A very common question that I see with people who want to get started is:

“What kind of business should I start?”

Many people tend to overthink and believe that they have to create a sophisticated startup or build their own company in order to be successful.

This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Thinking big is great, but if it hinders you from getting started then it’s bad.

I believe that taking small steps is much more important. Taking one small step at the time, gain experience and grow from there.

Side Hustle or quitting your Job?


A lot of people also don’t want to quit their day job because they either love it or they simply can’t afford to take big risks due to personal circumstances.

If you have a family you need to weigh your options and consider your actions carefully.

And this is totally fine!

Keeping the day job and earning a bit money on the side with a side hustle is great!

In fact, this option is getting more and more popular nowadays and often times a small side hustle can even grow into something bigger than expected where people leave their full time jobs.

The great thing about a side hustle is, that you still keep your security and your monthly income from your day job.

There is almost no risk involved and the low pressure makes you enjoy the process of creation even more.

The moment you start to earn your first money passively on the side, it will change your life.

The Myth of Passive Income


The following is a list of 15 Side Hustle Ideas that designers can take to build their passive income streams.

The list is intentionally kept simple, filled with ideas that are easy to get started.

As you know, Project Horizn is a journey to financial freedom.

Therefore, I especially focused on ideas that can generate passive income.

Business Concepts that requires you to exchange time for money, such as Freelancing, are out of scope.

The focus lies on creating assets that will generate passive income in the long run.

But before getting started I would like to debunk the myth of what most people think passive income is:

 

1) Passive Income is easy

It requires perseverance and perspiration. If it was easy, everyone would do it. A very common misconception is that passive income is 100% passive. No work required or whatsoever. This is not true and even once you create passive income, you still need to put in work to keep it alive. So get rid of the thinking that you only need to create it once and just lean back and do nothing.

 

2) Passive Income happens over night

Don’t think you can create one product, put it online and the next day your bank account just spits money. Overnight success is extremely rare and most of the time doesn’t last long either. Even big and successful companies such as Microsoft or Apple needed years or even decades until they became super successful.

 

3) Passive Income is impossible 

The first two points sound quite intimidating. I know. But here is the thing: It is POSSIBLE. So many people did it before, why not YOU? The most important thing is too make a decision that you want to succeed. Because if you make it your reality, the rest will come.

1. Sell Niche Photography


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Photography

If you love to take pictures then you might be able to turn your passion into a viable business. I am not talking about selling Stock Photos on shutter-stock here! The market of stock photography is too flooded and there are too many excellent free resources out there.

Because there are too many people already doing that, it is hard to enter the market. Instead I recommend to choose a niche that only few people cover. That you can still money with photography shows this wonderful documentary by Netflix called “Tales by light.”

Darren Jew was in the first episode and shows the world through his photography how wonderful the waterworld can be.

But you don’t have to travel or take risky photos to stand out. Look around yourself, maybe even in your daily job, what kind of photography people are looking for and see of there is an opportunity. Also ask yourself how you can turn your photography in something more unique? Something that not many can replicate? Different Angles? Different Camera setup? Different Post processing methods?

To get you started, this Article might be helpful:
How to Sell Photos Online and Profit From Your Pictures

2. Design T-Shirts For Merch By Amazon


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell T-Shirts

The T-Shirt business is one of the most controversial ones. Many think it is too easy and the competition is too high. But then there are people who still make 10.000$/month! (Designer goes viral with playful T-Shirts).

There are a lot of services that let’s you print T-Shirts on demand. For that reason, it is an easy-to-enter business model, but if you really want to succeed, you still have to put in the hours to make your business stand out.

The possibilities are endless and there are so many platforms out there where you can offer your designs. If you don’t want to invest a lot of cash upfront, this is a great way to start a side hustle.

Amazon just released an “Invite-only” platform that might be worth checking out: Merch By Amazon.

3. Create Unique Poster Designs


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Unique Posters

Do you find yourself creating beautiful illustrations or photos to hang on your own wall? Maybe after coming back from a trip?

Why not creating an online shop and sell your posters that you would have created for yourself anyway?

Cathryn Lavery, a former architect, turned her passion into a business. Checkout her online shop to get inspired: Calm The Ham

4. Sell Design Templates


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Design Templates

If you have a special talent for creating beautiful layouts, chances are great that you can turn it into a profitable side hustle by creating templates that others can purchase.

A lot of people, especially non-designers, don’t want to spend time playing around with layouts and are willing to spend money to save time.

Platforms such as CreativeMarket provide a library of templates created by designers for everyone else.

The nice thing about templates, as the name suggests is: you only create it once and sell it as often as you want. If you can create templates tailored to different needs, you will be able to diversify your income stream and increase your chances of people buying your product.

Checkout Creative Markets to see what templates others are selling.

5. Sell Custom Maps


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Custom Maps

Are you a travel addict? Do you always mark spots you visited or plan to visit?

Why not sharing your favorite spots by creating a wonderful map? Not only is that great for yourself if you hang it on your wall but also helpful for others.

But you also don’t need to be a traveler. You can also apply this idea to your hometown. Maybe you can create a beautiful map with places to eat out? Or places visitors have to see when they come to town? Maps are a great way to decorate interiors and they always draw attention from people.

Checkout the following story of two designers who loved to create their own unique maps and turned it into an online business: Jen and Omar’s Story.

6. Design Your Own Travel Journal


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell A Travel Journal

Our world is getting more and more connected. More people are starting to take trips around the world. Especially first travelers want to make their experience meaningful.

