Last Updated: June 30, 2018



You are a designer and you produce beautiful artwork that you want to share with the world and make money online. There are plenty of options and you can turn your skills into a lucrative online business.

In this guide, we’ll be examining various monetization options:

  • Freelancer
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Marketplaces
  • Communities, forums, job boards, groups
  • Careers
  • Social Media
  • Hosting courses
  • Creating a website (blogging, digital content creation, promoting other companies products & services for commissions, generating leads and referrals for other companies, selling advertising space, sponsored posts & articles, guest posting, influencer marketing, email marketing, accepting donations, hire me buttons, giving away free material, premium sections, memberships, courses, digital products, workshops, webinars, local marketing, design books & marketing)
  • With or without a website (pay per click marketing, seminars, training, consulting, coaching, speaking, live events, business pages)
  • Video marketing & Vlogging
  • Podcasting
  • Guerilla marketing

As you’ll discover, the most important skill to make money online is not having the perfect design skills or portfolio. It’s marketing yourself effectively online.

Important requirements beyond the design skills:

  • Basic computer skills

All the methods described in this guide require the use of computers. You don’t have to be a tech-savvy in order to be successful. There are platforms, applications, and sites that ease the process, but basic computer skills are required such as web surfing, emails, word processing (editing and saving files, creating word documents)

  • Communication skills

You will be connecting with other people, companies, visitors to your sites and properties, and clients. You will need to communicate your messages effectively and be able to recognize opportunities. Skills like listening, friendliness, clarity, confidence, empathy, respect, and feedback can get you in the right direction immediately.

  • Organizational skills

These skills are important to any business, offline and online. Time management, decision making, problem-solving, productivity, strategic thinking, analysis, planning, are the most important skills.

  • Ambitions

If you don’t have a vision, a dream, and if you’re not an ambitious person, you won’t make it happen. The competition is hard, the market needs solutions, and people expect superior products and services that could change their lives for the better. Your ambition is the fuel that keeps you going.

  • Commitment to work, consistency

No empire was built in a day. You have to work consistently in order to build a brand name and get recognized in the marketplace. You don’t have to work every single day, but have in mind that it takes time before you reach your dreams

  • Continuous education & practicing

Ray Edwards says…” The moment you stop learning, your business starts dying”. This is true at every stage of our lives. If you keep on learning new things and practicing you get an edge, a competitive advantage that will bring the most extraordinary results. This is how you become an expert.

  • Networking

You won’t make it alone. In fact, there’s no human being that ever did that. You need partners, allies, and an audience. When you begin a new journey there are always those who started before you and those who are already successful. They operate on their network like everyone does. Be social, entertaining, and offer value to craft ideal business connections.

  • Enjoy helping others

The modern internet era requires that you give first before you can take. The more people you help, the more you’ll get in return. Zig Ziglar used to say…” You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.

  • Basic marketing knowledge

Without it, your efforts might hit a wall and you won’t be able to scale up your online business. This guide will help you with your marketing.

Additionally, Have in Mind:

  • It needs time before you see any results and you have to work to make it happen, like everything in life
  • It’s not a get rich quick scheme
  • You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars to get started, you can even start with zero investment

How To Make Money Online As a Designer

How to Get Started

Create a Portfolio

Create a strong portfolio (samples) of your work. Be generous at this point and include various pieces of your work, create a gallery that shows who you are and your style. This gallery can be published on your own website (more on that later) and on other online properties so that people exposed to it will immediately understand what to expect from you.

As a designer, you probably produce various kinds of graphic designs and you work in various design areas like:

  • Logos, business cards, stationery
  • Cartoons, caricatures, illustrations
  • Flyers, posters, book covers, packaging
  • Banners, web & mobile design, social media design
  • 3D & 2D models, T-shirts, presentations
  • Vectors, invitations, photoshop editing

But there are designers specializing in one or more areas. You can start off with only one area and then expand upon it in the near future or you can include as many areas as you wish.

#1 – Freelancer

Now that you’ve created a design portfolio, you can immediately start making money by joining freelance websites. Almost all freelance sites are free to join but they will charge you a fee or percentage based on your sales. These sites receive masses of traffic on a daily basis so this is a great chance to get noticed by potential clients and companies looking to hire. Not only, you begin showcasing your work and you make valuable connections.

The more successful you become with your clients on these platforms, the more visibility you’ll get.

How to Get Started on Freelance Websites:

  • Choose a direction (niche) and define your services by showcasing the design areas you specialize in
  • Define your ideal customer base by determining the solutions that your services provide for your clients’ problems and needs
  • Spy on the competition to create your unique value proposition. Try to find untapped opportunities and to differentiate yourself
  • Set your prices according to the competition and to your needs in order to reach the perfect customers that you want to work with.
  • Reject projects that you’re not comfortable doing.
  • Always deliver high-quality results to build your reputation

How to Expand your Freelancing Career (these methods are examined in the next sections):

  • Build a brand name and market yourself on social media, forums, communities, directories, other relevant to your niche sites. Create connections with other freelancers, influencers, and bloggers.
  • Craft your pitch to approach new clients either through personal connections (online or offline) or through your blog, or even with cold tactics.
  • Keep on practicing and educating to improve your skills in order to become an expert in a specialized field. This way you can start charging more.
  • Continue blogging to attract subscribers and new clients by offering high-value content for free. Guest post on related blogs, publications, and networks that your potential clients spend time.
  • Create case studies showcasing your previous projects with happy clients so that new clients understand better your offerings and how you can help them. This way you increase the chances of expanding your client base.
  • Create ebooks, online courses, or host online webinars/local seminars to boost your credibility
  • Copy what other successful freelancers are doing to promote their work, do not copy their work though.

Freelance Websites to Showcase your Portfolio



Slogan: Grow your business with the top freelancing website

This site has a great reputation and offers a wide range of categories including a section devoted to Design & Creative.

How it Works

  • Upwork pricing encourages freelancers to use Upwork to repeat relationships with their clients
  • Send and receive files, share feedback in real-time
  • Get paid on time with Upwork’s invoices and payments


Upwork charges freelancers a sliding fee based on the freelancer’s lifetime billings with a specific client



Slogan: Hire freelance experts without the middleman, post projects for free, no transaction costs, communicate onsite or off

Another site with great reputation offering a wide range of categories including Graphic Design & MultimediaEvery category shows how many freelancers offer their services

How it Works

For freelancers: You can submit bids for projects, advertise to employers, showcase your online portfolio, promote your own website, and much more



Slogan: Find and hire talented freelancers

Another site with great reputation offering a wide range of categories including Design, Arts & MultimediaThey claim a huge network of over 1.5 million gurus.

How it Works

For freelancers: Create a profile, define your services, search and apply for jobs that you’re interested in, manage your work from anywhere, get paid quickly and securely



Slogan: Hire expert freelancers for any job, online, millions of small businesses use Freelancer to turn their ideas into reality

Another site with great reputation offering a wide range of categories including Graphic Design, Logos, Website Design, Photoshop.



Slogan: Work your way, you bring the skill, we’ll make earning easy.

One of the most popular freelance sites offering a wide range of services including Graphic Design, Logos, Website Design, t-shirt design, flyers, shirt, packaging, illustrations, book & album covers, business cards, stationery, infographics, cartoons, architecture and floor plans, 3D models, product design, Photoshop editing, banner ads, social media design, vectors, invitations.

More Freelance websites to showcase your portfolio

#2 – Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant Definition

According to ‘Virtual Assistant’ is an entrepreneur who provides professional technical, administrative, creative or any other form of assistance to his/her clients primarily over the internet. A virtual assistant is also called a virtual office assistant or VA. His/Her office is mostly based at his/her home.

The term may also be used to refer a temporary worker who works for businesses over the internet. The employer may be miles away from the assistant. A virtual assistant works remotely.

Freelancer vs Virtual Assistant – Difference

According to the difference between those 2 terms lies in:

Virtual assistant services hire employees who are assigned to different clients. VAs usually talk to a project manager

Freelancers are usually self-employed and work solo. Clients work directly with them without an intermediate company.

There are pros and cons for companies and business owners when seeking freelancers or VAs. For example, VA companies can help business owners with almost any task, offer free-trials, or money-back guarantee. But a business owner may not be able to find a specific VA to meet their particular needs and VAs are usually more expensive for them.

On the other hand, freelancers offer very specific skillsets, communicate directly with business owners and offer affordable rates. But they might not offer a money-back guarantee or might not be available for hiring whenever needed.


Either way, when you want to offer your services I suggest you diversify your sources. Advertise yourself as a freelancer both on your own website (more on that later) and on freelance websites, and then expand by applying to virtual assistant companies.

The vast majority of companies don’t care if you are entitled as a freelancer, VA, or anything else. They want the job done. So, what matters most is your portfolio, connections, and reputation.

Virtual Assistant Websites to Get Hired



The website offers various services including Web Design

How it Works

You are invited to join Office 88 as freelance tele-staff.

