How to Make a Spreadsheet to Sell (Step by Step)

Spreadsheets are one of those things that everyone knows about, but not everyone can make themselves. Or maybe they could, but it’s much easier to find one that works for you. That’s why learning how to make a spreadsheet to sell is a great way to make money online.

But it’s not just about crunching numbers. It’s about creating tools that help people organize their lives, businesses, and finances. With a bit of skill and creativity, you can design spreadsheets that are not only functional but also user-friendly and visually appealing. This makes them more attractive to spreadsheet users who might not have the time or expertise to create them on their own.

Plus, (here’s the best part) once you’ve crafted a useful spreadsheet, it can be sold over and over again, providing a steady stream of passive income. I have a spreadsheet that sells almost daily which has earned me over $10,000 since I created it a few years ago.

So if you’re ready to explore how to make spreadsheets to sell, I’m going to show you everything you need to know to get started.

Why sell spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are an essential tool for businesses and even individuals. They are used for organizing data, tracking finances, and analyzing information. But not everyone can or wants to create their own spreadsheet, even though it’s totally doable. That’s why selling spreadsheets is great! It’s something a lot of people need, but not a lot of people want to create themselves.

Here are some reasons to sell spreadsheets:

Easy to Create: All you need is a basic understanding of spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. You can create templates for things like budgeting, goal setting, project management, or inventory tracking. Once you create a template, you can sell it an unlimited amount of times!

Digital Product: Spreadsheets are digital products which makes it easy to sell to anyone, anywhere in the world 24/7. You don’t need to worry about shipping or storage, which makes it the ultimate hassle-free, location-independent, low-overhead business.

Passive Income: Once you have created a spreadsheet and listed it for sale, you can continue to earn money from it without any extra effort (other than marketing it). This makes it an excellent option for those who want to earn money without committing a lot of time and effort.

Low Overhead Costs: You don’t need to rent a physical store or hire employees. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and spreadsheet software. This makes it an affordable option for those who want to start a business without too many expenses while keeping your profit margin high!

My experience selling spreadsheets

It all started when I made a spreadsheet for my reselling business and shared it with other resellers for free. To my surprise, it got super popular! Seeing this, I had an idea – why not sell it and make some money?

So I took the spreadsheet I was giving away and made a simpler version that I continued to give away for free. When people signed up for that, I offered the original version, with more features, for a fee. I’ve sold it for anywhere from $5 to $24 in the past few years depending on different sales and promotions.

And it’s sold hundreds of times. I’ve earned over $10,000 by selling this one spreadsheet

The key to success for my spreadsheet was that it solved a real problem. One that I had myself — trying to keep my reselling business organized without having to pay for expensive software that I didn’t need. So I created this spreadsheet as a solution to that problem.

This is just one example of how to make a spreadsheet to sell. I truly don’t have very advanced skills when it comes to spreadsheets, it’s really about finding a problem an audience is having and selling them a solution. In my case, it was this spreadsheet.

Examples of Spreadsheets That Sell

When it comes to selling spreadsheets, there are so many different types you can create from simple to more advanced. Here are some popular kinds of spreadsheets that have been known to sell well:

Debt Payoff Planners: These spreadsheets help people track their debt repayment and plan out their payments. They can include features like interest rate calculations and payment schedules.

Budget Trackers: These are probably one of the most popular types of spreadsheets to sell. A budget tracker is a relatively simple template that helps users keep track of their income and expenses, include categories for different types of expenses and automatically calculate totals and remaining balances.

Sales Trackers: These spreadsheets help businesses keep track of their sales data. They can include features like sales projections, customer information, and inventory.

Content Calendars: These spreadsheets act as planners to help content creators plan out their content schedule. They can include columns for topics, graphics, publish dates, and publishing platforms.

Goal Trackers: These spreadsheets help users track their progress toward achieving their goals. They can include features like progress bars, milestone tracking, and motivational quotes.

Ultimately, the key to success when selling spreadsheets is to provide value to your customers. Whether you are offering a tool to help them manage their finances or plan their content, make sure your spreadsheet is user-friendly and provides the all of features they need.

Where to sell spreadsheets

Alright, let’s talk about where to actually sell your spreadsheet. There are a couple of cool ways to do this, but it comes down to two main options: through online marketplaces or your own website.

screenshot of listings on etsy

Online Marketplaces

Etsy: It’s not just for crafty stuff! Digital downloads like spreadsheets fit right in. Plus, it’s got a built-in crowd of people browsing daily. The thing about Etsy is there’s a lot of competition and prices tend to be low. The fees are .20 per listing + a 6.5% fee based on order total.

