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How I made $10k of Passive Income/Year

Sorry for the clickbait title, but anyone in the SEO world knows they're the devil you know *shrugs*. Anyway let me preface by saying 1. Passive is a lie and 2. making $1k a month is not guaranteed, nor is it always 1k, but it is most assuredly possible.

Anyone who's spent any time at all roving the Reddit passive income subreddits will have stumbled across Redbubble. It's a print on demand website and IMO, one of the better ones out there. Merchize has a great article that breaks down all the websites with traffic analysis and product variability, but in my experience Redbubble has by and large been the most successful and easy to use. I also use Tee Public and Society6, although more on that later.

Passive Income Year to Date Redbubble Earnings Report
Passive Income Earning Summary, RIP my easy w-2 taxes. Yes, yes I see it's not actually 10k up there, but that's because this is from Feb-Feb and the month had just started. My Jan-Jan was 10k

Some Fundamental RedBubble Advice:

1. Let me just start by saying it's not going to be for everyone

Can anyone, theoretically speaking, manage it? Yes of course. Will it be worth the time and effort you put into it? Debatable. I started from a good starting point; I'm already an artist, and a graphic designer to boot. That means I already had access to a lot of the tools necessary for art design - namely, the devil we know, Adobe. (I have nothing against them for the record, their products are great, but wow their subscription is murder.) If I had to choose one app in their creative suite I'd call necessary, it would be Photoshop. The most optimal would be a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator. Yes there are plenty of free graphic editors out there - Gimp gets tossed around a lot, and Paint Tool SAI, as well as some ui/ux apps like Figma - but a lot of them are freemium models or just honestly not that good. If I had to recommend any, it would be the ones I've listed here, but again Adobe is the gold standard of the industry for a good reason.

You might be thinking: okay but I'm an artist, I have pen and paper, what's stopping me from just using those? Editing, unfortunately. You can't just upload a doodle with a picture from your phone without cleaning it up in some sort of editor and then there's the issue of resolution. < If this thought hadn't even crossed your mind, then RedBubble / Print on Demand might not be your best passive income strategy.

2. Temper your expectations, young Padawan.

And by that I mean don't go into this thinking it's a get rich quick scheme. It's honest work for sure, even though it does get to a point where it can be considered 'passive'. Obviously you can make a lot of money, I probably don't even scratch the surface of the highest earners. But you can't ever assume you'll be one of them, especially not off the bat. In addition, sales go up and down for various reasons, like Redbubble promotions (which no, we do not as artists get word of before they go up to promote on our own websites) and holiday seasons. It's always a neverending struggle to find what's going to be the next hit: here's a hint, if it's already at the top of the redbubble tags, you've missed the boat.

3. Balance quality and quantity.

This sort of goes back to the whole, if you're not even into art this may not be the right Passive Income Strategy for you. I feel like this is more of an old-wives tale than solid proof, but RedBubble wouldn't be the first company to prioritize artists who are constantly uploading over ones that only upload once in a blue moon. At the end of the day they're selling too, in fact they're selling YOU so knowing their algorithms is key. No one really knows how tf their algorithm works, myself included, so it's just a guess.

Regardless, having a robust portfolio is necessary for success, so quantity remains an issue. Obviously you don't want to just throw stuff up that you're not satisfied with, but at the same time, you need to weigh time and effort on a design over how much you'll get back for it. A decent strategy is to just pick what you decide to do carefully but make it something easy enough. Stickers, for example, can be low effort but build sales incredibly. And they have some appeal as t-shirts as well, depending on how you design them.

With that basic advice out of the way, I shall now make you improve my own SEO by clicking on this link to get access to the NEXT installment in this series, which I have affectionately click-baited 'How to find a Red Bubble niche'... and then break it and make your own because following niches will never get you a steady passive income. (:

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