There’s nothing truly more exciting than checking my email and finding a message that someone just purchased my ebook for $21 or joined my membership. And that now I have an extra $47 in my Paypal account.
Although that may not seem like a lot of money to be giddy over, it always gets me over the moon excited. I love that I get these types of messages when I’m in line at Starbucks getting myself a yummy green tea frappucino or in line to ride the Hogwarts Express at Universal Florida. (Both of these things have happened and I have literally jumped for joy.)
You see, last year, I mostly worked with clients doing custom one-on-one web design which pays a whole lot more with a single sale. But eventually, I had more clients than I had time. So as much as I loved design work, something still needed to change.
I had already sold courses over the years that I had created from scratch but I never really felt like I could make as much money with courses as I could by doing services for other people.
So one day, I just decided it was possible. Or that I’d at least give it more of a try.
I decided that I would take the time to create what is called “passive income”. And that I would try to make the majority of my income from several different passive income streams.
I wanted to continue experiencing the joy of earning money after I’d created something that I was proud of. But mostly, I wanted to keep experiencing the joy of earning money while I was out and about doing fun things with my life.
I was tired of feeling chained to my desk. And you may feel this way too.
Which may have you pondering what passive income is and how can you create it for yourself if you’re an artist or creator. Well, read on my friend!
Passive income is where you do a LOT of work up front to create a digital product, course, or even content that you earn money from over and over again. The money might come in while you’re sleeping, while you’re hanging out with loved ones, or while you’re taking time off from your business completely.
The awesome thing about passive income is that you typically put the time and effort in once. You also might create more time in your day-to-day that makes it easier to scale your income.
When I provided services in the past, I was limited on time. Now, as I create more and more income from my passive income streams, I have more time to devote to marketing my products. AND more time to create the things that I want to create.
That means that there are really no limits to how much I can earn from passive income streams. And it means that I can do things that I want to do every single day.
The things that I’ve created in the past that would be considered passive income sources are: my classes on Skillshare, my Brand Personality Workbook, my WordPress Made Easy course, the photos that I sell on Creative Market, and my most recent adventure, my monthly membership site.
All of these things have helped me to bring in money and free up my time.
I also have friends and clients who are adding their digital products on Etsy or creating Society 6 shops. There are a lot of ways to start creating passive income, you just have to choose the ones that are right for you.
Here are 7 different ways that you can also earn money from passive income if you are an artist or creator:
#1 – Teach classes online via an instructional site like Skillshare, Atly, Udemy, Brit & Co, etc.
I created my first class on Skillshare at the end of June this year. At this point in time, I have two classes on the platform and almost 700 students.
Every month, I’ve made more income from Skillshare than the previous month. How it works is that you create a class between 10 minutes and 60 minutes in length and then people watch the class. You get royalties from premium minutes watched and those royalties are paid out once a month.
Any of these platforms would be a great fit for artists and creators who want to not online make passive income from teaching but also who want to gain more visibility.
The great thing about teaching through a website like Skillshare is that the students are already there and eager to learn whatever skill you’re able to teach. There are over 5 million students learning from teachers on Skillshare every single day.
#2 – Add your fonts, patterns, illustrations, photos, or templates to a site like Creative Market.
Creative Market is a website that sells premade graphics, fonts, photos, and more to people who are designers or creators to use in their projects.
I’ve had my Creative Market shop for the past 6 years and have made sales doing virtually nothing.
One of my business buddies, Alysha DeMarsh, makes the majority of her monthly revenue from Creative Market alone. She has around 30 templates for business owners to use to create things like blog graphics for Pinterest.
I’m currently revamping my own Creative Market shop to include my illustrations and stock photos for businesses.
#3 – Sell products using a drop shipping/print on demand company like Society 6 or Printful.
I have a Society 6 website, myself, but I’m not as fond of using a company like Society 6 as using a company like Printful.
Why? Well, I like Printful because it integrates with your own website, Shopify, or Etsy shop, unlike Society 6. You also don’t just get a percentage of the sale, you pay for the cost of the product. What this means is that you can figure out how much profit you want to make and set the cost of your item much easier.
