I’m amazed at how other articles make “creating passive income as a designer” sound sooo easy! The top tips is usually a regurgitated list such as…
- Create an e-book
- Create T shirts
- Sell on stock sites
- Do a side project
- Create a blog
The truth is that you can actually do anyone of these and make money but what they don’t tell you is how hard it really is to make money from any one of these ideas.
These ideas are pretty much businesses in itself which need a lot of time and attention to become fruitful.
If you really want to make passive income as a designer, check out these top tips from the mistakes I made and what I’ve l earned.
1. Be Niche
Don’t create T-Shirts, stock graphics and an e-book in a bid to make lots of money because it won’t work.
Pick just one option and one discipline because the more skill you can show within that one discipline then the better chances you have at making passive income as a designer.
If you chose to sell t-shirts then focus your research, work and skill to become the best t-shirt designer there is and then after some success you can spread those designs onto other products such as posters, e-books or stock graphics. This will give you a better chance of making passive income from selling t-shirts.
2. Stick to your strengths
I tried doing it all in a bid to bring in passive income and whilst it was a nice experience to spread my wings and do different design disciplines it was clear to see that I was competing with niche designers who use these sites to “re-sell” their professional work and maximise the profits from that one piece of work.
This makes their income from these sites “passive” as oppose to “active”.
I took inspiration from this. I’m a brand designer so I recycled good ideas that didn’t make the final cut for real projects and sold them on stock sites. My t-shirt designs (which were terrible) didn’t make sales but my stationery and logos do with little effort from myself.
3. Develop a style
Successful designers who chose to make passive income create a very unique style to their work (illustrators for example) and it’s usually that style which sells. They re-produce that template style with different ideas to begin making passive income as a designer.
4. Try not to imitate
Do your research and you’ll see who’s making sales on any given stock site and you might see a particular style or document is pretty popular. Take that into account but don’t imitate. Use it as inspiration to create something else original and salesworthy.
5. Be top of your game
Just because it’s a side line and your selling graphics extremely cheap, doesn’t mean that you can dish out half-baked work. These stock sites all have strict guidelines and the demand for top quality work is higher than it used to be. You really have to show expertise and skill to get your work accepted and maybe make a sale.
6. Promote like hell because you need an audience
Selling stock graphics, e-books or t-shirts is like selling anything else in the world. No one actually wants to buy it! You need to promote that single piece of work as much as you can in order for it to sell.
If you’re a designer with a following then that can help your sales but in reality just because you made it and listed it on a stock graphic site, doesn’t mean that people will buy it.
7. It’s a long shot
Creating lots of passive income from a blog, side project, e-book or stock graphic site is actually a pretty long shot unless you put some real time and effort into it and promote it so don’t be so put off if it doesn’t work out for you, just follow the steps and hopefully you can come up with something that does sell.
It’s not a one shot wonder, it will take time and development to get something out of it.
8. The definition of Passive income
“Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.”
The truth is that passive income as a designer needs a lot of time and preparation to be successful and in some cases a lot of effort to maintain it so here’s the real top tip to creating passive income as a designer.
9. The Best solution – Develop your business instead
The submission process for stock sites can be awful. An adjudicator may reject your work and not give a reason why and on one occasion one of my pieces was rejected repeatedly because the adjudicator was looking at the wrong file. This can make the whole thing a big waste of time.
With this in mind I decided to make passive income another way and that way was to re-develop my existing design studio business.
My design studio use to have big rushes of work for months and then huge slumps for work, hence why I looked into passive income but the true answer to solving my problem was not to start selling on stock sites, instead I changed the business structure and pricing model for my design studio and now all my passive income comes from my own business practice of producing brand designs and servicing clients rather then selling stock graphics cheaply.
In doing so I can say that the best way to create passive income as a designer is not to.
As a designer look to develop your own business with active income instead of a passive one to reap greater rewards and profit as a business.
If your looking to start a blog then check out my free e-course here.