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5 Pet Products You Can Make & Sell

The pet industry is growing by leaps and bounds!

More and more money is being spent on toys, treats, beds, and even Halloween costumes…for pets.

If you have a pet of your own I’m sure you can relate. And what better person to make pet products than a pet owner.

I currently have two dogs in my home, plus two cats. They are great company, entertainment, and companions. And when I’m having an off day, they pick up on it and come for extra cuddles.

They can also turn my house upside down when they decide it’s play time. Anyone who knows me personally has seen or heard of the destruction the cats (aka hellions) can cause. They melted my heart when I saw the picture of them, and I can’t imagine life without them now. I am, however, a little afraid of what’s going to happen to my Christmas tree when I put it up.

This post is going to give you 5 products you can make and sell either online, offline, or both. And they are just the beginning of what can become a mile-long list if you were to do some brainstorming.

1. Dog Treats

As pet owners we want what’s best for our canine companions. By making treats with basic ingredients, we know exactly what goes into them. I have recently made some with pumpkin puree, peanut butter, oil, eggs, and whole wheat flour. My dogs loved them!

I am going to try another recipe this week which uses milk, peanut butter, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. I think adding some cheese, bacon bits (not the simulated ones), and even just a tablespoon of bacon grease will give both recipes doggy-appeal.

These are the 3 bigger sizes.
This is the smallest size, perfect for training.

My daughter scored the cookies before baking so they were easy to break.

Funny story: I went out for the evening the day after we baked these, and while I was gone my hellions knocked the container of treats on the floor. Cats and dogs ate almost all of the treats in that container. Luckily I had put the mini ones in separate containers so they didn’t get them.

2. Pet Toys

All pets need to be entertained to some degree, and toys are just one way of doing it. I find the easiest toys to make are cat toys because all one needs is some yarn, stuffing, fabric, and a dowel.

Dog toys can also be made with yarn or fabric, such as a water bottle inside a denim cover. If you’re into macrame, a rope toy can be made using thick cotton cord and tight knots.

Even the birds of the household need toys to keep them busy. These can be made with untreated wood, which can be easily obtained from your backyard. The key is to make sure you are using wood from a tree that is safe for birds.

Macrame can come in handy for bird toys too. Medium weight cord, a bell, and a small mirror purchased at your local Dollar Store will keep birds entertained for hours.

3. Dog Sweaters & Booties

If you live in a cold climate like I do, your puppy of any age probably wears a sweater at some point. I find the smaller the dog, the greater the need for a sweater.

I have crocheted sweaters for my dog from acrylic yarn, but I do have to say using a natural fibre is better when it comes to both heat retention and breathability.

When I had alpacas I made coats for the babies using fleece, quilt batting, and cotton fabric. They worked well to help the littles retain some body heat when it was cold out. We had a couple born during the winter so keeping them warm was essential.

Booties can be made from yarn, fabric, or even a light leather. The trick is getting the dogs used to wearing them while they’re inside so they’re not so inclined to take them off outside.

4. Blankets & Beds

Crocheters, knitters, and sewers have a lot of options when it comes to making beds and blankets for dogs, cats, rabbits, and whatever other type of pet you have.

I have made cat caves and sold a few at a local Christmas Market a few years ago. I crocheted mine from wool roving I found at a local Thrift Shop, and used a large hook. The only thing I didn’t do was add a cardboard or plastic insert to keep it open. If you’re interested in making cat caves I do suggest cutting a 4 litre ice cream bucket to make the interior support. This way the cat will be able to crawl inside easily. Otherwise it just becomes something they lay on top of.

Blankets and beds can be made from recycled denim, cotton, and even worn bed sheets/quilts. Just cut to size, add some quilt batting or stuffing, and voila!

5. Cat Trees

If you have access to used carpet (or scraps of new), scrap pieces of untreated wood, and a heavy duty staple gun you have a good portion of what is needed for cat trees.

I bought one from Amazon earlier this year for my two hellions and it is covered with something similar to minky fabric. I do have to say, carpet is definitely the better way to go. The one my ex-husband made for my cat 3 decades ago was by far sturdier than the one I have now; and it was 7′ tall. And not once did she tip it over. (The one I bought has been tipped over twice, and is now being held down by an antique sewing machine.)

