Starting a Printables Side Hustle, and Why Etsy is a Good Place to Start [Ep. 6]

There are so many options when it comes to printables it’s hard to fit it all into a single post. In September I talked about printables as a side hustle, but didn’t focus completely on Etsy. Below is the transcript/shownotes (with links added) of this week’s podcast, which focuses more on why Etsy is a good place to start a printables business.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Starting a Printables Side Hustle, and Why Etsy is a Good Place to Start

Welcome to Episode Six, Starting a Printables Side Hustle, and Why Etsy is a Good Place to Start. 

First of all, what is a printable? 

A printable is any document, page, planner, or card that the customer can print from your supplied file on their home computer. The variety of printables that can be created is only limited by your imagination. Some types are calendars dated and undated planners, also dated and undated notepads greeting cards to do lists, flash cards, business cards, address labels, stationery, recipe cards, activity books, coloring books, journals, chore charts, habit trackers, checklists, and more. You create the document on your computer and export it as a PDF. That way you can send the file to the customer or have it available for them to download as soon as payment is received. 

There are two types of printables and the type you offer is entirely up to you. First, there’s a ready-made one. What this means is everyone who orders it will get the same thing. This type can be uploaded to the platform and the customer has instant access to it as soon as they’ve completed their payment. 

Second, there’s a customizable one. This one has the basic layout the same, but details are requested and you can edit the main file before sending it to your customer. This is great for baby showers, bridal showers, birth announcements, wedding invitations, and so on. Now, you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, you can combine them. 

How are printables created? 

Printables can be created using any software that supports text, graphics, or both. I’ve used Canva, PowerPoint, MS Word, Google Docs, and Affinity Publisher. I’ve also made greeting cards then scanned  them so the design itself can be printed. This way I can sell the cards as printables yet they’re of my own design. This is an aspect I’ve only just begun so I really don’t have any facts or figures of my own to see how well it does or doesn’t work. 

If you even have basic knowledge of using any word processing program, you can create a printable. I’ve created some using text alone and others where I have inserted tables, photos, and even order forms. With the software that comes with computers it’s easy to create simple or more detailed documents, calendars, and other forms. And if you’re not quite sure how to do it, there are thousands of tutorials online. I have enrolled in classes so I can learn how to design in Affinity Publisher, Canva, and PowerPoint. I found a lot of value in the paid classes but there are some great free tutorials online as well. 

My top three recommended courses are:

Planner Girl by Secret OWL Society. This is one of my favorites because it teaches how to find your zone of genius, and plus how to make printable and digital planners using editable templates. 

Yadsia Iglesias Media LLC. She teaches how to make planners using Canva. Plus, she also includes editable templates. I’ve mixed and matched some of her templates and have come up with some pretty neat planners. 

Share Your Brilliance with Dvorah Lansky. This is the one where I learned so much about PowerPoint. I honestly had no idea I could change the layout and create such awesome things. I used PowerPoint to make slideshows when I worked at the library for the electronic bulletin board, but using it for planners was a new concept for me. It has become my go to when designing new planners and other printables. 

I’m also an affiliate for the above three and the links can be found in my show notes (this post) and in the episode description. 

You’re also going to need clipart and or fonts for your printables at some point as well. If you’re also an artist, you can utilize your skills and create your own clipart. But if you’re anything like me, you may prefer to buy it. I buy mine from Creative Market and purchase a commercial license. This enables me to sell up to 5000 copies of whatever I use a particular design in. There’s also an extended commercial license that allows for an unlimited number of sales. But if you’re just starting out I would stick with a commercial license. If you have to upgrade it later you can. 

A little side note on Creative Market: If you design your own clipart, fonts, wallpaper, etc. you can also become a seller there. I’m not quite brave enough to attempt to do any of that, that end of it yet but maybe one day. My drawing is gradually getting a little better.

Next, why Etsy is a good place to start with your printables. 

Now that I’ve covered what printables are, what you can use to design them and where to get your clipart it’s time to talk about Etsy. You may hear contradicting information, but I do have to say it has been a good place for me to sell my printables and other items. Before I get too far in though, I will say this. It’s like any other business, you have to put in the work. Just because you have opened an Etsy shop, it doesn’t mean everyone is going to flock to it the first day. 