Gumroad: This one’s popular for beginners selling digital products. What’s cool is you can customize your checkout pages and even set up affiliates to help you sell your spreadsheets. The fees start at 10% of each order.

Payhip: A newer option, but it’s gaining popularity for its simplicity and affordability. It’s especially friendly for those just starting with selling digital downloads. The fees start at 5% for each order.

In the end, Etsy is popular because it has a built in customer base, but you’ll likely have to sell your item cheaper to gain any traction there. And even at low prices, it can be hard to get things going. Not impossible, but you would have to work to see how you could compete.

Gumroad and Payhip are more similar since they host your digital product, but you’d still need to send people to it.

All of these options are good, but I personally recommend setting up your own shop or website. Let’s take a look…

Start Your Own Shop or Website

The best way to sell your spreadsheet, especially if you want to eventually sell several, is to start your own shop or website. When you do this you’re not competing with thousands of listings from other sellers like on Etsy. 

Here’s why I recommend this option:

Total Ownership: When you sell through your own site, you’re in full control. There’s no need to conform to third-party rules or guidelines.

Brand Building: Your own website is a blank canvas for your brand. You can design it to reflect your unique style and message, making your spreadsheets more memorable.

No Competing with Other Listings: Unlike marketplaces where your digital product is listed alongside competitors, on your website, your spreadsheets don’t have to fight for attention.

Direct Customer Relationships: Selling on your own website means you get to interact directly with your customers. This is great for building customer loyalty and getting feedback.

Data Insights: Owning your site means access to detailed analytics. Understanding customer behavior on your site can help you see where they’re coming from and what they’re doing on your website. This can help you make informed decisions on where you should spend your time marketing.

Selling Spreadsheets with Shopify (My Recommendation)

For those looking to start selling digital downloads, like spreadsheets, Shopify is my favorite choice for creating a shop. In fact, I sell my digital products through Shopify and have been for years.

Ease of Use: Shopify is user-friendly, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Setting up an online store is straightforward.

Customization: Shopify offers a range of customizable templates, so you can design your store to match your brand without needing web design skills.

Payment Processing: Shopify handles payments directly through the platform which get deposited into your bank account.

Marketing Tools: With built-in SEO features, social media integration, and email marketing capabilities, Shopify makes it easy to reach and grow your audience.

Scalability: As your business grows, Shopify can scale with you. It’s equipped to handle increased traffic and sales. Many large companies use Shopify and you’ll never outgrow the platform.

Support and Community: Shopify has excellent customer support and a large community of users. This network can be a valuable resource for tips, advice, and inspiration.

screenshot of the reviews on one of my products

Social Proof: One of my favorite things is using an app that collects reviews for my products which adds social proof and has definitely helped increase my sales.

Add Features with Apps: In addition to social proof, there are hundreds of apps available to add basically any feature you need to your Shopify store. Including automatically delivering your spreadsheet to your customer upon purchase.

The truth is, having your own website or shop provides a level of control and branding that can be helpful for long-term success. It allows you to be in control of your business, your shop, and your customers.

Recommended Tools & Resources

Obviously, there are going to be some tools and resources that will help you sell your spreadsheet template. 

If you’re ready to jump in and want step by step help creating your spreadsheet, I highly recommend the How to Create & Package a Spreadsheet to Sell Quick Win Workshop. I have gone through this workshop myself and by the end of it, you’ll walk away with a packaged spreadsheet (via Google Sheets) ready to sell to customers. I wish I had access to this when I started!

For creating a shop to sell your digital product(s), I really recommend Shopify. It’s super easy to set up even if you’re not techy and as you create more digital products, you can build yourself a store with tons of tools to help you sell more.

Only want to sell one spreadsheet template, the easiest way to sell and deliver it will be GumRoad.

Quick links to helpful tools and resources:

Planning Your Spreadsheet

Before creating a spreadsheet to sell, it’s important to plan it out properly. You want to make sure that it’s useful for your audience so it actually sells.

Here are a few things to do when planning your spreadsheet:

Identify Your Audience & Niche

Pinpointing your niche is key. Ask yourself, what are you good at and what do you enjoy doing? It could be anything from organizing budgets to planning events. Focus on what you know and love.

Next, think about the unique challenges you’ve faced that a spreadsheet could have solved. Your personal experiences can give you the best ideas. They not only make your spreadsheet relatable but also genuinely useful.

