April 9, 2020
Passive Income on Etsy with Kelsey Baldwin

Passive Income on Etsy with Kelsey Baldwin


– You’re listening to Femtrepreneur Show, and this is Episode 45. In this episode we’re
chatting with Kelsey Baldwin of Paper and Oats, and
we’re talking all about passive income and digital products. (upbeat surf music) Hey guys, it’s Mariah. – And I’m Megan and we’re
so excited for you to hear our interview with Kelsey. Kelsey Baldwin started Paper
and Oats as an Etsy shop and a freelance design
studio back in 2013, and it has since grown
into a brand and blog that teaches creatives how to organize, design and market their digital products, so that they can share what they know and look good while they do it. She’s a single mom to a crazy two-year-old and a big fluffy dog,
and is also an advocate for women learning to sustain themselves and gain independence
through online business. It’s a great interview, so let’s dig in. – Hey Kelsey, thank you so
much for joining us today, I’m so so excited to have you
here on the Fem Show Podcast. We’ve introduced you a
little bit for our audience, but I want you to tell
us in your own words who you are and what you do
and what your online business is all about. – Yeah, thank you guys for
having me on, this is fun. My name’s Kelsey Baldwin,
and I run Paper and Oats, and I basically have a blog and business that talks about helping
creatives organize, design and market their digital products so they can share more of what they know and actually look good
while they’re doing it. – I feel like you’re
especially good at the looking good part, my biggest struggle. (they laugh) – I’m a designer by trade,
so that’s my favorite part. – I always recognize your
stuff when I see it online, I’m sure you guys who
are listening do as well. So let’s take it back a
little bit in terms of, we know what your business does now, but let’s take it back to what you did before you started your business. So I wanna hear about
what your life was like before you had an online business, and then why you decided
to turn to online business, and then how you transitioned
to going full time. – Yeah, so I went to school for design, and I started doing freelance
my first year of college, and I went on Craigslist
and just took free gigs, just so I could learn the
ropes of working with clients and they couldn’t be
mad at me if it was bad. (they laugh) – I like that approach. – So I feel like I learned
so much more doing that than I ever did in college. – I feel like I’ve also
never heard someone specifically say that that
was how they got started, which is really really smart. – Yeah. I don’t know that I’d recommend it now, Craigslist is so much creepier now. (they laugh) – It’s changed. – Back then it was a little more normal. But still a little bit creepy. (laughs) So after college I got
a job at a design agency and I worked there for about five years, kind of at the end of college,
I worked through to the end. And then they hired my
full-time, they were great and I continued doing
freelance on the side too while I worked there, so
I was building that up at the same time, having
this consistent income from a day job. And then kind of around the time, I guess in college I had
started an Etsy shop, just selling random stuff, like paintings, like
things I had done in school that I wanted to sell. Like in art classes you
had to make five copies of the same thing, and so I would just sell the extra copies on Etsy. So it was kind of just a
hobby thing on the side that I would randomly throw stuff up there and nothing really did that well and I didn’t put that much time into it. But I kind of knew I wanted
to grow that eventually, but I didn’t know what
that would look like, so I just sort of left it there. But, while I was at this job, I was married, and then my
husband asked for a divorce, and I found out I was pregnant. – Oh my gosh. – And so it was like a huge transition of I’m suddenly down to one income, and I have a baby on the way, and I’m working a full-time
job and I don’t really wanna be working whenever she’s born. Just because you’re trading
your paycheck, basically, for a daycare invoice. – Yeah. – So I kind of took the
whole pregnancy time to build up my freelance
as much as I could, build up my Etsy shop. A little bit before that
is when I discovered this world of digital products, and I was selling
printable planners on Etsy, and they were doing really well, a lot better than I
though that they would be. So I sold those, kept adding
new things to the shop, all through my pregnancy
still working full-time, building up my business. And then I came back to work
just at about half time, and I kind of continued building
my business on the side, and they were really great to work with. They knew I was doing that, they had left their old
jobs to start this agency. – Yeah. – So they understood that
entrepreneurial spirit and encouraged that. – Wow, that’s really nice. Most people have to like hide it. – I know, yeah. I could just come them, and
like hey I have this client, and they’re doing this weird thing, and they could give me advice on it. – Wow. – That’s nice. – Yeah, so I feel really
grateful to have had that. And they’re still all
good friends of mine. So then when my daughter
was about six months old, is when my Etsy income
was pretty consistently the same amount as my salary at the job. And so quit the job, and had my Etsy shop, and
built up my freelance work, getting even more. And that was kind of the
time I got on Instagram, I kind of discovered this
whole other world of people doing the same thing that
I didn’t even know existed. So I feel like it was
kind of around that time that I discover you, Mariah, and it was just like, oh
these are the exact things I wanna be doing, there’s
other people doing it. – I think I had that same
experience when I started Femtrepreneur was me having
that same experience, because I started Femtrepreneur
thinking that I was the only girl doing
this, and then I was like wait no, there’s all these other girls. – There’s whole world. – Where were they hiding,