A cat tree is a wonderful playground and place to relax for your kitties, depending on how they feel. Mine will play on it, then go to their favourite spots on it and nap: Mickey either in or on the cave part, and Merlot on the very top. They both no longer fit in the same spot at the same time.

Conclusion

I haven’t gone into great detail about how to make any of the above products, simply because this post would have been eBook size. There are resources available online (just don’t get sucked into the Pinterest Rabbit Hole) on how to make treats, sweaters, cat caves and more.

All of the above can be sold either online or offline. I would suggest local markets and/or pet stores first, especially when it comes to the cat trees. The shipping alone will be expensive, even if you can package it in pieces with assembly instructions.

Have you considered pet products as a side hustle? If so, which will you start with?

Why I Love Working From Home

Today we got our first real snowfall of the season.

Other years I would have been worried about having to go to work and drive in blizzards, icy conditions, and minus forty weather. Last winter I didn’t have to do any of it, and this winter will be the same.

I would have preferred different circumstances, but sometimes life deals us a crappy hand and we have to move forward. Ross used to always tell me he should be a kept man, but he didn’t live long enough to get that privelege.

All sad things aside, I love the flexibility I have. I can work when I’m most productive, not when someone tells me I have to.

I’m a night owl; always have been. Sometimes it seems as if I get the greatest ideas right before I’m ready to turn out the light. I have started making notes in my planner so I don’t forget the ideas by morning. And if I do forget, at least they’re written down.

I have started using a minimalist layout in my bullet journal. Well, maybe a little more than minimalist, but not as fancy as some of the layouts I have seen on Pinterest. The one I am using now seems to work for this stage of life. It gives me space for what I need to do, the goals I have, and the notes and plans I have for each day. It also has blocks for an affirmation, gratitude, and a word of the day.

I try to keep the word of the day positive, but sometimes I just want to say fuck-it. There are days that don’t go as planned, and that’s something we all experience. My dilemna is, do I write the word in first thing and try to focus on it, or see what the day brings and sum it all up with one word. What would you do?

Anyway, back to my daily planner page. I have it set up so I don’t have to write in it every single day. You know as well as I do there are days when life kind of gets in the way and the planning goes out the window. I have designed a printable which is available in my Etsy Shop that is just like the one I use. It works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too.

Simple, undated, and has plenty of room for goals, to-do list, and all the things you need in a planner page.

I use an A5 dot grid notebook, but the Etsy listing is a US letter size. It’s easy enough to adjust the size if you’re using an A5 like I do. I also use washi tape to give it a little bit of colour, as well as a multi-colour ballpoint pen (a nice part of a surprise bag I bought at Chapters a few weeks ago).

Being able to work from home lets me utilize my resources and work when I’m most productive. And as I said earlier, I don’t have to worry about going anywhere in inclement weather. That in itself is a big bonus for me.

Teaching as a Side Hustle?

It was summer of 2016 and an online friend told me about a platform she was using to teach others how to make homemade wine, cheese, and more. Enter Skillshare.

Disclaimer: Links included in this post are either affiliate links or links to my own products. If you purchase using an affiliate link I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I have always enjoyed teaching others how to do something, but up until that point it had been in person or through my books and articles. I was both intrigued and terrified by the thought of teaching online.

After some persuading on her part, I bit the bullet and published a class titled How to Spin Your Own Yarn.

That class still earns me a few dollars a month, and I only had to do the majority of the work once. Of the 62 months since I first published, there have only been 9 months where my payments have been $0.00. I don’t consider that terrible, since I haven’t really done anything to promote my classes. The majority of the students found my classes through the platform’s search feature.

I only have two classes published at this point, the other being Make Your Own Weaving Sticks. I tried to teach my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course but was not happy with the format, so left it as a digital download in my Etsy Shop instead.

Are you a teacher at heart?

Whether you’re camera shy or not, teaching others is doable on Skillshare. In fact, because you do the videos yourself, you can do as many takes as necessary to get it the way you want it.

The lessons consist of short videos so your students can consume them in bite-size pieces. There’s nothing worse than trying to go back through a video that’s an hour long to find a segment you want to replay. By having several short videos your students can rewatch a step they may have not understood the first time, or missed because of a distraction.

