While selling printables and digital downloads on Etsy continues to be a fantastic way to earn recurring, passive income with very little work, there is one major concern.
As you scour the site for new printables ideas, you may have become aware that certain product categories are already pretty saturated. You’ll face stiff competition, for example, if you’re selling printable journals, planners, calendars, or to-do lists.
But other categories are wide open. Competition is much less intense, at least for the time being. And, at the same time, demand is high. And growing! So, if you start right away, you can still get in on the proverbial ground floor...and make impressive passive income with minimal time and effort.
Here are 3 popular printable or digital-download categories featuring high demand, low competition, and (as always) very little to zero overhead. Check them out and decide which ones you can fill your shop with.
Digital Wallpaper for Cell Phones
Let’s face it: People love to express their personalities. Whether it’s a profile pic of family or a cell phone case adorned with sports team logos, most of us get a kick out of showing off our interests, hobbies, activities, and so on.
Lately more and more people have begun personalizing their phone screens – either the lock screen or the home screen or both. They’re flocking to Etsy in search of creative designs for smartphone wallpapers. And, in response, savvy sellers have started offering attractive digital downloads for both iPhone and Android – typically in sets with multiple designs.
So far, though, there’s a limited range of available designs and usually only for the lock screen. Flowy abstract patterns. Florals and botanicals. Skyscapes. Moonscapes. Muted neutral monotones. Festive seasonal imagery. You get the idea.
That means the sky’s the limit with this niche. You have endless to create your own unique designs. You can offer tried-and-true imagery – such as boho abstracts – or you can try something totally new. You can even use your own artwork or photography.
Because people love new things, they are likely to come back again and again to buy your new designs. So, passive income rolls in from new and repeat customers.
Pros & Cons of Selling Phone Wallpaper on Etsy
Pro: Cellphone users are constantly updating their wallpaper creating a never-ending demand.
Con: They can be complicated to create unless you understand a few shortcuts and nifty tricks that cut down on design issues.
Do you use sticky notes to remind yourself of repetitive tasks, weekly/monthly things to do, etc.? You’re not alone. According to CNN, more than 50 billion 3M Post-It® Notes are sold every single year.
That’s certainly impressive. But, when you think of it, it’s also a lot of wasted paper just to say the same things over and over again. “Gone to the store.” “Dog is out/in.” “PTA meeting tonight.”
That’s why many folks have started looking for more efficient and sustainable solutions. And that’s where printable reminder cards come in.
As a quick glance at Etsy will show, these handy printable downloads are definitely taking off. Yet the market is far from saturated, so there’s still ample room for you to create printable reminder cards to sell on Etsy and other sites.
Best of all, it takes just minutes to create a set of reminder cards, downloadable as PDFs or JPEGs.
What sort of reminders should you offer? That’s entirely up to you. Popular options include:
- Daily/weekly activity reminders for adults
- Daily/weekly activity reminders for kids
- Positive affirmation cards for schoolchildren
- Communication cards for special-needs kids, and special-needs adults
Pros & Cons of Creating Printable Reminder Cards
Pros: If you play your (reminder) cards right, you can take advantage of growing demand for a printable product category with very low competition – plus potential for steady streams of 100% passive income.
Cons: Coming up with ideas and designs can be time-consuming and tedious. Plus, there are special considerations for creating dated/specific cards that are reusable. But there are easy ways to make it happen when you make use of shortcuts and templates.
Printable Puzzle Pages and/or Books
Have you noticed? Americans are addicted to puzzles. Whether it’s crosswords, mazes, sudokus, or word searches, millions of us love to test our skills with brain-teasing problems and challenges.
Fortunately, demand for downloadable puzzles keeps rising steadily. So, if you’re looking for a low-content path toward hassle-free passive income, here it is.
While many niches for “generic” puzzles are oversaturated, finding smaller niches that are up-and-coming gives you lots of room to grow.
You can offer your digital puzzle downloads in several formats:
- As individual pages or in sets with a dozen or more, which customers can download as PDFs or JPEGs and print out on their own home or office printers
- As print-on-demand puzzle books – printed on demand using physical paper, bound, and shipped by a third-party company every time a customer places an order
Both options entail relatively little effort on your part, especially once you get your puzzle products “up and running” at Etsy, Amazon, and other sites.
What sort of customers will buy your digital puzzles? Smart folks! Studies show that puzzle solvers tend to be mentally sharp, focused, and detail oriented. There’s even a name for them: dissectionalists – people who love to dissect problems in order to find solutions.
Also, people who want to be smarter are attracted to puzzles. It activates certain parts of the brain that heighten mental alertness. That’s why puzzles are such a perfect pastime for older adults seeking ways to keep their faculties sharper as they age. (A great niche.)
Of course, puzzles also appeal to kids – which is why digital puzzle downloads are so popular with teachers and homeschooling parents (great sub-niches).
Pros and Cons of Printable & POD Puzzle Pages and/or Books
Pro: Printable puzzles (and POD puzzles) are a never-ending source of entertainment and education. It is highly unlikely that they will ever go out of popularity. They get scooped up by adults, teachers, parents, teenagers, older adults and others.
Cons: Creating mazes and other puzzles can be challenging. Intricate designs or layouts may take a good bit of time to figure out. Sudoku and word-search puzzles are some of the most popular, but you may need some guidance to make them quickly and easily.
For mazes, software is usually your best bet because it can do in minutes what it would take hours to do manually.
If you’re tired of trying to overcome all the printables competition out there, get started with these up-and-coming printable/downloadable products and/or niches. Then you can jump ahead of the curve and reap the rewards of your cleverness and creativity!
Have questions about creating printables or digital downloads for Etsy? Talk to me below!
Recommended Learning & Tools
- How To Guide: Make Phone Wallpaper to Sell
- Reminder Card Cash: 5 Cards You Can Make in 5 Minutes
- Puzzle Publishing
- Instant Maze Generator Review