Artists generally are known to make money by directly selling their art, but there are so many more ways artists can now make money without the continual input of work or time.
This is known as passive income.
Passive income is putting in the initial work to create a product, service, or set up that will generate income passively for months and even years ahead.
Passive income makes you money without trading your precious time for it.
This is the main reason I love passive income so much: You free your time to do more things, whether it be to relax, create more income, or pursue what you are truly passionate about without the worry of whether you will make money from it or not.
This is why I decided to create this blog post, for artists to be able to earn steady income while also being able to have the time to create the art they love without the financial burden of making money from it.
Also, creating a source of passive income is difficult: It isn’t a get rich quick solution.
Most passive income sources definitely take time, readjusting, and promoting to work well – But once you finally create a system that works best for you, the daily income you receive from it definitely provides not only financial freedom, but overall freedom to do what you truly want with your life.
Disclosure: Some links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1. Have a Website
As an artist, it is best practice to have a website to establish credibility in what you are doing, and having a website opens up so many opportunities to help you create income of all kinds.
When you create a website, you can use many of these passive income ideas on your website and monetize your audience that is coming from Google, your social media pages, and other search engines.
Plus, you can have your shop linked on your website, and it offers a central place to help sell your work, no matter what it is.
If you are interested in creating a website as an artist, I recommend these website building platforms:
- Squarespace is great for those who want to easily create a website and have all the back-end and admin work taken care of for them. (Try Squarespace for FREE here)
- WordPress using Bluehost as your hosting is great for those who want more control over their website and are willing to learn what it takes to build a website in order to gain more traffic from Google and get the most out of their website. Plus, it is more budget friendly in the long-run.
- Weebly is great for those who also want to create a website easily and want a more budget friendly option than Squarespace. You can create a free site using Weebly here.
- Shopify is a great option for those who want to easily create a site dedicated to their ecommerce store. Shopify makes it super easy because all the backend functions of starting a shop is done for you. They also have apps and themes you can integrate to your store to make the whole process of designing and running an online store easy for anyone. (Start a Free Trial Here)
If you want more information on how to build an artist website and which platform is the best for you, check out my blog post here for more details.
2. Sell Art Prints
Selling art prints is a great way to continually make income from a work of art you create.
There is some work that is required in selling art prints, such as scanning your art and adjusting the color to match the original piece.
You will also need to choose where you will get your art prints sourced (I recommend creating Giclee prints for artists wanting a more professional brand. Giclee prints last longer and are professionally printed using the highest quality paper and inks – You can thus sell them for more money).
For Giclee printing, try Finerworks or GicleeToday: They both specialize in Giclee printing and can be integrated to your Etsy shop for easy drop shipping (You don’t need to take care of shipping because they’ll do it for you).
Other sites you can create, sell, and ship art prints (and more) for you are:
If you want to create art prints, I highly recommend investing in:
- A photo scanner to scan your art to your computer (I recommend the Epson Perfection V600 on Amazon – It is a highly rated scanner for artists)
- A DSLR camera for larger works that cannot be scanned and need to be photographed
- A good photo-editing software (I use Photoshop)
Also check out my blog post on how to make art prints from home.
E-Courses are an excellent way to create passive income for artists as well.
The demand of people wanting to learn art is great, and if you have the knowledge to teach others valuable skills, it can be a great source of income for you in the long run if you can monetize that knowledge.
There are several ways of creating an e-course.
The first way is through Skillshare: The great thing about them is that they already have millions of students who are part of their program and have potential access to your classes. You get paid according to how many minutes a student views your video course.
Another way to create an e-course is through Teachable. It is an all-in-one platform for those who want to specifically develop e-courses. You need to do the promoting on your own, but you set your own prices and thus have the potential to make more money, even if you have a less number of students.
Creating an e-course is definitely a lot of work, but it has the potential to earn you a very high monthly income.
There are several ways you can choose to deliver your e-course: Video, audio, text, images, or a mix.
I recommend creating an e-course for artists who know they already have the audience for one.
