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How Much Money I Made from Each of My Online Side Hustles in 2021

Whether you own a big business or are just side hustling, you should always take the time to look at your results. I do this at the end of every year for all my side hustles and use the insights as a base for my next year’s goals. I track results in a big Google spreadsheet and in the various statistics of the marketplaces I sell on. So here’s my side hustle income report.

Etsy Printable Planners Business

Selling printable planner PDF files is currently my biggest side hustle. You can read more about it in my recent medium article here:

I’ve Made Over $10,000 Selling PDFsHere’s How I Did It And My Tips for You

In 2021, my printable planners generated a revenue of CHF 7’261 (USD 7’964). 

Screenshot of the author’s Etsy stats comparing 2021 revenue to 2020 revenue

You can see on the screenshot of my Etsy stats that my shop’s revenue increased by 46% compared to 2020. 

My shop only started to make sales in the second quarter of 2020, that’s why the revenue is very low in the first three months. Given the fact that I doubled the number of products in my shop and that I missed the best months (first quarter) in 2020, I’m a bit disappointed by this growth. 

But then, 2020 was an exceptional year for e-commerce. People around the world were in lockdowns, had nothing to do, and literally nowhere else than online to spend their money. 

It’s growth, so I’ll take it!

My Etsy Income Conclusions

After a year of trying to scale my printable planners business with more products, the main pain point is that my shop mostly relies on Etsy traffic. I wasn’t able to scale that; In fact, since about October 2021, I feel like I fell off the grid and my traffic halved. The algorithm giveth, the algorithm taketh!

Therefore, in 2022, I will set my focus more on increasing my marketing activities and experimenting with a few new, unique products. I want to reach at least 500 monthly visits from external traffic. That doesn’t sound like so much, but trust me, it’s not easy to do. 

Print on Demand

My so far favorite side hustle lets me upload my designs for people to order them on various products like t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and more. Whenever a customer orders, the print-on-demand company will print my design on the blank product and ship it to the customer. So all I have to do is create designs and upload them to a print-on-demand marketplace. In 2021, I have sold designs on the following marketplaces:

  • Spreadshirt Europe
  • Redbubble
  • Zazzle

Let’s see a pie chart of my income: 

2021 print on demand income by print on demand marketplaces(Pie chart created by the author)

I sell most of my designs on Spreadshirt because I found a good European niche, that’s why 96% of my print-on-demand revenue is from Spreadshirt. 

On Redbubble, I have two shops, which both get less of my attention as well as fewer sales. One of them is a general shop where I test all kinds of designs, the other one serves the same niche as my Spreadshirt account.

Zazzle is not in the chart because I made sales but didn’t reach the payout limit. Here’s my so far not paid out Zazzle revenue: I made $49 in 2021, mostly repurposing stuff from my printable planners business.

Screenshot of the author’s Zazzle Earnings Summary page

Print on demand generated a total income of $2’179 for me in 2021. Compared to 2020, that’s about a 25% growth. I expected it to be more because I added a lot of new designs in 2021. 

But we already touched on the subject of 2020 being a special year, so yeah, again, it’s growth, great!

My Print-On-Demand Income Conclusions

I still see some potential there. I will certainly continue to serve my niche. I’ll let the general un-niched hit-and-miss experiments go in favor of a new side hustle I want to try in 2022.

Writing on Medium

Medium is a platform where people can write articles and get paid when Medium members read them.

Screenshot of the author’s Medium earnings page

I wrote 5 stories and got paid $228.

My Medium Income Conclusions

I certainly haven’t tried writing on Medium for long enough, but I’m pleased with the results so far. I enjoy writing, and while I started this blog, it’s much nicer to have some feedback immediately instead of publishing for nobody until my blog gets some traction.

Selling 3D Models

Selling low poly 3D models was one of my first side hustles that saw some success. Interestingly, I haven’t touched it in years but it still yields the same average of $20 per month. 

I’m selling on three 3D marketplaces:

  • CGTrader
  • Sketchfab
  • Turbosquid

Here’s a breakdown of the revenue in 2021:

2021 3D modeling income by 3D marketplaces (Pie chart created by the author)

I earned a fully passive income of $240 from selling 3D models, a bit over half of it from CGTrader sales.

My 3D Modeling Income Conclusions

This income is much more stable than I would have ever thought. With trending topics like metaverse, NFTs, AR/VR, and 3D printing, I don’t see a reduced demand for 3D models in the near future. 

I want to get back to 3D modeling for a new side hustle I’ll be trying, so maybe I’ll create some new models to sell along the way. 

Summary: 2021 Income Percentages by Side Hustle

I had some expenses as well, so not all of the above revenue is profit. There are a lot of Etsy fees for example, and I pay for some subscriptions, Adobe Cloud being one of the more expensive ones. 

After expenses, my side hustles generated a profit of $6’285 in 2021.

Broken down into percentages, that’s how each side hustle contributed to this sum:

2021 side hustle income percentages (pie chart created by the author)

As you can see, most of my income was generated by selling printable planners on Etsy, my second best online side hustle is print-on-demand. 

Surprisingly, next is Medium, which I started around the middle of 2021, with only a few stories published in 2021.

My 3D modeling side hustle doesn’t get any updates, so it doesn’t grow, but is still paying some pocket money. 

I started a fun affiliate experiment on Pinterest in 2020 which paid about $40 in 2021, so not too noteworthy. 


I had hoped for more growth, but I’m happy that there was growth. I’ll focus more on experimenting with some new ideas than growth in 2022, still looking for that one idea.

Are you happy with your 2021 side hustling results? Did you manage to grow your income compared to 2020? Let us know in the comments!