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How to Design Creative Templates to Sell on Creative Market

Diane Pascual Creative Market

A lot of people don’t actually know what it looks like to create an online business and have passive income generating products. So in this episode, I would love to introduce you to Diane Pascual and her business on Creative Market.

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Table of Contents

Diane has experience as a graphic designer, worked for a lot of corporate companies, and then four years ago, started an online business on Creative Market. She has a creative market shop that is now successful. She just creates products every month, and it continues to generate passive income for her. So that’s kind of the gist of it.

Running a business with a family

Diane not only has a lot of online products, but also has a family.  I asked her to tell us what it’s like to actually run her business because she has a little one; I think it’s just one. Diane shared, actually, he’s not so little anymore. He just turned 18. He is a really creative kid. Six months ago, when the pandemic hit, he started helping her upload some products on a lot of the different platform that she sells on. So the main platform is Creative Market, and then she also has a shop on Design Bundles and Shopify as well. She trains him to help out because it’s a lot of work. As a parent, she’s also making sure the bills are paid on time, she’s also chef at home, and you know, just like the day to day, all the things that you have to do with your kid. She shared that it’s a lot easier now that he’s so much older. She doesn’t think she could do this with a small kid at home.

Creating a Digitial Product

As a graphic designer, Diane has been in the industry for over a decade. She’s had many jobs, lots of random jobs and biotech tech, and worked at a lot of really cool companies, and also freelanced on her own in the last couple years. For Diane, that produced a lot of burnout as far as like, keeping up with doing all the work for clients. Then at the end of the day, it just made her feel like she spent that energy creating work for them. She decided to create work for herself, as an artist and creative person. She believes you want to not only create things to make money, but also create things because it brings you joy.

When she first got started on Creative market, she had a good friend, who had immediate success on it back in 2015. That was when she first heard about creative market. Her friend was testing out all these like, spiritual products, vector sets, that kind of thing. She told her to find something that she really enjoyed and is really passionate about. At that time, Diane had a shop on Society Six, creating patterns to print on yoga pants, or pillowcases, throw pillows, that kind of thing, for herself. Then, she started building a kind of a tie dye pattern shop and was like, “oh, this is kind of fun”.

creative market

Market Needs

But she realized it was just taking too long to make patterns. She asked herself, how could she make the pattern-making process even quicker. She started creating her own Photoshop brushes, tie-dye Photoshop brushes, and that’s when she really saw a need in the market. It was like this really specific niche that nobody else was like tapping into. She decided to create Photoshop brushes that were tie dye shapes so that people can use to create patterns of their own, use it for print and digital products. It took her two months to make her first tie-dye Photoshop brush set. She was just testing the market out to see how people would respond. And mind you, she had applied for a creative market shop and got denied, like three times. She would always ask her friend for feedback about what she did wrong. Her friend gave her specific and helpful comments about like, “maybe you should do this first and how about you try that”. Then pretty soon, the last time she applied, maybe the third time she got approved. That’s when she hit the ground running. In the first two months, she was making, $100 here, $150 there. That was enough validation for her to actually think of something that people could use that they find helpful. It took her a while, probably like another eight months to really start seeing more than just $300 coming into her bank account.

I wanted her to go back to the part where she talked about how you saw that there was a need in the market and stepped into that, that is so amazing and magical. I want to applaud Diane for that one and then to share with people who are listening to the podcast, or watching the replay of this video, when you’re creating a digital product, that is truly what it’s all about, you see a need in the market, you’ve stepped into that and you analyze your zone of genius, and you package it for the world to see and share. And over time, eventually more people get to see it, you consistently share about it and you grow your knowledge, you grow your skills, and then you grow your income. And so, you know, a lot of people feel like there’s just only one way to make money. But it sounds like Diane has really diversified a lot of her business, you know, you had your site up, first on Society Six, then she was like, hey, this Creative Market sounds cool. Let’s try this out. And so I love that she kind of shared about that. So I asked Diane to tell us a little bit more about creative market for people who aren’t familiar with creative market and to tell us a little bit more about how she finally set her shop up on creative.

Market Research

Diane She did a lot of research on tie dye stuff and didn’t want to make something just to make money. She wanted to make something that people could use like something useful, right. Why put your energy into something if you don’t think it’s going to be something that other people can use?

So just to backtrack a little bit, Diane has a background in concept art, illustration. So that 2d animation background, she painted a lot of backgrounds in Photoshop, in the last couple years and did a lot of digital painting, for illustrations with past clients. And so when she was looking and researching in the marketplace, like okay, tie dye, she saw that people were making it. People were making videos on how to create tie dye in Photoshop, but it was like really generic looking and tie dye is so specific. You can tell if it’s a natural dyed shirt versus something that was digitally made. She wanted to merge those two elements together. She started painting the tie dye shapes that she would sell as Photoshop brushes. So that’s kind of like how she got into it.

