6 Ways to Earn Passive Income for Creative Artists

You know, being a creative can be tough. We all have those moments. Where we question whether we should have pursued a more “practical” career path – like accounting or data entry. But here's the thing – being creative is not only important, it's also incredibly lucrative!

Now, you may have heard the misconception that the creative market is saturated. But let me tell you, that's simply not true. With the rise of e-commerce and social media, there are more opportunities than ever to turn your creative talents into a steady stream of passive income.

The key to success? Finding your niche. Whether you're a writer, artist, musician, or photographer, there's a specific audience out there that's looking for what you have to offer. And with a little bit of creativity (see what I did there?), you can turn that niche into a thriving source of passive income.

But where do you start? That's where this blog post comes in! I've got some great ideas for you to consider, whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out. From selling digital products to creating online courses, and even offering memberships, there's a passive income idea for everyone.

So grab your sketchbook, your guitar, or whatever tool you use to express your creativity, and let's get ready to turn that passion into profit!

The Beauty of Digital Products 

As a creative, I've always been drawn to the idea of creating digital products to supplement my income. I enjoy it as a creative break that allows me to pursue other passions and refine my skills.

Whether it's selling templates for small businesses or printables for bloggers, there are countless ways for creatives to leverage their skills and make some extra cash.

One option is to sell digital products like illustrations, icons, and fonts. As someone who has dabbled in graphic design over the years, I can tell you that this is a great way to earn some passive income. By creating and selling digital products on platforms like Creative Fabrica,  Etsy or your own website, you can earn money even while you're sleeping! Hello dream job!

But it's not just graphic designers who can benefit from this approach. Photographers, writers, and even musicians can create and sell digital products that showcase their skills. For example, if you're a photographer, you could create a photography shoot checklist that other creatives can use in their projects. If you're a writer, you could create templates for common documents like resumes or cover letters.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to be an expert in everything to create digital products. You just need to be good enough to create something that others find valuable. 

Remember that what you may consider to be mundane or common knowledge could actually be incredibly valuable to someone else. So, never underestimate the potential of your ideas!

For example, I don’t consider myself a professional illustrator, but I've created some simple products that have sold well on marketplaces like Etsy.

And now with AI – you have a graphic designer in your backpocket!  You can head over to a platform like Midjourney to either get inspired or create almost anything!

Overall, selling digital products is a great way for creatives to earn passive income. With a little bit of effort upfront, you can create products that continue to sell for years to come. And who knows – your digital products might just become your main source of income down the line!

Teaching with Online Courses 

Have you ever thought about teaching your skills? You can create and sell online courses on just about any topic! The entrepreneur community I am a part of has a wide range of online courses that teach specific skills. I’ve seen it all from email marketing,  and shoe fashion, to tiktok and bookkeeping.  

One of the benefits of creating an online course is that you can reach a wide audience without having to physically travel or meet with people. This means you can create the course once and sell it over and over again, without having to put in additional effort.

This course approach takes away the need to teach people one on one or coach people individually. 

To create an online course, you'll need to identify a topic that you're knowledgeable about and that others are interested in learning. This could be anything from painting techniques to songwriting to social media marketing. Once you've identified your topic, you'll need to create a course outline and create lesson materials like videos, slides, and handouts.

One thing to keep in mind is that creating an online course takes time and effort. You'll need to be organized and disciplined to create a high-quality course that delivers value to your students. But if you put in the work upfront, you can earn passive income from your course for years to come.

I create courses using Loom which allows you to video in various ways including just your screen, just you, or a combination of your screen and yourself. You can edit them using Loom. I like to use Final Cut Pro for editing because it has more options for removing background noise from my family (the dreaded barking dog and noisy kids LOL).

There are many platforms to sell your course such as Kajabi, Teachable, Udemy, Thinkific and more. For now I use Podia which was super easy to set up and their customer service rocks. 

Whichever platform you choose, these make it easy to set up and sell your course, and they often offer built-in marketing and promotion tools to help you reach a wider audience.

Overall, creating and selling online courses is a great way for creatives to earn passive income while sharing their expertise with others. By identifying a topic you're knowledgeable about and creating a high-quality course, you can earn money while helping others achieve their goals.

Join Your Club with Memberships

I feel like membership programs are THE THING to do these days.. If you have a loyal following or an engaged community, a membership program can be a great way to monetize your content and provide ongoing value to your audience.

A membership program is essentially a recurring subscription where members pay a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for access to exclusive content, community, or resources. For creatives, this might mean providing early access to new work, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, or a community of like-minded individuals.

