How I Make $2,000 Every Year Without Doing Very Much - FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog


Back in 2005, long before we started Envato and FreelanceSwitch, I came across a site called iStockPhoto and discovered I could sell illustrations there. Now I’m not much of an illustrator, but I do like experimenting with making money. So I set about creating some little icons and graphics – mostly leftovers from my design work.



 
 

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Back in 2005, long before we started Envato and FreelanceSwitch, I came across a site called iStockPhoto and discovered I could sell illustrations there. Now I’m not much of an illustrator, but I do like experimenting with making money. So I set about creating some little icons and graphics – mostly leftovers from my design work.
I got rejected a lot (probably because my illustration work is so clumsy) but being persistent, I just kept making one or two things every day. Eventually I made about 60 items which are still there today.
In these three years I’ve made a consistent $200 or so every month. Today I checked the account to see how much had come in and I’ve just crossed $6000. And I haven’t actually done anything since way back in 2006 when I uploaded my last item. In fact the only thing I’ve done is to turn off the exclusivity program when we started FlashDen – otherwise that figure would be much higher by now.
With the constant barrage of news telling us the economy is crashing through the floor and our financial demise is imminent, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some extra cash in the pocket.
With the constant barrage of news telling us the economy is crashing through the floor and our financial demise is imminent, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some extra cash in the pocket.
Where to Sell Stock
Actually I thought so much of my exploits on iStockPhoto that I cofounded Envato specifically so we could build a site to let people sell Flash Components. Recently we added ThemeForest to let people sell Web Templates & WordPress Themes. Of course we’re not the only company in this market, here are some of the sites where you can sell stuff:
FlashDen
Flash, Video, Pixel Fonts
AudioJungle
Music Loops, Audio Effects
ThemeForest
Web Templates, WordPress Themes
iStockPhoto
Photos, Illustrations, Video, Flash
TurboSquid
3d Models
Revostock
Video, Audio
Lulu
Books and Printable Goods
Ultrashock
Flash, Photos, Vectors, Audio
VectorStock
Illustrations
Crestock
Photography
And there are plenty more – especially in the photo market.
A Consistent Revenue Stream Helps Stabilize Freelancer Income
When you freelance your income is all over the place. Some months all your bills get paid, you’re loaded with work and everything’s going great. Other months there isn’t so much work around and everyone is taking their sweet time to pay your invoices.
Selling stock on the side can provide an extra steady income stream that you can rely on. Whether it’s paying a few of your bills, or saving up for your holiday fund. A figure like $200 a month probably isn’t going to change your life, but it does pay for my internet, mobile phone, and moleskine notebooks, and hey that’s pretty neat!
Tens of Thousands a Month
Of course if you put a bit more energy into it, the kinds of figures you can make go skyrocketing up. Through FlashDen I’ve seen firsthand what some of our members make. The top few make in excess of $10,000 a month which is a ridiculously large amount of money.
Similarly MicrostockDiaries has reported that top iStock contributors like Lise Gagné make six figures a year from their stock work.
So the potential rewards are huge. Of course for most of us, unless we turn making stock into an almost full time job, we’ll be making a lot less. But personally I know even a few hundred dollars a month makes a difference to me!
A good use for those hours in between projects
Every freelancer has those hours in between working, marketing, and doing all the other freelancing things. The hours when work is a bit quieter and you have some time off. Now Cyan would say that you should take those hours and take some time off work. But I say use them to make stock!
With the holiday season coming up, work usually slows down and it’s a good time to do some side work to build for the future. So that years down the road you also are watching residual royalties accumulating every month!
Sell with Envato! … or elsewhere too
Of course I have a vested interest in getting freelancers to sell on our Envato marketplaces – ThemeForest, FlashDen & AudioJungle. But you should of course seriously consider all your options and look at selling on other sites, or even setting up your own shop!
Update: I’ve just posted the follow-up post: 9 Tips for Creating and Maximizing a Steady Income Stream by Selling Stock.