Some graphic designers might feel the need to find a side gig for more than just making extra money. After all, sticking to the same work week in and week out could dampen one’s creativity—an asset that every good graphic designer should nourish.
A side hustle could provide an opportunity to discover new creative outlets and help with the change of pace at work. And if there is extra money to be made, that should incentivize you to start a side business even more, right?
More and more people are discovering the custom merchandise niche. The demand for custom-made products is on the rise. For example, politicians need stickers, caps, pens, and other knick-knacks to give during their campaigns; sports teams, local communities, and even corporations need matching t-shirts; an average person might need a gift idea for their friend’s upcoming birthday, and a custom mug could be just the thing to use as a present.
Printify explains how to make your own mug on their website. They also provide information on selling mugs as well as other merchandise.
As a graphic designer who is interested in custom merchandise, you have two ways to approach this business idea. The first is to join an already-established store that is hiring designers to come up with new ideas.
The second is to create an online store from scratch yourself. As a rule of thumb, it would be better to stick to the dropshipping business model rather than the traditional online store. The former eliminates warehousing, shipping, and other logistical processes. Besides, if you find a reliable supplier, you will not have to invest in manufacturing equipment.
Since 23% of all online sales are fulfilled through the dropshipping model, you should not worry too much about missing out on customers who shop in traditional online stores.
If you were to ask a professional photographer what they dislike the most about their work, the odds of them mentioning photo editing are pretty high. The task is monotonous and time-consuming. Instead of doing the work themselves, photographers hire an assistant who can take care of photo editing for them.
Designers should be familiar with photo-editing tools, such as Photoshop. Even if they are not, figuring out photo-editing basics does not take too long.
Give photo editing a go. Not only will you make extra money, but editing photos taken by a professional might prove a great source of inspiration.
Sharing your knowledge with others is another great outlet and money-making idea. There is an argument to be made about how the design niche is oversaturated, but hard-working and talented designers can still find plenty of work.
As someone who has the experience, you can monetize your knowledge by publishing educational courses.
Since there is a lot of material to cover, you should not run out of ideas on what to teach. You can start from the very basics and slowly move your way up toward intermediate and advanced courses.
Teaching others also comes with its own satisfying feeling because you will know that you are making a difference by sharing your expertise with other designers who are eager to learn.
However, keep in mind that there are quite a few courses one can find on Skillshare, Udemy, and other online education platforms. YouTube has a plethora of design guides as well.
Thus, if you are serious about online education, make sure to focus on content quality or introduce a unique twist to your content. Otherwise, you may struggle to attract students.
Online education is not the only way to share your knowledge and teach aspiring designers. Sometimes, the learning is more effective when you get to interact with other students and your teacher in person.
Creating a workshop requires a dedicated space or studio, but you could also explore alternatives, such as libraries, classrooms at a local school, or even cafes (if you can make arrangements with an owner and promise not to disturb their clients too much).
Keep in mind that attending live sessions is just the thing that many people would be eager to do after the pandemic is over, so the odds of attracting potential students are quite high.
Sure, some of them might be looking for an opportunity to socialize and meet new people rather than focus on learning design, but if they show interest in participating in the first place, it means that you are doing something right in promoting your workshop.
It is also worth pointing out that running a workshop will boost your standing as a designer, especially if you do a good job guiding your pupils in the right direction. Word of mouth may travel fast and boost your credibility, which will lead to new business opportunities.
Streaming on Twitch TV
Twitch TV is no longer a place to watch streamers who play only video games. No, the platform has evolved in the last few years, and there is a variety of content creators one can find on Twitch.
There are quite a few graphic designers who started a channel on Twitch TV and grew their community by streaming themselves working. And once they establish a decent number of watchers, these streamers can do more than just design. Playing video games or just chatting with their audience is also an option.
To establish yourself on Twitch TV as a graphic designer, you will need to get a high-quality webcam. Ideally, it is recommended to have two—one for your face and the other for your hand motions to show viewers how you work.
It helps attract viewers when you have an entertaining personality, but the channel should still focus primarily on graphic design.
Monetizing on Twitch TV comes in a few different forms. First of all, you have donations that come directly from viewers. Subscriptions are also a good way to make money, especially if you become a Twitch partner and get a higher share from subs. Finally, there are sponsorship deals. Various companies will ask you to promote their goods or services in exchange for payment, which is similar to being a social media influencer.
Making money from a blog might not seem like an obvious option for a designer because it requires writing and publishing articles. However, writing is something you can slowly learn by writing consistently.
A blog could be about the most recent design trends, news. Reviewing tablets, design software, and other products is also one of the options.
As a designer, you have the advantage of offering readers more than just walls of text. These days, an average person finds it easier to process visual content rather than text information.
Instead of writing articles, you could emphasize other content, such as infographics, animations, or GIFs.
Once there are enough readers on your blog, you can think of how to approach monetization. Some blog owners stick to ad networks or affiliate links. Others promote digital goods, such as e-books or webinars. You could also start a Patreon page and let your readers support you directly.
Thanks to the demand for digital products, designers can make a lot of money. Digital goods range from simple online avatars and social media banners to website themes and mobile applications.
The possibilities are not endless, but there are multiple ideas to explore and discover for making money and developing another creative outlet.
For example, suppose a video game company is looking to hire designers for character models or terrains. In that case, you could apply and experience what it is like to work in the gaming industry.
Designing your own digital products and selling them on relevant markets is also an option. For example, you could offer website themes or virtual reality avatars.
Social Media Content
Brands are putting a lot of effort into their social media campaigns to establish themselves on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other SM platforms.
Engaging content is one of the best ways to raise brand awareness on social media by attracting new followers and retaining current followers.
As someone with design skills, you can create catchy social media content and sell it to brands that wish to boost their standings on SM sites. Be it infographics, GIFs, pictures with inspirational quotes, presentations, and even memes, so long as the content is high-quality, receives engagement, and is relevant for social media, you can monetize it.
If you want, you can take requests from people who wish to receive art from a professional designer.
Fiverr, Upwork, and other freelancer platforms have multiple gigs that ask for a graphic designer who can follow the commissioner’s instructions and create fan art or another piece.
Someone might be interested in turning themselves into a fictional character for fun, and they would send you a personal photo for reference. Another person might have a movie, TV show, or a video game character that they like, and they would like to see it in a different light.