If you dream of travelling while making a living or want to spend less hours working on client projects and more time working on your own projects, passive income is a great option. To create passive income, you need to do all the work upfront without really knowing how much you’re going to make or if you’re going to make money at all. As a designer, there are a lot of places you can use your skills to do this. I’m going to list the ways I generate passive income as a designer based on my real life experience actually trying out these methods.
1. Etsy – Digital Downloads
I sell hand made items on etsy as well as digital goods. The hand made products don’t really classify as passive income because they are made to order. I do sell lettering practice sheets that I created over a weekend and then put them up in my shop. These will never sell out and I sell them at any point in the day, even if I’m sleeping. I did all the work ahead of time and now I just need to promote them every once in a while.
2. Creative Market
I only sell digital goods on CM, so it’s 100% passive income. I sell business card templates, fonts, Procreate brushes and a few other things. I don’t have a lot on here and should definitely invest more time into building up my shop. This site gets a lot of traffic and if you make sure to create really great thumbnails for your work, you might get a good chunk of their customers. One thing you have to remember, you can’t just upload your work and never check in. You do need to provide support for your customers, if somethings broken or if they have a question, make sure you help them out.
3. Print on Demand Using Your Own E-Commerce Shop
If you want to have your own shop, at your very own domain with all your branding but don’t want to deal with all the inventory and time to print plus ship, there are websites that will do this for you. I just started using Printful so I’ll talk about that specific POD service but keep in mind there are others and it’s worth doing your research. The way this works is you have an e-commerce shop set up through Shopify, Big Cartel or Squarespace (to name a few) and then connect that shop to Printful. You use the inventory that Printful has and add your own designs. Your customers will go to your shop and purchase a product with your design but Printful will print that design and ship it out with your branding. Again, while this is passive income you still need to be the contact for customers and answer their questions about shipping, printing etc. To make money with this method, Printful charges $15 for a t-shirt so you charge whatever you want and get the difference.
4. Print on Demand Using an Existing Website
If you don’t want to put the money into your own website or maybe don’t think you’ll get any traffic, a great place to start is a site like Society6 or Red Bubble. Both sites allow you to upload your designs and place them on pretty much anything from shirts to clocks to phone cases. You make a smaller cut with this method than the one mentioned above and it’s not your web site but you do get the benefit of a lot of people shopping on sites like these.
5. Phone Cases
Casetify is pretty popular in the phone case world. If you are a casetify artist, you can upload ad sell your designs here. I think this site is tough as far as competition goes but it doesn’t cost you anything so it’s worth checking out!
So far I have only touched on products, but this is another great way to make passive income. You create the video and make money off views. You do need to upload consistently to create a decent audience and to make money but this is still passive income. It’s also a great way to interact with your customers and show them your a pro at what you do! Give them some helpful tutorials, some behind the scenes looks and let them see your personality!
Skillshare is similar to youtube, you create a course, upload it and students will enroll and watch your lessons. You make money based on how many minutes are watched. I think this one is tough to make money off of, but it’s not impossible. If you create great content and promote it, it should catch on. I have only created two courses for Skillshare, I’d like to do more but I find it hard to come up with ideas. If you have something you’d like to learn and think I could teach you, leave me a comment!
8. Affilate Links
If you are using YouTube or have a blog, these are great places to recommend products you use to your viewers. If you are showing how to create something in a tutorial you should also supply links to where others can get the items they need to create that same thing. I use Amazon for these links and even though I don’t make a lot of money from this, it’s still a little bit of pocket change I didn’t have before.
These are all the ways I try to create passive income but there are so many other ways! You have to think creatively and do some research. Invest some time upfront, see what works best and then invest more time there. If you have some suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them because I’m always looking for ways I can spend less hours in the week working and more hours enjoying life.