Looking to build a passive income for your graphic design business? Not sure how?
This list contains ten ways you can build a profitable passive income product fast.
I should preface this by saying that there’s no guarantee something is going to do well. I've made a full-time living from passive income products for the past four years (and released over 90 products). Still, I can't ever be sure a product will do well.
But what you can do is use these tactics to make products quickly that are more likely to make money.
Here’s how I would use this list. Pick 2-3 of the strategies. Try each one twice. That means you’ve quickly made six products. In all likelihood, one of these products will do better than all the rest combined.
That’s your finger-hold, and it can be the first leverage you get in your business. When you find this, you need to start building around this product.
1. Package Rejected Work
Did you know there's a good chance you have digital files that people would love to buy?
Designer, Nick Brito started drawing a new vector character every day. Each on represented the workout he did that day (dude is ripped).
Within a few months, he had 60+ incredible looking vector workout characters.
Do you think there's a fitness blog, supplement company, or gym just looking for some high-quality vector illustrations (instead of those super cheesy stock photos)?
The answer is yes. And they'd be more than happy to throw money at Nick to get those graphics.
Instead of starting from scratch take a look at work that’s sitting on your hard drive taking up space. We all have a treasure trove of unused work just sitting on our hard drive. So don’t let it go to waste!
Here're just a few examples of where you might find useful rejected work lurking:
Rejected Client Work
How many times have you done great work only to have it rejected by clients? Don’t let it die in obscurity. See if you can find the seed for a product (or an entire product that just needs to be packaged up).
Create a DIY Solution for People Who Can't Afford You
We all have certain types of work we can do a great job at in our sleep. Whether you’re awesome at creating badges or setting up a local development environment – chances are they're people that would happily hand over cash for the solution.
Rocky Roark is a killer illustrator with a hugely in-demand style. The problem is there's a lot of people who can't afford to hire Rocky. So Rocky made a pack of avatars so customers could build their own characters.
It costs a fraction as much as actually hiring Rocky and they look great.
Rocky could have worried that selling this pack would eat into his freelance profits. But it actually works in his favor. Customers often by the pack, love the results, but then can't resist the draw of having Rocky create highly customized art from him.
Rocky makes extra cash from his avatar set but he's made many times that in the business it's brought in.
So next time you catch yourself doing something that you’re awesome at try recording it. The killer part about this is that it takes you almost zero time to create. I mean, you’re doing this either way, right? So just pretend like you’re training an employee and record it and explain what you’re doing.
You can use QuickTime to do this, or if you want more features, Camtasia is my preferred video software (plus, it comes with a 30-day FREE trial).
2. Scan Textures
Got a scanner? Within 60 minutes you can create a massive library of textures that are just waiting to be packaged up. Look around your house. You’ll be amazed what’s lying around that makes great textures.
Here're some examples:
- Textured paper
- Cookie sheets
- Inside of old books
- Paper used for artwork
3. Make Your Own Resources for a Client Project
Do you have something that you always have to do when you’re setting up a client project? Instead of redoing it every single time create an action, template, or checklist. Chances are if you find yourself doing something over and over for clients – others will too.
Here’s an example (because you know I love examples):
Let’s say you’re always putting together logo proposal packages for clients. Make a template and clearly label the layers so other designers can make it their own. Or you a get super fancy and automate it with Smart Objects?
4. Try Fontself Maker
Do you create custom lettering for client work? If you do, you have the beginnings of a font!
Complete the character set with the basics (alpha-numeric and punctuation). Then use Fontself Maker to convert it into a font in seconds in Illustrator.
Make some killer preview images and put it up for sale. If you see good results, you can always go back and expand/improve the font yourself or by hiring a font pro.
5. Create a Product Machine
I once made a Photoshop action that turned anything into halftones. Grab a texture or image, click the Action, and voila a set of halftone textures!
I got a bunch of different textures and turned them into halftones in seconds. I bundled these up and sold them as a product (this product alone probably made me $5000. It took me a few hours to make (including making the cover, organizing files, and uploading).
6. Sell Public Domain Work
This is some low hanging fruit, and honestly, I’m surprised more people aren’t doing it. The internet is full of public domain artwork, textures, videos, and books that are owned by the public.
Now, I’m not an IP attorney. Honestly, it can be a little complicated to navigate. But there’s some old material that is published all over the place and people seem to have no problem selling and using it.
While you’re on your iPad watching reruns of Breaking Bad search around. See if you can come up with a new and unique way to package this stuff. How can you combine it to make it new? Can you easily recreate it with a new twist?
I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone buy something that’s free? First of all, they 100% will buy it. Second, because they don’t want to search all over for it. It’s all about convenience. You see where I’m going with this?
7. Record, Transcribe, Edit
Make a short and to the point eBook about something super specific that you're good at.
I know what you’re thinking. Books take forever to make! But there’s a ton you can outsource to get a book done quickly.
Here’s a simple process you can follow to create a book:
- Create a simple outline of what your book is about (just break it down into 3-5 steps that you would take - like a checklist.
- Make an audio recording of yourself explaining how to solve the problem. Use the outline you made in Step 1. to help you stay on subject.
- Hire a transcription company to turn your audio recording into a transcript.
- Go through the transcript and break it into chapter, headings, and subheads.
- Turn it into an ebook using your design skills or just convert a Pages or Word document into a PDF.
8. Find Partnerships
This is a crazy powerful way to get started. But almost no one does it. It might be because it’s not as obvious. But I think it’s probably because we’re all a bit intimidated when it comes to reaching out to others and asking for stuff.
Contact someone who already has an audience and is building a passive income. You can find these people all over Creative Market, Skillshare, Udemy and other places.
Make a deal with them in which you make 90%-100% of the product in exchange for a percentage of sales. You get access to their audience, help making a product that sells, and that means your chances of success go through the roof.
Note: This idea takes more time and energy. But the chances of creating something that makes no money is way lower.
9. Make Something You Need
I’m willing to bet your biggest fear about creating a passive income is that you’ll make a product and no one buys it. After all, you got into this to make money and save time, right?
So try making something that you would LOVE.
Ask yourself this:
In my work, what digital resource would be crazy helpful? What would I pay good money for if it solved my problem?
Chances are when you ask this there're one or two things that pop in your head. You might not know exactly what the solution or product would be. But I’m sure you instinctively feel certain general ideas pop-up.
Make that product for yourself. Make it awesome. All the while think of it as a tool you’ll just be using for yourself, your clients and your day to day work. If it saves you time, you’re not wasting time making it (even if no one buys it).