Are you looking for ways to increase your revenue without doing 1:1 services? Passive income might be the answer! Luckily, I’ve rounded up the best passive income ideas for creatives.
Passive income is a great option for creatives who want to earn money even when they’re not actively working. Whether you’re a photographer, designer, coach, or any other type of creative professional, these passive income ideas could help boost your bottom line and give you more freedom to pursue your creative goals.
Take it from me; I’m a website designer who started implementing passive income last year. Through templates, courses, and other digital products, I’ve been able to give an extra boost to my 1:1 services income.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best passive income ideas for creatives. There are plenty of ways that creatives can get paid. Let’s dive in!
Passive income is not always passive
Before we get started, I did want to make the disclaimer that passive income is not always passive. There is a lot of work that goes in upfront. A lot of times, people market passive income as a get-rich-quick scheme and it is not that at all.
However, once you put in that work, you very much can make money while you sleep.
Our best example of this is actually our Stand Out with Notion course that we launched last summer. To this day, we randomly sell more of the course. But again, it was a lot of work upfront, it was a lot of marketing upfront, so there’s still a lot of work that goes into it.
Passive Income Ideas for Creatives
The very first passive income idea is to create an ebook. So this is something that was more popular a few years ago. It’s trendy in the blogging world (because I also have a travel blog called Volumes and Voyages) and people will always be selling travel guide ebooks and things like that.
However, if you’re super introverted, you could 100% offer some sort of ebook that’s related to your services. For example, if you’re a photographer, that could be something like a posing guide or even a location guide, or maybe, if you’re trying to market something to other photographers, it could even be an equipment guide or a how to use something specific in your equipment guide.
Ebooks are super easy because you can just make them in Canva, or even if you are a little bit more interested in using something like Adobe, you could make them directly in Adobe InDesign.
Another very popular passive income idea that I’ve seen time and time again does work is templates. Out of all of our digital products, we’ve sold the most templates.
So here at Inkpot, we have Showit Templates. People love templates because, essentially, you’re saving them so much time by just giving them a templated version of something that you already use in your business.
So, you know, a lot of times this is going to be more admin-related templates, or it could be more design-related templates as well. You could make ones for other website platforms. You could sell Canva graphics.
Pretty much anything like that is always going to be popular, especially in the online business world, and you could also market them or post them on other platforms too, just for better searchability, if you wanted, like Etsy.
Another great passive income idea, which again is one that’s super, super popular, is courses. So here at Inkpot, we have quite a few different courses. So we have Camp Site, which is our course for web designers that opens up twice a year in the fall, and in the spring.
We also have Blogging for Business, which was a live master class that we ran, which we’re now selling the replay of, and that one dives into how to rank on Google as a business owner.
Then we also have Stand Out with Notion, which teaches you how to completely set up your own Notion so that you can use it in your business because we completely live off Notion here at Inkpot and we find that courses can be very successful.
However, you really just want to consider who you’re trying to market it to so that you don’t outprice your market. That’s something that we’ve seen happen quite a bit, but overall, we found that if you listen to your audience when it comes to courses, it can definitely be well worth it.
However, just know that courses are, for sure, the passive income route that takes the longest amount of time, because you really have to work through the entire course creation process. You have to figure out how you are going to design the course, how you’re going to deliver it, where you’re going to market it, how you’re going to sell it, and then you have to take the time to put the whole course together.
So it’s definitely a lot of work. Personally, we did that live masterclass and we loved that way more than doing the recorded videos. That was our first time doing something live. So if you want to really create a connection with your community, something live like a masterclass could 100% be super beneficial.
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Next is another one that I actually see slept on a lot in the online business community, and that is affiliate marketing. Now I know there are a lot of bigger gurus out there who for sure get a lot of their income from affiliate marketing, but it’s something that I feel like a lot of people don’t really know that much about.
In case you’re wondering what affiliate marketing is… let’s say you took a course from somebody and you absolutely love that course, and then they have an affiliate program for that course where, if you share your link to that course, you get $50 or something for every person that signs up through your link.
That is pretty much completely passive for you because if you love that course, like genuinely loved it, and you’re recommending it to people anyway, then that’s a great way for you to just add to your income a little bit every month just by sharing your love for it.
