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!

2 Done-for-You Side Hustles

Looking for an easy side hustle? The two mentioned in this post can have you on your way to earning some extra cash within a few days.

When it comes to side hustles I know how hard it can be to find one that works without taking a ton of time.

***This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.***

The first one I’m sharing with you today is the Digital Business Startup by Yadsia Iglesias. It comes with templates, video tutorials, and the option to become an affiliate of her products (which I have recently done).

The cost is currently $297 (which is what I paid several months ago) but it has everything you need to get started. The beauty of it is there is also a payment plan available if you’re unable to pay the entire amount at once.

If you’re familiar with Canva you’ll find this a breeze because of the editable templates. If you’re not, it’s easy to learn through her video tutorials. Not only will you learn how to make digital and printable planners, printables, create ads, and how to sell a planner on Etsy; you are also granted commercial use of the templates. What this means is you can edit the templates to make the planners and printables to sell. However, you may not sell the templates themselves.

I bought the DBS Program several months ago, and have used the templates for my own products. One of them is my Printable Weekly Planner, which is available in US Letter Size. It may also be printed 2 pages to a sheet if you prefer a smaller size planner.

The nice thing about creating printables and digital planners is once they are listed, you can earn money while you work your regular job, sleep, or even while you’re on vacation. How cool is that!

An easy side hustle.

The second one I’m sharing today is Design and Sell Canva Templates. This one is also by Yadsia Iglesias, and is currently listed at $97.

This one is a little different from the first one in that it allows you to create and sell templates instead of the finished printable/digital products. The benefits to this type is you can charge a little more because you are giving your customer the commercial rights to your templates. They in turn can use your templates to create and sell their own planners and printables. They cannot, however, use your templates to create and sell their own templates.

Once again, this is a side hustle in which most of the work has been done for you. All you have to do is edit to suit your needs, make a copy, and sell it on your website or via Etsy (or whichever platform you choose).

You will, however, need Canva Pro to utilize this particular course. I am a Canva Pro user, and recently upgraded from paying monthly to an annual membership. It saved me some money, and I can easily recoup my cost by selling a couple of templates.

In conclusion, when you don’t have a lot of time for a side hustle, the two I talked about in this post are a good option. Work your way through the video tutorials, download the templates, and edit in Canva. A little work in the beginning can lead to sales for months, even years, to come.

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!

Learn how to make a planner that works for you.

What does it look like to honour your genius and build a business from it? In Passive Income Planner Girl, you’ll learn how to turn your zone of genius into a digital planner. Then use it as a launching pad to a business full of raving fans, while honouring your desires, your personality, and your joy every step of the way.

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!

Back to School

Okay, I know you’re probably thinking “Whaaat?”. Actually, it’s me who’s going back to school, not my kids. Although, I do have their full support on it.

It’s not a traditional classroom or schedule by any means, but it does mean work and dedication on my part.

Let me back up just a little.

As some of you know, I am an independent author in addition to a library assistant. As my LA position is very part-time (six days a month), I am wanting to further my writing career. I love to write, and do just for the sake of writing. Sometimes I sell a book, pattern or printable, but it’s not enough to add to my nest egg. (And we all know how important having one of them is.)

Anyway, I recently became a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. While perusing the Members area, I found out about a conference in Banff in October, plus some provincial colleges that offer distance learning. To add to my excitement, I realized GPRC offers writing courses. I haven’t had any formal training or education as far as writing goes, so decided to register for a couple. I mean, it can’t hurt can it?

When I told my kids about it, then made a comment about my age, they both said “You got this!”. It’s wonderful to have their support.

The photo is of my bubbles showing the topics I am including in my upcoming Reference Guide for Romance Authors.

I spent some time on the first one last night, and am working on it again today. One of the lessons stresses the use of bubbling (or mind mapping), which I haven’t done much of. My first attempt was on a loose leaf sheet of lined paper, but today I bought a larger pad of paper; simply because I ran out of room.

It’s never too late to enroll in a class, nor is it never too late to begin a writing career. Or if writing isn’t your thing, then that’s okay too. There are plenty of other career choices available if you’re not happy in your current one.

