In May, I wrote about my goal to “create a new stream of passive income by September 30, 2012, that generates at least $50 per month on average and endures for a minimum of 10 years in a way that delivers strong value for many others around the world.”
Since the “deadline” date has passed, I thought I’d share an update on how I did.
The plan was to monetize Art Outlines by selling my illustrations as downloadable vectors for other designers to use.
My plan was to group sets of drawings together into full-sets, each of which would be one page in the upcoming Art Outlines book. For example, I created a full set of banners, vegetables, stars, christmas illustrations, and so on. I drew a page per week and listed each page on my etsy shop for $12.95. And then…
And then, on July 4th, American Independence Day, something magical happened. I made my first sale. A stranger sent me $2 for my drawing of a deer while I slept. Fucking magical.
So was it a success?
I’m pretty damn stoked (and surprised) to be able to say yes, both monetarily and otherwise. After the initial $2, I ended up meeting my monetary goal of $50 passive income per month after September 30th.
I didn’t exceed it by much, but something interesting happened: I ended up starting a new form of active income as a by-product.
By listing my pre-made Art Outlines illustrations on etsy, people started getting in touch about creating custom illustrations in the same style. I was getting fresh eyes on my work and exposure via the etsy platform from people searching for quirky illustrations.
As well as making a fair bit more money than the passive stream, I also really enjoyed actively creating illustrations for customers with a set brief. It’s a fun puzzle for me to solve when a client tells me what elements they would like to include, and then I get to figure out a way to make it happen, using my judgment and creativity to fill in gaps.
I liked having the balance of creating pages at will for the book based on my own wants, and creating something more structred for my active clients.
Here’s my Art Outlines monetary earnings breakdown since I started my goal:
JUNE: 30.00 active
JULY: 14.95 passive + 175.00 active
AUGUST: 38.85 passive + 90.00 active
SEPTEMBER: 37.95 passive
OCTOBER: 64.75 passive + 180.00 active
Passive Total: 169.45
Active Total: 475.00
Total Total (passive + active): 644.45
I’m really, really excited about my progress on this so far. Art Outlines is pretty much my ideal form of supporting myself: I can work from anywhere, any time; I get paid to use my creativity and make art I want to make anyways, I’m providing value for others while providing value for myself, and it’s completely passive because I created an automatic download page which customers are emailed after purchase for my completely digital product.
I guess all there is left to do is.. keep going. Based on the fact that people are actually ordering and paying for what I’m making is a clear indicator that I’m heading in the right direction. All I need to do is persist if I want to increase the volume of orders.
A couple folks commented on my initial goal blogpost that a goal of $50/month was too easy. I thought about changing it to a higher goal, but decided to stick with my initial instinct. I didn’t want to set the bar higher because I was (and still am) in the midst of constant travel. During the entire time I’ve been working towards this goal, Art Outlines has been a side project. I couldn’t give it my full attention, as my full attention has been dedicated to my main goal of traveling and working on The Eat Team. I reckon if Art Outlines was my main focus, I could have upped the ante a bit. I’m proud that I was able to meet my goal while exploring and journeying through Australia, New Zealand, and the west coast of the U.S.
I’m looking forward to seeing this project through to completion and earning enough money through passive income to fully sustain my life monetarily. I’m still creating one new set per week, so the finished Art Outlines book should be finished in the next year.
One of the biggest parts of creating passive income streams according to Steve Pavlina is mastering the mindset and really thinking about what you’ll do with your time once you fully sustain yourself with passive income. I think I’ve also been successfully acting upon my answer to that: I’ve been traveling, cooking for friends and family, creating, dancing, and making the most of what I earn. I’m looking forward to fulfilling the remainder of that list in the months and years to come. I’m in it for the long haul and won’t quit till I get there.