Struggling to make money from your blog? Gone are the days of affiliate links to help us create revenue on our blogs. It’s time for you to consider passive income stream ideas and start making money from them!

Struggling to make money from your blog? Gone are the days of affiliate links to help us create revenue on our blogs. It's time for you to consider passive income stream ideas, and start making money from them!

What is Passive Income

Passive income is a regular income stream that may require little to no extra effort to maintain it. You put in a lot of work up front creating your passive income product and then it sells itself – so long as you do your best to market the heck out of it on a regular basis.

I don’t like the idea of people thinking that passive income is a create and forget it stream. However, I believe that it’s our duty always to be maintaining our passive income products. We can learn so much from our customers if we ask.

For instance, if you’ve worked your tail off on an excellent e-book that helps creative people set up and be successful with an Etsy store, it’s your duty to follow up with those that bought it. Ask them questions by finding out what they liked, what was confusing, and what else they would like to learn that might have been missing from your e-book.

With passive income ideas, we can always be improving, but the bulk of our work may be complete. If we leave it evergreen, always selling with no expiration date, then we can continuously be making money on it even when we’re asleep, or on vacation.

Why You Need to Make Passive Income

I have several passive income streams that I’ve been doing for several years now. I sell fonts and templates on Creative Market, and I have courses and a brush lettering workbook for sale. At some point in my career, it was 100% of my revenue stream (now I split that with branding services and e-courses).

I’m a firm believer in using my time wisely. If I can spend 20 hours creating a product that will sell until I choose to end it, I’ll do that. Wouldn’t you? Yes, I have to revisit it for updates, and yes, I have to market it to keep it relevant. But the more people know about your product, the better chances you can take a two-week vacation and continue to make a living while you’re away.

I spent time in the hospital and away from my work when an emergency surgery came up for me. Guess what? I was still making money from my passive income streams. And, if you’re self-employed that’s crucial!

Setting Yourself Up For Passive Income Streams

If you expect to make money from passive income streams, there are a few things you need to do first. These are crucial to building your business in the first place so don’t skip them!

Define Your Niche

If you haven’t defined your niche, then you’re confusing your audience. So, how do you define your audience? Consider downloading my BrandMaster workbook to help you with this you can grab it from this post here if you want.)

You’ll also want to make sure that your topics are consistent with the message you’re blogging. When you’re all over the road with topics, you risk losing readers because they will realize that half of your content isn’t relevant to them. If you want to keep them coming back for more, narrow things down. Yes, it may be tough to let go of everything you want to share with the world, but take it from me, it works.

Build Your Base

By building your base, I mean have a dozen or so meaningful content posts on your blog already. Why would someone buy from you when they don’t know who you are or what your target message is about?

Spending time creating content that provides value to your readers for free builds credibility in you as an expert in your field. A very small percentage of people are going to spend money with you if you’re trying to sell them advice without doing this first.

Get Yourself Out There

You should be marketing the hell out of yourself to not only your loyal followers but to new people. This means getting on social media.

If social media scares you or overwhelms you, then use one platform and focus on it instead of trying to manage multiple accounts. I get it; this is one of my struggle areas. I have created some great systems, and they work, but there are times where I am overwhelmed and just want to forget it.

Use social media to network. Find people that are similar to your niche and see who follows them. Engage with those followers and soon you’re start building up your name in your industry.

Once you’ve consistently been doing these things, then you can introduce your passive income streams. People will have started to build trust with you and look forward to what other valuable content they can purchase from you.

Passive Income Stream Ideas

Ahhh, the nitty gritty! The list of the impressive passive income streams ideas! I knew you wanted this the most!


These forms of passive income are likely to be the most involved for you. They require you to create videos or screencasts. You can also charge a lot more for e-courses. You’re letting the audience connect with you and your voice. Be prepared to go above and beyond with your e-courses. Give it lot’s of value, some bonus items to make it look attractive, and provide the ability to let your participants ask questions in the form of a group like Facebook, Slack or a forum.

Workshops & Webinars

While a lot of times you may take these for free, I’ve seen developers sell their recordings for a small fee. You just don’t get in on the live Q&A at the end. What an easy way to make some extra cash on something you recorded!


Provide your audience with a topic you have blogged about in a more expansive manner. I believe we can take any topic and dig deeper, giving them more personal anecdotes and even pages to help them take notes and work out some of the topics for themselves.


I believe that if you’re going to sell workbooks, you need to make sure that they provide a ton of value too. These could correlate with your ebook. I created a workbook on brush lettering that allows the buyer to practice their lettering with my easy-to-follow steps. I give this as a bonus with my brush lettering e-course, but providing it separately allows me to reach a segment of my audience that can’t afford the course. I sell it daily!

Printable Worksheets

You could also include planner pages and goal-setting worksheets in this option. The beauty of doing something that is more calendar based is you can re-sell it again the next calendar year by updating the design, keeping your content similar. Recycling is the best!


I sell templates for Photoshop that allow other bloggers and business owners speed up their workflow with social media graphics. Think about ways you can help another blogger create something more efficiently with your skills, too.

Creative Passive Income Ideas for Artists

These are in addition to the above. I think as artists you can help other artists with your advice and valuable information that helps them to grow their blogs or businesses, but maybe you’re ready to sell some of your art too?

Sell Your Art

If you’re an artist, you can sell your art in a few ways: one could be that you’re offering original pieces, more custom art. Or think about selling printable art for a lesser price. Create it once, and then sell it over and over again. This is truly more passive. If you want to provide your art to people, but don’t want to lose control by giving them the freedom to print, you can sell it on a 3rd party site.