Recording the lessons can be done with your phone, a camera, or webcam. I recorded mine using either a digital camera or my phone; I honestly don’t recall which it was now. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment; as long as it gives you a clear picture and audio you’re set.

Classes can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours long. They must be structured, have an introduction (this is basically where you tell your potential student what the course is about and what they will learn when they take it), as many lessons as it takes to teach the subject, and a conclusion.

As I write this I am using a 5+ hour class for a reference. One thing I have noticed is none of the teacher’s lessons are over 20 minutes. The average lesson ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, with more or less time for some of them. His entire class has 31 videos, which includes the introduction and conclusion.

Skillshare has a wonderful reference section, as well as a teacher handbook. They explain how to structure your classes, how to optimize the description with keywords, and how to record and edit. The handbook also covers class promotion, earning revenue, building your channel, and more.

A snippet of the Getting Started Menu.

As you can see in the photo above, the Teacher Handbook is full of information to help you record a great class. Plus they want you to succeed. If you do well, they do well.

Are you in?

You don’t have to teach classes about spinning or making weaving sticks like I published; you can teach anything you wish. From A to Z, any topic you pick, chances are there’s a class on it. And if there isn’t, then you can be the first to teach one!

The best part is you can sign up for a free trial and take some classes, set up a teacher account, and earn some extra cash for as long as your class is published. Like I said earlier, I have had only 2 classes published for the majority of the past 5 years and I earn a few dollars almost every month. If I promoted my classes more, I know my earnings would be much higher.

It’s nice to get the email from PayPal mid-month saying “Skillshare has sent you $$$.$$.” It’s one side hustle I really haven’t put any time into once the classes were published. It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. However, it’s better if you engage with your students and followers regularly. (I need to practice what I preach in this regard.)

Let me know in the comments if you are currently a teacher on Skillshare, or if it’s something you’re considering. And if you teach on another platform, which one?

3 Steps to Creating an Information Product

Creating an information product is probably one of the easiest things to do, and can bring you the highest return.

Disclaimer: This post contains links for my products. I will receive full payment should you decide to make a purchase. The information does not guarantee financial gain simply by reading this post or my product. It takes time and effort to create an information product, but once done the possibilities of increasing your bank balance is real.

Before I get too far into the steps, you must first know what an information product is. In all honesty, this blog post is essentially an information product, because it will teach you how to do something.

An information product is designed to teach the reader/viewer/listener how to do something. It can be written, video, or audio. And the beauty of it is you create it once, and can sell it over and over again…even while you sleep.

I have been creating information products for at least three decades. When I started I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It wasn’t until up to about 10 years ago that I came across an article online (I don’t remember the title of it now) that talked about information products and marketing. It was then that the lightbulb went off, and I realized I could do that as a side hustle.

I started by writing articles online and when I realized people liked what I had to say, I took it a step further and began self-publishing my own ebooks, PDFs, print on demand books, and printable products in my Etsy shop.

My most popular articles have been on quilting, making and using weaving sticks, and how to earn money with side hustles. As much as I enjoy crafting, I enjoy helping others make the extra money they need/want for bills, vacations, or a new home.

This post will tell you what you need to do to create your own written information product.

Step 1: Come up with an idea.

This is where your brainstorming skills will come into play. Think of all of the things you like to do. Then think of all the things you are good at. Make a list of each, then pick your top 3.

Step 2: Outline your product.

Remember back in school when you had to write an essay? Your teacher probably told you to make an outline. It wasn’t because he/she wanted to give you more work (well, maybe that was part of it), but rather to help you stay on track as you wrote.

It’s quite easy to start writing about something, then stray off topic. The outline is there to keep you focused.

Step 3: Create your product.

This is the fun part. My guess is you already know a lot about your topic. If you don’t, it’s time to do some research.

You don’t have to write thousands of words, unless of course that’s what it’s going to take to get your point across. I do want to say the easier you make it for your reader the better. They’re going to want quick results, especially if they’re impatient like many people (me included).

