5 Ways to Make Passive Income as an Artist

As artists, we can always use a little extra money! Even if you’re short on time, you can easily start making passive income. These are the 5 best ways that you can start making passive income online as an artist, graphic designer, or photographer.

This is passive income because you don’t have to go out and take a new photo for each license. You can have 1 photo, and sell an infinite number of licenses for that photo. As long as your photo is out on the internet, and as long as people are buying it, you’ll be making money without having to put in extra work.

Where can I sell my stock content?

You can sell your photos, videos, and music on the below platforms.

Using a Third Party Site

If you’re selling on websites like Shutterstock, Envato, or Creative Market you’ll be paid royalties or a percentage each time a license is sold. The benefit of using these platforms is that you have access to their pre-existing website traffic.

Using Your Own Website

If you choose to sell on your own website, you’ll get to keep the full amount of profit. However, you will have to find a way to drive traffic to your site. The easiest way to do this is through paid advertising or building a following on social media.

How Do You Make Money Selling Stock Content?

Building an audience or a fanbase is the best way to make money as an artist. The more eyeballs you have looking at your content, the more potential sales you can make. If you have dedicated fans following your work, you will have a much easier time selling your art.

Out of stock photos, stock videos, and stock music, selling stock photos is definitely the most competitive.

Stock videos and stock music are much less competitive. With these, it’s also easier to provide something unique. For example, you may notice that there isn’t much drone footage available, or 4k footage, or maybe a particular genre of music.

You really have to think about what people and businesses are looking for, create what’s in demand, and capitalize on that.

2. Presets

Don’t want to sell your photos? If you’re good at editing photos or color grading videos, you can start making passive income by selling presets.

You’ll see almost every major photographer on social media selling presets. (For example Peter McKinnon). It’s an extremely effective way to make passive income – especially if you have a specific editing style that people want to replicate.

Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions are both great options to sell. You can develop them using photos you already have, or base it on editing that you’ve already done.

If you’re tech-savvy or really ambitious, you could even create an app with the presets.

3. Print on Demand

Print on Demand is when you upload your file to a site to be printed on products. Nothing is actually printed until someone orders an item. So when it’s ordered, it’s printed – hence print on demand.

This is a great business model for selling physical products with your designs because you don’t have to pay for or hold onto any inventory, and you don’t have to deal with shipping or customer service.

Where can I sell print on demand products?

You can sell your print on demand products on the below best platforms.

Using a Third Party Site

You can use a third-party site like Redbubble, Society6, Zazzle, or Merch by Amazon. There aren’t any upfront costs to you, you just collect royalties on products you sell.

The downside to these third party platforms: is that the royalties if you’re pricing items at a price that people would actually be willing to pay. So your royalties may only end up being a couple of dollars per item.

Using Your Own Website

You could alternatively choose to sell print on demand on your own website. This is great if you already have an audience that wants your products, or if you’re planning on building up a brand around your art or designs.

There will be costs associated with hosting a website and having a domain name. You will also have to pay a monthly fee to use Shopify or other e-commerce platforms.

The easiest way to set up print on demand on your own website is with Shopify. You can sign up with Shopify to create your own e-commerce site. You can then use different print on demand apps that integrate with Shopify.

4. Digital Assets & Templates

Similar to stock content, selling digital assets can be a great source of passive income. Digital assets are things that people can reuse in their own work.

Professionals will spend money on digital assets to use in their own projects. Often times, making the same thing themselves would waste a lot of time or money. In many cases it’s easier and more cost-effective to buy an asset that someone else has already made.

Templates are also a great source of passive income. You can sell nice brochure, resume, or even wedding invitation templates. Those are things that the average person needs or wants, but doesn’t necessarily know how to design themselves.

Where can I sell digital assets and templates?

What to Sell

If you’re a 3D artist, you could sell pre-made models, rigged models, lighting rigs, or effects.

If you’re a digital artist, you could sell brush packs.

If you’re a graphic designer, you could sell elements like icons, fonts, or product mockup templates.

If you’re a motion designer you could sell little pre-made After Effects or Premiere animations & transitions.

If you’re a web designer, you could sell WordPress or WooCommerce templates.

5. Create an Online Course

Selling online courses is currently one of the most profitable business models for passive income.

Art and design are areas where online courses are extremely lacking. They’re either really boring, really redundant or really expensive.

If you can provide people with the really good course for a fair price, there is a lot of money to be made, and a lot of value that you can provide.

Where can I make my own online course?

Tip: Try targeting your course at a specific group (high school students, college students, professionals with a specific specialty, etc)

You can create your own online courses with websites like Teachable, Skillshare, or Udemy.

Making online courses takes a lot of time. If you don’t want to commit to creating an entire course, you can set up your own YouTube channel with tutorials and start collecting ad revenue!

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