Obviously, Templamatic is a theme and template marketplace, so those who are selling their work here are taking advantage of one method of making money as a designer. I'd like to take a moment to look at some of the other opportunities that designers have. I'm not suggesting that any of us should try all of these. Rather, I think the best approach is to find 2 or 3 that seem like a good fit for you. Using more than 1 method of producing income will open up some new opportunities and give you a chance to increase your overall income, but trying to do too much will cause you to be spread too thin, and you'll probably be less effective with everything.
Premium themes and templates are very common today, and since that is the purpose of Templamatic I thought we would start here. While there are thousands of free themes and templates available online, there is a growing market of users who are interested in getting higher quality work, and they're willing to pay for it.
I feel that premium themes can be a great deal for both the buyer and the seller. The buyer gets a very high quality design for a price that's probably much lower than they could get a custom design, and the seller is able to make a good bit of money selling the themes rather than creating a unique design for every client.
There are a number of designers that make the majority of their income selling premium themes and templates, but what I think we'll see more and more of is designers using this as a secondary source of income.
Designing for Clients
Most web designers make their money by directly providing their services to clients. The clients are paying for a custom design, and the designer is working on a specialized design that caters to the needs of that client. This is the more traditional form of web design when compare to template sales.
As I just mentioned earlier, I think more designers will start to use some theme sales to supplement the income that they earn from client work. Sometimes working directly with clients can be draining, and changing things up selling some templates and themes could be a good change of pace.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO services are certainly in demand. Some designers are very knowledgeable with SEO, and some are not. In my opinion only a small percentage of designers have the knowledge to justify adding SEO services, but it can be a great addition for those who are qualified.
Design and SEO overlap in building a site that's search engine-friendly, and full service SEO will take that several steps further. For clients it would be nice to keep both the design work and the SEO under the same roof, so it makes sense for designers to provide this service if it's possible. Many times an SEO will want to change certain things about the site's design or structure, but this could be avoided if the same person or company was providing both services.
Reseller hosting can be a nice add-on for web designers. Most large hosting companies now offer reseller packages, and a designer could earn a nice residual income by offering hosting to clients.
Reseller hosting isn't for everyone because it will require some work on the part of the reseller, but many designers and design firms have been able to add a supplemental income from offering web hosting. Some designers will even offer the hosting as part of a package that includes the design services.
Those who are skilled with graphic design can also offer logo design services in addition to web design. There is and will always be a need for skilled logo designers, and the money can be pretty significant as well. Logo design is also another service that can be a natural fit to go along with web design. Some clients will want to get a new logo at the same time they are giving their website a facelift, so if you provide both services you could have an advantage.
There are a growing number of websites and blogs that provide content related to design. If you enjoy writing and sharing your knowledge with others this could be another potential source of income. This is actually one that I've chosen to pursue, and I have found that writing provides an excellent change of pace from only providing design services.
Additionally, writing for other websites is a great way to network with other professionals and build your name recognition. Your design services can really benefit from the exposure gained by writing for a popular website or blog. Writing informative articles and tutorials is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge.
Graphic designers can make some extra money by selling their work at sites like iStockphoto, Stock Xpert, and Vector Stock. Create your images, upload them, and every time someone buys one of your images you'll get a commission. I imagine it would be very difficult to make the majority of your money this way, but more realistically it could be a nice supplement.
Premium icons are another option for skilled graphic designers. While there is an abundance of free icons available, there are customers who are looking for something of higher quality and will be willing to pay for it. Some designers sell packages of icons in sets.
What's Your Opinion?
How do you make most of your money as a designer? Have you tried to find some supplemental sources of income?