Make Extra Money

How to Earn Passive Income on Etsy

June 22, 2016
Do you possess a skill for creating marketable digital products? If so, you might be able to earn a passive income on Etsy. Pin/Read so you can find out all the details to creating a passive income on Etsy.
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Passive income is one intriguing topic many people want to know more about. Luckily, one of my readers asked about my Etsy shop after reading about my Etsy income on my online hustle reports. It never occurred to me until now that maybe I should talk a little more about how I earn passive income on Etsy. So, today I want to briefly discuss my history using this platform and how I generate passive income from it.

Irrelevant backstory for those who care… How I began on Etsy

I think I’ve mentioned before (maybe not) that I’m not new to blogging. Life and a Budget is not my first rodeo. I was introduced to blogging in 2010 when I was suffering from postpartum depression after having my daughter. I was going through some ish and our family had recently moved into our new home. I figured, why not decorate and DIY everything?! 

Well, that journey turned me into a DIY blogger, that eventually led to me being a Christian Lifestyle blogger, which then led to burnout and finally I just gave it all up. Like I said, it was a rough patch, I was stressed, but writing has always been my therapy. I embraced blogging naturally, I just needed to find something I was passionate about.


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How I began on Etsy

From those humble beginnings came my Etsy shop. I dabbled in online design work in 2013 and some readers liked my free scripture/inspirational printables I created to decorate my home. I initially shared them for free on my blog before I started selling them on Etsy.

I couldn’t bring myself to close the shop after I went on my blogging hiatus. So many people were encouraged by this art and sales were still coming in. My mission when I started the shop was to share God’s word and it didn’t feel right to shut it down.

Now am I bringing home bacon, bread, and butter from the sales I make? No, absolutely not and it doeesn’t bother me one bit.  

The income comes in during certain times of the year. When people are looking for reasonably priced gifts for Mother’s Day, Christmas, Birthdays, and weddings – they can depend on my shop to provide what they are looking for.

As long as people feel want to purchase the work, I will keep it up. I only pay fees when I relist a product listing that has expired or when someone makes a purchase.

Also, I haven’t done any work to the shop in years!  Nothing!  I haven’t designed one printable, changed the price, or maintained the shop in any other way except for renewing listings.

My shop feels like passive income because I no longer design any work for it. Will I ever design again? I don’t know. A streak of creativity may come over me one day , but for now I’m happy with the way it is.  If you have a talent and can create certain types of products, you may be able to market them on Etsy too.

What is Passive Income?

To make this short, simple, and sweet – passive income is earned from something you put upfront effort into, then leave alone after things are up and running. If you write an e-book and sale it on Amazon, any income you earn could be considered passive income.

If you create an e-course and it generates income years later, this is passive income. If you make a sale on your website overnight for a product that doesn’t require you to wake up and fulfill the order, you’ve earned passive income.

How Can You Earn Passive Income on Etsy? 

Step 1 – Decide What to Sell.

The best types of products to earn passive income from are products that don’t require any maintenance. If you =actively retrieve orders and send out products, this isn’t passive. It’s work.

You need some design or photography skills to pull this off; however, your products don’t have to be scripture or word printables.

Here are a few other digital printable items you could sell:


cosmic print artwork example

Digital Artwork via Cosmic Print


paper land greeting card example

greeting card via PaperlandCo


aha design greeting card example

greeting card via Ah-ha Design


igivelove clip art design example

clip art via IGiveLove


customizable resume via shalexdesigns on etsy screenshot

Digital resume via Shalex Designs


Last, you could design wedding invitations that allow customization on the consumer end. This allows you to produce the deliverable and then the customer can customize it based on their individual needs.

alchemie press digital wedding invite example via etsy screenshot

DIgital Wedding Invitation via Alchemie Press


To create my digital products, I used Adobe Photoshop (This program costs a grip, but you can get a discount if you’re a student or you can use their online services for $10 a month). It doesn’t matter what software you use. If you can create original work, it will do.  As far as fonts are concerned, you need to have a license for certain fonts or you can use free ones available without credit (basically, read the fine print).

Here are two of my best selling prints:


be still art work print

Be Still Print via Latoya Monique Designs


in happy moments artwork screenprint

In Happy Moments Print via Latoya Monique Designs


Regardless of the type of product you decide to sell, you still may have to answer a question or two about your product occasionally. However, if you write a very detailed description, you shouldn’t have to do so often (see more about listings below).


Step 2 – Setting Up Shop

I won’t go into the details of setting up a shop because I would literally have to set up a shop to get screenshots of the process, but Etsy provides a wealth of information on how to set up shop and how to successfully start selling on Etsy.

Key Points To Remember When Setting Up Shop

  • Be sure to fill out all Etsy Shop information on your shop profile.  In my announcement area, I reiterate all the information in each listing and include the pricing and size of each printable.
  • In the shop policies area, I’m clear that I don’t offer refunds on digital products because the product is delivered once payment is received to the customer’s address. I encourage them to read the information thoroughly and ask questions that are not answered in the listing before purchasing.