You are also invited to be a freelance salesperson or agency for Office 88. You can get customers in your own ways, such as through email marketing, phone calls, or through friends and colleagues. You are entitled to get 15% of the revenue from selling Office 88 services, or 10% for other companies for which Office 88 is a reseller (They do not share costs).

You fill a sales application form, when you get a customer, you simply fill a Sales Report Form, and they will pay your share after they get payment from the customer.



The website offers various services including Web Design, logos, flyers. 

It’s a 100% US based & extensively trained virtual assistant staffing company. Independent contractors that work by the minute. Services are on a week to week basis and customized around each investor’s needs. No VA is allowed to work with multiple clients in the same area to avoid sharing of leads.

How it Works

To apply for a VA position, you must:

  • Live in the USA
  • High-speed internet
  • Headset or physical phone
  • EIN for W9
  • Clear English
  • Be serious about working from home

They pay weekly and start at $9 per hour for actual work completed on your agreed upon contracted clients. When you submit an application, they offer you free basic training, videos of what your general clients would be looking for. Then you will complete a test and upon successful completion, they will offer you an interview. If you complete the interview successfully they will offer you a contract. The more you want to work, the more money you make. Their VA’s work 20-45 hours per week.



Slogan: Indeed helps millions of job seekers and employers find the right fit every day. They offer various services including web design, design assistant and other design positions.

How it Works

For VA’s:

Search using keywords, job title, company name, location. The results will be sorted by salary estimate, job type, location, company name, experience level. Then it’s in your hand to contact companies separately.



Slogan: Work, Life, Time. Dedicated VA’s who can help get your work done. As a 24/7 client, you’ll work with a smart, capable, college educated and dedicated Virtual Assistant who works remotely from our Offshore location or right here in the USA.

They offer various services including Web Design and Graphic Design.

How it Works

They hire VA’s who are extremely professional and talented. There is a minimum of three to four rounds of interviews for everyone who wants to be a part of our Virtual Assistant family. Professionals who are established and experienced Virtual Assistants do the interview rounds for the interested candidates and make sure only ones who meet our standard and expectations are hired. The hired VA’s are given training sessions and briefings for bettering their skills. Every single work by a VA in our firm is subjective to quality check by experts before submitting it to the clients. They give equal importance to quality and time management alike. 

For VA’s:

You must meet these criteria:

  • Excellent communication skills, adaptable, reliable, consistent
  • Flexible, confident, resourceful, organized, understanding
  • Trustworthy, professional, accessible, problem solver
  • Self-motivated, multi-tasking

You send a resume and their Human Resource Department will go through your resume as soon as it comes through. If they have an immediate client need that matches your skill sets, they will contact you right away. If not, they will keep your resume on file and contact you when they have a need that matches your skills to see if you are available at that time. Average pay for a US virtual assistant is between $10-$12 per hour and it depends on VA’s skill level and client’s requirement. 90% of the time, clients are looking for part-time VA’s which ranges from 20-120 hours a month. 

More Virtual Assistant Websites to Get Hired

#3 – MarketPlaces

Join related marketplaces to showcase your design artwork and to boost your visibility instantly. The majority of marketplaces will charge you fees per sale but these sites receive massive traffic, therefore it’s crucial for you to join them and showcase your work.

Buyers from all over the world visit those networks on a daily basis so you have a chance to get noticed and build a client base.

You can additionally participate in their forums, discuss with other designers, and make valuable connections. You can even partner up with other designers for some of your projects.

There are marketplaces that reward their top performing vendors with exclusive bonuses and featured content.

Creative Market

creative market

Slogan: Learn, share, and connect with a community of like-minded creators. A platform for handcrafted design content from independent creatives around the world.


  • Photos
  • Graphics
  • Templates
  • Themes
  • Fonts
  • Add-ons
  • 3D

How it Works

In this marketplace, graphic designers all around the globe are opening their private shops presenting their work. You can list your design bundles and projects for a price. Additionally, you have the opportunity to connect directly with other freelancers and entrepreneurs, discuss and interact with them.

You grant around 70% commissions of the sales setting your own prices, although you have to keep in mind the competition’s prices. You can update your shop with new artwork whenever you want and your products go live instantly. There are tracking tools to analyze traffic to your shop and a messaging system to stay connected with buyers. The market will deliver your products instantly.

A nice trick to attract buyers to your shop is to create and offer for Free some mini projects. Not only you extend your reach but you give your potential buyers the chance to test your work for Free. Imagine what will happen if they stay satisfied. They will buy the next time and they will share your brand’s name with their network.

This is what I do when I get Free goods from Creative Market. I share these free offers on my online network. That particular project will reach a wider audience in a blink of an eye because in my network are involved other internet marketers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds. When I share these artworks someone in my network might do the same, multiplying the reach of your free offer. 

You are giving a small part of your work for free in exchange for popularity.

This is the modern era of things and you should play by the rules. Along with your premium offers, do include some free offers. This will make a huge difference and get your brand name recognized faster.

Therefore you can connect with other designers, companies, and buyers inside the Creative Market website. There is an option to follow people and create a small private network.

Moreover, Creative Market runs a separate blog and there is a forum full of discussions and topics.

Envato Market

envato market

Slogan: The leading marketplace for creative assets and creative people. Millions of people choose our marketplace, studio and courses to buy files, hire freelancers, or learn the skills needed to build websites, videos, apps, graphics, and more.


  • EnvatoMarket: Browse 9+ million digital assets
  • EnvatoStudio: Hire designers and developers
  • EnvatoTuts: Learn with tutorials and courses
  • EnvatoSites: Launch simple websites, no code required
  • EnvatoElements: Download 400,000+ creative assets
  • Forum
  • Blog
  • Community Meetups
  • Careers


    • ThemeForest: themes and templates for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, landing pages and more.
    • CodeCanyon: Sliders, plugins, scripts, and code for WordPress, PHP, Javascript, HTML5, Bootstrap, iOS, Android.
    • VideoHive: A huge range of stock footage, after effects, logos, intros, Apple motion, templates.
    • AudioJungle: Music, sound effects for films, games, trailers, promos, podcasts, backgrounds.
    • GraphicRiver: Flyers, resumes, logos, and banners, illustrations, icons, web elements, templates…
    • PhotoDune: Royalty-free images of weddings, fashion, business, food, family, fitness, people, tech, travel…
    • 3dOcean: Games, animations, models, textures, materials, base meshes, plugins.

    As you can see, Envato is a huge place ideal for designers, web developers, music and video producers, animators, photographers.

    You display your products, you have a chance to get hired as a freelancer, and you gain popularity, visibility, and recognition in the market.

    Make sure you read the terms and licenses before you publish your artwork.

    Finally, the career department offers flexible job positions.



    Slogan: Discount design bundles with extended license.


        • Creative and Unique Hand Drawn Fonts
        • Presentation Kits
        • Logos
        • Typography
        • Photograph packages: Vintage, Retro etc.
        • Backgrounds & Shapes: Abstract, geometric
        • Decorative Graphics
        • Posters, Flyers
        • Mock-Ups
        • Textures
        • Branding & Print Templates
        • Effects
        • Graphic elements: Icons, vectors, illustrations.

    You can become a vendor and sell your media. 



    An online art community operating since December 1998 and the name Renderosity was created and voted by the community of digital artists in October 1999. The graphics arts industry grew worldwide and a need for a medium of communication that could link this diverse and international group was born. Renderosity came to life to fill that need.

    Their mission is to create a thriving, productive community that encourages an atmosphere of respect, collaboration, and growth for 3D & 2D digital artists, animators, photographers and writers of all backgrounds and levels.


    • Grabbed by the Ghoulies sale
    • Music – Soundtracks – FX
    • Poser software – Smith Micro
    • Prime flash sale
    • 3D models
    • 2D
    • 3D figure essentials
    • Services – Rosity stuff
    • Merchant resources
    • Lights or cameras
    • Game content – Games and apps
    • Software
    • Tutorials
    • Gaming extended licenses

    Join and reap the many benefits of being involved in a global marketplace which reaches half a million registered members, 250 new members daily and 330 million hits per month.

    You can become a vendor and sell your media. As a vendor, you can set an exclusive status on some or all of your products. That means that these products will be sold only at Renderosity.

    Moreover, you can add coupons and you can track the progress via a code that can be used on Google Analytics.

    The Renderosity Marketplace welcomes products of all types, including but not limited to models, textures, props, morph targets animations, pose sets for existing models, software, and much more.

    They charge no fees upfront and you pay nothing for membership or the ability to submit your products, have them tested and then released into the Marketplace. All it takes is a FREE membership signup and uploading your first creation!

    They do payments both monthly and bi-monthly through a number of payment options. Those can be selected in your Vendor Details after sign-up.

    You can have partnered products for sale on Renderosity. You can have up to 5 vendors on a single product and you add all of those participating vendors on your product when submitting it to the marketplace.