One benefit of membership programs is that they provide predictable, recurring income every month. Instead of having to rely on one-time sales or sporadic income from freelance work, you can count on a steady stream of income from your members. This can give you the financial stability to focus on your creative work without worrying about where your next paycheck will come from.

Another benefit is that membership programs allow you to build a loyal community around your work. By providing exclusive content or access to a private community, you can create a sense of belonging and engagement that keeps your members coming back month after month. This can also lead to valuable feedback and insights from your audience, which can help you improve your work and create more value for your members.

To create a successful membership program, you'll need to provide ongoing value to your members. This could mean creating exclusive content like tutorials, webinars, or e-books. It could also mean providing access to a private community where members can connect with each other and with you. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that your audience will find valuable and worth paying for.

Wondering what you could do to continue providing value each and every month? Let’s pretend you have a membership in watercolour painting. Here are just a few ideas to keep your members engaged:

  • Monthly challenges or prompts: You can provide a monthly challenge or prompt related to watercolor painting, such as painting a specific subject or using a certain technique. This can encourage members to try new things and practice their skills.
  • Live Q&A sessions: Host a monthly live Q&A session where members can ask you questions related to watercolor painting. You can also invite guest artists to join the session and share their knowledge and experiences.
  • Critique sessions: Host monthly critique sessions where members can submit their artwork for feedback and suggestions. This can help them improve their skills and get personalized advice from you and other members.
  • Resource library: Build a resource library where members can access exclusive content, such as tutorials, videos, and ebooks. You can add new content every month to keep the library fresh and relevant.
  • Community events: Organize monthly events for members to connect and share their artwork, such as virtual painting parties or group challenges. This can help foster a sense of community among members.
  • Discounts and perks: Offer exclusive discounts and perks to members, such as discounts on art supplies or access to exclusive workshops and events.
  • Personalized feedback: Offer personalized feedback to members on their artwork or technique via email or messaging. This can show members that you value their membership and are invested in their progress.

Wondering how you would set up a membership? There are platforms like Patreon, Memberful, Mighty Networks, and Podia that make it easy to set up and manage a membership program. They provide tools for creating and delivering exclusive content, managing subscriptions and payments, and engaging with your community.

Overall, membership programs can be a great way for creatives to earn passive income and build a loyal community around their work. By providing ongoing value to your members, you can create a stable source of income while connecting with and empowering your audience.

Write and Sell Ebooks

Writing and selling ebooks can be an excellent way for creatives to earn passive income while sharing their knowledge or stories with the world. Whether you're an expert in a particular field or have a compelling story to tell, self-publishing an ebook can be a great way to reach a global audience and earn money while you sleep.

And guess what? You don’t need to be a professional writer either! There are people making money right now for books they wrote and published themselves without prior training and experience. If you struggle with writing, try using an AI writer like chatGPT. These AI platforms can help improve your writing, help you write faster and ive you some ah-mazing ebook ideas!

One of the benefits of ebooks is that they can be sold on popular online platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books. This means that you can reach a wide audience without having to worry about printing or shipping physical copies of your book. Plus, since ebooks are digital, readers can easily download and read them on their phones, tablets, or e-readers.

To write an ebook, you'll need to choose a topic that you're knowledgeable about or passionate about. This could be anything from a how-to guide on a specific skill or hobby to a memoir about your life experiences. The key is to choose a topic that you can write about in-depth and that will provide value to your readers.

Once you've chosen your topic, it's time to start writing! The great thing about ebooks is that you don't need to have a publisher or agent to get started. You can write and self-publish your ebook using platforms like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing or Barnes & Noble's Nook Press. These platforms provide step-by-step guidance on formatting and publishing your ebook, so even if you're not a tech expert, you can still publish a professional-looking ebook.

Now, if you want your ebook to be the talk of the town, you gotta have a slick cover design and really polish up your words for grammar and spelling. Don't forget to price your masterpiece competitively and market it like a boss on your website, social media, and any other marketing channels you can think of. Because let's be real, if you build it, they won't come unless you shout it from the rooftops!

For example, when I was creating my first digital product, I worked on coming up with the perfect title and cover design that would grab readers' attention. I also had a few trusted friends and family members read through my manuscript to catch any mistakes or confusing parts. And when it came time to promote my work, I shared it on my website and even reached out to other bloggers in my niche to see if they would be interested in featuring my work.

Remember, writing and publishing an ebook is no easy feat, but with a little bit of effort and some smart marketing strategies, you can turn your passion into passive income. So go forth, dear writer, and unleash your literary genius upon the world!

Overall, writing and selling ebooks can be a lucrative way for creatives to earn passive income and share their knowledge or stories with the world. With the right topic, writing skills, and marketing strategy, you can turn your passion into a profitable ebook.

