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5 Smart Passive Income Ideas for Designers Ready to Scale

If you’ve been looking for ways to scale your business through passive income for designers, look no further!

Generating passive income is a goal most of us entrepreneurs can get behind. Who doesn’t want to earn money while they sleep?!

Before we get ahead of ourselves, no income is truly passive – you’ve got to create and offer something of value if you expect people to pay you for it. But, there are ways to start disconnecting the dollars you earn from the time you spend offering a service. That’s passive income.

As a designer, you’re in a unique position to scale your business with these passive strategies! If you’re ready to open up some new revenue streams in your business, keep reading to learn exactly how.

Disclaimer: We are proud affiliates for some of the products mentioned in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we’ll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend tools we’ve tried, tested, and loved.

5 Passive Income Ideas for Designers - Grow Your Design Business with Passive Income

5 Smart Passive Income Ideas for Designers Ready to Scale

If you’re a designer, chances are you offer services to clients one-on-one. A client pays you to create a unique brand identity or website, and once that’s done, you move on to the next.

The smartest way to create passive income as a designer is to sell parts of your client process. Why does this work so well? Because you’ve already established them! Now, it’s just a matter of packaging them in a way that’s sellable and scalable.

A word of warning – as you go through this list, you may find yourself objecting to these passive income ideas because they’ve already been done before, or because the market is “too saturated.”

If you start to go there in your head, I encourage you to put those nagging thoughts to rest. In truth, your design style is unique, and no one can offer the same results as you. You’re a creative, so get creative with these ideas! Think about how you can make them your own or how you can expand upon them to build something better than what’s already available.

1. Sell design templates

One of the easiest and most common ways to start earning passive income in your design business is to sell templates. Depending on your audience, you might sell Canva templates, Illustrator templates, or full website templates.

Think about all the people who come across your brand and aren’t yet able to invest in your design services. By selling customizable design templates, you’ll open up your business to an entirely new audience. 

Design templates make your work more accessible, so people who haven’t been able to afford to hire you will still get the chance to experience the benefits of your work! As a bonus, customers who buy these lower-investment items will be more likely to hire you when they can afford to work with a designer.

You can create, sell, and promote your design templates directly on your website. Or, another option is to sell your templates in an online marketplace such as Creative Market or Etsy.

2. Package your expertise

As you’ve gone through the process of starting and building your business, you’ve likely learned a ton along the way! Businesses in the niche you serve (or other designers) will pay to learn from the path you’ve forged.

There are a few ways to go about earning passive income for your expertise. The first (and typically most lucrative) way to do this is to create a digital course. 

If you choose this route, there are so many online resources to help you. I recommend checking out Amy Porterfield since she’s the digital course queen! Amy has plenty of free content that will help you choose a course topic, build your course, and launch it to your audience.

If creating a course seems like too much of an undertaking right now, you can still sell your expertise on a smaller scale. Do you have helpful systems or processes that help you run your design business efficiently? Consolidate that information into a swipe file, and sell that!

3. Sell stock graphics & fonts

If you’re already familiar with creating custom graphics and fonts for your clients, this is the perfect passive income source for your business! 

Plenty of business owners want to add custom touches to their websites and marketing materials without paying custom prices. By creating stock graphics or fonts, you can do the work once and get paid each time someone new pays to use them.

You can sell stock graphics and font packs directly on your website, or you can list them for sale on an online marketplace like Creative Market. Not only will this strategy yield passive income for designers, but it’ll also spread brand awareness!

4. Start a YouTube channel

Plenty of creators, designers and non-designers alike, are making a full-time income from YouTube. As a designer, you can utilize the platform to build up another source of revenue for your business.

How can you earn money from YouTube? Content creators make money from the advertisements that play on their videos. At the time of writing this article, your channel needs to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time before your videos are monetized.

And while building up an audience can take time, you don’t have to wait to start seeing the benefits. YouTube can open up a brand new marketing channel for your business, putting you in touch with more qualified leads who need your design services!

Eventually, YouTube has the potential to become a passive income powerhouse for your business. If you put in the time and effort to build your channel and grow an audience, you can start earning money from ads and brand sponsorships. It can help you create a significant cushion of monthly passive income!

5. Earn passive income with affiliate marketing

Finally, you can add some additional passive income to your business’s bottom line through affiliate marketing. This involves promoting other companies’ products or services to your audience and getting paid when someone purchases that company through your affiliate links.

The best way to implement this strategy is through blogging, creating YouTube videos, email marketing, or creating some other form of consistent content. 

To get started, think about the software and systems you use in your business OR those you constantly recommend to clients. For example, if you’re a website designer, you might recommend a certain hosting company to your clients. By joining that company’s affiliate program, you can start earning money for your recommendations.

Even if you’re just promoting products and services to your clients, you can earn some passive income this way. To kick this strategy up a notch, start implementing affiliate marketing in your content and marketing campaigns as well.

Why should you care about passive income as a designer?

Is it worth it to spend time building these passive income strategies for your business? I would argue that yes, it is! 

While passive income may seem like a pipe dream only full-time content creators can achieve, it’s a smart way to build your business. It’ll allow you to disconnect the money you earn from the time you spend working on client projects, and you’ll be able to scale your business so much faster.

So, while they do take time to implement, these passive income strategies can help you grow your design business beyond what you thought possible. Pick one to start working on, and see what works for you!


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