If you have your own website and enjoy writing, I highly recommend trying out blogging.
Blogging is a great way to expand your website (through publishing blog posts) and bringing in traffic from Google, social media, and more.
A blog takes time to grow, as it generally takes Google 6-8 months to rank a new site on its search engine, but the more blog posts you create, the more chances of it reaching a wider audience.
And there are so many ways to monetize your blog: Whether it be through display ads, affiliate marketing, selling your products and services, and more.
A blog that brings in 100,000 monthly visitors usually makes at least one to several thousand dollars in revenue each month, depending on your niche and how well you monetize it.
It may take 1.5-3 years to get to that level of traffic (gaining trust and ranking in Google is a long process), but once you do, it only gets easier from there.
If you are interested in creating a blog for passive income, I highly recommend using Bluehost to create a WordPress site. It costs $3-$5/month, so it is pretty cheap and they offer a 30 day refund and prorated refund afterwards.
I first started this site on Squarespace and had to switch when my blog grew in order to get better rankings on Google, faster site speed, and hosting choices.
So I highly recommend just starting off learning WordPress using Bluehost (They have easy setup as well) for less hassle in the future.
Printables are a great way to create passive income from simple art or graphics you create because you don’t have to worry about shipping at all.
The buyer purchases a digital file of your artwork and is responsible for printing it out themselves.
Printables don’t sell at a high price, but that is what makes them so easy to purchase for anyone.
If you can promote them enough to sell multiples per day, it can be a great source of passive income for a long time.
Several Printable Ideas Include: Simple wall art & graphics, sayings, worksheets, planner templates, calendars, etc.
Creating an ebook is a great source of passive income for creatives, especially if you’ve always wanted to write a book.
You can self-publish through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or simply create a downloadable PDF that your audience can purchase.
Creating a downloadable PDF is easier to make and you can keep all the profit from your sales. However, Amazon does have an audience already in place (although it is saturated with competition).
7. Write a Book
Another cool and creative way of making passive income is through creating a book.
You can write a book, or even illustrate a book.
If you are an artist, you might be interested in creating an adult coloring book, coffee table book, picture book, story book, or a “how to” book, as a couple options.
These days, the process of creating a book is so much easier through self-publishing, especially through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
8. Graphic Design Products
If you are a graphic designer or have knowledge on how to use Photoshop or Illustrator, you might be interested in selling graphic design products for passive income.
The great thing about selling graphic design products is that you don’t have to worry about shipping physical products: Once the buyer purchases your product, they can simply download it. You also don’t need to worry about any returns because of this.
Several ideas include: Icons, Digital Illustrations, Patterns, Clipart, Mockups, and more.
If you are looking for ideas, I suggest browsing Creative Market and looking at products that are being offered. See if there is something that you want to create as well on there.
Here are some free goods on Creative Market. These are just some of the examples of what graphic designers sell.
Powered by Creative Market
There is no doubt that creating a Youtube channel requires a lot of hard work: You need the equipment, editing software, and lots of time, dedication, and research.
However, once your Youtube channel takes off, it can be a great source of passive income, with every view you receive on prior videos making you money for as long as your videos are being watched.
And videos in general have a lot of value, and that value is continuously growing.
If you are interested in film, documenting your art process, or want to grow an expansive audience for your art, I highly recommend starting a Youtube channel.
The great thing about starting a Youtube channel is that it is completely free to start one, so there is little monetary risk compared to other ventures.
And you never know what could happen in the future unless you try.
Products I Recommend if you are Starting a Youtube Channel
The Canon G7X (See Price on Amazon here) is a great beginner camera that I love and personally use. It’s easy to carry around in case you want to vlog, and the colors it captures is definitely Canon quality. The visuals are crisp, yet warm. It also has a flip screen so you can see yourself as you film. The only thing is that it doesn’t have an external mic (You cannot attach a microphone to it – It has one internally built in). This is something to keep in mind.