Use words, short sentences, pictures, diagrams, and whatever else it takes to show your reader how to get from an idea to a finished product. For example, if you’re teaching someone how to make a macrame plant hanger you’ll include a materials list, cutting lengths, knot directions, and steps to make the hanger.

Since a lot of people need a visual to understand how the knots are made, take photos as you go along and insert them after the written part of each step. You could also include a video tutorial within the product, or link to it on your YouTube channel.

Conclusion:

Once your product is created, it’s time to market it. For a more in-depth look at the process of creating an information product, I have written a course which is available in my Etsy Shop (NotJustAlpacaDesigns). It is priced at $19, and there are only 50 available. Grab your copy today, and you will be on your way to earning passive income tomorrow.

Creating and Selling Nonfiction

Update on Yesterday’s Post

Today has turned out to be a great day!

I got a phone call just before noon from a lady over 10 miles away saying my dog was in her yard. I asked for a picture of him, and sure enough it was him! There were tears of joy, and I couldn’t get to her house fast enough.

He is doing fine, considering he has been gone for days. He seems to have lost a little weight, but that’s minor compared to what could have been. He has had a bit of food and is now napping on the living room floor.

I will resume his regular feeding schedule in a couple days. Right now I am going to give him smaller portions, but not exceed his total allotted amount in a day. I’m sure he hasn’t eaten much of anything since his breakfast Monday morning.

When a pet goes missing, don’t be quick to give up the search. And by letting local vets and shelters know one is missing right away, there’s a good chance that’s where the person who finds your pet will call. That was the case with Buddy. The local vet was called, and my number was given out. I was just getting ready to drive into town to hang up posters when I got the call.

Such a happy day!

Our Pets are Family Too

Recent events have made me stop and think about why I started this website/blog.

You’ve read my posts on side hustles, which there are more than any other topic I had intended to cover when I started this. You’ve also read about my loss of Ross in May 2020.

As of today I’m going to talk more about what being over 50 means; the good and the bad. We so often shut people out when they’re going through a rough time; simply because we ourselves don’t know how to deal with the situation.

I’m aware that I could be shut out as well, but I’m a big girl and can handle it. Now let me back up the bus just a little.

On Monday afternoon my geriatric Blue Heeler went missing. He is blind, fairly deaf, and 12 years old. My last time to see him was in the morning before I went to my doctor’s appointment, and when I got home I figured he was asleep in his house. And at that point, he most likely was.

My side door camera picked him up walking down the steps and out of camera range at 1:25 in the afternoon. He’s an old boy, so spends several hours during the day napping. He’ll make his rounds between my house and my father-in-law’s, but is always home for supper. When he didn’t eat I then realized there was something wrong.

I searched around the yard that evening, but it’s not the first time he’s been gone for a few hours. When he still hadn’t returned by morning I became really concerned. I searched my yard, nearby fields, ditches, and my father-in-law’s yard…to no avail. By the end of the day I had walked (according to my Fitbit) almost 9 miles. No sign of him anywhere.

After looking yesterday without any sign of him, my hopes of finding him alive are diminishing. I am utilizing the power of Facebook as one last ditch effort to get him back; or at least find out what happened to him. Calls to the SPCA and local vet have turned up nothing.

What hurts my heart the most is there are people out there who steal dogs for their own gain; and it’s rarely just because they want their own dog. Our world is full of uncaring people, who don’t consider a pet as a family member. Our pets are a big part of our family, and when one disappears without a trace it’s heartbreaking.

We’ve had pets die before, but with that comes closure. When they disappear the closure isn’t there, and our minds conjure up all sorts of things. I’m a big girl and know death is a fact of life. I’ve experienced it enough in my lifetime but also know closure is needed. It doesn’t get easier as we age; dealing with death. In fact, we’re more aware of it as we age I think.

If you’ve joined me just to learn how to make money with side hustles, I’ll still be posting about them. I’m also going to post about other things life throws at me; both good and bad. Maybe I’ll talk more about my pets, my friends, my kids. Maybe I’ll talk about a new recipe I have tried or pattern I have designed…or book I have read.

I don’t claim to have all the answers; I just go through life one day at a time like everyone else does. And right now, my missing dog is all I can think about. If he’s passed on simply because it was his time, all I want is to do is find him. If he’s still alive, I want him home.

