Top 10 Ways to Make Passive Income for Artists

There are plenty of innovative ways an artist can make passive income. There are even more ways that involve a lot of hard work. This top ten list combines a bit of both.

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Let’s say you are an artist. Let’s take painting pictures as an example. Look for things to combine that skill with where you can make a decent living at the same time.

To use painting as an example, the path of creating your own original art and selling it is of course possible. However, it is likely to be a long and difficult journey. Only a small percentage of artists are ever able to make a decent living at it, let alone any passive income.

Consider instead connecting your artistic skills with other ideas. Specializing in something specific increases your odds of finding a way to generate passive income.

For painters, a brainstorming session could result in a list of potential business opportunities that looks something like this:

1. Become an artist that specializes in painting for a particular niche market that interests you. Specialization can come from combining ideas in unique ways. For example, you could specialize in painting wedding or family portraits, or creative designs found on goalie masks in ice hockey, or paintings tourists to your city would enjoy.

When my wife and I were in Rome we bought a beautiful painting of the Spanish Steps from a local artist. Her paintings were so popular we actually had to stand in line on the street to wait our turn as she was selling to other tourists in front of us. Another example could be specializing in painting replicas of the masters like Michelangelo, as some painters do, and sell the paintings online.

2. Create video courses teaching other would-be artists how to paint. This approach can generate passive income for years after you create the video course.

3. Curate your own blog that features the art of some of your favorite artists. You could have one category on your blog for each your favorites (e.g. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, or some more modern artists that you like). Provide your own commentary around each of the paintings. You could benefit from free search engine traffic from the many people that are interested in these artists. Placing ads on the site is super easy with Google Adsense.

You can also sell your own original artwork from your blog that is inspired by some of your favorite artists. You can also promote your other products from there, like videos you create teaching others how to paint. A blog is the quintessential way to make passive income online, and it can work very well for artists.

4. Create an e-commerce website that helps artists that know nothing about marketing sell their work online. You would get a percentage of every painting sold while at the same time creating a marketplace to sell your own paintings. (The other artists and their supporters would send people to your e-commerce site to sell their paintings, thereby creating a viable marketplace). This would require a lot of up front work, but would generate passive income down the road.

5. Become an expert in how to promote art through a variety of channels, and offer coaching services to help other artists make a living from their art.

6. Get a job as a graphic designer, an animation company, a computer game manufacturer, an advertising agency, or any business that requires original artwork. Yes, this one may require expanding your skills to include computer generated art rather than just painting by hand. For some artists this could be a reasonable progression for their artistic skill set.

7. Passive income for designers – use your artistic talent to start your own graphic design business. Again, this one requires a lot of hard work to get started, and would generate passive income down the road.

8. Write original articles about art and painting. Get some of your articles published on popular art blogs or other large web sites as a guest poster. Your guest posts could contain links back to your own blog, if you have created one already (which is always a good idea). This may lead to work as an art critic for a major publication, or as an instructor at a local college. It is a way to build your own personal brand, which can lead to opportunities you couldn’t have imagined before you began.

9. Write a book aimed at artists and self-publish it on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform (KDP) and/or other similar platforms like Smashwords. The book could be about anything from how to paint to detailed strategies on how make a living from painting. It could be an autobiography of your own personal journey as an artist.

It could even be a biography of another famous artist. I remember reading “The Agony and the Ecstasy” about Michelangelo while on a train traveling through Thailand. It was so good I couldn’t put it down for the entire journey. These are books you could create based on research materials freely available on the Internet. This is another classic way to earn passive income, after the initial effort of writing the book in the first place.

10. Create your own audience driven business. Start an email newsletter that offers tremendous value to subscribers for free, and promote it via your own blog. It could, as one example, target wedding planners if you are specializing in wedding portraits. It could target other artists if you want to specialize in how to make a living from art. Any combination of ideas you can dream up could be the basis for an email newsletter that would help get your name out there into a specific community where your prospective customers or patrons are likely to be.

An established email newsletter can generate a lot of passive income. You can setup an autoresponder series that all subscribers receive after signing up for your newsletter. This is a completely hands off approach to generating passive income, after you have it all setup.

Later on, sending a single email to a large list of newsletter subscribers recommending a particular product could generate a nice short term spike in your income. With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to create the product yourself. You can promote other people’s products and earn a commission. Download the free e-Book below to learn more about affiliate marketing.

And please add your comments below, especially if you have more ideas related to passive income for artists!

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