Spreadsheets! We’ve all used them.
On the job, in school, at home, it doesn’t matter – we’ve all used them.
And most of us still use them today. They are a part of the daily work routine for some, while they help other families with financial problems with weekly budgeting.
Visit any creative online marketplace or freelance platform, and you’ll see thousands of Excel and Google Sheets spreadsheets/services for sale.
Everybody uses them.
These can be turned into money in a few simple steps. Read more to find out how.
What are spreadsheet templates?
Microsoft Excel might be the most used spreadsheet program around the globe.
According to Micro Biz Mag, more than 1.1 billion people use “Microsoft productivity services”, and out of those, we can assume that a great chunk uses Excel.
And it’s within programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets that spreadsheet templates are made.
Generally speaking, a spreadsheet template can be anything from a premade budget setup to retirement plans to goal trackers.
Such templates are in high demand among both the general population and companies.
The best way to monetize both excel and google sheets templates are by selling them as digital products online.
But before we cover how to sell them, here are some different types of spreadsheet templates to consider.
In that case, you would want it to contain elements such as a debt tracker, savings tracker, income overview, expense overview, transaction tracker, money allocation tracker, graphs, and so on.
On the other hand, you can create general budget templates for larger corporations, and then they can adjust them as they like.
This is a bit more hardcore, and you would have to know a bit about how corporation finances are structured, whereas the personal budget template can be based solely on your own experience.
In addition to the budget templates, some might want sales trackers for their small businesses.
Large corporations will most likely have these in place, so focus your energy on making them suitable for smaller businesses or for people who sell online in their spare time.
On-page SEO template
As a small business or a solopreneur, your time is limited, and figuring out search engine optimization is hard.
Thus, creating an SEO checking list template and selling it for a small fee could probably be quite profitable. It should include things like:
- Internal links
- Check for consecutive sentences
- Keyword density
- Does your headline include your keyword phrase, etc?
This is quite doable, and with a little research, you would know what to include.
Project management template
Staying consistent can be hard without structure and overview. Exactly that is what a project management template can help with.
Create a template where people or businesses can plot different projects and track the progress and budget of those projects.
More and more people are subscribing to the thought of retiring earlier to get more out of life.
Knowing when you can retire depends on your yearly expenses, your current savings and investments, and how much you can add to your savings and investments each month.
So why not make it easy for people and create some spreadsheets in Excel or Google Sheets that people can use to calculate when they can retire.
Nobody likes debt unless it’s the good kind. Therefore, help people smash the debt payments by creating a template that shows people how much they need to pay each month based on their personal situation.
Finance formula template
Why not help students or investors with a thorough spreadsheet template that contains almost any financial formula such as debt-to-equity ratio, and future value of x amount.
Maybe even include some tabs with more advanced stuff like a discounted cash flow sheet. This would be a great product for any student studying finance.
This is a more fun one and should be focusing on people’s personal goals in life.
Create an aesthetically pleasing template with progression bars, and action plans, and help people track their goals. Some people just need that little kick, and that little kick could be your template.
Why should you sell spreadsheets?
Not only are there many Excel and Google Sheets users, but there’s a huge demand for spreadsheets.
Go to any freelance platform and you’ll see hundreds of people seeking help with creating a great spreadsheet.
Might sound like you should consider being a freelancer. That’s not what I’m suggesting since you can be much more profitable selling your own templates.
Real wealth creators know that trading time for money isn’t the way out of the rat race. So, creating spreadsheets and selling them online is a great way to scale and increase that hourly salary.
It’s one of the easiest ways to monetize the excel skills you learned in school, so why not use it to help yourself make lots of money?
How much can you make from selling spreadsheets?
This might be the most asked question when it comes to selling any digital product, also spreadsheets. The correct answer is an unlimited amount.
When first your spreadsheet is uploaded to the world wide web, anybody can purchase the option to download your link.
However, how much should you expect to make from selling your downloadable spreadsheet templates? That’s a completely different question.
The reality is that the startup phase will be hard if you don’t have an audience, but it’s definitely not impossible. And when you’ve crushed that phase you could easily make a consistent passive income between $500 to $1,000 a month.
Not bad for some digital files you only have to make once.
Where to sell your templates?
We’ve already agreed that out of all the possible methods to make money from spreadsheets, selling them is the best one. The next question is then, where to sell them?
