Well, that’s exactly what it is like for me with my Canva template business.
I spend around 10-20 hours per month designing one or two new templates and promoting them on Pinterest, and voila… $$$
Alright, sure, I’m exaggerating a bit. It’s not quite that simple, at least not in the beginning. I mean, when I first started selling Canva templates, my products sucked. I sold maybe one or two templates every month, and if I made a hundred bucks from selling my templates, I would treat myself to a fancy restaurant, or buy a new shirt or something.
In all honesty, back in those days, I treated this side-gig as a way to make a little extra pocket money. Never thought that one day it’d be one of my significant income sources.
But that’s exactly what it is today, and in this blog post, I want to share with you how I got started, what I learned over the months, and how you could do this too — start making a thousand bucks or two selling Canva templates on the side.
I teach you everything I've learned about selling Canva templates in this course, and help you make at least $1,000 per month, on the side!
How I started selling Canva templates
Let’s give you a little background first.
Back in June 2018 when I launched TSB, I was spending copious amounts of hours trying to design some of the most basic blog and social media graphics with Photoshop. Now, I’m no graphic designer; I’ve never had any formal graphic design training. But I’ve always had a great appreciation for good design, and on more than one occasion, I have fantasized about being able to create beautiful things – graphics, logos, print layouts.
So, to remedy my longing, I taught myself programs like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator. But at the end of the day, I’m still not a pro, and using Photoshop for simple blog graphics wasn’t the most efficient way of spending my time.
So, when an acquaintance introduced me to Canva, I was more or less ecstatic.
You see, it took me days to master some of the simplest Photoshop and Illustrator tricks, but with Canva, I was able to learn the platform and get going in just a couple of hours! Soon enough, I was designing all kinds of things left and right — social media graphics, Pinterest pins, blog graphics, lead magnets, and I was also designing things that I had no need for.
In short, I was starting to have fun with Canva!
A short few months later, around December of 2018, I decided it was time for me to get serious about growing my email list. One of my plans was to create several different lead magnets, also knows as opt-in freebies — incentives you give away for free to your subscribers, in exchange for them signing up for your newsletter.
One of these lead magnets was a media kit Canva template for bloggers.
Believe it or not, this one lead magnet changed everything. People were signing up for my email list like crazy, doubling and then tripling my daily subscriptions within just a few days. This incident made me realize that people wanted templates. People wanted Canva templates. And so, my new side-hustle selling Canva templates was born.
Like I mentioned before, in the beginning, I didn’t take it too seriously. Selling Canva templates was never part of any grand business plan. I was happy if I sold a couple of templates. But soon I realized how big of a demand there was for Canva templates, and as I started adding more and more products, and started testing different sales strategies, my revenue started to grow.
Then, after a year of selling Canva templates, I made my first $1K from this side-business in one month.
That was January 2020.
And now, a year later, as of January 2021, I make double of that! All while doing at this business on the side, working somewhere between 10-20 hours per month. Crazy, huh!
Now that the backstory’s outta the way, let get into the details.
What is Canva?
You must be living under a rock, my friend!
So, for you, my dear cave dweller, here’s a little primer on Canva:
Canva is an online graphic design tool for EVERYBODY! In essence, you can have ZERO graphic design knowledge, and still create something beautiful with Canva, with the littlest of efforts.
Who buys Canva templates?
Often, when I mention selling Canva templates, people have an array of reactions. Some people are genuinely intrigued while others show skepticism.
On the skeptic end, these are some of the questions I get to answer:
Why would anyone pay to buy Canva templates? Canva is already so easy to use, wouldn’t people just rather make their own?
Here’s the thing. Not everyone likes to or even wants to. For some of us, designing is fun. I’ve alluded to it before, but I enjoy creating on Canva even when I have no need for it. It’s almost meditative! It calms my nerves, helps release stress.
But that’s not how it is for everyone. For those who do not enjoy the process of designing something, they’d rather pay a little money to get a template instead. This way they can just customize a pre-designed template, and get a unique product in their hands in minutes.
Heck, I’ve had people send me messages and emails asking if I’d be willing to do the customization for them. People, as long as they’re able to afford it, would rather pay someone else to do the deeds they’re not keen on doing themselves. Nothing’s wrong with that. I’ve had my share of ordering grocery deliveries after all.
But that’s not all. There are people who are simply not good at designing. And then there are others who just do not have the time. These are the folks who buy Canva templates, even if the Canva platform itself is super easy to use.
