I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that the design world is full of competition. Whether you’re a designer just starting out or have some years of experience, it’s very difficult to become successful in this industry.
There’s so much competition that it becomes difficult to find clients or design jobs.
But the best part about being a designer is that there are many ways you can use your skills to generate income. Earning extra money besides your main job can be very helpful for you as a creative.
There are many passive income ideas for designers that you can get into right now. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of the best ways to generate passive income for designers.
Regardless of your design work, you can use these methods to generate an extra side income and move on a more independent path as a creative person.
Bear in mind that not all the ideas shared in this list are easy to implement. Just because it’s passive income doesn’t mean it’ll come quickly. These aren’t get-rich-quick money schemes.
You’ll have to put in some real effort and hard work to succeed in making passive income as a designer.
That being said, let’s get started.
Table Of Contents
Passive Income For Designers: 9 Best Income Ideas
To help you get the most out of this list, I’ll be talking about each idea in detail so that you know how you can get started and start making money.
Here’s the list of the best passive income ideas for designers:
1. Create & Sell Design Resources
Design resources are being sold everywhere and it’s one of the best ways to generate side income as a designer.
There are hundreds of marketplaces where you can create and sell your design resources. Design marketplaces like Envato have sold over $1 billion worth of resources. So, there’s no doubt that there’s huge money involved in this business.
The best part about selling design resources is that you can create anything and sell it anywhere.
Here are some ideas of design resources that you can create and sell:
Whether you’re a graphic designer, web designer, or UI designer, you can create your own templates and sell them to different design marketplaces.
There’s a huge demand for templates and you can fill in that demand. Here are some ideas of design templates you can sell:
For Graphic Designers:
For Web & UI Designers:
For Motion Designers
These are just a few ideas of the different types of design templates you can sell. If you look around different marketplaces to understand what people want, you’ll find even more ideas.
Graphics & Illustrations
Similar to design templates, you can also create graphics and illustrations and sell them online. This market is also growing very fast and is a good chance for you to make some extra income.
Here are some examples of what you can sell:
A great advantage in selling graphics and illustrations is that you don’t have to mostly rely on big design marketplaces.
If you’re a skilled designer with good knowledge of typography, you can create and sell your own fonts.
Selling fonts is not for everyone as it’s not easy. But if you’re up for the challenge, you can create all kinds of fonts.
Many great fonts are being sold on marketplaces like Envato Elements. Try to understand what kind of fonts are being sold and then try to create something similar or unique.
Although there are many websites today that offer free stock photos, this doesn’t mean people aren’t purchasing stock photos anymore.
There are many stories of people generating around $10,000 of passive income selling stock photos.
Besides stock photos, you can even sell stock videos that are still underutilized.
The key to making money selling stock photos is selling the right photos. If you’re going to take some random landscape shots or generic photos, chances are that your photos are not going to sell.
With stock photos, it’s all about the niche. Search for topics or keywords that don’t have good stock photos. The more you niche down, the better the possibility of selling your photos.
Here are some websites where you can sell stock photos and videos:
The last type of design resource you can sell is mockups. Like all other resources, mockups are also in huge demand and you can capitalize on this demand by creating your own mockups.
You can create different types of mockups based on your skills. Here are some examples of what type of mockups you can sell:
How To Start Selling Design Resources
The first step is to assess your skills and make a list of what you can create. If you want to sell design templates, they have to be good. So, only create and sell items that you know are good and worth buying.
Then, look around for popular design marketplaces where you can sell your resources. Here are some design marketplaces you should consider:
These three are some of the biggest marketplaces for selling design work. You can also find some niche marketplaces for selling specific design resources.
And if you don’t want to be bound by any marketplace, you can create your own website and start selling there.
After posting your design resources for sale, you should also promote them. You can start promoting them on Twitter, Instagram, Dribbble, and Behance.
Your goal should be to get some eyeballs to your templates to get exposure.
It’s difficult to sell your first few templates but as you start selling, it gets easier to increase sales.
2. Sell Your Design Knowledge
If you love sharing your design knowledge with others, you should start monetizing it. There are many ways you can sell your design knowledge and make passive income.
Here are some ideas for selling your design knowledge:
Courses are a great way to share your knowledge and generate passive income. There a lot of designers doing this and making a lot of money.
If you are an experienced designer and have something valuable to sell, then creating a course is the perfect way to go for it.
You can create any kind of course and sell it on any platform you like. Here are some platforms where you can sell your courses:
When selling courses, make sure you’re providing real value and not doing it solely to make money.
Creating a blog is another great way to generate passive income. But as simple as it looks like, blogging isn’t easy.
You’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort to run a successful blog. When I first got into designing, I also started a blog to share my knowledge.
With blogging, you can share your design knowledge in many different ways. Here are some examples:
I would recommend starting a blog only if you have time to manage it. Blogging isn’t a plug-and-play source of income for designers.
You’d have to spend months creating content without any real revenue. It’s more of a long-term method of generating income and establishing yourself as a designer.