Affiliate marketing is actually something that we talked about a little bit in our Blogging for Business masterclass. It was one of the questions that was asked. But we actually make a lot of our income from the travel blog just from affiliate marketing, because it’s in the travel niche so we can just share hotels and tours and stuff like that, and it’s actually getting us more money than the ads on our website!
So affiliate marketing is 100% something that I definitely want to look into a little bit more here at Inkpot and find ways to fit that into our own services.
So if you are part of any courses at all that you’ve taken, feel free to even reach out to the person who made the course and just straight up ask them if they have any type of affiliate program that you can sign up for, or if you see them ever talking about having an affiliate program, for surely reach out to them and sign up, because it’s definitely worth it if it’s a course that you loved!
YouTube and blogging
Next is YouTube and blogging. So, these are two great ways that you can make passive income. It’s probably a little bit more related to if you’re an online business owner because with YouTube, you could just make different videos based on topics surrounding the service that you offer and eventually, if you can get ads added to your videos, then you can actually make, from what I’ve heard anyway, decent income from YouTube.
Once you have a lot of videos up on YouTube and over time it just keeps getting views and views and views, it really starts to add up, and then that’s the same sort of thing with blogging.
So we’ve been blogging for about 11 years. Blogging is something that personally didn’t start to make income from until about a year or two ago, and that’s just because I never wanted to monetize it.
But then, back in 2021, I was like, you know what? I put so much work into this, I wonder if I can actually turn it into anything. So I went on like a mission to try to get the travel blog monetized, and once I did, we’re now making around $1000 per month just on the blog, which is like crazy for me after 10 years of paying for hosting and not making anything from it.
So with blogging, once you learn SEO, it is 100% a way that you can turn into some sort of passive income for your business. That is definitely something to think about.
But again, really be sure that you learn SEO, because that makes a world of a difference, and also just know that some niches are 100% easier to turn into passive income than others. I know travel was one that was super easy to get into for a while, but now so many people started travel blogs so now it’s a lot harder to rank for certain things if you’re a new blogger.
Another great option is print-on-demand. I see a lot of business owners do this by starting their own merch shop because you could work with a company like Printful, and you can have your own designs that essentially, when someone buys something from your shop, you don’t have to do anything.
You obviously have to lose a chunk of that money to Printful because Printful is going to then have to pay for the merchandising and the costs of shipping and things like that. But it can be a really fun way for you to almost make something for your community.
But it’s not that much work for you because you decide to make the design and then Printful would handle the shipping and getting everything printed and everything. So it’s kind of hands-off.
Next is printables. So this is another one that’s really popular in the blogging world, but essentially, with printables, it would be almost along the same lines of making ebooks. However, instead, you would be making checklists or fun things that people can print out that kind of go along with your niche or your topics that you could then sell.
So printables are something that are a little bit more on the cheap end, just because usually you would only sell like one or you’d sell a bundle of three of them. So that’s just something to keep in mind.
But, for instance, I know that they’re super popular in the interior design and apartment blog niche because you could have printables for things to buy for your first apartment and other topics like that.
In the travel niche, a lot of people will sell packing lists or travel guides, sort of like checklists, more like bucket lists sort of things. So that is definitely an option, but you’d have to find a way for it to be morphed into whatever service you offer so that it still goes in line with that.
The very last option is stock photos. So this is one that we’ve actually looked into because you can actually sign up to sell your photos on places like Unsplash, Pexels, Deposit Photos, and even Shutterstock.
There are so many options out there. Anytime someone downloads one of your photos, I believe you end up getting some sort of payout.
So if you are a photographer or you travel a lot like us and you have a nice camera and you take a lot of photos and you put a lot of effort into the photos that you’re taking, it’s 100% worth it to look into that to see if that’s something that you can do, especially if you’re already sitting on a gold mine of all these great photos that you’ve taken that other people could probably find really useful.
Final thoughts: passive income for creatives
I hope you enjoyed this post about passive income for creatives. Truly, no matter what creative avenue you add to your business, if you market it the right way, you can start to grow your business passively. I can’t wait to see how you grow your business!
Check out these posts next:
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KP (she/her) is the founder and designer behind Inkpot Creative, which was founded back in 2020. She specializes in Showit website design, blogging, and SEO. Over the years, she’s built custom websites for more than 50 photographers and has helped grow client’s monthly website traffic between 20% – 77.7%. When not designing, she can normally be found hiking in the mountains, working on her travel blog Volumes & Voyages, or trying to find the best iced chai in her city.