But doesn’t Canva already have a HUGE library of templates? Why bother purchasing from elsewhere?
Have a good look at the Canva templates and you’ll know why.
Now, I have nothing against Canva’s huge template library. Most of these are high-quality templates created by talented designers. Heck, I’m one of those designers who contribute to Canva’s native template library.
But there is a significant difference. You see, the templates you see on Canva are one-off templates. One Instagram template. One Pinterest template. A magazine template that only has three pages…
Now, let’s assume you’re looking for some Instagram templates for your business and you want a set of templates with a consistent style. Now what? You won’t get that in Canva’s template library, would you? In contrast, we Canva template sellers who sell on our own platforms or third-party marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market, we do not sell one-off templates. We sell packages. An Instagram package may have 20 or 30 or more templates that are similar in style and design, and if someone purchases a pack like that, they’re pretty much set for a long time. It’s good for their branding and adds consistency to their feed.
But there are so many people selling Canva templates now; isn’t the market saturated?
Having a healthy amount of competition isn’t a bad thing. At least not in this case. A lot of people are selling Canva template because there’s just a lot of demand for it. If anything, this is good news! You won’t have to try too hard to find customers.
Who should sell Canva templates
I think it’s safe to say that as long as you meet the following two conditions, you can start selling Canva templates:
- You love Canva!
- You are either good at designing, or you are willing to put in the work to improve your design skills.
If you remember, I mentioned before that I’m no graphic designer. My background is in engineering. However, I’ve always loved a good design, and have wanted to be able to design things. Putting in the work to develop my style was a process that I enjoyed very much.
Canva templates you can make and sell
As I’ve said, Canva is an online graphic design tool for everyone. It’s something like a graphic-design-for-dummies thing. So, naturally, you cannot expect complicated design capabilities that you may be used to from Photoshop or Illustrator.
That said, Canva is useful when you need to create simpler but high-quality things such as social media graphics and banners, blog graphics, workbooks, media kits, infographics, brochures and flyers, eBooks, presentations, posters, resumes, and a bazillion other documents type products. Based on what your audience’s needs are and what you personally enjoy creating, you can create an array of graphics/templates with Canva and sell them.
Just make sure that your products are unique and created from scratch by you. DO NOT take a Canva native template or somebody else’s template and customize it to make it look different, then sell it as your own.
How much money can you make by selling Canva templates?
This is always a tricky question to answer. In any and all business, how much money you can make depends on a variety of factors.
First of all, are you selling the right things to the right people? (Has to do with understanding your audience.)
Additionally, are you promoting your products enough, and do you even know how product promotions work?
Also, are you pricing your products properly?
Most importantly, are your designs high-quality?
Here’s something to compare:
I started my Canva template side-business in January 2019, and for the first few months, I made only a hundred or so from my templates. This amount had grown slowly but steadily for the first year, and then in 2020, I made an average of some $2,300+ every month from selling Canva templates on three platforms — the Canva template shop on this blog, Creative Market, and Etsy.
Here’s a breakdown of 2020 income:
Monthly average revenue from:
The Side Blogger Canva template shop: ~ $836
Creative Market: ~ $1,165
Etsy: ~ $349
Total average monthly revenue: ~ $2,350
Keep in mind that this is my side-gig, so naturally, I only spend a few hours a week (10-20 hours per month) designing and promoting my templates.
So, how much can you make from selling Canva templates? It depends on your level of expertise in creating good designs, on how well you promote your products, on the kind of templates you sell, and how you price them. I’ve shared my numbers above, but how well you’ll fare depends on the amount and quality of work you put in. And that will vary from one individual to the next.
Where can you sell Canva templates?
I’ve already mentioned three platforms where I sell Canva templates: this blog, Creative Market, and Etsy. But there are others too. A few places you could look at selling Canva templates are (aside from your own website):
I’m sure there are other platforms where you can sell Canva templates, look around and search the internet for more options. If you have limited time, start with one or two of the platforms I linked above. My favorites so far are Creative Market and Etsy.
Prerequisites for selling Canva templates on your blog
Selling on a third-party platform like Etsy, for example, involved creating an account and listing your products. Some platforms may have you apply for a shop first, such as Creative Market, and when your application is approved, you can start selling products right away.
Selling on your own website, however, takes a bit of work. Depending on where you sell, your process may look different. I have students (on my course — Side Income with Canva Templates — where I teach people how to get this side-business going more in-depth than what I’m sharing in this blog post) who have their websites on WordPress while some others have their shops on Shopify.
