Passive income for graphic designers – ways to achieve financial freedom

Freelance Tips

More and more people dream of freedom, which gives passive income. Nothing unusual. Nowadays, when the internet allows us to reach masses of people around the world, passive income is at your fingertips.

When you are tired of working in an office from 9 to 5, passive income may seem an attractive alternative and a promising option for a happy living. However, there are also many stereotypes about it, which can get you into real trouble.

The end of the year always makes me to summarize the last months and plan the coming year. This time is similar. Some time ago I decided that I want to devote it to experiment with passive income. That henced the idea for this article.

Passive income is possible, although it turns out that it often requires more work than you might think at first. Therefore, the decisions we make should be well thought out.


What is passive income

Passive income is a way of earning money that generates revenue even when you are not working. It sounds like a dream, isn’t it? I suggest you rub your eyes, because this method of earning is really possible and used by a growing number of people.

There are many ways to earn passively – from investing in the stock market, buying shares of large corporations, renting real estate,  selling your own works. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

As designers, we have many ways to use our skills and talent and start earning passively. However, for this we need motivation, self-denial, financial knowledge and … hard work. Because passive income does not mean that we will not have to work at all. Many methods for passive earning require the input of energy and time to create assets that will start to bring us income.


For who is passive income?

Despite what other people say, passive income is not for everyone. If you decide to earn in this way think about your strengths. Do you have any skills that you will be able to transform into a passive business?

This form of activity also requires self-discipline and good organization, marketing knowledge and knowledge in the field of finance. Focusing only on the creative industry, where the main source of passive income are the products and knowledge we offer, proper insight into the topic of the target group and proper organization of work may prove to be the key to success.


What skills are needed to start

To begin with, think about your strengths. What do you do today, what do you enjoy. If you earn a living by creating visual identities, you can translate your experience into passive income in many different ways.

The second thing is knowledge of finance. At least minimal knowledge about taxes, settlements and the ability to calculate costs and revenues will help you run your business effectively.

People without perseverance and motivation may have a problem in achieving success. Passive income does not come right away, and it may take months or even years before we get financial freedom.


Myths about passive income

Almost everyone who heard about passive income has a picture in their mind of a perfect life it can give you. The lives you spend lying under a palm tree in tropics spent on  hobbies you didn’t have time for before. It seems that you no longer have to spend time on unimportant things, you will focus on your happiness and wellbeing. Many of these are real, but there is another side to the coin that we often forget. What is this?


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Passive earning is easy and you’ll see results quickly

To create a product that your customers buy, you usually need to spend many hours refining the smallest details. Additionally, it can take you months before you can see the effects. In addition, if you are not familiar with marketing and are not focused on building your portfolio properly, it may turn out that the results will never come.


People will reach your products themselves

In the Internet age, where we are flooded with thousands of products and information, reaching the right group of people who will be ready to buy your product or support you in business can be very difficult. Depending on what type of business you choose, it may turn out that reaching the right group of people will still take a lot of your time. How to fix it?


Check the market

first of all, find out what the trends are and what people are looking for. Design products that meet these needs. Find sales platforms that bring together a lot of community and care for creators.


Don’t wait before you’re ready. Start creating a community around you and your work

Whatever you create, there will always be someone who will buy your product – In many cases, it can be said that everyone will find their audience and even the strangest products will find their followers. However, good positioning and excellent knowledge of trends and preferences of the target group can help you on the road to success.


You only need one source of passive income to support yourself

Most people who are able to make a living from a passive business have several sources of income. This gives them greater stability. In a situation where you sell projects on stock platforms or print on demand, where the commissions are very small, and you additionally have to pay tax, it will quickly turn out that what you get is not a dizzying sum. Therefore, it is worth slowly building several different sources of income so that you can sleep peacefully at night.


Passive income means you won’t have to work

For people from the creative industry, it is obvious that the projects that we will sell must first be created. This can take a significant amount of time. There is still time to spend on promotions and marketing.


Passive income for graphic designers

Sell ​​your knowledge – courses and ebooks

As an experienced freelancer, you have a lot to offer. Currently, selling your knowledge on various platforms is undergoing a real flourish.

Half a year ago, it didn’t even occur to me that what I knowledge might be useful to someone. It seemed to me that everyone knows it and nobody is interested. My attitude changed only when I took part in the workshop on building a personal brand. That one hour helped me open my eyes.

You have to remember that despite the many people writing and talking about design, your point of view and experience are unique. Despite the competition, you have a chance to find your audience.

Sell ​​your talent – print-on-demand platforms

Print on demand is a system in which we can sell our graphics free of charge without worrying about printing costs and logistic matters. One of the most popular sites of this type is Society6, where you can create your own shop. They have hundreds of products on which designs are printed and sent to customers from around the world.

Tools such as Printful and Printify are another popular method. These are online print houses with their own software that you install to your website. The customer buys directly in your store, but all production is automatically directed to an external platform, where it is printed, packed and shipped. You don’t have to worry about anything.

Help others in need – make money on mockups

Recently, I’ve seen the term ‘mockapisation’ describing the phenomenon of putting all designs on mockups, where even an average project may seem like a work worthy of a Pentagram Agency. Although I use ready-made mockups myself to present my projects, I can understand what this frustration comes from. However, you can’t tilt the windmills mockups are becoming more and more popular. The high demand for new visualizations can serve those who are looking for passive income.

Blog and Podcasts as a source of financial freedom

These are other ways to share your knowledge, but it turns out that you can also earn good money in this way. Running a blog and a podcast is hard work, but it can also pay off financially. Depending on the number of entries, we can earn on so-called affiliate links that will refer our readers to the products and pages we recommend.

Of course, other methods are advertising and sponsored articles.


If you create illustrations or take pictures you can sell them on stock platforms such as Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, iStock. People who use them are looking for the best quality photos and there is a chance that your projects can earn you even when you sleep.


Ad-ons and presets

Additional software, plugins, Photoshop brushes and photo editing settings in programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom are also products that you can sell and provide yourself with additional income.

Website templates – passive income for programmers

If you are familiar with coding, web design or plugins, you can use your skills to create website templates and thus earn from selling them. People around the world are looking for attractive and functional website designs that will help them reach customers.


How to start?

First, don’t dive into deep water. Passive earning takes time, so it can take a while before you really start earning and you will get financial freedom.

Start step by step. Don’t give up on the work you are doing. Spend a portion of your work time on developing projects that can generate additional income.

Check the market. If you are an illustrator, what people are looking for, what are the trends? Find a receiving group and look at people who are already passively earning their work. Where they promote, what projects they create, where they sell.



Passive income is possible and it is used by more and more people from the creative industry. The internet allows us to earn in many different ways, where everyone can find something for themselves. Plan your activities well and invest valuable time in them to ensure additional earnings.

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Written by Magdalena

Written by Magdalena

Brand Specialist

I am on a mission to empower small entrepreneurs in reaching their brand’s goals, connect with the right audience and stand out from the crowd. I use strategy and design to show their brand’s true potential.

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