I’m all about maximizing my online income with minimal effort.
That’s why, when I opened up the blog shop right here on The Side Blogger, I figured, well why not sell them on some marketplaces as well?! I already have the products designed and prepped, after all.
So, I opened up shop on Creative Market.
And today, I’m going to share with you my experience on this platform, the goods and the bads, and how you can too start your own shop on Creative Market to maximize your online income with minimal efforts.
Before I start, I want to share my earnings from Creative Market over the past few months. Here’s a snapshot of my payouts page, showing my earnings over the past five months:
As you can see above, I have consistently earned over a hundred bucks from my Creative Market shop over the past five months. It may not be much to some, but if you consider all that you can do with an extra hundred or a couple of hundred bucks, it’s not that insignificant. For example, this can cover my entire month’s morning latte from Starbucks!
In this post, I will share with you my experiences with Creative Market, the pros and cons of having a shop here, my honest opinion of the platform, and in case you wish to open your own digital product shop, I’ll give you a short tutorial on how to do so, with some tips I’ve picked up over the months.
What is Creative Market in the First Place
Creative Market is an online marketplace for digital products only. As in, creators who specialize in creating digital products can open shop on this platform, and sell their products.
The closest kin to Creative Market that I can think of is Etsy, however, with Etsy, you can sell physical products as well as digital ones. With Creative Market, you’re limited to digital, downloadable products only.
When I say digital, downloadable, I do not mean eBooks or other info products. It’s a marketplace specifically for art and design-related digital goodies such as templates, mockups, photographs, illustrations, etc.
The Pros and Cons of Selling on Creative Market
Like everything else, Creative Market has its good points and its bad points. I want to specify some of the more obvious pros and cons so you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth selling on this platform.
The Pros of Creative Market
- To me, most online marketplaces feel like a jungle. Amazon, eBay, at times even Etsy. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it can be overwhelming. With Creative Market, I always felt that my experience, whether as a seller or as a buyer, is always a lot smoother. It’s likely because it’s a super niche marketplace. All of the sellers are creatives selling their digital products. I like that.
- Not just anyone can open a shop on Creative Market. There’s a vetting process, so only the best get to sell on this platform. This means that the sellers are all pretty legit, and they sell top-notch quality products. Honestly, I was proud when I first opened my shop on this platform. The fact that I was chosen made me feel special.
- Their seller’s interface is pretty neat. Adding products is not confusing at all and they do not bombard you with unnecessary things or a maze that you have to navigate (unlike some other marketplaces!) Basically, their website’s user experience (UX) is phenomenal!
- I’ve been making at least over a hundred bucks for the past 5 months — selling my Canva templates on this platform, without any promotions whatsoever. That’s right, I do a grand total of ZERO promotions for my Creative Market products, and yet, I’m still selling every month! No Pins, no social media mentions, nada! I bet most of you didn’t even know that sell my templates on Creative Market as well! This is a biggie for me because with my work and then the blog, I don’t have a lot of time to spend on promoting even more things! Sure, I could probably increase my sales if I did promote, but the fact that I can make over a hundred bucks without any external promotion at all is what’s made me stick to selling on this platform.
- Their support is fantastic. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, they’ve got your back!
The Cons of Creative Market
- There’s just one. They take a 40% commission on each sale . That’s a LOT! Imagine selling $50 worth of products that you made, and then making only $30. I could sell the same product on my Blog Shop, and keep the whole thing, minus payment processing fees. But not when I’m selling on Creative Market.
In fact, one of the reasons I do not promote my Creative Market shop actively is because if I have the time for it, I’d rather promote my Blog Shop because that way I can get to keep my money on each sale I make!
So, if you’re wondering why then I still sell on Creative Market, it’s because of the sales I make there without any promotions. That’s well over a hundred bucks each month without any effort on my part (except the time it takes to list the items on their platform).
