5 Easy Things Designers can do to Generate Extra Income


There are many designers who earn extra income while having a full-time job and most of the time this extra income doesn’t even require 10 hours a week.

I know a lot of designers, for both print and the web, that are looking for different ways to fully utilize their skills to earn more. The problem is they don’t know where to start. It’s a good thing there are services and people out there that can help solve their problems.

Looking for a sideline?
Do you want to earn extra cash using your design skills but you don’t have enough time because of your full-time job?

Fret not. I’ll provide 5 easy solutions that can get you started right this instant. Most of these solutions will only take 5 hours a week to accomplish, I know you have the talent to do it.

Are you ready? Show me your war faces! Roar!

5 Easy Ways Designers Can Do To Generate Extra Income

1. Write Tutorials and Tips

That was predictable, right? Yet many designers fail to realize that this can be a very lucrative sideline. Every designer I know has their own portfolio,but not everyone uses it to their advantage.

See, the thing here is that you can actually use your finished work and make a tutorial about how you accomplished them. A lot of design blogs are very willing to accept tutorials and would definitely pay for them, some even paying up to $200 depending on the quality. And it only requires a basic explanation of the steps you took to finish the project. Chances are, if you made it, you will definitely know how to explain the process.

Do you have some designs you want to show off? Why not send us an email about it and we’ll talk about making a tutorial out of it! It can be a print design for a brochure, a sleek business card, web interface, web elements, logos, and a lot more. It won’t hurt to try, right?

By the way, are you blogging yet?

2. Write and Sell eBooks

If you have enough patience, you can focus on one topic and write an eBook about it. Just like what we did with 1WD’s three eBooks! The great thing about selling eBooks is that after you’ve written and released it if you have marketed it well-enough, you’ll soon have a passive income that you will enjoy until the end of time!

1WD’s eBooks earned more than $1,000 in its first month  and we’re only doing minimal marketing for them! Imagine if you wrote your own eBook about colors, design theories or how to design a website, how much could you make while working your day job?

It is not an easy task, since you will have to write an entire eBook by yourself. You can also look for a partner, of course!

Have you checked our eBooks page? You’ll see three awesome videos there. We can help you do that too, for free. Yep! You read that right. For free. How? See below!

3. Produce Video Guides

Not everyone is built for writing, so why not try producing video guides? It works the same way as eBooks, but it involves you talking and teaching your techniques to people. How can it be profitable? It’s actually simple:

  • You can create an introductory video to a course or tutorial that only members can access in full.
  • You can also use a video guide to sell a product, which can be print templates that you featured on the video or something else.
  • You can also turn these video guides into lead generation. Who knows, you might pique the interest of someone who’s looking for a designer!

So, I promised I’ll teach you how to leverage video guides like the one on our eBooks page.

As many of you already know, we have partnered with LabSecrets and came up with LabZip, where you can find everything WordPress related.

Presenting LabVidz, the easiest way to monetize your business video!

See the demo on LabVidz  and don’t forget to resize your screen or check it on your smartphone/tablet to see the responsive layout!

What’s in the Free Plan?

  • Includes a child-theme that runs on Responsive Theme (to date it already has over 152,000 downloads).
  • Free hosting of up to 3 videos, and all the features you see on the video above.
  • If you are serious about running a video membership website, then might I suggest the hosted version which only costs $25 monthly. More fun in there!

LabVidz and LabZip are 1WD approved services, so you don’t have to worry about anything!

4. Sell Templates

If you’re a designer I’m pretty sure that at some point in your career you have landed at Themeforest or Graphicriver. Browse around and you will see that people actually sell their PSDs and all sorts of templates in those markets.

“But you said it will only take around 10 hours a week, and I want my weekends to count,” is what you are probably thinking. This is the reason why, as a designer, you should always carry a sketchpad, no matter how small, and a pencil. Seriously. Then during your lunch break you can sketch a few lines here and there, or while on the bus on your way home. The idea is you need to capture every idea that pops into your mind.

5. Partner with a Developer

When you partner with a Developer, you can create something like this! From PSD to a working website!

See PSD to HTML tutorials here.

There are designers who love working alone with their heads wrapped in headphones, then there are those who work better with someone else. If you are the latter, then you might want to find a like-minded developer who can convert your art into working WordPress Themes and sell them to different marketplaces. Great designer plus a great developer will definitely end up with a work of art!

I’m being an optimist here. Of course you can’t do this by simply dedicating 10 hours of your week. This needs higher commitment, but the return is very great.

You may also partner with a developer and both write a book, or even refer each other to some clients. In fact, it is a must that you should have a good developer friend, and vice versa!

