As creatives, we tend to make things with our hands and heart: spending hour after hour making things that help us come alive and delight our customers, our friends and family, and even ourselves. We spend time (lots and lots of time!) on our art and/or craft, honing it. Making it better and better. As our businesses grow, we quickly come to realize that there are only so many hours in the day, and, even if we raise our prices and hire help, there is only so much one person can do and make. Our income will eventually hit a ceiling. But because you’re in business online, you most likely have heard about “passive income” and how everybody wants some. It’s the golden ticket! Well, I know of one way you can create passive income in your business, but before I get to that let’s bust some myths!
Myth #1 It’s Impossible for Makers and/or Artists to Earn Passive Income
As artists and makers it seems impossible for us to create passive income. If want we make creates our income, how can we make more income without making more of what we make? It seems simply impossible without bending time! But it’s not. Far from it, in fact. If you already have a successful business making or creating products, I know there is a way you can add to that business with passive income streams.
Myth #2 Passive Income is… a scam/easy/quick/totally hands off/etc.
But before I get into how you might make passive income in your own business, I want to talk a little bit about what passive income is, and is not. Let’s start with what it’s not (at least in reference to makers and creatives)…
Passive Income is not:
- A scam or pipe dream: I’m going to share real ways you can take your current skills and create passive income from them.
- Easy or a “quick” way to make money. You will still need to put time and genuine effort into it.
- Totally hands off: you will still have to sell and manage this side of your business, just like you sell what you currently make.
- But it’s also not impossible.
Myth #3 Passive Income is Unattainable
Creative Passive Income is:
- Possible for you, even if you’re starting from scratch (ie., no website or blog, email list, or social media following to speak of.)
- Something you create once, but can sell over and over without having to create “more.”
- A way to make money while you sleep.
- A way to scale your creative business so you can earn money without limits.
So, just how can makers create passive income? There are so many ways! But today I’m going to focus on:
Teaching for passive income can happen in a variety of ways. Depending on your craft, it might be in the form of a simple ebook, and online course, or teaching on video on platforms like Skillshare (my personal favorite!) Some makers view teaching their craft as cutting into their potential income. But it’s really more like doubling it! Let me explain why I believe that…
When it comes to handmade products, there are two kinds of customers: those who love what you make, admire your talent, and will gladly buy from you. And those who think (or even say out loud, right in front of you 😩) “Oh, I could make that myself.” If you’ve ever sold at a craft fair, you’ve likely heard some form of that statement. It’s awful! BUT, it’s also an opportunity. Because if you can turn those people who can “make it themselves” into customers, too, you’ve just doubled your chance for more income.
I’m going to go back to my example with teaching classes on Skillshare. Skillshare is a low-cost platform for people to learn all kinds of things, and many of their most popular classes are under 30 minutes. So, as a teacher, you can quickly create classes and start promoting them and earning a monthly passive income, based on student watch time. Because people who make handmade things offer a wide variety of products, I’m going to share some hypothetical teaching ideas that might apply to you, or will at least get your own creative ideas flowing for things you could teach with your business.
Let’s say you make wedding invitations. You could teach a class for the DIY bride on how to create beautiful wedding invitations using Photoshop and fonts and images from sites like Creative Market.
Or maybe you make wire wrapped jewelry. You could teach a “Wire Wrapping 101” class.
If you make vegan soap, teach how to make a certain recipe of vegan soaps.
Or say you knit beanies and scarves. You could teach how to knit a simple scarf, or a more complex design on a slouchy beanie.
That’s the exciting thing about teaching, too! There are students at every level: from the beginner to the advanced. You could specialize in one area (ie., all beginners classes, or all advanced classes) or run the gamut from easy to difficult.
Another exciting thing about teaching on platforms like Skillshare: it doesn’t matter if someone else is already teaching it! You can still bring your own customers to your class, and the students who took the other classes might take yours too. I’ve personally taken multiple classes on pattern design from a variety of teachers on Skillshare. I enjoy the different teaching styles, learning different perspectives, and each teacher has their own bag of tips and tricks. It’s awesome!
If you still feel unsure about teaching what you make because you’re worried you’ll lose customers, you might want to consider teaching classes that have to do with your business, without giving away trade secrets specific to your products.
For instance: If you’ve got amazing photography skills, you could teach a class on product photography. If you have mastered promoting your business on Facebook, you could teach a class about that. If you know how to make watercolor logos, you could teach a class about that.
As you can see, you can teach a variety of classes to create passive income in your own business. And while I do prefer Skillshare, there are other platforms that you can check out, too, like Udemy (which I’ve heard mixed reviews about), Teachable (which I used in the past), and you can even create a simple PDF, printables, or ebook and sell them on sites like Etsy or Gumroad.
I’d love to hear about a class you might teach for your own creative business in order to create passive income online. Let me know in the comments below! Stuck and need some ideas? You can let me know that, too, and I will try to help brainstorm some ideas with you!