Hey fellow designer! I don’t know what type of designer you are, but I am a web designer. Either way, we have something in common. We have an eye for pretty things.
The best part of all, our innate skills are actually a demand in the creative market, and people will pay a high price for our expertise.
So, I’ve carefully selected 24 side hustles for designers that utilize not only your professional expertise but also allow you to generate extra income from your passion, creativity, and other skills while keeping your day job.
Forget about all the low paying side-hustles like paid surveys, these are 24 credible ones that I hope will lead you to a better horizon. Number 6, 10 and 24 are my favourites.
1. Freelance web designer
If you have a neck for designing websites, be it WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, or whatever, do you know there is a huge demand for your skill now, more than ever?
Many businesses nowadays need an online presence, but many of them don’t know how to build and design an attractive website from scratch.
You can help out many people by creating a professional-looking website that makes sales or one that connects to their target audience.
You can charge per hour or per project, depending on the complexity of the job and your agreement with your clients.
Ideas to start this side hustle
- Pay a visit to local businesses and firms within your area and offer them your service
- Join social media groups, pages, and forums to look for potential clients
- Find job listings on freelance job sites like ZipRecruiter, SimplyHired, FlexJobs, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr, TopTal, and TaskRabbit
2. Web design consultant
Instead of doing the work yourself, you can simply give your professional opinion on how your clients should build their own website.
For example, you can give them tips on what are the elements of a highly converting website, dos and don’ts of web design, and among other things.
You can charge per hour or per session for your services.
It’s hard to get a gig like this unless you have prior knowledge and experience in big firms, and you are well known for your work.
So, if you want to get clients, I recommend that you showcase your skills on social media networks like TikTok or YouTube.
Those are the best ways I know to attract high quality clients.
3. Web design tutoring and coaching
If you like guiding people to do things that you know, you can be a tutor or a coach.
Instead of attracting clients, you are now attracting students to learn from you.
You will not only help other people realize their dreams of becoming adept web designers, but you can also make a decent side income.
You can schedule web design tutorial slash coaching sessions after your office hours, weekends, and holidays. This side hustle can also work for other professions in the design industry (e.g. graphic design or fashion design) granted you enjoy teaching.
How to get started?
- Offer your services online by joining sites like TutorMe, Wyzant, Clarity, WizIQ, Evisors, Coach.me, Teachagora, and Udemy
4. Become an adjunct prof for a design class
Calling all interior designers, web designers, or whatever.
You have what it takes to teach a design class in a reputable school. It can be a part-time job, but that is if you are passionate about teaching.
The following skills are highly sought-after:
- Web designing;
- graphics designing;
- apparel designing;
- interior designing;
To name a few. An army of students (college and even high school) would pay to learn them.
How to become an adjunct professor?
- Check the schools near you and see if they are in need of an adjunct professor for a design class
- If you’re willing to travel and teach in other towns, you can check job listing for design adjunct professor in sites like ZipRecruiter, TaskRabbit, and Craigslist
- Adjunct professors are usually required to complete a master’s degree to teach in higher education, but community colleges (and technical schools) may only require a bachelor’s degree
5. Start a design workshop
If you like teaching your craft but you want to do it on your own terms, schedule, and without following a certain curriculum…
Starting your own workshop could be the side hustle you’re looking for.
You can teach your skills and expertise in your workshop and you can charge per session.
How to start a workshop?
- Organise and outline the topics that you want to discuss in your workshop
- Identify the optimal places to conduct your workshop including the date and time
- Decide on your audience and how many people can you comfortably accommodate each session
- Inform your friends and family that you are planning to provide a workshop (e.g. web designing, interior designing) and kindly ask them to spread the word
- Advertise your workshop in your social media account, on your blog or via printed posters
6. Start a YouTube channel
Starting a YouTube Channel relating to your design expertise is probably the most rewarding of all because it is who you are.
If you wish to attract clients or students to your online course, a YouTube channel, when done right, it will have a long lasting positive impact on your credibility.
And with that, it will naturally attract high-quality clients consistently.
For my case, I started a YouTube channel sharing my knowledge on WordPress and Site Speed optimization. I never meant to attract clients, but business requests happen to show up on my email inbox.
So, there are a lot of possibilities for monetization when it comes to a YouTube Channel. You can earn from these avenues:
- Google Adsense
- Affiliate Income (promoting products, e.g. tools that you use for your designs)
- Sponsorships (request will come when you channel grows)
- Client request
- And many more
Here are some awesome YouTube channels created by designers. If you don’t know where to start, try following their footsteps:
What you need to get started?