Buddy sitting in my swing with me. He was so happy.

5 Offline Side Hustles

I’ve talked about online side hustles; now it’s time to switch over to a few offline ones.

***Links may direct you to a product or service I endorse. Should you choose to make a purchase through the link, I may receive a small commission; at no extra cost to you. In some cases the links may go directly to products I have created, in which case I will receive the lion’s share.***

Not all side hustles need to be online. In fact, it’s better to have an offline venture or two going as well. Read through the list below and see if there’s one that fits your personality.

  1. Farmer’s Market – Pre-COVID had people selling their wares at weekly Farmer’s Markets. Now that life is starting to get back to some sort of normal, communities are once again allowing the markets. With the holidays coming up it’s the perfect time to sell baking, homemade jams and jellies, handcrafted wood projects, knit/crocheted items, custom signs, paintings, and so much more. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see what events are happening in your community, including Craft markets.
  2. Bottle Picking – This may seem like a bottom-of-the-barrel hustle to some, but it can really be quite lucrative. With so much emphasis put on recycling and cleaning up our environment, there’s no shame in doing our part. I have friends who fund little projects with the money they earn just from taking their quads out along the highways and backroads. I myself find a few cans occasionally when going out for a walk. I know if I walked a different stretch of road each time I’d find a lot more. Just this week I picked up several cans between my house and my father-in-law’s farm, which is less than a quarter mile away.
  3. Pet Sitting – If you have a love for animals, this can be a great little side hustle for you. Pet owners spend thousands of dollars on their pets annually; and that’s not including the day-to-day necessities. Busy people are willing to pay you for spending time with their pet so they can go on vacation, or just be reassured their pets won’t be bored while they’re at work. A bored pet is a destructive pet.
  4. House Sitting – Similar to pet sitting, but not as tiring (unless of course there’s a snowstorm). When you go on vacation don’t you feel better when you have someone checking in on your home? You can provide the same service to friends and neighbours for a small fee. It may mean cleaning the sidewalks, watering the plants, and just making sure their home looks occupied while they’re away. An unoccupied home is an easy target for criminals.
  5. Snow Removal/Lawn Care – This is a side hustle you can do at any time of year. The tools you need will depend on the season, but chances are it’ll be either a shovel or a lawnmower. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; just a strong back (especially when it comes to snow removal) and the desire to help others. Keep your rates competitive, do a good job, and you’ll have repeat customers no matter the season.

The 5 side hustles mentioned in this post are low-to-no-startup cost, and can easily bring in a few hundred dollars a month. Your biggest cost will be table rental with the first side hustle, as you will most likely have the tools needed for the others.

They are also not passive income earners; you will need to do the work in order to get paid. However, you’ll likely meet and make some friends along the way who will tell others about your services. And, once you have some firsthand experience you can write your own guide to doing what you do. That in turn will create some passive income for you, and you can hire a house sitter while you vacation in Hawaii.

Ebook to Guide Writing

Change is Good

Sometimes we all need a little change in our lives.

Disclaimer: Links are either for my products or to products I am an affiliate of. If you make a purchase through a link on this page (or anywhere on my website) I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. These commissions fund my marker and washi tape addiction.

Today I changed the look of my website. If you’re a regular reader of my posts, you may have thought you were on the wrong site for a moment.

I designed the page header awhile back, and it’s the same style I use on my new Etsy Shop, TOLA50Printables. After some playing around with palettes, colours, and designs, I clued into the fact WordPress has a little button that says something to the effect of “match header colours”. If only I had known it was that easy. 😀

I like the new look. I think it’s much easier on the eyes, and the header isn’t distorted in any way. I think it’s a win-win.

I am into Week 2 of my Create 30 Products in 30 Days course and am loving it. I haven’t created more than a few products but that’s okay. I enjoy learning and creating because I can change the fonts, colours, and clipart to suit what I’m doing. And just because I start with a PLR template, it doesn’t mean I end up with a product that looks the same.

My latest creation from my 30 Products in 30 Days course.

Change is also coming for my family. My first grandbaby will be arriving in April, which is very exciting!