Why you May or May Not Want to Sell on Creative Market
Considering the high cut they keep from each sale, I wouldn’t suggest anyone sell on this platform, unless,
- You like to make useful digital goodies such as templates (social media graphics, website templates, digital downloadable templates, etc.), fonts, icons and other digital tools of various trades. Look around their website to see the kind of products they tend to display more of (check out the handpicked items on their homepage). If you happen to create similar things, you may want to open a Creative Market shop.
- You already have a shop elsewhere, either on your own website or Etsy or some other marketplace.
- Your Creative Market earnings are just extra; you’re not depending on this platform to bring in the bulk of your total income. Imagine selling $1,000 worth of goodies you spent money, time, and effort creating and then giving away 40% of that ($400 freakin’ dollars!) to Creative Market… it’s almost a bit preposterous, isn’t it?!
- You create new products and add them to your Creative Market shop consistently (I’ll talk more about this shortly.)
Alright, if you’re still with me and if you’ve decided to open shop on Creative Market to sell your digital products and templates, artwork, and/or photography, keep reading!
How to Open a Shop on Creative Market
As I mentioned before, one of the things that really makes Creative Market stand out to me is the level of quality of the products. Other marketplaces, not even Etsy, are as strict about quality control as Creative Market. As you will see below, some of the prerequisites of being able to open a shop on Creative Market is your expertise and the quality of your digital products. For that reason, it helps if you already have a shop elsewhere (on your website or another marketplace) as well as a digital portfolio to showcase your work.
When I opened my shop on Creative Market, I was already selling on my website, however, I didn’t have a separate portfolio. But since my shop was set up to display my products, I used it as my portfolio as well.
Do not take this lightly. It’s not just a formality when they ask you to share your existing shop and portfolio links. I have heard of people getting rejected after they had requested to open a shop. So, if you want to sell on Creative Market, make sure to first create your website and open a shop on your site, or at least create a shop on Etsy first, before you request to open a shop on Creative Market.
Assuming you have all of that covered, here’s how you proceed to open a shop on Creative Market:
1. Go to Creative Market, and then scroll all the way down close to the footer of the page, and right above the footer area, you’ll see the option to open a shop. Click the button that says “Open a Shop”.
2. This will take you to the next page where you’ll find some seller-specific information. On this page, click on the button that says “Open a Shop” again.
4. Once you’ve signed in, yet another popup will open up. In this popup, you will have the opportunity to present your expertise to the Creative Market team. You will be asked to add link(s) to your existing shop(s), a link to your digital portfolio, and explain why you want to open a shop on their platform. Once you’ve entered all the information, you will be able to request an invite from the Creative market team to open your shop on their platform.
As you can see, they prefer sellers who are experts in their fields and already have an existing platform of their own for selling their products. That’s why they ask for all these links to portfolios and existing shops.
5. And that’s it. Now you wait to hear back from them. It may take a few hours to a couple of days to hear back, and if they like what you’ve shown them, they’ll email you with an invitation to open your shop on the Creative Market platform.
How to Set Up & Prep Your Shop
Let’s assume that you have received your invitation to open a shop on Creative Market.
CONGRATULATIONS! Not everyone gets that! Give yourself a pat in the back, treat yourself to a nice dinner or a latte, pop a balloon, and then get ready to set up shop.
Set Up Payment & Tax Information
If that’s not properly set up, you won’t get paid! So, do that first before you do anything else.
To set those up, at the top-right corner, locate your username, hover over your username to see options available to you. Locate “Settings” from the list of options available to you and click on it.
On the next page, click on “Payouts & Taxes”, and then on the next page, click on the tab “Payment & Tax Setup”. Fill out the information here. It’s intuitive, so just follow the prompts until you have your payout and tax information are properly set up.
Set Up Shop Profile & Bio
Go back to “settings” once more.
Now you’ll be setting up your shop information.
1. Under the “Shop” tab, type your shop’s name, and then type a message that will be sent to your buyers once they finish purchasing your products. Click the “Update Settings” button when you’re done with this tab.
