If you are interested in creating digital downloads and selling them on Etsy, you will want to read this first. Passive income is not as easy as some bloggers make it seem. There is a lot of work that is involved in creating passive income.
You might be saying, “Well once you create it, it’s done, right? You just start making sales and there is no additional work.”
No, that’s not how passive income works. I spent a full year working on earning passive income through my Etsy shop. A full year where I spent the first 6 months thinking all I had to do was create it and they would come. For those first six months I made 3 sales. 3 sales of $3 a piece.
Lucky for you, you will not have to spend the first six months waiting for that first sale. So let’s get started.
Passive Income is not exactly Passive
There is a lot of work that goes into building passive income. Especially on Etsy.
My husband and I both built passive income on RedBubble and TeePublic with designs. On our greatest month we made $600. So when I approached creating digital downloads for Etsy I thought this would be that easy. The fact is it is actually a lot harder than that.
When I started taking Etsy seriously as a business venture I decided to do a lot of research in what other people, and what the most successful sellers were doing.
I studied other people’s shops who were creating the same types of products I create. The most successful shops have upwards of 200 items in their shops.
This is when I came to the realization that I would need to put a lot more work into my Etsy shop.
Realistically, on my best day, I created 3 new designs. That means if I had that same day every day I would need 67 of them to create 200 designs.
Let me tell you about that day. I was off from work, my toddler was actually well behaved, and my husband was busy working on his business. We ordered pizza and my phone was on silent for the entire day. That day was a 12 hour working day.
How often do you have a day like that? I get them maybe once a month. After working, taking care of my family, marketing, writing for this blog, and any other must do tasks I have going; I’m lucky if I can push one or two designs a week.
Even if you set a goal of one design a day (which I tried.) That’s still 29 weeks before I have enough designs in my shop that I can see massive success. That’s a lot of work.
Surely not everyone needs that many designs
Actually if you are selling printable art or digital downloads of any kind, you really do. In a marketplace like Etsy there are millions of products up for sale. This means there are hundreds if not thousands of products using the same keywords that you are using. This means there is a lot of competition. If you have only 40 digital products you do not have enough products to be competitive in this market.
There, that is as bad as it gets. If you want to earn substantial passive income you have to put in a LOT of work. Not so bad huh?
Of course you could take my route and start earning more money by offering a physical product of your digital work. There are plenty of manufactures that Etsy allows for you to work with who drop ship directly to your customers.
In my shop I offer digital art, printed art, and coffee cups. I plan to offer more products as I continue to build the shop. Though expansion is taking a bit of a back seat to other projects.
Whether you decide to stay completely passive or offer products the remainder of this post is helpful.
How can it be passive income if you have to work?
Here’s how. You have 200 designs in your shop. You sell 2-3 items per day between Etsy searches and other marketing avenues. If your product is $5.00 that’s an extra $300 a month. Ok so it’s not replacing your job but it’s money to pay off debt, pay for Christmas, or even just pay a bill or two.
It’s a lower goal and there are others who are doing well above those estimates. It’s easy math for those like me who don’t do the math.
When you sell an item on Etsy and you have automatic renewal on, Etsy will renew that listing and you will show up at the top of the search results for your keywords again.
So in the beginning when you only have 40 products you’ll be renewing listings every few days or once a week to get noticed. When you have 200 products the renewing happens on it’s own. Less work for you, means you are one your way to making passive income.
What if I create 40 products and just renew them?
Been there, done that. It doesn’t quite work. I was making maybe $20 a month doing it that way. Minus the etsy fees and Marmalead fees I was looking at a loss in my business.
With the high amount of competition that means you have to sell what your buyers want. This means you will need more items under more keywords getting in front of the eyes of your potential customers.
You have 40 products, your 40 listings show up under 80 keywords at best. That means you have 80 chances out of thousands of possibilities to get eyes on your product. Now if you have 200 listings and 400 keywords you now have 400 chances out of thousands of possibilities to get your listing in front of potential customers.
The key to really earning passive income on Etsy is really about having enough listings to get seen often.
Ok it’s not so bad, how do I get started?
After that, put in the work. Create templates and as many designs as you can. List regularly and you continue to create, research, and brainstorm.
Sure creating a stream of passive income is work. Here’s how I helped to justify the work I put into my “passive income.” I have nothing to lose by doing it. It doesn’t cost a lot to get started. It doesn’t put my family at risk of being broke. Even at one point when it was just $20 a month, that was a tank of gas (with my rewards card.) That was pizza once a month. It’s $20 that I didn’t have before.
As long as you keep your eyes on your goals creating passive income is not difficult, it just takes time. So keep working at it and you will get there. Follow me on Pinterest and pin this to your business board. Please subscribe to stay updated on the blog.