I started to get interested in building streams of passive income after I started my first company. It was, and still is, a seasonal food business, meaning for about four months of the year I didn’t have very much work to do.
I wanted to use this time wisely. I decided the best use of my time would be to start building some passive income streams that would help me to earn a bigger income during these long months as well as bolster my income during the busy ones.
I’m definitely a creative sort of person, so finding ways I could capitalize on that was key. My greatest strengths are in design, artwork, and writing, so I wanted to put these to use.
I think a lot of people also have these particular strengths, so here is my list of different passive income streams that I’ve tried or am currently doing using these tools and skills.
Note that passive income isn’t really passive. It actually means a bunch of work up front, and then some maintenance the rest of the time. Some days that just means checking sales figures, other days it means answering emails, and sometimes it’s troubleshooting the website or online platform.
At the end of the day I’m really proud of the online businesses and income streams that I’ve built. So let’s get started!
Selling digital art prints.
Selling digital or print is a really great solution if you have creative abilities, an eye for design and current trends, and a bit of e-commerce know-how.
Platforms like Etsy make it really easy to open up a store and sell digital files. In fact, there are shoppers on there looking specifically for that sort of product!
You could build a store there and benefit from that organic traffic, or build your own store on a platform like Shopify. You can push this even further by implementing some digital marketing skills, building a social media presence, and even doing some paid ads.
Note that Etsy has started a new advertising program where they advertise on your behalf, and if it makes it sale for you, they bill you afterwards. The system is still very new and there are some bugs to work out, but overall I think this is generally going to be good for Etsy sellers.
Creating and selling templates.
You can create templates for pretty much anything that you know how to design. This can range from building website themes to building workbook templates, canvas templates to customizable wedding invitations.
Again, Etsy is a really great place to sell these things. Go do a search on there and see what’s selling right now for a type of design you know how to make. You’d be surprised what people actually are paying for. I’m always discovering new types of templates that you can make and sell there!
There are also lots of other market places specifically for different types of templates or themes. Figure out what kind of thing you’re comfortable building, and then search online to see where people are buying it. Just keep in mind that different marketplaces will offer different royalty rates.
Creating social media graphics.
You can create social media graphics that someone can purchase and use on their own accounts. Think about highlight covers, story templates, post graphics, or anything else you can customize!
This is a great idea if you’re able to create bundles, like a collection of themed highlight cover images, or a membership program. If you create shareable content on a regular basis, you could build a membership program where people receive stylized content to share, including photos, illustrations, and even captions they can use or edit.
There’s a way to set this up as both a passive income stream, a low maintenance income stream, or as a custom service business. If you have a really distinct style or a keen eye for trends, this could be a great option for you.
Writing eBooks or PDF workbooks.
Now, I may be a little bit biased because this is pretty much my favourite income stream that I have, but writing and publishing eBooks is a lot of fun and can potentially bring in income for a long time.
This will depend on what exactly you’re writing about. A work of fiction has a lot more longevity than nonfiction, especially short form nonfiction.
If there’s anything that you’re knowledgeable about, a process that you’ve developed, a service that you offer, or a message you can share, you can create an eBook that somebody will want to read.
There’s a lot to the world of self publishing, so you can either go do all the research and trial and error yourself, or consider taking the online course that I offer through the Sprout School. It teaches you everything you need to know to create eBooks from writing to formatting to distributing and selling to marketing.
If you want to check that out, you can click here to take a look at the class and see if it’s right for you.
There are lots of places where you can sell your ebooks or PDF workbooks. Amazon, Etsy, or your own store are all popular options. If you’re going to do this, think about how you can reach the specific readers who will be interested in your topic. Certain types of consumer shop on certain websites.
Teaching an online course.
Course creation has to be a tie with eBooks for me! Before I became an entrepreneur, I used to teach at a university, so I have a deep love of sharing and teaching information. If you do too, this could be a great option.
Depending on the methods that you use, this could be one of the more labour-intensive start ups for passive income streams. Creating the course concept, writing out the lessons, recording the video and editing it, and then packaging everything together can take a fair bit of time.
However, this does allow you to create a high value product. Most of the other methods listed here, except for designing website themes, deal with low-cost products.
Then it just becomes a matter of marketing it. If you already have a large platform, social media following, or business, you can integrate it into that platform. Running a blog, doing some social media marketing, running ads, or doing affiliate and cross promotions can all be effective ways to get your course out there.
So, those are the five methods of running mostly passive all on businesses that I like to use. As you can see, most of them do rely pretty heavily on some digital marketing skills.
These are skills that you can build up through trial and error, but there are also tons of free resources and even online courses that you can take to build up that skill set.
Have you tried any of these creative income streams yourself? Do you have a favourite? if not leave me a comment and tell me which one you’d like to try the most!