Etsy already has a customer base, so as a shopper all you have to do is key in what you’re looking for. Whether it’s patterns, yarn, bodycare, products, clothing, home decor, cards, planners, printables, or what have you, you’re sure to find it on Etsy. Anything crafty, vintage or even brand name items are there. 

As a seller, using tags and keywords will help bring the customer to you. Giving as much information about the product that you can is important. The less questions the shopper has by the time they’re finished reading your description, the better. If they don’t have to look too far and if it’s made easy, chances are they’re going to become your customer. They’ll want to know what the item is, who it’s meant for, the size of it, what it’s made from, in the case of physical products, and what it includes. As a printable seller, you’ll want to have as many listing photos as possible showing the finished item and use. Plus a video is an asset if your list in your listing as well. I’ve used PowerPoint to make a video of my planner pages with success. One note here though, I highly recommend making a file of single pages to flip through. Some of my planners have several repeats of the same page and it just does not transfer over into the video well. In this case, less is definitely more. 

Now as I’ve said Etsy is a good starting point. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay exclusively on Etsy. However, when I took the Create 30 Products in 30 Days by Dvorah Lansky from Share Your Brilliance, I didn’t realize she also has an Etsy shop. Her products are available on Etsy plus on her website. I think that’s good planning on her part because if someone is on her site, they can buy directly from her. If they’re on Etsy and find her shop, they’ll be able to buy her products there as well. And the best part for her is the Etsy shoppers quite often enroll in her classes. 

Now, back to doing your work. You’re going to have to let people know you have an Etsy shop just like you let them know if you had a brick and mortar business. Just because it’s open, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get sales the first day. It could take weeks or even months. I’m not saying that to discourage you, I’m just letting you know it’s a possibility. With the large number of Etsy shops available, you have to let others know you have one too. I opened my second shop in September of 2021 and it was several weeks before I got my first sale. Aside from some advertised listings and mentions in the occasional blog post, I haven’t really put a lot of time into promoting it. So really, I can’t complain about only having a few sales because I have no one to blame but myself. 

I have read about people saying Etsy is a scam, that it doesn’t help shop owners get sales, yada, yada, yada. I have had my first shop since September 2014, and not once have I blamed Etsy for not getting sales. It’s all on me if I don’t. I do have to say though, 2022 started out great because I had a few sales on New Year’s Day. I can’t complain. 

Something else I need to add here and that’s shop maintenance. You can’t just add a few listings and forget about it. You need to utilize your shop settings. You need to update your shop announcement regularly. And I’m terrible because if I see a shop that doesn’t have an announcement or it’s years old, I’m more than likely not going to make a purchase. I don’t know if they’re still active, if I’m going to get what to order, or if they will even answer my messages. Keep up on the shop announcements. And as I say this, once again, I need to practice what I preach. Time to check both of mine again. 

It’s also a good idea to regularly tweak product descriptions, play with keywords, peruse other shops to see what’s working for them and update photos. I recently updated a couple of listing photos in my Not Just Alpaca Designs shop because the existing one wasn’t flattering at all. You wouldn’t let a brick and mortar store get stagnant so the same should apply to your Etsy shop. 

I think Etsy is a good place to start with any business but if you want to make your own name, then branching out on your own is necessary. For me I’m content with remaining an Etsy seller because I know the shoppers are there. I also know that if I continue to tweak my listings and my shop, plus add new listings, my sales will increase over time. As a side hustle, it’s perfect for me because I’m not ready to devote all my time to a printables business. You decide what’s going to work best for you. It really is just a matter of personal choice. And for me, the best part of a printables business is I don’t have to ship products away because my customers have instant access as soon as payment is cleared. I can go about my day doing what I enjoy while making a little extra cash on the side. If you decide to start a printables shop, email me with any questions you have at info@takeonlifeafter50.com and I’ll be happy to answer. 

Join me next week when I dive a little more in depth about greeting cards; both printable and ready-to-ship. Thanks for listening to this episode and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me visit my website takeonlifeafter50.com and get your copy of 3 Side Hustles to Fill Your Piggy Bank. (The link is in the sidebar.)