2. Under the “Profile Info” tab, you can add your profile avatar, and other profile information such as your name, your bio, your website URL, social profiles, and connect your Creative Market account to some external apps. It’s pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t be going over each individual this under this tab. Just fill out the form with all the relevant information.
3. The rest of the tabs under Settings are also self-explanatory and intuitive. go over each of them as needed and enter the information as needed. here’s a summary:
- Go to the “Change Password” tab if you need to change your Creative Market password.
- “Payment Info” tab shows you your preferred payment information that you use when you’re buying (instead of selling) goodies on Creative Market.
- “Email Notification” tab allows you to enable or disable the kinds of notifications you wish to receive in your inbox as emails. Go over all the options under this tab and personalize what you wish to receive and what you do not want to get in your inbox.
- Some countries require you to charge VAT. You can set that up under the “GST/VAT” tab.
- Under the “device’ tab, you can see which devices have access to your Creative Market account settings and payout information. This can be useful if you think your account may have been compromised, to see if an unknown device has access to your account. You can revoke access for a device if you want to, which can come in handy if you had accessed your account from a public device or a device that you’ve lost or one that got stolen, or something along the line.
Now you’re ready to start adding your products.
How to Add Products to Your Creative Market Shop
– To add a product, hover over your avatar at the top-right corner, and then click on “Shop Profile”. In the next page, click on “Add a Product”.
– Next, fill out all the relevant information on the new product page. This part is intuitive and self-explanatory. Here’s a summary:
- Add a product title. You only have around 35 characters, so make it something that lets visitors know right away what your product is.
- Right underneath the title, choose the product category from the dropdown. You may not always have an option that perfectly describes what your product is; if that’s the case then pick the one that’s most closely represents what the product is.
- Add product images. These product images should be carefully designed to impress a potential buyer. Pay special attention to the main image. This is the image that is shown to visitors in the product gallery. When someone is looking for products similar to yours, you want yours to stand out from the rest to increase the chances of having a potential buyer click on the product.
- Write a detailed product description. Include what a buyer will get in detail. Add anything that a buyer may need to know before and after purchasing your product.
- Add your product. Since these are all digital products, chances are you will have multiple files. Make sure to add everything in one zip file, and then upload that. If you sell Canva templates like I do, you can also add one PDF file.
- Creative Market offers three different types of product licenses: personal, commercial, and extended commercial. The price for these different licenses are different too, personal being the cheapest, and extended commercial being the most expensive. If you wish to learn about the different license types, you can read it here. Also note that Creative Market tends to add a price automatically when you add the product, based on your chosen category and such. Sometimes they’re spot on, other times not so much. I do not like to use their suggested price as often I find it cheaper than what I’d like. Later I have some tips for you when it comes to setting product prices.
- Next, add product properties. This is optional, but try to add all relevant properties anyway. This makes your product look more professional.
- Add as many product tags as needed. These will help your products to get found by potential buyers who are looking for products similar to what you’re selling.
- Make sure to change the “Draft” that is at the top-left of the page, into “Live” (choose from the dropdown.) Unless you do that, your product will not be visible to others.
- Save everything by clicking “Save All Changes” button towards the top-right corner of the page. At this point, your product will go live in your shop and people will be able to purchase them. You can close out of this page now.
Once you have multiple products, you can rearrange how the products show (in order) by simply clicking and dragging with your mouse, as seen here:
Tips for Making Sales on Creative Market without Actively Promoting Your Products
As I mentioned above, one of the reasons I sell on Creative Market is because other than spending time adding products, I do not spend any additional time on this platform. I do not promote my Creative Market shop.
That said, there is one observation I have made which I want to share with you. It is the one thing that changed how much money I make on this platform.
Be consistent about adding new products to your shop. You see, up until a few months ago, I wasn’t making a whole lot of money on Creative Market. Some months I made nothing at all. Not even a single sale.
