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?

Etsy Shop #2: My New Side Hustle

I did it! I opened a second Etsy Shop!

Why would I open another you ask?

Well, so I can branch out a little more without my existing shop looking like it’s a mish-mosh of stuff. (And I hate to say it, but right now that’s how it looks to me.)

I’m a creator, and I think it’s time to get back into creating patterns and small physical items for sale. There are so many neat things to be made from yarn, alpaca fiber, and macrame cord. And I have all three in abundance.

I’m looking forward to adding more products to both of my shops and seeing which one does better: physical products or digital products. It’s going to be an interesting experiment, and preferably a profitable one.

According to the experts a successful Etsy Shop can be attributed to SEO, lots of photos of the products, and competitive pricing. Something else that seems to be a contributing factor is free shipping for physical products.

Digital products are automatically delivered to your customers as soon as payment has been made, so there’s no need to charge any shipping on them. That’s one of the perks of offering digital products. Another is they can be bought by anyone in the world at any time of day, so you can even earn money while you sleep.

With the holiday season coming up I foresee Etsy being the place to shop for many gifts. And with the COVID-19 restrictions coming back into play (at least here in Alberta) online shopping is going to continue to be the way to go. I know I’ll be doing some of my gift shopping through Etsy.

If you are considering opening an Etsy Shop, there’s no better time to do it than now. Listing fees work are low, and you can easily work in the cost of any additional fees into your prices. I have items in both shops advertised, but only have the stats for my first one. The second is in its very early stages, so I won’t be able to see any stats for at least a month or more.

It can be frustrating to a new shop owner when the sales don’t come pouring in right away. My advice is to be patient, utilize SEO in your product descriptions, and use Etsy Ads if your budget allows. I currently have a few of my products advertised, with a budget of $1.00/day. That’s not a lot, but it’s what I’m comfortable paying for advertising at this point in time.

If you don’t have an advertising budget, Pinterest is a good place to place your products. It’s good karma to pin the products of others in addition to your own. Pinterest likes to see pins from a variety of sites/businesses. This practice makes you appear less spammy as well. Group like things on your boards, even if they are similar to yours.

Now that my new shop is open and I have a few products added to it, I’m going to go out and enjoy the afternoon by cutting up some trees for firewood. Last night was a beautiful evening, and I’m hoping tonight will be the same. Harvest is well underway, which means the smell of grain dust in the air. (One of my favourite smells).

Have a wonderful long weekend, and I’ll keep you posted on what is working for me and my Etsy Shops. I’m excited to see when the first sale will be!

4 Side Hustles to Earn Extra Cash

What’s a side hustle you ask?

Well, it’s simply a way to earn money on the side of your regular source of income.

I have had side hustles going ever since I was a teenager. It was a way for me to earn some spending money while I was still in school, and as I got older it was a way to supplement the household income to pay bills.

Now that it’s just me, I do it to supplement my widow’s pension. Plus it gives me some extra spending money to go on little trips (camping mostly) and set some aside for a double car garage. (Yes, I’m getting tired of sweeping the snow off my vehicle and not having enough space for my tools.)

The following side hustles are ones I have personally tried, and am still active in.

Note: I may receive a commission for any purchase made through my affiliate links. Or, I will receive the full purchase price for items I have designed/created.

Etsy

As an Etsy Seller since 2014, I have earned money from patterns I have designed, printables I have created, and a variety of tangible items I have made and shipped. I think my bestseller is my Weaving Sticks, which I no longer make. I do have the instructions available for how to use them however.

Etsy is perfect for you if you like to be creative, yet don’t want to pack up all of your wares every weekend. Plus, offering digital products (which is what I do now) will earn you money while you sleep. I love waking up to find I have made a sale while I was sleeping.

How much you earn here is completely dependent on how much time you invest in product creation, shop updates (which I’m getting better at), and customer service. It’s not a “create the product then leave it” type of deal. You have to let people know what you have to offer in terms of updates, advertising (optional), and just getting the word out.

Zazzle

This is something I have only dabbled in. I have added photos to playing cards and listed them for sale in my first Zazzle Store, and have earned a few dollars over the years. Just this week I opened another store under TakeOnLifeAfter50 and now have a small number of items available.

