Here's how you can build an Etsy passive income machine!
Ok, today we are talking about building a REAL business from your home, in your underwear, basking in the pallid glow of your monitor.
Now Etsy doesn’t get as much airtime from the 'make money online' folk as Amazon or eBay but make no mistake, Etsy is growing, has over 40 million buyers and the lowest selling fees.
It’s like selling on Amazon was way back when.
And while most people might associate Etsy with hippie ladies selling dream catchers made from vegan popsicle sticks glued together with tears, times have changed!
Selling print on demand products on Etsy has become huge for me because it ticks all my Ecom boxes, namely:
Can be run from anywhere
Preferably no inventory
Can be mostly automated
Doesn’t require a warehouse or messing about fulfilling products
I fell in love with Etsy a few years ago because it has the lowest selling fees, a great and super easy to use interface (way better than seller central or the ancient feeling Ebay) and waaay less competition than Amazon (but of course a lower ‘ceiling’).
Also, for what it’s worth, Etsy buyers on general seem to be a much more patient and friendly bunch!
Ok fine, but how do you actually make money on Etsy if you can’t ‘make’ anything by hand?
Well there are things like digital downloads and but obviously today we are talking about print on demand – you take a design you made (or bought from Shutterstock for example) and put the design on a shirt, mug, apron, beer glass, tumbler – whatever you want.
Then you list that item for sale on Etsy (or any other platform you like).
It’s simple, but guess what, it’s work too. Alas, there is no free money, despite what that nice facebook ad might have suggested!
Personally, I have my niches mapped out, then I buy bundles of designs from sites like fontbundles and have a VA upload them using the titles, keywords, and descriptions I give them. If I see a design or quote I like somewhere, I usually have my photoshop VA make some mockups.
You can also buy design elements and do them yourself or use free programs to make simple text designs etc (which are perfect for mugs and even for shirts too).
But basically, your daily workflow becomes: research niche, find quotes and designs you like, start listing products (you can have a VA do most of this if you like, it just becomes a different workflow).
The key thing with print on demand is you have to keep creating designs and uploading, that is, you keep spinning the wheel over and over again, but with each new design, you build your success (and you can then leverage your work by listing the designs on other POD sites like Merch by Amazon, Redbubble, Café Press etc).
Most people quit early because it feels like too much, but trust me, you just need to be smart and keep going.
Following the usual print on demand structure of research niches, designs and place them on mugs and shirts and list them on Etsy, I had hit about 8k in sales in about 3 months and 100 reviews (mostly hoodies, shirts and mugs).
How it gets automated
Now when I first started I was using Gearbubble and teelaunch to manually fulfill my orders but since then I have moved on to almost 100% automated using printful, teelaunch and an amazing UK based POD outfit called alloverprint.it.
These guys plug in directly with Etsy (you make a listing on their platform, push to Etsy then approve the 0.20c listing fee and add any extra info you want) then the listing is live.
When someone orders, your POD providers automatically pull in and processes the order.
You can read my honest breakdown and review of the various POD providers HERE, but the main thing is now everything on Etsy is now 90% automated (customer places order, I do nothing and tracking gets automatically updated).
Only thing I can’t automate is the jewelry I sell via beeoux.com since they don’t yet have an Etsy integration.
Ebay is still all manual order fulfilling and when Q4 ramps up it’s like getting kicked in the nuts daily processing orders and answering customers’ questions about why the handmade item they ordered 3 minutes ago hasn’t been teleported immediately into their hands.
But these are minor issues really and you can always outsource the getting abused by customers bit :)
Now, with the print on demand manufactures competing with each other, us sellers have access to an INSANE amount of products meaning you get less competition because there is now so much selection, from yoga pants, rash guards to crop top hoodies.
And It’s not expensive to start
You can get a free Etsy account and 15 free listings to start (then it’s just 0.20 cents to make a listing) and Etsy PPC and marketing is also way cheaper and easier than Google, Amazon and Facebook ads too (and it’s optional also).
Accounts with the POD manufacturers are also free, but for a few (printful, teelaunch etc) you will need a shopify account – good news is you can actually get a Shopify store and pause it, costing just 15 bucks per month, but most importantly, still letting you use the POD apps (you access these platforms by installing them as apps into your Shopify store’).
Compare this cost to other online business models where you have to either spend thousands importing and testing products or spending a small fortune on facebook and google ads trying to get your Shopify store seen.
And you don’t have to worry about dropshipping stuff from China and pissing customers off and getting your merchant account banned because of complaints.
If like me, you don’t want to make yet another hollow aliexpress dropshipping store that misleads customers and then upsets them with massive shipping times, POD is perfect because your stuff is coming from the US (or EU in case of necklaces and alloverprint).
There’s just a production time to worry about and you get to sell things printed and made in the US which is very cool!
So if you are looking for a way to have a true business with super minimal risk, I would seriously recommend you looking into Etsy and print on demand today!