6 Passive Revenue Stream Ideas for a Graphic Design Business
Are you frustrated about generating revenue for your graphic design business? Get 6 lucrative cash-generating ideas to scale your business...
Written by Mat
June 22, 2020

Graphic designers are constantly having to change their mindset to be able to deliver to clients. Knowing how your client thinks and what their customers expect of them, is often exhausting.

Juggling multiple projects and managing deadlines often leads to burnout. It’s not easy to shift mindsets between projects as getting into character (your client’s mindset) is time-consuming and takes its toll on your mental capacity.

Confusion sets in and you lack the confidence that you’ll get the concept right and on time. On top of that, your revenue is inconsistent as you’re constantly looking for clients to keep your cash flow running smoothly.

To help you fight against burnout, frustration, and stress; have multiple streams of income (MSI). Even better… Multiple streams of passive income. The type that you make you money while you sleep.

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

~ Warren Buffet

Setting up MSI’s lets you work on it at the beginning and it does the rest of the work for you, for years to come. It allows you to earn more without having to work more on it.

Having different sources of passive income (hyperlink to article #9) means that you’ll still earn money if one of these income streams suddenly stops. And it serves as a safety net for when you don’t have a graphic design project to work on.

The trick is to get involved with MSI’s that you’re familiar with because you still need to promote them. And you can only do this if you know what you’re talking about. So, stay within the graphic design realm so that you can keep all your revenue in one place – without “keeping all your eggs in one basket”.

Promote semi-automated multiple income streams (together with your client work) so that you never have a month where you haven’t earned anything. The key is to market your sales pages so that income flows from different sources.

These are 6 MSI ideas to keep generating income for years to come.

1. T-shirt designs

Use WordPress to create your own custom, print-on-demand T-shirt store. The idea is that you display your designs on your website and only have T-Shirts printed once a customer places an order.

This is ideal as you don’t need to keep stock on hand and you don’t have to get involved with the actual delivery. Arrange with your suppliers to deliver directly to your customers.

You also don’t have to pay your supplier out of your own pocket. Only pay once your customers’ placed (and paid for) the order on your website.

However, consider these important aspects before you jump right to it.

  • Decide on your niche first. Be specific about what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. Pick a theme that your audience relates to as this will make your marketing tactics so much easier.
  • Make your design interesting and unique. Decide what suits your brand, what images you’re going to use, and what slogans you’ll display. 
  • Make sure that your quality speaks about the type of brand you want to have. High-quality T-Shirts enhance the perception of your brand.

2. Design Stencils

Designing stencils and selling them on your website, Amazon, or Etsy is another way to create passive income.

Your initial layout is in creating the design, which only happens once. Make sure to create numerous unique stencil designs to cater to numerous tastes.

Clients find your design on the various platforms that you’ve chosen and order what they like from you.

There are 2 options that your customers can choose from:

  1. They can purchase the stencil template and print it themselves.
  2. Or, you can have a printer supply your customer with a mylar, or a plastic stencil that they can use repeatedly. This allows you to make a little more on your sales.

3. Design elements/templates on Envato.com

Creating design templates for people who want to do the design themselves is ideal. Sell your templates on Envato.com.

This lets your customers create their own logo, illustrations, business cards, resume templates, and whatever you make available.

You can easily tap into the logo creation template market as research shows that almost 61% of shoppers didn’t finish their purchase because they didn’t have logos.

4. Commercial Printing Broker/Reseller

Reselling printing to your customers gives you access to sophisticated machinery without having to invest in its equipment.

Make use of dropshipping printers so that you don’t have to get involved with the delivery.

Resell banners, signs, vinyl, canvas, and anything in-between without investing before your customer’s placed their order.

5. How to Tutorial Guides, Courses & Lessons

Creating online tutorials is one of the most satisfying and lucrative. Not only are you helping others but you’re making money by selling your courses on a platform like Udemy.

Record videos and market these to your target audience. This allows you to gain recognition as an expert.

Generate new opportunities for speaking events and invitations to collaborate with other graphic designers too.

Use this platform to test new concepts and launch tools, projects, and methods that you can bring to your workplace. Allow students to give you feedback before you go live with your new ideas.

6: Design Stock Graphics

Designing stock graphics easily generates passive income. Whether these are logos, vector images or icons.

You’ll have to apply to stock marketplaces, like Freepik, to sell your designs.

Not leveraging MSI means that you’ll always be chasing clients and money. Your side hustles’ income should either equal or exceed your client revenue.

Get rid of the feeling that you don’t have enough by spending your time setting up lucrative multiple streams of income. Especially those that have a once-off setup and minimal effort needed to promote it.

Passive income still needs some sort of action from you such as promotion. But these can be semi-automated and streamlined through paid advertising on social media and search engines.

Build a future-proof, non-client dependent business that helps you secure your future.

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