    Slogan: The best deals for digital design assets.

    Since 2011 Inky is bringing the Black Friday Deals every day for creatives all around the world. InkyDeals was created from the desire to offer fellow designers (beginners and veterans alike) high-quality resources at unbeatable prices.

    Inky is a lovable little blob who’s passionate about design and creativity. His daily routine involves searching for great deals with all the resources a creative professional may need.


    • Patterns, backgrounds, icons, vectors, illustrations
    • Ribbons, Typography, Lightroom presets, Floral packs
    • Css3 utilities, Html5 templates, Photoshop actions, Add-ons, Textures, Badges, Brushes, Buttons, Fonts, HTML, CSS courses, Mock-Ups
    • Stock photos, PSD templates, UI Sets, Origamis, Tags, T-Shirt Designs, Vector Mascots
    • Bundles, web design
    • WordPress, Photoshop, eLearning

    You can join hundreds of vendors already selling their digital products. Advantages for vendors:

    • No upfront marketing costs
    • Exposure to a large audience
    • Extra marketing channel
    • Test products really fast, get traction to products you launch
    • They handle payments, refunds, affiliates, promotions on partner websites

    What you get:

    • Extra income without spending anything on marketing
    • Customers
    • Free website traffic
    • Editorial features on their partners’ websites


    • Over 250,000 email subscribers
    • 13,000 FB likes
    • 5,000 Twitter followers
    • More than 300 vendors 
    • Thousands of campaigns

    How it Works:

    After you submit your product, one of their colleagues will contact you to discuss if your deal fits their audience. Once everything is in place (agreements, terms & conditions) you start working on the promotion of your product.

    They do the featured image, the copy for the deal description, they set up the systems so customers can access the product as fast as possible.

    Once the promotion has started they start promoting your deals to maximize revenue and impact.

    Once the promotion is over, after 2-4 weeks you get your payment via Paypal or bank transfer.

    More Marketplaces

    Pond5: Videos, footage, music, after effects, sound effects, photos, illustrations, 3D models. You can sell your media. Media types they accept: video, music tracks, sound effects, images, 3D objects, AE templates (infographics, movie trailers, stop motion, 3D particles)

    Behance: Architecture, art direction, branding, fashion, graphic design, illustrations, industrial design, interaction design, motion graphics, photography, UI/UX, web design, cartooning, cinematography, crafts, drawing, films, graffiti, jewelry design, makeup arts, music, painting, retouching, sculpting, sound design, textile design, toy design, visual effects, web development.

    You can display your work and you can search for a job.

    AR/VR, advertising, animation, architecture, design, cinematography, copywriting, digital art, drawing, editing, engineering, film, fine arts, graphic design, journalism, motion graphics, music, photography, product design, street art, visual effects, and more

    ArtPal: Paintings, prints, drawing, illustration, digital art, sculptures, carvings, ceramics, pottery, glass, jewelry, textile, apparel, crafts

    FineArtAmerica: Wall art, apparel, paintings, photos, drawings, digital art, home decor, phone cases, tech, lifestyle, stationery, beach products (towels, bags, pouches)

    Yessy: Paintings, prints, photography, drawings, illustrations, computer & digital art, sculptures, carvings, ceramics, pottery, glass, jewelry, furniture, textile, apparel, antiques, collectibles, crafts

    EmptyEasel: Paintings (oil, acrylic, watercolor), graphite, pencil art, pen & ink artwork, mixed-media art, fine art photography, sculpture, 3D art

    Art: Framed art prints, framed mount, framed canvas, decor, fine art, photography, vintage art

    CafePress: Gift shop – t-shirts, clothing, bags, buttons, stickers, magnets, cases, covers, baby blankets, home accessories, shower curtains, hats, jewelry, scarves, neckties, watches, posters, wallpapers

    Society6: Art prints, canvas, metals, wall tapestries, wall clocks, stickers, bags, pillows, blankets, towels, mugs, phone cases, laptop skins, leggings, t-shirts, sleeves, tops, hoodies

    #4 – Communities/Forums/Job Boards/Groups

    Join communities, groups, and forums related to design beyond the ones mentioned above (freelancing & virtual assistant websites, and marketplaces that have inner forums) and participate. There are communities where designers give away samples of their work for free in exchange for popularity. Many artists have acquired clients by using this giveaway method as potential clients received some samples for free, recognized their talent, and eventually hired them.

    Furthermore, there are communities where you can discuss with like-minded artists, spot fans and enthusiasts related to your niche, and make connections. You can get ideas for your projects, get inspired, or even get hired. You can learn about marketing, sales, and how to monetize your online presence. You can read the news, learn about the law & taxes, get your projects critiqued, participate in contests and competitions, and get advertised. 

    Connect with thousands of companies around the globe, make allies, and get better at what you do. 

    Find jobs and post jobs on Job Boards: full-time, part-time, remote jobs, local job listings.

    Design communities:

    • WebDesignerDepot – Authors, jobs, deals, news
    • DesignerHangout – Invite-only, professional UX design network of 10,000+ UX practitioners.
    • Digital Point – Forum for designers, developers, and marketers
    • DesignerHangout – a dedicated, invite-only network of UX designers and researchers who discuss trends, give advice, share stories, uncover insights, surface opportunities, and connect in-person.
    • #Launch – a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, designers, developers, & makers.
    • CoffeeCup – software and web design forums
    • TeamSketch – a community for Sketch designers
    • WebDeveloper – a community for Web Developers
    • TheWebDesignForum – web design, development, software, hardware, business, marketing, networking
    • TalkGraphics – web design, general graphics, resources, Xara
    • GraphicDesignForum –  general, inspiration, news, resources, typography, web design, illustrations, students, software, classified ads
    • StackOverflow – over 50 million developers come to Stack Overflow to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers
    • HowDesign – news, inspiration, careers, business, tech & web, online learning, events, competitions, jobs, magazine
    • Graphic Design Forums – classifieds, graphic design, illustration, logos, brand identity, printing, print design, font, critiques, websites, SEO, social media, marketing, Adobe, software & hardware, photography, jobs & employment
    • LaraChat – Chat and share with over 23,608 worldwide members. Live discussions. They’re building the biggest PHP virtual user group in the world
    • WebDesignForums – website ratings & reviews, general, tutorials, Adobe, programming & development, web marketing, hosting and server setup, announcements, contests, premium, marketplace
    • HTML Forums – lounge, web 2.0, technology, website review, development, multimedia, tutorials, server administration, freebies, advertising, links, sales, website content for sale, security, promotion & commerce, legal issues, announcements, feedback, spam box.
    • SitePointForums – programming, design, UX, marketing, server configuration, community, business, CMS & WordPress
    • WebDevForums – web design, tutorials, website design reviews, SEO, marketing, freelancing, web hosting, domains, monetizing websites, news, announcements, suggestions
    • Dribbble – get inspired and hired, post jobs
    • UX Mastery – careers, mentoring, feedback, problem-solving, design thinking, process & techniques
    • UX Design Community – a platform for designers and researchers to share inspirations, resources, and knowledge to help each other grow
    • UX Stack Exchange – a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. 
    • Web Designer Forum – news, competitions, website design & layout, resources, development, SEO, marketing, business, software & hardware
    • Designer News – you can read stories, find jobs for designers and developers, listen to the podcast, explore the galleries, get advertised
    • DesignersTalk – general, web design, CMS, development, graphic design, illustration, flash, motion graphics, print, photography, logo and brand identity, promotion, marketing, business, hardware, mobile

    Drawing communities:

    • DeviantArt – Forum for artists and art enthusiasts

    Mixed Arts communities:

    • ArtistForum – Artist community for discussing drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, graphic design, sharing your work, and more.