Step 3 – Creating Your Listing

You can create a digital product that doesn’t require mail delivery. Etsy has a feature you select while you create a listing. It’s called digital as shown below.


digital product screenshot


Then you will create a section for your shop which allows you to categorize the listing as an Instant Download as shown below. In the section called Digital Files, you would upload the jpg image seen in the screenshot below. Once the customer purchases, the file will be included with the receipt sent to the recipient’s email. You don’t even have to deliver the product, it’s all automated!


digital download section screenshot


Here is an example of my listing:


lmd listing description



Here is another example from another shop that offers digital downloads:


cosmic print listing example



Key Points to Remember about your listing:

  • You want to make sure your listing is very detailed. It should include information about the type of product the customer will receive. From personal experience, customers don’t read long descriptions so put download or printable in the listing title.
  • Reiterate in the listing that your product is a downloadable product. Make it absolutely clear they are receiving a product they will need to download and print themselves. This will lessen the amount of complaints your shop receives.
  • Also, be clear about your copyright and the extent of use.
  • You will also need to be sure to inform your customers you do not offer customizations or different sizes if you want it to truly be passive income.
  • You should study other shop owners and use your findings to determine a selling price. I settled on $6.00 for my prints because it’s half the price I charged when I was printing and mailing them. Now that I no longer provide those services, I sell them for $6.00 and I never offer sales anymore. Running a sale requires additional work and I don’t have time to maintain it.
  • Utilize keywords in your listing the same as a blogger would use SEO when running a blog. Look at the other keyword descriptions other owners are using and also type in the Etsy search field to see what comes up. Oftentimes, the  phrases and keywords searched for the most will pre-populate.


Wrapping Things Up

To position yourself for success on Etsy, it’s a good idea to be visible on social media. You could also promote your shop in your email signatures (using Wisestamp) and through the use of other marketing tactics like postcards or business cards.

Since I don’t do any of the above, my sales trickle in throughout the year. In the future, I may have someone help me beef up marketing for my shop in order to increase shop awareness. Sometimes all you need is more people talking about your product and word of mouth alone can bring in decent amounts of income.

If you are interested in opening your own Etsy shop to earn passive income, I encourage you to give it a shot because the start-up costs are really low!

All the ideas I’ve presented are just my methods of earning additional income through my shop. If you want to bring in the big bucks, I encourage you to not be as lazy as I am with mine.

Check out some of these resources I’ve listed below that helped me when I was getting started.  

Etsy Success: How to Make a Full-Time Income Selling Jewelry, Crafts, and Other Homemade Products Online by Kathleen Donovan

Etsy Tips on Handmadeology 

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to holla at me and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. If you decide to give Etsy a whirl, let me know, I want to hear all about it!

BTW: If you do open a shop, use this link and you’ll earn 40 free listings (I will receive free listings too, but who cares…I won’t need them anytime soon as you can already tell. The most important thing is you’ll be saving money to open up your shop!)


Do any of you currently have an Etsy shop that brings in passive income or are you actively running your shop? Have you ever ran an Etsy Shop?

Do you possess a skill for creating marketable digital products? If so, you might be able to earn a passive income on Etsy. Pin/Read so you can find out all the details to creating a passive income on Etsy.


*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and, Disease Called Debt*

Latoya Scott
CFEI/Social Entrepreneur
Latoya Scott is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and personal finance writer with a mission to help millennials learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck so they can become financially carefree.

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  • Rachel @ The Latte Budget June 24, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I never would have thought about Etsy for passive income. What a great idea! And they are beautiful prints!

    • Latoya Scott June 25, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you, Rachel:) Yes, there are all sorts of ways to earn passive income with Etsy for creative types:)

  • Becky@frametofreedom June 26, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Latoya this is great! I am not on Etsy very often, but I can see this would be a valuable form of passive income! I love the Christian passages and the design of your work. You are such a hustler girl!

    • Latoya S June 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Becky! Lol…I’m trying to be the best I can be at it:)

  • Jen @ Frugal Millennial June 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I never would have thought of Etsy as being for passive income. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing!
    Jen @ Frugal Millennial recently posted…4 Ridiculous Wedding Etiquette Rules that Need to ChangeMy Profile

  • Latoya June 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    No problem! Thanks for reading!
    Latoya recently posted…How to Earn Passive Income on EtsyMy Profile

  • Chonce June 27, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Great post about Etsy! I would actually like to try something like that especially if I could find a way to make it passive.
    Chonce recently posted…5 Ways to Embrace Minimalism When You Have Lots of StuffMy Profile

  • Jackie B July 10, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Great post! You actually help not just the beginners in passive income but those who have long been doing this, too. I always look forward to reading posts like this and learn many new things from them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Latoya Scott July 10, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      You’re welcome, Jackie:) Glad you found it helpful!

  • Tennille @ Two Kids And A Budget July 15, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you for the great information! I’ve been wanting to start an Etsy shop, as well to help bring in another source of income for my growing family. Your explanation has made it much less intimidating a thought!
    Tennille @ Two Kids And A Budget recently posted…My Twin Pregnancy Update ~ Week 30My Profile

    • Latoya Scott July 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Tennille, glad I could help!

  • Christie July 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    You do great work! Have you tried using Pinterest to promote your Etsy shop ? Kristin at is the Pinterest Queen. She has free info and a paid course about pinterest.

    • Latoya Scott July 20, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Thanks, Christie, Yes, I’ve actually taken Kristin’s course. I used to use Pinterest back in the day to promote the shop. Not any more. It certainly wouldn’t hurt giving it another whirl so I may consider adding it back into things in the future.