Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.
During our recent Chicago meetup, I was able to meet a lot of great people with some serious skills in their respective creative fields. However, there was a strange trend that started to emerge as I talked to more people. It seems that our community typically falls between two categories: those that use the Tuts+ sites and those that use the Marketplaces.
So for those users who are getting trained on our Tuts+ sites, it’s time to showcase your talents on our Marketplaces and begin making some serious passive income.
What’s passive income?
Passive income is probably one of the sweetest types of income. This is the type of cash that Dire Straits called “money for nothing” (word is still out whether you can also get “chicks for free”). Passive income at its core is income that you continue to make long after you’ve finished a product. One community member while at the Chicago meetup picked up his iPhone while enjoying a cold one and announced: “I just sold another item on the Marketplace.” Cash while enjoying a cold one. Now that’s passive income.
Since joining ThemeForest as an exclusive author with just a few themes and stock items, I’ve gained more exposure and clients in the past year than I ever have in the previous six years of my professional career. I’m making enough passive income a month to cover my mortgage and it’s afforded me to buy a new BMW M3. – Contempoinc
What are the Envato Marketplaces?
While you may have heard of or even used one of Envato’s Marketplaces, plenty of you have apparently never thought about using them to sell your digital goods.
For almost every Tuts+ site out there, there is a corresponding Marketplace to sell your stuff. If you’re a web designer or coder you have ThemeForest, CodeCanyon and ActiveDen. Digital artists have GraphicRiver and 3DOcean. Videographers and musicians can head over to VideoHive and AudioJungle. Think of it this way: if Envato can teach you how to do it, they can probably help you sell it, too.
How to use the Marketplaces
Whether you are custom designing items for sale on the Marketplaces or you want to salvage some lost time with flaky clients, the Marketplaces allow you to put your work in front of people hungry to purchase it.
Files that are approved for sale are made available to the thousands of visitors that come to the Marketplaces each day. When a visitor sees something they like, they can purchase and download it. With each purchase you receive a large percentage of the sale price. That means you can upload a single file and sell it multiple times. That’s passive income in action.
ThemeForest has also turned out to be about the best way imaginable to get new clients and expand my freelance network. I get no less than 5 requests a week for “custom” freelance work outside of the products that I’m selling. From a marketing standpoint, you’re actually being paid to advertise yourself to one of the most diverse and exciting groups of buyers that are out there. If you have the time, patience, and skill to make the cut, the decision to become a ThemeForest author should be a no-brainer. – Epicera
There’s nothing quite so sweet as doing the initial work and then making the money from it over and over again. Except perhaps doing it while enjoying a frosty beverage.
What to sell on the Marketplaces
If you want to get a leg up on sales, you’ll want to do your research before you start designing. Take a look at the Marketplaces and find out what’s selling well. This will be an indicator of what people want to pay for. An item that has only sold one time is probably not a style you want to go after. Unless, of course, it’s something that you can do bigger and better.
For some suggestions on what to sell and what files are already covered well, check out the Envato Marketplace selling tips.
Does your work measure up?
While you’re doing research on what items to create, take a close look at what’s already for sale. How does your current work measure up with what’s out there? This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. Does your work measure up to what you’re seeing?
This also might be the time to ask for a little outside opinion. Find a friend that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth about how your work stacks up. If you’re hearing that your current work doesn’t quite make the grade, don’t stress about it. It’s better to improve your skills and come back to the Marketplaces than spend your time on making something that will probably not get accepted.
For more information on becoming a Marketplace author check out our author tutorial.
Dealing with rejection
Nobody likes hearing that something they spent a lot of time on isn’t quite good enough to sell. Your first reaction is probably to get upset. But let me tell you, we’ve all been there. The better reaction is to learn from it rather than blowing your top.
When an item is rejected you’ll receive some constructive criticism as to why it wasn’t accepted. Remember, these reviewers are not out there to make your life miserable or have a personal vendetta against you. They want you to put forward your best work possible because they know quality work is going to net you the most sales.
If a file gets rejected, ask yourself how can you use the reviewer suggestions to make the file better? Can the work be salvaged by editing? Or is it time to start from scratch? Going back to the drawing board may not be fun but it’s going to greatly improve the quality of your work.
For a complete list of rejections reasons head over to our Marketplace wiki.
Get creating and get selling!
Selling quality items on the Marketplaces is not only great way to start making some passive income, but it’s also great for keeping the creative juices flowing. Plenty of authors use down time between client jobs to create and work with styles that they normally don’t get a chance to work in. If there is something your passionate about, why not let the Marketplaces be your client? Creating for the Marketplaces not only lets you explore new areas of work, but it allows you to earn while you learn.
Joining the Envato community was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being able to earn money with what I love most is awesome of course, but having complete creative control over my projects makes it even better. – Kriesi
So what are you waiting for? Get in there and start selling!