Sell Clip Art

This has earned me a good deal over the years. I turn many of my drawings into individual PNG files that I can place in a clip art package and sell to other crafters and DIY users.

Create Fonts

If you’re a lettering artist, start looking into creating fonts. Script fonts can be more time-consuming and difficult to achieve, but the payout is worth it. I sell multiple fonts that have earned me a good deal over the years. Need to learn how to create fonts? Look on Skillshare!

Make a Coloring Book

Everyone loves a clever coloring book. Just make sure that you’re standing out from the plethora of them out there in the market.

Tools for Selling Passive Income

Directly On Your Blog

You could easily set up a page on your WordPress site and place a PayPal “buy now” button next to each product. However, this may keep you locked down to providing your product manually; not exactly passive if you ask me. That two-week vacay could suck! But there are plugins, like Easy Digital Downloads that would allow you to automate. This is a free plugin with paid add-ons, so check that out!


There are several e-commerce options out there that don’t have to cost you a lot of dough when you’re looking to make passive income. One is WooCommerce, a free plugin for WordPress. It takes a little bit of time to get it setup and to work the way you will want it, but it will allow you to appear more professional. I use it for the Holly Shoppe. There are other e-commerce options like Shopify that could be slightly easier for you to set up. If you grow bigger down the road, there are other options that you can discuss with professional developers.

Creative Market

I love selling at Creative Market*. By setting up your store on a site like this, you’re also getting automatic traffic that you might not get otherwise. Site’s like Creative Market charge a fee, and you don’t get your payout for the month automatically. It’s usually paid once per month. I have linked to my affiliate link if you choose to buy. This is another awesome feature of Creative Market. I can make a percentage of sales off referring my favorite products too!


Etsy is go-to for a lot of crafters and DIY people. I no longer sell my goods here because it’s such a struggle for me to stay in front of the audience here. Plus, I have never gotten any support responses from them when I try to reach out to them. But, you can get paid right away for sales which are nice. There is a fee to sell on Etsy, and be prepared to study the best ways to set up your product descriptions and tags for SEO.

DPD (Digital Product Delivery)

If you don’t want to set up a store or worry about delivery of your content, DPD is an excellent solution. They take a small fee, but you’re paid automatically after a sale. The delivery is instant for your audience, and I think it works best when selling e-books. I used this to sell my brush lettering workbook before I set up the Holly Shoppe.


Some people prefer this option to DPD. I have not used GumRoad so I can’t say whether it’s better than DPD. However, I know that you are paid every two weeks with this platform. The landing pages for selling our product are certainly more visually pleasing. Check it out to see if the fees are worth selling your e-books.


If you’re selling an e-course, having a more expansive platform might be a right choice for you. I sell my courses currently through Teachable. I was lucky to get a good deal on Cyber Monday last year. However, for me, I don’t sell enough courses to justify the cost. I think if you’re a beginner e-course designer with a small audience you may want to look at other options. Plus, I loathe having to wait for my payouts. Teachable school owners and their affiliates are paid for signups 30 days after the end of the month in which a sale was made. Sometimes, that’s more than 30 days. And, that sucks for me.

WishList Member

An alternative to Teachable for selling e-courses, WishList Member is the route I’m switching to later this year. Why? It’s a one-time fee of just $197 (on a single site), and you get paid right away. It integrates into WordPress and continues to allow more traffic to my website, who doesn’t want that? I’m no longer sending people to another site!

Zippy Courses

Zippy Courses is another e-course platform that is a plugin for WordPress. I know a lot of people that use it and like it. It’s also a one-price option, and you get paid instantly. With this and WishList Member you’ll probably have to spend a little more time up front in setting things up that if you did with Teachable. But for starting out these are great alternatives to selling your e-courses.

The following are great 3rd party sites to sell your art on products and as prints. I sell on Society6 and I love their products!

So, what types of passive income streams have you dreamt up while reading this? I believe the opportunities are endless. Gone are the days where we make money from placing affiliate links and banner ads on your sites. We have to sell more value and continue to grow our audience by being the expert on what we’re sharing with them. I’d love to hear what ideas you have!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of any sales made. I only promote what I love, so look for links with an asterisk to see what those are.

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Holly McCaig

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?


  1. Collette on June 30, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I really love your site and content Holly. I’ve been toying with the idea of generating an online income for a while now, and really thought the only way would be to build up steady blog audience and take it from there, but your ideas have shown me there’s another way!
    Many thanks for your invaluable content!

    • Holly McCaig on July 5, 2016 at 8:36 am


      I’m so glad to hear that! Just keep at it and things will start to build into something amazing for you!

  2. Dave @ on August 22, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Nice Post Holly, these are great ideas to get started making passive income, I currently have 1 website generating passive income from drop shipping, I find the key is finding moderately popular items with low competition

  3. Lucie on September 1, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I love this post! Thank you so much for this. 🙂

    Have a nice day

  4. James Njenga on March 15, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Hello, I am James, a Kenyan freelancer and blogger. I concur with you on the importance of identifying a passive online income idea and building on it. Before I started affiliate marketing on my blog, I entirely depended on a linear income from writing sites such as iwriter where I really had to work my ass off to earn anything.

    This article is really insightful to all those art creators out there struggling to get out of the active income earners box.

    • Holly McCaig on March 15, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Hi James! I’m so glad affiliate marketing is working for you! It totally can.

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