Plus, many Youtubers use this camera, such as CatCreature and Cup of Jasmien. This camera works best if you are vlogging or if you want something not too heavy like a DSLR.
If having an external mic (great audio quality) is important for you, I highly suggest the Canon M50 for this. It’s a mirrorless camera specifically made for vlogging, so the visual and audio quality is be much better, although it is a little bulky to carry around outside.
For editing, I recommend Filmora. It’s super easy to use and it’s a lot more affordable than Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro (Annual price of $40 if you want continue use after the free trial)
License your art to companies as a means of earning passive income, although this method involves more research and legal work, as it involves contracts.
If you are interested in licensing your art, see this blog post from The Abundant Artist: How to License Your Art.
11. Print on Demand Products
Print on demand products are a great way to create a vast variety of products from select designs and artworks you upload.
You can create anything from Tshirts, Hats, Tote Bags, Stickers, Pillows, Mugs, Phone Cases, Posters, Canvas Prints, and more.
The best sites to create print on demand products are:
Printful: A print-on-demand dropshipper you integrate with your Etsy, Shopify, Squarespace, Amazon, or other online shop that not only print at competitive rates, but allow you the freedom to set whatever price you want. All you do is connect Printful to your ecommerce store, upload your design, and set your own prices for your products. They fulfill and ship the orders for you. You can make whatever profit margin you want because you set the prices with Printful.
Redbubble: A marketplace for print-on-demand products. You, as the artist, can open a shop on Redbubble, upload a design, and they will fulfill any order for you that a customer places in your shop. Artists earn anywhere from 10%-30% of the retail price of the product.
Printify: A similar service to Printful, in that you can bypass the use of a marketplace and integrate Prinitify to your own ecommerce platform. Printify however uses third-party suppliers, which overall makes their prices lower. However, they are not optimized for international orders and shipping times may be unclear due to the use of third party suppliers.
Society6: Similar to Redbubble, Society6 is a marketplace for print-on-demand products. You upload your design and they fulfill orders for you. They pay the artist 10% of the sale price.
You also do not have to be amazing at art in order to get into selling in print-on-demand products. You can purchase or commission designs from sites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Creative Market (Make sure to get the appropriate licensing use) and use those designs to create your products.
12. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the use of affiliate links to certain products you recommend. When someone clicks through that affiliate link and purchases a product, you receive a small commission from that transaction.
Some of the best affiliate programs to join in order to create affiliate links include:
- Amazon Affiliate Program: Amazon
- Shareasale: StudioPress, Lulus, Minted, Blick
- Awin: Etsy, AliExpress, and others
- FlexOffers: Joann, CreativeBug
- CJ Affiliate: Blick, Michaels, Society6, AliExpress
Some of these affiliate marketing programs may require that you have a substantial audience and method of promotion in order for you to be accepted into them. Keep this in mind.
Amazon is definitely the best affiliate program to get into for beginners.
Display ads are a simple way to passively earn income from the audience you already have.
This works best if you have a website, blog, or Youtube audience.
The great thing about ads is that all your audience has to do is see the ads. They don’t have purchase anything.
You are paid according to how many people see the ad, so it does take many thousands of views to make a considerable amount of income from ads. If you have that audience though, it is a great form of passive income.
An available option for those who want to monetize before they reach 50K monthly visitors is Ezoic. They give far better rates than Google Adsense – Though I would suggest if you can, to just wait until you achieve enough traffic to get into a Premium ad company.
14. Stock Photos
If you love photography, why not create passive income from some of the photographs you take?
Selling stock photos is a great way to make income from your photographs, and people want stock photos when they want more cohesive, on-brand, or unique photos than free, non-copyrighted ones.
Places to sell stock photos include:
15. Monetize Your Social Media
Although a website is a great way to earning passive income, you can generate passive income from your social media as well.
If you are able to, add affiliate links to products showcased in your post or photos. Whenever someone clicks through and purchases that product, you can get a small commission from that sale.
16. Email Marketing
There are quite a few people using email marketing successfully so I decided to add this as an option for earning passive income as well.
