There are many passive income ideas for artists to help ease the strain on bills. While working as an artist is a passion first, extra money helps to keep things ticking over.
Artists are creative by nature, but it often takes a while to make a full-time living. If this sounds like you, luckily there are many new ways to boost the monthly income. The internet is literally alive with opportunity if you know where to look.
This article discusses the many lucrative side hustles for creatives. All can be done in your spare time so you can still get on with your artistic projects.
The Best Passive Income Ideas for Artists
Passive income is not passive in the beginning. You’ll need to put the work in up-front to get to the money-making stage. But once set up, your new creative passive income stream might pay you for months or even years. Here are 20 of the best passive income ideas for artists.
1. Print on Demand (POD)
POD sites allow you to upload your creative designs and choose which apparel you’d like to print on. Good ideas are t-shirts, phone cases, pillows, bags, jumpers and hats. If your artwork is good, it’ll be easy to make passive income from POD.
The good thing about this hustle is that the POD company takes care of printing, delivery and customer service. And designs only get printed when an order comes in, so no need to buy stock that potentially won’t sell. Recommended POD platforms to check out are RedBubble, Printful and Zazzle.
2. Online Creative Courses
Online e-learning platforms like Skillshare feature thousands of classes from creatives. Anyone can sign up and sell their own classes to a ready-made audience. As an artist, you could create classes teaching graphic design, photography, drawing or animation depending on where your skill lies.
To create your courses, you’ll need:
- Laptop and WIFI
- A quality microphone
- Screen recording and editing software
- A quiet room to shoot your class
Learn more here:
3. Sell Notebooks
Did you know you can make passive income by selling blank notebooks on Amazon? Yes, there really is a market of buyers for these!
As an artist, this should be an easy hustle using your creative skills to make your books stand out more than the rest. Even though the notebooks are blank inside, a beautiful cover design is what draws people to purchase.
So, as one of the best passive income ideas for artists, you can get started on this right away. Just set up a seller account on Amazon and start designing your books in Canva. Once your notebook designs are uploaded, Amazon ships out orders and deals with customers when sales come in.
4. Social Media Banners and Logos
Business owners and entrepreneurs often don’t have time to create social media logos and banners. As a creative, you can offer your design skills as a freelancer. To make this a passive hustle, try offering monthly bundles of Pinterest pins that you create once and sell multiple times.
Another idea is to create sales banners for businesses. After you’ve created templates, these can be sold to multiple businesses after tweaking the logo, brand colours and messaging.
5. Promote Art Affiliate Programs
What artistic tools do you use? If you use graphic design software, check out their website to see if they have an affiliate program. Most will because it helps them get more business and keeps people loyal if they’re benefiting. Some art affiliate programs worth checking out include:
Learn more here:
- Affiliate Marketing Without a Website: 5 Ways You Can Start Today
- Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – What You Need to Know
- How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money?
6. Monetise Social Media
As an artist, you may have a decent-sized audience on social media who love your work. Monetise your accounts with affiliate links, brand partnerships and paid shoutouts. Good platforms to make money from are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok.
Reach out to businesses you want to partner with or set up a profile on influencer sites such as Valued Voice and Intellifluence. Once signed up you can set your rates for product shoutouts and big campaigns. Some businesses will reach out to you or you can scroll through available jobs and apply to be a part of ones that take your fancy.
Learn more here:
- Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing on Twitter: Make $1,000/M Tweeting
- Pinterest Affiliate Marketing without a Blog: Complete Beginners Guide
7. YouTube Graphic Design Channel
Help others achieve their goals and you’ll never go broke! YouTube is basically an online university to learn all types of skills. You can set up a channel and teach people how to draw, edit, paint, create logos or any other type of artsy skill.
Once you hit enough views on each video, you’ll be eligible to make money from ads. Other ways to monetise your channel include brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
8. Start a Podcast
Not everyone likes to watch videos. Some people prefer podcasts – even aspiring artists. A podcast is a huge opportunity for you as an artist to share your wisdom on painting, drawing or graphic design. You can even interview top artists in each field.
Get started with as little as an iPhone and earbuds. Don’t overthink what you need in the beginning or you’ll never get started. Antrese Wood, host of the Savvy Painter podcast is a shy painter at heart and started her podcast after moving to Argentina to pursue her love of painting.
9. Sell Printables on Etsy
One of the best passive income ideas for artists is selling digital printables on Etsy. The first step is deciding which niche you want to sell in. This could be business, party planning, organisational or kid’s education for example.
Ideas for downloads that sell well on Etsy are planners, water bottle labels, party games, crochet patterns, colouring book pages, budget trackers and custom stickers.
After creating your designs, upload to your Etsy store for a small $0.20 fee per item. Once your store is live, you can make sales over and over again with no extra work.
10. Sell Stock Photos or Photo Presets
Are you an avid photographer with a library of creative shots? Great photos can make you passive income by advertising them on stock photo websites. Bloggers and businesses need imagery for their websites and social media.
Photo presets are custom filters used in Adobe Lightroom. Influencers and social media marketers use presets to give all their photos a coherent look. If you design and use your own presets, bundle them together and sell through Etsy, the Creative Market or FilterGrade.
11. Start a Creative Blog
Starting a blog is extremely cheap and simple these days and a great way for artists to earn passive income. Buy your domain name and hosting for a few dollars, download WordPress and start creating content.
Once you get a decent amount of traffic, monetise your site with advertising, affiliate links and sponsored posts. You can use blogging as a way to promote your art and engage your audience with tutorials.
It’s easy to sell your art directly from your blog, or link to a store where you sell it. Blogging takes a lot of work up-front, but once you find your audience it becomes a lucrative asset.
12. License Your Art Work
If you’re an established artist or happen to create an in-demand design, you can make money from art licensing. This basically means you sell the license to use your artwork in specific business campaigns. You then get a cut of the sales each time your designs are used.
It is a top passive income idea for artists, but probably one of the hardest to be successful with. If you do make it work, you could make a lot of money passively. Before you commit, read about art licensing so you know what you’re getting into.
13. Sell eBooks
EBook publishing is a simple side hustle for creatives to get into. It doesn’t have to be thousands of pages long to be a success, just 50 – 100 pages is a good goal to aim for. As long as it solves a problem, the eBook will sell.
If you don’t love writing, outsource this part on freelancer platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. The book can be about art or anything you have knowledge about. Have a think about what you’ve achieved or overcome and put it into an eBook to help others.
Once your eBook is ready to go, sell it on Amazon Kindle e-publishing where sales and customer service are handled for you.
Learn more here:
14. Subscription Services
Subscription services are areas of gated content, where people pay to access video tutorials, tutoring, premium articles, tools or exclusive previews of work. This passive income stream works well if you have a blog or a large social media following.
Set up this service and let your followers know via social media and your email list. Recommended subscription software to use is Podia or Gumroad which allow you to set up monthly payments (subscriptions) from your followers.
15. Create and Sell Surface Designs
Surface designs are used on wallpaper, fabrics, gift wrap and table mats. If you’ve created multiple designs, put them to work on platforms such as Spoonflower. Each design that sells banks you a 10% commission, making it a great passive income idea for artists.
Passive Income Ideas for Artists – Final Thoughts
Now you know the best 15 passive income ideas for artists. With a little work up-front, you can start building extra monthly income and reduce stress around paying the bills.
If you’re new to the art world, it takes time and effort to get your work out there and seen by the right people. Multiple passive income streams make life a little easier and could even turn into something bigger.
Have you tried any of the side hustles mentioned? Let me know your experiences in the comments below.
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.