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

Who I Am, and Why I Do What I Do [Ep. 5]

You’re listening to Take on Life After 50, the podcast for people over 50 who want to supplement their retirement by doing what they love. I’m your host, Diane Ziomek. And this is where you’ll find practical how to’s and inspiration to create the life you deserve. Whether you want to replace your current income or to supplement it, I’m here to share my experiences, ideas, and even some of life’s lessons when it comes to side hustles.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Thank you for your continued support.

Episode 5: Who I Am, and Why I Do What I Do

Note: This blog post is copied from the episode script, which has been transcribed by otter.ai, and edited by me.

Welcome to Episode 5: Who I Am, and Why I do What I do.

I hope you had a happy holiday season, and that 2022 started out on a good note. My Christmas and New Year’s was quiet. But when the temperatures are hovering in the minus 30 to minus 40 Celsius range, it’s not a bad thing to not have to venture very far.

In my last episode, I said I was going to take the Christmas break to plan out the first quarter of 2022. And part of that plan is to increase the number of listings I have in my Etsy shop. I started off with five sales between my two shops the first two days of the year, which I’m quite happy with. To some it may not seem like much but for me it paid my fees plus I had some money deposited into my bank account this week. Anytime my fees get covered with a little bit of extra, I consider that a win.

More of my story.

January 5 marks the 20th month since I became a widow. And that life event has made me appreciate the people in my life so much more. We never know what each day will bring. And the world as we know it can quickly come crashing down. My world changed in a heartbeat. Or rather, when his heart stopped beating. The things I took for granted were no longer there, like him being here when I got home from work. We had plans, and many of those plans died with him.

One of my regular blog readers asked me today, what was different about me since I became a widow? And my first answer was, I don’t take things for granted now. I also told him I’m still trying to figure life out. Because when something like that happens, it’s not something that can be done in a week, a month, or even a year. I now do all the tasks and chores we shared. And I’ve become better at being self sufficient. And when something arises that I’m unable to do, I’ve learned to ask for help from friends or family. And when I’m asking for help, you know I must really need it because I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to certain things. And in the case of frozen water lines earlier this week (oops, I meant last week), I had to call a plumber. It was something that I couldn’t fix. And it’s just the way it happened to be.

We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can do what we have to so we can move forward. For me, that meant resigning from my job as a library assistant, and taking the time that I needed for me. Too many people are forced to go back to work after the death of a spouse. I know someone who has been, you know, told that she should go back and I don’t agree with that. I refused to be one of those people being forced to go back.

I did go ahead with our deck building plans that we had had. Although, I may have made the deck bigger than we had discussed. Taking on a massive project like that gave me something to do to keep busy. It also taught me to not be afraid of a chop saw. And that using one was much faster than a handsaw. And ironically, it was the handsaw that I cut my leg with. Go figure.

As I completed that project that was about six weeks in the making, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had taken a pile pile of lumber and cement blocks that didn’t come with instructions, and turned them into a two level deck complete was railing and steps. The latter were made from stair risers I bought but the set between the two levels was made from wood. I do have to say, had anyone told me two years ago that I could have made a deck almost all on my own I would have told them they were nuts.

That life event made it even more important for me to pursue my dream of creating passive income. I started my side hustles and blog pre-widowhood with the intention of supplementing our income so we could travel. Now I do it to not only support myself financially, but also to show you there are so many options available when you’re ready to say goodbye to the 9 to 5.

Or maybe you’re not ready to give up the 9 to 5 just yet. And that’s okay. Being over 50 gives us an advantage over the 20-somethings in the world. We have life experience. And that alone can give us a list of side hustles we can do that the younger generations can’t.

30 years ago I couldn’t give anyone parenting advice. Although, I may have attempted to a time or two. But now that I have kids on my own, I feel my input is valuable. I don’t proclaim to be the perfect parent, because really, there’s no such thing. But at least I can understand what other parents endure. And in a few months, I’ll be able to share some of that advice with my daughter when her first baby arrives. I think that’s pretty exciting.

I also couldn’t tell anyone how to change oil in a vehicle, how to change a tire, or how to build a raised garden bed. But now that I’ve lived a few more decades, I have that knowledge as well.