I was also not very consistent when it came to adding products.
But then, a few months ago, I realized that I only had about 6 products or so on my Creative Market shop, even though I had more products that I could add. Since I wasn’t making a lot of sales, I didn’t prioritize it. This shop was just there, nearly forgotten.
But then one day I had a bit of downtime, and I figured I’d give the Creative Market shop one last chance before I closed it. So, I took advantage of my downtime and added all the products I had. It was sometime around May 2019, and guess what? As soon as I added some new products, I made a couple of sales. After a few months of absolutely no activity, in May I ended up making around $49.
This was intriguing. So, next month (June) I added a couple more products. I made a grand total of $74 that month. And then, in July I added another product and I made over a hundred bucks.
Ever since I have made sure to add at least one new product every month, and my earnings have been consistently over $100 since July 2019. In fact, last month (November 2019) I made the most I have ever made on Creative Market — a whopping $322.
Not too shabby, eh?
So, while I do not have concrete proof nor a deeper understanding of Creative Market algorithm, seeing how I started making consistent sales when I started adding products consistently (at least one new product per month), I’d say it’s worth giving a shot.
Aside from that, there are a couple other things you should pay attention to.
Create quality products. This is a given, and I know I do not have to remind you that quality is everything. If you do not have high-quality products, people won’t give you their money, as simple as that.
Create beautiful product images. Creative Market is a marketplace. When someone searches for something specific, they are shown a bunch of relevant products. What do you think contributes to someone clicking on your product and not someone else’s? Your product image. Not only should you strive to create beautiful images, paying special attention to the main image that people see first, but you should also strive to stand out from the rest. If your beautiful product image blends in with other people’s beautiful product images, then you don’t have much of a chance, do you?
If you want some tips on how to create beautiful product images for your digital goodies, I have a tutorial right here for how to use Photoshop to create beautiful product images.
Choose your prices carefully. It’s pretty difficult to choose a product price. I’d suggest doing a bit of research before you start selling. See what’s out there and what products similar to yours are going for. Be careful though; the thing with digital products is that the prices vary a lot. I mean, a LOT! I have seen people selling over 100 graphics for less than 10 bucks. While others sell 20 templates for a hundred bucks.
My tip would be what Seth Godin says often. Do not race to the bottom! Do not make cheapskates your rivals. I do not mean that you should price your products the highest per se. Just do not think that unless your prices are the bottom of the barrel, you won’t make sales. In fact, it’s often the opposite. People tend to be wary of super cheap products. But in the end though, it comes down to quality. If you’re competing, compete for quality. Strive to make products that are better than what else is out there, so that no matter how much your products cost, people will want to buy from you.
Another tip for setting your prices is that you should think about who your audience is. Price your products keeping your audience in mind. If your ideal audience cannot afford 10 graphics for 100 bucks, but only 20, then price your products 20. It works the other way too. If your audience can afford 20 bucks for 10 graphics, then sell your products for 20 bucks. Do not sell them for $5.
As you can see from my earning report that I shared toward the beginning of this post, I have been making well over a hundred bucks each month since July 2019. Without any promotion on my end. The only things I paid attention to are what I have shared with you — I have done my best to create high-quality templates, I have been adding at least one new product every month, and I have tried to price my products in a way that would make both my audience and myself happy at the end of the day. Other than that, I haven’t done anything special to promote my Creative Market shop.
So, what’s next?
That totally depends on you! If you wish to sell more and make more money from your creative market shop, then you can try these:
- Add new products more frequently.
- Share your products on social media platforms.
- Use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your Creative Market shop.
- Promote your products to your email list subscribers.
On top of creating high-quality products, if you were to add more products more frequently and promote your shop and products, then chances are that you’ll be making much more than what I’m making without doing any promotion whatsoever on my end.
So, what do you think? Will you be opening a shop on Creative Market? If you do, what will you sell? Let us know in the comments.
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