how come I couldn’t find you three years ago when I
started my online business and was struggling and lonely? – Yeah, needing help. (they laugh) – So then it’s like
everyone found each other, and now it’s great, but at
the time it was kind of like this isolated, like oh are
there other people out there selling digital products like I am? – Yeah. – And then it was like,
oh yeah, they do exist. – It’s a weird feeling. – Yeah. – Yeah, so I took your First 1k course, and that kind of opened me up
to online courses a little bit and I had done a lot of
work designing the back end of online courses for a
lot of clients before that. – Yeah. – So that was a good way
to see all the pieces that go into it. Like all the slides, all the promo stuff, the sales page, email marketing. I was designing stuff for
that so I could kind of see how it all worked
together on the back end, and was like, I think I
could make one of these. (they laugh) so took your First 1k course,
I actually didn’t finish it, I still have two or three
lessons sitting in my inbox (they laugh) that some
day I will go through. But, it was such a good jumping-off point of getting the basics and
seeing how it all worked and then just running with it. And so after that I was able to, or after I launched my
first course about InDesign, I was able to stop taking freelance work, and just focus on teaching. – That’s awesome, I didn’t
realize that that was part of the turning point of
being able to go full time, which is so exciting. – Yeah. Yeah I think I quit my job in February, and took your First 1K in May. – That’s awesome. That’s so cool. What you’re talking about too, I appreciate because
you’re saying that you were working on building up your
income on Etsy and beyond, throughout your pregnancy
and six months into your daughter being
born and all that stuff, and it took you more than a year. Which I think is normal for
most people to transition out of their full-time job, and yet we hear so much about the ‘overnight I made $30,000
and I quit my job, ‘and then everything was different.’ But I really appreciate
that it built up for you, and that for me feels
really stable and safe, and that’s what people are looking for, is like you had to prove
to yourself that it was consistent for months
and months and months in order to feel comfortable
taking that leap. – Yeah, and I’m such a planner. In general, I could not, even knowing that my Etsy shop was consistent for a full
year was still nerve-wracking. Like, officially leaving my job. And then also being a single parent, you don’t have another
income to fall back on. – Yeah. – So I felt like everything
was a little bit riskier, so I always think the gradual
method is probably safer. – Yeah I think people don’t understand, is that when you’re running a business, no matter how successful it is, and has been for months and months, it feels, and I look at other people, and I’m like oh if you’re
making x dollars per month you could quit your job, but then I remember how I felt, and it felt like the next
month was going to be the month where it all fell apart. – Yeah. – Or it was like, if I stop doing this, or if I rent an apartment and
move out of living in my van, then that’s gonna be the month that no income comes in at all. (they laugh) It almost doesn’t feel
like it’s gonna keep going until you’ve had that
consistency for, I’ve found, like five years, to the point
where I finally feel like this is somewhat reliable,
I don’t have to worry that this going to totally
stop working tomorrow. – Yeah. Even still, I’m like
what’s my backup plan? (they laugh) – I know, same. – If finally everything fails. What will I do? – I think my backup plan has become I’ll start another business. – Right. – Like I’ll just do another business. It used to be like I’ll
go back to my HR job. – Oh yeah. – Now I feel like I can’t even do that. – We would make it work. (they laugh) – That’s like my true worst case. Like I’d probably try several
things before that point. – Yeah, definitely. That’s really interesting. So what would you say
to, what would be your, and then I wanna ask you
about your income streams now and how your courses
have evolved and changed since that first launch, but what would you say to
someone who is wondering, how do they know if it’s the
right time to go full time? If the have had some consistent
months in their business, what would be one piece
of advice for someone who feels like they’re never
gonna be ready to leave? – Yeah. I think it took having my
Etsy shop for a long time, where it was bringing in the same or more than the paychecks I was
getting from my day job on a consistent basis. But also that was just
a piece of my business, and I also had the freelance
and the client work, which was not as
consistent or predictable, so that seemed riskier
to me, so I didn’t wanna base my decision off of that income. Because some months it
was more than my salary, but other months it was quite
a bit less than my salary, so I didn’t wanna depend on that. But just having multiple streams
that can build up to that, to whatever that number is
that you’re trying to meet, to match or exceed your day job. Having different things that
can flow into that number I think is safer. – Literally the perfect
transition into my next question. How did you know? – Segue. – Well that’s something that
we always like to ask about, is that we talk a lot about
multiple income streams, and we know that successful entrepreneurs don’t just have one single
product that they sell. Can you break down for us
what your income streams look like today, maybe
just rough percentages of what comes from printables,
what comes from online courses, do you still have any clients? What does that breakdown look like? – It’s pretty simple breakdown now. About a third of my
income is my Etsy shop, and the other 2/3 are
my two online courses. The InDesign course and the Etsy course. And those are split pretty evenly too, so each of those is probably a third. I don’t do any freelance work anymore, except for my brother on occasion, because I have to because
