Passive Income for Designers Ideas and Tips

Posted on June 27, 2022 | Updated on October 20, 2022

Designing for clients day in and day out becomes a bit monotonous after years in the industry. You can love your work and still feel a bit burned out and unable to grow past a certain level. Figuring out ways to generate passive income for designers helps you ramp up your earning power and gives you free time to pursue new knowledge or more interesting projects. 

Passive income for designers involves work you do once and then earn money from for months or years to come. One example might be a graphic you design and sell on your website. You can expand your earning level a little at a time by adding passive income opportunities to your streams of revenue. 

How Many People Earn Passive Income?

The United States Census Bureau reports around 20% of households have some type of passive income from a mix of dividends, interest and rental properties. However, there are other types of passive income where the user earns royalties. 

How can you  earn passive income for designers? Here are our favorite tips to expand your income without too much additional effort. 

1. Video Channels

Do you have some specialized knowledge or a lot to say about the design world? One way to earn passive income is by creating videos and uploading them to sites such as YouTube. You’ll earn a few cents for every so many views.

Since the platform has so many creators already, you’ll need to find a unique voice and angle. While design topics are always popular, you might have a secondary interest you can share instead, such as how to take better photographs or true crime reports.

Poke around a bit and see what others are doing. You’ll likely find a gap where you can fill a need and attract a decent audience. You will need to create quite a bit of content to gain a regular following, but you’ll then earn passive income on the older videos as long as they’re posted. 

2. Create Courses

Online courses on sites such as Udemy allow you to create content, upload it and sell it forevermore. You may need to do occasional updates, but overall, it is a passive income for designers. 

Elearning is the wave of the future. It takes employees as much as 60% less time to learn online than in a traditional classroom. Look for the gaps in knowledge and share what you know. You may need to work on how to act in front of the camera, best lighting, angles and edits, but once you finish a course and upload it, each person who buys it provides passive income for designers. 

3. Website Templates

Other designers have a need for website templates and themes. Adding the skill of theme design to your skillset is smart. Passive income for designers includes designs they’ve made and resell on various third-party websites.

Think about what industries are popular and how you can add to what’s already available. Go for the theme that is less trendy, so it stands the test of time. Part of creating passive income for designers is figuring out what stays evergreen for years. 

4. Logos

Another idea for passive income for designers is creating plug and play logos. You can create a generic logo for an industry. People who need a quick logo solution can take it and add their own text to make it their own.

You could also offer customization, but then the logos won’t be fully passive. However, they would still be partially residual income as you would only  need to make one quick change.

5. Photos

According to Internet Live Stats, approximately 4,444,800 blog posts have already been written today. The number varies, of course, but it is in the  millions. With so much data being created every second of every day, the need for stock photographs is huge. 

If you’re skilled at photography, spend some time looking at the top selling royalty free photographs on sites such as iStock and Dreamstime. Make sure your quality is up to snuff, avoid brand images that might violate trademarks and start snapping photos, editing them and posting them.

Again you’ll have the initial investment and work of buying equipment and backdrops and taking the images, but every time you sell one you won’t do a single other thing but collect profits. Passive income for designers can and should cover many different areas, so you have multiple streams of revenue flowing to you. 

6. Books

If you have a bit of experience in a topic, you can write a book about it. Books are one of the oldest forms of passive income, but with the ability for anyone to get a digital copy on Amazon and other book sites, it has become easier than ever to create opportunities.

You probably should promote the book, but technically you could just post it and do nothing else ever. You can even put your promotions on autopilot on Facebook or Amazon ads. 

Passive Income for Designers Doesn’t Have to Be Design Related

Although the ideas above are directly related to design work, you could also create passive income outside of your role as a designer. For example, you might buy rental property or invest in stocks that pay dividends. 

Use your profits as a salaried or freelance designer to invest in other forms of income. There’s no law that you can only make money from your design work. In fact, it’s smart to have streams coming in from all types of investments and endeavors.

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