Currently, there are more than 60 million items listed on the platform, so it’s quite self-explanatory that the competition is fierce.
This is an all-in-one platform with an existing audience that you can take advantage of, meaning you only need your template, and then you are ready to go.
By signing up to Etsy you get all the tools necessary for small business owners;
Online storefront, hosting, marketing tools, technical support, payment options, and room for customization.
But before you leave and just sign up for Etsy, keep in mind the downsides of the platform
Although Etsy is a free platform to start, don’t let that fool you. The truth is that Etsy’s fees in the long run will take a large part of your money.
The platform takes 6.5% of the total amount, and if they’d like, they can increase that amount without you can do anything about it.
Not only that, but you also pay $0.2 per product you list on Etsy. Finally, you should not forget that the checkout fee of 3% + $0.25.
While it for many people doesn’t sound like much, it will accumulate into a lot of money as you sell more.
Branding isn’t a thing
If you’ve ever bought an item from Etsy, I bet you most likely will not be able to remember the store you bought it from. In other words, it’s close to impossible to build a brand, where customers come back for more.
That means you’ll constantly have to get new customers to keep up your revenue, which can be a hard task.
Also, the platform doesn’t have any built-in marketing features such as coupon codes, pay-what-you-want, email marketing, upselling, and so on.
This makes it even harder to scale your sales on the platform.
Another free platform is Gumroad. The great thing about Gumroad is the extra possibilities it has including a pay-what-you-want option, a free trial option, and so much more.
This option is golden, and one I use constantly. I upload my spreadsheets, and then people can choose whether they want a free download or if they want to support me with a little payment.
Surprisingly many people are willing to pay a little fee, although my products are free.
Just like Etsy, Gumroad has some fees you must pay per transaction. However, as you sell more products the fees decrease meaning you lose less and less money as your sales grow.
If you use PayPal as your payment option, the transaction fees are even less. Thus, if you expect to sell a lot, this is far better than Etsy.
Payhip is an often-overlooked platform, where you can sell digital downloads, online courses, step-by-step guides, and similar to potential customers.
It’s a free platform, however, they take a transaction fee of 5%, which is far better than Etsy and Gumroad as you start out.
If you expect to sell a lot of products you can choose between two subscription packages:
They have a plus- and pro package for $29 and $99 a month respectively.
Choosing the plus package, the transaction fee per sale decreases to 2%, and if you choose the pro plan there’s no transaction fee.
Creating your own website is also a way to sell your excel spreadsheets.
This method requires more effort since you’ll have to design and construct a website, find hosting, set up payment options, drive traffic to your website, write great copy, etc.
But the benefits of running your own website far outweigh using any of the other three platforms in the long run.
Just to mention a few benefits:
- You can create a brand that people remember, and they might come therefore come back
- No fees – you keep the profit
- Collect emails
- Make upsells
- More customization options
- Provide different payment options, coupon codes, affiliate programs, etc.
- You have full control
How to sell spreadsheets online? (step-by-step)
The best and one of the easiest ways to sell Excel spreadsheets and google sheets templates is by using an online platform, whether that’s one of the above-mentioned or not is up to you.
There doesn’t exist a “best platform”.
But let’s take a look at how you go from nothing to having a store with multiple spreadsheet products ranging from basic spreadsheets to more advanced ones.
Step 1 – niche picking
When you want to sell Excel and Google sheets templates, you’re up against a lot of other spreadsheet stores, and to compete well you must do a little research.
- Find inspiration
Go to online platforms where people sell anything from basic sheets to startup business plan templates and see which Google spreadsheets and Excel templates that sell the most.
If you can find someone who offer a free Excel template or a free trial, then download it for further analysis.
What does the template need in your opinion, and how can you make it even better? Figure this out, and your online store will build itself.
- Data analysis
It sounds boring, but just a little bit of data analysis can help you a lot. Go to Google Trends, and type in different kinds of Excel and Google Sheets templates to see what’s trending.
For instance, here I’ve typed in ‘Excel workbooks’
The search volume for this term is rather consistent and could therefore be a keyword I would include in my product description.
However, Excel workbooks cover many different templates, so we want a more specific topic such as ‘business plan template’
It’s clear that there’s a high search volume for this key phrase, and therefore there must be a consistent ‘problem’ that people want to be solved, and that’s your job.
