Creative Business Tips

Passive Income Ideas for Your Biz

February 8, 2022

Ready to get started with passive income in your biz? Here are 3 ideas.

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Are you a creative entrepreneur who is looking for passive income ideas for your biz? Maybe you’ve heard of passive income, but you aren’t totally sure what it is, let alone how to get incorporate it into your business.

I’ve got you.

Passive income is an incredible revenue stream to add into your creative business. It can make space in your calendar, eliminate the hamster-wheel of trading your time for money, and free up your schedule to work on creative projects that energize you. 

Yes, passive income means you make money while you paint, travel, or sleep, but it also means that you can increase your business’ impact by reaching a wider audience with your products, services, and offerings.

I do want to note that while passive income can make your workload feel simpler and more supportive in the long-run, it does take intention, time, and investment up front to build into your business.

But the benefit is ten-fold because the work you do once can continue to serve you, and pay you, over time. 

For example, my favorite part about passive income is that I can continue to serve creatives and generate revenue for work I completed three years ago. Classes I published on Skillshare when I joined as a teacher in 2019 continue to teach students and bring income into my biz without me doing any more live work for the class.

How cool is that?

In this post, I’m sharing three ideas to add passive income into your creative biz.

passive income ideas for your creative biz

Passive Income Ideas for Your Biz

1. Sell Your Art with Print on Demand

If you are a visual artist, one simple way to add passive income stream into your creative biz is to create products using a Print on Demand site. 

Print on Demand (POD) means that you personally don’t house any inventory. The company takes care of printing, packaging, and shipping products ordered from your shop (yes. please). 

The main benefits of POD are that you can:

  • create many products from one work of art
  • easily test which products do best with your audience without any upfront investment
  • ditch the physical inventory.

So, rather than investing in inventory that you hope will sell, you can upload your art, create ten different products, market those products, see which ones do best, and make sales without having to worry about packaging or shipping.

It’s a powerful way to get market research for your artwork to help determine which products to continue creating.

How to Use Print on Demand

The process is relatively simple to get started. If you create art using traditional media like drawing, painting, or printmaking, you can scan your artwork, upload it to the site, and start selling your work on products. If you create digital artwork like photography or illustration, you can upload your work directly from your digital files.

There are many Print on Demand (POD) platforms to choose from including Society6, RedBubble, Zazzle, Printify, and one of my favorites, Gooten

Every print on demand site has its pros and cons (which I will do a separate post about later), but if you are looking to get started right away selling your work via print on demand, I recommend Society6 or Redbubble

Both of these POD sites are well-known and have a built-in marketplace. This means you don’t need your own self-hosted online shop or Etsy store to sell these products.

If you are just starting out and try Society6 or Redbubble, see how you like POD. If you like it as a passive income source in your business, then you can expand into your own online shop.

Personally, I love using Gooten as my Print on Demand partner in my biz because they allow you to set your own profit margins.

See, Gooten is a backend POD site rather than a front-facing marketplace which means that to start selling with them, you need to have a Shopify or Etsy shop to connect. 

They are a great option to partner with down the road if you find you love print on demand as a passive income stream in your biz.

To learn more about Print on Demand, you can take my Skillshare class: Ditch the Inventory: How to Use Print on Demand to Sell Your Art and Launch your Creative Career.

2. Teach Online

One of my favorite passive income ideas for a creative biz is to teach online.

I’ll be honest. Teaching online has been my favorite passive income stream in my business to date. It is my true passion to teach fellow creatives applicable skills for their creative business journey. 

Teaching online via pre-recorded classes has been a powerful way for me to reach creatives around the world. I also continue to generate income for work I produced months, or even years, ago.

Just like print on demand, there are many companies to choose from for teaching online. These include Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, and one of my favorites, Skillshare.

If you are just getting started and want to see if you enjoy teaching online, Skillshare is a solid place to start. Skillshare is a membership-based platform that, just like Society6, has a built-in marketplace.

This means that you don’t have to have a huge following to start getting students in your classes, and you’re not flying solo to market your courses.

If you find that you enjoy teaching classes online in a pre-recorded format then you can expand into other platforms. You could move into teaching with Thinkific or Teachable where you can sell single courses on your own website. 

If you’d like to try Skillshare, you can get one month free using this link.

3. Affiliate Marketing

If you’re looking for another passive income idea, affiliate marketing is an option for your creative biz. This option can definitely take time to grow. Truth be told, this is a very small percentage of my current passive income streams.

But I also have not put a large amount of energy into this avenue yet. I plan to put more intention here as I continue to grow my business.

Affiliate marketing is when you get paid to share and advertise a company’s products. So, for example, I am an affiliate with Blick Art Materials. Any time I share one of their products, I use my affiliate link, and when a sale happens through my link, I get a paid a percentage.

Another example is the Skillshare link I shared with you in the last section. I am an affiliate for Skillshare. Any time somebody signs up for the one-month free trial through my link, I get a percentage of that sale.

Affiliate marketing can expand across your business into your Youtube channel, blog, Instagram account, and other marketing strategies. 

Which Affiliate Partners Should You Work With?

Be sure to partner with affiliates who you truly believe in and would proudly recommend to a friend. You want to make sure that you maintain your brand integrity and business values when choosing which products to advertise.

One way I like to think about this is if I wouldn’t naturally share and rave about the product to a friend at a party, I wouldn’t be an affiliate partner for that product.

Skillshare and Blick? I could rave about those companies all the live-long day. Sign. Me. Up.

Make a list of products and companies that you love and use. Then reach out to those companies to see if they have an affiliate program that you can join.

If they do, give it a go! Start consistently sharing your links in your creative biz to promote the company’s products, add passive income, and help your audience with the tools and resources you adore.

Ready to Get Started with Passive Income?

Remember that passive income streams can take time to grow. In my mind, passive income has always been about the long-game. I incorporate them into my biz consistently to build out more freedom, impact, and revenue over time.

So, with the long-game in mind, focus on creating consistently and marketing your work. This could look like uploading art to your POD shop every week. Or making an online class every quarter. Or promoting your affiliate links each month.

It’s time for you try out a passive income stream in your biz. Test out some options, and pick the one that feels best to you!

Which of these three passive income streams are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments!

Ready to incorporate passive income into your creative business?

Apply for 1:1 Creative Business coaching.

I take on a limited number of clients each year, and would love to work with you.

You can learn more and apply here.

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  1. […] the biggest game-changer. From the moment I started my biz in 2017, it has asked to be fully mobile. But I sort of put that on the back-burner and tried a lot of non-mobile things in the first few […]

  2. […] could keep trading your time for dollars instead of letting your new passive income stream work its magic in the […]

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I’m an illustrator and educator based in North Carolina. When I started my creative biz I dreamed of time and location freedom that would not only give me a rad biz, but a life to live fully. After making my dream a reality, it’s now my mission to help you bring your unique vision to life through coaching and illustration. If you love cowboy coffee, dancing to 90s music, and believe in the infinite power of creativity, you’re in the right place.

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