Is digital planners creation a job worth considering? YES IT IS!
Is selling digital planners easy? NO, IT IS NOT.
It’s 2 years since I started the digital planners creation and I just reached €80,500+ in sales. That’s more than my design business did for me in the last 3 years!!
I got asked about it multiple times, so here it is! I have created this behind the scenes video on how the project started as a test, and became my (almost) full-time job that I LOVE.
However, IT WAS NOT EASY…
Before you watch the video you should know that…
I started this project with €499 initial investment (I bought my iPad and the Apple Pencil), and dedicated 4-6 hours every night in the first 12 months. So it was not easy to work on my day job and then spend the rest of the evenings (and some nights) to work on the planners! But I am glad I did!
From November 2018 until October 2020, I sold my planners exclusively through my Etsy shop.
I had no followers, no brand, no name, and only €499 to invest in an iPad and an Apple Pencil.
So here’s why selling on Etsy was an inspired start…
3 Reasons to Sell Digital Planners on Etsy
- There is a large pool of planner fans on Etsy – people who want this product already! So you don’t have to educate them about what a digital planner is and how to use it! That is huge, whenever you start your small project and you’re resources are limited.
- Etsy is taking care of almost every essential matter to run your business – from payment processing, invoices, client communication, digital VAT, basic stats, and more.
- It’s easy to sell digital products and get paid even when you sleep – just upload the PDF files with hyperlinks, add a description, a price and you’re done! The buyer can download it anytime after the order is marked as paid, with no input from your side!!
So YES! Selling digital planners on Etsy IS A GOOD STARTING POINT.
But there is room for improvements…
5 things I find challenging on Etsy:
- I would love more stats about my customers – demographics, location, behavior
- I can’t notify my clients about new products in the shop, unless I email them individually; so whenever I launch a new planner I can’t tell them about it
- Over the year, the competition has increased dramatically, and that also increased my marketing costs
- Can’t send recommendations to customers
- There are still unsolved technical issues with the link for files download (for guest buyers)
This is why since October 2020 I launched my planner on my website and I am really happy I found the courage to take this step.
OK, now jump to the lessons I learned and my future steps.
5 things that helped me grow my digital planning business from scratch (with just an €499 investment)
- CONSTANT CONTACT with people and gathering feedback from new users. And when I say constant I mean ALL THE TIME
- QUICK & OFTEN CHANGES on my digital planner, based on customers’ suggestions. This is not an easy job, but I was improving the digital planner almost weekly
- TESTING THE PLANNER – I was constantly giving away the planner to existing customers. I found that their feedback is more legit than anyone else since they are already my ideal clients
- Share FREEBIES and SAMPLES on my website did help, but need to be careful with that!
- MARKETING on Etsy was essential to bring people on my shop. In 2 years, around 40K sales are from marketing my products on Etsy, and that’s a little under HALF of my total sales. That’s really huge!
5 things that could speed up the process (and I’ll focus on it next)
- Create fewer products so I can focus more on promoting them
- Make more and better videos showing people how to use digital planners and what they’re missing by not using them already!
- Do live-streams on social media with useful content, engaging followers, and communicate with my community
- Approaching companies to sell planners to employees – this is a BRAVE step, but I trust the Outline Digital Planner is a very powerful product to boost employees’ mental health and productivity. Happy employees = successful businesses
- Affiliate marketing – well, will I do this? Still not sure! But I have seen many digital planning sellers doing this very well. So I may consider it.
That’s behind the scenes of my site-project turned into a full-time job.
To get started with digital notes: (1) have an iPad + paper-like screen protector, (2) have an Apple Pencil, and (3) an annotations app — I recommend the Noteshelf app.
And if you stumble during the process, that’s OK! Watch my online courses on how to use digital planners in Goodnotes 5, Noteshelf and Notability; or drop me a comment below. I know how frustrating it is to learn new apps, so I am happy to assist.