You see, life experience goes a long way. The 20-somethings are generally booksmart but us 50-somethings are life smart, as well as book smart. And what I’m trying to say is this, if you’re ready to slow down in life, or want to change, then do what makes you happy. Life’s too short to not be happy.

Whatever side hustle you choose doesn’t have to become permanent. You do it for as long as you wish, and you have full control over when you stop. Maybe you only want a few hundred extra dollars a month. With there being so many options available both online and off, there’s no reason you can’t do what you want. I think our generation has an advantage because we’ve lived in a world without computers, in a world without the internet. And we know what life is like without them. And if you’re anything like me, you also know how easy it is to utilize their power.

Some side hustles are a one time deal, while others are an ongoing moneymaker. You may not find that perfect fit for you right away, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Always remember that we grow as we get older. So what you wanted to do 10 years ago may no longer be something that excites you now. In my case, 10 years ago, I wanted to be a bookkeeper. After doing it as a side hustle for a couple years, I realized it really wasn’t my calling after all. And now I just do my own books.

I’ve done a lot of things over the years for mail order fabric squares to different party plans. But to date, my very favorite is creating printables I sell in my Etsy shop. Plus, I love sharing my knowledge with others when it comes to side hustles and self publishing.

I believe others can learn from my oopses. And believe me when I say I’ve made a few. I don’t claim to be perfect or to know it all. What I do know was I love what I do. And it has taken me a lifetime to get here. There is no timeline on when you should do something when you shouldn’t do something. If you want to go back to school when you’re in your 50s go back to school when you’re in your 50s. There’s nothing saying you can’t. And if someone says you shouldn’t, their opinion really doesn’t really matter.

Conclusion

Now that you know more of my story, I will continue the episodes as I started; giving you ideas and resources so you can find what works for you. And speaking of resources, don’t forget to check out the tools and resources page on my website takeonlifeafter50.com. It doesn’t matter what stage of your working years you’re at because a side hustle can be started at any time. The advantage for those of us over 50 is we have a little more time to pursue our own interests.

Kids are grown and have lives of their own which means we are able to set up a studio or not or an office in a spare bedroom. The night owls can once again work when they’re most productive. And I am that night owl. Our projects can be left out without fear of someone else moving without someone else moving it. Unless of course there are cats in the house. And yes, that’s experience talking. I love my cats but I sure don’t love it when they decide to rearrange things for me. I forgot what it was like to have indoor cats because hubby was allergic to them. After the first disaster or two I learned to put away whatever I didn’t want scattered from one end of the house to the other.

In next week’s episode I’ll talk about starting a printable side hustle and why Etsy is a good starting point. See you then.

Thanks for listening to this episode, and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from if you want to learn more about me visit my website to takeonlifeafter50.com and get your copy of 3 Side Hustles to Fill Your Piggy Bank.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

3 Ways to Make Money with Homemade Bodycare Products

Dry skin. Chapped lips. Brittle hair. Read on to see how you can alleviate these problems for yourself and others.

Winter is setting in whether we’re ready for it or not. I think the hardest part for me is the minus 40 temperatures that are inevitable. It’s a good time of year to not have to drive to a job in town.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read I have added a Buy Me a Coffee button, which is going to be used for a 4 Season Sunroom (aka Solarium). Thank you for your continued support.

I have been working on my Etsy Shops, recorded and published the second episode of my podcast, and spent some time making homemade lip balm.

A couple weeks ago I ordered some shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, beeswax pellets, lip balm tubes, and two ounce screw-top tins. I have a case full of essential oils so am working on trying out a few recipes to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’m making the balms and salves for my own use, plus to give to family and friends. I had considered making it to sell but in all honesty, it doesn’t go with either of my Etsy shops. I do however, plan on adding some printable labels to TOLA50Printables for those who do make and sell bodycare products.

Now that brings me to how money can be made with bodycare products.

1. Make products to sell.

The most common way to earn money with bodycare products is to make and sell them. With so many products on the market made in who-knows-where, it’s nice to know exactly what’s going into the lip balms and lotions.