When someone signs up to be part of your email list, they will receive automated emails that provides them with information, resources, discounts, and special offers exclusive to your email list.
It is a good way to retain audience that stumbles upon your website and build trust with them so that they are more inclined to buy a product from you in the future.
Some popular email marketing campaigns include:
- ConvertKit: One of the most popular ways of automating your emails. When someone subscribes to your email list, they enter a workflow to get emails automatically from you. However, workflows (funnels & email sequences) are not available in their Free Trail version. Prices for plans after the free trial start at $29/month.
- MailerLite: A great email marketing option for those looking for a more budget friendly option. MailerLite is free if you have less than 1000 email subscribers and send out less than 12000 emails per month. Paid plans start at $10/month. They have a drag-and-drop editor, along with email automation for even their Free plan.
Patreon is a membership platform where fans of your work can pledge a monthly membership fee in order to receive perks from you, the artist.
Patreon works best when you have a large audience already through social media, Youtube, or your website.
If you know there is an audience that wants to support you and are willing to pledge monthly in order to see more of what you do, Patreon may be a good source of passive income for you.
Creating a podcast is another way to create passive income through ads.
Places You Can Publish and Distribute Your Podcast Include:
- Your own website: You can monetize more ways since you own your website (I highly suggest at least buying a domain that matches your podcast name, through GoDaddy)
- Apple Podcasts
19. Social Media Templates
There are so many people on Social Media, not just for personal use, but business as well.
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to create branded content without spending much time and effort into creating social media content.
That is why selling social media templates is on the rise.
Templates you can create include: Pinterest templates, Instagram templates, Canva templates, and more. You can also create and sell generic Instagram post bundles that anyone can use.
20. Sell Notebooks
There is great market in selling blank-page books: Whether it be a notebook, sketchbook, journal, diary, or bullet journal.
If you can design a cover that people love and are willing to buy, it can be a great source of passive income as an artist.
21. Design and Sell Stationery
I see many artists making a successful living from designing and selling stationery.
Some of these artists make it their full-time job by being active in the entire process from creation to shipping; However, you can also create passive income from selling stationery as well.
Some stationery ideas to sell include: Stickers, notepads, notebooks, cards, wrapping paper.
22. Sell Fonts
If you have good handwriting and are talented at the art of handlettering, why not try creating your own fonts and selling them?
Businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals are always on the lookout for unique fonts that help to make their brand or product visually-pleasing and memorable.
There are free fonts out there, but some of them only offer limited licensing. This is where selling premium fonts comes in.
By purchasing premium fonts, they get the proper licensing to use your fonts for commercial use. And you can receive passive income from selling your fonts.
23. Create a Membership Site
There are so many big companies creating membership sites, but did you know you can create one yourself as well?
There are so many websites and blogs out there that have a portion of their site dedicated to their members.
You can offer better services, secrets of your trade, and more through your own membership site that people are willing to pay in order to join.
24. Sell Presets, LUTS, Brushes, etc
If you have knowledge of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Procreate, you can create and sell overlays, presets, LUTS, or brushes for these programs.
Many people and businesses are looking to create a professional and branded look to their photos, videos, and designs. In order to achieve this effect, they will want to purchase a preset, LUT, or brush for their program of choice.
25. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is an amazing form of passive income that many people use to create a lucrative business from. You may have even heard of people reaching 6-figure income or more through drop shipping products through Amazon FBA or Shopify.
Dropshipping is a method in which the retailer (you) does not keep stock of their products. You instead have an online shop in which customers can buy your products and you send these orders to a manufacturer, wholesaler, or other retailer to fulfill those orders for you.
This may seem confusing, but in practice it, it is a rather simple and a mostly automated process.
You don’t have to ship the orders at all – You simply set up your online shop and receive commissions from these orders.
In order to dropship, you need an ecommerce platform: Whether that be your own WordPress hosted website (like through Bluehost), a Shopify store, Amazon, Etsy, or other ecommerce platform.
