Graphic designers can make a pretty tidy living these days.
But you don’t need to have formal training or be able to create complex designs to make money as a graphic designer.
You can make decent money designing simple graphics for clients who don’t have the time or the eye for it. Depending on how you package your services, you can easily earn $20-$30 per hour with this service.
If you are a visually creative person with a natural eye for design, this could be the ideal side-hustle for you.
Inexpensive or Free Graphic Design Tools
The first thing you might be wondering is what you can use to create these simple graphics. Traditional programs like Photoshop are expensive and not the easiest to use.
Fortunately, there are a couple of web-based platforms that are easy to learn and are either free relatively inexpensive.
Canva is my top recommendation because it’s free to use. There is a paid “pro” version of Canva with some useful extra features, but you don’t need it to get started.
Canva comes with a lot of free templates, which can make your job as a designer that much easier. You can also upload your own fonts, elements, and pictures to create anything from business cards to posters.
PicMonkey is considerably more robust than Canva, but there is a small monthly fee to use it. It’s particularly useful for styling text and creating shadows, which is more difficult to do with Canva.
Learning the Programs
Neither of these programs is particularly difficult to learn, but it can be a little confusing in the beginning. But you can certainly learn either of these programs by yourself, and both Canva and PicMonkey have tutorials on their websites to help you learn the features.
You can also find inexpensive courses on Udemy for either Canva or PicMonkey.
Sidenote: Although these programs give you access to a lot of fonts, photos, clipart, and other elements, whether you’re permitted to use them or not depends on what you intend to use them for. Be sure to read through the licensing agreement.
Be especially careful with stock photos. Although you can find free images on sites like Pixabay and Unsplash, I recommend purchasing stock photos from Depositphotos to ensure you own the license to use them.
Examples of Simple Graphics You Can Create
Now you know how to make simple graphics, but what kind can you create to make money?
Here is a list of some of the most common graphics that businesses and bloggers need.
1. Pinterest Pins
Pinterest is huge right now, with its active user base up to more than 334 million users last year. Many small businesses are harnessing this popular platform to drive traffic to their site and products. But maintaining a solid Pinterest presence requires the creation of pins.
A lot of pins.
And pin creation is probably the most time-consuming aspect of an effective Pinterest strategy, which means many small businesses and Pinterest managers are only too happy to outsource it to someone.
Printables are all the rage these days. Checklists, trackers, shopping lists, bullet journals – the list of what you can make is endless! Virtual businesses love selling printables because there are no shipping fees to worry about and no inventory to stock.
You can design printables for other small businesses, or you can even launch your own printable shop on Etsy.
3. Product Graphics
Many bloggers and small businesses have virtual shops to showcase their products, and having a killer product graphic can make all the difference in enticing a browser to buy!
For example, an ebook has no physical form, but in order to sell it, many businesses create a 3D graphic of the book cover.
4. Digital Downloads
Many small businesses and bloggers will create ebooks, guides, or other digital offerings that they sell or trade for email subscribers. But a plain PDF isn’t very impressive or professional-looking.
Sprucing it up with a cover and some interesting design elements gives it a more polished look and makes it feel more like something of value.
6. Social Media Graphics
Other businesses need help jazzing up their Facebook and Instagram content with graphics. This could include creating attractive graphics with quotes, advertisements, or Facebook page covers that help engage your client’s audience.
Finding Clients for Your Design Business
You may want to specialize in one or two types of graphics or experiment with different ones. Once you have decided what kind of graphics you want to design, you should build a portfolio of sample graphics that you can send potential clients.
You can offer your services on Fiverr, look for roles on freelance job boards, or keep your eye open for opportunities on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also seek out Social Media managers, OBMS, or Pinterest managers, and cold pitch your services to them.
I have always found the secret sauce for a successful pitch is making it custom to the business you’re pitching. It proves you did your homework on that particular business and understand what its needs are. Then I like to add in a tailor-made mockup of the kind of graphics I could create for them.
For additional help finding clients, I highly recommend Horkey Handbook’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, as designing simple graphics falls under the many services that VAs can offer.
The course not only helps you build a strong foundation for your business, but you can also subscribe to the VA Leads Facebook community. It’s where Horkey Handbook posts all the leads that come through their own VA Finder program. (I landed three clients from there during the time I was subscribed.)
There’s a ton of opportunity for graphic designers! Better still, anyone with a creative mind who’s willing to learn can make money in graphic design.
It works well as both a primary service offering or as an add-on to other services you may want to offer. Or, you can use graphic design as a way to launch an online store.
So go ahead and put your creativity to work!