Did you know there are at least ten different ways to make extra money as a designer?
If there’s anything 2020 taught us is you cannot rely on one source of income alone. Anything can happen at any time, leaving you stranded. To avoid that or at least minimize the impact, you need to build multiple sources of income.
You’ll learn ten ways designers like you can make extra money from this article.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Start a blog
Blogging is one of the most effective ways of boosting your income as a designer. The best part is it will boost your career in various ways.
First, blogging attracts new prospective clients. A good blogging or content marketing strategy will help you attract and nurture leads until they become paying customers. But for that to happen, you will need several types of content for the different stages of the sales funnel.
One, you need content that attracts visitors who are still at the beginning of the customer journey. These visitors are generally curious about graphic design services, but they’re usually not ready to spend any money just yet. Therefore, your content needs to focus on delivering value and not selling products.
Here’s an example from Jamie Gregory, a graphic designer based in the UK:
Next, we have middle-of-the-funnel content. The guys are aware of their pain points and are looking for potential solutions. You can target them with comparison tables and charts of different solutions. You can also host webinars or publish video content discussing such comparisons.
Finally, we have bottom-of-the-funnel guys who are ready to spend money to resolve their needs. Here, you can provide free consultations or publish case studies showing how your solution helped someone else. Such a strategy will drive more leads to your website. You can then nurture them with different types of content and through multiple channels. For example, you could collect the lead’s emails from your website and put them through email drips.
The other way to make extra money from blogging is through affiliate marketing. In addition to targeting customers, you can create a blog that serves other designers.
Harness your expertise to build a technical blog covering topics like how-tos, graphic designer tool reviews, and so on. Then, join an affiliate network and partner with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, ProofHub, etc.
Blogging presents many opportunities to make extra money as a designer, but it’s not as easy as it may sound. First, your website needs to rank well. That means you’ll need to invest in a search engine optimization course. The course will teach you about onsite and off-site SEO stuff like:
- interlinking your pages
- content optimization
- URL optimization
- writing meta descriptions
- link building
- Optimizing Google My Business profile
SEO courses can cost anything from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Alternatively, you could outsource all these services to an SEO agency.
Besides SEO, you may also have to invest in paid marketing. That includes pay-per-click campaigns that direct people to your blog posts or landing pages. Paid marketing produces results quicker than SEO, but it can get costly.
2. Create a course
Making online courses is another brilliant way designers can earn more money. The money aside, this is an excellent idea because it’s pretty passive. Don’t get me wrong, creating a valuable course takes lots of hours. However, once the course goes live, your work will be to promote it, then sit back and watch the money flow in.
Of course, you have to update the course every once in a while to keep it relevant. But that’s usually straightforward.
In addition to the money you make from selling the course, you can earn extra dollars by providing one-on-one coaching.
Lots of people have earned thousands and even millions from online courses. Take Michelle of Making Sense of Cents, for instance. She made $1,000,000 from an affiliate marketing course.
Guess what? The e-learning market size is projected to grow even more in the coming years.
To get into the online courses niche, start by identifying your topic of interest. That topic must be within your area of expertise because your course can only be successful if it’s super valuable.
You also want to do some market research to identify the target audience of your course. Then, take your time and create a resourceful course.
From there, you can publish your course on existing platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Kajabi, among others. Remember to optimize your course description and provide a preview of the course. Encourage existing students to leave reviews, too.
Alternatively, you can host the course on your website and do all the marketing work yourself. You can do that through social media, PPC campaigns, campaigns for email marketing, webinars, guest posting, podcasting, setting up an affiliate program, and providing discounts.
You want to get some authentic social proof for your course as well. For that, you have to encourage your students to leave reviews actively. You can also discount the course to several students in exchange for testimonials.
3. Make extra money by connecting with agencies
You can partner with other agencies to earn commissions doing nothing more than sending clients their way.
Let’s say you built the blog as discussed in the first point above. You’ve used your blog to grow your email list. Then, one of your leads happens to need additional services that you can’t provide.
For example, you advised an upcoming designer to build their website to showcase their portfolio. However, they need SEO services to rank that portfolio website. That’s not your area of expertise.
So, instead of letting the lead search for the service elsewhere, you could send them to an SEO agency you’ve partnered with. They’ll give you a decent commission, and your lead will get the services they need.
There are a few things to consider when looking for potential partner agencies. You don’t want a direct competitor. They should offer complementary services.
Next, make sure the agency is good at what they do. So, partner with an agency you’ve worked with before.
4. Bring in more clients
The other no-brainer strategy to make more money as a freelancer is by acquiring more clients. Now, this is not as passive as the three methods we’ve covered, but it’s a great way to eliminate downtimes and boost your job security.
There are various ways of attracting new clients. First, you can utilize freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, iFreelance, and Fiverr. Then, create an optimized profile using keywords related to your niche. You also want to set up your headshot to give your profile some personality. Ask your clients to leave public reviews as well.
Here’s an example of a Freelancer profile that ticks all the boxes.
You can also utilize social media to attract new clients. Create a page on platforms where your clients are likely to be. LinkedIn is a great place to start. Then, develop a proper strategy to sell your skills. Post frequently and showcase your expertise.
A portfolio website can also bring in more clients. But keep in mind building and ranking a website takes time.
Networking is also critical. With in-person events picking up after COVID-19, try to attend as many relevant events as possible. Meet potential customers and similar designers whom you can partner with.
5. Develop products that can sell
Analyze your skills and find out if there are any products you can make. Then, do some market research to find if there’s demand for the product in question. If there is, go ahead and make the product then market it aggressively.
Here are some ideas, if you are a web designer, you can make website templates, WordPress themes and plugins, Shopify themes, textures, brochure templates, etc.
