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Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points

Passive Income or Alternative Revenue Streams

Hello TreeHouse World!

I am an illustrator and I'm here learning how to code to one day create my own apps and games. That is far down the line from right now (I'm still on CSS), but I do have questions that I'm hoping I could get some insight with now.

I am curious if anyone here has ways in which they make passive income or income that is not what they do on a day to day basis. I make art during the day and bartend at night. Can I tell you all how hard it is to maintain enough energy to make art before I go to my night shift (that actually does not pay all that well for bartending standards). I cannot make enough with my art freelancing which is why I have the second job. I've been thinking of selling prints and originals, but I'm hoping if I could get some different ideas in other areas where I could make some money on the side that would help a lot. I would love to know everyones' experiences. I know I could make sites, I'm working on that right now which is why I'm here as well, just curious if there is more I can do...

Thanks!! Ally

4 Answers

A few ideas...
1. You can create a few awesome html templates for people that need a great website in a short amount of time.
2. You can create a video tutorial service doing what you are good at. There is a high demand for that.
3. You can hold seminars for aspiring artists, posting ads at the local community centers, schools and churches etc.
4. If you feel confident in your website making ability, you can create a website for local businesses, including your current employment, and set up year-long contracts with them to update and maintain the website(s) for a set amount per month.
5. If you have a blog and love online social networks, you can blog about awesome company promotions (like Treehouse's refer a friend program) or other affiliate-marketing-type of promos.
6. Advertise on Craigslist that you can create great ads for a rate you set.
7. Create a free profile at Elance and start applying for contracts (there are a lot) for either (pick one) web design, illustrations, graphic design, etc.
8. If you are trying to get your name out there, check out Fiverr and offer your services for super-cheap prices to not so cheap prices.
9. Create a few online portfolios, at least one for each type of media you produce--link to this when you apply for jobs online.

I'm sure I could come up with more but these seem good enough to get started. :)

I would say that only 1, 2, and 5 are passive.

You could get started selling prints without any coding knowledge. See this tutorial.

It's true, they are not all passive income options, but they all lead to passive income in the future.

Besides, the title of this thread told me that Ally was looking for "Passive Income or Alternative Revenue Streams", so I would hope that they should all still be helpful to her.

Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points
  1. I totally plan on making templates in the future.
  2. I could make a video service, I find that very appealing. It would probably be with digital art. I don't know if it would be a slight conflict of interest with my school since I went to an online school that had video tutorials. I don't want to re-hash their content, I would have to come up with my own, the only problem is that they gave me so much knowledge, it's almost exclusively from them, and they have already done it.
  3. Same thing as number 2.
  4. I plan on doing this in the future, I would love to have made one for my current employer, but they already have a top notch site.
  5. I can't do promotional stuff like that on my own social media. I already have a web presence for my illustration career, I would have to make a completely new persona for doing things like that.
  6. I have been looking at Craigslist occasionally, it's pretty depressing. People always want something for free that happens to be very time consuming. For example, comics, there are a lot of people looking for people to draw their comic ideas, but it takes an incredible amount of time to do, people don't realize how long it really takes.
  7. I have an elance profile, elance is a joke. How can you compete with someone in India? I can't. Sure, I have a much better product, but people want the cheapest of the cheap, and to be honest, they get what they pay for. But the few months I tried to get jobs on there, it was just a waste of time.
  8. This is similar to stock photography. I'm really reluctant to do this.
  9. I can't make a lot of online portfolios for each medium. My work is multi media in itself. It took me over a year to make my current portfolio, what you are seeing is the best of the best, you don't see my failures or images that just didn't make the cut.

If anything, number 2 is where I see the most promise. Online education is where it's at and it's why we are all here. I just need to find a way to make the information that I can sell my own and not re-hash what has been taught to me.

Thank you for your input!! :)

Patrick Cooney
Patrick Cooney
12,216 Points

You don't have to create a service for the tutorial idea. There are a ton out there already that let you put your stuff on their platform and decide on a price. Skillshare, Udemy, etc.

I heard a talk recently that touched on this. The title of the talk was "Build Stuff You'd Use". The guy giving the talk mentioned that he built a (software) product (didn't mention what) that brings him about $2k a month. Originally what he built was just for him. He needed something that he couldn't find so he created it. Then he decided other people may be able to get some use out of it so he released it. Now he's getting $2k a month from it in addition to his job as a developer. Cha Ching.

What city do you live in? I know a lot of people that have become lyft drivers and love it for the flexibility of hours and good pay. This might make a lot of sense because you wouldn't be forced to create your art at a specified time. You could "Make" only when your inspiration strikes. For example, maybe you drive a ton the first couple days of the week and spend the rest of the week creating.


Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points

Honestly, I don't drive much to anywhere but work. I bike to the studio where I make art and drive to work which is less than 10 minutes away. At least I save on gas! :)

As for making art when inspiration strikes, no, I always make art and do the business part of making art whether inspiration is there or not. Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for a person who is always late for a business meeting. :)

Bernie McCabe
Bernie McCabe
5,179 Points

Ally I am a similar situation as you, I am learning design and code while also working a full time job, launching a startup and doing art on the side. I set up a website through Wordpress to sell prints of my artwork, I haven't really had time to market it yet but it seems to have potential to provide income with minimal work (I just have to mail them out). My art is very niche based but I have sold a decent amount at shows and markets so I thought I'd take it once step further - Mazing Art Studio

I thought of it as a win-win, even if the site doesn't bring in any income I still built it, and am able to practice within Wordpress, CSS, and mess around with different plugin and code snippits. I still have a long way to go but I've learned a lot, I would suggest you just go for something similar and just see what happens. The worst that happens is you get practice and you learn something new.

you can sell on http://graphicriver.net/