Digital Guides Work & Business

Make Money on Etsy With Digital Products

Make Money on Etsy With Digital Products
  • PublishedMarch 6, 2023

If you are looking to sell your own products on Etsy without actually keeping any stock, then digital goods might just be your best bet. Selling digital products requires very little from you, compared to other products, which means that you can spend more time selling and less time creating.

It’s also simple to set up an Etsy shop, and the demand for digital products has never been higher. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your work from home business, we’ve put together some of the best and easiest digital products to sell on Etsy.

First up…

Why sell on Etsy?

You’ve probably heard that Etsy is a great place to sell hand made items by small business owners. But you might not be aware that it’s also an excellent digital marketplace with a huge global reach.

By setting up an Etsy shop, you instantly have a way to reach buyers not just here in the UK but across the world. And if you’ve done your market research, you might have realised that there are plenty of Etsy shoppers looking for a variety of digital downloads… And why not make it your digital product?

Before you say, but I can’t do digital design… Let’s just explain how easy it is to design Etsy digital products.

How to make digital products for Etsy

Designing your digital art products or downloadable templates is easier than it’s ever been. Yes, you used to need complicated digital software like Adobe illustrator. But these days you can knock up some designs in Canva for free.

And you don’t even need to be a graphic design expert. With some simple design, you can create everything from wall art to personal planners.

Canva offers a huge variety of standard format digital files, with everything from desktop wallpaper to resume templates. You can also create a custom size and get pretty creative with designing a downloadable template – and then getting that PDF, jpeg or other digital file to sell for free.

Sounds too good (and too easy) to be true?

Well… There is a fine art to marketing your digital products on Etsy, and getting your Etsy shop seen. But we’ll take a look at that next.

creating digital products for Etsy shop

How to promote your Etsy shop

Your Etsy shop should be like any other business, with it’s own business name and identity.

Like any digital business, it’s a good idea to have a good social media presence. This might mean a Facebook page, Instagram account or TikTok account. By sharing your new designs or simply talking about whatever your audience is interested in, you can build a fan base and potentially a good customer base too, and you can start to make money on Etsy.

In addition to this, you can also build your own website to host your product listings on. This means you rely less on success on Etsy, and if you can generate organic traffic to your site then you could start seeing sales here too.

Even if you are selling digital products on Etsy, having other channels to focus on means a greater chance of success.

So… Now you know how to sell digital products on Etsy. What are the best downloadable designs to sell on Etsy?

1. Digital planners

People love to be organized. And what could be a better way to do that than an aesthetically pleasing digital planner?

You can easily find examples for digital planners, for example on Canva, and then turn those into unique pieces that could fit your customers’ needs. You can even go very specific with them, especially if you focus on a specific area of life. There are plenty of planners out there for water drinking, building a habit, quitting a habit, meal plans, fitness plans and so much more!

As long as you can create some fun designs and a useful layout, you should be good to go.

2. Study planners

These are very similar to the digital planners mentioned before, however, they appeal to a smaller audience. There are still plenty of college and university students though, so you can still build a solid customer base.

These planners are usually a bit more clean and minimalistic, so you should try to keep your designs low-key. That is, unless you are catering to a very specific aesthetic like cottagecore or gyaru. Also, keep in mind that these types of planners are meant to be printed, which means that you should try to offer colorless versions too, as a lot of people try to skip printing in color.

Once again, you can find examples on Canva and customize those, or you can come up with your own ideas as well.

3. Printable business cards

Business cards are currently super hot in the market. Not many people make them, so if you get into the business and manage to stand out at the start, then you have a really good chance at having an automated business for years to come.

Business cards are fairly simple, however, they do need to be tailored to the specific jobs your customers have. A stethoscope or a palette on the front can add a nice touch to the aesthetic of the card. Although, it’s important to have a few designs that are fairly generic. These should only have the required info and maybe a very basic design piece to add character.

