Create an income doing something you love and make money designing printables! You’ll get to be creative and have fun in the process!
I used to design websites and logos for clients, and while I am grateful for that experience, it burned me out, and I didn’t feel like I was as creative as I could be. It was entirely my fault for not charging enough and not setting boundaries and trying too hard to please clients…but that’s a whole different story. When I started designing printables, it was a huge sigh of relief, and I thought it was incredible that I could design whatever I wanted (within reason) and make money doing it!
Before I get into this, let me start out by saying that this is NOT a get rich plan. In fact, I have yet to get rich off of designing printables, but I make enough money for fun things like clothes and vacation…and sometimes food because food is fun for me.
First off, you need to learn how to create printables, and you can do that by enrolling in my E-Course for Basic Printable Design and get Adobe Illustrator. Once you feel comfortable with your abilities, you can start selling printables!
Read below for three ways that I make money designing printables.
Sell Printable Sets on Etsy or Your Website
Before I took up blogging full-time (okay, part-time because I’m a mom, and I can’t blog 40 hours a week), I designed party printable sets. I loved it because I would create a set, take party pictures, and add them to my Etsy shop. Most people wanted the invites customized, so it wasn’t completely passive, but it was a steady income for a while.
My Etsy shop always did better than my self-hosted website. It probably had a lot to do with traffic (I had none), and I wasn’t great about linking up my posts to my set. I would pretty much write a post and not mention it again. However, once Etsy changed its policies, my sales TANKED. Like, I went from making $500 plus a month on those 14 sets (mostly my 3 most popular sets) to $0.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t start an Etsy store. You should definitely try it. It’s a minimum investment at 20 cents per listing, and you don’t pay fees until you make sales. Read up on Etsy SEO, add multiple listings to your shop (a lot more than my 14…another one of my mistakes), and be patient. It may take a while to gain some traction on Etsy. I’m considering opening another Etsy shop as soon as I have enough digital products created.
I have not had as much success selling printables on my site, but I just barely added another printable set and I’m excited to see how it goes! I will be adding more this month because I want to have plenty of options for my readers.
To sell on your own site, Start writing blog posts and enter links to your products organically (like I did with my Road Trip Bingo game) and place links to your shop in your sidebar. I recommend getting an email list started RIGHT away. Sign up for a free account with MailChimp and follow their tutorials for adding a sign-up form on your blog. Mention your shop naturally in your weekly emails to drive traffic to your listings.
I use Woocommerce for my site, and I like it. It has automatic downloads, which I need because I do not have time to email my files to every customer! It’s my favorite cart plugin for WordPress.
Wholesale or Freelance Design
I love doing freelance work every once and a while because I get my money right away and depending on the project, it could be a nice payday. I have done work for some big name bloggers, so it’s cool to have my work on large sites. If you are looking to do freelance work, it’s best to work with people that you know and trust and have a set price for your designs. I charge hourly and that works well for my clients and me.
The biggest drawback to freelance work is that you won’t make residual income on that design unless you state that in your contract. That also means that you may not receive credit for the work on that site. They paid for it, so they are under no obligation to do so. Sometimes the money is good enough for those drawbacks not to matter!
Blog About Free Printables
This sounds like an oxymoron, right? How do you make money designing free printables? There are actually a couple ways I do this, and these are my favorite ways to make money with printables. It took me about a year of seriously blogging before I made money this way. That can be a whole blog post in and of itself, but just know you need to be patient and do your blogging research! I also recommend Fantabulosity’s Blogging E-course to get you started.
Brands freaking LOVE free printables! Not only will you provide great content, but free printables will also give readers and incentive to visit your site. Printables are different from other content because readers leave with something tangible (digital, but still tangible once they’re printed out!)
You can see a couple of examples HERE and HERE of my favorite printable sponsored posts. I created printables, made a tutorial for practical ways to use those printables and promoted the products all in one post.
Before you can start doing sponsored posts, you will need to have at least 5,000 page views a month. Just make sure you post consistently (once or twice a week), join some blogger support groups on Facebook (especially look for local groups), and start your social media pages and EMAIL LIST (seriously, do it now)!!!! It sounds daunting, but if you want to make money this way, just create quality content and shout it from the rooftops!
I love ad income because it really is passive income. Right now, I don’t have ads because I’m in the middle of switching companies, but I’m antsy to get them up again!
You probably hear a lot of negativity about ads, and it’s not for everyone…but if you’re going to create all the free content, people can deal with scrolling past a couple of ads. The biggest reason I didn’t want ads on my site was that they weren’t pretty. As a graphic designer, that was super important to me. However, once I started making money with ads, I changed my tune. Most ads are created by a skilled designer, so they’re visually appealing.
The second drawback is the type of ads you could get on your blog. I went through an ad agency, and I turned off all ads for porn (yikes!), politics, and religion.
I’m not a whiz at ads, I just hand it over to my ad agency and let them do all the work. If you’re just starting out, you may not have that option since you have to apply for some agencies (meaning, you have to show that advertisers will get noticed on your site). Start out with google ads and when you’re ready, apply at an ad agency (I used Blogher for a long time, and I was happy with them).
My guess is you’ll be doing a little bit of everything like I am, but for now, focus on one thing. Work hard and be efficient and you can start making money designing printables!
If you don’t know how to create printables in Adobe Illustrator, take my online course today!