- Create and set up your channel on YouTube
- Invest in a good microphone and a camera (or a good smartphone will do)
- Prepare dedicated space for shooting your videos
- Record and upload valuable contents on a regular basis (at least once per week)
- Aim for your first 1,000 subscribers to start earning revenue from Google AdSense (subscribers will come naturally if you provide real value on your videos)
7. Create an online course
Just like how you create tutorials on your YouTube channel, you can create a course that teaches more advanced techniques and skills, and sell it to your audience.
If you don’t have an audience and you don’t want to create a YouTube channel, then sell your course(s) on educational sites like Lynda, Udemy, Brightstorm, and Skillshare. They will do the marketing for you to sell to their users.
This side hustle for designers works well, especially for introverts who would rather make money without a lot of interaction with other people.
How to create an online course?
- Get a good idea of the topic that you want to teach and make sure that you provide real value to your audience
- Invest in a decent lavalier microphone and a video camera (you can also use your smartphone to record a video)
- Record online courses in a quiet room and if you are using infographics, invest in a screen capture software
- Find out the average price of the online courses similar to yours and use competitive pricing
8. Create and sell your own merch
Get paid using your artistic imagination by creating unique wall arts, graphics, logos, and designs for t-shirt, mugs, and apparel.
This side hustle usually just requires your skills but it depends on the products that you’re planning to sell.
How to make money selling your own merch?
- If you plan on selling digital products like logos, fonts, or icons, you probably already have the tools and software to create those, but if you’re planning on selling custom jewelry, printed mugs, or apparel, then you’ll have to invest in equipment and materials
- Other than the sites I mentioned above, you can also sell your crafts, wall arts, and other physical products on sites like Etsy, eBay, Artfire, indieCart, and GCL Craft Mall
- You can also sell your products on your social media accounts
9. Create WordPress or Shopify themes, templates, Apps, or plugins
You probably have heard stories about how some designers are making a fortune selling premium themes or plugins. Well, so can you!
For designers who also have the knowledge and skills in programming and coding, selling themes and plugins can bring in a lot of money.
How to make money selling WP themes, plugins, etc?
- Develop themes, plugins, apps, or whatever. Although this may take a lot of time.
- Join sites like ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, CodaCanyon, and Codester to sell your works
- Promote your works on your social media account, your YouTube channel or on your own blog (which we will discuss in a moment)
Think about it… You are reading this blog to find a suitable side hustle, but do you know that I actually make money while you are reading this blog post?
Yes, I am talking about those ads that you see plastered over my site. I earn advertising revenue from those ads.
And, if you were to click on a link on this page that leads you to a product that I am promoting, I make money as well when you make a purchase. This method of making money is called affiliate marketing. We will talk more about it in a while.
These two methods are the most common ways for a blog to earn an income. There are many other ways too, like guest posting, link building, etc.
That’s why, Blogging is one of my favourite side hustles for designers because it is very flexible and can be done by almost anyone, even complete beginners.
It is extremely suitable for introverts as well!
You could start a blog relating to fashion, lifestyle, photography, web development, DIY crafts, etc. Honestly, the sky is the limit.
How to start blogging?
- Decide on the right niche for your blog.
- Choose a unique and meaningful domain name for your blog (here’s how)
- Hone your writing skills and do proper research to produce quality contents for your audience
- Create and post valuable content regularly
11. Start a clothing brand
You have a high taste for clothing design, so why not put your taste and design skills to good use? I’m pretty sure a lot of people will “get” your designs.
I know this may sound like a lot of work but please hear me out.
This could be your passion project, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.
But if this gig becomes successful and you have built a customer base, you can easily scale this up to a full-time business.
Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, all started as small businesses, who knows, maybe your clothing brand could be the next big thing.
New skills you need to learn on top of your design skills are probably brand building and marketing skills.
How to start your own clothing brand?
- Create awesome designs that you’re sure will capture the attention of other people. Go on Instagram to create a poll and see which of your designs others will like. I’m pretty sure you will gain some following there. But, before you do post your designs on the public, make sure that you visit your local intellectual property office to register your design. Search “intellectual property design + country”.
- Print the designs on shirts for your own use and a few extras to sell
- You can print the shirts on your own if you have the skills and equipment, or you can hire a professional service, or you can just use a Print-on-demand service like Printful.
