5 Digital Products You Can Sell On Etsy

Many creatives dream about starting an Etsy shop to supplement their income while doing something they love. As someone who has turned an Etsy shop into a full-time income, I know the time and dedication it takes to build a profitable online business.

When I first started out, selling personalized chocolate favor wrappers, it didn't take me long to realize that my business model was flawed. There was no way that selling, producing and shipping personalized chocolate favors was going to become a profitable business without a huge time & inventory investment.

Truth be told, with a toddler running around, I simply didn't have the time or energy to make it work. I set about trying to find a business model that would allow me to continue using my design skills, while offering low overhead and less time investment. That's when I decided to design & sell party printables.

I spent the next several months mastering Photoshop and adding new designs to my shop. Within the first few months I had a couple hundred sales and I knew I was on to something. I loved the fact that by selling digital products I didn't have to worry about inventory, printing or shipping. I could focus on creating beautiful designs, which was my real passion.

Within a year, I had replaced my full-time employment income, and I was successfully selling digital products online. I'm not going to lie, that first year was a lot of work. I spent endless hours designing invitations and party decorations to stock my shop, and of course filling orders. But once I had a system in place, I was able to cut back on my hours while still providing quick turn around times and an easy straightforward ordering process for my customers - two must haves for successful digital product sales.

If you're in the same boat, feeling like you want to start a new Etsy business or if you want to expand your current offerings into digital products, here are some easy to implement and profitable digital products you can sell on Etsy now.

1. Printable Invitations & Decorations

Of course I'm going to start with what I know. If you have skills in Illustrator and/or Photoshop and love to style parties, then this may be the perfect route for you. The great thing about this type of product is that you really have a chance to get creative with your designs.

Most customers want personalized invitations & decorations, but you can also add in a mix of instant download products to your shop so that you have an automated revenue stream as well.

Quick tip: There are a lot of similar shops out there, and if you want to succeed you really have to develop your own style - look for trends in industries outside of the party world, such as fashion and home decor, and find a way to translate those colors/looks into your invitations and party decorations. Refresh your shop with new designs or collections each season to keep customers coming back for more!

If you don't know how to use Photoshop but you have a passion for parties, I created the Start A Party Printables Business Course for you. It teaches you the design skills you need to create modern invitations & party decorations as well as the business skills you need to succeed. The course is currently open for enrolment, you can check out here.

2. Sewing & Knitting Patterns

If you have a love of sewing or knitting and are willing to spend some time creating patterns, you could have a profitable business selling instant download patterns. It will take some major work in the beginning to create the patterns and format them so customers can easily follow along, but once that work is done, you simply need to upload the PDF files to Etsy and set them up as instant downloads. Then, you can literally make money as you sleep because customers will be able to purchase and download the pattern of their choice in an automated process.

Quick tip: You may want to consider creating tutorial videos along with the patterns that you sell. It will be an additional level of support and instruction for your customers, something that could set you apart from other sellers.

3. Clipart & Digital Paper

If you love to sketch/draw and know, or are willing to learn the ins and outs of Illustrator, then designing clipart and digital papers could be a great way to earn income online. Just like with party printables, there are many clipart sellers on Etsy, so you really need to find and develop your own unique style. Keep an eye on trends and update your shop regularly. Think about the people using your products - they're likely creating their own printables so they'll want trendy designs in popular color schemes.

Again, you'll have a lot of upfront work to do, creating the designs and uploading them to your shop. But once you've set up instant downloads on Etsy, you can sell while you sleep and spend your time working on new collections.

Quick tip: make your commercial use policy really easy to understand and user friendly. Nothing turns me off a clipart shop faster than confusing terms. I want to know exactly how I can use the clipart and if I need to credit your work. Make it super clear in your policies!

4. Wall Art & Prints

Selling wall art and prints is perfect for you if you nuts about typography or pattern design. Maybe you currently do custom design work but are looking for a way leverage your time with an automated revenue stream. Find your niche and then create new collections each season. For example, maybe you'll focus on nursery art. Or maybe you'll design prints for animal lovers or prints with inspirational quotes for women business owners.

Rather than printing and shipping your designs, set them up as instant downloads so that customers can download a high resolution PDF file and print from home or at a copy center. You'll be surprised how many people are open to the idea of printing themselves so that they can save money and time on shipping.

