8 Real Ways to Earn Passive Income as a Freelance Graphic Designer
Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to make passive income as a freelance graphic designer?
Freelancing has become a popular career path for the workforce. Upwork, one of the largest freelancing platforms on the web, estimates that the number of people freelancing by choice rather than necessity has gone up from 53% in 2014 to 61% in 2018 and is only expected to increase, especially in sectors such as tech, marketing, and graphic design.
Unfortunately, the freelance graphic designer’s salary can be volatile. Some months, the money will come easily and effortlessly, and some months you might struggle to find even a single gig. This is what makes passive income a great idea for the up and coming freelance graphic designer.
Unfortunately, the graphic design field is full of competition so you’ll have to be creative about how you earn your passive income. To help you, we’ve put together a list of 8 real ways you can earn passive income as a freelance graphic designer! Check it out below.
1. Selling Your Own Fonts
Selling your own fonts is one of the most lucrative ways to make passive income. By creating your own fonts or scripts, you are creating a product that will keep selling even after you’ve put in the work of creating it.
Fonts and scripts can be sold to almost anyone for any occasion, making them a versatile product. You can offer them for: weddings, seminars, restaurants, websites, infographics, brochures, apps or posters.
However, you’ll need an online store to sell your fonts. Anthony James, a prolific graphic designer who creates fonts and scripts, uses Sellfy. Sellfy is a great e-commerce platform that allows you to build a store and sell digital downloads effortlessly to your customers.
You can sell your fonts, scripts, typeface, or even your own custom-designed icons in your own online store. When it comes to digital products, you’re limited only by your imagination!
2. Design Stock Graphics
Designing stock graphics is one of the best ways to make a passive income as a freelance graphic designer. Whether it’s logos, vector images, or icons, there’s a huge market for custom graphics and there are several stock marketplaces you can apply to sell your custom designs.
When it comes to marketplaces, Freepik is one of the largest with over 3 million custom images. Freepik offers several different account models, which gives their freelancers a versatile way to make some passive income. These include:
- Contributor: The simplest account model, this level allows you to upload your content and then earn a set percentage every time it’s downloaded. As a Contributor, you retain the copyright over your work, which is great because it allows you to sell your designs anywhere you want.
- Purchase: The Purchase account model offers you more control over your work. This model allows Freepik to purchase your work for an agreed upon price and then it’s uploaded to your own personal Freepik account.
- Exclusive Designer: The Exclusive Designer account is a great opportunity for experienced graphic designers. This account model requires you to take a test, and if you qualify, become a member of Freepik’s design team. Once you become a member, you’ll receive weekly tasks from an art director who will then compensate you for your work.
3. Sell Design Templates
DIY is all the rage nowadays, which means that entrepreneurs and small business owners are always looking for design templates that they can customize and make their own. If you’re skilled in creating designs for a certain format, such as posters, brochures, or infographics, you can put your skills to good use and sell design templates through an online store such as Sellfy.
Pro Tip: If you’re designing custom templates, it’s important to have professional grade icons and images. Freepik, offers both free and premium vectors, stock photos, and icons.
4. Sell Tutorials
People are motivated to buy when they are facing a problem and need a solution. So, be the person with the solution! You can create walkthrough tutorials in the form of a video or ebook and show people how to create their own graphic designs or templates.
Creating a tutorial is fairly simple after all, you’re already doing graphic design. All you need to do is download some screencasting software and narrate your process. However, you can also create an in-depth course, complete with lectures, notes, and real-world examples if you’re so inclined. It’s a versatile product that you can customize any way you want.
Interested in selling tutorials? Become a teacher on Tutpad.
5. Affiliate Marketing
If you already have a decent sized following on your blog or social media, affiliate marketing can be a fun way to make a bit of passive income. Affiliate marketing is when you provide a link or a shoutout to other businesses and then collect a percentage of the profit or flat fee any time someone uses your link to buy that product or service.
The larger your fanbase or audience, the more money you will make, so this could be quite lucrative if you’re a popular figure. However, be selective about who you choose to partner with. If you refer people to inferior services or products, they won’t trust you anymore and this can ruin your reputation as a graphic designer.
6. Work for Commission, Not for Pay
This is a risky business move but it can potentially pay off in a large way, so be selective about when you use it. Sometimes, up and coming businesses will offer shares within the company or a percentage of profits in exchange for graphic design work.
While most freelance graphic designers would scoff at the idea (we need to pay the bills now), if a business does take off it could result in a passive stream of income that could be significant. If you receive such an offer or are interested in making one, make sure you do your due diligence and research whether it will be worth it for you in the end.
7. Selling WordPress Templates
WordPress currently hosts over 172 million active websites, making it one of the largest website creation tools on the internet. Due to its accessibility and ease of use, this makes it especially appealing to small businesses and DIYers who want to create their own website without paying thousands of dollars to a professional website designer.
This means that the market for WordPress templates is hot right now. While website designers offer expertise and professionalism, there are many DIYers who would rather buy a template for anywhere between $5-$300 instead of paying a web designer $1,000+.
If you have experience with designing web templates, you can create one and then sell it on a website like TemplateMonster. As more and more people turn to the internet for their personal and business needs, the demand for easy-to-use templates will only increase.
8. Referral Fees
If you’re at that point in your career where you already have more work than you can handle and are turning down clients left and right, consider using them to your advantage. Working out a referral agreement with another graphic designer or agency you trust is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
Referral agreements typically involve the referred paying the referrer either a percentage of the project or a flat fee. So even though you don’t do any work, you still earn money simply for connecting your associate with a client.
Passive Income as a Freelance Graphic Designer Isn’t Just About Graphic Design
If you want to make the jump from active income to passive income, you’ll need to expand both your mindset and your skillset. Building passive income isn’t just about graphic design–it’s about marketing, networking, knowing your audience, and being able to promote yourself. If you can do all of that, then it will pay off in spades.