If blogging requires too much effort for you, you can try your hand at podcasting. It still requires a good amount of time and hard work but at the moment, it’s easier to grow a podcast.
There aren’t a lot of podcasts in the design world so you might have a chance to grow it fast. With podcasts, you can make money from sponsorships and as an affiliate.
Do you love making videos? You can start a design YouTube channel where you can share your knowledge with the world.
There are so many great design channels thriving on YouTube. You can also create and share design tutorials, guides, tips and tricks, and more. Few examples of such channels include Satori Graphics and Will Patterson.
But if you’re not into making tutorial videos, you can start making design vlogs. I’m a huge fan of Santanu Kumar and his vlog-style design videos.
There are not enough channels like this on YouTube which is a real opportunity for you. You can monetize your YouTube channel through Adsense, work with sponsors, or promote products as an affiliate.
Instagram is a great platform for designers to build themselves as a designer. Whether you’re showcasing your work or sharing your knowledge, Instagram is a platform you have to be on.
You can build an audience on Instagram and monetize it through sponsored content, shoutouts, and more.
There are many designers today who’ve successfully built a huge audience on Instagram by sharing their knowledge and work.
How To Start Selling Your Knowledge
Whether you plan on starting a blog, YouTube channel, or Instagram page, the first step is to define an audience.
Spend some time to research and find an audience that would love your content. Once you have defined your target audience, start creating content.
Whatever medium you’re on, you should keep creating content consistently to build an audience.
It’s difficult to build an audience overnight. This is why you must work on marketing yourself.
The best way to build a community is to be a part of it. Be active in different places where your audience hangs out. Communicate with them and try to build a real relationship.
This will help you slowly build an audience that cares about what you have to say.
3. Sell Physical Design Work
If you like creating physical art, you should start selling it online. Selling physical art is a great way to generate passive income for designers.
There are many platforms and marketplaces where you can sell physical art. Here are some ideas of what you can sell:
How To Start Selling Physical Art
It’s very simple!
The biggest hurdle in selling physical art is getting exposure to your work. You’ll have to spend a good amount of time promoting your work in different communities.
Join various communities on Facebook and other platforms where you can share your work. Moreover, creating an Instagram page will help you a lot in getting eyeballs to your work.
4. Create A Product Or Tool
Another great passive income idea for designers is to create a product or a tool. No, I’m not talking about building a massive product or software.
I’m mostly talking about creating utility tools or products that don’t require too much effort to build.
These utility tools are very popular and can be monetized very easily through ads or affiliate marketing.
How To Create Your Own Design Tool
Creating a successful design tool depends on the idea and the market. If you can create something that makes the lives of people easier, your product can succeed easily.
Start looking for ideas of different tools in various design communities. In these communities, you’ll find what people want. This can help you come up with creative ideas for a product.
Once you have a good validated idea, you can start working on it. This will be even easier for you if you’re a developer or have coding skills.
5. Participate In Design Contests
Can’t find any clients yet? Try your luck by participating in design contests especially if you’re a beginner.
It will not only help you find opportunities for design projects but also improve your skills. Many freelance marketplaces have design contests.
How To Start Making Money From Design Contests
One of the biggest platforms where you can find design contests is 99Designs.
Participate in contests you find interesting and test your skills. If your design gets chosen, you’ll end up making good money. If not, you’ll be learning a lot and building a portfolio.
Just make sure you participate in contests with verified sellers to avoid getting scammed. Lots of time, people post design contests and don’t choose any winner. But they do take the submitted designs and use them.
6. Sell Your Work As NFTs
I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve been active on social media, you’ve probably come across the term NFT. Even I made an Instagram post on it recently.
They’re everywhere. So let me first explain what NFTs are:
NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens that live on the blockchain. They’re digital assets that can be interchanged like money.
Recently, Beeple, a renowned artist sold his NFT art for a record $69 million. That’s not it. Many other artists have sold their work for thousands if not millions.
The NFT industry is about to blow in the coming years and it’s the best time to get into it. Think of the NFT industry right now like Instagram in 2013.
Selling NFT art can be a great way to generate passive income for designers. You can sell any art as an NFT.
How To Start Selling NFT Art
Before you even get into NFTs, it’s very important you fully understand what they are and how it all works. Spend some time on YouTube watching videos or read some articles. I recommend the NFT Bible as a start.
Once you know enough about NFTs, you can start selling your art. Here are the three best platforms where you can sell NFT art:
But you’re not done by just posting your NFT art on any of the above platforms. You’ll have to spend time promoting it on Twitter and other NFT communities where collectors can get a chance to see your art.
Finding clients and making money isn’t very easy when you’re new. But passive income ideas can help you generate extra cash while you work on your skills and become a better designer.
There are many ways you can make money for your skills and we discussed some of them in this article.
I hope these methods will help you generate passive income as a designer. Lastly, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I’ll be happy to help you out with any questions you have.