5. Planners & Organizers

Are you detail oriented and can't live without your to-do list? Does organizing take you to a place of zen? If so, then you might want to think about helping others organize their lives or businesses by creating printable planners. If you have a knack, or even background in productivity or home organizing, this could be a great automated business idea for you. When your PDFs are ready, you can add them to Etsy as instant downloads for an easy and automated delivery process. Customers will just print as needed and be more organized and less stressed for it.

Quick tip: Besides creating super useful content, the product design is uber important here, so you'll either need to design them yourself or hire a designer to put them together.

And a bonus idea, just because...

6. Styled Stock Photography

If you're a professional photographer who wants to make some more income while freeing up time, why not try selling stock images on Etsy? The key to success is finding your niche and building up a good sized inventory in your shop. Right now, styled stock photography for women business owners is becoming super popular. Traditional stock images are just too 'corporate' for many women-owned businesses, so if you've got the interest in making stock photos more relevant for creative and women entrepreneurs you might have a really profitable business on your hands.

Quick tip: Make sure your terms of use are really clear and easy to understand. Bypass confusing legal jargon and use real, understandable words so that your buyers know exactly how they can use your images.

Have I got your creative juices flowing? Whether you currently have a creative business and you're looking to add an automated revenue stream, or you're researching business ideas to start, this list includes ideas that have been turned into profitable businesses. Of course your success will depend on many factors, including how much time your are willing to invest on designing quality products and marking your work.

If you want more personalized advice on how to add digital products to your current business, I offer special one-on-one strategy sessions.

Do you have any other ideas on profitable digital products to sell on Etsy? Any pressing questions you want answered about selling digital products? If so, leave a comment below!

The Truth About the Creative Process

One of the hardest parts about running a business is putting something totally new out there. You may think you have an awesome idea that your dream customers are going to LOVE, but until you put it out there and get feedback, you're biting your nails in anticipation and making yourself sick with all kinds of self-doubt "what if nobody buys this", "what if they hate it", "what if it doesn't meet their expectations"?

As an entrepreneur, one of the most rewarding and most difficult things you will do is CREATE. Actually take your ideas and turn them into a product or service to help people. And when people buy it, you'll be over the moon, and when they love it, well there's no greater feeling!

Creating new products can feel like throwing a bunch of thumb tacks at a wall and hoping that some of them will stick.

If you decide to start a business, just know that you will have hits and misses, but the thing that will set you apart from those who fail is that you will listen to feedback and keep on creating based on what your customers are telling you.

Sometimes, I create a design that I think is going to sell like hotcakes. And then it just sits there forever, no one buys it. So I tweak and make changes, sometimes updating colors, sometimes just scrapping the whole design and starting fresh. Other times, I create a design on the fly, inspired by a comment from a customer or a trend I've seen lately and it sells like crazy!

The key is to keep on designing and learning from the process.  Keep putting things out there and asking for your customers to provide feedback. They are, after all, your most important marketing tool. Listen to them and give them what they want. Listen to them and make changes if you need to. Treat them well and they will continue to buy from you and tell their friends about you. That is the key to running a successful business.

The creative process can sometimes be a lonely one, and it can feel like it's just you sitting behind a  computer screen pouring your time and energy into something, hoping that others will like it. Asking for, and receiving feedback can help you to feel connected to your customers and can reassure that you're on the right track.

At the end of the day, running a business is not just about what you like, it's about giving your customers what they want.  Now, that doesn't mean sacrificing your own sense of style or creating products that are not an authentic reflection of your brand - but it does mean listening really well to what your customers are asking for - and then giving it to them in the best possible way you can.

When you're first starting out, the idea of getting feedback and criticism (even constructively presented) can be super intimidating. But it's such an important part of developing your creativity. That's why in my Start A Party Printables Business Course I've given students the opportunity to share their designs with me and receive my honest feedback on their work. I always try to let them know what I like about their designs, and also what tweaks they can implement to make their designs even stronger. 

What is your creative process like? Do you tap into a community or your customers for feedback? Let me know in the comments below! 

Little Pumpkin Party Ideas

It may still officially be summer, but Fall parties are in full swing over at Haute Chocolate! One of our most popular invites this Fall is the Little Pumpkin Birthday Party design - no surprise, it's pure cuteness!