4. Children’s learning materials

More and more parents are trying to deter their children from looking at a screen all day, so it’s no wonder that printable learning materials are becoming more wanted. These little posters can be incredibly simple, as long as they have bold colors and can catch the eyes of the little ones.

You can put anything on these from the ABCs, animals to a multiplication table. This means that you have plenty of options that you can add to your shop and you can also go crazy with the color scheme. Although you should probably add a beige or gray option as well, because a lot of parents are going for a more toned-down look in their children’s bedrooms and you should try to keep their business too.

5. Wallpapers

These will be the pieces that require the most effort from you. You need to have a creative drive, because minimalism likely won’t get you profits in this area.

Once again, you should try to pick an aesthetic or a customer base that you can cater to and that you can completely satisfy. If we stick to cottagecore, then you would be making wallpapers that have mushrooms, forests, maybe fairies, and you would either make these in a very fantastic or a very cartoony style.

Also: remember to make horizontal and vertical wallpapers, as you never know if your customer is looking for a wallpaper for their phone or their laptop.

An example of a digital wallpaper template from Canva
An example of a digital wallpaper template from Canva

6. Tattoos

Very artistic line of work, once again. If you are enthusiastic about tattoos, but don’t have a license or if you live in a very remote area, then selling tattoo stencils as a digital product on Etsy might be the perfect thing for you to do.

When you produce these stencils you are essentially selling the right to use it. This means that you can offer to take down a stencil if a person wants it to be their own, which in turn also means that you can jack up the price of it, since you won’t be able to make money from the same product again.

You can experiment with styles and methods here and if people start sharing your work then you will be able to easily make a living off it. For example, @decaffedepresso on Tiktok does exactly this and shows his work off on the platform while also offering custom pieces.

7. Patterns for crocheting, knitting, sewing and embroidery

If you know how to make a crop top, a teddy bear or even a scarf with a fun pattern, then you can sell this knowledge to others. More and more people are getting into making their own clothes, so the market is really starting to pick up.

The biggest thing you need to do is create the pattern itself, which requires a little bit of effort, as you will likely need a program designed to create these kinds of patterns. Once you have got the pattern, all you need to do is upload and market it. If you want to bump up the number of items in your shop you can also offer size variations for items like teddy bears or other types of plushies.

8. Art prints

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a creative artist, why not create some nice stock art images that you can sell without holding stock. Think of the types of prints you might see in offices, cafes, doctor’s waiting rooms or even as desktop wallpaper for computers.

You can obviously get as creative as you want here. Create landscapes, make some abstract art or simply create some nice motivational content with a nice background.

Because these are going to be digital downloads to print on various sizes, make sure you upload them as high resolution as possible.

The key will most likely be in the amount of items you have in your shop, so make sure you have something for everybody!

9. Wedding invitations and place holders

There are actually a whole ton of digital printable items you can make for weddings, and invitations are just one piece of the huge market. Of course, nice invitations are great. But also ‘save the date’ cards, table layout templates, order of service forms, ‘thank you’ notes and even pages for the guest book!

Don’t just limit yourself to weddings either. You could make birthday party invitations, baby shower invites and more….

10. Clip art

Create a themed folder of digital imagery can be a great way to earn an income from digital items on Etsy. For example, you might create a Unicorn themed clip art set, for people designing stationary, or you might make some retro styled images for anything from wrapping paper patterns to digital stickers…

This kind of imagery is also a good fit for other digital download sites such as Envato Elements and Freepik. So register with those and post your digital download content there too.

In summary

This is just a small selection of the no-stock items you can sell on Etsy. If you want to build a business online, there are plenty of ways to find digital products to sell. And as you build your Etsy shop, you will likely spot more opportunities to expand your offering.

So good luck with your Etsy shop!

Written By
Heidi Nemeth

I'm a professional content writer and journalist, specialising in lifestyle, the occult and mental health.

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