Passive Income Streams for Creatives

How to Create Passive Income Streams as a Creative

You’re already a talented and established Creative. You have your job, you have your clients—but what if your talents and skills could be turned into ongoing, sustainable streams of income? It’s possible! While we don’t recommend quitting your day job(s), passive income streams are a helpful alternative that could supplement your daily income and give you something to lean back on if you're ever laid off or fired. Especially if you’re a freelancer, you’ll find your income is always in flux. Setting up alternative ways to passively make money could help stabilize your annual income, too. 

Steps to creating your own passive income stream:


1. Identify your strengths and interests

For creative types with many different interests, there are also many ways to profit from your talents and skills. Make a list of what you’re great at and what interests you most. Perhaps you are an ongoing learner who is always ready to teach your new skills. Maybe you’re a great listener and problem-solver who is interested in helping others problem-solve, too. Or maybe you’re more of an introvert but still have amazing artwork or design tools you want to share with the world. Whoever you are, get real with yourself, and set boundaries around what you want to do and what you’d rather leave to others to do. When you know and have your list of strengths and interests, move to the next phase.

2. Research where you're most needed and likely to be discovered

Marketers will call this “your niche”. You need to figure out who your people are and what they need most. Let your personal interests be your guide and then ask: what kind of creation is needed in my small community of like-minded people? Here’s an example: you are a talented designer who loves to create typefaces and decide this is what you want to offer. You research typefaces on places like Envato and Creative Market, noting their most popular and least popular typefaces. You also notice there is no typeface that mimics watercolor flourishes—a typeface that other sensitive artist types (like you!) would likely purchase. And, boom! You have discovered a unique product you can create, market, and sell. 

3. Create manageable products, market, and monitor them

With passive income streams, you want to make the experience light, fun, easy, and hopefully the right kind of challenge that enhances your career. The idea is to put a handful of hours into just one product, send it out into the world, get feedback, and go back to the drawing board if it doesn’t do as well as you thought. Don’t go crazy building out an entire 3-week teaching course on gouache if you haven’t created just one simple how-to video first. Start small and slowly build, revising as you go. You really need to experiment first in order to discover which products have staying power as well as what you are good at creating. If you’re getting feedback that you’re not great on camera, for example, maybe your teachings take the form of a workbook or podcast subscription instead.  

When it comes to marketing, try to find and work with platforms that do some of that marketing for you. As an example, Skillshare sends out regular, segmented emails to all kinds of creatives. If you’re an illustrator with a drawing course, it’s more likely that you’ll reach interested strangers through Skillshare’s email platform than if you are only releasing your course on your own website. 

Possible Income Streams:

  • Sell your original artwork in the form of merch, patterns, and prints in places like Redbubble, Society6, Etsy, Spoonflower, and more. Want to make it even easier? Connect your online store to drop-ship companies like Printful that create, pack, and ship your products for a fee while minimizing waste. 
  • Sell your expertise in the form of video tutorials or interactive workbooks. You can work with skill-building sites like Udemy, Skillshare, Domestika, and Coursera. Hold free Q+As on Instagram Live or YouTube in order to give your followers a little taste of what you offer. Not big on crowds? Offer private office hours or virtual consultations for a fee and make it easy for people to book with you via your website
  • Sell original design tools on common design resource sites like Envato Elements, Creative Market, and more. You get to set the prices for what users pay to license your tools.

With a little bit of research and a few hours of work, you can easily find a method of passive income that works for you. However, if you’re looking for a long-term gig, our team can help you find your next great position.

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