How people are making money on Canva and turning their graphic-design side hustles into full-time gigs

by AryanArtnews
0 comment
How people are making money on Canva and turning their graphic-design side hustles into full-time gigs

Shruti Pangtey is the founder of Digital Empires, a digital marketing business built by Canva. (Shruti Pangtey)

  • Canva’s popularity is exploding, bringing with it a boom in creators selling digital products.
  • Some have turned creating templates, images or files to sell into a full-time gig.
  • The entrepreneurs tell Insider the benefits are wide-ranging, despite varying financial success.
  • For more stories, go to

After a tech company fired 31-year-old Shruti Pangtey from her product marketing manager gig, she took the opportunity to start her own digital products business — and she says she has no regrets.

Her online business, Digital Empires, sells digital marketing courses for entrepreneurs built on Canva, a popular graphic design platform known for its ease of use. Pangtey earns between $95,000 and $120,000 a year working at least 20 hours a week.

“I never want to go back to a nine-to-five,” Pangtey told Insider.

And she is not alone. Canva’s popularity is exploding, leading to a surge in creators making real money selling digital products — templates, images or files for others to use — with some taking it from side jobs to full-time gigs. This gives the creators the opportunity to work fewer hours, spend more time with friends and family, and for some, make more money.

By putting in anywhere from three to 84 hours a week, creators can earn between $1,000 and $10,000 a month, four Canva business owners told Insider. One creator made a total of $1.4 million in sales in about three years.

But “it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme,” said Meranda Dysart, an Arkansas-based Canva creator.

Dysart has built a business that brings in about $3,300 every month. This allowed her to quit a full-time marketing job and become a stay-at-home parent. For her and other creators, starting a Canva-based business goes far beyond design.

Creators spend time doing behind-the-scenes work like marketing, writing copy for sales landing pages, and sending emails to potential customers. The digital products creators sell include Instagram and Pinterest post templates, custom YouTube profile banners, wedding invitations, and printable daily planners.

These products are especially in high demand among bloggers and small business owners, Rebecca Lake, a certified personal finance educator with a side hustle blog called Boss Single Mama, told Insider. Purchasing pre-made templates saves them time and money on their design efforts, Lake said.

Meranda Dysart, a small business owner.

How Canva works

Founded in 2012 and based in Australia, Canva takes a point-and-drag approach to graphic design so users with little or no experience can create custom images.

More than 100 million users around the world use the platform, and the firm is set to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2022, a Canva spokesperson told Insider.

Entrepreneurs, who can use the site for free or subscribe to a paid version, choose a template idea and then customize the design using the platform’s editing tools. After that, creators can export the design as an image file or PDF and sell it on a third-party platform like Etsy or Amazon.

As independent creators, these digital product store owners may have to go the extra mile to get discovered. Creators who have been successful selling Canva products are finding a niche in the market to fill and creative ways to market their businesses, they told Insider.

Jennifer Singer, who is in her late 20s and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, doubled her salary to $4,000 a month by focusing on creating children’s picture books, workbooks and more. Creators like Singer found their niche by doing keyword searches on platforms like Pinterest, Etsy and Google Trends to see what products were popular.

Canva has not commented on how the rise of entrepreneurship on the platform affects its business model. But it supports the “huge range of ways people are using Canva to start and scale businesses,” Rob Kawalsky, the head of product at Canva, told Insider.

Jennifer Singer, an illustrator, author and entrepreneur.

Sales of digital products fluctuate, and not every Canva creator has seen financial gains

The market for Canva products has become flooded.

The independent seller site Etsy returns nearly 300,000 results for Canva templates. But the payouts are uncertain, and it’s not always clear which digital products will take off each month.

This means that for some creators like Raquel Kay, who is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it has been difficult to reap financial gains. She took a massive pay cut to focus on her digital products business Canva, quit her management consultant position at Accenture in 2020 that paid $94,000 a year. As of October 2022, she was earning between $1,000 and $1,500 (between about R17,000 and R26,000) per month selling Canva templates and Canva coaching services full-time for aspiring entrepreneurs, she told Insider.

“The transition was difficult,” Kay said. “I love it, but it’s very challenging.”

Raquel Kay, the founder of Tips and Templates, a digital marketing business built on Canva.

And that’s part of the reason why money isn’t the only motivation for turning to Canva content creation full-time. Millions of people have quit their jobs at record levels over the past two years due to burnout, poor management, low salaries and a lack of work-from-home flexibility.

This causes some full-time employees to re-evaluate their career choices in search of work that fits their lifestyle preferences, such as creating a digital product storefront from home. This allows creators like Singer to have full control over their time.

“My life has completely changed,” Singer said.

Related Posts