In Closing

There are many ways a designer can earn extra income and by dedicating at least 10 hours a week it might yield a very good outcome. All of the options I listed above, save for writing for blogs, generate passive income and in this busy and confusing world, everyone needs passive income!

So, start dedicating at least 10 hours of your week (you decide how you slice the pie) and plan ahead for your future. Money, money, money!

Don’t forget to share your income ideas below!



  1. Valt

    Although there are a lot of ways available to make money online but you have listed the straight points which can help to generate extra income & it may not take more then 10 hours but i prefer to write tutorials & tips for generating extra income…

  2. Something have new in this article. Learn some extra techniques and glad to see this post. Well, videos are gonna works for me and enough to learn some basic techniques through this post.

  3. Vasile Catalin

    Well, I am a web designer and i am looking for a web developer. I think 10 hours per week is not enough to make something great, you need more than that. If someone is interested in working with me then let me know, send me an email. To see my works check this temporal portfolio ( ). Maybe we manage to set up a schedule and organize and something nice will come up.

  4. Such a good post and great tips, going to be trying some of these out myself. I have just put together an eBook on Twitter Marketing, so will be great to get that out there! :]

  5. video guides surely work well…i distributed video guides on autocad and solid works to earn money and now i will do it for html programming too

    thanks for suggesting other ways like writing book… though it is a bit tough to put together content to write a book

    I appreciate work of all creating those bulky guide books ..

    • Divyansh, if you are doing well on video products, you should stick to that! For writing book, you must be careful to earn enough back there as writing, editing process can get a bit consuming.

      If you need easy video membership website, where you can sell video guides, check http://www.labvidz.com (our project).

      About creating guide books – I am writing case study post about what I learned from launching 3 ebooks on Amazon and on this site. Keep posted.

  6. partnership with developer is quick money and no hard work , its lets me stick to what I am best in doing an I dont have to deal with the other web marketing and seo stuff…

  7. Some webdesigners out there? Of course…
    I’m the developer Rean is writing about. I’d be interrested in a partnership with a designer for developing (responsive) wordpress themes.
    You make great webdesigns? Contact me! I’d like to sell a few themes together.
    Contact details are on the website http://haet.at
    It’s in German language, but most of you will probably identify the email and see that the “kontakt” could mean “contact”…
    Br, Hannes

  8. Although it ties in to blogging, another I would add is asking for donations. It is a small item, but especially if you are giving away free items on your blog, asking for a donation is very acceptable, and although no highly lucrative, can generate at least some additional income, which can help with small bills like web hosting.

    • Hm, much better way is to be honest and ask couple bucks for some of the free items..or put them behind membership – while many designers do a lot of those charities, it is rarely paying off. Good mix is much better – something free ,something premium – and it’s lucrative. Donations..never heard of people making a lot of money with that.

      • I didn’t say it was highly lucrative, just that it was something worth throwing in there. It has nothing to do with honesty, as asking for donations is extremely honest. “Hey, if you like what you downloaded how about donating a couple of bucks to help me pay for hosting.” Whereas memberships only limit the reach of your products. It’s extra, so it’s not income that you require in order to operate. I feel as though memberships alienate a portion of your audience, especially if you are not running a service that requires membership such as a marketplace. Or better yet, provide a means of donating, along side premium items. Then you have all of your bases covered.

        • Hm, in that case I would offer such freebies in exchange for mailing list, I just know how useless donations mostly are, nobody will pay ( rare) unless you ask and offer something really good in exchange. Give free themes and sell premium then!

  9. Manuel Garcia

    That’s a great list but I think you forgot something. It might not be recommendable by others but I think you’ll still earn from this if you really have the skills. Why not join some crowdsourcing design contests or website like 99designs, Design Crowd and Crowd Spring?

    • Manuel, crowd-sourcing sites are HUGE no in community, because it ruins this profession. And I didn’t mind before, but now I really won’t recommend trying those sites..maybe just if you want to see how it works there, but it’s not so good money making way. Big waste of time for most people.

      What we recommend is a bit harder, but smarter techniques for designer to earn that side income!

    • That’s a very controversial topic right now, and many designers frown at the mention of spec work. Although there are indeed a few who are successful with it, then again at the end of the day you’ll be competing with hundreds of other designers. Not really worth the time, especially when you have a full-time job.

    • I agree that crowdsourcing can be risky. I guess it comes down to the amount of time you have available, amount of interest you have in the project, and to what extent you need the extra income. I would have no problem with myself or someone else going “hey that looks like a fun project, i have the time, don’t really NEED the money, and I have the time, so ill give it a go…”.