Your Designs with Print on Demand (POD)

If you're a creative person looking for a low-risk way to earn passive income, print-on-demand (POD) products might be the way to go. POD products are items that are printed and shipped only after an order has been placed. This means that you don't need to invest in inventory upfront, which can save you a lot of money and reduce your risk.

Creating and selling POD products can be a fun and rewarding way to showcase your creativity and earn money on the side. You can sell a variety of items, including t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, phone cases, and more, all with your unique designs on them.

One of the best things about POD products is that you don't need to be a professional artist or designer to get started. There are many online platforms that allow you to create and sell POD products with little to no design experience. For example, platforms like Redbubble, Teespring, and Zazzle provide easy-to-use design tools and handle the printing and shipping for you.

To create successful POD products, you'll want to focus on creating designs that are unique, eye-catching, and relevant to your target audience. Think about what type of products your audience would be interested in buying and what designs would resonate with them. You can also use trends and current events as inspiration for your designs.

Let me tell you, dear reader, there's nothing quite like seeing your artwork emblazoned on a mug, t-shirt, or even a pair of socks! And if you're already a talented artist with a loyal following, why not give your fans what they really want and put your artwork on some sweet merch? It's like killing two birds with one stone – you get to showcase your creative talent and make some sweet passive income on the side. Plus this is a way to really stand out in the crowd!

So if you're an artist looking to turn your passion into passive income, don't be afraid to get creative with your merchandise. And who knows, maybe one day you'll see your artwork on a t-shirt worn by a celebrity, or on a coffee mug used by millions. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

When it comes to pricing your POD products, you'll want to consider the cost of production, shipping, and the platform's fees. You'll also want to factor in your profit margin and what your target audience is willing to pay. It's important to find the right balance between pricing your products competitively and earning a profit.

In terms of marketing your POD products, social media can be a powerful tool. Share photos of your products on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and consider running targeted ads to reach your ideal audience. You can also use email marketing and influencer partnerships to get your products in front of more people.

Overall, creating and selling print-on-demand products can be a fun and low-risk way for creatives to earn passive income. With the right designs, pricing, and marketing strategy, you can turn your creativity into a profitable side hustle.

Footage, Stock Photos or Audio

As a creative, you might have skills that can benefit other creators and businesses. One way to turn your skills into passive income is by creating and selling video footage or other digital assets.

For example, I create and sell video footage that bloggers and content creators can use for social media, youtube videos and even ads. I love creating videos of food, but you can also do cinematic shots of landscapes, cityscapes, and people. There's a demand for these types of shots in the content creation world.

The great thing about creating and selling video footage is that it can be a completely passive income stream. Once you've created the footage, you can upload it to platforms like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond5, or your own website where people can license your footage for use in their projects. You'll earn a percentage of the sale each time someone licenses your footage, and you can continue earning money from the same footage over and over again.

Of course, creating and selling video footage does require some upfront work. Some say you'll need to invest in good equipment and software. Honestly, I just use my iphone in 4k.  And you'll need to spend time shooting and editing your footage. However, if you're passionate about video and enjoy the process, creating and selling footage can be a rewarding and profitable way to earn passive income.

In addition to video footage, you could also create and sell other digital assets like stock photos or even music. The key is to identify a niche or style that you're passionate about and that has a demand in the market.

When it comes to pricing your digital assets, you'll want to consider the quality of your work, the competition in the market, and the licensing terms you're offering. You can choose to sell your assets for a one-time fee or on a subscription basis, where customers pay a recurring fee to access your library of assets.

Marketing your digital assets can be done through social media, email marketing, and even partnerships with other businesses or creators. Showcasing your work on your own website or portfolio can also help attract potential buyers.

Overall, creating and selling video footage or other digital assets can be a great way for creatives to earn passive income. With some upfront work and a passion for your craft, you can turn your skills and expertise into a profitable side hustle.

That’s not all…

I hope you're feeling inspired and excited about the possibilities that await you! There are definitely more ideas beyond what we have here, but it’s a starting point!

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to generating passive income as a creative. It's all about finding what works for you and your unique talents. Don't be afraid to try new things and pivot if something isn't working.

And hey, even if you're not seeing immediate success, don't give up! Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a successful passive income stream. Just keep creating and putting yourself out there, and eventually, the money will follow.

So go forth and create, my friends! Whether you're selling digital products, creating online courses, offering memberships, or any other idea we've discussed, know that your unique perspective and creative talents are valuable and worthy of monetizing. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be the next creative superstar, making millions off of your original ideas.

But for now, let's just focus on taking that first step towards a more financially stable and creatively fulfilling future. Cheers to that!