5 Income Streams for Artists

I have recently done some research for my course "Passive Income Streams for Artists" I created for the Safari Lounge Designer Classes. 
Before I start recording I usually read a lot and research everything in detail so I can be sure that the information I put together is up to date and valuable for my members. 
Thing is that, whenever you talk about "passive income", it has a negative touch. It implements that you do something (whatever it is), put it out for sale and never care about it again while money comes in. If you do it often enough you have maybe 5 income streams and you can live your life on the beach in a beautiful house. That's why I first hesitated to create such a course but since I wanna teach you how to make money with digital products I somehow had to. I cannot have Digidesignresort without letting you know that digital products are a great way to build up income streams where you do not have to exchange time for money.
While doing my research I stumbled over an article in the TIME and was impressed. 

There are so many different income streams like penguins. They look alike but each of them - if income stream or penguin - has its own character.

Affiliate Marketing and Digital Products are serious Business Models

I read the article and gained some trust back in talking about my 5 favorite income streams. Don't get me wrong. I know they work although I don't believe in having really "passive income". But I thought the topic "passive income streams" somewhere existed in a niche and would never be topic in the TIME. But it was. 

Sure, in the article they first talked about dividend stock which can be more or less passive (if you ignore heart attacks when the stock market goes down 😉 ). Another passive income stream is definitely real estate investing. But then, and that really surprised me, they talked about Affiliate Marketing and selling digital designs or art online.
At this point they definitely had my attention because usually Affiliate Marketing is something shady and never a serious business model (although it definitely is) while I don't expect sites like the TIME talk about selling designs and art as digital products.

But they do because it arrived in our everyday life. If we think about it, digital products found their way into our daily life. While hardly anyone knew about digital products back in 2005 today you cannot banish them from our lives anymore. You listen to music on your mobile, you watch Netflix and you read eBooks on your Kindle. And yes, all of these things are digital products and they make their owners a lot of money!
Think about the movie or music industry and how much they make selling movies and music (no longer on CDs and DVDs but e.g. over iTunes!). So you see - there is a lot of money to to be made.

And the same is valid for Affiliate Marketing. Really large sites such as "Check24" which look for the cheapest and best insurance, contracts and much more for you, use Affiliate Marketing as their business model.

5 Income Streams for Artists

Did I convince you? Wether Affiliate Marketing nor digital products are a niche product anymore when it comes to setting up income streams for Artists or basically anyone who is interested selling digital products.

So here are my favorite income streams for artists and why I recommend them. I try to always tell you why I find them great because I have experience with those I mention here.

Affiliate Marketing

I did when Digidesignresort was a digital scrapbooking site and I also do it today: I add affiliate links to my articles (and tell you I do so by adding a * to any affiliate link here on the site). I don't do it excessively because I just recommend if I have something to recommend - otherwise I shut up. I believe that there is nothing shady about affiliate marketing as long as you give your readers value and tell them in detail why or why not a product is right for them. 
In a nutshell, here is how Affiliate Marketing works:
You have a product you have bought, you like it and you use it over and over again. So there is nothing wrong if you recommend it to your friends or family members, or?
Online you also do exactly that. You recommend it and link to the product with a special link from the vendor you signed up for.
I even have an Affiliate Program here at Digidesignresort because if you have joined the Safari Lounge and you are happy with it I'm happy if you recommend it to your family and friends. You can sign up here.
Whenever someone signs up you earn recurring commissions which means that you are paid every month people who signed up with your link pay for the membership.
Big sites like Computerbild.de (a German website about computers) use Affiliate Marketing as their business model. I'd even say they nearly rely on Affiliate Marketing and they can because if you have enough traffic it is a reliable and sustainable business model which works hands off.

It is "somehow" passive because if you have written your article and added your Affiliate Link it will do the work for you and you do not even have to worry about customer service. What you have to worry about is new content because this business model won't work if you publish, let's say, 100 articles and never look back.
That's why I say that it is "somehow" passive. Because you definitely need to add new content consistently to make consistent money from it. Otherwise traffic dies one day last but not least because Google has categorized your site as an abandoned one.

Digital Products

Beside Affiliate Marketing which is one of my income streams selling digital products is definitely another one. I have done that since 2006 without even knowing that this would make a great business model. As I said those days selling digital products was really not common and most shop systems didn't support digital downloads those days.
I create my digital products on my computer, mostly in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Procreate or Affinity Designer. And then I sell these products on various sites and in my own store.
If you sell them in your own store you need to do the marketing. But if you sell them on marketplaces such as CreativeMarket or Designcuts we really talk about passive income because they have a build-in-audience.
You add your product to the specific marketplace and the guys there do the work for you. But from experience I can tell you: If you do not add anything new it won't work either. Or actually it does but money gets less.
An example: I've joined My Memories maybe in 2010 and added my digital scrapbooking kits there. Even today I still sell these digital scrapbooking kits and I get a monthly payment.
Sure, the more I advertise the more money I make. Since I usually don't advertise these products because I am no longer in the digital scrapbooking space I don't make that much money from all the kits there. If I put a little bit of effort into it - like setting up a sale - sales start coming in.
When I talk about digital products here I'm thinking of illustrations or complete graphic sets for designers to create new products. Because, of course, eBooks or online courses are also digital products.

Online Courses

Online Courses are another way to set up an income stream for artists. Actually, if you know how to draw, illustrate or paint you are perfect for creating online courses. If you create something evergreen (e.g. teaching watercolor painting is truly evergreen!) you can add your online course to Skillshare or Udemy and sell it forever.
On the other hand: If you create a course about a software you always have the problem that this might be old sooner or later and you need to update it.
You definitely need to keep this in mind when you start recording your online course.
Beside that, I wanna be honest with you, creating online courses is definitely not the easiest way of creating digital products. 
You need to set up your course, you need to have the equipment, know about tone and video, you must have the material and more. You must truly enjoy it to do it well. And yes, it can be frustrating especially at the beginning because you definitely need some practice before that works for you.


eBooks are also a great way for an income stream. As a watercolor artist you could write an eBook about how to draw with watercolor. Or as a graphic designer you write an eBook about all the basics you need to know. There are endless possibilities and since there are sites like Amazon you can publish your eBook in no time and without a publisher. 
Amazon even offers print on demand for your eBook which means that, if anyone purchases a paperback your book gets printed and is then send to the customer.

Wall Art Prints

Wall Art Prints might also belong to digital products. I list them separately though because I think they "deserve it". There are not just wall art prints but also many other digital products you can offer to help people brush up their home. And when you do a research on Etsy there are endless shops who offer wall art prints and sell really well.
Basically artists or designers put together a nice wall art print in different sizes and sell the package as a digital products. The customers then can print out the poster as often as they want to decorate their home in the size they want.

Here is one of my wall art prints we created in the course.
For me it's great fun to create them because I love to tell stories :-).

If you have just a little understanding of color, design and shapes you can create lovely wall art prints. 
I put a class in the Safari Lounge Designer Classes to show you how to create these prints from your own drawings. You can have a look here

Income Streams for Artists

As you can see from this article we can group the passive income streams for Artists into two - just as the TIME mentioned. We have affiliate marketing on the one hand and then digital products on the other hand - and those can be spitted into graphic sets, eBooks, online courses and prints. But you can also find many more examples - from printable to music.
The important thing is that you decide for 2-3 different income streams and mix them to your liking.

Procreate for iPad Beginner Class

Join me in the free Procreate Class and learn everything you need to know for creating your artwork in Procreate. 

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