30 Best Side Hustles for Designers and Developers


The side hustle economy is growing by the minute, and as a designer or developer, you’re likely looking to join it.

You’ve got viable skill sets that you use when you have steady work. But maybe you are in between gigs, or you are just looking to pad your design or coding income with some side hustle funds.

So, how do you know which side hustles are worth your time and effort, and which will be a waste of it?

Well, until recently, I was in that same position. I spent nearly two years procrastinating, and letting my design and developing skills basically go to waste.

I wasn’t using them to generate any side hustles, and I was getting more and more frustrated.

Lately I decided to dive in and really do some research. Tried different things, and was surprised that actually most of them really work and I started generating small incomes. So voila! I came out of the other end of the tunnel with this list of side hustles.

It’s geared towards designers and developers, but in reality, a lot of these are side hustles you can do even if you don’t have a design or coding background, but have similar skillsets to them.

Find the one (or ones!) that is right for you, and you’ll be able to stay consistently working, no matter what the job outlook is for your primary gigs.

Sound interesting? Keep reading to learn more!

Side Hustles and You

One of the best aspects of working as a designer or developer is that you generally have flexibility.

Of course, it depends on your specific situation, but generally speaking, designers and developers can do their job from anywhere and at any time.

And there’s no better way to seamlessly integrate side hustles into a schedule than when your schedule is malleable in the first place.

And you wouldn’t be alone. Intuit says that about 34% of the general workforce was made up of “gig” freelancers in 2017. And they expect that number to grow to 43% by 2022.

And having design and/or tech skills puts you at a significant advantage for breaking into many of the best gig freelancing areas.

So let’s take a look at my list!

1. Using Creative Market

CreativeMarket.com is a marketplace for all kinds of design styles and mediums. And you can take advantage of their platform and their marketing reach to get your side hustle on.

It was my first try for 2019, it takes sometime to market your products but once you get the visibility, it’s amazing how much profitable it can be.

If you are a designer, create new images to put up there for sale. Or, if you have license-free designs that you made already, even better.

How many designers have sketches, photos, drawings, etc that are just taking up digital shelf space and not making any money?

If you’re one of them, Creative Market would be a great place to dust them off and make some extra income from them,

This applies to UI Designs, Logos, Book Covers, Fonts, Icons, and Websites too.

2. Using Graphic River

Graphicriver.net is another great spot to sell graphics assets. Just like with Creative Market, this includes logos, fonts, icons, UI, etc.

Graphic River has a burgeoning community of artists that are making money off of their craft!

3. Theme Forest

Switching a little more to the coding side, you could try utilizing Theme Forest for a developer based side hustle.

Upload your UI assets, WordPress Themes and HTML Websites to their site for some extra cash!

4. Code Canyon

Just like with Theme Forest, you can upload coded UI assets, WordPress Plugins, Mobile Apps, Games or JavaScript Plugins to Code Canyon.

They have an ever growing site full of themes, plugins, and more.

5. Fiverr

Fiverr is sort of a digital warehouse of odd jobs. People can offer services of all shapes and sizes. So why not get in on the action?

Offer developer or design services on Fiverr, and you’ll be off and running. Just be aware that since it’s generally all about low paying gigs, Fiverr is more about earning income through doing a lot of different jobs.

6. Quora

The Quora Partners Program is an interesting way to generate passive income.

You get paid when you ask relevant questions that Quora deems worthy. Till lately it was invite only, but sign up on Quora, do some activity and wait for the program invite then ask great questions on design and developing!

When I got the invite last year, I completely ignored it. I gave my first shot in January this year, and just with around 25 question per day, I was able to touch around 300+ bucks per month.

7. Sell T-Shirts on Merch By Amazon

Everybody need t-shirts, right? Why not make a cool design on some and sell them via Amazon’s Merch page?

Or, if your skills lean more on the coding side, make a funny coding pun or graphic that will resonate with all your fellow developers out there.

I would suggest you to create your own portfolio, or a store online which includes some designs that you want to sell, and then apply for Merch by Amazon program, so it will increase the chances of getting accepted earlier.

8. Etsy

The same goes for selling those t-shirts on Etsy. If you thought Etsy was only about handmade scarves and trinkets, think again.

Plenty of people sell apparel on there, and your cool design and coding based shirts deserve to join in the fun!

9. YouTube Channel

A great way to reach a lot of people and to make money while doing it is to create content for YouTube.

And if you already have expertise in design or development, you can create explainer videos for one of those.

Then you slowly build a base of subscribers, and start profiting from ad revenue!

10. Domains

If you are an expert in a field like design or development, it probably means you have your finger on the pulse of where each field is going.

With new domain extensions that become public in last few years there are tons of good names available there to invest, you can check all of them on domain.com.

That means you might have a good sense of what types of website domains to look for on Flippa.com and GoDaddy Auction.

You can buy and sell companies and domain names for profit, using your coding and design know-how as your secret weapon!

11. Niche Photography

Are you a shutterbug? 500px.com, fotolia.com, depositphotos.com, and shutterstock.com are all great places to sell niche photography.

Maybe focus your efforts on design and coding centric photos!

12. Teaching

Spread your knowledge by teaching courses on udemy.com or skillshare.com. Or create your own platform using teachable.com.