My new store reflects where I’m at in life, and what I find joy in. I think the John Deere Mug is a good way to show the farmer in your life how much he (or she) is appreciated.

All you need is some time and good quality photos, and you can be on your way to earning passive income with your designs. Zazzle takes care of all of the order filling, shipping, and collecting of payment. You’ll be notified when one of your designs has sold and your royalties will be paid out when you reach the threshold.

HubPages

If you like to write then this is a good place to start. You will be paid a portion of ad revenue the site earns based on clicks within your articles. I have been writing on HubPages since 2011ish, and have reached the payment threshold of $50.00 more than once.

I haven’t put a lot of time into submitting articles in the past few years, but the existing ones still earn me a little here and there. I update them occasionally, and the editors will also make slight changes (after first notifying the author) to improve the article. One of my most read articles is the one I wrote on creating and selling printables online.

I do know some authors make several hundred dollars per month, but that’s because they put in the time to add new articles and are updating what they have. As with anything, it does take some work but the monetary rewards can be plentiful.

Passive Income Planner Girl

(I am an affiliate of P.I.P.G. and will receive a commission if you purchase through my link.)

Do you dream of making your own digital planner? I want to share a course with you that I’ve taken personally and loved! The price is going up and I don’t want you to miss out!

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But what if you don’t know what your zone of genius is right now? That’s okay, because Michelle and Aimee help to draw that out of you. 

A note from Michelle:

“A planner is the simplest, easiest way to say “this is what works for me, this is how I approach my life. Maybe it could work for you too.” You start to look at what makes your life work and realise “this is important! This deserves to be in a format that other people can pay money for.”

The problem is, we’re bombarded with messages of how to take care of other people. It’s all about pleasing and serving other people, so we forget ourselves. We are so disconnected from who we are and what we want. And then we get into business and it just gets WORSE.

But we believe that staying true to who you are, honouring your zone of genius is THE most powerful way to build a business. Forget who your audience is. Who are YOU? Forget what your audience wants. What do YOU want? If you start there, you’ll attract people who will follow you to the ends of the earth.

This is so much more than a course on how to make a planner. The planner gets you to take that first step.

We’ll help you embrace that you’ve always had the power to do whatever you want. Your desires matter. You can honour yourself and when you do, the world won’t break. In fact, everyone is better off when women put themselves first.

We want to see that happen in your life and business. And Passive Income Planner Girl is where we can help you start.

Join us before the price increases on August 31st. We’d love to have you!”

In Conclusion:

Finding the right side hustle for you can take time, but there’s nothing wrong with trying different things. As we grow as people we find we don’t always want to do the same thing for the rest of our lives. What we enjoyed 10 or 20 years ago isn’t necessarily what we’re going to enjoy now.

As friends come and go, so do our interests and our desires. Pick a side hustle you are going to enjoy, not one that claims to make you thousands of dollars while you sleep. If you do find one that you enjoy AND it makes you thousands while you sleep, kudos to you!

Hot Hot Summer

Is it really the 5th of August?

I’ve been trying to stay cool, but in my single level home without AC it’s not an easy thing to do. This summer has been the hottest I can remember, and I’ve seen a LOT of summers.

My rain gauge recorded 1.52 mm (yes, mm) of rain in July, and so far this month there hasn’t been anything more than a light shower that barely got the deck wet. I’m worried for the farmers; their livelihood depends so much on the weather.

I’m fortunate to live out in the country because I am able to water my garden with well water. I’m glad I took the time to build more raised beds this year, as it makes watering, weeding, and harvesting easier. Plus, just the veggies are getting watered; not all the weeds too. (Although, the weeds do seem to thrive no matter what the water situation is.)

My last few posts have been about grief and missing Ross, which is where I’m at. However, as much as I miss him I do know it’s not what I should focus on. There are still some hard days, and there are some good ones too. Life goes on no matter what shit-show we’re dealt, and it’s up to us to make the best of each day.