I’m related to him. (they laugh) – You haven’t put your foot down yet. – No. – No that’s nice. Well that’s super helpful
to know how it breaks down, and I think having it in thirds like that, I know a lot of people say
that if one of your products, or one of your income streams
is taking up the majority of them, that can be kind of unsafe. And that can be a little bit unstable, because if something happens to that then 10% is the other five income streams, then that’s not really very viable. – Yeah. This year I’ve been
working on adding (coughs) excuse me, adding another stream I guess, but still a course type thing. But they’re mini-classes that
are more on specific topics, and they’re much shorter
and not as involved. But they kind of provide that
fourth stream a little bit, hopefully eventually, but they
also provide a middle-ground price point for customers. Because my Etsy shop, they’re like $7 to $20 products, and then my courses are
a few hundred dollars, so these are more
middle-range price points just to have the full spectrum. – I like that, you’re bridging the gap. – Yeah, there was a big gap there. – That’s really smart. So you have these digital products, and then you launch your course. Now I wanna get into
all the digital products that you have and how you
are promoting creating passive income on Etsy, because that’s super interesting to me, obviously everyone is
fascinated by the idea of passive income (she laughs), but do you have any
advice for people who are in you position, before you
took your First 1K, when you were trying to figure out how
to launch that first bigger, you know you’d already
had these printables, but you wanted to create an online course. What kind of advice would
you have for someone who’s in that position,
thinking about launching their first bigger product like that. – Yeah. A big thing that I did before I started your
course and whenever I knew I was wanting to eventually do my own, was I started blogging, which I had wanted to be doing
but I hadn’t started yet. And so I kind of forced
myself to start it. And I think that was helpful
to see what types of topics my audience was really responding to, and what things, what were
the most popular posts, even if I only had a handful of posts? What was getting the most traffic, what could I build around that topic? And then also, when I knew I wanted to be teaching something about InDesign, I can blog about that
and start building up my email list around that topic and offer freebies and content upgrades that were specifically about InDesign. So thinking down the road, whenever I do launch the course, I’ll have this group of people that I know is interested in InDesign
and not just random people who knew me, or friends of
mine or something like that. – Yeah. That’s so important. I think it’s interesting that you weren’t, I don’t think I realized
that you weren’t blogging before then, I think I just assumed
that for all that time leading up to that you
probably were blogging, but there’s so many people in our audience who ask us can you still be successful even if you haven’t been blogging? Or how can I sell a digital product if I don’t have an existing blog? – Yeah. I started blogging six months or so, five or six months before
I launched the course. – That’s really good to know. – It’s timely too, because
when this episode airs, we’re a few weeks away from July, and our theme for July for
the podcast and the site is blogging. – Oh yeah. – [Megan] So we’ll be talking
about that afterwards. – For sure. So let’s talk about digital
products and the idea of passive income. Because you’ve created
passive income systems by selling digital products on Etsy, which seems like such
a powerful combination. Almost like, something
I read a lot about is people using the built-in
audience of Amazon.com, or the built-in Amazon traffic
that’s already happening and how you can tap into a marketplace that already has shoppers just
looking for things to buy. So that to me is an amazing combination that you’ve mastered. But before we get into the
details of that, I really wanna ask you what does
passive income mean to you? Or what is your idea of
what is passive income? – Yeah. I think passive income is not
trading dollars for hours, and I can’t remember
if Pat Flynn said that, I feel like somebody else
said that and I just stole it. (laughs) – I think that’s pretty common, I’ve definitely heard
other people say it too, it’s like gotten lost in translation. – Yeah, it’s like the
ultra-simplified definition. Yeah, just creating something one time that you can sell over and over, and it’s not dependent on your time, or having a human being
there to do something. And it kind of just sells on its own, without much extra work beyond creating it in the first place. – That’s awesome. I mean you’re definitely on
of the few people I know, I think there’s a lot of people
that want to crack the code on that, and you’re one
of the few people I know that is definitely doing it in a real way, so that’s why I’m so interested
to hear all the details. So tell us in more detail,
how have you created passive income in your business? What does that look like? Kind of paint a picture of the
flow chart of how it works. – Yeah. Now, I say it’s all passive income, I think that’s like a misnomer too, of like I don’t do anything
all day and I just make money, and that’s not true at all. (they laugh) But all of my Etsy shop is passive income, that’s probably the most passive
of my income that I have, just because I created most
of those kits one or two or three years ago, and
they continue to sell today without much effort. And Etsy has a whole system
where they deliver it automatically once somebody buys it, so it really doesn’t take
much continued maintenance from me now. But it took a lot of work
to get to that point, it was no overnight, like you said. – Yeah. (they laugh) – And then my two main
