Have you been wanting to make some extra income while also helping other people? Want to know how to leverage your online presence, without selling physical goods? The solution may be to create printables and sell them.
I thought today that I would share about what printables are and why they are so awesome. Let’s jump right in!
What Is A Printable?
Simply put, a printable can be anything you can create to solve a problem, transform to PDF format then sell through a downloadable link. Printables are used for a whole range of different things and are one of the most popular digital downloads sold online.
Why are people excited to print stuff in this digital age? Printables can be used to add personality and vibrancy to any object or occasion.
They are highly customizable and span virtually every niche and event. A digital paper file can have a single or multiple pages – it all depends on what you want to offer.
Printables are not just excellent add-ons for consumers. Creators behind these digital products are raking in some serious passive profits. You also can, as well.
You don’t have to be an expert graphic designer or an artsy person to join those creators. A computer, time, and a sprinkle of drive and passion is all you need to get started!
What Kind Of Printables Can You Create?
If you possess some graphic design skills, there is a whole host of options in terms of creating and selling printables. Printables cover so many categories; creativity is your only barrier.
There is a massive demand for printables, and it helps to know what printables are a big hit. Your first step is deciding what type of digital products you want to create.
Know what you’re strong suit is and what your comfortable using. If you have a financial background, for instance, you can consider creating printable budget planners.
The beauty of printables is that you can create them once but sell them repeatedly to different customers without worrying about replenishing your inventory.
Here are 16 types of printables you may want to consider creating and selling online:
- Greeting Cards
- Coloring Sheets
- Meal Planners
- Financial Planners
- Fitness planners
Tools And Resources Needed To Create Printables
I hope the above list inspires you to begin something new or continue with what you already have. Now that we’ve seen the different kinds of printables you can create, let’s discuss the tools and resources needed.
You don’t want to spend much of your precious time creating these printables. That is why I have put together a list of novice-friendly apps and tools that I know other people have had success with using.
The following are the tools and resources that everyday creators use:
Applications To Create Printables
Canva is a popular online tool for creating designs and is the first tool I would recommend. You can open an account for free and quickly create any printable you want using their templates, fonts, illustrations, stock images, and background options.
The latest version of Canva allows you to search their database for the template design you want to use frequently. Use “Custom Dimensions” to create the perfect professional looking design for your ideas.
Canva is free to use, but you can upgrade to the Pro Version to unlock premium features. For example, you can’t use Canva’s free images for printables you plan to sell.
This service allows you to store files (printables, photos, and videos) and synchronize them across devices.
The storage files will be up to date and backed up safely, meaning you can’t lose them even if you lose your tablet, smartphone, or computer. You can access Google Drive with a free Google account.
Google Drive allows you to set access levels for who can view, edit, or comment.
PicMonkey is similar to Canva, except you get advanced editing options for graphics. You also get the ability to change image size and more opportunities to customize stock images, all at a lower membership fee.
Their mission is to empower everyday creatives to communicate visually. You need to sign up first before you can get access to this online program.
You probably have the Microsoft Office suite on your PC already. If you don’t want to create a new account, you can use PowerPoint for simple printables.
Most people know PowerPoint as a presentation program, but most don’t know that it also allows you to combine text, graphics, and multimedia content to create professional, customizable printables.
The program is a simplified design to be easy to use.
TOOLS To Create Printables
Creative Market is an online marketplace where web creatives can buy and sell community-generated design assets. Here, you can buy graphics, stock photography, and other digital goods you can use to create printables.
There are over 3 million unique graphics, photos, templates, and fonts designed by independent creators from all corners of the world.
Adobe Acrobat (for PDF creation)
Adobe Acrobat is my go-to program for creating PDF files. You can download the free global standard document management system for your Mac OS, Windows, and Android devices to convert your images and documents to PDF in 10 seconds or less.