- Solve the pains of your target audience
With a lot of powerful tools out there, you have to know your target audience to create the perfect tool that solves the pains of the potential customers the best.
Joining forums where people ask for help, or signing up to freelance platforms to see what people need is a great way to get to know your audience.
With platform research, data analysis, and a great understanding of your target audience you are ready to create the best list of templates to solve their problems.
Step 2 – Creating the spreadsheet
There are a couple of best practices when crafting a spreadsheet template.
- Make sure that all input cells are highlighted
- Separate sections with colors to make it easier to navigate
- Implement how-to-use guides in the different tabs
- Use consistent data attributes
In case you’ve made an advanced template with a lot of financial data, then a video recording of you explaining how to use the spreadsheet template would be a great supplement.
Also, some don’t want to buy the spreadsheet before they’ve seen it used in action. Thus, try creating a 15-second-long video showing you using the template. Here are two examples of mine:
Step 3 – Upload Spreadsheet
Now it’s time for you to pick the platform(s) you want to use for selling your digital products.
I would recommend starting with a few platforms since the work of adding the products to an additional platform isn’t that hard.
You’ve already created the product, the visual images, videos, and product copy – just copy paste, and voila.
Step 4 – Customizing store
You cannot do much in relation to customizing your own store unless you use your own website. However, many platforms let you do a little customization including uploading a cover image, changing fonts, color changes, product display, and similar.
Play with it and make it your own personal store.
Step 5 – Pricing your spreadsheets
We all want our bank accounts to grow, and to make that happen great products are not enough. The right price is a requirement otherwise your spreadsheet products will not sell.
The recommended price range is between $10 to $30 per download link, however, some great online stores manage to sell them at a higher price.
For a start, a price in the low end would be ideal to gain traction, and then you can bump up the price to the higher end of the price range as you get more sales.
Step 6 – Promote templates to drive sales
Traffic isn’t something that comes out of the blue. You need to gain that traffic by promoting your products to your customers.
A great way to do so is to use the power of social media, but be careful with your choice of media.
For example, an CFO of a large corporation might not scroll throw TikTok on a regular basis, however, he might read blog posts.
If that is the kind of audience you want to target then blog posts might be better than TikTok videos.
On the other hand, a lot of regular people who would like a to-do list template or a marketing plan for small projects might be using some of their valuable time on TikTok or Instagram.
If that’s the case, then promote your products through small videos, and make sure to show how it can help them with their daily struggles.
Wrapping it up
Supposing that you had doubts about whether you could make money from excel sheets or not, we can say with certainty that it’s possible.
Go to your Google Drive or Microsoft Excel, and follow these simple steps to get started. Whether you choose Etsy, Payhip, or your own eCommerce website you’ll most likely see some sales at the end of the month.
People also ask
Is it legal to sell Excel and Google Sheets Spreadsheets?
Yes, it is legal to create, sell, and distribute spreadsheet templates without paying any royalties to Microsoft or Google.
Anything you create within the Excel and Google Sheets software is viewed as intellectual properties and belong to you.
But there are exceptions.
Assuming that you’re employed and sometimes have to create excel templates at your job, these templates don’t belong to you, but your employer – unless your contract specifies otherwise.
As a rule of thumb, these rules only apply if creating spreadsheets is a part of your job description.
However, it would be a great idea to look through your contract before you start selling those templates anyway.
How do I sell Google Sheets Templates?
In case you want to sell Google Sheets templates you must create a “Certificate of Purchase “.
This isn’t something to worry about when selling Excel templates, it’s only a requirement when selling Google Sheets spreadsheets.
The reason being that with Google Sheets the potential buyers are only provided a link and not a file, and you can’t just sell a link.
Therefore, we solve this problem by creating a file with a link pointing to the Google Sheets template.
Here’s how you create a certificate of purchase
- Once you’ve finished your Google Sheet template, click the ‘share button’.
- Click the drop-down arrow under the ‘Get Link’ section.
- Pick the option share the file with ‘Anyone with the link’.
- To your right, you will be able to see a drop-down menu with the options “viewer”, “commenter”, and “editor”. Make sure to choose “viewer” mode to avoid the possibility of someone editing your master sheet.
- Click the Copy link.