The freelance hustle is a constant juggle of new projects and clients. While it is exciting and rewarding, the hustle can also be exhausting and nerve-racking. Some weeks you’re overwhelmed with new gigs, some weeks it’s just crickets.
Having other sources of income is important — to make those tough times a little easier and your wallet a little thicker. We’ve put together a short list of ways you can earn passive income as a creative entrepreneur.
1. Sell Physical Goods
Try your hand at selling homemade goods in a creative marketplace like Etsy or create your own shop through a service like Big Cartel. If you’re a pattern designer, you can apply your pattern to notebooks, t-shirts, or coffee mugs. If you’re a hand-letterer, you can calligraph movie quotes or poems. Whether you’re a writer, a DIY-er, or a fashionista, you can use your skill to create something someone would love–and buy.
2. Sell Digital Goods
If you don’t want to deal with bubble wrap and shipping labels, you can also try selling digital goods. You can sell your photography to stock photo sites like Shutterstock or Pond5. You can upload your designs to marketplaces like Society6, which allow customers to apply your design to physical things like rugs and duvet covers. You can create WordPress templates for sites like Themeforest. You could also sell a set of icons, vector graphics, or your own typeface on marketplaces like Visual Hierarchy. The possibilities are nearly endless.
3. Start a Blog or Write a Guest Blog Post
Starting a new blog isn’t an immediate money-maker, but has a two-fold benefit. One, it allows you to become a thought leader in your space. Two, over time and with a healthy amount of traffic, you can earn revenue through ad-clicks. You can easily start a blog on platforms like Tumblr or WordPress. If you already have a blog, you may want to try guest blogging on bigger sites. The amount you can earn varies per site, but can be substantial. This is also a great way to drive new traffic to your own blog or site–which hopefully means new clients.
4. Write an e-Book
You can take your writing skills a step further and try writing your own e-book. Your e-book could be a compilation of blog posts, or you could write on current design trends and techniques, or you could write something more abstract and theoretical. An e-book, like a blog, is also great for your credibility as a freelancer. Plus, platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make it easy to publish.
5. Become an Affiliate Marketer
You can leverage your website or blog to promote goods and services as an affiliate marketer. As an affiliate, you join the program of your choice and place promotions for said service on your site. It’s best to align yourself with a product or service you truly love and use, that way you can authentically write about your experience to encourage others to check it out. It also helps to be transparent and let your readers know you’re taking a cut of their click. Tons of sites offer affiliate programs – go to the places you frequent and see if you can join.
6. Sign Up For Usability Tests or Focus Groups
Help fellow entrepreneurs and creatives by testing their product or service. Some startups post ads for user interviews and feedback sessions on Craigslist. You can also sign up on sites like UserTesting to get paid for testing a new app or website. While this tactic won’t help you generate additional income in the background, it could be something to consider for a lazy Wednesday.
7. Teach a Skillshare Class
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Skillshare. Teaching a class on Skillshare is one of the best ways to earn passive income. Skillshare teachers earn monthly revenue through student enrollments and referrals–which you can link to on your new blog. On average, our teachers earn $3,000 a year, and our top 100 teachers earn $1,300 a month. Skillshare classes are just 10-25 minutes of video content that walk students through a specific skill or project, so creating a class is fairly easy. With our Teach Challenges, you can have your first class up and running by the end of the month!