Personally, I prefer WordPress, so for the rest of this section, I’ll use WordPress as the reference.
Set up your website/blog
Assuming that you’re selling on your own website or blog, of course, the first step is to set it up.
To sell products on your blog, you’ll need to set up a self-hosted WordPress site.
The process begins with buying a domain and hosting plan. There are plenty of companies where you can buy domains and/or hosting from, but I recommend the following:
- Domain from NameCheap
- Hosting from SiteGround (make sure to get a GrowBig or higher plan; the StartUp plan isn’t optimal for eCommerce websites)
After you have purchased the domain and hosting, you’ll have to set up WordPress. You can refer to this post for a step-by-step tutorial to set up WordPress on SiteGround.
Once the setup is complete, you’ll need a theme that supports WooCommerce — the eCommerce platform built for WordPress users. There are plenty of WordPress themes but look for one that specifies compatibility with WooCommerce.
I personally prefer (and have this very blog and shop built with) the Astra + Elementor combo. Astra is a high-quality WordPress theme with WooCommerce compatibility, and Elementor is a page builder plugin for WordPress.
If you do not have the time or the skills to use a page-builder like Elementor to design your site, you can always count on Astra Pro to have beautiful WooCommerce templates.
Set up WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the eCommerce platform built to work seamlessly with WordPress. It’s a powerful platform with many options and features and even further add-on capabilities.
WooCommerce is a plugin that you install on your self-hosted WordPress site. It’s as simple as installing and then activating any other WordPress plugin, however, you do have to do some “extra work” to set up a system where you can collect payments and such.
For more on WooCommerce setup specifically for selling digital, downloadable products such as Canva templates, please refer to the following blog post: How to Set Up WooCommerce to Sell Digital, Downloadable Products
How to make money selling Canva templates
Let’s now look at the entire system of making money by selling Canva templates.
Step 1: Sign up for Canva
Sign up for a Canva account. It is free 🙂
It used to be that you needed a Canva pro account to share your designs as templates, but starting February 23, 2021, this feature is now available to free Canva users as well.
That said, the Canva pro account has many more features that, as a Canva user and designer, you will find appealing. This is why I recommend any Canva power user to sign up for the pro account. If you do not already have it, feel free to sign up for Canva pro using my unique affiliate link which gives you 45 days of free trial (15 days more than the usual 30-day free trial period.)
Step 2: Decide on different types of products that you’ll be selling in your shop
Figure out what kind of products you wish to sell in your shop. Different people come to this differently. For me, since I set up my shop on my blog first, I considered my existing audience and their needs when coming up with a product line.
Perhaps you’re a photographer who teaches photography on their website, and you have an existing audience comprised of other photographers. You may ask yourself what kind of products do photographers need? Social media graphics? Social media banners? Photography portfolios and photo albums? Services booklet or pricing sheets? Client onboarding documents?
Or perhaps you’re a blogger who caters to foodies and cooks. Maybe you want to create recipe cards, recipe books, meal planners, grocery planners, cookbooks, social media graphics, etc.
This way of coming up with a product line is helpful when you already have an existing audience. If you do not have one, or if you’re setting up your shop on third-party marketplaces such as Etsy, for example, then you could also just go to Etsy and see what kind of digital templates people are selling. Do some research on this, and create a list of product types you’d like to design and sell on your Canva template shop.
Step 3: Create Canva templates to sell
Canva has a lot of pre-made templates that you can take inspiration from. However, it’s one thing to take inspiration from, and another to copy something or take a template and make some adjustments.
If you cannot come up with your own designs, then please, forget selling templates for now.
However, the thing with pre-made templates is that they’re already on Canva. So, why would someone pay you to purchase a similar template?
Your designs need to be sufficiently different, and of better quality, if you want people to pay you.
So, be careful where you draw your inspiration from.
Personally, I follow artists on Instagram and often like to spend my time going over other designers on Etsy or Creative Market, Behance, Dribbble, 99u, 99Designs, etc. I’m always trying to soak up whatever I can. But again, be careful. Do not let your inspiration dictate design where you come off as a rip-off. Copying or stealing other people’s work is not cool.
Once you have a solid grasp on what you want to sell, design the templates. You may use the available Canva elements and fonts to design your products, as well as the mages available on Canva. Since a customer can only use these templates by having their own Canva accounts, you need not worry about element or image licenses when you’re selling Canva templates.