If you are a painter, illustrator, hand letterer, or other digital artist and you want to make money from products, this is the way to go.
There are other websites (like Redbubble or Zazzle) but these are the two that I or my clients have experience with.
#4 – Sell downloadable products on Etsy.
I started my Etsy store back in the day by selling prints of my photographs. I hated having to ship my products (because hello! introvert who hates going to the post office over here) so that ended really quickly.
Recently, after taking an Etsy class by one of my clients, I started my shop back up. I aim to only add downloadable digital products to the shop.
If you create things like planner sheets, workbooks, prints, fonts, downloadable cards (like for birthdays or wedding invitations), etc. then you might want to add your stuff to Etsy.
It costs you .20 cents to create a listing but you can have 999 digital downloads with that one listing. Then Etsy gets 5% of the sale. So it’s super affordable to start your shop.
The main thing you want to remember here is that you want to make something that is downloadable and that doesn’t take much maintenance on your part.
#5 – Monetize your YouTube channel.
Now, this particular method of passive income won’t be as easy as some of the others. YouTube has specifications as to what you need in order to monetize your channel. You’ll need at least 4,000 hours watched in the last 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers.
It might take you a year or two to reach these goals if you’re consistent but once you’re able to monetize, you can start working towards earning money with the content you create.
This could be as simple as setting up a camera to make time-lapse videos of your art or teaching others how to create art themselves.
If you don’t mind being on camera, then you can start working towards this.
This might not be as easy as earning income from a learning website like Skillshare but being on YouTube can also lead to more visibility for your business.
#6 – Use affiliate links to make affiliate sales through Amazon or other websites.
If you’re an artist, you can try to add affiliate links to your blog posts. You might share the products/materials you use to create your art. You might share the books that inspire you when you’re creating your art, as well.
It’s not too difficult to set up with Amazon but you do need to make a few sales within a few months to keep your status as an Amazon affiliate.
Then you can use the links inside of your blog posts or emails and earn a little bit of money each time you recommend something new.
I recommend using this strategy with YouTube if you’re planning on going that route.
#7 – Sell digital products, classes, workshops, templates, etc. on your own website.
The ultimate goal is to earn as much as you can through passive income streams. I’ve found that having the products or services on my own website is generally how I’ll make the most amount of money for my business.
You can sell virtually anything on your site but you may need to figure out how to deliver the digital products to your customers.
By launching digital courses in the past, I’ve been able to make as much or more than what I made with a single web design client.
If you’re an artist or creator who’s considering making money through passive income, I would definitely recommend that selling your products on your own website should be the ultimate goal. In the end, how much you get paid and how the products are delivered are in your control. That means you’d have the most earning potential.
In the end, making passive income products is something that still takes time and effort. It’s not a magic bullet that you can immediately implement and all your cash flow problems will go poof! It still requires time, strategy, and effort on your part but it’s worth it in the end.
I recommend starting with one passive income stream at a time and getting everything set up before moving to the next thing. I also recommend that you still put in a lot of time with content and social media marketing to get enough eyes on your stuff.
You actually need more people to see your digital products than you would need for services so keep that in mind.
At the end of the day, though, you can create something once and then continue to earn money from it long after you’ve created it. That can help you to create a consistent income and free up time to do what you love the most in the world.
If you’re not sure where to start, I’m hosting a couple of webinars this week on my 3-Part Framework to Creating Income Online. During this webinar, I’ll demystify the steps that you need to take for you to start earning income from your art/creations. Hope to see you there!
Thank you so much for this post, Amanda!! I’ve been going to a few craft fairs where I’ve invested more than I got in return and I’m looking for other venues to earn some extra money. This is a wonderful list and I’ll be checking this out right now.
Amanda Creek says
Awesome! What things do you think you’ll try first?
Bonnie Lecat says
Passive income is WHERE IT’S AT if you are a creative!!! There are so many lucrative ways to earn money while you sleep thanks to the internet:) Thanks for the tips and resources, Amanda!
Amanda Creek says
Right?! I LOVE passive income so much. The 16th of the month (when my Skillshare payment comes in) is my favorite day. haha.