Graphic design is a competitive space and choosing the freelance route may be a challenge. Working for a company as a graphic designer to develop a portfolio first is probably your best bet.
However, if you mix and match a variety of the suggestions below, you could very well be on your way to some sweet side hustle money.
Here are some of the ways I’ve seen graphic designers make money online over the years.
Ways to Make Money from Home with Graphic Design
Create POD Merchandise
Use your graphic design skills to create print on demand merchandise.
What is print on demand? It’s a way to create products without holding any inventory. You upload an image or design, and the product is printed if and when it’s purchased. There’s no upfront cost to you, and you receive a commission each time a product sells.
Because print on demand is such an amazing option to sell products without inventory, the space is super competitive. To stand apart from others, get creative, do
There is a lot more to print on demand that I will go into in detail in separate blog posts. In my experience, POD is great for introverts.
In most cases, you upload your image and hope for the best. There’s no customer service or communication necessary.
Design eBook covers
Since everyone and anyone can write a book these days, there’s a need for book cover design. Let’s face it, no matter how much we are told not to, most of us do judge a book by its cover.
Sell your services to create custom book covers. Work directly with authors to help bring their ideas to life. You can advertise your services to work directly with authors.
Another option is to sell premade book covers. If you feel like you have ideas that you can crank out, list them for sale. You can charge more money for custom designs, but selling premade book covers eliminates the time-consuming step of communicating with the buyer.
Create your own book cover store or list your covers for sale on sites like Gumroad or The Book Cover Designer. Consider creating templates that the buyers can edit to fit their book.
I don’t have personal experience in this area. Do more research if this sparks an interest with you. You should also ask for credit in an author’s book with a link back to your site.
Another sought out digital product is printable… anything. Think coloring pages, to-do lists, crossword puzzles, challenges, goal sheets, and so much more. Us humans love the instant access to anything printable.
People use printables to get organized, entertain their kids, create budgets, reach goals, and more. Bloggers use printables to enhance their blog posts or use as an email opt-in.
Since there are so many free printables out there, I’d recommend selling your designs or services to bloggers or website owners. As a blogger, I’ve been on the buying end of printables many times.
I have created printables for my own blog, but never sold them. Using Facebook groups, I have hired people to create printables and also purchased pre-made for up to $50.
Quick Tip: If you love to draw on paper, use the Adobe Capture app to turn your doodles into digital!
Ah, everyone is a designer these days, eh? It’s true that most people can create some sort of logo using PicMonkey or Canva in minutes, but there’s still a need for professional, detailed logos.
Other graphics aside from logos include infographics, data charts, social media cover images, illustrations, and more.
Create bundle packages of illustrations, patterns, images, and more. You can open a store to sell your items on the hungry jpeg, a popular site amongst bloggers where I’ve personally spent a stupid amount of money over the years.
Turn Into Crafts
Did you know you can turn your graphics into crafts? Software exists where you can turn an image into a cross stitch pattern. You can sell the pattern on sites like Etsy.
Heck you can even get crafty yourself and cross stitch the pattern into life. Then even sell that item! Or, leave the item in a surprise location for someone to find.
Attach a thoughtful note and a business card to your Etsy store. Make someone’s day and advertise at the same time. OMG. (Not my original idea – I just love it.)
Domain and Website Flipping
Domain flipping has nothing to do with graphic design, but I’m not sure where it fits. Buy domains to flip to relevant businesses. With domain flipping, you are not creating a site at all; you’re simply reselling the URL.
With website flipping you are creating the site along with the domain. You can set it up as a starter site with just enough content to attract a buyer. Or, you can wait until the site starts to generate income to sell it for even more.
If you enjoy setting up websites, this is a great way to earn. Once you create a WordPress blog that you love, you can easily clone it to shave more time off the setup process.
Low Content Books
What are low content books? Think journals, planners, goal-setting type books with very few words. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer to create low content books, but it does give you a leg up.
Upload low content books for print on demand to Kindle Direct Publishing. Use your graphics for the cover and as little designs within the book.
Maybe I’m going too far with this, but another way to make money using your graphic design skills is to teach others. Create a YouTube channel teaching graphic design skills, sell a course, or even offer consulting work.
Getting the Most out of a Graphic
Here’s a real-life situation for you. My nephew is a fantastic artist. He drew us several images for our main blog. Our goal was to create a coloring book, which we did. However, we can now take each individual image and do the following:
- Upload to POD sites
- Create a cross stitch pattern to sell on Etsy
- Turn into a printable connect-the-dots activity
- Color the image and sell as printable artwork
- Use as a cover of a low content book
And probably much more! It’s like planting seeds, and each of the listed items is a chance at passive income. A lot of time is invested in this work, but there’s residual income potential. In our example, it’s also boosting our branding.
Once you get a good graphic, there are so many ways to use it that my head starts spinning. This is why picking a niche is smart because it’s easier to focus and know your target audience.
There are so many ways to make money from graphics that it’s both exciting and overwhelming. None of these income streams are guaranteed, but the potential is there.
If you throughly love graphic design, see if your hobby can generate a few dollars for you! From side hustle to life changer, you won’t know unless you try.