    Cartoon communities:

    • CartoonsForum – people and characters, the art and business, magazine cartoons, newspaper strips, comic books, caricature, editorial, film and TV animation, graphic stories, mini-comics, cartoon jams, humorous illustration, and online cartooning
    • AnimeForums – a friendly community welcoming anime fans from around the world! You’re welcome to take a look around, but to join the fun and discussions you will need to register for a free account. Registration allows you to setup your own profile, join the discussions, participate in clubs, making your own blog, as well as submitting anime reviews

    Mixed communities/Job Boards/Groups:

    • TalkFreelance – news, feedback, marketplace (sell & get hired), design & development, business, website management
    • FreelanceUK – general, accounting, legal, business & contracts, graphic design, web design, journalism, copywriting, photography, PR & marketing.
    • Freelancers Union – free membership, exclusive deals, monthly events, download tax & insurance guides, blog.
    • Smashing Magazine – helping designers and developers find jobs and connect with companies.
    • Mashable Job Board – Post your job on Mashable and they’ll actively promote your opening to their 45 million monthly unique visitors and 25 million social followers. Administrative, clerical, advertising, customer service, design, finance, operations, IT/engineering, journalism, marketing, pr, sales, social media, web development
    • Coroflot – creates better professional experiences for designers of all backgrounds all over the world. You can post a job and browse their listings. Graphic design, industrial design, 3D modeling, product design, user experience, design management, creative direction, advertising, animation, architecture, art direction, branding, business development & sales, concept art, copywriting, education, engineering, and more…
    • Working Nomads – Remote jobs. Development, management, marketing, system administration, design, sales, customer success, writing, consulting, finance, human resources, administration, education, healthcare, legal.
    • Authentic Jobs – A leading job board for designers, hackers, and creative pros. Full-time and part-time listings. Design & UX, front-end engineering, back-end engineering, apps, product management, content & copywriting, marketing & sales, customer & community, management, various.
    • WP Hired – Search for a WordPress job. Design, migration, performance, plugin development, programming, SEO, theme customization, writing jobs.
    • Krop – 3D artist, art director, designer, fashion, illustrator, marketing, SEO, presentation, product/packaging, UX/UI, web developer, administrative, copywriter, freelance, industrial design, mobile developer, print, production artist, upper management, animation/motion, creative director, environmental, graphic designer, interactive, photography, producer, project manager, web designer
    • Folyo – get project alerts that will help you land your next client. 3500+ design firms. 
    • OnSite – quality, curated freelancers, no middle-men, no percentage. You can apply to showcase your portfolio. Categories: design, development, illustration, motion, management. A very well organized directory showing potential freelancers with detailed statistics.
    • – elite professional freelancers augmented by AI. 25,000+ members. Software engineer, UX designer, product manager, scrum master, UI, full-stack developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, QA, DevOps, SecOps.
    • – Build your next app, eCommerce, or website with their network of freelance designers, software developers, and small studios. Mobile app developer, web development, back-end frameworks, front-end frameworks, back-end languages, front-end languages, agencies & studios, graphic design, web design, WordPress design, UX design, UI design, product design, logo & branding.
    • Envato Studio – A community of designers, developers, and creatives. Audio, design, graphics, WordPress, logo & branding, online marketing, video & animation, mobile & apps, websites & programming.
    • Juiiicy – a private community for top-notch designers to refer freelances jobs to others or apply to jobs posted by others. A platform that let the best designers in the world spread the word about inquiries they receive so other talented designers can take them on. The best way to support and motivate designers to post a job on Juiiicy is to give them a commission. 7% of the final invoice feels to be the right number.
    • Local Solo – Top freelancers in your city. Copywriters, content, design, creatives, developers, engineers, game design & development, marketing, social media, SEO, photography, commercial, project manager, producer, sound, music, strategist, consultant, UX, IA, video, motion, 3D, website creation, design & code.
    • CloudPeeps – over 20,000 customers, over 150 countries. Web design, growth hacking, public relations, social, content, community, SEO, paid ads, admin, email, copywriting, design, strategy

    #5 – Design Careers

    You can track local design jobs or other design related and remote positions using these extra platforms:

    Monster – Creative design jobs by state

    GlassDoor – find the job that fits your life. Refine your search by job, company, salary, interviews.

    TheGuardianJobs – Refine your search by industry, job function, job level, location, salary, hours, contract, listing type, education level, recruiter type, job title.

    AIGA Design Jobs – the professional association for design. 207 current creative employment opportunities.

    DesignObserver – presented by AIGA. Empowering designers to grow as leaders, strategic thinkers, and inspirational motivators. 461 current creative opportunities.

    DesignJobsBoard – Most of the jobs are in London, UK.

    Alliance of Artists Communities – Storytelling design, art design, graphic design, fashion design, and more. 370 current listings.

    ArtJobs – latest jobs, contract, freelance, full-time, internship, part-time, temporary.

    Creative Pool – 310 current positions.

    DeZeenJobs – jobs by type, company, location. Creative jobs, design, freelance, and more.

    TalentZoo – advertising, marketing, design & creative, geek & web.

    The Dots – freelance, internships, account manager, art director, copywriter, marketing, design, graphic design, photography, project manager, strategy

    The Drum – 429 current jobs in design, advertising, marketing, digital, social media, and PR.

    If You Could Jobs – find and advertise creative jobs. Most of the positions are in London.

    Creative Review – find creative jobs and apply today. Graphics, print, digital, web, and more.

    Airtasker – Design jobs near you, over 500 opportunities. Top locations: Far West NSW, Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Townsville…

    #6 – Social Media

    You can not go without being social. The more you appear online the more people trust you. Social channels offer you an opportunity to spread your message, create fans and connections.

    Every network has its own rules and terms but one thing is in common. People hate being spammed and bombarded with irrelevant ads.

    You can create personal or business profiles and pages, and create or join related groups.

    On your personal profiles, you want to make connections with people related to your work but also with people that share common interests beyond design. The more you share other people’s content, the more your content will be shared by others in return. Try to be polite, and don’t use a personal account only to talk about your work. People will ignore you.

    On business profiles and pages you can display your work and use them as a magnet for potential clients. Share the latest artwork with your audience, giveaway bonuses, offer discounts, promos, prizes, create polls, quizzes, questionnaires.

    Join design related and other groups. Some of these groups are open to everyone, some are private and require invitations. You can spot several places to discuss with like-minded people and expand your online presence and knowledge. Everybody contributes to these groups by sharing tips, presenting small portfolios and by asking questions.

    You have to carefully read the group’s rules and terms of service and act in a decent and appropriate manner. You have to be professional and follow these teams to expand your horizons.

    The main objective for you is to create connections and reach a wider audience. Let the communities know about your interests and share valuable insights.

    When you gain some momentum with your business pages move to next level and create a group on your own.

    You can even create special chat rooms where you invite social followers to participate in private discussions. Answer questions politely and entertain people. It’s OK to partner with competitors and other entrepreneurs on that matter.

    Here are a few ideas to leverage on social media

    Independent campaigns/ads

    Promote your products and services usually in the form of banners with catchy headlines. Send people to landing pages on your website to signup with their email addresses (more on that later).

    can be used to raise brand awareness. People ask questions on these platforms so if you can enter a conversation showcasing your expertise you’ll gain valuable followers. Do not only post business stuff that has to do with selling. On social media people enjoy various types of content.


    Create boards on Pinterest and Flipboard.

    Create business boards and boards on various topics beyond the design world. You can add boards about your personal preferences, interests, anything that could make people interested in you as a person. Remember, on social you’re not trying to sell directly, rather than interacting and educating.

    Answer questions on Quora

    Quora is very popular and it’s a great place to showcase your expertise and redirect people to your website, landing pages, or offers. Share useful content, advice, link to your guides. Participate and comment on various threads to gain insights into the community.

    Surveys, quizzes, polls

    Our goal here is to create a buzz about our brand, and people enjoy this kind of interactive media. Redirect people to your landing pages and start collecting email addresses. Ask questions that will help you understand what people are looking for in your respective niche.

    Business pages

    Google+, Twitter, and Facebook can be used to create pages strictly for business. Here, we want to create a loyal fan base. We do that by educating people about our products and services. 

    We use lead magnets in the form of discounts, promos, and special offers that only members of our pages can enjoy. We want them to feel special for being our loyal members on social.

    On business pages, do not share other brands’ content, like you do with your personal profiles

    Public or Private Groups and Chatrooms

    Our goal is to gather business people in our niche, to share ideas and opinions on hot topics. In the case of public groups, people will see the interaction in the group and they’ll be interested in joining, to learn more about the design industry. With these boards, we try to network with other alike entrepreneurs. These public groups act as a magnet for potential customers. Suddenly, you’re not alone, you’re not one company trying to sell to people, you are a group of companies that interact with each other

    Broadcast live/video streaming

    Content Formats

    You can publish any type of content you want on social media, just like you do on your site:

    Posts, articles, news, lists, reviews, comparisons, guides, research, case studies, landing pages, polls, quizzes, contests, testimonials, galleries, infographics, charts, maps, audio, podcasts, interviews, videos, webinars, presentations

    Monetization Techniques

    • Independent campaigns/ads: Promote your products and services (memberships, courses, books…) and promotional offers of affiliated merchants (Pay per sale, CPM, CPA, Pay per lead)
    • Discounts, promos, prizes, special offers, exclusive downloads
    • eCommerce stores, shops hosted on social platforms like Facebook Store
    • Sponsored content (interviews, testimonials, videos, articles)
    • Digital content for clients strictly on social media (clips, promo videos, trailers, audio, graphics, ad campaigns)
    • Create and manage social media accounts, business pages, profiles for clients (advanced)
    • Paid advertising (advanced)

    #7 – Host Design Courses

    There are online marketplaces filled with classes for students. You can use these platforms to sell courses. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of every community carefully as probably you won’t be allowed to sell other products to your students.

    Skillshare – tomorrow is for the taking. Thousands of classes to help you do your best work. Creative, business, technology, lifestyle.

