Creating ebooks and courses are certainly a popular way to make passive income online these days, not everyone — or every business — is right for that path. Ebooks are pretty simple to create, but if you’re not much of a writer or designer, they may not be that easy for you. And there is a reason there are courses on creating courses: they involvd huge learning curves for most people (like recording and editing video, creating worksheets/workbooks, even the course selling platforms themselves have a huge learning curve.) And it’s not to say you can’t go that way, if you want too! (It certainly can be lucrative!) But there are many other ways creatives can make passive income online, so let’s explore those!
First, let’s take into account what kind of creative you are. Because a musician, maker, blogger and painter will all have different avenues for their specific talents, though there are some cross over ideas, as well. So I’ll break up these ideas into categories for you.
Oh, and if you haven’t already, I would highly suggest you read “What Is Passive Income? (For Artists and Creatives.)” Also, this page contains affiliate links. If you are unsure what that means, please read this.
Different ways creatives can make passive income online
Because I’m an artist, this is probably the place where I have the most ideas. In fact, I wrote an article called 36+ Passive Income Ideas for Artists that you may want to check out after this one for even more ideas. But here are some of my favorites:
- Making art for Print-On-Demand sites like RedBubble, Society6, Zazzle, etc.
- Create a Shopify shop and sell prints passively with Printful
- Sell your patterns and other surface designs on sites like Spoonflower.
- You can also license your pattern designs.
- Get into online art galleries like Contemporary Art Gallery Online, UGallery,
- Sell on specialty sites like Houzz or Minted.
- Sell prints passively on sites like SaatchiArt or Fine Art America.
I’m not aware of a lot of ways musicians can make passive income online, but I do know of one idea because I’ve actually purchased music this way! I wanted some music for videos in my courses, but you can’t just use any old music you like: you either have to create the music yourself or have permission to use it from the copyright holder.
Well, I don’t even know how to read music, much less write or create it! But I found out there are musicians that make tunes and sell them “royalty free” much like photographers do on sites like DeathToTheStockPhoto and CreativeMarket! I bought mine from Dano Songs and he included the information about how to verify your right to use the music on sites like YouTube. But you can also sell them on places like fivver, Pond 5, or on your own website.
Just list surface designers, musicians can also license their music, as well.
There are so many types of makers (like jewelry makers, bath and body product makers, sewers/clothing makers, knitters, furniture makers, and countless others!) that it’s a bit tougher to say “here just do this!” Because one size will definitely not fit all. But here are some ideas that you may be able to fit into how you work:
Create PDFs on how to make what you make. Some people appose this idea, saying “I don’t want them to make what I make, I want them to buy what I make!” But if you’ve ever sold at a craft fair or market, you’ve undoubtedly overheard someone saying something like, “I could make that!” Some people simply want to DIY it, so why not cater to that market, as well?
One further suggestion here: don’t give them the exact formula to what you actually make, but instead, put a twist on it! That way they aren’t just copying exactly what you make.
Some examples of how this might look:
- Instructions on how to build a table, drawers, or other furniture
- A PDF pattern for embroidery, crochet, or clothing
- A how-to on candle making, bath bombs, soap, or organic moisturizer
You could also teach about what you do on platforms like Skillshare. Skillshare classes are generally in the form of videos that are from 15-60 minutes long. There is a learning curve to teaching on Skillshare, but it can provide a nice little extra income every month. Plus. because most students like “bite-sized” projects, you could teach about something specific about what you do instead of the whole thing.
- Crocheters might teach how to create a granny square
- Quilters might share their secret to chain piecing
- Woodworkers could teach how to sharpen their tools
If you’re already blogging, you probably have some good ideas about how to make money with your blog. But if you’re thinking about it, you may want to check out all of these ways creatives can make passive income online blogging!
Affiliate Marketing. Essentially affiliate marketing is when you promote a company or product and they send you a commission for sales and/or leads. You can include affiliate links in your blogs posts, resources section, free email courses or challenges and more! You can find info about specific affiliate programs that would be appealing to your target market by going to websites and searching for an “affiliates”, “partners” or “referrals” link. (Want more info on affiliate marketing? Check out my article, “How to get started with affiliate marketing“!
Ads. If you have a lot of traffic to your blog, you can sell ad space and earn money on click-thrus with ad networks. Or you can simply sell advertising space for a flat fee.
- Creative Market is a site where you can sell digital products like: photography, website themes, mockups, fonts, graphics and more!
- Sell digital downloads on Etsy (think: graphics, scrapbook pages, collage starters, ebooks, printables, calendars, trackers, printable art, invitations, posters, planners, etc.)
- Blogging. If you’re a creative that isn’t blogging, you could always add this as a way to create passive income. (See above or How to Start a Blog…)
- Drop-Shipping. You can set up a drop-shipping ecommerce site with Shopify and sites like Printful or Aliexpress.
So there you have it! Several ways creatives can make passive income online. Granted, there are tons of others ways to make money within each of these niches, but these ideas are focused on passive income. Are you going to add any of these passive income strategies to your own creative business? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!