When it comes to working as a designer or developer the options that come to mind are typically 1) work as an employee for a design studio or agency, 2) work as employee as an in-house designer or developer, or 3) work as freelancer.
While all of those are perfectly legitimate options, there are thousands of designers and developers who are earning a living in the industry with less traditional approaches. In this article we’ll look at some of the ways that you can use design and coding skills, aside from the 3 approaches mentioned above.
Working as a freelancer is something that many designers aspire to do. In reality, most freelancers struggle to find enough client work to make the income that they need. A growing number of designers and developers are taking alternative approaches as a result. One of the great benefits is that many of these things can be done part-time or full-time, which also means that you can combine one or more of these approaches with client work.
So let’s take a look at some of the options for designers and developers. We’ll also see some examples of people who taking these alternative approaches, and you’ll find links to some excellent learning and training resources that can help you in your own pursuit.
1. Designing and Selling Stock Graphics
A common approach to making money as a designer is to sell stock graphics (PSD files, logo templates, Photoshop brushes, vectors, icons, etc). Marketplaces like GraphicRiver, Creative Market, and major stock photo sites like iStock allow designers to sell their own creations to a large existing audience. The down side of selling at these types of marketplace sites is that you will need to share the revenue with the marketplace, and in many cases you’ll also face restrictions related to pricing, the types of products you can sell, and exclusivity.
Of the major marketplaces, Creative Market provides the most flexibility and fewest restrictions for designers. They don’t require exclusivity (you can sell your products at your own site or at other sites), you can set your own prices, and they offer 70% of each sale to the designer.