    Udemy – Get courses starting at €9.99. 65,000 online courses. Development, business, IT & software, office productivity, personal development, design, marketing, lifestyle, photography, health & fitness, teacher training, music, academics, language

    Teachable – create and sell beautiful online courses. 7M+ students, 34K+ active courses, 22K+ instructors, $100M+ earned by instructors. 

    LearnWorlds – Get a fully professional, social, engaging and interactive online school. Don’t just sell online courses, sell learning experiences. 

    CourseCraft – everything you need to build superbly designed self-paced online courses. Share your passion, make money, and help people level up their lives today.

    Thinkific – the online course platform you can trust with your business. Create, market, and sell courses online from your own website. 25K+ course creators.

    Academy of Mine – Start your Own Online Academy. All-in-one Platform to Create, Sell and Market Courses. 

    WizIQ – Easy-to-use, affordable Virtual Classroom, and LMS Software. Get all the tools to teach or train your students, customers or partners.

    Ruzuku – Teach amazing courses people will love. Everything you need to connect with your audience, create inspiring content, and change the world.

    Educadium – deliver self-paced training, manage eLearning courses, free online support. 


    #8 – Build a Website

    This is by far the most efficient way to make ‘big’ money online and this is why I saved this part for the end. A website is your best companion in your online journey and can be used to enhance your presence whether you want to work as a designer, freelancer, virtual assistant, artist, to open a store, a dropshipping business, or any other method.

    A website is your online property and it’s pretty much like an offline brick & mortar business. It’s open 24/7 and can bring you traffic continuously, and the most important aspect is that it can be monetized in a hundred different ways.

    A website can take your design business to the next level as it’s the most efficient promotional tool.

    A very flexible business model with countless benefits, with the highest earning potential, and only one disadvantage.

    It takes time before you see any results, so be patient and get ready to work. The payoff is well worth fighting for.

    Making Money Online with a Website in a Nutshell

    A website targets a specific segment of a market, a niche, which in essence is a group of people looking for solutions to problems, information on products and services, and they buy stuff online. In this case, our niche is “Design”.

    We attract those people by targeting specific keywordscreating useful, unique and high-quality content based on our audience needs. The content of the website will get rankings in the search engines and will be published and advertised on various platforms and mediums.

    As a result, the website will gain traffic and this is where we step in and engage with our audience by answering questions, giving advice, and solving their problems. Eventually, a part of unknown visitors will turn into subscribers and finally we will earn revenue through various methods.

    Quick Overview of Basic Monetization Techniques (for beginners)

    • Blogging
    • Promoting other companies products for commissions (affiliate marketing)
    • Generating leads and referrals for other companies
    • Selling advertising space
    • Sponsored posts/articles
    • Email marketing
    • Video marketing
    • Social media campaigns/advertising
    • Podcasting 
    • Freelancing
    • Dropshipping
    • eCommerce Stores
    • Accepting donations
    • “Hire me” calls to action

    Quick Overview of Monetization Techniques (advanced)

    • Pay per click marketing (with or without a website)
    • Memberships
    • Services
    • Online courses (with or without a website)
    • Workshops, webinars, seminars (with or without a website)
    • Training (1-1/team), consulting, coaching (with or without a website)
    • Speaking, live events (with or without a website)
    • Sell websites for profit
    • Promoting MLM companies
    • Local marketing, Business pages
    • Marketing services and campaigns for clients and companies (SEO, website creation, website development, content creation, advertising, managing social media accounts, business pages/profiles…)
    • Write your own books (with or without a website)
    • Create digital products

    and more…

    In this guide, we’ll be analyzing only the methods related to design.

    How to Get Started with a Website

    • Choose a direction (niche), a market segment to target – In this case, our niche is “Design”.
    • Identify your target audience and connect effectively with them using the Inbound methodology and the customer purchase lifecycle in order to able to target people at every stage of their buying journey. These topics are all covered in the DBR training as well.
    • Research the competition to gain insights and craft your unique value proposition
    • Now you need to create content in order to attract online traffic. The content needs to be useful, unique, and interactive
    • There are various ways to gain online traffic with content and the most important factor is to implement proper SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to receive organic, free traffic. This is the most targeted traffic you can get.
    • You can create digital content in various formats, like blog posts, articles, news, lists, reviews, comparisons, guides, research, case studies, landing pages, polls, quizzes, contests, testimonials, galleries, infographics, charts, maps, audio, podcasts, interviews, videos, webinars, presentations. In the DBR Training, I analyze various content formats with examples
    • Other methods to attract traffic: article marketing on forums, communities, and groups, video marketing, social media campaigns, podcasts, interviews, free services, free memberships, relationships/connections (online/offline), influencer marketing, guest blogging, or even outbound techniques. All these methods and more are covered in the DBR training as well.
    • Now that your website receives regular traffic you need to engage with your audience, interact with people, answer questions, connect them with the products/solutions they’re looking for
    • Build a brand name and market yourself on forums, directories, other relevant to your niche sites. Create connections with other website owners, influencers, and bloggers.
    • Create social media accounts, blast campaigns, create business pages, join related to your niche groups and communities. At later stages, you can create your own social media groups (private or public)
    • Keep on practicing and educating to improve your skills in order to become an expert in a specialized field
    • Guest blog on other sites and let others guest blog on your site as well
    • Continue networking (online/offline)
    • Continue blogging to attract subscribers and new clients by offering high-value content for free. Guest post on related blogs, publications, and networks that your potential clients spend time.
    • Create ebooks, online courses, or host online webinars/local seminars to boost your credibility
    • Monetize your content with various techniques analyzed below:

    What Else You Need


    • A domain name
    • A website: there are 2 options. The 1st one is to build a custom site, the 2nd option is to choose a website builder/platform to build a website on your own (there are free options, and the paid options are very affordable)
    • Web hosting services: a place to store the website files/data and get technical support
    • Basic marketing training



    I cover all these topics in the Free DBR Training where I list various domain registrars, tools to help you choose a domain name, website builders/platforms, web hosting companies, and on top of that, I provide my top recommended web building & hosting solution (marketing training included).


    Additionally, my training will cover all the basic marketing knowledge you’ll need to get started online (niche and market research, SEO, keyword research, content production, email marketing, article marketing, video marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click, outbound tactics, various ways to monetize website content and more)

    Blogging/Digital Content Creation

    As a blogger, your job is to connect people with brands and products by offering exclusive information in your respective niche. People are looking for solutions to problems, information on products and services, and they buy stuff online. They want to make informed decisions and avoid low-quality programs and products.

    You are someone with experience and specific knowledge in your niche, and you share valuable information, insights, and tips. You help people with their questions and you keep on practicing and researching the topics you cover with your blogs. You provide new solutions, review new products, write articles, and interact with people.

    By blogging and creating digital content you can promote your current design skills and attract people and companies interested to hire you or to co-operate with you.

    In essence, you’re not making money from blogging, but blogging is essential in order to bring traffic and to be able to monetize it.

    Of course, you’re not limited only to blogging and articles. You can create various formats of digital content such as audio (lessons, audiobooks, article narrating, interviews, podcasts, commercials), videos (webinars, presentations, interviews, reviews, clips, trailers),  email campaigns, social media campaigns, publishing articles and content on external mediums and platforms to gain traction.

    How to Approach Blogging & Digital Content Creation as a Designer

    In our case, the “Design Website” you’ll create will act as a magnet for companies, people, and other designers. You can create content covering topics like:

    • Showing your experience and results with freelance platforms, virtual assistant sites, job boards, and forums
    • How you landed clients using the X platform
    • The best design platforms for X
    • Lists of design tools and resources you use 
    • Lists of the best design software and hardware
    • History of design
    • Essential design skills in 2018
    • Reviews of design companies, products, tools, resources
    • Guides helping other people learn design basics
    • Research/case studies

    Digital Content Formats:

    Blog posts, articles, news, lists, reviews, comparisons, guides, research, case studies, landing pages, polls, quizzes, contests, testimonials, galleries, infographics, charts, maps, audio, podcasts, interviews, videos, webinars, presentations.

    Promoting Other Companies Products for Commissions 

    This method is also known as Affiliate Marketing and is by far the fastest way to make money with a website. This is how I started and made my first sales online (and still is my very favorite technique).

    Thanks to this advertising model, thousands of companies around the globe have increased their sales and reduced their advertising costs to the minimum utilizing this powerful model. Additionally, thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs created online businesses out of nothing and changed their lives for the better utilizing the model of Affiliate Marketing.

    Compared to the traditional advertising methods, which are hard to measure and cost a lot of money, the affiliate model is flexible, cheap, and its ROI can be measured accurately thanks to the internet and the new technologies.

    Affiliate marketing is a kind of performance marketing in which promotion/advertising of products and services takes place exclusively on the internet 

    The formula is very simple:

    You advertise products and services from other companies, products that people already consume. The companies give you commissions based on the volume of sales (Pay per Sale Model) that vary from 5% to 10%, to 30%, to 50% or even 70% in some cases (digital products give you higher commissions than physical products).

    The final price remains the same, the retail customer enjoys the same quality.