I’m going to have to wipe the dust off my sewing machine and make a couple of baby quilts through the winter. It’s going to be fun deciding on a pattern and colours that are suitable for either gender. My daughter doesn’t want to know until baby arrives, which, in my opinion, is the way it should be. As long as baby is healthy that’s the main thing.

That also opens up a whole new line of printables to be created. Cards, schedules, lists, and so much more. I know from being a mom that babies have their own schedules, no matter what the “experts” say. As I’m working my way through my course I’ll be coming up with baby-themed printables, for not only new moms but also for recording the milestones of pregnancy.

Babies bring changes in so many ways. My daughter is a great furbaby parent, and I know she’ll be a wonderful parent to her little human when he/she arrives. Now if only I could convince her to open up her own Etsy Shop so she can work from home and raise her own babies.

As I close this post I ask you this: What is your sole reason for wanting to start a side hustle? Is it for extra cash, to support yourself and family, to go on vacation, or something else?

Comment below or if you prefer, answer via the contact form.

How to Add to your Product Line Quickly

Fall is here. The leaves are turning quickly, and falling to the ground. It’s such a pretty time of year; both my favourite and least favourite. I’m not excited about winter at all. What I am excited about is learning how to create products quickly. Read on to find out more!

Disclaimer: links in this post may be affiliate links. What this means is if you make a purchase from one of the links I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I have spent the past couple of weeks getting some yard work done, enjoying the warm weather as much as possible, and working on designing new planners and printables for my new Etsy Shop. I am gradually moving some of the printables over from my first Etsy Shop, as they are mopre in tune with the new one.

Something I have learned recently is PowerPoint can be used to make planners and printables just as easily as Affinity Publisher or Canva. If you have Microsft 365 (or any MS product) you should have access to PowerPoint as well. I’m taking a course now on creating products over at Share Your Brilliance entitled Create 30 Products in 30 Days and it has me spending several hours in the evening at my computer. Between it and trying to finish up the computer side of our community history book, it’s a wonder I get any sleep at all.

I’m having so much fun with this one.

In the course mentioned above D’vorah shows students how to create colour palettes, streamline a filing system (so you can access your products quickly), and replicate the same planner in different themes. My first was a Thanksgiving Planner, which is now in my TOLA50Printables Etsy Shop. I’m happy with how it turned out, and since Canada and the US celebrate at different times I feel it has potential for this holiday season.

A little word of advice: follow the instructions for saving your files just how D’vorah instructs. I thought I could skip a step, and my file DID NOT save like I wanted it to. I now have a PDF but cannot edit the original because I didn’t save it the way I should have. I’m glad it’s done the way I want, and that I created a short video of it for my Etsy listing before I messed up.

The bonus to this course is you get a template to work with. It has so many options: dated, undated, one page per month, two pages per month, weekly pages (at least 3 if I recall correctly), and a small variety of daily layouts.

I personally prefer to create undated planners as they are evergreen (meaning they can be used year after year; simply print a new copy when you fill the old one). Plus, they don’t have to be constantly updated, so you can spend your time creating new products instead of updating old ones. To me that’s a win-win.

There will be times you want to use images, or use different pages than what is included in the templates with the course. Yes, you can find free stock images online but I prefer to pay for mine. I use Creative Market for the majority of my graphics. One of my recent purchases has been this Halloween Bundle which I have used to make a card for my Etsy Shop. With Halloween being just around the corner it’s a good time to get some cards and games listed.

As with any products you create planning ahead is beneficial, especially when it comes to holidays. Have you noticed the Halloween and Christmas items in the stores yet? It seems like summer is barely over before Christmas stock starts making an appearance. I don’t know about you, but I find it showing up earlier and earlier. By the time Christmas rolls around I’ve had enough. (I love Christmas but hearing nothing but Christmas music in every store from the beginning of November gets a little old.)

Okay, back to product creation. If you want to maximize your earnings, start planning and creating for the holidays at least 2 or 3 months ahead. It takes time for customers to notice your shop, especially if you’re not advertising. Create, list, and utilize Pinterest. If you have a newsletter be sure to mention the upcoming holidays and link to your products. I’m the first to admit I’m horrible at pinning, mainly because I get sucked into the Pinterest Rabbit Hole. It’s good karma to pin the content of others more than your own.