Creative Market Research

Trial and Error

Then setting up her shop on Creative market was kind of a trial and error of like, learn as you go kind of process. When she first released her Photoshop brushes as her very first product, they put her on their blog as ‘new products this week’ or something like that. She thought it was really cool and guessed that nobody else was making them. Then from there, she started making little background sets and things like that. Then she also started testing different kinds of things like vector sets, quotes, and seeing what would make money. She learned early on some of the older products that she would publish, wouldn’t get a lot of traction because they weren’t really products that people can reuse over and over. So she thinks that some of the things that work really well on Creative Market are templates, things that people can use for the business, and tools like fonts are really good products to sell as well.

Zone of Genius

One thing that other people might not realize is that, Diane stepped into this zone of genius where she felt confident and capable and it wasn’t like she was trying to validate it by somebody tapping her on the shoulder saying, you know, you should do this. She saw that it was there and kept working, adding, kept tweaking it. And that’s what I really feel like, is so special and I also really love the fact that she kind of saw her experience as a way to kind of make that pivot. So there’s a lot of things that are just so exciting about what Diane’s doing because honestly, I remember for those people who are just watching or listening, I actually watched her video on YouTube, sent her an email and said, Diane, I need to chat with you. Can you please hop on a call? I never really expected that she would ever respond. She was always sweet and said, yes, let’s hop on a call. I was like, Oh my gosh, this woman is amazing. I was super excited and stoked about that.

Scaling Your Business

I asked Diane to tell us more about the process of scaling her business; she now has multiple shops on different platforms. I also wanted her to tell us more about her expansion of products and the evolution of her business over time, because she’s been doing this for a while now.

Diane started in 2016. Four years ago, she started with making Photoshop brushes and then she expanded onto creating vector sets. Then she did background sets and things like that. Now expanding she would say maybe like a year ago was when she started to see a need for procreate. So she started making procreate brushes. It took her a while to figure out how to convert Photoshop brushes into procreate. she did a bunch of research and looked at how people were doing things and she even bought products that were procreate-like brushes, just to see how, they set theirs up and see if there’s something that she can learn from that and put it into her own product. And so sometimes she’ll do that to do some product research as well. procreate app is really cool Because it’s so mobile, everyone’s on their iPad, so it’s kind of like that mobile experience, like designing as you go or wherever you feel inspired, going. She saw all of these artists and shop owners making a killing on procreate brushes. Plus, a bunch of people emailed her that bought her Photoshop brushes and asked her for a way to convert them to procreate. She didn’t rule out the possibility, she would always email them and say she didn’t know how to do that yet and needed to do some research. Seeing a need like that and learning from customers that purchased her stuff on Creative market and having people email her for their next brush set, she thought that was cool and loved the feedback. She loves when people email her because there’s certainly things that she hasn’t thought of, that she would love to explore. People getting her attention like that helps her to kind of evolve and expand as well.

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So procreate brushes is something she started making. Then themed tie dye stuff and Halloween tie dye stuff are taking off in her shop right now. Seamless patterns, something she already knew how to do she saw people make this and asked herself, “why am I not doing this?” and so she started doing that.  They’re repeatable patterns that anybody can use on digital, print, or fabric. So that’s where she sees herself expanding. She made one font last year and found it was hard. It was a learning process. She feels like anything she can do, she’ll start doing research and learn a little bit more about it and take her time and ask, “How can I market this thing? Can people use it? Is this going to be useful?”  Those are some of the things she always thinks about when making new products like.

Feedback

I really love the fact that she pointed out a really great process. Feedback. Somebody asked if she could do something and she was honest and said, she didn’t, but she didn’t leave it there. Diane said I don’t know how to do that yet. so when people are first starting the process of creating digital products, it’s constantly this learning process where you’re figuring out what people need, what people want, and what people are willing to fork over money for. When I actually started doing my digital products and courses, I noticed that people would actually send me an email or I would see a question come up in my Facebook group, and there would be a lot of questions that would say, I could use more examples on XYZ, or I really don’t know how to do this part. And I would go to myself and think, oh, I don’t know how to do that, either. So I didn’t let that stop me. I love that we are just constantly learning and it’s about that process of feedback, understanding how to accomplish something, and then delivering on that promise, that feedback, and creating new and helpful tips and tools.

I asked Diane to walk us behind the scenes of her day of creating a product, putting it all together, then getting it on the shop. Also what’s the process of when you get paid, what happens when the magical sale occurs and the whole process?

