10+ Best Ideas for Passive Income in the Digital Age

Business Tips

November 11, 2021

Making online passive income as a creative entrepreneur can feel like learning a second language, especially when you’re juggling all the mess that comes with running your own business. Ironically, however, the more time you invest in ideas for passive income, the more time you can free up to focus on key elements of your business!

Related: How to Create Multiple Income Streams as a Photographer

Note, we may make money from purchases made through the links in this article. We only recommend products that we love and trust!

Online Passive Income Ideas


This buzz-word gets thrown around often! Online passive income is income generated from tasks that have been completed digitally and require little-to-no maintenance after being completed the first time.

Imagine doing your creative work once and getting paid for that work even though you’ll never have to touch it again! With passive income, you can go to bed and wake up with dozens of transactions! 

Our first ideas for passive income

Our First Digital Product was a candid posing prompts e-book for elopement photographers! We got so many questions about how to get candid images, so we made a list of our top 10 and designed an e-book with photo examples!

Instead of taking the time to message people every time on Instagram, we had an easy link to send people where they could spend $25 for some quick posing tips! At first, I didn’t know how to get the first few sales, so I posted in a few photography FaceBook groups offering to give the e-book away for only $5 instead of $25 if people could give an honest review on Etsy…

…nobody ended up leaving us a review, which was annoying, but the crazy thing that happened was we sold 120 templates that night at $5 each which was the first time we made $600 in a night from making money online! Our first online business was born and we didn’t even realize until looking back!

1)Sell instagram highlight story icons

Instagram story highlight icons are a great one of the ideas for passive income on this list because they are a tool used for making Instagram more aesthetic. You can design these circle-shaped images in tools like Canva, Photoshop, or your favorite design software. Customers like to buy these in packs of 5, 10, or even 50+ Instagram highlight story icons so they can alternate their content over time. For example, a travel blogger might buy Instagram highlight story icons with airplanes, hot air balloons, mountains, beaches, cruise ships, and other similar icons.

2) Start your first online course

Online courses are a great way to make money online because you film the course one time, upload it to your favorite course hosting platform like Kajabi or Patreon, and collect evergreen revenue from your digital product. For example, photographers could make an editing or workflow course. Video courses will often be paired with downloadable worksheets or even a 1-on-1 mentorship to maximize the value and profits of your course.

3) Sell digital design templates like pricing guide templates

Another popular online income idea for creative entrepreneurs is pricing guide templates for wedding photographers, portrait photographers, studios, and more! Every service-based business needs to share pricing, services, and packages in an aesthetic way – that’s where your pricing guide template comes in! Create a pricing guide template in Canva or Photoshop so you can easily share it with potential buyers.

4) Sell instant download instructional PDFs & e-books

Instructional PDFs & Ebooks are similar to courses, but without the video portion! This is easier for first-time digital product makers because they don’t have to get in front of the camera. Instructional PDFS, Ebooks, and how-to-guides can be a 5-25+ page downloadable guide which customers can download instantly. Some Ebook examples are:

  • How to build your photography business
  • 120 blog post ideas for photographers
  • IG caption templates
  • How to start an Etsy shop selling Canva templates
  • Pinterest startup guide

5) Sell pre-made logo templates

Once you get the hang of software tools like Photoshop and Canva, you can mess around with your favorite text, fonts, and icons to create logo templates! These pre-made logo templates are instant downloads where your customer can change the colors, icons, and name of the business presented in the mock up. Pre-made logo templates are one of the best ideas for passive income since you can design them in 20 minutes, sell them for $20+, and tap in to the 50k+ people who are searching for logo templates online each month.

6) Join an affiliate program like Amazon Associates

Did you know you could make money off selling other people’s digital products? Affiliate marketing is a commission-based sales process that allows people like us to promote digital products like courses and e-books without having to build the product yourself. Amazon Associates is a popular affiliate marketplace where you can select from a seemingly endless list of products.

7) Lightroom Presets

Another one of the ideas for passive income is Lightroom presets. Once you discover your favorite editing style in Lightroom, you can export your editing settings into a file called a Lightroom preset. Lightroom presets can be shared online so you can sell the file as an instant download on Shopify, Etsy, or the online sales platform of your choice.

8) Photoshop Actions

Photoshop users will love this example of passive income! Photoshop Actions are similar to Lightroom presets, but they take steps further with the impact they make on your workflow. For example, some Photoshop actions will automatically smooth out skin and brighten eyes, so you don’t need to hand paint the effect in the software. Photoshop actions are like AI for your editing.

9) Website Templates

You do not need to know how to code to sell website design templates! You can use tools like Showit.co or Canva to drag-and-drop a website design that you love, export the design into a digital download, and upload the product to Shopify or Etsy. Website templates take a lot of work upfront as compared to a 1 page product like a price guide template, but they sell for $200+ which is a high ticket transaction.

10) Membership Site

If you want to make an online course or downloadable workbooks but you want to change the business model to a subscription method, you can launch a membership site on Patreon or Kajabi! For example, photographer Ellie McKinney made a membership site that gives monthly business and psychology research for photography business owners. The great thing about membership sites is that you get guaranteed income each month. If you charge $20/mo and get 100 people, that could be $24,000 per year!

11) Print on Demand on Printful

Print on demand on Printful is an easy way to make money online if you have images that people love! On Printful, you upload a JPEG image and the print on demand integration does the rest! Click a few buttons to decide if you want to print your images on posters, coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more! The best part about print-on-demand is that you don’t have to hold any inventory, Printful ships straight to your customer and you sit back to collect the profits!

12) Tools of the trade checklist or resources page on your website

If you are a business owner, chances are you have tons of other business owners creeping your website trying to reverse engineer what you do! For example, photographers will creep our website to see what gear we use or outfits we recommend for photoshoots. Instead of answering these questions individually in Instagram DMs, we send people to Breeandstephen.com/resources. You can plug in your Amazon affiliate links and other favorite affiliate product recommendations so your website audience can purchase from your links.


  • custom IG highlight story icon designs
  • custom logo designs
  • custom PDF designs
  • custom website designs 

When getting into passive income online, it can be tempting to service “custom” orders. DO NOT DO THIS!

In the beginning, this might be okay when you only have a handful of customers….but eventually, you only have so much time in the day to service these customers! That’s where passive income gives you leverage – you can serve 10,000 people in one day!

the reason why the tasks listed above are NOT passive is because to design custom work, you would have to communicate with each client one-by-one. for each client, you would have to onboard them…get to know them….design their product…deliver it….etc.

For passive income, you design the asset once. Then, after getting feedback from a beta group, you can launch the product and sell 10, 100, or even 100,000 downloads overnight! Like a Course, for example!

Just imagine being on a road trip, getting food and drinks after a long day of driving, and checking your email to see a $40 transaction from your instructional PDF workbook, a few $10 transactions from your highlight story icons, and a $100 from your masterclass…that pays for your food, gas, and more for the day! 

Online Passive Income Ideas


If you don’t yet see the benefits of using online passive income ideas for yourself, let’s change the tables for a second. Sure, you can make a sustainable income as an entrepreneur without passive income. But is it selfish to only focus on sustaining yourself?

the world has too much suffering and hardship these days, millions of people live day-to-day without food and water. Instead of being selfish and only living for ourselves, we’re investing time and energy in the next year so we can scale our passive income and make a bigger impact than just living for ourselves.

Online Passive Income Ideas



Online Passive Income Ideas
  1. Odette F says:

    This is a great article.
    I love how much value you guys provide for the entrepreneur community!
    Thank you so much!

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