courses are kind of the other passive income. But they are, one of them is evergreen, and one of them I do open/close launches. But both of them, the
bulk of them are built now and they’re made, and now
it’s mainly just the promotion that I have to work on. And how to market them, and
how to be creative with that, and different ways to
reach different audiences and growing my email
list to focus on those specific topics. So that’s where a lot of
my day-to-day work is now. – Yeah. So tell us more about what
the products that you have, the digital products that
people can buy on Etsy and then it automatically
sends them the download. What do those products look like? You mentioned a kit, or a printable, but can you describe for
people who are new to selling that type of product,
what do they look like? – Yeah. So in my shop I sell printable planners, so they’re kind of like
a collection of PDFs that are around a specific topic to help you plan for something. So I have a general
calendars and to-do list one, I have one for wedding planning, one for teacher planning, meal planning and grocery shopping. So there’s kind of little
kits for each topic in my shop personally, but a lot of other people
on Etsy sell things, a lot of design assets,
like illustrations or icons, or pre-made logos, or business stationery
that’s pre-designed, like branding that you can
buy and customize yourself. Like they’ll send you the design files. Stock photography is a
really big one on Etsy too. A lot of photographers do that
as another stream of income. Those are the really popular ones. Stationery, printable
stationery is big on there too, like wedding invitations,
birthday parties, stuff like that. – I bought stuff for my wedding from Etsy. Like little custom signs that
were framed in certain places. And you can either just buy the template or you can customize it
for five extra dollars to have your name on it or something. I love Etsy. – Yeah, I buy stuff for my daughter’s birthday parties on there. (they laugh) – So why a marketplace like Etsy? Because obviously I
mentioned the thing of the Amazon Marketplace, and how that works, but what made you decide
to put your stuff on Etsy instead of having it, like why haven’t you moved over to just being like
everything is self-hosted in my own Squarespace
site, on your website? And why do you still have things on Etsy? – Yeah. I did, for a while I had both. So I started on Etsy, and then whenever I, Squarespace, kind of
when they first came out, and I got a site, and I put everything that was in my shop also on my website, just
duplicated all of it and sold it for the same
pries and everything. And even after my email list grew, and I became a little bit more
established in my business, and everything was kind of growing, the Etsy shop was still
bringing in far more income than the sales on my website. And it started to get kind of confusing, because that Etsy audience
is a little bit different than people who would buy my courses. Not always, but they’re kind
of more like stay-at-home moms and they’re buying these
things to help organize their family or their
wedding or their classroom if they’re a teacher and they
buy it because they need it and then they’re done, and
not really business-oriented. So I think it was kind
of confusing to have that on my website along with
all this business stuff, so I took it off of my
website just a few months ago, actually, and just kept it on Etsy. So I think it’s done
a lot better that way, it’s less confusing to
explain that to people, they’re like wait this
is here, and it’s here, is it the same thing? I don’t know. – Right, right. – Yeah, and Etsy was
getting far more traffic because of that built-in
audience that they have. So I just left it there. – I think that’s a good point
about the different audiences. – Yeah. – Realizing that your printable
audience wasn’t necessarily the same as your course audience. Because it think we get questions. – Yeah. – People deal with that
general dilemma a lot in their business, where
they feel like maybe they have two different audiences. So I think that was really wise that you came up with that solution. And taking it off of your site, have you seen sales be affected
at all for the Etsy shop, or the products, or you feel
like it’s been the same? – I feel like it’s been about the same. Kind of around the time
I took it off I started experimenting with advertising on Etsy, paid advertising, so I feel that maybe has
helped to get a little bit more traffic to the Etsy shop. But I ran my shop for
years before that without advertising, so you totally
don’t have to do that. I just wanted to experiment
with it because I never had. But I feel, I don’t know that
there’s a huge difference in the audience. Hopefully it’s more clear
to them, now what I do, but I felt better, less
pressure on me to try to promote both sides of it, and explain both sides to people. Or feeling bad because I was emailing them about this other part of the business that they maybe didn’t sign up for. So I think I just felt
better in my own promotion. Like I know people on this list
are interested in this topic and they’re not confused if I’m like oh hey I also sell this garden kit, if you have a garden. (they laugh) Like where did that come from? So I think it was helpful. – It’s definitely interesting, the types. I know when I found out about
you and you were in my course and I was looking a the
different things that you sold, I was like this is so cool
that you don’t just sell, like you said it’s for
everything for your life. It’s like how to do meal planning, and how to grocery shopping. – It’s not just business. – Yeah, it’s not just business stuff and I really love that
you have all of that to appeal to so many different people, and I do feel like a marketplace like Etsy is such a good place to have all that and it definitely makes
sense to keep it on there. I feel like so many
people almost feel like they’re working up to
taking their stuff off of a marketplace and putting
it on their own branded website and things like that, and I think you’ve definitely,