If you are a graphic designer, create digital products like fonts, brushes and textures, mockups, logo templates, stock logos, UX themes, and so on.
Developers can build online calculators, apps, and software products. Who knows, your software might just be the next big SaaS.
Meanwhile, pretty much every designer can make a decent recurring income with ebooks.
Once your digital products are ready, market them on your website and social media. Moreover, you can sell them on digital marketplaces like Envato and Creative Market.
You can also reach out to clients directly and pitch your product to them.
6. Create YouTube tutorials
YouTube can make you extra cash in so many ways. First, there’s the ad revenue. You can earn anything between $0.01 and $0.03 per view, depending on various factors. Your earnings should increase tremendously as your channel grows.
For example, Nate O’Brien, with 1.15M subscribers, earned $444,000 in a year through YouTube ad revenue alone.
Second, you can earn more money through affiliate marketing. Include an affiliate link in the video description if you review products or provide a tutorial mentioning certain products. You’ll get a kickback from any viewers buying the products through your link.
Brand sponsorship is another possibility. You could get a channel sponsor or have a few brands sponsor some content on your channel.
Lastly, YouTube can generate more money by attracting new clients. YouTube is one of the biggest search engines, with 77% of US residents aged 15-35 using the platform.
Therefore, prospective clients could land on your videos while looking for solutions. If your content is good enough, some of them might reach out for a project.
YouTube is an enticing option, but it’s a long-term game. You need to invest in good gear to begin with. Then, you need to set up your YouTube Logo and profile description.
Next, you must learn YouTube SEO. Use the YouTube search suggestions to get keyword ideas.
You can also look at the description of similar videos. For example, if you check the top-ranking videos below, you can tell a title with keywords like “for beginners” can perform well. Also, it seems the algorithm favors titles of videos that promise to show viewers the entire process of making a logo within a few minutes.
Getting your keywords right increases the chances of appearing towards the top of the search results.
From there, work on your thumbnails. Here are some tips to help you with that:
- Use a high-quality image
- Use the recommended thumbnail size of 1280 X 720
- Use clear fonts like “Impact.”
- Write compelling titles
- Use a contrasting color to make your title stand out
- Be consistent with your thumbnail designs
The other thing is to create high-quality content. Grab your viewers’ attention as quickly as possible to keep them engaged. Then, make sure the content itself is high-quality. Viewers should never feel baited, so deliver on the title of your video.
Lastly, encourage users to engage with your video. Ask them to like, dislike, share, and comment. These engagements help the YouTube algorithm to push your video.
You also want to promote your video on social platforms when it goes live. Plus, you can send out email blasts if you have an email list.
Another commonly used strategy is changing the video description and thumbnail after the video has been published. The technique can help you generate new traction for older videos.
7. Sell templates
Templates are a great source of passive income. All you need to do is put in the work to create the templates and make them available in the relevant marketplaces.
You can also choose to promote them from your website.
In any case, once the templates are ready, there’s nothing else to do besides promote them. That means you’ll have plenty of time to work on other projects.
From banner ad sets, logo designs to Pinterest graphics and posters, templates are pretty in demand. Just use your niche expertise to create high-quality templates, then put them up for sale.
8. Sell customized branding packages
Instead of creating and selling one item at a time, you can create multiple products and sell them all at once under one package to make extra money. These are known as branding packages.
A branding package could contain fonts, color schemes, personalized logos, business cards, letterheads, presentation templates with aesthetics, and so on.
The packages have a decent demand, with new companies looking for them to find their branding style. Even existing companies buy these packages when conducting a branding refresh or rebranding.
Plus, they can fetch good money.
Branding packages do take a lot of time to create. First, you will need to create multiple digital and even physical products to make up the package. Next, you may have to create multiple variations of the same asset.
For example, you can have a primary logo and multiple variations instead of making just one logo. Creating such a detailed package makes it easier to market your product.
You should also know that all the items included in the package need to have some degree of consistency. That’s the whole point of buying a branding package as opposed to purchasing the assets separately.
9. Create workshops and webinars
Another way to make extra money is to share your knowledge through workshops and webinars. There are a lot of upcoming designers who desperately want to know how they can land new clients, build a personal brand, and so on. A good chunk of them also prefers learning this through interactive workshops and webinars instead of traditional courses.
Build a super engaging workshop or webinar around your area of expertise. You can also partner with a few other creatives to create a super-comprehensive workshop then charge a few hundred or even thousands of dollars.
You can then market the workshop through your website, email list, social media, and PPC. be sure to drop a teaser video of what the workshop entails. You can also partner with other brands and influencers to promote the workshop.
One good thing about webinars is they can generate passive income long after the initial recording. As long as the concepts discussed are still up to date, you can continue making some extra money from it.
Also, you can use a webinar as a lead magnet to build your email list.
You could also repurpose the webinar and share it on your YouTube channel and make extra money from YouTube again.
10. Try consulting
Lastly, you can make extra money by selling your time. You don’t have to create any product with this approach. You just need to define your niche and offer your services on a consultancy basis.
Set your hourly rate and create an optimized profile on freelance platforms like Toptal, Upwork, and Freelance.
You can also use social media or build your website and provide your services directly to clients.
The beauty of designing skills is the flexibility and vast demand. You can work from anywhere, and you don’t have to rely on only one source of income. You can make extra money.
The above list covers ten different ways you can make extra money. You can combine as many techniques as you want.
For example, you can create digital products that will generate passive income as you bring in new clients through a blog and YouTube channel. Just make sure to deliver quality work across the board.
So, which of the ten methods are you going to start with? Time to make extra money!
Ready to design your logo? Get started with our logo maker!
Matt Diggity is a search engine optimization expert and the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.