6 Passive Income Ideas for Graphic Designers in 2023

In today’s digital age, making money doesn’t have to be limited to a 9-to-5 job. If you have the right skills, you can earn money online, even while you are sleeping. And if you’re a graphic designer, you have an ocean of passive income sources. Yes. You read it right. This article discusses the top 6 passive income ideas for graphic designers in 2023.

Whether you’re an experienced professional or just a newbie, these six income streams can help you earn an extra dollar. So, let’s quickly get started.

Top passive income ideas for graphic designers

Listed below are the top passive income sources you can use to earn extra money through graphic designing.

1. Content Creation

passive income ideas for graphic designers

If you’re a graphic designer, you’re already an expert in visual creativity. Why not share it with the world? Platforms like YouTube and Instagram are not just for selfies and cat videos. They’re also fantastic places to showcase your design skills.

You can create YouTube tutorials on graphic design techniques or Instagram posts showcasing your latest design projects. As your content gains traction and followers, you can start monetizing through ads, sponsored posts, and even product placements. 

This means money in your pocket while you continue doing what you love – designing.

Tips and best practices:

  • Consistency is Key: Regularly post content to keep your audience engaged. Create a content schedule and stick to it.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on creating high-quality, informative, and visually appealing content that resonates with your target audience.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments and messages. Building a community around your content can lead to loyal followers.

2. Freelance Work

Freelancing is a classic way for graphic designers to earn a living, but it doesn’t always have to be an active hustle. Your portfolio is your weapon here. Upload your past projects on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, and let them speak for you. 

As potential clients scroll through your work and read those glowing reviews, they might just reach out to you with new projects.

So, while you’re sipping your morning coffee, your portfolio could be landing you new gigs. It’s like having a personal marketing assistant working 24/7. 

Tips and best practices:

  • Optimize Your Profile: Craft a compelling profile with a professional bio showcasing your skills and past work.
  • Highlight Niche Expertise: Specialize in a niche within the graphic design to stand out from the crowd and attract clients seeking specific expertise.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Clearly define your services, rates, and delivery times to manage client expectations and avoid misunderstandings.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Do you often recommend design tools or resources to fellow designers? Affiliate marketing can turn those recommendations into income. It’s simple. You partner with companies that offer design-related software, courses, or tools. Then, you create content – maybe blog posts, reviews, or social media posts – showcasing these products and include affiliate links.

When your audience clicks on those links and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. It’s like recommending your favorite tools to a friend, but you get a little something extra in return.

Tips and best practices:

  • Choose Relevant Products: Promote products or services closely related to graphic design to ensure your recommendations align with your audience’s interests.
  • Authenticity is Key: Only recommend products you genuinely believe in and have used. Trust and credibility are vital.
  • Disclose Affiliation: Always disclose your affiliate relationship transparently to your audience to maintain trust.

4. Printables and Templates

If you’re not into selling physical products, consider the world of digital printables and templates. Think of planners, invitations, or resume templates that people can customize and print at home. Platforms like Etsy and Gumroad are great places to sell these digital files.

The beauty of this idea? Once you’ve done the initial design work, you can sit back and relax while customers purchase and download your templates. It’s like you have one design and making money through it again and again.

Tips and best practices:

  • Variety Sells: Offer a variety of templates in different styles and designs to cater to a broad audience.
  • Optimize Keywords: Use relevant keywords and tags in your product listings to improve visibility in search results.
  • Customer Support: Provide excellent customer support to address any issues or questions customers may have about your templates.

5. Online Courses

passive income ideas for graphic designers

Have you ever thought about sharing your design expertise with the world? Online courses are a fantastic way to do just that. Websites like Udemy and Skillshare provide a platform for you to create and sell courses on various design topics.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not an expert.” Well, you don’t have to be! Even if you’re an intermediate designer, there are beginners out there hungry for knowledge. 

Teaching the basics and sharing your creative process can be incredibly valuable to many learners. Plus, every time a student enrolls in your course, you make an extra few dollars.

Tips and best practices:

  • Start Small: Begin with shorter courses and gradually expand to more extensive ones as you gain experience and confidence.
  • Engage with Students: Interact with your students by answering questions, providing feedback, and creating a supportive learning environment.
  • Promote Your Courses: Use social media and email marketing to promote your courses and reach a wider audience.

6. Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand (POD) is a godsend for graphic designers. You get to design custom merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, or phone cases without worrying about production, shipping, or customer service. Websites such as Printful, Printify, and Teespring handle all the heavy lifting.

You simply upload your designs, set your prices, and wait for the sales to roll in. With every sale, you earn a commission. It’s a hands-off approach to merchandising, and you don’t have to worry about managing inventory or fulfilling orders. 

Tips and best practices:

  • Niche Selection: Research trending niches and create designs that cater to specific target audiences for better sales.
  • Quality Matters: Ensure your designs are of high resolution and visually appealing. Customers expect top-notch quality.
  • Marketing Know-How: Learn basic digital marketing techniques to promote your products effectively on social media and through email campaigns.

Wrapping it Up

So, there you have it – six fantastic passive income ideas for graphic designers in 2023. 

Remember, it might take some initial effort to set these income streams in motion, but once they’re up and running, you can sit back and watch the money come in while you focus on what you do best – designing.


How much can I earn from passive income as a graphic designer?

Earnings vary based on your efforts and the chosen passive income streams. Some designers make a few hundred dollars per month, while others generate substantial income. It depends on your dedication and marketing strategies.

Are there any upfront costs for these passive income ideas?

There may be some initial costs, such as course creation software or marketing expenses. However, many of these ideas can be started with minimal investment.

Do I need to be an expert to create online courses?

While expertise is valuable, even intermediate-level designers can create courses aimed at beginners. Teaching the basics and sharing your creative process can be valuable to many learners.

Are there any legal considerations when selling digital content?

Yes, it’s essential to understand copyright laws and licensing when selling digital content. Ensure you have the right to use any third-party assets in your creations.

How do I promote my affiliate marketing efforts effectively?

Promote your affiliate links through blog posts, social media, email marketing, and by providing value to your audience. Honest reviews and recommendations can build trust and drive sales.

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