But as a good practice, I prefer to design my templates using only free Canva elements and fonts. This way, if my buyer doesn’t have a Canva pro account, they’re still able to use my templates without having to upgrade to Canva pro or purchasing a pro element.
Step 4: Prepare Canva template deliverables
When you create a design in Canva, you share it with your buyers as a template.
Once you’re done designing, you’ll need to do the following:
- Get the sharable template link from the design.
- Create a PDF that will contain the sharable template link.
- Add the sharable template link to your PDF.
Once done, and you’ve created a product, you’ll set this PDF as the deliverable so that when someone buys a product, they receive this PDF. Once they have the PDF, they can then access your design.
Here are the steps:
Get the shareable Canva template link
In the design window that you’re creating to sell, click on the share button, and then at the bottom of the section that just opened up, click on the arrow to open a dropdown. Then choose “Share a link to use as template”. Please note that this is strictly a Canva pro feature. So you must have a Canva pro account if you wish to sell Canva templates.
This is the link you will share with your buyers. When your buyers click on this link, the template will automatically open AND create a copy of the template in their own Canva account.
Create the PDF and add the sharable template link
Just like you’d create any design on Canva, you start with a blank US letter size document. Add some text to this document, your logo, your business info, etc.
First, search for “US letter” in the Canva search bar on the homepage after you log in.
In the PDF, you could thank your buyer for the purchase, and direct them to click the link to access the template.
Here’s how you add a link to your PDF document:
Highlight the text (it could say something like, click here to access your template, or something similar), then click on the link icon from the editing menu. This will open up a popup where you can enter the link you copied before (the sharable template link.) Click “Apply”. Now, this text is a hyperlink, and once your buyer clicks on it, they’ll be able to open the Canva template in their own Canva accounts.
When you insert the link, make sure to use the one you copied in the previous step — the “use as template” link.
Once everything looks good, proceed to download the document, and use the “PDF Print” format to export it. Remember, the link will only work when you save it as a PDF file.
Here’s a video if you need some help with this part.
Step 5: Create product images
Your buyers do not see the actual product, and so, to make sure your products are desirable to your potential customers, create stunning product images.
I have a blog post where I’ve shared some ways to create beautiful product images, so make sure to check it out.
Typically, I like to create at least 10 product images per product. More visuals help your customers decide if your product is indeed the right product for their use.
Step 6: List your Canva templates for selling
Now that you have everything you need, start listing your products. If you sell your products on your own website, it’s a good place to start. Like I said above, there are plenty of platforms you can choose from to set up your online shop. But since I use WooCommerce and that’s what I’m most familiar with, it’s what I’ll talk about here.
Add your products on WooCommerce
Adding a product in WooCommerce is simple enough — just like adding a post or a page — with the exception of added fields for adding product images, price, inventory, etc. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Go to WordPress Dashboard > Products > Add New.
- Add your titles and descriptions. WooCommerce has two separate description boxes. Remember that the top description box in the WordPress product editor is the one that shows up underneath the product images on the actual product page on the site. And the description box that is at the bottom of the product editor page is the one that shows up at the top, next to the product image, on the actual product page.
- You also have two different places, within the WordPress product editor page, where you can add images. One of them is the “product image”, which is the main product image that shows up on the Shop page, as well as the first (larger) image that people see on the single product page. The other section is the “product gallery”, which is where you can add more photos. On the single product page, these are shown right below the main image. But if you click on any of these, the top-main image is replaced by the one you click.
- Towards the middle of the product editor, you’ll see the section where you can do all the fun stuff, like, setting the price, adding the actual downloadable product, etc. Let’s take a closer look!
(Follow the images!)
Make sure to choose “Simple Product”, and then check both “Virtual” and “Downloadable”.
Typically, you wouldn’t need the “Virtual” option, but I have had issues with downloads when I didn’t have that option checked. So, make sure to check both.
Under the “General” tab, set your price, and add the files your buyers will be able to download upon purchase.
You can also set a download limit and expiry if you want to. If you do not want to set any limits, just leave those blank.
Under the “Inventory” tab, you can set up how many products you’re selling. These are digital products, so, technically, you do not need to set a limit or have inventory. It is totally up to you whether or not you want to set a limit to how many of these products you’ll sell.
Also, since they’re all digital, downloadable products, there is no reason to allow backorders.
I also make sure to check “Sold individually”. Nobody needs multiple copies of the same digital product by mistake. It may cause confusion if someone accidentally chose more than one product; then you’ll need to deal with refunds and you don’t want to waste time with that.
