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How I Made $93K in Revenue Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy

So…what makes you qualified to teach me how to sell printables on Etsy?

I wanted to take a moment to show you not only the results that I’ve been so blessed to have over the past few years of managing my own Etsy shop, but also to give you an idea of the results that you could see yourself.

Without boring you with all of the minute details, I started my Etsy shop selling business planners in August/September of 2018. There were tons of reasons why I actually started, but the one that sticks out to me most is the fear of continuing down a path of “living to work”.

My story follows a pretty cliche, over-dramatic storyline of quiting my 9-to-5 and starting over from scratch, only to come out on top, happier than ever before.

It was a rocky start (I only made like $45 in my first month in business), but after getting the swing of things, I made my first $1,000 in less than 4 months of selling planners on Etsy, plus I sustained and INCREASED my income long-term. And now I’ve been getting great results for myself and others for over 2 years!

From January-December 2020, my planner Etsy shop received $93,534.21 in revenue (during a pandemic!). Lucky for you, the planner industry is booming, which means it’s a super profitable market if you’re looking to either start a planner business or expand your current business.  

Point is, I know exactly what it takes to grow an Etsy shop the strictly sells planners and digital downloads, and now I’m going to show you how to do it too. So stick with me, because you’re going to love the outcome!

Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Successful Printable Etsy Shop

How I Made Nearly 100K in One Year Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah, yeah…it’s great you made money, but how did you do it?”.

Before I start, I just want to note that this is a raw, unfiltered blog post that I’m typing up from the top of my head. I just want to give you a transparent answer to what it takes to be a successful Etsy seller from my perspective and experience.

I say this a million times, but everyone’s situation and experiences are different. Some people can hop on Etsy and make 1,000 sales without any effort. For others…like me…it takes time & work. So, here’s how I grew my Etsy shop to make $93K in a year after being in business for 2 years…

First things first, it’s defiantly easier said than done.

For you, all you see is the end-result but you weren’t here when I was buried in the trenches.

I’ve put in work for the past 2 years…and a lot of it nobody from the outside could see…that I was waking up first thing in the morning and logging onto my computer to put in a full days of work, or the holidays that I missed, or the social life that I had to put on the back burner for a while.

Which brings me to my first tip…

1. The work you put in determines the results you get out of it

I know the internet has glamorized the whole “make a full-time income while only working 3 hours a week” narrative, but if you start off your business with the intent of putting mediocre effort into it, then you’re going to get mediocre results.

The fact of the matter is, all of the heavy duty work is going to fall right between the time you launch to well after you make your first 1,000 sales. There’s a lot of setting up, analyzing, scratching projects to start all over, and serious grunt work that you have to get through in order to see success in your shop.

The more time and effort you put towards your business in the beginning, the sooner you can kick your feet up a little.

If you’re working a full-time job, make a commitment to yourself to devote all of your extra time to building your business. Yes, you will have to sacrifice some things, but it’s going to be so worth it.

If you don’t have a full-time job, make Etsy your full-time job until you get it up and running so it can run itself. From 9-5, pour your attention into your shop. If you think you don’t have anything else to “fix” or “change”…look again!

Again, get out of the mindset that you don’t have to put a lot of energy into your shop to make full-time income!

2. Create a plan & stick with it

I won’t go into too much detail, but here’s the gist…if you keep starting and stopping strategies inconsistently, you’re not going to get anywhere. You absolutely have to commit to a shop-building strategy for a long period of time to see results.

Going through non-stop trial and error because I wasn’t getting any instant gratification with my results is what took me so long to build my first shop.

When it comes to building a shop, you have to do a whole lot of one thing before you actually see an impact on your shop.

Related Post: Beyond S.M.A.R.T.: Goal Setting for Online Sellers

3. Don’t be afraid to invest

This is a big one for me.

I receive emails all of the time of sellers who just don’t want to pour any money into their business because they’re either afraid it’s going to be a waste of money…or they might not get a return..or they haven’t made any money yet so they don’t want to cover additional on.

As a result, they’re absolutely limiting themselves to elevating their business and standing out from their competitors, causing them to either not grow at all or at a slow rate.

You cannot be afraid to invest into your business! You can’t make money if you don’t spend it (of course, please try to make good investments!)

If purchasing a commercial use font can elevate your business…do it!

If you have profit left over after your expenses, instead of pocketing it put it towards your brand or creating a new product.

If you need a printer or a certain software that will help your business run more smoothly…save up for it!

I’m going to give you an example…when I first started my Etsy shop I only sold printable PDF files. After a while, people constantly messaged me saying they loved my planners but didn’t want to print it and would love if I had digital planners that they could purchase.

For the longest time, I put off selling digital planners because I didn’t have an iPad that would allow me to create them (the correct way). So, for months I was losing out on huge opportunities for growth because I didn’t want to spend money to get a device that I needed to grow my business.

Finally, my husband literally drove me to Best Buy and made me pick out an iPad to buy because he knew the value of investing into businesses (he’s a business nerd). I had the money for it, I had the knowledge on how to create the planner…literally nothing was stopping me from investing into what I needed but me.

Fast forward to today, my digital planners are some of my best sellers. After I implemented them into my shop my sales SKYROCKETED!

Which leads me to my next point…

4. Listen to your customers!

You guys know I preach on and on about target markets. I don’t do it just for the sake of having something to talk about…I preach about it because it’s one of the top things that has helped me grow my Etsy shop.

Every single new item that I have implemented into my shop has come from the concerns & questions that my customers and target market have brought to me.

If I start to get a ton of questions about the same things, I make a mental note that this is something that there is a demand for that other sellers, including me, are not fulfilling.

A good example of this would be my Fillable Planners.

After implementing digital planners into my shop, a lot of my target market were satisfied up until a point.

Then, I started getting message after message of people who don’t have a tablet to use the digital planners but they also don’t want the hassle of printing out a 50+ page document. Many of them asked if there was any way they could use the planner on a computer that allowed them to type directly into it without needing a tablet.

So, I created a solution to that problem…and as you may have already guessed, that’s one of my best sellers as well!

So, listen to your customers questions and their concerns. If you get some feedback in your reviews, don’t brush them off. Really analyze what the customers issues were and figure out if you can tweak your product or create an entirely new product out of it.

5. Always analyze, adjust, & grow

Continue to grow, even when you don’t think you need to.

Etsy is continuously growing & expanding. You’re going to have competitors with new and fresh ideas popping up left and right, trends come and go, and you have to be prepared to adjust and move with your market.

If you’re unwilling to change anything about your shop because you’re set in your belief that it’s fine the way it is, then you’re limiting yourself for growth.

Even if it is fine, it could always always be better!

Play around with your photo angles, add a different variation to your product, do some A/B testing…audit your shop in the most unbiased perspective as possible and find something that can be altered for better results.

Related Post: 3 Simple Steps to Optimizing Your Planner Etsy Shop to Convert Your Traffic into Sales

I hope you found something in this blog post that you could resonate with. I know it was a long one, and not as nicely structured as my other posts are, but I wanted to give you a transparent insight into what it was like running my shop and building it to where it is today.

Also, I couldn’t leave without saying a HUGE thank you for going on this journey with me and supporting me along the way! I couldn’t be here without you! 


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