Creating PDF files is easy. Sign in using your Adobe ID and password. Open Acrobat and click “Tools” then “Create PDF.”
Pick the file you want to create a PDF for (single or multiple files). Click “Convert to PDF.” Follow the prompts and save your document to your desired location. Easy peasy!
PdfForge’s PDFCreator and PDF Architect allow you to create, edit, and merge PDFs. The programs have useful features and can be used by everybody for free.
If you want your printable to be fillable online, you can use PDFescape to create the fill boxes in your PDF.
How To Create Printables
By this point, I hope the possibility of creating a printable excites you. Now it’s time to unleash your creativity and get to work. At this step its where you’ll spend most of your time.
Try and have 6-8 products available in your online store before you launch. While it may be tempting to quickly create a bunch of printables to sell for cheap, spending more time creating quality products means you’ll be able to charge more and make decent money.
The process of how to create printables may vary depending on the particular digital product you’re creating. The following steps will be the same regardless of the product.
Decide What To Create
You may have the most beautiful printable, but if it’s not going to solve a problem, it’s going to fall flat. Ensure what you go for is what your audience needs.
Instead of generic printables, create ones with a clear-cut and well-researched group of people in mind. It may appear less profitable to concentrate on a specific demographic, but from a business perspective, it is a much more sensible option.
Instead of trying to satisfy a broad, vague niche, you can focus on financial planners for college students living in big cities who want to get out of debt quickly, meal planners for those following the keto diet, or create checklists for stay-at-home moms.
If you try to sell your printables to everyone, you’ll sell them to no one.
Check Pinterest and Etsy to see the most pinned or downloaded printables.
You can also contact your email subscribers and survey or interview them.
Sketch Your Design
Now it’s time to let your creative juices flow and sketch your digital products. Sketch out your idea on a piece of paper. Try to maximize white space and avoid using multiple fonts at the same time.
As mentioned, you don’t need to have design skills to create a fabulous printable. All you need is a willingness to get in touch with your artistic side (we all have one) and an internet connection.
Choose A Color Scheme
There are so many free printables out there (including a handful here on my blog)! So how could you ever profit from selling them? By creating printables that are more valuable than the free options!
The video below shows some of the printables that I’ve created!
Sometimes, you just cannot find the perfect printable. The templates aren’t the right color. The list does have the correct columns.
Colors can make or break your printables. You need a coherent color scheme. Use sites like Design Seeds for inspiration if you have trouble choosing color palettes.
For consistency, come up with at least five colors that are “your colors” and use them repeatedly for all your digital products. It is easier than having to use a new color palette for every printable.
The font size should be large enough and easy to read.
Design Your Printable
Now it’s time to think about the final result and the customer behind it. If you’re just learning to create printable forms, never sell them. Seriously.
Spend more time honing your printable design skills. Decide on the page size you are going to use before you start designing.
Also, remember to use the right page margins. Some printers can do borderless printing, and others cannot. Ensure you allow enough margin for hole punching, in case customers want to create personal notebooks.
Remember to watermark your pages to protect the printables from being outright stolen. Add your URL to the bottom of each page with the copyright symbol.
Most people prefer the lower right-hand corner. Name your files clearly, and always get password protection to ensure safety for your printables.
The process of how to create printables is not complete without testing your products. What you see on the computer isn’t always what you see on paper.
It helps to print out a design and have it physically in front of you.
You may notice elements of your design you may have missed. For instance, colors that look nice on the screen can appear dull when printed.
Imagine creating a financial planner with unreadable fonts or a calendar with the wrong dates. If you don’t see it, the consumer definitely will!
Price Your Printable
There is no fast and easy rule of pricing. Do extensive research to understand what your competitors are charging.
Ensure you don’t overprice yourself or go too low as there’s no benefit to being the second-lowest priced product. Some people associate low price with low quality. There are two main pricing strategies you can apply when pricing your printable: value-based and cost-based pricing.
