Passive Income for Designers
Digital Design Products : What to Make & Where to Sell Them
1. Clip Art
Maybe you’re good with watercolors, ink, or drawing with your bamboo tablet in Illustrator or Photoshop. Take those skills and create digital art that you can sell. You can sell your clip art on sites like:
Etsy, Creative Market, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, etc. You can also set up a shop right from your blog and sell your clip art to your readers. I recommend using a variety of avenues to sell your work. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Weddings, baby shower, birthdays are great markets to get into because no matter what- they will always be happening. If you’re into pairing fonts, and creating pretty invitations, you can make a living selling your templates on Etsy. You can also join design contests for Minted. 1st prize is sometimes as high as $10,000!
3. Print On Demand Products
I love this idea, because sometimes the simplest designs (that require very little time to make) sell really well on sites like Zazzle, Cafe Press, and Society 6. There is zero investment on your part, you just upload your artwork onto a variety of products and they produce/ship them.
The drawback with platforms like these are that the market is already saturated with so many designs. In order to be successful you’ll need to be consistent and produce a lot of content in order to see any large amount of income. You’ll also need to market your own products. It’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.
Since you only make a small percentage of each sale, the volume of sales you need to make will be higher. But- it’s a great avenue to consider if you’re already designing clip art, or making art- why not expand your product line.
Zazzle is all about customization, so creating products that users can customize with a monogram or their name is a great way to use the platform.
Cafe Press is features a variety of designs, and they have customization options as well.
Society 6 is more artist/illustration based. Their products range from leggings to home decor. They even have an option to make allover print shirts, so if you’re a pattern maker, or you have a piece of art that would look amazing printed allover a t-shirt, this might be the place for you!
Printables is a broad term. Basically, it’s anything that you design that’s printable and helpful to your audience or market. Think about your audience and what they come to your blog for. Budgeting, organization, job searching, meal planning, recipes, health/fitness, blogging advice. If you have a skill for creating systems that make someone’s life easier – you can sell printables.
Think calendars, content planning worksheets, social media scheduling worksheets, meal plans/grocery lists, resumes, media kits, flyers/marketing materials for photographers. The possibilities are endless. The great thing about printables is that you can make a lot of them in a small amount of time, and you can make the same thing with a variety of designs.
For example- say you want to make a blog planner. Once you have the initial structure set up, you can re-create that planner in multiple designs by changing up the fonts, colors, and graphic elements. It’s likely that your readers will want to be able to choose from a variety of designs to find one that suits them.
Where to sell printables: From your blog, Etsy, Creative Market. You’ll probably have the most success selling printables from your blog. Even if you have a small audience, you can offer a free printable as an email opt-in to grow your list, and then up-sell your list on your for-sale products.
5. Stock Photography
If you’re already taking great pictures for your blog- consider selling stock photos! This is one of the easiest ways to create passive income products. It does however, require a high skill level in photography, photo editing, and most likely a good DSLR camera. If you’ve got those skills under your belt, there’s no reason not to try your hand at selling stock photos.
There are a lot of sites that you can list your photos for sale, and unlike digital design or print on demand, you won’t be required to do a lot of re-sizing or re-formatting your images for different sites.
I recommend listing your photos on all of these sites. It can’t hurt. Take a weekend, grab a cup of coffee, and devote one day to listing one platform. Then next weekend, you can move onto the next platform.
If you know how to make fonts, you can seriously capitalize on this skill. Designers (like myself) invest large amounts of money in premium fonts. There is more and more demand for interesting and unique type faces- especially on sites like Creative Market, My Fonts, Design Cuts, My Design Deals, and Inky Deals.
Have the itch to teach people about branding, logo design, and color theory? You would be surprised the number of people who don’t know what you know. E-books can be a great source of passive income. They do require a lot of up-front time investment, but if you’re writing about design on your blog, you might already have a lot of content to draw from and expand on in your book.
You’ll want to have a marketing plan in place. Selling an e-book is not as easy as the internet makes it out to be. Writing the book is about 1/3 the battle. But- if you’ve got a few marketing skills up your sleeve, you have nothing to lose by trying.
Like e-books, e-courses will involve a large up-front time investment. Courses can be sold for more money, because they tend to be more comprehensive and interactive than e-books. If you’re interested in trying out an e-course, but unsure where to start, try creating a mini-tutorial and sharing it for free, or a small fee on your blog. You can then test out how your audience responds and create a marketing plan from that.