Solve a Problem

Once you’ve found your niche, the next step is to identify a problem that you can solve with your spreadsheet. What pain points do people in your niche experience? What tasks are time-consuming or frustrating? By creating a spreadsheet that solves a real problem, like the one I created for resellers because I knew their pain points, you’ll be more likely to attract customers.

When identifying a problem to solve, it’s important to do your research. Look at forums, social media groups, and other online communities related to your niche. What are people talking about? What questions do they have? By understanding your target audience, you’ll create a product that truly meets their needs.

Creating the Spreadsheet

While there are a lot of steps, it’s not all that complicated. Though I know it can feel that way if you’re not sure what you’re doing. I’ve provided step by step instructions to get you started below. But if this part feels overwhelming, I highly recommend the How to Create & Package a Spreadsheet to Sell Workshop.

Choose a Software

When it comes to creating a spreadsheet to sell, picking the right software is crucial. Here’s a quick rundown of three popular options:

Google Sheets: Google Sheets is a free, web-based tool. It’s great for basic to moderately complex tasks and is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s probably the most popular option for creating spreadsheets to sell.

Airtable: One of my personal favorites, Airtable combines spreadsheet functionality with database capabilities. It offers a more visual and customizable experience, along with making customization and automation much easier without having to memorize formulas. It’s ideal for projects requiring both data organization and content management. A few cons are that not as many people are familiar with it and there is a monthly fee for large spreadsheets or advanced features.

Microsoft Excel: Excel is known for its advanced features and versatility in handling complex data tasks, making it a favorite for professional use. But it comes with a cost as part of the Microsoft Office suite and can be quite detailed for beginners. Excel templates are best for those needing high-level data analysis capabilities.

Using PLR Templates (optional)

Using a PLR (Private Label Rights) spreadsheet template can be a smart strategy if you’re looking for a faster way to create and sell spreadsheets. These are pre-designed templates, which you can find and purchase online, and can save you a lot of time. While there are plenty out there if you search around, I don’t have any I recommend at the moment since I don’t use them.

Here’s how you can make the most out of them:

Customization: While PLR templates give you a starting point, you should never use them as they are. Customize them to fit your brand and the needs of your audience. This might involve tweaking the design, adding/modifying features, etc.

Quality Matters: Make sure the PLR template you choose is high quality. A poorly designed or super generic template won’t help you make any sales and likely won’t help your audience either. It’s worth spending a bit more time and possibly money to get a template that looks professional and fits what your audience needs.

Target Audience Needs: Always keep your target audience in mind. The template should look good to your target audience and solve a problem or fill a need they have.

Legal and Ethical Considerations: Ensure you have the rights to modify and resell the template. Check the PLR license terms carefully to understand what you can and can’t do with the template.

Stand Out from the Crowd: Given that others might also be using the same PLR templates, find ways to differentiate your product. This could be through unique branding, additional features, etc.

Use as a Learning Tool: If you’re new to creating spreadsheets, PLR templates can also be a great learning tool. Analyze how they’re built, understand the features included, and use this knowledge to improve your spreadsheet creation skills.

Create the Spreadsheet

Now it’s time to create your spreadsheet. Remember, while this process isn’t exactly quick or easy if you do it well and market it well, it can pay off for years in the form of passive income.

Define Purpose and Audience

Brainstorm: Start by identifying the purpose of your spreadsheet. What problem will it solve? Who is it for?

Sketch Ideas: Jot down your ideas, maybe even sketch out what it might look like. This is where you start to visualize the layout and features.

Draft a Basic Layout

Initial Draft: Create a basic layout of your spreadsheet. This can be done either on paper or directly in a spreadsheet software.

Organize Data: Think about how to logically arrange the data for ease of use. This might include deciding on the number of sheets, the headers, and the types of data you’ll include.

Build the Spreadsheet

Start with a Template or Blank Slate: Depending on your comfort level, start with a blank spreadsheet or a PLR template that closely matches your vision.

Enter Data: Begin inputting data into your spreadsheet. Make sure it’s accurate and relevant to your audience.

Apply Basic Formatting: Use tables, lists, and text formatting (like bold and italic) to make the information clear and easy to navigate.

Customize and Enhance

Visual Appeal: Make your spreadsheet look good! This can include color-coding, conditional formatting, or adding charts and graphs.

Advanced Features: If you’re comfortable, add advanced features like formulas, dropdown menus, etc. to increase functionality.

Review and Revise

Test Your Spreadsheet: Make a new copy (so you don’t mess up the original) and go through your spreadsheet as if you’re a user. Check for ease of use, functionality, and errors.