through your experience, figured out that that’s such
a leveraged place to have it, is where there’s already
traffic finding it. – Yeah. Yeah I think a lot of people are like get off of Etsy because
it’s not your space. – Right. – And I get that, and I totally agree with building your brand
outside of Etsy and not putting all your eggs in that basket, but I also think why not? They have this huge audience
and such a streamlined system and they’ve updated the design recently, so it looks better than it used to. And there are more ways
to customize it to look like your brand. So why can’t we use it? – Yeah. – While also building
our brand in other ways on other platforms and in our own spaces. – Definitely. So what would you say is the least, what’s the most time consuming
part of any of that system? Is it the promotion, is it
keeping the shop updated? One of the things I’ve
found about passive income, is that the people like you
and I who are like capable of creating it and have
the motivation and drive to actually create passive income, are the people who aren’t
the type of personality to just sit there and
be like great, I’m done. – Yeah. – I’ll just live on this money now. And it’s like obviously you are, I know for me it’s like, I
created passive income over here, okay let’s do that in a whole other niche, let’s do that over
here, let’s do it again. It’s like you don’t really slow down. So do you feel like you just
keep adding more and more to growing your income streams, or where do you spend the
majority of your time? – Yeah. For my Etsy shop I don’t do a
ton of stuff with it anymore. I mean I created a lot of the
kits that I wanted to create, and I don’t have a ton of ideas left (they laugh) for new stuff I wanna add. – Well you have a lot on there. – Yeah, and I don’t want
it to be too overwhelming. And I’m happy with how it’s going now. I have hired an assistant to
help me make mini versions of all the kits, so rather
than a full letter size, doing a half size version, which I had started to do a while ago and then got distracted and
never picked it up again. So she’s helping me go
through and add that. So that’s kind of adding new
products on a regular basis. With my courses and stuff, yeah I made the two that I made, and I didn’t really wanna
make another big one. But yeah, I wasn’t like,
okay they’re done now, I can stop working. – Yeah. (she laughs) – It’s in my blood to keep working. So that’s why I’ve
added these mini-classes to help feed into those and talk about some more specific topics. And if people aren’t ready
to invest in a full-on course they can get a taste of my teaching style and what types of products I put out at this lower-risk price point. – Yeah. I think it’s an awesome idea. We’re thinking about doing
some mini classes, that maybe will be coming out soon
to when this is gonna air, but that was something we came up with at the end of last year, that we’re like, people ask can you just teach
me this little tiny thing, and it’s like we should be able. And it’s like you don’t
wanna make a whole other course about it, but
you do wanna give people some tiny little, also
people like quick wins. So to me it’s like, there’s
something to be said for the value of something that people can say oh I went through this course in one hour and it was super great. It was one hour and it
was easy and now I’m done. – Yeah, and I learned the thing
I was trying to figure out. – Totally. (they laugh) Yes. Exactly, instead of this
eight-week commitment, which is great and those
are awesome courses too, but I do think there’s
something to be said for getting people the quick result with a little investment. – And they don’t take as much
time to create on your end, so they come out faster. I had more fun making them. I loved making my full courses too, but it was on such a small scale. – Yes. – I don’t know, I felt like
I had a little more freedom to be creative or be a
little silly, I don’t know. – I love that. – Yeah, because you don’t feel like oh my gosh I never wanna do this again. (they laugh) so I can’t mess this up,
it has to be perfect, because I’m never recording
100 videos ever again. – Right totally (they laugh) – Just kidding, guys,
it’s super fun to sit down and record course videos. – I know what you mean
though, I feel like there’s less pressure in a mini course style, because it’s less content
that you’re recording, it’s so specific, I think
a lot of times as you’re creating a big course,
especially for the first time, this is a new topic you’re teaching, you’re while you’re
recording almost refining what they course is at
the same time in a way. – Yeah. – So I feel like there’s a lot of thoughts that affect your course
when you’re creating a larger program. But when you’re doing these mini classes the direction and the point and the result is so clear I feel like the whole process probably feels a lot easier. – Yeah, it was really fun to do. – That’s encouraging. Makes me feel better
about us potentially doing mini classes too. (they laugh) – I know. – I put it off for a long time, I was like I don’t know what
this is gonna look like. But then when I did it, I
was like oh that was fun. (they laugh) – Did you feel like your audience was like this is what we wanted, like did you audience respond to it well? – Yeah. Because that too, I
was like I have no idea if this is going to be like what, I mean I knew it was a
topic that people wanted, the one I’ve put out is
about designing ebooks. And so I knew people
wanted to learn about that, because I had a blog post about it that is one of my highest-traffic posts. – Everybody listen,
that is a good strategy for finding your paid course topics, is looking into your analytics. – That’s always the first place I go. And so I knew it was a topic they wanted, but it was like I’ve never
put out anything at this price point, and a
smaller thing like this, I just didn’t know how it was gonna go. But it went really really
well, I was surprised. So I feel like at that lower price point it’s an easier decision for people, of course, than like a