- Wear your designed t-shirt and when people ask about it, you can sell the extras to them
- For the price, consider the cost of raw materials, the cost of printing and add a little service fee for your design
- Sell your products to friends and family and use your social media account and blog to promote them
So, are you ready to start your own business?
12. Design t-shirts for other people
If starting your own clothing brand is not really your thing, then this is for you.
There are plenty of clients and businesses that are looking for illustrators and graphic artists for their t-shirt printing businesses.
You can accept freelance jobs and side projects (like the ones below) to earn more money in your free time.
How to make money designing t-shirts?
- Approach t-shirt printing businesses to showcase your portfolio.
- Join sites like Threadless, SpreadShop, Teespring, and SellMyTees to sell t-shirt designs.
- Find freelance t-shirt designing jobs in sites like SimplyHired, Fiverr, TopTal, PeoplePerHour, FlexJobs, and Upwork.
13. Freelance graphic designer
If your mind seems to be overflowing with inspiring and captivating concepts and visual ideas, and you can’t seem to stop even after your work hours…
Then put your creativity to work and make more money by accepting freelance jobs offline and online.
How to make money as a freelance graphic designer?
14. Social media image creator
Are you proficient in Photoshop, Canva, Sketch, InkScape, and GIMP?
You can also earn a decent income as a graphic designer. You can create social media images for pages and groups owned by businesses and firms on Pinterest, FB, Instagram, and Twitter.
How to start as a social media image creator?
- Approach local businesses and showcase your portfolio
- Advertise your creations on your LinkedIn profile, social media, and your blog
- Find freelance jobs in Fiverr, FlexJobs, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and TopTal
15. Buy and sell website domains (domain flipping)
For web designers who have been in the industry for a while, or for those who have an idea which domain names and what type of domains are in demand, this side hustle is perfect for you.
According to godaddy.com, you can earn thousands of dollars in profits with domain flipping. However, you must be fairly knowledgeable about profitable website niches to make this work.
How to do domain flipping?
- Set up a budget plan and a concrete business plan
- Find prospective buyers and seller
- Buy auctioned domain names and sell them for profit on sites like Sedo, Afternic, Flippa, NamePros, Godaddy, and NameCheap
16. Freelance video editing
If you’re an expert with Adobe Premiere, VideoPad, Filmora, PowerDirector, and Final Cut, and you have a good experience and solid skillset in video editing…
Freelance video editor is the perfect side hustle for you.
There are plenty of people who are looking for skilled video editors who can help them with their marketing and advertorial clips. As a side hustle, you can offer your services every night after work and during weekends.
How to start making money as a freelance video editor?
- Visit businesses in your area and ask if they need your services
- Check out local job listing on ZipRecruiter and TaskRabbit to find clients near you
- Find clients in freelance online job sites like SimplyHired, Fiverr, TopTal, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and FlexJobs
- Advertise on your social media, YouTube channel or blog
17. Sell photos
As a professional designer, I’m sure you have an eye for beautiful things.
But can you capture them using your camera? Is photography one of your passion and interests?
If yes, then you can make money selling photos online.
Some of the best selling photos are “minimalist composition,” “pastel colors,” “clean patterns,” “glitch art,” and “lifestyles.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the terms above, you can Google “term” + photography. I’m sure you’ve seen most of them.
You will earn royalty fees every time your photos is downloaded by other people.
How to start making money selling photos?
- Capture good quality images
- Join sites like Adobe Stock, 500px, DepositPhotos, Shutterstock, and Alamy as a contributor
- Read and accept the terms and agreements
- Upload your images to the site where you want to sell them
18. Freelance 3D designing
For expert 3D jewelry designers, you can earn additional income by working as a freelance 3D designer during your free time.
You can use the same software you use on jewelry designing like Rhinoceros, Matrix, Sculptris, and ZBrush, CAD, etc, to design landscapes, furniture, toys, 3D models, and many more.
There are people and businesses online (and offline) who need your expertise (see example image below), and some of them are willing to pay thousands of dollars for your service!
How to start as a freelance 3D designer?
- Check out local job listings on sites like ZipRecruiterand TaskRabbit to find prospective clients near you
- Look for clients in sites like SimplyHired, Fiverr, TopTal, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and FlexJobs (image above is from Upwork)
- Promote your services on your social media, such as LinkedIn, YouTube or blog
19. Freelance article writing
Aside from designing things, do you also have a passion for writing?
