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How to Sell Digital Art on Etsy

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I've got 99 problems but making money shouldn't be one. 

Passive income has become all the rave in the last few years. As a millennial, for most of us, one job is not enough to get by. The days of having a steady job, with the white picket fence home, and great 401 k plan isn’t what it was maybe 30 years ago.

Even if you are one of the lucky ones with a great paying job, what’s wrong with a little side hustle? 

I’m always looking for another way of creating a passive income. I’ve created courses, invested in stocks, slowly aiming towards monetizing my YouTube channel. By any (legal) means necessary, I’m willingly open to creating extra streams of income.

Looking for even more online side jobs? Check out this big list of remote jobs and get the tools you need to get started with each of them.

My latest venture of “creating passive income” journey came with my Etsy digital art shop. As a huge fan of home décor and a recently new home buyer, I wanted to create a space that was truly my own. There are hundreds of great digital art shops already on the website but often I felt like I would like this or that if it had a different font, or shape, or color.

These very thoughts lead me down a rabbit hole of articles, YouTube, and TikTok videos on how to create my own shop.

Turns out it was much easier than I thought!

Here are 8 simple steps you can take to start selling your own digital art on Etsy.

1. Think about what you want to sell on Etsy. 

I personally chose digital art because I love creating, colors, patterns, novelty saying, and décor. I live abroad in Cape Town, South Africa so physically shipping something would not be the easiest, especially during a pandemic.

The options are endless when it comes to selling on Etsy so don't limit yourself to what everyone else is doing.

If you make cool jewelry or natural lotions, for example, there is an audience for you.

2. You want to sell digital prints but you’re not really an artist? 

No worries! Look on places like Creative Market and buy the licenses to different vectors and images.

My shop is currently majority of my own designs and the rest are vectors I’ve purchased to recreate my own images.

However, starting this shop has opened me up to learning more about 100% creating my own images and fonts. If you want to take this approach there are great instructors on sites like Udemy to help you learn.

3. Learn the basics of Photoshop / Canva

These are the tools I use to create and resize my images. It’s important to learn how to resize prints on your computer so that they look the same once they are printed. This can be the most tricky part about working with digital prints.

While you’re able to resize your prints on Canva, the quality is so much better on Photoshop. So take the time to learn the basic skills when it comes to resizing and printing digitals.
A mockup from a black owned digital prints shop on Etsy
An example of the art I sell on my shop, In Living Color

4. Showcase your art with great mockups

It is important to get nice photos for your Esty shop. Having two to three different photos makes all the difference for a buyer.

There are great websites where you can get free mock-ups such as Smartmockups. If you would like a mockup that looks a bit nicer, you can always pay for a subscription, but the free ones also get the job done.

You can also purchase mockup templates if you want something more tailored for your individual shop.

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5. Get ready for a lot of promotion

Just like anything you want to sell, you need to promote it. How you do so is totally up to you though.

I’ve found that Facebook and Instagram are great places to start, but Pinterest is also fantastic and will drive traffic to your shop. Oh, while we’re here don’t forget to follow me @inlivingcolorshop on Insta!

SEO on Etsy works very similar to that of Pinterest. When you add your items on Etsy you want to name them as popular searches. For example, when I list an item I don't just title it “Digital Print,” I add in things like “Office Decor,” “Instant download,” or “Abstract design.”

Using these different popular searches helps when customers are looking for similar items such as yours.

If you aren't quite sure what to add in your titles go to some of your competitors and see how they have listed similar items. This will help you at least get started in the right direction.

6. Take some time to think about pricing

This is also something that you want to look at your competitors for.  You don't want to price your items too low and of course you don't want to price too high, especially starting off. If you're able to customize something then of course you can add a higher price tag. 

In my shop most of my prints go for about five US dollars and that's typically where most sellers are. There are some that are higher and lower but overall the general price is about 5 USD.

In the beginning, stay in the general price range, only after getting reviews and building clientele should you start raising prices. 

7. Set up your shop on Etsy

Setting up your shop is very easy. It has a step-by-step plan before you are even able to make your shop live.

Keep in mind that you should have about ten items that you want to list. It's not mandatory but that is the recommendation.

As you list, the process is very detailed. Etsy asks you what colors are there in your item, is there shipping involved, does this item go in the bathroom or an office space, etc. So, even before you list, they try to get you the best search results.

8. Join an Etsy Facebook group

This has helped me, especially as a newbie. There are tons of groups on Facebook of all kinds: sellers by states, by gender, groups for moms, believe me, there’s a group for you as well.

Being in these groups helps you learn the ropes and helps you understand Etsy updates and how to get the best search results. The groups also helped me understand if you should run ads on your shop or not.

Not only that, it can be motivating seeing other sellers just opening their shops and already with six hundred sales.

There’s a number of ways to fund your next travel adventure, knock down your student loan debt, create a path for financial freedom, here’s just one that can be started from just your laptop. Creating your shop can be done in these few easy steps, but don’t rush the process.

Sell what you love and would like to see in your own living space and surely you’ll find your tribe of people who love what you’ve created.

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