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Have you ever wondered how people make tons of money on Creative Market by selling things like templates, layouts and other visual elements? On episode 009 of Rebel Boss Ladies, I’m super excited to introduce you to Alysha from Basil & Bark, as she shares her advice about generating passive income and how Creative Market totally changed her life.
Alysha sells social media and content marketing templates on her website and on Creative Market, but she started her business by doing custom one-on-one services for clients for social media graphics and templates and content upgrades. Today, Alysha is sharing all about how she got started, along with tons of really tangible tips on how to leverage the Creative Market platform and advice on how to use social media (particularly Instagram!) to market products.
Alysha didn’t always think she’d end up a creative entrepreneur and selling her own designs. After spending a few years working at different design jobs and eventually getting laid off, Alysha and her boyfriend decided to move across the country. After a couple job interviews, she realized that type of work wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to start her own thing.
The design skills she gained at her previous jobs were a perfect start to developing her own business. “It was kind of just a no brainer that this was my thing, my skill in the design world, and I didn't see anybody else doing it.”
Her business was a success from the start. After getting a few clients, Alysha was able to replace her previous salary within eight months. When her templates took off, they alone were able to replace her salary.
She then had a choice to make – either continue providing her services to clients full-time or focus on her templates. She decided to focus on her templates and passive income source, which is her primary business today.
Alysha still sometimes worries about her source of income. “I'm sure I'll make no money next month even though I have like a spreadsheet full of money that's already guaranteed to come in.”
She sometimes struggles with imposter syndrome, and worries that either she isn’t doing something right, or worries that other people are doing it better. She recalls considering giving up in the early days of her business and was always worried that her business wouldn’t work out.
Her advice, when you’re giving yourself ultimatums and trying to decide if having your own business is right for you? The best thing you can give yourself is absolutely no choice. “If your only direction is forward you can only go forward.”
Alysha is grateful that her boyfriend was so supportive as she was moving towards her current business. Throughout her journey he was always encouraging, and always believed in her, even when she didn’t necessarily believe in herself.
Her advice for people with spouses and significant others that may not be supportive of your business? Prove them wrong. Make it work. When her boyfriend didn’t always understand her business choices, Alysha made sure things kept going in the right direction.
Her pivotal moment was when she realized that she should have confidence in her own decisions. She sees this a lot on line with other entrepreneurs having the same problem, and often the advice is the same: “take action and prove them wrong.”
Alysha’s primary source of income are the templates she sells on Creative Market, which are the things that she sees people need to build their own affordable brand. Her most popular sellers? Social media templates, magnets or content upgrades, and roadmap templates. She draws upon her previous design and contract work to identify what people need the most.
When she released her first templates, she first did a mini product launch to her email list but wasn’t sure what to do after that to grow her clientele. Someone recommended that she use Creative Market, which was super intimidating at first.
“I thought, if you look at Creative Market there's something like 26,000 shops and like a million listings or something, I was like, “these are never going to get seen. I'll be lucky if I get a sale.” But she started getting sales every few days and used those to see what was popular and what would sell.
Alysha hears a lot from wannabe Creative Market sellers that the platform is too saturated, but she disagrees. “It's not too saturated if you have something unique to offer and everybody has something unique to offer.” Her advice? Create a product that’s unique. Listen to your audience and your clients, and use their needs and your own skills to find a space for what you are doing. Putting your own unique spin on your product will ensure it stands out.
It also doesn’t hurt to leverage what other people are doing on Creative Market to build their own products. If someone else is selling it, that means that people are looking to buy it.
The best part about the platform? You don’t need to market anything. “They’ve got people coming to their website looking to buy things every single day… So if you put something up there that shines and that looks a little bit different and can apply to somebody else’s unique niche or brand, then they’re there to buy your thing.”
Alysha recommends that anyone looking to sell on Creative Market look at the categories on the website. Some categories are very saturated, such as stock photos or fonts, but it’s still possible to do well in them if you find a way to stand out.
Some categories that do really well Creative Market are website themes, textures, brushes, and presets. Templates and other design assets that can be bought and used by the client to create something of their own are also really popular.
What shouldn’t you sell on Creative Market? According to Alysha, “Nothing like worksheets or workflows or courses or e-books. Nothing really educational whatsoever, nothing where the actual content is being delivered.”