Many people are wanting to take a step away from the commercially produced, chemical-filled soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. By making some high end products with simple ingredients you could potentially have an in within the health and wellness industry.

The nice thing is it really doesn’t take a lot to get started. I spent less than $100.00 on the supplies listed above, and most likely could have started with less. I’m sure I didn’t need 50 lip balm tubes or 48 screw-top tins, but when I ordered them I was still undecided as to what I was going to do.

There are a LOT of recipes available online and in books, but don’t be afraid to test and tweak. I have made a “medicated” pain relief salve using infused shea butter, but found it to be too hard. I remelted the salve and added in a little almond oil, so will be trying it to see if it’s easier to apply. Well, the applying wasn’t the hard part; getting it out of the jar was.

The lip balm I made was a 1:1:1 ratio, plus a drop of food grade essential oil for flavour. I do think another drop or two of oil would have been okay, as there is a hint of cinnamon but it’s definitely far from overpowering.

One thing I did learn while making the lip balm: have everything ready and work fast when filling the tubes. I was surprised at how quickly the mix cooled as soon as I started to pour it. The jar I mixed the ingredients in was almost too hot to hold with my bare hands, but it did not take long for the mix to cool.

I am a Young Living Distributor and have access to the best essential oils available. I use them regularly in my diffuser, in my cooking (food grade ones), and even for cleaning. There are some recipes in the catalog I want to try, especially the pain relief topicals.

Last winter when I was achy I would run a hot bath and add lavender and spearmint to Epson Salts, then soak for 15 – 20 minutes. It helped with the achiness plus my bathroom and bedroom smelled really good afterwards too.

Some things you can make are:

  • lip balm
  • pain relief cream
  • bath bombs
  • shampoo
  • hair conditioner
  • hand lotion
  • body lotion
  • soap
  • sugar scrub
  • body wash
  • shaving cream
  • body butter
  • shower bombs
  • deodorant
  • toothpaste
  • bath salts
  • …and more.

There’s really no limit to what can be made with a few simple ingredients, some essential oils, and some creativity. And for those of you who like to dabble in cannabis, it can be added to topical bodycare products too.

Medicated Salve and Cinnamon Lip Balm
2. Recipe Book

This is more the avenue I’m interested in taking. As I try different recipes and tweak them, I’ll be compiling an ebook. I personally do not want to have a lot of product on hand, so will just make enough for family and friends…plus possibly a local shop that is stocked with locally produced products.

I do not want to be worried about shipping products, or carrying an inventory. Plus I don’t want to have to worry about having product that will expire. Keep in mind that when chemicals aren’t used the product will go bad faster.

I do know some can be kept cold or frozen to extend its shelf life, but when one lives in a rural area a steady stream of local customers is a little harder to come by than in an urban area.

Plus, writing is right up my alley. I love to do research, trial and error, then put it all together into an ebook to help others. And as with my crochet patterns, my customers can make and sell the items I design/create.

The benefit to this method is the ebook only has to be written once, and I can sell it over and over again. It’s more of a passive income route than the active income that making and selling the products requires.

3. Teach a Class

With all of the options available online, teaching has become easier and easier.

I enjoy teaching others, but more through the written word. I know not everyone is like me, and platforms such as Skillshare and Teachable can be lucrative if utilized.

Whether you decide to make lip balm, body scrub, lotion, or bath bombs, showing someone else how to do it step-by-step can benefit your bank balance. You can choose one product, or do a series of products.

When you’re teaching others how to make the products, you’re also teaching them how to support themselves. Your class will be a combination of video lessons and handouts, which will ultimately do one of two things: help others create and build a bodycare business, or it won’t.

In Conclusion

You cannot control what your students do with your information once they have it. Some will be excited about it and follow your recipes and advice; and they will be the ones who thrive. Others will perhaps take the class and not do anything with what they have learned. That is not a reflection on you as a teacher. Some people are just like that.

One thing I do have to emphasize: no matter what you do, don’t ever promise your students they will earn X amount of dollars by taking your class (or reading your book). The materials you provide are for informational purposes only, and earnings are never guaranteed. It is up to the individual to make that happen; not you.

Have you or do you make bodycare products?

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.