With the distance learning options available, there’s no reason why anyone can’t learn something new. And for those who are happy in your career, what about taking a crafting class? Or perhaps learn more about a hobby? The possibilities are endless. I can see myself delving a little deeper into the writing field; perhaps deep enough to earn a full time income.

Before I close this post, I am curious to know: have you changed careers or taken a course online after the age of fifty? (And for the readers who aren’t in that age group yet, do you see yourself pursuing an online education to change or expand your career ?)

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, as well as the other trials and tribulations of being over fifty. Have a great week!

Diane

Mastering Time Management

Stock image courtesy of Canva.

The week has flown by, and the weekend is already half over. The scariest part, is July is almost over. Where has our summer gone?

My work weeks never seem to be productive at home, because after spending all day on my feet I just don’t feel like doing much. I probably shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does.

I hate to admit it, but something I struggle with is time management. When I’m working my shift at the library, I seem to get a lot done in a day. But when I’m home it’s a whole different story.

I have been using a bullet journal for about a year and a half (give or take). I have tried several different layouts and have decided simple is best. Sure, the bujos on Instagram are nice to look at, but they must take a lot of time to make pretty. When I started out, I followed the pretty layouts but soon found myself spending more time journaling and planning than doing what I was supposed to be.

I borrowed a copy of Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal from my local library (yes, the one I work at) and his method is super simple. Granted it doesn’t look as fancy and colourful as others I have seen, but there’s something to be said about the simplicity.

I have added a habit tracker this month to mine, because I found myself rewriting some of the same things day after day. I stepped away from the habit tracker for several months, but found it’s something I benefit from. This way I can keep track of how often I do my morning pages, water my plants, vacuum, do laundry and so forth. Plus, I also have the bottom half of it as a health tracker. I like to keep track of how often I walk in a month, how many nights I get to bed before midnight, do my yoga/pilates and even lady days.

Not all planning and time management systems work for everyone, which is why I like the flexibility of my BuJo. I like the concept of the future log, as pictured below. I can plan the major events a year in advance if I like, then add to it each month as occasions and appointments pop up. It’s looking pretty empty right now, but it will fill up as time goes on.

In previous months, I have actually drawn out a calendar but am finding Ryder’s method much easier. The days of the month are listed, one per line, and events, holidays and appointments are added as the month goes on. It not only takes up less space, but I can see at a glance what I can schedule for when.

When it comes to the daily pages, I had been dedicating one page per day, but found some days the pages were almost empty. Now I’m filling the pages with one, two or even three days worth of tasks/notes. I haven’t been doing a task list for each week anymore, but the daily pages take care of what needs to be done each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of filling it out right before bed, or first thing in the morning. That way, I don’t miss anything.

The photo below shows a couple of entries for days earlier this month. The tenth has a list starting on the previous page, but notice what was scheduled, what was done and the notes added to the days.

I know I still have a long way to go to manage my time perfectly (or even relatively close), but having it in writing has been positive for me. I find the more things I have going on, the more I need to schedule them in. One thing I haven’t scheduled in is novel-writing time, and have thus not touched it.

My manager and I were checking out Lynda.com yesterday; an online resource for courses available to library patrons. One of the first I will be taking is on time management. Since I work from home more than the library, I really need to learn some tricks to keep my household obligations separate from my work time (side hustle). I may be doing a follow up post after I take the course, providing I find it helpful.

Do you have trouble budgeting your time? If not, what system (if any) do you use to stay on track?

Photos (Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019) were taken specifically for this post, and are intended for single use only.

10 Ways to Add to Your Nest Egg

Image by SidLitke from Pixabay

Let’s face it; the cost of living keeps increasing while our wages stay the same. This post will show you how to earn a little extra cash you can squirrel away.

If you’re like me, you may be worried about not having enough in your savings to fund the golden years. Pensions for the average person barely cover living expenses, not to mention luxuries such as going out occasionally or taking the time to travel.

