How I Made $93K in Revenue Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy | Amma Rose Designs Blog

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

How to Make Money on Etsy with Digital Downloads

So…what makes you qualified to teach me how to make money on Etsy with digital downloads?

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 4 years!

Frequently Asked Question: How much money can you make selling digital downloads on Etsy? Check out my results below!

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 that 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 definitely 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: Is Selling Digital Planners Profitable? (+ a Monthly Profit Potential Calculator for Digital Etsy Shops)

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!

Launch your Etsy shop within a few hours with our White Label Planners! Just plug in your business name, hit “Download” and publish on your Etsy shop. This is the best way to get started with Etsy digital products.

Related Post: 3 Smart Business Investments You’re Probably Not Making

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

Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy

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.

If you’re interested in launching your digital download Etsy shop, check out our White Label Planners for a quick and easy way to create and sell digital planners.

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! 


  1. Tonya says:

    Honestly, I really needed to hear #3 today. I think that’s one of my biggest downfalls so far. I’ve heard so many times that you have to spend money to make money, but I haven’t been living by this mindset because of fear of “wasting money”. I’s stupid, but I’m going to make it one of my goals this year to invest more into my business. I’m curious..what’s one of the best investments you made in your business since you’ve started?

    • Kayla Warner says:

      Absolutely, Tonya! I really don’t think I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t invested not only into my business, but also myself. I totally get the fear of wasting money…I think we all go through that fear when we’re first starting out. I also think it has a lot to do with propaganda as well! I see on a daily basis headlines that read, “Get rich with $0 down!”, so it’s the expectation that you can build a successful business without putting any money into it. So don’t feel bad for feeling this way! I’m super glad to hear you’ll be investing more into your business this year 🙂

      As for my best investment…I’d have to say any of the courses/workshops I’ve purchased throughout the years. I’ve always loved learning and I feel like every time I take the time to become knowledgeable about business concepts/methods, it elevates my business in return. One of my go-tos is Skillshare! I’ve taken classes ranging from Adobe, graphic design, typography, social media marketing, and so much more. It’s a great resource for continuing education, especially if you’re on a budget. I hope this helps!

  2. Tonya says:

    Thank you for your response, Kayla. I’ll definitely check out skillshare..especially if I can learn more about Adobe Indesign! I’ve been playing around with it for a few weeks now and want to become more proficient at it before I start my shop

  3. Haley LaRue says:

    Hello Kayla,

    My name is Haley and I am a student at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville Tennessee. I am doing a project on starting a business that creates digital assets such as planners, journals, meal plans, etc. I am required to create a budget for all revenues and expenses that come with creating the business and I haven’t been able to find any documentation. I read your article and thought you would be the perfect person to get in contact with! If you find the time, I would love to ask you some questions about the financials that come with your business.

    • Kayla Warner says:

      It was great speaking with you Haley! Please let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help 🙂

  4. Nilya R says:

    Hi My name is Nilya and I am a nursing student in my senior year and I am in the process of getting my shop up and running. I have been researching the “best” technique or tips and this article definitely helped me deeply. To see how it’s like from a person who already has their shop up and successful. Thank you for being transparent and open about your experience because it’s definitely helping many people. I am still in the research part and I wanted to know if you offer coaching, or at least can exchange emails for a possible conversation.

  5. HI Kayla, wow, it is always super inspiring to hear about huge successes on Etsy. Thank you for sharing this. Knowing your target audience is a huge step in making revenue selling digital downloads on Etsy. One of my favorite things about Etsy is that it is a built-in marketplace of buyers. I tell my students on Teachable that it is like an “online mall.” Your blog is amazing!

  6. Autumn White says:

    Do you have a problem making sells all year round when most people shop planners for the new year and for school

    • Kayla Warner says:

      Hi there, Autumn! That’s a great question! No, I don’t have any problems selling planners year around. Of course, there are trends throughout the year where sales increase depending on the season. With that being said, after being in business for nearly five years, I can predict what those trends will be and my average profitability for each month. But, there’s never a time in the year where I don’t make sales. I hope that answers your question!

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