Now that 2023 is coming to a close, it’s time to review my passive income as a freelance graphic designer. As I often pointed out, the importance of having sources of passive income can’t be understated — the money earned will improve your financial health and allow you to weather dry spells when projects are hard to come by, in addition to other benefits. So without further ado, let’s dive into what I have done and how much I have earned in passive income this year.
HOW WAS 2023 FOR ME IN TERMS OF PASSIVE INCOME?
WHAT I HAVE DONE THIS YEAR FOR PASSIVE INCOME
Previously I have been focusing on print-on-demand such as Redbubble and TeePublic, but over the past few months I have started getting into stock graphic websites like VectorStock and Adobe Stock. I would have looked into them sooner, but the reason I didn’t was that I wasn’t subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud.
Over the years I’m mostly using open source software like GIMP and Inkscape for my work as a freelance graphic designer. As such, it was hard for me to prepare the files correctly for stock graphic platforms, which usually require them to be exported in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, in formats like Encapsulated Postscript (EPS).
It was part of the reason I decided to purchase a Creative Cloud membership late last year, though primarily I did so for my clients, as they were asking for the working files in PSD or AI. While there are ways to convert XCF and SVG (the native file formats of GIMP and Inkscape respectively) to be usable in Adobe, sometimes the process isn’t as straightforward or effortless as I would have liked.
In any case, I was able to finally upload to stock graphic websites this year. From there it was matter of refining them to these four platforms, which make it relatively easy for me to prepare and upload my work:
In order to give you an idea, once I have the design down I usually take just around 15 minutes to prepare the files, upload, and provide the necessary information such as descriptions and tags — for all four platforms. And since I’m doing this for passive income I don’t do any marketing or promoting after uploading my work.
I’m trying these four platforms for now to see how I can earn in terms of passive income. You will be able to see how many assets I have uploaded and how much I have made so far in the next section.
In terms of print-on-demand I’m still on the same twelve platforms:
- Design by Humans
- Cotton Bureau
- Fine Art America
As mentioned earlier I haven’t been focusing on print-on-demand for most of this year, though currently I’m working on redoing my shop on Design by Humans as well as adding more designs to all the platforms.
One major change for Redbubble and TeePublic is the introduction of account tiers a few months back, which has apparently been affecting the earnings and visibility of many designers selling there. I have covered this in one of my other articles, but in my case I haven’t been too affected for now, though that might change in the future.
HOW MUCH I HAVE EARNED IN PASSIVE INCOME THIS YEAR
As of the time of this writing (20 December), for passive income I have made a total of $260.34 from print-on-demand and $69.65 from stock graphic websites. Here’s the full breakdown with the number of assets and the amount earned on each platform:
Given that you get more royalties from print-on-demand than stock graphic websites, it wasn’t surprising that most of my passive income earnings this year were from those platforms, specifically Redbubble, TeePublic, and Cotton Bureau.
Out of the four stock graphic websites I mentioned earlier, VectorStock has made me the most money in 2023 at $30.94, followed by Adobe Stock at $29.65.
Besides the five mentioned above, I hadn’t earned much on the other platforms. That said, something is better than nothing and since it’s basically a numbers game, I stand to make more passive income if I upload more and to more places.
I have been tracking my passive income as a freelance graphic designer over the past few months and while the numbers don’t seem like much each month, they do add up — to a total of $329.99 for the whole of 2023, which in my opinion isn’t too bad considering I just upload and that’s it. I will be checking out more ways to make passive income through graphic design next year, so please stay tuned!