I have spent some time working on new planners and have recently listed two new ones in my Etsy Shop. One is digital (for use with Goodnotes or Noteworthy), and the other is basically the same thing but set up to be a printable. The printable version has an extra category and contains only one of each sheet. Not only does that make it more economical, it also gives you the option to only print the pages you need (and as many of them as you wish for your own use).

The latest planner I designed.

Most people have a Bucket List, which is all the things they want to do before they die. After I hiked to the summit of a mountain in Jasper last fall, I decided there should be a Fuck-It List as well. And by that I mean doing something on the Bucket List, but not wanting to do it again. My latest planners contain that list. 🙂

I am currently revamping the Writer’s Planner I have listed in my shop. It’s going to be easier to use, is clearer than the first one, and will be available as a printable only. I may consider designing a digital one down the road, but for now I feel the printable is better geared to where writers like me are at.

I’m finally getting to a place where the things I enjoyed doing before Ross passed away are bringing me joy again. I love to write, design printables, and design crocheted items. Today marks the 15th month since he passed away, and there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him or miss him. As I have said before; I’m not moving on, I’m moving forward.

Now if you’re wondering how I created the planners, I have to give credit where credit is due. I enrolled in a course by The Secret OWL Society and have worked my way through the lessons. If you are interested in checking it out for yourself and creating your own for personal use or as a business, check out the Digital Planner Template. (Please note: I am an affiliate for this product and will receive commission from your purchase, but at no extra cost to you.)

I am enjoying the planner creation process and have learned about myself in the midst of it all. I love the versatility it gives me to move forward during this season of my life.

Have a wonderful day!

My Week in Review

I hope everyone has had a good week and weekend. Mine has been busy with my writing course, a couple extra shifts at work and getting my site updated. The latter was fun for me, and it really made me think about where I want to go in my writing career.

I write almost every single day. My journal is my thinking space, and it provides me with a place to voice my concerns, share my worries and come up with story ideas. Some days are vent days, while others are more productive.

My writing courses have been an eye opener for me in terms of what readers expect from different types of writing. I’ve been utilizing what I’ve learned so far, and can’t wait to see the results.

Even without formal training, I’ve had plenty of positive feedback from clients. Updating my website helped me realize that my work has been valuable to others, and has provided great content for their sites. What more could a person ask for?

Having short stories published has also been good for easing the self-doubt most (if not all) writers harbor occasionally. Polar Expressions Publishing holds annual contests for short stories, and my work has appeared in Shoreline (2016 Summer Collection) and Wherever We Roam (2015 Summer Collection). Seeing them in print among others gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Submitting articles on behalf of our library to a local newspaper helps me exercise my skills as well. There is never a lot of space for an article, so saying all that’s needed in less than 150 words can sometimes be a challenge. I envy those who can write flash fiction, because in some cases a newspaper article is much like that. Short, sweet and to the point.

As you may be aware, I do not spend my entire time writing. I also enjoy crocheting, spinning yarn and needle-felting. Yesterday I invested in a drum carder to make the process of carding my alpaca fiber easier and faster. I have several big bags of it, as well as no less than a dozen smaller bags. Plus I also have four bags of raw sheep wool. Do you think that will keep me busy for awhile?

Crocheting and spinning are my way to relax, and I often find my stories taking shape while I work with my hands. I’m the first to say I’m not much of a plotter, but when a story takes hold I will run with it. If any of you have read The Hidden Estate, you’ll see my hobbies have worked their way into the novel. It was the first novel I ever wrote, and those who have read it have given it a good rating which makes any new author do a little happy dance.

As I wrap up this post, I have to remind myself to take the time to just be. My mind is often going in several directions at once (are all writers like this?), and I have to center myself. And as a writer, I like a challenge. I have my usual topics to write about, but have found satisfaction in writing about something out of my element as well. Should you ever find yourself needing a blog post or article for your website, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a great week everyone,

Diane

Getting ready for another couple ounces of alpaca fiber.

Photo credit Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019. The photo is of my new drum carder, taken after I carded some dyed alpaca fiber.

Last Minute Decision Pays Off

I have to admit, I’m a little frugal when it comes to spending my money on something I feel I don’t really need. Or for something I feel is an indulgence.