You’ll also see places for adding product images. One of them is the main product image that shows on the shop page. The gallery is where you add additional images. Potential buyers will be able to see them on the single product page. These additional photos are meant to give the potential buyers a better understanding of what they can expect from the product.
There are more options inside a product page, but they’re not necessary to start selling a product. If you want to learn more in-depth about some of these features, please refer to the WooCommerce setup tutorial for digital products.
Once you have added your product and you have clicked “Publish”, your item will be available for others to purchase.
Please DO check out the post I linked above, as it has more in-depth information for WooCommerce setup and best practices for selling digital and downloadable products, specifically! That post also goes over setting up payment options for PayPal and Stripe.
Add your products to other marketplaces
If you have Canva template shops on other marketplaces, then make sure to list your templates on those shops as well. Each platform has its unique set of steps for adding a new product, and usually, they’re fairly intuitive. Just follow the prompts and fill out all relevant sections.
Step 7: Promote your products
I love Pinterest! As many of you already know 🙂
I get most of my customers from Pinterest. And as you know, getting traction on Pinterest requires creating amazeballs Pin graphics.
Make sure to create beautiful Pin graphics that other Pinners will be tempted to click on. Hook them with great visuals from start to finish, until a potential customer converts to a buying customer.
Aside from Pinterest, you may also promote your products on any other social media platform you use, as well as your email list. Let your subscribers know when a new product is out, a few of them will likely convert.
Some things to pay attention to
This wraps up everything you need to know about how to make money selling Canva templates. In this final section, I want to bring your attention to a couple of important things that you need to be mindful of.
Pricing your products
Pricing is super important when it comes to selling your Canva templates. If your products are pricier than comparable templates out there, then you’ll likely lose some customers. If your prices are too cheap, then some customers may be doubtful of the product quality.
Depending on what your products are, make sure to do some research and find out a pricing range for these products. Try to keep your pricing around that range.
Writing product descriptions
This is where you get to describe what the product is. Give as many details as possible. What kind of product it is, who it is for, what the product can be used for, what’s in the product, how to use this product, etc.
About product licensing
It is good practice to have a product license document. You can either create a document, or, if you’re selling on your website, you can create a section or a page with the license details.
Some platforms like Creative Market or Design Bundles come with their own license, so you need not worry about creating your own when you sell on those platforms. But if you’re selling on your own site, you may want to specify your own.
Personally, I like Creative Market’s licensing terms and have crafted my own that’s similar to theirs. Of course, I have used my own verbiage to write down the terms. But essentially, the terms are very similar. If you’re unsure of what kind of license to use for your products, do give Creative Market license terms a read.
And that’s it!
Is this the right time for you to start selling Canva templates?
So, you’ve learned the basics of selling Canva templates. But are you serious about this new business? Are you ready to create your Canva-template side-hustle at this time? If you want to maximize your Canva template side hustle, then I invite you to join over 300 students in my online course — Side Income with Canva Templates. In this course, you’ll learn:
- preparing for selling Canva templates
- preparing your Canva products for listing in your shops
- specific tips for selling Canva templates on your own website, on Creative Market, as well as on Etsy
- design and usability tips for creating Canva templates that will have customers coming back to your shop for more
- tips for driving traffic and landing more customers
- and much more
- AND BONUSES! Like, base Canva templates that you can get inspiration and content ideas from, free monthly group coaching calls to maximize your success, periodic webinars on new resources and tools for creators, and more!
Click here to learn more details about this self-paced online course, or click the button below.
I teach you everything I've learned about selling Canva templates in this course, and help you make at least $1,000 per month, on the side!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to sell Canva templates?
Absolutely! Just make sure that the templates you're selling are, in fact, designed by you, and not an edited version of someone else's template, or any of Canva's templates from their template library/marketplace.
Can I use Canva elements or images on my templates?
Yep, you can! But just as a good practice, I prefer to use only free elements and free fonts in my templates. That way, even if a buyer doesn't have Canva pro, they're still able to use the templates with a free Canva account.
How much money can I make from selling Canva templates?
It varies from seller to seller. How much you make depends on a lot of factors, including but not limited to 1) how much time one commits to growing this business 2) design quality 3) types of products 4) understanding of one's audience 5) proper pricing 6) product promotions, etc.
Free Webinar - 5 tips for selling more Canva templates
Want to make more money selling Canva templates? In this free webinar, I’ll give you 5 tried-and-tested tips to increase your revenue from selling your Canva templates. *You’ll be signed up for my newsletter.