couple hundred dollars for a full-on course. – Definitely, that’s awesome. So are there any downsides or myths, or any negative things
about, maybe misconceptions, about passive income
that you want everyone who’s listening right now to know about? – Yeah, I think the whole– – The whole thing. (they laugh) – Sipping drinks on a beach
while money just rakes in. Maybe that happens for some people, but I don’t think that
happens for most people. – I don’t know anyone
that that happens for. (they laugh) – Their Instagram photos
are probably fake. (they laugh) But yeah, I think knowing
that it’s gonna take work, and it’s not gonna be overnight, and there’s a lot of work
that needs to be put in before you create the course, or whatever the product is, and then creating it takes time, and then marketing it and
continuing to promote it in creative ways after, that takes the bulk of your time. So it’s passive, but it’s not completely, you know. – It’s almost like leveraged income more than passive income. – Yeah. – I think you’ve said that before, Mariah, and I’ve always, like
leveraged income feels like, at least with courses specifically. I could see like your Etsy
shop feels like you created it and you did that work up front, and now you don’t really
have, since you’re using Etsy as a marketplace, your marketing time is much lower than it would
be if it was on your own shop. So I feel like that’s the
best example of passive, but I feel like courses
are a little bit more of leveraged income as opposed to passive. – Yeah. – Yeah, I was gonna say, I think it’s something
I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as we’ve
been recording and writing things for this passive
income theme of this month, is it’s pretty straightforward
to create a passive income product, something
that’s like a printable or a downloadable, or
some sort of PDF or ebook or something that’s a digital
product that doesn’t require, not an online course
that has coaching calls, or a group or something like that, because I don’t consider
that passive income at all. (they laugh) As we all know. That part’s pretty straightforward, creating delivery that’s passive
is pretty straightforward, like oh Etsy automatically
delivers the download when someone purchases, or if you’re like us and you use SamCart, it’s like SamCart automatically
sends them the download when they buy it. But to me it’s like the
part that no one can crack, and the part that’s really hard, is the passive traffic. And is the leads, or people finding you, or the promotion usually
ends up being the part that is not passive even
if the other pieces are. So if you can find a system like Etsy, or like Pinterest, or
some sort of evergreen traffic generation, or
just sending you customers, that is usually the piece that
people really struggle with. – Yeah. But then too, I think
it’s important to not lose the human aspect of your business. – Right. – Like I’m a workaholic
and so if I figured out all these systems where
I didn’t have to touch my business I would be
bored out of my mind. – Right, same. – You’re in good company. (they laugh and speak over each other) Yeah. I would be bored. – Well and I think that’s
probably true of most people who achieve what any of
us have achieved with any level of leveraged income, is that it takes such an
enormous amount of wherewithal and persistence and everything
to get to that point, that we’re just not the
type of people who can just let it sit there and reap the rewards without doing any more work. – Yeah. – So what advice would
you have for someone who’s just starting out
and is wanting to create their first little passive income stream, maybe something really
small to get started, what would be your number
one piece of advice for that person? – Um, that’s hard to have
just one thing to do. – I know, it’s hard to wrap
it up and be like here you go. Passive income in one sentence. (they laugh) – Yeah. I think you have to have
an audience to sell it to. So whether that’s
building your email list, or getting on a place like
Etsy, or Amazon or wherever, or Creative Market,
that’s a big place too. Wherever you wanna end up I
think it’s still important to have your email
lists and have your own, I mean Etsy anyway,
they don’t let you have the customer’s email address, which is a big turn-off
to a lot of people, and I think that sucks of course, but there’s ways around it. So I think making sure you
have an audience to sell the thing to is super super important. Otherwise it’s not gonna sell,
and it’ll all be in vain. (they laugh) – Yeah, otherwise what’s the point? All right, so let’s get into
some of these wrap-up questions this has been super helpful, I feel like Megan and I are
gonna hop off and then be like okay let’s set up a
Femtrepreneur Etsy shop. – I know. (they laugh) – All the things I wanna sell. – Sell some of our printables and things. – I wanted to create like a secret shop that I don’t ever promote on my stuff, – Yeah. – And it’s not my brand or anything, just to try it from scratch
and see what happens. – I do things like that. – Like starting from
scratch like a case study. – Like a secret case study. – And it’s not like you’re promoting it with your existing stuff, so
you’re just really seeing. I have a lot of friends who do that too, who are like, on the side, it
doesn’t have my name on it, you would never know
it, but it’s me testing. – Yeah. – And that’s what I think is important, because we always should be
testing out our own strategies in other niches for sure, and that would be such a cool experiment. – Yeah. – You could always publish
your results a year later and it would be such a cool surprise. – Yeah. Yeah, because we all started with nothing, but it was also kind of a
different world, I feel like. I mean at least on Etsy
there’s way more people doing digital products now than there were even a couple years ago, so I know it’s harder to stand out. Same goes for just general