Today I have a little pumpkin party inspiration to share with you. I love how this theme can be taken up a notch and become totally glam by adding pink & gold accents to the traditionally orange color palette.


Start A Party Printables Business Course

Back in April, I ran the inaugural session of the Start A Party Printables Business Course. It was amazing! We had students enrolled from Canada, Italy, Australia and even Egypt. I loved teaching students, seeing their design work and providing feedback. Honestly, it was one of the hardest, but most fulfilling things I've ever done!

Over the past few months I've been asked over and over again when I'm going to be running the next session, and although I hadn't planned on running the course again so soon, I've decided to run a summer session for those of you who are itching to get your new creative business started by September!

This is the only online course that will teach you the design & business skills your need to start a party printables business. The first half of the course is dedicated to learning Photoshop & design skills, and the second half of the course is all about business branding, and how to package & position your products for successful sales on Etsy.

Throughout the 8 week course, I am always available to give feedback, answer questions, and to encourage students to create their best work. Even if you have never used Photoshop before, as long as you have a desire to learn, you will be creating your own invitations & party decorations by the end of the course!

Sound interesting? Check out the Start A Party Printables Business Course website.   And get on the VIP list to find out when the next session starts! 

Burning questions you want answered? Leave them in the comments below and I'll be in touch

Uniquely You Campaign for ModCloth

Last week I was contacted my ModCloth to see if I would be interested in participating in their Uniquely You campaign. Why yes, of course I would! I love ModCloth's unique, affordable styles, but most of all, I love their fun & interactive website.

It's so cool that they allow users to post reviews and even pictures of themselves wearing the outfits. Honestly, how refreshing is it to see how clothes actually fit real women? It totally helps when trying to decide if a certain style will fit your body type and takes a bit of the guesswork out of buying clothes online. I'll admit, I spent way too long on their website perusing all their adorable dresses.

Above is my style board featuring the lovely Twirl Next Door dress and sweet coral accessories.
I love the bold stripe pattern mixed with a soft & feminine cutout neckline. I was inspired to make the look more summery by adding a pop of color with the coral accessories.  You know how much I love coral :)  This dress is so versatile, it literally can be worn day or night, casual or dressed up. It's the perfect canvas to add your own sense of style and have fun with!

Spa Dessert Feature

Sandal weather means it's time to get a pedi, right girls? Check out these darling photos submitted by my client & party stylist, Vania the Canadian Hostess. Vania contacted me to custom design the invitation & paper decorations, and then she styled the most gorgeous party around the theme and colors.  Check out the fondant cupcake toppers in the pics below, they're almost too cute to eat!

More about the party from Vania: Manicures, facials, sweets, and laughs were all on the menu for this ultimate spa-themed party. For the party colours, we decided on turquoise, honeydew green and orange. I wanted a vibrant colour combo that evokes tropical summer and joy.
Upon arrival, each girl received her own cozy bathrobe and was invited to the “Relaxation Lounge”, which featured a Tropical Smoothie Bar. The tranquil and relaxing atmosphere featured three spa treatment areas: facials, manicure and pedicure. After our special guests were treated to facial masks and had their nails done in the design they chose, they were invited to create their own lip balm by choosing their favourite flavour and colour.

The party table displayed a custom beauty setting for each girl, including a hand towel, mirror, a cosmetic pedicure set and a water bottle. The sweet bar featured a triple chocolate cake and spa- themed red velvet cupcakes. I also incorporated a few beauty items into the table design like bedazzled soaps and shower gels, which the girls took home after the party. As a memento from the event, each girl received her own spa basket that included a variety of beauty items: sleeping mask, her own handmade lip balm and shower gel.

Party Styling: Vania @ Canadian Hostess
Party Printables: Haute Chocolate
Photography: Raffaella Lorro
Desserts: Bluebird Cakes

Cake Trend: Floral & Stripes

{Photo Sources }
Cake One | Erica OBrien / Cake Two | Hey There, Cupcake! 

This season stripes & florals have been a big hit from fashion to party decor to cakes. I love the contrast between the black and white lines and pretty florals. It's a bold, yet feminine look thats so perfect for a chic summer wedding!