Most of these platforms have a way in which you link their platform to a dropshipping company. They will automatically send any orders that are received to these dropshipping companies and they will fulfill the order for you. You get a portion of that commission.
Some dropshipping companies for your art include:
- Printful: This print-on-demand dropshipper is of the most popular ones right now. Commission rates are high and you are free to set your own prices. You can pretty much link them to any major ecommerce platform. They also fulfill international shipments.
- Printify: This is another popular print-on-demand dropshipper. They have lower prices than Printful because they use third-party suppliers. However, they do not have a clear shipping policy in-place because of this and are not optimized for international shipping.
- Finerworks: A company that specializes in creating fine art and canvas prints for artists. They have also expanded into other print-on-demand products, such as pillows, coasters, face masks, cutting boards, and more. You can link them with just about any major ecommerce platform.
26. Sales Funnels
Sales funnels are more of a marketing method in which a potential customer is led through a series of steps towards a potential sale of a product or service.
If you are interested in learning about passive income, I thought that this method of marketing may be of use to some of you.
The majority of people that stumble across a website, blog post, or online store tends to be cold traffic: They have never heard of or interacted with your brand before.
This type of traffic is less likely to make a transaction on your site or shop. They are most likely there to quickly browse or read, then leave.
A sales funnel “warms up” cold traffic for you. They provide awareness, then interest, and finally action towards a transaction. It is a gradual process, but can be automated through this sales funnel marketing technique.
Sales funnels works best when you have a high value product that most people will not easily buy due to its price or lack of brand awareness and trust. You create a sales funnel and eventually, your customers will become more likely to purchase that high-value product, leading to passive income.
How to Create a Sales Funnel:
- Create a Landing Page or Website
- Set up Advertising on Social Media (Facebook or Instagram) – Pay per Click is best, as you only pay for advertising when someone clicks through the ad
- Create an Email Marketing Campaign
You definitely don’t have to use all of these techniques, for some simply leading people through ads is enough.
27. Logos and Branding Kits
New businesses and entrepreneurs have a need for logos and branding kits whenever they start a new business.
You can create a single logo template or kits that businesses can buy.
I personally love purchasing bundles because most of the time, I want to try several logos or designs before choosing one and I am willing to pay more for the bundles than just one logo design.
My go-to for buying logos and branding kits is Creative Market, so that would be my best choice for those who want to sell, but you can also sell on Etsy or even your own online shop as well.
28. Stock Videos
If you enjoy filming, you can also sell stock videos for passive income. As creating videos is becoming more and more popular, more people are in need of stock video footage they can use in their videos.
Places to Sell Stock Videos:
29. Crafting Templates and Patterns
People are always wanting to learn new and fun hobbies. That is why there is a great demand for unique crafting templates and patterns.
Ideas for Crafting Templates:
- Sewing Patterns
- Crochet Patterns
- Knitting Patterns
30. Informational Products
Selling infomational products is a great way to create passive income – And you definitely don’t have to be an expert in your field to do so.
You can target your informational products to beginners who are just wanting to learn the basics of the subject you want to teach.
And informational products can be easy to create. It doesn’t have to be a full-on ebook or course.
Here are some informational products anyone can make and sell:
- A PDF with basic, beginner information
- A spreadsheet with comparisons or special information about a topic
- A simple slideshow video
- A simple audio-course
- A bundle of informational products
The more clients you get and the more audience you grow, the more you can expand your products into a full-on course or membership site.
Thank you for stopping by this blog post! I hope you were able to find any of this information useful.
I wanted to show artists that there are so many ways to make passive income from the art they create.
It definitely takes time to set these passive income sources up but remember, it’s a process and just take it day-by-day and gradually your business will build up and grow.
I wish you the best of luck in your passive income journey and have a wonderful day or night, wherever you may be. Take care!
Please feel free to add your own ideas, thoughts, and experiences in the comment section down below!
I only know of my own experiences and stories I have heard from others, but there are so many different perspectives out there that can be a very valuable source of information for all of us!