online business, I think. – Totally. Okay, so what is the number one thing that you’re struggling with right now? Could be personal, could
be business-related, but what’s something that
you’re struggling with behind the scenes? – Yeah. I think figuring out how to best serve people who are already in my courses, and students that I already have, and how can I keep them
motivated to finish the work, and take what they’ve learned and actually do something with it after
they’ve finished the course. And keep going with it. Because we can always create
new things all the time, but I don’t wanna just have
someone buy the course, and then I’m like cool thanks, see ya, I’m gonna go make this other thing now. – Yeah. Like I wanna help them succeed, and how can I do that in a creative way without me being there next to them everyday, how can I do that from far away? – It’s such a good question. It’s like once you’ve
kind of cracked the code on okay you’ve gotten
students and you’ve made sales and that was your main focus, was does this thing even work,
is anyone gonna buy this? And then they do, and then not a lot of
people realize how much of your thoughts turn to then how can I help everyone better, how can I be more available to everyone? While still trying to maintain
some semblance of sanity and a life. – Yeah. – Because for us, we have
thousands and thousands of students, and it’s just like, it’s hard to have any
boundaries at all, to be honest. – Yeah, that’s a good point. – Something I’m struggling with. (they laugh) But there’s nothing you want more. It’s like you said, all day everyday I just think about that. It’s like how can I help so-and-so, I know that she’s in the
middle of her launch, is there anything I can do to help her? – Yeah. Just think about all my
students and where they’re at in the process. – Yeah. – But I think that’s a really good one, and I think there’s
probably a lot of people that feel that way,
and I think if you guys haven’t launched your courses yet, that will become the next challenge. It’s not like, oh I had
a successful launch, everything’s great. Then you turn your focus
to how can I make this learning experience better? – Yeah. – Almost like we think about what are the new things
coming out in terms of online learning experiences, how can I make this course, something we always think about is how can the learning mechanism change? Whether it’s the delivery
of the course can change, so that people have
better completion rates, or students have an easier
time making it through. After so many years of
doing this we’ve kind of figured out the sticking points, like where in the course
people can get stuck, or it feels like oh I’m going up this hill and if I could just get over it, then it would be like
smooth sailing after that. But some people get stuck
on these little pieces and it’s like how can we create it so that that’s smoother, it’s
easier to get through that rough patch that everyone
seems to get hung up on, or something like that. – Yeah. – Yeah, we always say
that launching your course is just the beginning. – It’s like step one. – Yeah. Closing your launch
does not mean you’re done. (they laugh) At least if you have a
course with a community, or any kind of support, like you said, you want your students to be successful. And I think that’s an indicator
of good course creator. I think that we’ve all come across people, maybe who aren’t as ethical
in their course creation and they’re just creating
it and don’t care about the results their students get, and I think that’s why
we see people who are prospective students become wary, because they’ve encountered
that themselves. So I think it’s always good,
if you’re asking yourself those questions and feeling the weight of wanting your students’
success rate to increase, that you’re on the right
track and you’re doing this whole thing the right way. – Yeah. – Yeah, and that’s a big
investment for people, you know to pay several
hundred dollars for something that isn’t always
real tangible, you know? – Yeah. – Yeah, I’m a people pleaser and so I don’t ever wanna take $400 from you and then fall off the face of the earth. (they laugh) – Yeah, I know. – That would eat me alive. – Yeah, same. I also think it’s like
people are paying money so that they can essentially
do a bunch of work. – Yeah. – It’s like people, to me I’m almost like, I know it’s a big investment, but I’m like the spending of the
money is the easiest part of this process. (they laugh) – Yeah. – Like when you join my course, you’re gonna be like oh
remember how easy it was to buy this? Now I actually have to do all this work. Because I’m the kind
of tough love teacher. But I definitely think
it’s an interesting thing, people are paying for access so that they can do the hard work, which I think is really awesome. Okay, sorry now I’m just rambling. (they laugh) so my next question is, what do you think is going
to be the next trend, whether it’s in online
courses or online business or the space that we’re in, how do you think things are gonna change in the coming years, do you
have any predictions for us about the future? – Hmmm. Kind of like we were just saying, maybe there could be new
ways to help students stay motivated and stay on track. Maybe along with that
I’ve noticed a lot more community aspects to courses, whether it’s Facebook groups,
or Slack groups or whatever. I was kind of wary to
start either of those just because of the time commitment. – Yeah. – But I know they can be helpful. I did a private Instagram
group for my courses. – Oh cool. – So just a private account, and keep up with people
weekly on their side. So it felt like still a way
to sneak in the community but not a huge commitment
and not a huge group to manage. – That’s really interesting. – But maybe there’ll be
new methods of how to incorporate community into
that type of learning. – I love that. – I agree, I think community
is just gonna become more and more an
important part of what you are creating, you’re no
longer just selling a download or a product or content. It’s like you are the
