial licensing terms, etc.
Showcase Reviews and Samples
Display customer reviews, ratings and preview images prominently to establish trust and credibility.
Accept Multiple Payment Methods
Ensure seamless checkout with a range of payment options like credit cards, PayPal and Apple Pay. Offer payment plans if selling high-ticket items.
Focus on Security
Prioritize security by using HTTPS and regularly updating plugins. Customers must feel safe buying from you.
Building a polished, professional ecommerce website is critical for selling printables successfully online.
How to Price Your Printable Products
Determining the right pricing strategy is crucial when selling printables. Underpricing leaves money on the table but overpricing can suppress sales. Consider these factors when setting prices:
Production Time and Costs
Consider how long it takes you to create products plus overhead like design software subscriptions. Price products to earn a profit after expenses.
Research competitors selling similar items. Price yours competitively, but don’t undercut yourself. Offer premium quality to justify higher prices.
File Types and Licensing
Offer set rates for different file types, commercial licenses, and bundles. Charge more for PNG vs PDF, for example, and increased licensing rights.
Market and Demand
Adjust pricing based on customer demand and current market conditions. Raise prices for hot sellers and lower prices on slow movers.
Sales, Discounts and Promos
Use promos and sales strategically. Offer site-wide discounts for holidays or freebies with a purchase minimum. Send email promos to subscribers.
Payment Plan Pricing
If selling high-ticket products, offer payment plans at a higher price point. This improves affordability for customers on large purchases.
Review your pricing regularly and test different strategies. Understand your costs and customers to maximize profitability.
Promoting and Marketing Printables
Success selling printables requires an effective marketing strategy. Use these proven tactics to promote your products:
Optimized Website Content
Create targeted site content optimized with relevant keywords to drive organic traffic from search engines. Write about your products and ideal customers.
SEO Best Practices
Follow SEO best practices like meta descriptions, alt text, site speed, etc. Claim and optimize your business listings on sites like Google My Business.
Promote your printables heavily on Pinterest. Create eye-catching product pins and pin them to relevant boards. Run Pinterest ads.
Use sales funnels with lead magnets and email sequences to turn visitors into buyers. Offer limited-time discounts in emails to incentivize purchases.
Partner with other printable creators to cross-promote each others’ products and run joint giveaways.
Post printable previews and promos on Instagram. Participate in hashtag challenges. Run Instagram influencer campaigns.
YouTube Product Tours
Create YouTube videos showing your printables in use. These help buyers visualize the products.
Facebook and FB Ads
Promote new products and sales in relevant Facebook groups. Run Facebook ads targeting ideal buyers. Retarget site visitors.
Creative Email Marketing
Send regular emails to subscribers with new arrivals, special offers and subscriber-only deals. Provide value with freebies and tutorials too.
By mixing organic marketing, paid ads, social media, email and more, you can drive steady traffic and sales for your printables shop.
Tips for Creating Successful Printables
Follow these pro tips for creating printables that stand out and sell:
Solve a Problem
Design templates that solve problems, meet needs or fill gaps for your target customers. Don’t just create more of the same generic planners or wall art. Provide value with your unique perspective and point of view.
Use Trends Strategically
Monitor relevant trends like data-driven fitness trackers, minimalist interior design or hand-drawn wall art. Then create on-trend products tailored to your brand and niche. But don’t just follow fads – put your own twist on them.
Seek Customer Feedback
Ask existing customers what products they want to see next. Or survey your email list for their biggest needs and pain points. Then design printables addressing those issues.
Study the Competition
See what top-selling printables do well. Notice popular features to add or avoid. Use competitors for inspiration but make your version better with improved design.
Use High-Quality Art
Invest in beautiful artwork that looks professional, crisp and modern. Work with talented illustrators or artists to take your printables to the next level.
Design for Customization
Allow customization so customers can personalize printables to their preferences. Let them edit text elements, colors, fonts, images and layouts.
Create Printable Bundles
Offer sets of multiple printables around a theme to increase order value. For example, printable fitness trackers plus meal planners and motivational wall art.
Show Them Styled
Stage and style your printables attractively in your shop listings. Show them framed, displayed or in use to help customers visualize them.
Offer Limited Editions
Generate buzz and urgency by selling special prints or templates only available for a short time. Announce forthcoming retirements to incentivize sales.
By making trendy, helpful and high-quality printables, you can build a popular and profitable printable shop.
Growing Your Business with Wholesale, Licensing and Merch
Don’t just stick to basic printables as your only revenue stream. Look for additional ways to monetize your designs through:
Sell bulk printable orders in packs of 10, 25 or 50+ at a discounted rate to resellers, shops and commercial buyers.
Licensing to Publishers
Allow publishers to include your designs in books and calendars in exchange for royalties.
Partner with print-on-demand companies to put your designs on t-shirts, mugs, phone cases and other merch. Earn affiliate revenue from the sales.
Get your printables into boutiques, gift shops and stationery stores on consignment and earn a percentage of sales.
PDF Pattern Stores
Upload printable sewing, knitting or other craft patterns to third-party pattern marketplaces.
Partner with brands in complementary niches to co-design printables you both sell. This cross-promotes you to new audiences.
The more places you can sell your printables – both online and offline – the more income you can generate. Look beyond just your own website.
Making the Most of Passive Income
One of the biggest advantages of selling printables is earning passive income. Here are tips for maximizing it:
Build Recurring Revenue Streams
Offer subscriptions where customers pay monthly or annually to gain access to your printable library. This provides predictable passive revenue you can count on.