Christine loves traveling and she decided to create her own travel journey. Later she thought it might also be helpful for others and made a product out of it.

Should you do the same? A travel journey is wonderful and I can imagine many people find it useful.

Yet, if you can brainstorm more ideas of how to improve a travel journal, chances are that you will find a new niche. Despite the times of trip advisor and travel blogs, people still love the feeling of a physical item such as lonely planet.

For more inspiration, checkout Christine Herrin’s Website.

7. Design iPhone / MacBook Decals


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Design Decals

Smartphones and Macbooks are probably our most personal objects today. They became the center of our lives and many people not only want to customize their digital experience but also the physical appearance of their devices. These beautiful devices a nice to look at but lack personality.

Designing Decals is a cheap and fast way to get started. You will probably not make millions when starting out, but it’s still a wonderful feeling to earn a couple of bucks here and there, even when you sleep. Nevertheless, if you can establish a domain in this field, you can easily reach a couple of thousands a months. A nice side income.

Great platforms to get started are Society6 and Etsy.

8. Create an Online Course


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Create an Online Course

Creating online courses is a great way to make passive income. If you have a special skill that not many have you should consider creating a resource to share your knowledge with others.

This one requires a bit more effort, but if you put in the time and energy to make a great resource, you will have a valuable asset in your pocket.

Great websites to share your knowledge are Skillshare and Udemy.

Other resources worth checking out:

9. Become an Infopreneur


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Become an Infopreneur

This is very similar to creating an online course but with slightly less effort.

If you have a special skill that not many have, chances are great that you can help people by creating a guide. This can be a PDF paired with templates of worksheets or other tools that people can print out.

This way of transferring knowledge is much more fast than creating an video online course.

Checkout Bailey’s website to get started or listen to a podcast with her on SideHustleNation.

Another great ambassador of info products is Ramit Sethi, author of “I will teach you to be rich”If you can pair your info products with online training, you will be well on your way to build great wealth.

10. Sell Your Design Assets


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Design Assets

You know your favorite design tool in and out and streamlined your workflow with customized plugins and assets over the years?

Do you think it might be helpful for others as well? Great! Why not creating a package out of it so other people can purchase your design assets? This can be anything from Icons, to Fonts, to Brushes, to plugins, to presets.

Dustin Lee started to sell his retro design templates on creativemarket and turned it into a viable business with his website, RetroSupply, with making more than 200k a month. 

Another inspiring person is Peter Mckinnon who managed to grow a youtube audience to over a million in 9 months by teaching photography and videography. Besides that, he sells his photoshop and lightroom presets. With this massive audience created a lovely side income.

11. Sell eBooks Using Kindle Publishing


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: See your own eBook

It was never easier to publish your own book than before. If you are a specialist in your field and find that you can help others by sharing your knowledge, Kindle Publishing is a great way that requires little monetary investment.

Today you don’t need to go the traditional route via a publisher but can directly upload your book to Amazon. Amazon will take a small piece of the pie, but you can leverage the entire marketing machine behind it to reach a global audience.

If you wish to also publish a physical version of your ebook, you can also use CreateSpace. Having multiple formats will diverse your income and maximize your revenue.

12. Sell Your Home Designs


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell House Designs

If you are an architect or interior designer, or just enjoy creating physical spaces, you can think of selling your home designs.

Why is it great? Often times people don’t want to hire an architect due to cost reasons and are totally fine with existing house plans.

There are so many home designs out there that are perfect for them, so why reinvent the wheel?

Because this field is relatively conservative, it is a great way for architects to create innovation. Why not targeting for people who want to build a smart home? Offer a floor plan design with additional ideas how to use smart lighting from Ikea or Philips?

Checkout this article about this topic and get started here: eplans.

13. Create Infographics for Publishers


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Beautiful Infographics

If you look at the numbers of articles written and published a day you will realize that many increased in complexity and sophistication.

Images and Illustrations are getting more important to support storytelling and convey messages.

Illustration Ninja’s can leverage their talents to create illustrations that publishers can use for their articles.

To provide your services you can create an eCommerce store using Shopify. Shopify has a monthly fee but it saves you a ton of time and offers a great number of helpful plugins to sell digital products.

14. Sell Your Art Work


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell Your Art

You don’t want to be a starving artist, do you? If you spend big parts of your life creating art work and think you have a unique style, why not making it accessible for others and build your own tribe?

A great market place to sell your art work is DesignByHumans.

This is not the mainstream market place but you can tell that the artists put a lot of effort into their products.

15. Sell App Designs


Project Horizn - Side Hustle Idea: Sell App Designs

Creating an App from scratch requires a lot of time and monetary investment. Especially early stage startups cannot always afford to hire great designers and developers. Their goal is to go to market quickly.

By using ready made app templates they save a lot of time and money.

If you have a great passion for creating apps for Android or iOS you can probably sell templates and monetize your designs. Or even better, you create the platform let others create the templates for you

What now?


I hope this simple list inspired you to get started. What I often see is that people tend to overthink when it comes to choosing the right business idea.

But there is no perfect business idea.

You can achieve tremendous success in ANY business if you are willing to put in the work to make it happen. There is no such way as the overnight millionaire. If you look at successful people you will notice that their over-night success took them multiple years.

So don’t overthink, choose one you’re comfortable with and just get started.

If you were thinking of creating your own product, checkout my tutorial series:

How To Make A Product To Sell Online 101 : Part I – Design

If you have any thoughts on this article, feel free to get in touch. I am happy to help 🙂