Creative Market Creative Process

Diane's Creative Market Process

Diane shared that creating one product from start to finish is probably anywhere from 10 to 15 hours, no matter how spread out those hours are. She could probably do four hours in one sitting and then take a break. She thinks it’s important to take a break to not burn yourself out. She starts off doing research by going on creative market and seeing if that products already out there.  If it is she asks herself, what kind of unique flair or unique way can she design that product that people can use? Then from there, she would say the bulk of time is creating in Photoshop. She gives herself time to create because that’s the important part because you’ll start on something and then test it out by approaching it in different ways, whether it’s composition, design, or color.

Research and Mockups

How many different ways can I do this? Is it going to look good? What can they use it on?  – Are questions that she likes to ask. For the products, specifically patterns, she thinks about what are they going to put this on, like for apparel, t shirts, swimsuits, that kind of thing. She’ll do that for a couple of hours and create all of the different variations she can with that product, whether it’s a different color style, or two different color ways, like a pink and a purple. Then she’ll do some more research on Google just looking at mockup files, because on Creative market, your shop images, sell your product. You have to make sure that the shop images look good, and they’re kind of illustrating what they can use it on. So if your product is good for specific things, mock it up and show them like, here’s what you can do with it. That’s really helpful for people wanting to figure out if they can use your product. Then from there, she gets the shop images together, that takes anywhere from one hour to three hours depending on how specific she wants to get. Then once she’s got it up, she publishes it. She publishes it at night, super early in the morning, or midday. The last product that she really saw success on was a product she created a month ago and it was one of her newest Photoshop brush sets. She saw that once she uploaded that product, she had made a sale within two hours which was validation that she’s actually going the right path and that people are looking for this. It also helps to like watch the trends and see how that product is so specific to that trend and how they can use it to make specific things.

Mockups are a really important part of having a digital product, no matter if it’s a course, or if it’s a template. And so one thing that I talk a lot about in, in my new training, which I’m super excited about, I talk a little bit more about the sales process and what that actually looks like for people to come across your product, be completely product unaware, and then converting into a sale. There’s so much that goes into it, like visualization and product research. A lot of people when they’re actually making their first product, they’re not thinking like a shop owner. They’re thinking like an online influencer. But you can’t just put something up and not do any work. It is a lot of work setting it up. After the fact it is more passive and of course if you’re doing promotions, you might change things up, you might do more things. But starting first with the product research, doing all the groundwork, working smarter, not harder, because our working is just looking and tweaking and making it better. And then kind of building up to the part where you’re actually generating sales.

Her Most Successful Product on Creative Market

I asked Diane to tell us more about her most successful product and what she’s most proud of. She said it’s a Photoshop brush set. She’s made a lot of different Photoshop brushes over the years. It was the second Photoshop set that she ever made. The reason why it continues to sell to this day is that it’s got a variety of shapes. So it’s really the true tie dye like spirals, all of the little sunburst. She tries to vary the shapes so that they would blend together and test it out before putting it up on her shop. She also provides a template for actually creating an actual tie dye pattern, so they can look at it step by step. She provides a Photoshop template, so they can see how to organize their layers because people also want to learn. For new people who maybe they’re a small business owner and they have a manufacturing company, and they need to create a tie dye design, but can’t afford to pay a designer, you want to outline the steps for them. And she’s now started creating guidebooks, like PDF guidebooks included with the product just so that she outline how to install this Photoshop brush in your Photoshop version, and outline the process of creating the pattern, how to use the product. She hasn’t updated that product in like a year, but it just continues to sell and people have pinned it on Pinterest several times. It’s kind of interesting, once someone sees it, they just repin it, and then it gets traffic from Pinterest all the time.

I love that she thinks through the steps of the customer. She does all the backend work to get it up. Even before she publishes, she’s doing the process steps in her head of what questions are they going to ask me when they get this product? So she builds in an onboarding sequence to help them get acclimated to their whole step by step journey. For those people who have never made a course or you’ve already made a course its super important to have an onboarding sequence for digital courses specifically, for templates, you already have the instructions.

Conclusion

So you guys heard it first here. Diane’s shared all of her success about creating passive income products and she’s made money while working from home. She actually got laid off because of the pandemic but was still working on this on the side. When she focused on her shop she said she needs to create these products because she’s seeing a trend. And for me, earlier this year, tie dye was trending because people were staying home and crafting. So that was one of those things she couldn’t believe it. Before this year, she was barely even making a grand. But now she’s built up her shop to the point where she’s making enough to pay rent and all my bills. It’s kind of a dream come true.

I think that just having the ability to just pursue your dreams and making that pivot you just have to make it work. There’s just no question. Diane would say don’t even wait on your dreams. Do it now. Do it now you guys.

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