Revive your online business: Alternatives to selling digital products on Etsy

Revive your online business: Alternatives to selling digital products on Etsy

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Downfall of Selling Digital Products on Etsy
  3. The Need for a Higher Barrier of Entry
  4. Price Arbitrage on Etsy
  5. The Numbers Game on Etsy
  6. Etsy's Control Over Customers
  7. Moving Your Digital Products to Your Own Platform
  8. Building Your Platform and Email List
  9. Choosing the Right Social Media Platform
  10. The Power of Email Marketing
  11. Tools to Help You Get Started
  12. Conclusion

The Downfall of Selling Digital Products on Etsy

In recent years, selling digital products on Etsy has gained massive popularity. The platform offered a low barrier to entry and allowed individuals to start their online businesses without high overhead costs. Many entrepreneurs, including myself, found success on Etsy, earning a substantial income that was life-changing. However, the dynamics of the Etsy marketplace have changed dramatically, making it increasingly difficult for sellers to thrive. In this article, I will explain why selling digital products on Etsy is no longer a viable option and propose a solution for sustained success in the online business world.


I began my online business journey by selling digital products on Etsy. It was exciting to witness the growth and profitability of my store, earning between $5,000 and $8,000 per month consistently. However, over time, I noticed a significant shift in the marketplace that affected my earnings and overall satisfaction. The increasing popularity of Etsy for digital products led to a flood of subpar products at extremely low price points. As a result, it became nearly impossible for me to stand out and charge what my high-quality products were worth.

The Need for a Higher Barrier of Entry

One of the main challenges with selling digital products on Etsy is the low barrier of entry. While this may benefit newcomers who are seeking an easy way to get started, it ultimately leads to a saturated market filled with copycats and inferior products. The availability of software that allows others to easily replicate your designs or content contributes to this issue. As a result, it becomes challenging to differentiate yourself and charge a fair price for your unique offerings.

Price Arbitrage on Etsy

Another drawback of selling digital products on Etsy is the platform's pricing dynamics. Etsy operates on a price arbitrage system, where the lowest price gets the sale. This means that sellers often have to significantly reduce their prices to compete with cheaper alternatives. As a result, the value of digital products is undermined, and sellers like myself are forced to undervalue their work just to make a sale. This pricing structure is not conducive to sustainable business growth or generating a substantial income.

The Numbers Game on Etsy

Etsy's algorithm prioritizes new listings, incentivizing sellers to constantly create and upload new products. While this may yield short-term visibility, it is a time-consuming process that eats into profit margins. Additionally, the need to continually cast a wide net to reach potential customers can hinder a seller's ability to focus on creating high-quality products. It becomes a numbers game rather than a pursuit of excellence, which is not a sustainable strategy for long-term success.

Etsy's Control Over Customers

Perhaps one of the most significant drawbacks of selling digital products on Etsy is the lack of ownership over customers. Etsy strictly regulates external links, discouraging sellers from driving traffic to their own websites or collecting customer emails. This limits the ability to build a loyal customer base and retarget buyers for future sales. In the realm of online business, email lists are king, as they provide a direct line of communication with customers. However, Etsy's policies make it challenging to harness the power of email marketing effectively.

Moving Your Digital Products to Your Own Platform

Considering the challenges and limitations of selling digital products on Etsy, it becomes evident that entrepreneurs need to explore alternative platforms for sustained success. The solution lies in creating your own platform to sell digital products. While this may initially seem daunting, it is an essential step toward taking control of your business and maximizing your earning potential. By driving your own traffic and harnessing the power of email marketing, you can create a sustainable, long-term strategy.

Building Your Platform and Email List

The first step in transitioning from Etsy to your own platform is creating a freebie or lead magnet that entices potential customers to join your email list. This enables you to establish a direct line of communication with your audience and build a valuable relationship. Several software options, such as and ClickFunnels, can assist you in setting up your sales funnel and capturing customer emails. While these tools may require some investment, they provide valuable features for growing your online business.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform

To drive traffic to your platform and expand your customer base, you need to leverage the power of social media. Whether it's Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Pinterest, selecting the right platform for your niche and target audience is crucial. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need tens of thousands of followers to achieve significant sales. By strategically targeting the right audience and utilizing the strengths of each platform, you can make substantial income with a relatively small following.

The Power of Email Marketing

Once you have established your platform and built your email list, the real potential for increased sales and repeat customers comes into play. Email marketing allows you to nurture your customer relationships, provide value through exclusive content and offers, and ultimately generate more sales. Studies show that the likelihood of making a sale to an existing customer is between 60% and 70%, compared to only 5% to 20% for new customers. By leveraging the power of email marketing, you can significantly increase your revenue without solely relying on Etsy's platform.

Tools to Help You Get Started

While setting up your own platform may seem overwhelming, there are numerous tools and resources available to simplify the process. Whether you opt for free options like or choose to invest in more advanced platforms like ClickFunnels, the key is to find a solution that aligns with your business goals and offers the necessary features. Additionally, I have prepared a free funnel building starter toolkit that includes essential templates and resources to kickstart your journey to independence from Etsy.


Selling digital products on Etsy may have been a suitable starting point for your online business journey. Still, to achieve sustainable success and attain a life-changing income, it is essential to transition to your own platform. By overcoming the limitations and challenges posed by Etsy's marketplace, you can take control of your business, establish a loyal customer base, and maximize your earning potential. Embrace the mindset shift from considering yourself a side hustler to a legitimate business owner, and watch your digital product sales soar.

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