Either way, using your existing knowledge to help others, while earning cash doing it seems like a win-win!

13. E-Books

Publishing an E-Book on design or development has never been easier. With services like LeanPub, you can publish a book incredibly easily and for only a small fee.

Then you can export it into various formats to get it up on Amazon and other places!

14. UpWork

Upwork is a great site where freelancers comment with people looking for their services.

You can offer design and development work on UpWork and tailor it to your schedule.

Compared to few years back, it is a bit harder to get your account approved, but work on yourself first, create some side projects, improve the portfolio and write online. So when you apply, you have a complete profile which immediately increases your chances for getting account approval.

15. Start A Blog

Blogging is one of the more popular revenue generators these days. And since the key to blogging success is finding a niche to write about, you’re already halfway there.

Figure out which angle or subtopic with design or developing that you’d like your blog to focus on, and start writing!

There are a bunch of ways to monetize a popular blog, like affiliate marketing.

16. Medium

Writing design or programming topics on Medium.com can be a great way to add some extra string to your portfolio, and still you’ll be writing about something you’re passionate about.

When it comes to earning, there are different ways that you can benefit from writing in Medium, like gain visibility, create E-Mail list or get paid directly from Medium Partner Program.

17. Icon Designs

If you can create icons, you can sell them online at iconfinder.com

Also icons you can sell on the sites that I mentioned above like creativemarket.com or graphicriver.net , but Icon Finder is specifically only for icons, and if icons are your favorite design gig this is a must go site for you. Check more here.

18.  Fonts

The same goes for fonts. Sell your most creative ones at myfonts.com and fonts.com

Before I decided to try myself at creating my own font design, I thought it is going to be impossible, but by time I became comfortable with and enjoyed every step of the process.

There are a lot of resources which will help you start on this direction like:

How to create your own font by Tom Ewer
How to create a font in Adobe Illustrator by Mary Winkler

In the upcoming blogs I will go in details on how I create my own fonts and the complete process of posting them online for sale.

Beside that, will write in details separately for each side hustle method that I mentioned here.

19. Mojo Themes

Another cool place to sell HTML themes or WordPress themes is at Mojo-Themes.com

As you can see, you can create one design or coding project, and use it for sale on several different places.

I use Creative Market, ThemeForest and Mojo Themes for selling themes, but if you like to try other platform here is a good articles that covers 15 different places to sell your own themes.

20. Audiobooks

This one takes a little longer up front, but selling audiobooks can be a fun and easy way to make side hustle money.

You’ll have to write them and record them first, but once you do, it’s easy to go through acx.com to get them onto people’s audio devices!

21. Coaching

If you’ve ever wanted to use your expertise in design and development to help other people get fulfill their business dreams, you can!

Hop on clarity.fm and offer your coaching services for design and development!

22. CafePress

CafePress.com is another online marketplace set up for selling merchandise. And it’s more than t-shirts. You can offer custom hats, water bottles, you name it!

23. Remote Work

There are a bunch of sites that connect people around the world with assistants who work remotely.

Some include solidgigs.com, angel.co, remote.com, remote.co, weworkremotely.com or flexjobs.com

It’s a great way to make extra incomes but on flexible hours, depending on the gig.

This method was my main source of income during 2017, and honestly with around 5-10 working hours per week, I was able to cover a lot of expenses with it.

24. Gumroad and Sellfy for Digital Assets

Beside selling your digital or coding assets to the platforms mentioned above, after you create your own small fan-base, you should start selling your work directly to them.

The two best sites which I use to sell directly my digital assets are Gumroad.com and Sellfy.com

25. Crowdfunding

Ride the crowdfunding wave by accepting donations from your audience using platforms like patreon.com or PayPal.me.

If you have friends and family, colleagues, or fans of your work who are looking to support your dream, these sites are great ways for them to contribute.

26. Stickers

Design some great looking stickers, or even ones with some fun coding jokes on them. Then sell them using stickermule.com services.

I have a WooCommerce store, where I am publishing my sticker designs, and all the orders I do from stickermule.com

27. Physical Products

Use sites like mamas-sauce.com and or printful.com to get physical products made that feature your cool designs! Then sell them online.

28. Home Goods

You can make customized home goods like furniture, posters, and curtains and sell them on society6.com

29. Open Source Project Sites

Use your design and development expertise to create open source project or authority websites. Some examples of these are lawsofux.com, gridbyexample.com, designsystems.com etc.

These kinds of sites help your project gain more popularity through branding

30. Membership Sites

Offering subscription services can be a great passive income generator. Consider building a website that people can join for regular access to design training or coding training.

Pick One And Get Started

Hopefully, this list of side hustles has gotten your creative juices flowing.

The best part is that, as a designer or developer, your skillset and flexible schedule lend themselves really well to setting up and maintaining a thriving side hustle.

Next I will try to cover each method separately in details and show you my complete process.

And if you have any questions, or want to learn more, contact me today!

About the author

Elvis Canziba

I'm a UX Designer and Developer from time to time also a part-time blogger. I am trying different strategies to build my side hustle while working a full-time job, and I'll show you how to do it too.

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By Elvis Canziba