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How to Build a Passive Income Empire Selling Templates

The idea of passive income – earning money that flows in with minimal ongoing effort – is incredibly alluring. Selling templates offers a potent pathway towards this goal. While a million-dollar return isn't the norm, it is possible you can set yourself up for a reliable additional income stream with the right approach. Squarespace is just one of the many options to start a template side hustle that can become a full-blown business. Other companies include Wordpress, Framer and Wix. Read on to learn more.

The Power of Templates

Templates are pre-designed assets that solve specific problems. Think of them as 'shortcuts' for creators, businesses, or individuals. A well-designed template saves time, ensures consistency, and allows people to create professional-looking results even if they lack design expertise.

Key Lessons for Template Success

1. Harness Existing Skills

  • Self-Assessment: Do an honest appraisal of your most proficient skills and the areas where you enjoyably lose track of time. Is it writing? Design? Organization? Identifying your strengths gives you clarity on what types of templates you could excel at creating.

  • Knowledge to Value: Don't just think about what you know but how that knowledge solves problems for others. Could your expertise in gardening translate to templates for plant care logs? Or could your business savvy help others create simple financial trackers?

  • The Passion Factor:  Choosing a niche you're genuinely interested in makes the creation process more enjoyable and authentic, which will shine through in your marketing.

2. Quality Counts

  • First Impressions Matter: Potential buyers will judge your templates harshly based on visuals and descriptions. Invest time in polished presentation.

  • Functionality is Key: Beyond looking great, ensure your templates are easy to use and fully deliver on their promise. Thorough testing and getting feedback from beta users can be invaluable here.

  • The Excellence Mindset: Aim to make your templates the absolute best in your niche. This commitment will push you to refine them beyond mere adequacy.

3. The Long Game

  • Patience over Perfectionism: It's better to launch with a few well-crafted templates than to get stuck in an endless loop of tweaking while earning nothing.

  • Building Blocks of Success: Each template you create is an asset, expanding your storefront and potential customer reach. Steady effort builds momentum.

  • The Income Curve:  Expect slow initial growth. As your reputation and audience build, the potential for 'snowball' sales increases. Don't be discouraged by a small number of initial sales.

4. The Power of Content Marketing

  • Teaching is Selling: Content that generously shares your knowledge builds authority and demonstrates the value you bring (which reflects well on your templates!)

  • Formats that Fit Your Focus:  Are you a natural writer? Blog! Love being on camera? Videos! Find content types that play into your strengths.

  • Solve Problems, Subtly Sell: Your content shouldn't be a hard pitch. Focus on addressing pain points within your niche, mentioning your templates as a potential solution without being overly salesy.

5. Pricing for Profit

  • The Value Trap: Don't undervalue your hard work and expertise! People are willing to pay for quality and convenience.

  • Confidence in Pricing: Consider the time and skill invested in creation, plus the ongoing support you may offer. Price confidently.

  • Testing and Tiering: Don't be afraid to experiment with pricing. You could offer 'intro' templates at lower price points alongside your more complex premium packages.

Which Industries Need Templates?

The good news is that the demand for templates extends across countless industries. Here are just a few niches ripe with opportunity:

  • Web Design:  Templates for popular platforms like WordPress, Wix, Carrd, Webflow, Squarespace, Framer, etc.

  • Productivity: Notion, Trello, Airtable - the productivity software craze needs organization templates.

  • Content Creation: Social media graphics, presentation slides, video thumbnails, podcast intros

  • Business & Marketing:  Proposals, invoices, sales pages, landing pages, email sequences

  • Finance & Legal: Spreadsheets for budgeting, simple contracts, terms & conditions

  • Lifestyle & Design:  Printable planners, recipes, invitations, photo filters

Choosing the Right Platform

Once you have a template idea, decide on your sales platform:

  • Your Website:  Offers full control, but you'll need to drive your own traffic. Shopify, simple WordPress sites with plugins like WooCommerce, or dedicated digital product platforms are good options.

  • Marketplaces: Creative Market, Etsy, etc., bring pre-existing audiences but charge fees and have more competition.

The Power of Content Marketing

Content marketing is the backbone of a thriving template business. It's about attracting the right audience, building trust, and ultimately showcasing the value your templates offer. Let's break down the key strategies and how to implement them effectively.

Step 1: Understanding Your Ideal Customer

Who needs your templates most? Effective content marketing starts by answering these questions:

  • Demographics: Age group, location, job titles, industry of your potential buyers.

  • Pain Points: What struggles do they face that your templates solve? (Ex: Lack of design skills, time constraints, needing systems for organization).

