Sidehustle Log 05: Going Digital With Etsy Digital Downloads

This is a continuation of my sidehustle log series. A real-time experiment in striving for financial independence online. I don’t know the answer to this series any more than you do!

Other instalments can be found here:

It’s been a while since we did one of these, so I thought perhaps I would run an update on how the world of sidehustling is going.

Trial And Error

When I first started this little series, I was so sure that soapmaking was the thing for me! Just like weaving had been and even jewelry making and sewing before that.

While I still enjoy those hobbies, I failed to take into account that they are all physical, cost money for tools and consumables, and are often expensive to ship. My initial impression of Etsy for physical items is that it might be easier to start one in the US. Or at least any place where shipping fees are not as exorbitant as in Norway.

The second thing I realised is that I leaned towards these because they reflect what I have seen growing up. My mother did, and still does, sell handcrafted goods at various faires throughout the year. Physical goods were the name of the game, what else was there?

To anyone savvy in sidehustle blogs and laptop lifestyles, the answer is obviously the digital world! Be it as a virtual assistant, social media manager, blogger, translator, youtube video creator, self-publishing author or digital download content creator. There are a plethora of possibilities if one is willing to investigate and learn.

Silence Those Negative Thoughts

I thought it was going to be too difficult, I thought no one was going to want to download my products.

But time showed me wrong. Even if they are not crazy numbers, I did make $15 off digital downloads in May. None of those profits came from soap, no matter how much time and effort I spent on photography and creating a website.

College Fund Clean

They are not crazy numbers, but they are encouraging. In terms of what I spend my time on, I have all but left soap making behind as a sidehustle (I still make it for our private use) and am completely focusing on Frugasaurus Vault and digital downloads. They are a lot of fun to make, and I can manage the shop from anywhere – even while working in the frigid Arctic!

My latest focus has been these editable mason jar pages. The pdf is editable, so customers are able to fill in their own debt/savings goal and the form will automatically calculate the rest. Being on a linux (Ubuntu Mate), I do not have access to Acrobat Pro which most places recommend, but I found a good alternative in Master pdf Editor.

Pro tip: It might not be as intuitive as Acrobat Pro, but if you take the time to figure it out, Master pdf Editor can create editable pdfs in the free version. Pennies saved!

Etsy For A Friend

I did not even know Etsy ran a referral program until Mrs. Kiwi from Kiwi and Keweenaw reached out to me and asked if I wanted to shoot her a link. With the link, both referrers and referee receives 40 free listings when using the link to open a new Etsy shop.

This is not a cash bonus you can use to buy anything, but if you were thinking of starting up an Etsy shop anyway, why not save yourself the startup costs and share 40 free listings with me until you get your idea up and running? That way you can explore if an idea has potential before actually investing money in it!

What Sold?

One of the things I like about Etsy is that it is very easy to keep track.

Since the beginning of Frugasaurus Vault, 13 out of 21 sold items have been saving trees. I must admit this makes me all sorts of giddy, as it was the idea of saving trees that made me launch the digital download site in the first place. Treehuggers, unite!


How do you price your digital products? I still do not have a good answer. Tutorials I’ve seen mention using Etsyrank to search for similar products, and then start off in the middle of the bracket.

In the beginning, I was selling myself short and sold my products too cheaply. I had all sorts of excuses for why (I only spent x hours on this, they have to print it themselves, etc, etc, etc), but the bottom line is that many people are sceptical of things that are priced too cheap, and often thing there is something wrong with them.

I do this myself, so I have no problem believing that argument.

So if you want to try it out, do yourself a favour and search for items that are comparable and try to fill a similar niche price-wise. Trying to undersell other people by a mile can seriously come back to bite you!

Social Media

For the past few months, I have used two Instagram accounts, one for Frugasaurus and one for Frugasaurus Vault.

This turned out to be a mistake. Managing two accounts in very similar fields proved to be a challenge, and I found it difficult to stay engaged with both of them as much as I would have liked without feeling fake.

So after advice from other social media wizards, I decided to pare it back down to just the one instagram account – Frugasaurus, and my mind feels lighter because of it. I’m sure a social media whizz would have managed with ease, but I don’t want to spend all day glued to that screen!

I still use Tailwind for Pinterest as well, both for Frugasaurus and Frugasaurus Vault, and it is creating a modest amount of traffic.

What Is Next?

I think the next steps on the ladder would be to produce more useful, editable pdfs for the shop and to learn more about Pinterest optimisation. The mason jars were something of a trial, as I wanted to make sure they were working (I also had Mr. E. test them) before developing more content.

I still have a lot to learn about Pinterest optimisation and creating engaging Sidehustle Log 05 Growing Etsy! #etsy #printables #digitalcontent, but since it is a platform I enjoy using myself, it makes it a lot more enjoyable. For instance, I am not focusing much on facebook at all, because I have more or less stepped back entirely from the platform. Choose the places you actually like to hang out and then make the most of it!

Over To You

Have you made progress on your own sidehustles in the last few months? Progressed by strides or stagnated somewhat due to recent stress? We’d love to hear about it, let’s learn together!

12 Comments on “Sidehustle Log 05: Going Digital With Etsy Digital Downloads

    • Thanks! I am using instagram and pinterest/tailwind, same as for my blog. Occasionally I will mention it to my frugasaurus twitter account.

  1. These are the cutest! I can see why they are selling, and I bet they will get some serious traction with some effort on your part. And – no shipping miles to contend with!

  2. This is great! I am actually at a side-hustle right now, of sorts. I’m covering several shifts at the local hospital for a friend who’s out camping at Glacier National Park 🙂 I actually don’t mind night shifts, and I’m getting paid while I have time to do other things (like refill my Tailwind queue which has been shamefully empty for days!). I am a huge fan of the side hustle and so excited to hear how well yours is going!

    • That sounds like a great sidehustle! I’ve never had a job where I could do other things at the same time, really efficient!

      I might write another update soon, there has been some exciting progress! 🙂

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