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It can feel overwhelming to think about starting an online business when you have young kids.
I started an Etsy shop selling printables just before my first daughter was born as a means to make extra money.
In the last two years, I’ve averaged $10,000 each year in my shop while spending little time on this set-it-and-forget-it side hustle.
I make the printable one time and hundreds of customers can buy it from me without any extra work on my part.
I do answer customer questions from time to time and add new digital downloads to my shop occasionally.
Compared to other ways to make money online that I’ve tried though, this one is the most hands-off.
Here are 10 reasons why selling digital products on Etsy has been the best side hustle for a busy mom like me.
1 – You can work from home
I have done my fair share of side hustles over the years from refereeing youth sports to selling temporary tattoos in person at events for extra income.
What I love about selling printables on Etsy is that you can work from home. I create printable designs in my pajamas and can make sales when I’m doing other things. I’m too busy to physically go somewhere to make money and I need to be able to do something when I’m on the go with my family, that doesn’t take much time.
My Etsy store is managed 100 percent remotely and the best part is, I’ve never had to do any in-person work to sell printables and generate passive income.
2 – It doesn’t cost much to get started
Etsy only charges 20 cents to list a product and you pay a small transaction fee when your product sells. It is such a great side hustle because you are just dealing with digital files and no inventory or storing of physical products!
I’ve sold on Shopify before and got too overwhelmed when I didn’t make much progress my first year and realized the monthly fee they were charging me was adding up. Etsy has no monthly fees, which makes it a great place to start for printable sellers.
The design program I use to make printables, Canva, has a free version. I use free clipart to make my designs and free fonts, there are lots of free tools out there if you look around.
This side hustle is inexpensive to start and the only cost is your time.
3 – It’s super fun to make printables
I no longer have a creative outlet anymore after having kids. I used to do all of these fun things and now I barely have time to shower.
I love hopping on my computer and spending an hour or so making a pretty printable that I know can make me money. Sometimes I just make designs for my family and not to sell because it is so fun.
4 – You don’t have to be that creative
If you’re looking for a creative outlet, and don’t consider yourself a creative person, this side hustle is for you.
I’ve never been great at crafting and I have a Cricut machine collecting dust in the corner of my basement. I do have the time to create and sell printables though and find that creative outlet perfect for me.
I just like to do a little something every once in a while that sparks my imagination and that I can be proud of the result. Printables are that thing for me.
5 – You don’t need experience to get started
I had never made a printable before I attempted to make my first one.
I chose the bachelorette parties niche because I knew that was huge on Etsy. My bachelorette party scavenger hunt is now one of my bestselling products.
I have seen many sellers get started and personally see them having a first sale quickly and making tens of sales in their first few months. The great thing is that Etsy has 90M buyers shopping on the platform and the demand for printables is only going up.
Many people worry the printable market is saturated but it is just the beginning. Customers now know they can get personalized cute printables on Etsy and the demand is increasing.
Now is the time to jump in on this side hustle and make your first product.
6 – You don’t need graphic design skills
The best thing about picking the bachelorette party niche is that I could create tacky designs with bright colors and that is welcomed! There are many niches like that – kids’ printables, holiday games, party decor – where you do not need any graphic design sense and can still be successful.
I avoided the wedding niche and wall art and I have done fine without any graphic design training.
I know many sellers worry they need to be graphic designers to be successful in making and selling printables and that is not true. Most sellers of printables on Etsy are not graphic designers and you do not have to be a designer to make a product that sells.
7 – You could make thousands per year
I was looking for a side hustle that allowed me to make a few thousand dollars per year at least but without tons of time. I know many people sell the dream of making a full-time income on Etsy without putting tons of time into it and that dream is far-fetched.
But what I love about selling printables is that it’s not unrealistic to make four or low five figures on Etsy in a year without putting tons of time into the side hustle.
There is a learning curve to everything and sales are not guaranteed, but this is a goal that many sellers have achieved. I have personally seen sellers go on to spend even more time on this side hustle to try to make a full-time income on Etsy.
I didn’t have that time myself and don’t have the time to take it far enough to make that much money with a young family but I’m super happy averaging $10,000 per year. As a stay-at-home mom, you can earn a good amount on Etsy if you understand what you are doing and commit to learning the process of selling printables.
8 – You can make the holidays more fun for your kids
I feel mom guilt about the holidays, especially when I see what other moms do on Pinterest and Instagram. I barely have my act together and I’m always last minute with things.
I wish I was that crafty mom with the perfectly put-together, themed, DIY birthday decorations but I’m just not. When I learned how to make printables however I became a little bit more fun.
I know how to make all of the cool DIY-printed things that you see on social media. Now, I don’t always have the time to make them still but I know how to make them. It also allows me to recognize seasonal trends to focus on in my Etsy business.
I have sometimes made printables for my family and then listed them on Etsy to sell. I love making money from things that I have made for my own life. It has been one of the best ways for me to better understand what my customers, often other parents, want to see in a printable when I use it for my own family.
9 – It’s a great conversation starter
I often find myself talking about my kids to my spouse, friends, and family.
My family takes up so much of my life it’s only natural that I talk about them.
What I struggled with as a new mom however was feeling like being a Mom was so time-consuming that it was hard to be something else too.
Now I have this fun side hustle that other people find interesting. I love sharing updates about my Etsy shop and find that my friends are super interested in learning more and chatting about it. Many have started Etsy printable shops of their own or they come to me for ideas.
It has also given my husband and me something different to talk about besides our kid’s schedules. The sad reality, but it’s true!
10 – You learn online business skills that help you grow professionally
I have been blogging and podcasting for years but selling on Etsy was my first time learning more about how a business works.
I researched customer demand, I did competitor and keyword research, and I focused on the quality of my products. These skills are all things that business owners need to know. And I learned them in a very non-scary and overwhelming way.
It feels like starting your own Etsy printables business is a great way to pursue other business ventures because you learn so much. I’m so grateful for the lessons that having an Etsy shop has taught me in customer service, market research, and marketing.
Can I say this louder for the people in the back?
I barely have time for the mindless scrolling that I do on social media. I can’t imagine adding the need to create Instagram accounts and TikTok for my Etsy shop too.
I have seen other Etsy sellers do well promoting their products on social media but that just isn’t me. It hasn’t been part of my success story or any of the sellers I have coached either.
You don’t need social media to grow on Etsy because Etsy already has a lot of people shopping on the platform. They do a great job of showcasing your products to the right people.
You don’t need to make a TikTok dancing video to get ahead on Etsy – thank goodness!
How to get started selling printables on Etsy
If you want to get started selling printables, check out my free printables workshop on Gold City Ventures.
I cover 60 minutes of tips that tell you how to go from complete beginner to selling printables on Etsy.
We also cover some case studies from my students who have started their Etsy shops from scratch and done well.
I would hate for moms to miss out on this amazing side hustle which can provide a bit of fun and flexibility to their lives. Making some extra cash while the baby is taking a nap sounds like the best place to start!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few printable designs and see if it turns into a profitable side hustle for you!