In the cost-based pricing model, you factor all the time and cost (materials, internet, taxes) spent creating your product, and how much you want to make after those expenses.
Otherwise, you are just breaking even and not turning a profit.
With a value-based pricing model, you just have to base the price on the value your customers believe your printables have.
How To Sell Printables Online
Hopefully, now you are convinced that creating printables to sell online is too good an opportunity to pass up. Unlike with physical products, printables have no inventory.
Meaning there are fewer financial risks for you – no warehouse staff, no storage fees, and absolutely no shipping costs. You can also replicate them infinitely.
By using your site for selling, you get to cut out the middleman and keep your profits. You can customize your selling experience for better customer relationship management.
But there is a technical burden as you have to incorporate a log-in area, a widget to accept payments, a backend tracking system, etc. Marketplaces are great platforms to sell your digital products.
They do hosting, take care of transactions, processing, and all the technical work. It will also give your site exposure to millions of users every month. You just need to create listings, upload your printable files, and renew the listing when they sell.
But it can be challenging to build an email list and giving up a portion of your earnings. Etsy, for instance, charges their sellers only $0.20 per listing for up to 4 months, a 5% transaction fee, and 3% + $0.25 for every payment processing fee.
Depending on your preferred membership plan, Shopify charges you a monthly fee of $29 with 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for Basic, $79 with 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction for Standard and $299 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction for Advanced.
There are also file size limits that vary across platforms. The file size limit is 20MB on both Etsy and Shopify.
Promoting Your Printables
After putting up your printables for sale, it’s now time to generate excitement around it. Don’t assume that people will just find your fabulous printables and start buying.
You want to make sure that people know your product and are willing to pay for it. This process is called product validation.
You can start pre-selling your printables by setting up a simple sales page. Set up a way to accept payment. Offer an early bird discount to whoever makes a pre-order. If many people are willing to pay for your products, you’re off to a great start!
Some best practices for creating a successful sales page includes:Explain why you’re qualified to create printable forms.
- Give social proof.
- Good reviews and testimonials help improve sales.
- Have only one call to action on your page.
- Bundle related products and offer a discount.
- Offer a money-back guarantee.
Wherever you plan to sell your printables (an online marketplace, your website, etc.), you have to convince people they NEED your product.
I don’t advise paid advertising for printables.
Your sales page should highlight the problem your audience faces and how your digital product will help them. Pass your message in a non-pushy manner. Focus on building relationships.
With printables, there’s no limit to the number of people you can serve. Take advantage of social media, especially Pinterest, to advertise your products.
Create Passive Income With Printables
Selling printables is one of the best ways to create passive income. How wonderful would it be to treat yourself to something beautiful or pay for your utility bills with money earned from selling your printables?
If you already have a blog, it doesn’t mean that you only have to post blog articles for your readers. To keep them engaged, you need to offer them something. These days, people expect something in return.
That something can be downloadable content (printables). Printables helped me grow my email list from 100 subscribers to over 1,000 subscribers in a matter of weeks.
Some blogs and websites offer even bigger downloadable content, such as ebooks. Printables are easy to do (less-time and resource-consuming), but just as helpful.
Printables let you offer them something that can be useful. It will differentiate you from your competitors, increase the loyalty of your audience, and make you money on the side.
Want to learn more about creating printables?
Check out this Easy Printables course by Tracie Fobes. The course will take you through everything you need to know about printables, from the first steps to take to colors, layout, and styling, fonts/font pairing, how to use Canva, and exporting your completed printable.
I used the principles that I learned in Tracie’s class to create the printables in my resource library. The class is easy to follow and she even has a Facebook group where you can ask questions.
The Easy Printables class is very inexpensive compared to the competition and she covers everything you could ever want to know about creating and selling printables.
Tracie started blogging in 2009 and she makes five figures month after month from blogging and printables.
What type of printables are you going to create? Feel free to share in the comments below.