    You only have to tie promotions into your website’s content. 

    How it works:

    You place special links on your blog posts, pages, anywhere on your website. When someone clicks those links they get redirected to a merchant’s website. The moment a visitor clicks an affiliate link a special cookie is being placed on his computer (this cookie tells the company that the visitor is being sent through your unique affiliate link). Now the merchant has to close a deal so that you earn a commission based on sales.

    You don’t have to worry about customer service, delivery, or support. You only have to send visitors to the companies’ landing pages. In fact, in most of the cases, you won’t even know who clicked your links. This method brings immediate results, as long as you have traffic.


    Let’s imagine the next marketing plan in which there is 


    a) the company that offers affiliate programs for some or all of its products through its own or other 3rd party networks (affiliate networks)


    b) the affiliate marketers promoting those products by publishing website content, by blogging, or using other methods and campaigns, or paid ads.


    c) the affiliate network acting as an intermediary between an advertiser and an affiliate. Publishers are free to subscribe to these networks in order to find products to promote. These networks offer a wide variety of products from thousands of companies in many market segments and there are thousands of publishers who can promote these products.

    Companies, in most cases, are required to pay an entry fee to the network, which can range from $20, $50, $100 to $200 or a little more, but there are affiliate networks that don’t ask for any fees. This fee is paid only once or once a year, and companies get access to thousands of publishers/affiliates.

    Publishers are usually eligible to promote any company they want once they join an affiliate network, but there are networks where publishers have to apply for every company they want to co-operate with separately, and these applications are reviewed by the companies.

    d) the final consumer (and/or visitor)


    The company has the ability to avoid the publishers’ network and create an in-house affiliate program. In this case, the advertised company will likely have a harder time to identify affiliates on its own, but it can also choose to partner with affiliate managers who have their own circle of affiliates/partners.

    The company that owns the final product will pay commissions to the affiliates if the customer was driven to the company by the unique marketing actions of the affiliate. This is a modern way of marketing that both companies and affiliates get benefited.

    The company is benefiting from the “pay-per-performance model structure” meaning they don’t have to pay anything for advertising. When sales occur by the marketing efforts of the affiliates who take care of the advertising on their own, they pay affiliate commissions. The affiliates don’t have to spend a fortune on product development, the only thing they need to do is promote those products on their websites.

    Nowadays, the simplified process of website creation resulted in open opportunities for writers, website owners, bloggers, marketers, owners of forums or online communities and various kind entrepreneurs to participate in the affiliate marketing model. 

    The advertised company has a big advantage as it has to pay publishers only for customers who will visit their website and take an action (that is predefined). 

    Any other possible customers’ exposure to promotional material of the company’s products through the actions of the publishers does not entail any costs for the company or revenue for the publishers/affiliates.

    However, if potential customers visit the company’s website and take action, such as the purchase of its products, then the company is asked to pay publishers (in the case of selling products or services a percentage of profits).

    Let me note here that the final price of the product does not change and of course, it is for the benefit of the final consumer. That is, publishers, advertise their products at the price that the companies sell. And the company is asked to sacrifice a small percentage of its profits but avoids the colossal burden of independent advertising and promotional costs.

    In this way, the company pays ONLY when a sale or other action is reached, in other words, the desired result.


    The desired result is not always selling products or services.

    It may be some other action on the part of customers

    ie…the record of the customers in the email listings or newsletters of the company as a possible prospective buyer that showed interest, and which gives the company the ability to re-market its products, either current or future, to these prospective customers. Other actions include: customers sign up a form, give their personal data, download a software or any other digital content, and more.

    There are many other forms of final actions that yield the “desired result” that generate revenue for affiliates and expense for the advertised company


    How to Promote Other Companies Products as a Designer

    As with blogging, you can tie product promotions into your blog posts, articles, guides, lists, best of’s, or even with video marketing, email marketing, podcasting, and other methods. As long as you use a website to attract clients for your design skills, you can take advantage of this model to monetize your digital content with your affiliate links. It’s an extra source of income.

    Generating Leads and referrals for other companies

    Pay-Per-Lead (PPL)/Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)

    In the Pay-Per-Lead model, the advertisers compensate affiliates (publishers) for visitors that end up becoming leads. Leads are potential customers who share their email addresses or fill out forms or create accounts or subscribe to newsletters or become members of communities or other similar actions on the advertisers’ properties. In this case, the desired action (acquisition) is the lead.

    Cost-Per-Impression (CPI)

    In the Cost-Per-Impression model, advertisers pay to display their ads on other properties. This cost measures the effectiveness and profitability of these ad campaigns. This model is very similar to models being used in television, print, and radio stations where advertisers pay based on estimated desired actions.

    Pay-Per-Call (PPCall)/Cost-Per-Call (CPCall)

    Pay-Per-Call campaigns are in essence Pay-Per-Lead campaigns where the affiliates (publishers) use phone calls as the medium to reach potential leads.

    Pay-Per-Install (PPI)

    In the Pay-Per-Install model, advertisers will pay affiliates (publishers) commissions based on software or applications installs by referred visitors. The visitors are being asked if they want to download and install the software on their computer. Usually, the advertisers offer free applications that come with adware apps.

    This model is becoming popular due to the rise of the mobile market.

    Pay-Per-Download (PPD)/Cost-Per-Download (CPD)

    In the Pay-Per-Download model, advertisers will pay affiliates (publishers) commissions based on referred users downloads (files, software, e-books, applications, images, videos, digital media, PDFs), in essence, anything that can be downloaded in digital format.

    Related Resources

    Affiliate Marketing is huge so I suggest you read my related guides on that matter. By doing so, you’ll be able to find companies that need affiliates (publishers), how to gain online traffic, and how to monetize it. You’ll learn the best practices in affiliate marketing and you’ll find valuable resources to expand your online business. These guides also cover the “Generating leads and referrals for companies” part of the basic monetization techniques with a website.


    how to make money with affiliate markeitng

    Selling Advertising Space

    It’s a very effective way to take advantage of online traffic and monetize your content. You make deals with advertising companies, and you place their code on your pages. They pay whenever someone clicks on the ads or banners, or even they pay for impressions, PPC (Pay-per-Click), CPI (Cost-per-Impression).

    Popular programs

    Selling Ad Space directly to other companies (and vice versa)

    Once you have traffic you can utilize this ‘Sellin Ad Space’ model on your own. It’s like when sports teams looking for sponsors.

    You can advertise that you’re selling ad space on sites like BuySellAds, AdClerks, BuySiteAds, AdSella and many more…

    Related Resources

    Sponsored Posts/Articles

    As your site gains momentum and the traffic increases, companies, other owners, but mostly, startups, will reach you in order to write sponsored posts about their new products or services. They know you’re getting traffic, they want exposure.

    If these products and services align with your content’s theme, it’s a great opportunity to monetize it.

    Related Resources

    Guest Posting

    As your website gains popularity, you can guest post on other websites, blogs, and platforms. You can additionally let other designers or creatives guest post on our website. By posting on other sites you build a brand name and market yourself as a designer.

    Moreover, this method increases your site’s authority and at later stages, you can make money by charging people to guest post on your site. It’s a method with a long-term potential.

    Influencer Marketing

    When your website’s traffic increases, you can reach out to design influencers with a proposal of co-operation. Before doing so, it would be kind if you’ve already promoted their work with your network and on your site. Be generous and authentic, but not every influencer will respond positively.

    Influencers and leaders have a large following online and therefore it’s crucial to make connections and allies.

    Email Marketing

    Email has been around for almost 40 years and still is the most valuable asset for the majority of companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations. When people subscribe to a mailing list they give permission to the owners of those lists to communicate with them on an ongoing basis. Imagine email subscribers as your fans, just like with sport team fans. Fans may promote your brand willingly with no other incentive than they love what you do and want to share it with the world.

    To hook people into our mailing list we need first to offer something valuable in return. Just like I do with the DBR training, people get access to the material by signing up.

    You can utilize email marketing to engage with your audience, to answer questions, and give advice. Imagine email as a way of educating your prospects about your brand and about the benefits that they get if they purchase from you.

    You can use email to conduct surveys, polls, and quizzes. You can collect those data and opinions in order to create your next big product or service. You can additionally send email messages to promote your new blog posts, or to announce the launch of a new membership section. You can advertise your products, and promote other companies products, or you can share any other marketing material like newsletters, big announcements, promos, coupons, discounts.

    Email Monetization Techniques

    Along with the educational and free material we distribute via emails, we can use email to monetize our content.

    • Promote our products and services, other companies products
    • Promos, special offers, seasonal offers, coupons, discounts, bonuses
    • Memberships, online courses
    • Workshops, webinars, seminars
    • Training, consulting, coaching
    • Marketing services and campaigns (locally & globally)
    • Sponsored posts
    • Promote your new book, a product launch, a new service
    • Email campaigns for clients

    Email marketing is huge and we’ll explore advanced marketing techniques with other guides as well.