We occasionally host workshops at the library for different things, and I generally don’t attend for one reason or another. Most often that reasoning is only logical to me I’m sure. Well, on Friday we were hosting a Sea Glass Art Workshop, and after seeing all the pretty things for it I commented to my manager I regretted not signing up. As luck would have it, there had been a last minute cancellation.

I decided on the spot to take advantage of it, and said I would fill that space available. I honestly didn’t give the frugal side of me a chance to list 101 reasons why I shouldn’t take it (it was $160.00) and am happy with my decision.

It was a last minute decision that paid off, because not only did I have a fun evening, I also came home with a piece of art which I created. The design was inspired by a photo found on Pinterest, and was so simple to make. We had a wonderful, knowledgeable instructor who owns her own studio (Shattered and in Pane) in Victoria, BC, Canada. It was a real treat to know she loaded up her supplies and drove them from Victoria to Mannville, AB., just so we could create our own works of art.

I see myself taking what I learned and buying some supplies to make more pieces. I think it’s something my sisters and I could do together, as well as my daughter and I. Not only will we be creating art, we’ll also be creating memories. And at this point in life, I am realizing that’s what’s most important. Creating the memories, having the laughs and drinking that special bottle of wine.

I spent the evening with some amazing women, and even though we were all given the same materials to work with, none of the finished projects were the same. I’m pretty sure mine was the only turtle though.

The photo (also posted on Instagram) is of my creation after a few hours of curing time. It won’t be ready for the wall for another day, just to be on the safe side. Oh, and the turtle’s name is Fred.

The point to all of this is, don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know how something will be until you give it a try. (And if money is an object, perhaps you could start a little side hustle to fund the little extras you deserve.)

On another note, I’ll be adding a few pages to my site over the next couple of weeks so feel free to check back often to see what I’m up to. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a great week.

Diane

Embracing Creativity

It’s funny how, as we get older, our priorities and interests change.

At this point in life, I am more about spending time with family and friends than taking on extra shifts at work, or burning the candle at both ends at home. I have to admit, I still do the latter occasionally but am getting better at knowing when enough is enough.

As an independent author and all around creative person, I find myself with several projects on the go at one time. I enjoy the flexibility I have to not only earn an income from my job as a library assistant, but also from my creative venues.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am fortunate enough to be able to have an Etsy Shop. It allows me to sell my crafts, patterns and even my digital products. And because I like my customers to enjoy a bargain every now and again, I select certain products to put on sale. I have added a 25% discount on a few select items until July 31, with one of them being my Pipestone Creek Romance Series. The boxed set is not available on any other platform, so for those who like to read a series start to finish, now’s the time to take advantage of it.

The older I get, the more I like to create. Whether it be with words, yarn or fabric, I embrace my creativity. There was a time when I was afraid to show others what I had made or written; now I just do what pleases me. If they like what I do, the compliments and even the sales will follow. If not, they will move on to something else. That used to bother me, but not anymore.

Creativity doesn’t just come in the form of crafts or writing. If you paint, you’re creative. If you like to design houses, you’re creative. If you like to garden, you’re creative. There are so many outlets to let your creativity come through. Sometimes the hardest part is letting yourself embrace it rather than deny yourself the pleasure.

I try to take time when I wake up to write my morning pages. I have found them to be a wonderful tool to work through a problem, or just wrap my head around a project I’m considering. I have been doing them for several months now, and have noticed more significant progress being made; both in my creativity and how I handle daily events. Between my bullet journal, morning pages and evening journaling I now have a better grasp on my projects, don’t feel so scatterbrained and am able to stay on task better.

My fauxdori has become my lifeline, as it contains my bullet journal, morning pages, brainstorming notebook and a notebook for whatever else I want to write down. Without it I don’t think I’d be as organized as I am now; perhaps the most organized I have ever been. Learning and adapting to change as a person ages is a good thing. And, it helps us embrace our creativity; whether we recognize it or not.

Are you a creative person? Where does your expertise lie?

Feel free to post your answers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, and know that if you have any thoughts on being over half a century old, positivity helps.

Photo credit: Diane Ziomek 2019 Also used for Etsy listing.