Time to go out and enjoy the warm weather for a little while, then get my butt back in my chair and do my “homework” from my 30 Products course. I think a walk is in order, and perhaps take some pictures for my autumn planners.

Have a wonderful day, and let me know what you’re working on.

Diane

Creating Printables as a Side Hustle

It’s hard to believe September is half over. Kids are back in school, and we’re once again faced with restrictions. I’m really hoping life can get back to some sort of normal soon.

Being unable to go a lot of places has not been all bad, however. I have been able to work on both of my Etsy Shops and have even made some sales. I know I could do more in terms of sales, but I’ve been concentrating more on creating than marketing.

Creating printables for my TOLA50Printables shop has been fun. I have purchased some templates with PLR Rights, which means I can modify and sell the content; as long as I export as a PDF.

Using templates with PLR Rights is easier than creating from scratch, but it’s not just a matter of adding your name to the template and calling it yours. You have to take the time to use your brand’s colours, fonts, and content.

What I like about printables is I can spend a few hours creating one, then list it. Once listed I don’t have to worry about filling orders because they’re all digital downloads. I can then take the time not spent filling orders and create more, or work on my pattern designs and physical products. My eyes get a little buggy from spending too many hours in front of my computer, so it’s nice to have another creative outlet.

Designing crochet patterns has led me to creating printables for crochet artists. I know which steps are needed when it comes to pattern design, as well as what is needed when selling those items at a craft fair or online. By utilizing my own knowledge I can help others who are perhaps just getting started in the crafting business.

The learning curve can sometimes be steep, so creating products to make a small business get off the ground faster is important to me. I know I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but without those mistakes I wouldn’t be able to help others.

Now that I’m becoming more familiar with Affinity Publisher and utilizing Power Point a little more, I can take my first Crochet Business printables and revamp them to better suit my customers. The one I currently have listed in my NotJustAlpacaDesigns Etsy Shop was designed in Canva but I know I can improve it in Affinity Publisher.

I tend to try to make things perfect in the beginning, but I have come to realize the main thing is to get the products out there. If it’s never listed or shown to anyone, how can improvements be made? Customer feedback is important, and you should always try to find the positive; even when the customer is less than polite. (I have never had anyone downright rude, but I have seen it happen to others.)

If you’re considering starting a printables business as a side hustle, you have a lot of options for both products and platforms.

You can create and sell items such as:

  • planners
  • journals
  • cards (birthday, anniversary, sympathy, graduation, wedding, etc.)
  • wine labels
  • trackers
  • charts
  • vehicle maintenance logs
  • plant care records
  • babysitter’s list
  • petsitter’s list
  • housesitter’s list
  • garden planners
  • …and so much more.

There is a bigger variety of printable to create than places to sell them but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. As mentioned, I’m and Etsy Shop owner and I like the fact I don’t have to spend countless hours putting myself out there. Etsy takes care of the listings, transactions, and downloads. Its built-in search engine helps point customers in the direction of your products, provided you have utilized keywords, descriptions, and tags.

Another way of getting my printables out there is by having them available directly through my website. I have to admit, I haven’t taken full advantage of this feature yet but have dabbled a little. I do have my latest ebook available via clicking the picture of it.

Another platform for selling digital products is Shopify. I do have to say I’m not familiar with how the platform works, but a quick Google Search did let me know it does have options of digital or physical products.

Amazon is another platform if you’re interested in creating ebooks. As an author I have used it for years to sell my fiction and nonfiction titles, but not for anything that’s only a few pages.

In conclusion, I do have to say Etsy is my first choice for selling printables. It’s easy to upload a file, and adding the description, title, and tags is straightforward. The listing fees are low which is perfect for anyone on a budget, and the automatic renewal feature is fantastic.

Now that I’m taking charge of my wellbeing again (grief can sure kick the crap out of a person) I’m focusing on the things I want to do, and the things I enjoy doing. I foresee my experiences playing a huge part in what I’m capable of doing, and becoming. And I have these cards to thank for the positive outlook, no matter how my day begins.

Daily Affirmations

Have you thought about starting a printables business? If so, what will your first product be?