Earning

Meet a 34-year-old who has sold over 11,000 items on Etsy and makes nearly $3,500/month in passive income

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Goncalves.
Courtesy Jen Goncalves
Key Points
  • Jennifer Goncalves was never quite sure what to do in life, but ultimately decided she wanted to work for herself.
  • In 2019, she opened an Etsy shop to sell items like printable wedding invitations.
  • To-date, she's sold more than 11,300 items and brings in nearly $3,500 per month selling on the site.

In 2018, Jennifer Goncalves was not sure what she wanted to do with her life. The Sacramento, California, native had taken some college courses in psychology and tried being a teacher's assistant, but neither really stuck. After working as an office specialist for Sacramento County for five years, "I kind of just decided I don't want to work for anybody," she says. "I think I want to work for myself."

Goncalves began taking courses in various online activities to find the right path. There was a Pinterest virtual assistant course. There was a Facebook ads course. Finally, in the summer of 2019, she took Julie Berninger and Cody Berman's course on starting an Etsy shop selling printables, or digital documents buyers download and print on their own.

"I was kind of in charge of creating flyers, marketing materials, catalogs, creative design stuff for the training department" at Sacramento County, says Goncalves. "And I guess that's kind of when it clicked for me that I could do the same thing on Etsy."

She opened her Etsy shop, EdenwoodPaperie, that summer, selling wedding invitations, RSVPs, and similar items as bundles for $25 each. By March 2020, the store was successful enough that Goncalves quit her job just before the pandemic started, to focus on building it full time.

Today, there are more than 550 items in her store, with prices ranging from about $5 to about $42 each. Goncalves, 34, has made more than 11,300 sales and brings in nearly $3,500 per month in passive income.

She and her husband moved to Tennessee in 2021. Here's her Etsy journey.

Designing her elopement announcement inspired her product line

Not long before Goncalves took the printables course in 2019, she and her husband eloped. "We couldn't get our foot in the door anywhere in California for under $5,000," she says of looking for a venue. "And then we had to pay for everything else."

She designed the elopement announcement after the two got married. So when she researched possible printables to create and sell herself, she knew making wedding invitations was both in her wheelhouse and something with a built-in a clientele.

Goncalves and her husband.
Courtesy Jen Goncalves

These days, Goncalves begins her creative process by searching for graphics like floral designs, as well as unique fonts, on Etsy and Creative Market. Once she finds a design and font that she likes, she looks into its licensing to make sure she can use it for print-on-demand products like hers. Fonts and graphics can go for $20 -$25 each, but if she has to get permission to use them, these special licenses can hike up the price by hundreds of dollars.

She then uses online software Templett to create her items.

When people buy her designs, they get a link to the item on Templett in which they can fill in their own specific details and photos, download the item, and then print it themselves.  

'My Valentine's went nuts this year'

Goncalves's offerings have evolved over the years.

"When I first started, I just wanted to keep it simple because I didn't want to chance a bad review," she says. For example, she made invites without elaborate backgrounds, and didn't offer the option of people inserting their photos.

Over the years, she's developed both her designs and the products she offers. Beyond items like wedding invitations and save the dates, her store now features baby shower invites, diaper raffles, bridal shower invites, and holiday items like Valentine's Day coupons for breakfast in bed and date night.

"My valentines went nuts this year," she says. "I made over $1,000 in a day."

"I don't necessarily know where this journey is going to take me," she says about her plans for Etsy in the future. At the very least, she says, "I know I'm having fun in the moment."

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