A printables business is a great way to earn passive income. What’s not to love about building a business where you can create products that sell themselves over and over again with no additional effort on your part?
Deciding on the type of printables you’re going to sell is an important factor in the success of your business. Printables are quite a competitive market these days so you need to find a niche where there’s not too much competition, nor too little competition.
So what is a niche exactly?
A niche is a segment of a larger market area. For example, “printables” is a market area, and “printable journals” is a niche segment.
When deciding on a niche, the best place to start is to choose a topic or hobby that you’re knowledgeable about and are interested in. It’s best to choose something that you have an interest in as you’re more likely to enjoy your work and thus create a sustainable business. Also, when you love what you do it’s reflected in your products and services and this in turn attracts customers. It’s ideal to aim for a perfect balance between passion and profit.
When I first started making printables I began with a topic that I was particularly interested in which is journaling. Making journals and journaling has always been something that I’ve loved since I was a young girl, so this was a natural starting point for me.
There is quite a variety of different types of journaling though, so I narrowed my niche to printable junk journals because I love to make those types of journals. Over time I expanded my catalog by designing associated products such as printable papers, printable cards, and even mini junk journals which have turned out to be some of my best-sellers.
The Secret to Choosing a Successful Niche
The secret to a finding a successful niche is to find a gap in a market where there is a lot of competition. Within that gap you’re sure to find customers, but you won’t be directly competing.
Competition is a good thing. If there’s lot of competition in a particular niche it means there is a market for that particular product, however if you’re directly competing it also means you’ll have to work harder to get noticed. Too little competition means there probably isn’t a big market for that product, so you’ll probably struggle trying to make sales.
I found my niche gap by designing printable junk journals with contemporary or modern graphics. Most junk journals are vintage in style and while I do love that particular style, it’s becoming an over-saturated marketplace with a lot of competition. I don’t want to compete directly, so by designing in a more modern style, I’m attracting junk journal customers who want something a little fresh and different.
You could look for a gap in your niche using a similar approach, or you could pick one product from within a niche that you think you could develop into a unique product. You can also stand out by choosing a popular niche product and developing it for a specific market segment. For example – “printable planners” for “busy moms”, or “printable journals” for “teens” or “teen girls”. You can then create printables with graphics and fonts that busy moms or teens would relate to.
The most important thing is to not copy what someone else is doing. Not only is that a violation of copyright, but you are setting yourself up for direct competition and making it harder to get noticed. Pick a niche and then figure out a way to give it your own spin and make it unique to you. Making yourself unique and different is the best way to stand out in a crowd.
So how do you find that gap in the marketplace? You need to do some research.
Doing the Research
Deciding on a niche just because you think it’s a good idea is, well … a very bad idea. Doing some research first will give a feel for what’s selling in the market and making a business decision based on facts will give your business a much better chance of success. Luckily doing some research is not all that difficult and the easiest way to get started is to use Etsy search. Etsy is a popular marketplace for selling printables and they also provide some statistics that you can use for research purposes.
To get started with your research, in the Etsy search bar, type in the word “printable” or “printables”. From the drop down auto suggestions, you’ll notice all the different types of printables that have been searched for. This search option will give you an idea of what’s popular in the printables section of Etsy.
You can expand on the search by adding additional words. For example, if you type “printable journal” into the search bar, in the drop down auto suggestions you can see all the different types of printable journal searches. This is a great way to get ideas for your niche and to narrow down a niche, and it’s also a great tool to use to discover popular search terms.
Now if you do a search for “printable journal”, you can see all the different types of printable journals that are available together with the sellers and their ratings. From this type of search you can see what shops are popular.
To drill down further, click on a shop and head over to the home page where you can view the sales statistics. This is my Etsy Shop. You can tell if a shop is popular by the star rating and the review notification that Etsy applies to shops that receive great reviews.
You can also see the number of sales and the number of customers who have favorited the shop. Some shops even allow you to click through and view their sales.
And you can also see from the reviews what items in that shop are popular and are selling.
If you select “Most Recent” from the drop down sort filter, you can see all the products that have sold, sorted by latest sale. From this information you can tell what products appear to be popular.
By taking the time to research a variety of different shops and gathering statistics and determining what appears to be popular you can very quickly decide on your own niche. During your research phase, it’s a good idea to stay organized. I use OneNote which is free, however any other note-taking app will work to keep things organized.
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