facilitator and the leader of a community and it’s
your job to curate it and make it this really
supportive learning environment. – Yeah, like an accountability thing. – Yeah, totally. – That’s really interesting,
I’ve never heard of the Instagram private group. – Yeah, I’d never really
seen anybody do it, so I was like I don’t
know if this’ll work, but I just tried it. – That’s cool. – And some people are active in there, some people aren’t. But it kind of keeps me in touch with them for more quick stuff, like Etsy recently redesigned
part of their back end, and so that was like a quick
place where I could be like hey this stuff has changed,
here’s where you can read more about what’s different. Rather than feeling like
I needed to send out this big formal email or something. – Yes. That’s really cool, we
should look into that. – Yeah. – All right, so tell
us what other projects you’re working on this
year, any new things that are coming out, anything
you’re excited about, and where our audience
can find you online. – Yeah. So like I said I’m working
on these new mini classes a lot this year, so I plan
to have three more come out by the end of the year. So I don’t know exactly when
all of them will happen, but sometime. But yeah, you can keep up with everything at paperandoats.com. And I think when this
airs will be when my, I have an Etsy course
called Etsy On Autopilot, that’s evergreen right now,
but doing a little quick few-days promotion to help
kind of boost it a little bit, and give some incentive to sign up. So if Fem Show listeners
want a free lesson, they can have Lesson One for free at paperandoats.com/thefemshow. – Awesome, that’s awesome. Thank you so much. – For doing that, thank you so much. I think, everyone who’s listening, make sure you go sign up, why not, look at Lesson One of Etsy On Autopilot, see if it’s something
you’re interested in doing, if you’re already
creating digital products or selling digital products, I can’t think of a reason
why not to put it on Etsy and see if it gets some traction there and see if you can create
an audience there as well. – Yeah, and Lesson One is
kind of an intro to digital products and an intro to Etsy, so you can see if that
would be a good place to put your stuff or not. – That’s awesome, well
thank you so much, Kelsey, this is so interesting. I feel like you’re doing a
lot of things differently than a lot of other people
that we’ve interviewed, I feel like you have this
really unique approach to your business, and it was
so interesting to hear about your different income
streams and how you run your business, so thank
you so much for sharing all of that with us. – Thank you guys, thanks for having me on, this was really fun. – Go to thefemshow.com/45 for
the show notes to this episode and to find the links to all
the resources we mentioned, including how you can get
Lesson One of Kelsey’s course Etsy On Autopilot. And if you wanna discuss
this episode with us and our amazing community
of online entrepreneurs, make sure to join our
free Facebook group at thefemshow.com/community. – And if you liked this episode, subscribe to the
Femtrepreneur Show on iTunes, and leave us a rating and a review because we love you when you do that. If you’re watching this on YouTube, then please leave a comment
below with your thoughts so we can chat with you in the comments, and remember to hit the
like button and subscribe. Did you ever hear of
people on YouTube saying smash the like button? – No. – It’s like a thing. You guys should smash the like button. (Megan laughs) And don’t forget to go to thefemshow.com and submit your questions
for us if you want us to give you a shout-out on the show we are happy to answer
your questions and do that. And we will see you guys next week. (upbeat surf music)

12 thoughts on “Passive Income on Etsy with Kelsey Baldwin

  1. Great Video! I have one question: What do you think about YouTube for getting traffic for your products, homepage, blog etc. I am thinking of making a paid premium-course in my holidays, but I have no e-mail-list yet and I am afraid that people watching on YouTube are not willing to pay for a course, even if it is more "premium" than the educational videos that I make on YouTube.

  2. So nice to hear that it took her awhile to quit her day job. I'm right there and I know it will happen eventually, but I'm not that much of a risk taker to just quit and be like, whatevs, paycheck! Such an inspiring story!

  3. I wonder if doing what she does on Instagram (private) wouldn't be even better on Pinterest? Beause of links being live and others could see her info and thus potential new buyers?

  4. Thanks ladies, this makes me hopeful. I am starting out redoing my etsy shop. I also just started up my esty shop. I am going to focus on digital downloads and soap making! 2 things I love!

  5. I think that Kelsey should update her lessons on Etsy because it says that Etsy charges a 3.5% fee whenever an item is sold and that was just changed this year to 5%. The $0.20 listing fee is still the same, though. They have also released a paid subscription which is $10 per month. That will go up to $20 per month starting in January of 2019.

  6. Wow, I've learned so much from Kelsey and you guys today. Thanks so much for sharing this interview! I have been on Etsy since 2011 but it took me 7 years to muster up the courage to sell digital products on top of my time-tied physical, handmade ones! This is super inspiring. Cheers to you, smartsie beauties! Looking forward to watching more of your very helpful interviews! xoxo…

  7. This seems to be an advertisement for your web site not your etsy shop; I'd love to see your etsy shop! If we can't see your etsy shop, how do we know it's real? Put link here:

  8. Hi ladies, I know this video is over a year old, but do you think it is still a viable option to do Etsy printables and make a good income? Seems like so many people are doing this now, I worry that it would be impossible to make any money.

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