If you can clearly voice out your opinions and ideas via written words, then working as a freelance writer during your free hours might be a suitable side hustle for you.
The great thing about this gig is that like blogging, which is mostly based on your passion and interest, freelance writing is also very flexible. Of course, as a designer, you can write topics related to your line of work.
On the other hand, you are also free to work with clients that will let you write about other topics outside designing.
How to start as a freelance writer?
- Find jobs through this list of freelance websites for writers
- Ask around your social network to see if anyone needs a freelance writer for their businesses or projects
- Write about any topic you’re knowledgable about and sell them on sites like iWriter, HubPages, dotWriter, and Constant Content
- Apply as a freelance article writer for various clients in sites like SimplyHired, Fiverr, TopTal, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and FlexJobs
20. Work part-time jobs online (freelancing)
A person as talented and creative as you, I’m sure you have other hidden skills and expertise outside designing.
Now, if you want to hone those skills as well while making money at the same time, you can apply for part-time online jobs.
There are thousands of individuals and businesses out there that would hire you as a virtual assistant, data entry specialist, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, article writer, video or graphic editor, programmer, social media marketer, transcriber, logo designer and a whole lot more.
Just take your pick and make extra income on top of the salary from your full-time job.
How to start making money as an online freelancer?
- Identify the other skills you have that could help other people
- Create a professional resume and join freelance online job sites like ZipRecruiter, FlexJobs, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr, TopTal, and TaskRabbit to find clients
Tip: Be honest and don’t apply for jobs that you don’t have any knowledge or skills with. You will not only be wasting the time of your clients but also yours.
21. Provide handy services
If none of the side hustles got you interested so far, then why not offer to run some errands for people in your neighbourhood.
Picking up groceries, watering plants, watching and walking their pets, throwing trash, and the list goes on. Take your pick and earn a couple of bucks every now and then.
Don’t be embarrassed or think of this as a degrading way to make extra money. Instead, think of it as helping other people, especially the elderly.
And as long as you’re making money legally and in an Honourable way, who cares, right? I know I don’t.
How to make money providing handy services?
- Ask around your neighborhood to see if there people who need a hand on some errands
- Check sites like TaskRabbit, Craigslist, and Ziprecruiter to find other people near you who might need some handy services
22. Make money with your car
This is another side hustle for designers that has nothing to do with your current profession, but could be a good income source depending on how you want to use your car.
How to make money with your car?
- Provide driving lessons using your own car
- Rent your car to travelers and other people
- Provide ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft during weekends or after office hours
- Provide food and grocery delivery services within your area with Instacart, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats
- Apply to firms like Vugo, Wrapify, Carvertise, and StickerRide and let hem use your car as a mobile advertisement billboard
23. Rent your home
If you have a spare bedroom that you don’t use, or maybe you have another house that you only use once or twice a year…
Then you can earn a passive income by providing short term rental services. According to CNBC, Airbnb hosts in 2020 earn an average of about $924 a month of passive income. You could earn more!
As a designer, you can use your expertise to decorate and organize your home and post a wonderful picture of your property on vacation rental sites to attract more customers.
This could potentially become a passive income source for you all year long.
How to make money renting your home?
- Sign up as a host in sites like Airbnb, HomeToGo, Tripping, and Vrbo
- List your property, upload a good image of your place, set up your price, list your house rules, and wait for client bookings
How did you like our list so far? Now for the last entry, we included a very interesting side hustle for you.
24. Start an affiliate business
This side hustle is for designers who (1) don’t want to create and sell your own products, (2) don’t want to rent their car/home, and for (3) those who don’t want to work for someone else.
If you’re reading this list hoping to find something that will help you earn a passive income to quit as a full-time designer, starting an affiliate marketing business might be the one for you.
With affiliate marketing, you can make money by recommending other people’s products and services. When someone purchases a product through your affiliate link, you will earn commissions. That’s it.
No product creation, no selling, no renting, and no recruitment.
And just like in blogging, you don’t have to be an expert to make money with affiliate marketing. You can succeed with this even as a complete beginner.
Here’s a guide for you to build your first affiliate marketing website.
Summing it all up
So, what do you think about these side hustle ideas for designers? Have you found what you are looking for? Have we missed any unique side hustles? Do let us know in the comments below.
Hopefully, these side gig ideas will put your skill set to good use and generate some extra cash for you.
If you find this article helpful, please share it with your peers.
Thank you for your time and I hope you have enjoyed your time here.
All the best!