8 ways to make extra money from your design skills

You don’t have to be a great designer to start making money online as a graphic designer. You just have to be better than other people. So if you’re starting to get comfortable in Illustrator (or any of the free options, like Canva or PicMonkey*), and you like design work, there are a bunch of ways to make money using your skills.

Well, pull yourself together! You have valuable skills that are greatly in demand – and the freedom to earn as much or as little from them as you like.
You just have to apply yourself and be a bit clever about how you go about maximizing your income. Here are a few tips to help you along…

1. Sell Digital Files Online

One way to get a name for yourself is to start selling digital files. If you can create images, textures, or fonts, you can sell the digital files online. There are a few ways to sell the images. You can either join a marketplace where the company will promote your files for you or you can run your own site, optimize and sell your files for 100 percent of the profits. People and companies will buy rights to use the image and you can make a passive income for years after you’ve designed the image.

2. Take on Projects as a Freelancer

One of the most difficult things about being a freelancer is finding clients. There are plenty of clients who need a designer to create a logo, an ad, or art for their web page. One way to get regular work by promoting your design portfolio is to sign up for a freelancing website where you can show off your talents and get matched to clients who are just right for you.

On the best freelance websites, you can add some of your past designs, set your own rates, and request reviews from past clients. You may take on small projects to start, but with a comprehensive portfolio and positive reviews, you can make a decent living. Some of the popular freelancing sites include oDesk, Elance, Freelancer, Microlancer, PeoplePerHour, and 48HoursLogo.

3. Cash in on unused files

Not everything you design will be loved by your clients. Instead of letting those unused designs go to waste, cash in on them by selling your files on marketplace design sites.

Before you sell any of your work on the web, of course, it’s vital to double-check the files you’re selling are not under the rights of any of your current or past clients.

4. Host Your course on Unanth

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Well, that’s bull. In business and design, those who teach can because they have the ability to do something other people do not know how to do.

Unanth is an online community marketplace for on-Demand video-based courses. Anyone can apply to teach – and get paid to host a course. Some Professional designers have created: ‘Adobe Illustrator CC – All Essentials In 1 Hour!’.

You get paid on 50% revenue share of your courses per student if Unanth markets your course otherwise pay 100% share if mentor does it on their own.

5. Charge what you’re worth

If you’ve already done some spec work for a client and now they want to hire you for a job, don’t be shy about charging the rate you know you’re worth.

Many designers, especially young ones, don’t charge enough, or rather, they undervalue the price of their work. Don’t do this. Charging more is also a way to help maintain a high level of quality cliental.

6. Try your hand at consulting

Consultants are often highly valuable people. If you have a skill you know other people in your field want, sell consulting services that teach other freelance designers how to duplicate your successes.

7. Make smart use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn may be an online destination for creatives, but it is the online network where professionals seek out other professionals most. To land more gigs using LinkedIn, start by sprucing up your profile. Next, start contributing to a few designer-focused groups.

Involvement in groups like ‘Designers Talk: Freelance Graphic Design Group’ is an awesome way to crowdsource for answers amongst other pros in your field. Responding to group questions is a great way to share your expert insight.

This is also a way to catch the attention of potential employers, who are using LinkedIn groups for recruiting.

8. Blog to position yourself as a pro

If you haven’t started blogging, start now!

Blogging costs you time, but it can pay off big. Use your blog to share design advice for businesses or publish helpful design tutorials.

Having a place on the web that hosts your insights and knowledge can be incredibly valuable for positioning yourself as an expert, creating new relationships with other designers and, of course, attracting referrals.