    Related Resources

    Freelancing with a Website

    We already analyzed Freelancing at the beginning of this guide. We examined various freelancing and virtual assistant websites you can use to showcase your portfolio and to get hired. We took a look at various communities, forums, job boards, and groups you can utilize to boost your online presence and to build your brand name.

    But you can speed up your results by creating a website on your own…

    A website is your online property, where you’ll be showcasing your artwork, portfolios, case studies, successful projects and you can use it as a platform for announcements, news, updates, to collect email addresses, for blogging and content creation, to upload multimedia and so much more…

    By having a website, companies and clients can find you easier, you immediately build trust as an independent business owner, and they know what to expect from you. You can further make connections and proceed with Joint Ventures at later times with other entrepreneurs and partners in your respective design niche.

    Related Resources

    Accepting Donations

    If you’ve managed to build a following and you have readers and visitors that interact with you and even if your website is not receiving tons of traffic you can ask for donations. You won’t be rich, but you can cover some expenses, like web hosting, you can hire others to create content or multimedia for you, you can spend money on research, to develop an app, anything at all.

    Add a “Hire Me” Button or Page

    This method is ideal for freelancers, artists, developers, producers. You can create special landing pages to showcase your portfolios, case studies, previous successful projects so that companies and potential clients know what to expect from you.

    Again, offer samples and downloads for free, create useful content, and build trust.

    Local Listing- Business Pages/Profiles

    Just like on social media where you can create business pages and profiles you can use other mediums to promote your design skills.


    Google My Business – Attract new customers with your free Google listing. Your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your listing—so you can stand out, and bring customers in.


    Yelp – there are free and premium tools.

    Try to include as many details as possible, like:

    • Business name, address, phone number, fax number
    • Website URL, categories, description
    • Tagline, social profiles, images
    • Additional media, certifications, brands carried
    • Payment forms accepted, attributes

    Related Resources:

    • MOZ – Setting up local business listings
    • Yelp – Webinars for business owners
    best marketing training programs

    Free Material

    You can give away free design artwork in exchange for popularity and to gather email addresses so that you can monetize your email list at a later time. Many designers do just that with huge success.

    This is how companies will be able to recognize your talent faster, and you build a brand name. Not only, companies that will receive free material will probably reciprocate the favor. You’ll be getting links back to your site boosting your visibility and authority.

    Premium Section

    Along with free samples, you can create a Premium section to sell your artwork and advertise your design skills.


    You can create memberships for clients that buy frequently and offer exclusive discounts. You can utilize this model in order to gain recurring sales (per month or per year basis) but, of course, you need to set your prices at lower rates.

    Additionally, you can sell educational memberships to designer “newbies” that want to learn design from you.

    Courses/Digital Products

    You can take your website to a whole new level by creating digital courses related to design. Now that you’re an experienced designer you can share insights, tips, and knowledge to help other designers find their way online. You can create courses related to your design skills and teach others your techniques and make money by doing so.

    You can consider creating eBooks, digital design guides, presentations, workshops, webinars or even host local seminars.

    Training, Consulting, Coaching

    (with or without a website)

    You can charge other people to train them on design. You can offer 1-1 coaching or group sessions. You can use live streaming or live broadcasting platforms or you can even use email. You can additionally teach others how to find their way online. Your website acts as a magnet for all these people.

    * a website always helps to promote your services effectively

    Speaking, Live Events

    (with or without a website)

    When you gain momentum and you have a following you can take your design skills even further. Why not speak on stages and organize live events? This is a huge opportunity and people doing so earn ‘big’ money.

    * a website always helps to promote your services effectively

    Paid Advertising

    (with or without a website)

    You can buy ads to promote your design skills, your website, and other business profiles on search engine listings, social media, and other platforms. Paid advertising is most suitable for advanced marketers though, as it’s a risky method and you might lose money if you’re not doing it the right way.

    * a website always helps to promote your services effectively

    Related Training & Resources

    Memberships, Digital Products, Training, Speaking, Live Events, Paid Advertising

    What you’ll learn:

    • Affiliate Marketing
    • Paid advertising (search engines, social media)
    • Speaking
    • Coaching
    • Seminars, webinars
    • Salesletters
    • Product creation
    • Lead generation
    • Membership sites
    • Kindle publishing

    Design Books & Marketing

    (with or without a website)

    You can create books related to design, publish and market them on your own website and other platforms, like Amazon, or even on social media. You can utilize email marketing to keep your readers alert and offer new products and services related to these books.

    * a website always helps to promote your services effectively

    Related Resources

    A complete premium training to help authors, writers, and entrepreneurs build their audience, grow their reach and exposure, build engagement with their customers and sell more books and other products. 

    What You’ll Learn:

    • Publishing and marketing books on Amazon, other retailers, on your own
    • Email marketing
    • Launch team building
    • Launch planning
    • Facebook advertising
    video marketing

    #9 – Video Marketing and Channels

    YouTube, Facebook live, Vimeo and so many other video hosting services offer an opportunity to attract people with your valuable content. Just like with email marketing you want to educate your prospects on the quality of your products and how your products are going to change their lives for the better.

    You can earn trust immediately if you show up as a real person in front of the camera. People want to do business with real people, and not with commercial or impersonal brands. 

    Have in mind that You-Tube videos get rankings in the search engines with ease, as You-Tube is part of Google. Videos get viewed, you receive traffic, and can be used as a magnet for leads/email subscribers, thus building a fan base.

    Monetizing Videos

    With You-Tube and the other vlogging platforms we mentioned earlier, you can make money by letting Google or other Video platforms display ads on your videos. You can use videos for vlogging, for sponsored reviews/articles/lists. You can use them to close branded merchandising deals.

    You can use videos as a lead magnet (subscribers, registrations), to promote your website, to promote other companies products, or to create videos for clients (trailers, footages, clips, advertising campaigns).

    Types of marketing videos:

    • Demo videos of products, releases, and launches
    • Brand videos, commercials, mini-films, trailers, clips
    • Live Events
    • Workshops
    • Webinars
    • Seminars
    • Presentations
    • Educational, How-Tos
    • Live streaming, live shows
    • Interviews
    • Explainer videos
    • Animated
    • Case studies
    • Product reviews
    • Customer testimonials
    • 360-degree or VR (virtual reality) videos
    • Augmented reality
    • Personalized messages
    • Thank you videos
    • Behind the scenes
    • Vlogs

    Related Resources

    #10 – Podcasting

    Podcasting is a superb medium and underutilized and can boost your visibility online faster than the other channels mentioned above. Minimum costs, instant credibility, bond with listeners, relationships with ‘Icons’ and influencers, lead and sales.

    You can run your own podcasting show and appear on other people’s shows as well.

    To maximize this opportunity, use these 5 core engagement strategies:

    • Informing
    • Teaching
    • Entertaining
    • Intriguing
    • Challenging

    To make people enroll in your offers, programs, and services use these enrollment strategies:

    • Website/pixels
    • Social media
    • Lead magnets
    • Exploration sessions

    To be able to make money you can utilize these methods:

    • Merchandise
    • Online courses
    • Membership programs
    • Live events
    • Coaching
    • You design skills and products

    Related Training

    #11 – Guerilla Marketing

    Guerilla or Outbound marketing is marketing that aims to interrupt people, usually masses of people. Companies use those so-called ‘cold’ techniques in order to bring people in front of their work no matter if those people are interested or not.

    Use these methods to spread the word about your design skills and products.

    In that category, you can find techniques like cold calling, emails to random people or companies (spam), phone call promotions, and interruptive media. Other companies use trade shows, seminar series, billboard ads, direct mail, TV and radio ads, listings in newspapers, magazines, brochures that are delivered to your door.

    This type of marketing includes unconventional, unusual ways to market products in the market. Again, companies and entrepreneurs use interruptive strategies to push their message in front of random people. In most of the cases, they try to keep the budget low

    The concept here involves the marketer’s imagination, energy, and ambitions. These tactics are usually applied in public, crowded places to get the attention of the masses. Guerrilla marketers hope to create a buzz around a company so that the message will spread with the word of mouth from people exposed to the campaign to their friends.

    The media in this section could be anything from flyers you leave in a bus station, under doors, inside of mailboxes, and any idea you can come up with. You can even share your business cards with strangers, buy someone a coffee, print messages in public toilets.

    Or even create graffiti on the walls, ads on taxis, buses, public transportation, posters on the streets, at stations, airports, and all this crazy stuff.

    If you want to get found, you have to make it happen!

    Other Tools & Resources

    Work management, Tracking, Organizing, Payments, Accounting, Social Media, Keywords, Market Research, Design

    Management, tracking, organizing:

    Asana – track your work, get results. Track projects from start to finish. Stay in sync, hit deadlines, reach your goals. Bring emails, files, tickets, and more into Asana with over 100 integrations to choose from, so you can see everything in one place.

    Evernote – Capture, organize and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync. Enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable.