Actively Promote Older Content
Surface and re-promote your back catalog of evergreen printables, not just new releases. Older products can still earn secondary passive sales.
Create Digital Products
In addition to printables, produce digital products like online courses on design skills and business coaching programs for aspiring printable entrepreneurs. Sell these on your site.
Expand Your Licensing
Get your printables into more third-party marketplaces, publications and brands. Each additional license earns more royalties.
Automate More of Your Business
Automate marketing through email sequences, social media scheduling, chatbots on your site. This saves time managing operations.
Develop Brand Partnerships
Partner with merchandise producers, publishers and relevant brands to passively earn affiliate sales and licensing royalties from third parties selling your work in mutually beneficial partnerships.
Focus on setting up recurring revenue streams and passive income opportunities to eventually transition your business from active to passive income.
Avoiding Common Printables Pitfalls
When selling printables, be sure to avoid these common mistakes that derail success:
Failing to establish a consistent brand and professional logo makes you look amateurish. Invest in quality branding.
Poor Quality Files
Pixelated images, low resolutions and sloppy designs turn off buyers. Maintain high quality standards for your files.
Overlooking Legal Issues
Not dealing with important legal considerations like licensing, trademarks and IP theft leaves you vulnerable. Do your homework.
Copying Other Creators
Stealing artwork or imitating other designers too closely can get you in legal trouble. Only sell original work.
Not optimizing site content and metadata for search engines means lost organic traffic. Master SEO best practices.
Putting Products on Just One Platform
Diversify beyond only selling on your own site. List products across multiple printables marketplaces, Amazon, Etsy, etc.
Not Tracking Metrics
Failing to track sales data, traffic sources, conversions and other analytics means you don’t know what’s working. Use analytics software.
Constantly Lowering Prices
Don’t get into a race to the pricing bottom. Hold your rates steady and run limited-time sales and promos instead.
By sidestepping these missteps, you position your business for success.
Preparing for Tax Time as a Printables Seller
Taxes can be complicated for printables businesses. Follow these tips to be ready for tax time:
Carefully track all income from every source – your website, Etsy, TeachersPayTeachers etc. Include royalties too.
Deduct every allowable business expense like software subscriptions, advertising, internet bills, mileage, supplies and more. Keep receipts.
Choose a Business Structure
Will you be taxed as a sole proprietorship, LLC, S corporation? Confer with an accountant on optimal tax structure.
File Quarterly Estimated Taxes
If you expect to owe $1,000 or more, make quarterly estimated income tax payments to avoid underpayment penalties.
Save for Taxes
Set aside at least 20-30% of earnings to pay estimated quarterly and annual income taxes. Don’t spend it all!
Use Tax Software or an Accountant
Use Small Business Tax software or hire an accountant to prepare your annual Schedule C and other required business tax forms.
Track Sales Tax
If required to collect sales tax in your state, integrate sales tax software and remit payments on schedule.
Staying on top of income, expenses, quarterly estimated payments, tax software and sales tax compliance will make tax time far smoother. Consult a tax professional to confirm you follow all rules and regulations in your state and municipality.
Achieving Work/Life Balance as a Printables Seller
A common struggle for printable entrepreneurs is finding work/life balance. Follow these tips to avoid burnout:
Set Office Hours
Treat your printables business like a regular job. Set office hours for designing products, marketing, shipping orders, etc. Shut it down nights and weekends.
Take Regular Time Off
Schedule real vacations completely away from your business at least twice per year, as well as occasional 3 or 4 day weekends. Unplug.
Automate Where Possible
Automated marketing, accounting, chatbots and other technology reduce daily workload so your business doesn’t consume all your time.
Hire freelancers to assist with design, marketing, customer service and backend tasks that aren’t the best use of your time.
Maintain Healthy Habits
Make self-care like exercise, healthy eating, sleep and social connection a priority. Don’t let your business subsume your health.
Switch Up Your Routine
Break the monotony by changing your workspace, learning new skills, taking classes and switching up your typical workday schedule.
Be clear with clients and team members about response time expectations and when you are accessible. Don’t offer 24/7 availability.
Track Time Off Requests
Use a simple annual calendar to log all time off requests and commitments outside work to avoid double booking yourself.
Putting your own needs first is essential to sustainable success selling printables long-term. Don’t sacrifice your mental and physical health for your business.
Preparing for the Busy Holiday Season
The holidays from October through December see a huge spike in printable sales. Be prepared with:
Launch holiday, winter and end-of-year focused printables in advance like calendars, decorations, budget planners, etc.
Offer special holiday discounts and coupon codes. Run holiday sales events. Time promos around peak spending days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Update listings and site content with holiday keywords so you get found more easily.
Stock up in advance on additional inventory of your bestsellers to meet higher holiday demand.
Run ads on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Shopping to capture seasonal searchers.
Order Fulfillment Plan
Prepare for the increased volume by streamlining your order processing system. Automate what you
- 1 Making Money from Printables: A Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs
- 1.1 Getting Started with a Printables Business
- 1.2 Creating High-Quality Printable Products
- 1.3 How to Make a Great Ecommerce Website for Printables
- 1.4 How to Price Your Printable Products
- 1.5 Promoting and Marketing Printables
- 1.6 Tips for Creating Successful Printables
- 1.7 Growing Your Business with Wholesale, Licensing and Merch
- 1.8 Making the Most of Passive Income
- 1.9 Avoiding Common Printables Pitfalls
- 1.10 Preparing for Tax Time as a Printables Seller
- 1.11 Achieving Work/Life Balance as a Printables Seller
- 1.12 Preparing for the Busy Holiday Season