Feedback: If possible, get feedback from potential users or peers. They might spot issues you missed or suggest improvements.

Finalize and Prepare for Sale

Make Adjustments: Based on your testing and feedback, make any final adjustments.

Save in Appropriate Format: Save your spreadsheet in a format that’s easy to distribute, such as .xlsx for an Excel template or shareable link for Google Sheets.

Documentation and Support

Create User Instructions: Prepare simple instructions or a guide on how to use your spreadsheet. This will really help reduce support inquiries and the time you spend on customer service. Be as clear as possible so your customer is confident in how to use it.

Provide Support Details: Include contact information or instructions for users who might need support or have questions.

By following these steps, you can create a spreadsheet that’s not only functional and useful but also visually appealing and easy to use. The key is to be thoughtful about the design and to ensure that your product genuinely meets the needs of your target audience.

Sell Your Spreadsheet

Once you have created a spreadsheet it’s time to start selling it. Here are the steps you need to take to get your spreadsheet in front of potential buyers.

Decide on a Price

Before you can start selling your spreadsheet, you need to decide on a price. There are a few factors to consider when pricing your spreadsheet. You may want to focus a lot on the amount of time and effort you put into creating it, but the two main factors for price are the value it provides to users and the competition in the market.

One common pricing strategy is to look at what similar spreadsheets are selling for and price yours accordingly. But remember, this is your spreadsheet, price it where it feels right for you after careful research and thought. Consider the value your spreadsheet provides to users and the benefits they will receive from using it.

List It for Sale

Once you have determined the price, it’s time to list your spreadsheet for sale on the platform of your choice as outlined in a previous section.

When listing your spreadsheet, be sure to include a detailed description that highlights its features and benefits. Use bullet points or tables to make the information easy to read and understand. Additionally, include screenshots or videos that showcase your spreadsheet in action.

Set Up Delivery (& Test It)

After you have listed your spreadsheet for sale, you need to set up delivery. This includes ensuring that your customers can download the spreadsheet immediately after they have made a purchase. Test the delivery process to make sure it’s seamless and that customers can access the spreadsheet without any issues.

If you can, consider offering multiple file formats, such as Excel and Google Sheets, to accommodate a wider range of users. Make sure to also deliver the instructions for how to use the spreadsheet and any necessary setup steps.

Market Your Spreadsheet

Finally, you need to market your spreadsheet to potential buyers. Use social media, email marketing, etc. to promote your spreadsheet. You could offer a free (downgraded) version of the spreadsheet and upsell the full version, similar to what I did with mine.

Other ideas include collaboration with influencers or bloggers in your niche to reach a wider audience. You can also consider offering discounts or promotions to encourage users to make a purchase.

Tips and Best Practices

Give It Away

One of the best ways to sell a spreadsheet is to give a simpler version away for free and then offer the more advanced version for a fee, similar to what I did with my reseller spreadsheet. This really captured people’s interest and many of them went on to buy the upgraded version.

Make It Look Good

When it comes to selling spreadsheets, looks matter. People are more likely to buy a product that looks professional and well-designed. Make sure your spreadsheet is visually appealing by using colors, fonts, and formatting to make it look polished and professional.

Add Incentive

People are more likely to buy something if they feel like they’re getting a good deal. Try adding an incentive to your spreadsheet like a discount code to a free bonus product to increase its value in the eyes of your buyer. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that your target customers will find valuable.

Provide a Tutorial

Even if your spreadsheet is easy to use, providing a tutorial can be a great way to help your customers get the most out of it. Consider creating a video tutorial that walks people through the features of your spreadsheet. This can help build trust with potential customers and make them more likely to buy your product. You can even add this to the listing page to provide full transparency. If you’re scared someone is just going to copy your idea and make it on their own, I’ll tell you that a few might, but most people are just looking for a quick and easy solution so it’s not a huge concern unless your spreadsheet is easy to replicate (which means it’s probably not a great value and needs to be better!)

Gather Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful marketing tool that can help you sell more spreadsheets. Consider reaching out to satisfied customers and asking for testimonials that you can use on your website or marketing materials. If you’re selling it on Shopify, you can add a review app that will automatically collect reviews for your products. The more people see that others are using and loving your product, the more likely they are to buy it.

Conclusion

Hopefully you found this post about how to make a spreadsheet to sell helpful! Selling digital products like spreadsheets is a great way to make an income online, especially if you’re looking for ways to do a lot of work upfront to create a more passive income in the future.

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