    Trello – Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Dive into the details by adding comments, attachments, and more directly to Trello cards. Collaborate on projects from beginning to end. Integrate the apps your team already uses directly into your workflow. Power-Ups turn Trello boards into living applications to meet your team’s unique business needs. Trello stays in sync across all of your devices. Collaborate with your team anywhere, from sitting on the bus to sitting on the beach. – Send proposals, invoice, get paid and manage your time and tasks. Proposals & contracts, invoicing and payments, tasks, expense tracking, time tracking, reports. Over 250,000 businesses already use the app. It’s a project of Fiverr – Get life under control with the ultimate app for getting things done. Keep your tasks, lists, and reminders in one place, always in-sync across all your devices. Plan your day, week, month, and life. Beautifully designed to help you rock your day, every day. Assistant takes care of your tasks, so you can spend time on the things that matter.

    Timely – fully automatic time tracking. Manage your profitability, productivity, and efficiency from one place. It works on any device.

    Sales, payments, finances:

    Proposify – streamlines your sales process and helps you close deals faster. Put proposals in front of your sales leads quickly before they go cold. Quickly access and collaborate on proposal content while you manage their activity with roles and permissions, commenting, and tracking through version history. Proposify notifies you every time your client interacts with your proposal, from opening the email to closing the deal. Stay on top of sales and your success.

    Mint – Effortlessly manage your finances in one place. Easily create budgets, and see their suggestions based on your spending. Track and pay bills like never before. Get alerts and schedule payments on the spot. Receive alerts for unusual account charges, and get custom tips for reducing fees and saving money.

    SquareUp – Accept credit cards anywhere. Sign up and get a free reader. With Square’s credit card processing, you can accept all major cards and get deposits as fast as the next business day. Connect a Square Reader to your device or slip an iPad into Square Stand to take payments at our standard rate. Or sell with Square Register, our first fully integrated point of sale, for 2.5% + 10¢ per tap, dip, or swipe.

    PayPal – Secure transactions, PayPal Buyer Protection can cover your eligible purchases if they don’t show up or match their description. You can shop at millions of websites around the world, and pay friends back almost anywhere.

    Xero – Online accounting software for small business. Use our mobile app to reconcile, send invoices, or create expense claims – from anywhere. Send online invoices to your customers – and get updated when they’re opened. Xero imports and categorizes your latest bank transactions.

    Social Media (scheduling, planning, discovering ‘Hot’ trends):

    Hootsuite – Get the most out of your social content. Scheduling, content curation, analytics, monitoring, team management, security. The Hootsuite academy offers training and certification. 265,000+ students, 35,000+ certified graduates, 880+ schools enrolled.

    PostPlanner – Postplanner is not a simple post scheduler. The app delivers content that is already successful to guarantee social engagement boost. Get more engagement, clicks, and sales from Facebook and Twitter.


    PicMonkey – Photo editing, effects, filters, vectors, graphics, design maker, collages, magnifier, labels, overlays, textures, themes, frames, templates. An awesome photo editing app that transforms your computer into Photoshop.

    BeFunky – BeFunky is a special photo editing online app with which you can apply unique effects to your images and create projects from scratch.High-quality results. Produce stunning photographs and captivating designs with fun, easy-to-use editing tools.

    Snappa – Create online graphics in a snap. Whip up graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more without Photoshop or graphic designers. Over 3 million images have been created using Snappa. You can create banners, eBook covers, social media covers & headers, infographics, YouTube channel art & thumbnails, and more.

    Riddle – create quizzes & polls, personality tests, lists, and more. Ideal for websites, facebook fan pages or other social networks. Engagement is guaranteed.

    PowToon – a beautiful online application to create slide presentations or animated videos. It is easy to use with many features, effects, and other tools.

    Canva – Create designs online for free, banners, headers, images for social media, blogs, websites.

    Icon Finder – the leading search engine and marketplace for vector icons in SVG, PNG, CSH and AI format.

    A list of free web design icons

    Design resources to find free images and other tools

    17 awesome royalty free images websites


    StarWatermark – Image and PDF watermark tools on Mac and Windows

    CSS Reference – a free visual guide to CSS

    PageCrush – helping creatives become globally visible by showcasing the best websites, videos, and apps from Designers, Developers, and Multimedia

    Tableau Public – free software that can allow anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web

    Gliffy – diagramming software. Communicate and collaborate visually.

    D3js – a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. D3 helps you bring data to life using HTML, SVG, and CSS. D3’s emphasis on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework, combining powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to DOM manipulation.

    Favicon & App Icon Generator 

    Adobe Creative Suite – It consists of:

    • Creative Cloud: Quick desktop access to Creative Cloud apps and services
    • Photoshop: Image editing and compositing.
    • Lightroom: Edit, organize, store, and share photos from anywhere
    • Illustrator: Vector graphics and illustration.
    • InDesign: Page design and layout for print and digital publishing.
    • AdobeXD: Design, prototype, and share user experiences.
    • Adobe Premiere Pro: Video production and editing.
    • After Effects: Cinematic visual effects and motion graphics.
    • Dimension: Create photorealistic 3D images for branding, product shots, and package design
    • Acrobat Pro: Create, edit, and sign PDF documents and forms.
    • Dreamweaver: Design and develop modern, responsive websites.
    • Animate: Interactive animations for multiple platforms (formerly Flash Professional).
    • Adobe Audition: Audio recording, mixing, and restoration.
    • and Lightroom Classic, Character Animator, Spark, Bridge, Media Encoder, InCopy, Prelude, Story Plus, Fuse.

    Keyword, Market, and Competition Research:

    BuzzSumo – Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Find the key influencers to promote your content.

    Jaaxy – Keyword & competition research, niche market research. With over 500 Million “brand new” search terms being searched every day, it is important that you have a keyword tool that can offer accurate traffic, competition, and domain insights into billions of keywords. Jaaxy is that tool. There are literally millions of niches online, many of which have little to no competition. Having access to the Brainstorm, Affiliate Search, and Alphabet Soup platforms within Jaaxy are going to give you true insights into brand new niches…without you having to do the dirty work.


    Free tools to get ideas & discover: content creation, trendy hashtags, generate catchy headlines and titles, keyword suggestion, track social mentions and influencers, search engines, trends search engine, create alerts on topics, kill your writer’s block, find stories being told)

    The Ultimate List of Multimedia Resources

    Regular Updates

    Images, Graphics, Audio, Video, Animation, Themes, Plugins, Code, Apps, Education, Jobs, Buy & Sell Art

    Free Stock Photo Sites

    The Ultimate List

    Regular Updates

    Best Photo Editing Online Apps

    The Ultimate List

    (Free and Premium)

    Related Training/Resources to Enhance your Freelancing/VA Career

    • The Beginner’s Guide to Making Money as a Freelancer and Virtual Assistant
    • SkillCrush – Free guides plus premium training
    • Lynda – Training and tutorials
    • Udemy – Various trainings
    • Proposify – The definite guide to Freelancing
    • Creative Live – 1,500+ life-changing classes. 650+ industry-leading experts. 10+ million students. Creative classes, inspiration, and tips in: photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft & maker, money & life.
    • Creative Live full review
    • We Freelancing – A curated list of high-quality educational resources, business tools, podcasts, job sites and more
    • Take the Free Digital Business Roadmap training in order to create a website that can stand out from the competition and learn the ropes of online marketing, how to decide your perfect niche, identify opportunities, keyword research, and more. This way you can enhance your freelancing visibility, credibility, and overall status online by discovering and targeting only those who are potential clients
    • The last part of this guide is about creating a strong online presence with the help of a website.

    Related Training & Resources to Enhance your Marketing Skills

    The Beginner’s Ultra Guide to Making Money Online


    As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to make money online as a designer. If you can commit to working, deliver high-quality products to your clients, and build a good reputation, then the sky is the limit. 

    I would start off as a freelancer and join job boards to quickly make some cash. From there I would enhance my online presence on forums, communities, marketplaces, and social media.

    Then you would need basic marketing knowledge to create a website and take your design business to the next level with various methods and by selling courses online. 

    Of course, video marketing, podcasting, Joint Ventures, co-operation, reaching out to influencers or guerilla cold tactics are always welcomed.

    *But don’t get overwhelmed by the plethora of options. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to start small. Take one step at a time.

    That’s it, another article has finished, here on Web Market Support. I look forward to seeing your next design success story online and I’m waiting for your comments and thoughts. Till next time.

    Tasos Perte Tzortzis

    Tasos Perte Tzortzis

    Marketing Specialist, Entrepreneur

    Although doing traditional business offline since 1992, Tasos fell in love with online marketing in late 2014 and has helped hundreds of brands sell more of their products and services on the web.

    He enjoys reading, music & arts, mathematics, chess, coffee, swimming, Audi, and playing with his kids.

    Some of the links on this page are “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, membership, or service, I may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products and services I use personally or I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For more information, I refer you to the Disclaimer page

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