Passive Income on Etsy for Side Hustlers

Passive Income on Etsy for Side Hustlers

Guest post by Patty Schuster.


Working full-time and side hustling definitely has its challenges.  

Not only can it be exhausting, but finding time to do it all can seem nearly impossible some days.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to make money while you worked on other things in the meantime?  

Luckily I found a way to do just that, by selling digital products on Etsy.  

This is perfect for side hustlers because once you have it all set up, there isn’t much maintenance to keep it going and you can focus your attention on other things you want to pursue.  

Maybe you've thought about selling digital products in the past, but didn't want to add another thing to your to-do-list.  Of course there is work required up front, but once you get your shop to the point that it makes money without much maintenance, you'll be so glad you decided to start your passive income shop.

In the spring of 2013, Etsy added the instant download feature.  It has been very beneficial to both buyers and sellers since its been available.  The seller can now upload the digital file to their listing and once the listing is purchased the buyer has immediate access to the file and can instantly download it.  A win-win for both sides of the transaction.  The seller doesn't have to do anything one the order comes through, and the buyer can receive the file right away.   

When I first started my Etsy shop back in 2012, I didn’t really have a direction for it.  I just knew that I wanted it to be something that I could grow into a full time business, but I didn’t really know how.  I would create birthday and wedding invitations, thank you cards, nursery artwork and more… but never really took time to figure out my niche.  I was struggling with working a full time job and raising my one year old daughter at the time.  Since then we’ve added another little girl to our family, and things got even busier since she was born.  I would get so overwhelmed with everything on my plate, but never gave up on my dream because I knew this is what I eventually wanted to quit my full time job to do.

Over the past year or so, I've been gradually transitioning my Etsy shop into a passive income stream and I haven’t looked back since.  I've figured out my niche, defined my target audience, and I now sell printable files for creative entrepreneurs- things such as wall art, tags, thank you cards and more.  I am now making more than I ever have and doing less work.  I still do offer products that require some editing and I have some product tags that I print and hand punch myself, but the majority of my income is now passive.  I plan on continuing to add even more instant downloads to the shop in the future as well.

This has been great for a number of reasons.  

  • I spend more time with my family now that I don't have to fill as many orders
  • I can pursue other business ventures while still making money from my low-maintenance Etsy shop at the same time
  • It's awesome receiving orders during the day while working my full time job and knowing that I don’t have to do anything to fulfill the order once I get home
  • I make more and work less

Who is this good for?

Anyone who can sell a digital product.  That means you don’t have to physically create or ship anything to the customer.  

So how do you set this all up?

Etsy makes it so easy to set up.  

All you need to do differently then when setting up a physical product is check DIGITAL where it asks for the type of product.  You can then upload up to 5 files per listing.  If you have more than 5, no problem, just stuff or zip the file.  It is very important that you make it very clear that the listing is for a digital product.  I typically type in all caps, INSTANT DOWNLOAD in the listings title, and in the description of the item, just so they know that they will not be receiving a physical item in the mail.  

It is so nice to wake up in the morning and see that I made money overnight.  Yes, this does require quite a bit of work up front, but once it’s all set up, there isn’t very much maintenance. 

It’s perfect for a side hustler who is limited on time but still wants another income stream.  

I envisioned my Etsy shop being my only source of income when I started it 3 years ago, but now I see it as more of another source of income and part of a bigger picture.  I am in the process of adding some logo and branding design services, and creating some e-courses since my passive income on Etsy is allowing me more time to do so and is bringing in money to fund my other ventures.  Plus the biggest thing for me is that I have more time, and as a side hustler that is so important.

I highly recommend setting up a passive income Etsy shop if you sell digital products, and feel it is the right fit for you.  It has been one of the best decisions I have made, and the opportunities it has lead me to have been amazing! 

Patty Schuster is the Owner/Designer of Charming Tree Design and you can view her Etsy shop at

Megan Minns

Business Strategist for Side Hustlers