As long as I can remember, I have always made a little extra cash here and there when I needed it. That hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older, but the amount I need to earn has changed. My paycheque barely covers my share of our household expenses, so I supplement it with little side hustles. Below are 10 ways I have been able to earn money over the years, and you can too. Note you will not find links to survey sites or game sites. These are practical ways to earn, and if you put in the effort you can earn a lot.

  1. Etsy. I have had an Etsy Shop for almost five years. I started it in September 2014, and have sold crocheted items, handspun yarn, dryer balls, printables, patterns and more.
  2. Fiverr. Fiverr is a platform where you can post gigs you’ll do for five dollars and up. I am currently taking a break from the site, but only because summer is here and I am unable to commit to fulfilling my obligations. I would rather deactivate my gigs than be unable to deliver them. The site is reputable and they pay on time.
  3. Sellfy. I have been selling digital products on Sellfy for a few years now. Some things have changed since I began, with the biggest change being it is now completely up to the seller to generate traffic to their products. The five percent of the selling price they take as a fee is one of the lowest out there, so the earning potential is great. I don’t earn that type of royalty when I sell a book on Amazon or Kobo, so sales on Sellfy are always a bonus.
  4. Crafts Sales. If you’re a crafty person and enjoy socializing, you can sell your creations at Farmer’s Markets, Craft Sales and Holiday Markets. My personal experience with sales has been positive, although I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert. I found having practical items along with some more specialized items is a good balance. When catering to holiday shoppers, it’s always a good idea to have items in varying price points. Wood workers, fiber artists, painters, jewelry makers, quilters, etc are always welcome at holiday markets.
  5. Pattern Design. I enjoy designing crochet patterns for practical items. If you click on the Etsy link above, you’ll be taken to my shop where you can see how many I have designed. If you like to design patterns of any craft, I highly recommend it. The best part is you just put the time in once, and can sell as many copies as you wish. I have sold several copies of a sweater pattern I designed, and it still sells even without active promotion.
  6. Baking. This isn’t one I have done much of, especially since food handling regulations have changed. In my early days of markets, I have baked cakes and cookies and they sold quickly. If you like to bake and would like to supplement your income, then fresh-baked goods are always good sellers. I do suggest you check with the rules and regulations concerning selling food items in your area.
  7. Clothing Alterations and Repair. If you are one of those people who doesn’t mind hemming jeans or replacing zippers, you could find yourself with a growing customer base. Back when my children were little, I did hemming and basic repairs to help pay some bills. I did it to supplement our income, not because I enjoyed it. I would sooner cut and sew fabric into a quilt than spend hours doing repairs, but that’s just me. Clothing repair is a profitable venture for the right person.
  8. Babysitting. When my children were little, my ex husband said I had to get a job to help pay the bills. After my paycheques mostly went to the babysitter I had to hire, I decided to be a Dayhome Provider instead. Not only did I contribute more to our household income, I was there to raise my own children. I no longer had to worry about whether or not they were being taken care of properly.
  9. Revenue Share Sites. If you like to write, I highly recommend HubPages as a platform. It was the first platform I submitted my own articles on, and I still earn from some of the first articles today. Other revenue share sites have come and gone, but HubPages has been there for several years. They do have a payment threshold, but there’s no reason you can’t cash in every month or two. I suggest tutorials and evergreen articles, as they will earn income over the long term.
  10. eBooks. Once again, if you like to write then there’s no reason you can’t earn an income from your writing. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you have the power to publish your own work and earn royalties. I have self-published all of my books, and earn a little each and every month. Some months it’s cents, other months it’s dollars. If you’re interested in taking the nonfiction route, I have written a twelve module course to walk you through it from idea to publishing and beyond.

The above list consists of ways I have (and in some cases, still do) made extra money. I have tried the survey sites and playing games for points, but there’s nothing as reliable as doing some honest work. Plus, when you create your own product, you have full control over pricing, distribution and can make any changes necessary. In the case of babysitting and clothing repair, you choose your own hours and how much you want to do.

I appreciate the clicks on the links I have provided, although you’re under no obligation to sign up or purchase anything. The links are simply provided so you can get a feel for what I do, and what some of the sites I deal with offer.

Thanks for reading, and I sincerely hope you have found something valuable in this post.