Alysha defines passive income as the money she makes after she gets her “time investment” back. Once she sells enough to earn back the time she spent making her product, she says it’s possible to earn a ton of money off of successful products. But of course, this takes time. “You won’t make all of that money within a couple of days. It’ll take time. But if you’re strategic about it, it can 100% be passive.”
In order to find your audience, Alysha says its super important to release a minimum viable product to prove to your audience are interested in buying your product. Spending a little bit of time on one or two products and testing those out can validate whether you should spend a lot of time creating your products. She advises, “get a feel for it and then go all out.”
Alysha used her initial audience and her email list subscribers to build up her presence on the Creative Market. After putting her templates on the site, she told all her customers to buy her products from her shop, instead of her website. She used the people who already wanted to buy her work to push the algorithm and move her shop up in the ranks on Creative Market. She elaborates that this ranking is important – “people who are coming to create a market looking for that design asset can see yours because it's right at the top.”
Alysha elaborates that there are a lot of benefits to selling digital products on Creative Market. It’s an easy way to find customers looking for specific types of products.
Alysha put her products on Creative Market to grow her audience. “I put them on Creative Market to really leverage the audience that was over there, which I highly recommend if you’re a little bit unsure that you’ll be able to maintain sales on your own.”
Even though Alysha is a huge fan of Creative Market, she warns: “don’t build your house on rented land.” Even though the platform is a great place to market and grow your audience, you want to make sure that there’s a place outside of Creative Market that people can find your products. “If Creative Market did shut down or the algorithm changed or if there was an adpocalypse like there was on YouTube… you would still have your own website.”
The most important thing? Make sure this platform fits what you’re trying to sell. Even though making passive income on Creative Market may sound like a good idea, it may not be the perfect fit for your niche or your product. “This is just what makes sense for people who are designers, photographers, social media managers, stuff like that.” Most importantly, make sure your product fits with what the platform has to offer.
Alysha recommends a few other strategies to build your sales on Creative Market.
First, ensure your product descriptions include important keywords, and utilize SEO much like you would on your website. Use the spreadsheet that is available to Creative Market sellers that show the top monthly keywords, because it can be super helpful to determine what people are looking for and how to label your products.
Next, figure out the best tags to use to sell your product, because those will impact searches. Make sure that you’re following the rules, especially when it comes to duplicates or plurals.
The most important part of marketing your products on Creative Market are the images, or screenshots, that you use to sell your product. “The best advice I've ever heard somebody say is that you want to use screenshots that sell the product if there wasn't a description there at all.”
People should be able to look at the image and know exactly how to use it. Alysha recommends showing your product in real life as much as possible. For example, “If you’re selling a website theme, you want to put it in a little iMac to show what it looks like on an iMac. If you were selling a pattern, you can kind of photoshop it on to a container or a tote bag.”
Alysha has always put her efforts into Instagram when trying to build her audience. She admits that even if you only have a small audience following your feed or stories, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting a lot of engagement. “I’m always on Instagram. That’s like my place to be… And if I can get people to come to Instagram and sort of see the behind-the-scenes of what I’m doing and connect with me, that’s my favorite way to grow my audience.”
Alysha also emphasizes the importance of having one-on-once connections with the people in your audience. Relationships with your clients or audience are much more important than having them subscribed to your newsletter. Not only do they know about your products, they also know a lot about you, which can build a much deeper connection.
The most important thing you can do when releasing a free product is making it really valuable, advises Alysha. “Release something really usable for the audience that you think will buy your thing down the line.”
Creating and releasing something unique, that ties in with the products you hope to sell down the line, is a great way to build an audience that will be interested in buying your products later. “The best question to ask is: what am I selling, and then what do the people who will want to buy my product need before they’re going to buy my product.”
Visit Alysha’s website – https://www.basilandbark.com/
Visit her Creative Market shop here – https://creativemarket.com/basilandbark
Follow Alysha on Instagram right here
Check out Alysha’s course, Digital Product Boss, here
Alysha runs an online business and digital product shop called Basil & Bark. She started her business after she was laid off from her job at a startup company, and to supplement her income from design services, she began selling social media and content marketing templates. The month that she booked out her services for the first time was the same month that she replaced her previous salary with sales from Creative Market alone, and decided to quit client work and go all-in selling digital products