Here’s My 2023 Online Side Hustle Income Report

Like every year, I want to share my numbers –  even if they are not impressive. I can’t say that 2023 has been a good year for my online side hustles. I only really focused on a single one the first half of the year, and then, I was slacking off the rest of the year. So without further ado, here are my online side hustle results for 2023.

3D Model Selling, My Hands-off Online Side Hustle

A low poly 3D model scene showing trees, bushes and stones on a little hill. The color theme is yellow and it looks like an autumn scene.

Stock image from dreamstime, not showing one of my models

This is the online side hustle where I sell low-poly 3d models on cgtrader, sketchfab and a few other 3D model marketplaces. For the last few years, this provided a stable average monthly income of $20/month. In 2023, the average went down significantly from $20 to $9 in 2023. The total income in 2023 was $118, roughly half of the 2022 numbers.

I did not add any models to my catalog and there were no marketing activities in 2023. Therefore, after so much time, the income decrease is not surprising. Still selling though, with the last activity from my side so long ago I can’t even remember.

As for the most successful platform, Sketchfab is the clear winner now. I guess I sell more there because there is a 3D viewer so people can have a better look at my models before buying, while on cgtrader, there are only static preview images to look at. Maybe I should add videos to the listings on cgtrader and see if that makes a difference. Here’s the pie chart of income by 3D marketplaces.

As a surprise came the payout from 3DExport in September. Usually, I sell nothing on 3DExport, but for some reason, I made 5 sales in 2023. Together with sales from previous years that were insufficient for a PayPal transfer, I received $38 from 3D export. However, it has been quiet again over there ever since.

Given that I did not invest any time at all in this side hustle in a very long time, over $100 is a win for me here. I might add some new models in 2024, or create videos for my cgtrader listings, but I will not prioritize that.

Selling Printable Planners On Etsy, My Dying Online Side Hustle

Stock image from dreamstime, not one of my planners.


Admittedly, I did not list any new products in 2023 or did anything to promote my planners except posting a single TikTok video. But considering the effort that went into my printables Etsy shop over the years, last year’s numbers are frustrating.

The total of USD 321 compared to previous years clearly shows that selling digital planners on Etsy is NOT a passive income source. The following stats screenshots show the slow decline of my Etsy shop over the past year.

A screenshot of the author's Etsy stats, showing how revenue dropped.
A screenshot of the author's Etsy stats, showing how orders dropped.

Orders and revenue did not only decline because of less traffic, but also because of a lower conversion rate. The conversion rate indicates the percentage of people who bought my product out of the total number of people who viewed the listing. My listing’s conversion rate dropped from 2.4% last year to 1.1%

A screenshot of the author's Etsy stats, showing how conversion rate dropped to 1.1%

I attribute some of the drop in average conversion rate to the fact that Etsy changed how they display the preview picture in search and on mobile. My 1500x1000px images are no longer displayed correctly on mobile phones and parts of the title and information are cut off. Of course, this happened without notice and I only found out by accident through a Reddit post. It’s unclear what the best new ratio is, but you can learn what is useful for you from this post on Reddit.

Traffic was already declining significantly last year, but further decreased this year, as you can see from the following screenshots of my 2023 Etsy stats.

A screenshot of the author's Etsy stats, showing how traffic dropped.

Marketing Activities For My Etsy Business

As for activities, while I had created a TikTok and Instagram account for my printable planners business, I did not post much. I see some potential on TikTok, as it’s comparably easy to get some views on videos. Instagram, less so. If you’re just starting, it’s very much not rewarding to post anything, because it seems Instagram isn’t showing it to anybody.

What now?

So what should I do with this? I’m unsure whether I should let my printable planners business die completely (i.e. not do any work at all) or make some effort to try and save it.

I will probably continue to maintain my Etsy shop (at most). Maybe I’ll put some more effort into Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube. A big maybe – I’m really not sure if it’s worth my time.

More likely, I’ll try something I haven’t tried before: Posting about all things planning on Medium, because with Medium it could actually be possible to rank in Google search.

Print on Demand, Still a Flourishing Side Hustle

For my print on demand side hustle, I create designs, upload them to platforms like Spreadshirt or Redbubble, and get paid if somebody buys a product with my design on it.

A photo showing a t-shirt being printed on.

Stock image from Dreamstime, not one of my designs

My print-on-demand Business clearly overtook my Etsy Printable Planners business. Not because it grew. But because it stayed somewhat consistent despite several world crises, inflation, and the decline of my other side hustle incomes.

The reason for that is that I found a niche. It is, while not particularly underserved, at least not very competitive. So despite me only uploading 10 new designs to Spreadshirt in 2023, my POD income only decreased from CHF 1’376 to 1’111.

There have been no mentionable marketing activities. I mostly sold designs in my niche on the Spreadshirt marketplace and a few in my Spreadshop. Spreadshirt fulfills the orders in my Spreadshop, but I have to bring my own traffic. I sold a few general designs (outside of my niche) on the marketplace as well.

Including some Redbubble income, print on demand made me $1’292 in 2023.

I will keep up print on demand for sure. It’s fun and a few hours spent can be very rewarding when the designs sell. I will mainly keep adding designs though, I don’t see much return on time invested in marketing activities.

Medium – My Writing Online Side Hustle

Medium is a platform where people can write and get paid for their paywalled articles.

I did not write much in 2023, only one single article actually, so my income declined a lot as well. In 2023 I earned a total of CHF 61.61, mostly from stories I wrote in previous years.. Here’s a screenshot of my earnings per month:

I want to write more, really, I do. I think I need to start writing shorter stories. The time it takes to finish one with this length and amount of content is too intimidating.

Selling 3D Printed Jewelry – The “New” Online Side Hustle

Yes, I’ve been saying this has potential for over almost two years now, yet I couldn’t make it work so far. The problem is low exposure. While I think I managed to create some decent products, I can not confirm that, because nobody is seeing them.

You can get a full update on this side hustle in the following article:

Overall Online Side Hustle Results

I’m disappointed about the dive of my printable planners business. But I’m quite happy with how my 3D model selling and print on demand side hustles are doing, after so much neglect.

I’m going to keep working on most of these side hustles. However, I will focus on 3D print on demand and the “traditional” print on demand within my niche.

As every year, still not ready to give up!