  • Where They Hang Out: What blogs do they read? Social media platforms? Which industry influencers do they follow?

Step 2: Choosing Your Content Channels

Pick a few channels to focus on initially. Here's a breakdown of popular options:


  • Pros: Great for SEO (getting found in Google searches), positions you as an expert

  • Cons: Takes time to see results, needs consistent writing

  • Getting Started: Set up a blog on your website or use platforms like Medium

  • Topic Examples:  "5 Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Website", "The Ultimate [Industry] Notion Template Bundle", "How to Customize Your Template for a Unique Look"

Videos (YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels):

  • Pros: Engaging, shareable, builds personality

  • Cons: Can be intimidating for beginners, demands some video editing skill

  • Getting Started:  Invest in basic equipment (good phone camera, ring light, simple editing software).

  • Topic Examples:  "Template Tour: My Bestseller in Action", "3 Ways to Hack This Template for Different Uses", "Time-Saving Template Tips"

Social Media (pick 1-2 platforms depending on your ideal customer):

  • Pros: Direct interaction with potential buyers, good for short, visually appealing content

  • Cons: Requires consistency, algorithms can limit reach

  • Getting Started: Create a dedicated business account, learn basic usage of your chosen platform(s)

  • Topic Examples: Share template sneak peeks, user testimonials, quick 'before & afters' using your templates

Email Newsletter:

  • Pros: Builds a direct, loyal audience, owned by you (not beholden to platforms)

  • Cons:  Requires consistent content, needs an email marketing provider (Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc.)

  • Getting Started:  Choose a provider, offer a tempting freebie in exchange for email signups

  • Topic Examples: Exclusive tutorials, early template access, behind-the-scenes peeks

Step 3: Content Creation with Templates in Mind

Always tie your content back to templates:

  • Demo Your Templates: Screenshots and videos show your templates in use, overcoming objections ("will it work for me?")

  • Highlight Benefits, Not Just Features: Instead of "Can be customized with your colors" say "Brand your business in minutes, no design skills needed"

  • Calls to Action: Include clear links to your template shop or relevant product pages within your content.

Step 4: Amplifying Reach (Optional: Paid Advertising)

Content marketing takes time. Paid ads can accelerate growth if you have the budget.

  • Facebook/Instagram Ads:

  • Pros: Powerful targeting (interests, demographics, etc.), carousels/videos showcase templates

  • Cons:  Cost per click varies, ad creation takes some learning

  • Getting Started: Requires a Business Manager account, study their ad guidelines

Additional Tips for Success

  • Guest Posting & Collaborations: Write for other blogs in your niche, or partner with influencers to reach new audiences.

  • Repurpose Content:  Turn a blog post into an infographic, a video into social media snippets.

  • Track Your Results:  Website analytics show which content drives the most traffic to your template pages.

Pricing & Potential Earnings

Template pricing depends on complexity and niche. Generally aim between $20 - $200+, with bundles going higher.

Earnings potential is wildly variable:

  • Factors: Market size, template quality, marketing effort, audience size

  • Realistic Outlook: Most creators see modest initial income. Consistent excellent work leads to greater rewards over time.

Innovative Template Ideas to Stand Out

The template market is getting crowded, so differentiating yourself is key. Consider:

  • Ultra-Specific Niches: Instead of generic social media templates, go for templates targeting yoga instructors, real estate agents, or a specific aesthetic.

  • Bundled Templates: Combine different template types for a cohesive package (example: website template + matching social media pack for a business)

  • 'Template Makeover' Service:  Offer a custom touch by tweaking your template slightly to better serve individual buyers.

The Marketing Edge: Content is King

Erica's success proves content marketing's power. Here's how to use it to your advantage:

  • Tutorials & 'How-To' Guides: Teach how to use your template or the software it's for

  • Blog Posts:  Create problem-solving content related to your niche and subtly weave in your templates as solutions

  • Short Videos:  Demo your templates in action, post on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels

  • Freebies: Offer a stripped-down version of a template as a lead magnet to build your email list

Additional Success Tips

  • Superb Customer Support:  Happy customers become repeat buyers and spread the word

  • Community Building:  Create a Facebook group or online forum where users of your templates can connect

  • Collaborations:  Partner with influencers in your niche for wider exposure

Building Your Template Empire

Selling templates is a fantastic way to leverage your abilities and earn passive income. Remember, consistency is key, as is focusing on delivering value. With focus and dedication, you too can transform this side hustle into a highly profitable venture.


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