Introduction to the Envato Marketplaces & How to Start Making Passive Income

by posted in General
Oct 27
2010

Envato Marketplaces Introduction

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

For more details on passive income be sure to check out: Turn Your Unused Client Work into Passive Income and FreelanceSwitch’s guide to making passive income.

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.

It’s also worth mentioning that some Marketplaces are saturated with certain file types. For example, CodeCanyon’s JavaScript category has a ton of slideshow scripts for sale. That means, unless you do something unique, it’s going to be pretty difficult to stand out in that category. Weigh your potential for sales against the amount of similar files available to decide whether it’s a good idea to invest your time.

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!

Further Helpful Links

by
Travis only pretends to like sushi.
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  1. wyeko on the 27th October

    It’s true kids. Envato marketplaces just bought me a new laptop. :)

  2. Mike McAlister on the 27th October

    I do believe that was me who said “I just sold another item on the Marketplace” while drinking a cold one in Chicago :D

    I get sale notifications on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook — all of which were paid for with Marketplace sales. Vinyl records, guitars, a trip to London last year… all from Marketplace sales. And this is PASSIVE income people!

    Thanks Envato ;-)

    • Travis King on the 27th October

      It probably was. Thanks for inspiring the article! :)

    • Drew on the 27th October

      haha, Mike, I specifically remember that happening in Chicago next to the pool table. Good times :)

  3. Tessa on the 27th October

    would be easier to learn from rejection if criticism was slightly more constructive than “does not meet our criteria”…

    • Jordan McNamara on the 28th October

      Hey Tessa,

      We understand that sometimes the feedback may not be as detailed as some authors would like, but we do our best to provide as many resources as possible to help authors with their designs. Such as the Tuts+ network, specific articles we have written with rejection in mind on the Marketplace wiki (http://wiki.envato.com) and so on. As well as these resources there are our forums where you can upload your designs for peer review and suggestions as well as various third party design review sites.

      We really wish we could put more time into providing extremely detailed feedback on designs, but simply based on the vast amount of submissions we receive – it’s impossible if we want to maintain the turnaround times authors have come to expect of the queues with our current resources.

      We’re always trying to make things easier for authors to learn though and have plans to improve things with this in mind. :-)

  4. Davidmoreen on the 28th October

    Right now I only have one item in the marketplaces… I only made an app so that I could say that I was an author ;p

    I’d really like to get more serious about selling and possibly make some real money.

  5. Ian Yates on the 28th October

    Great article Travis! I’m really looking forward to seeing more activity spread between the Marketplaces and the Tuts+ sites.

    It was a similar article on FreelanceSwitch (in 2007?!) which prompted me to upload to Themeforest http://enva.to/9ppiM4 – inspirational words from Collis :)

  6. Ricardo de Zoete on the 28th October

    Agreed, I love Envato since day 1, and I will for many years! Love it so far :)

  7. greedybrown on the 28th October

    There are so many successful author on the Marketplaces and actually their cases motivate me a lot.

  8. cudazi on the 28th October

    The marketplaces have really been that extra kick to motivate me to keep learning new techniques to stay competitive. The money helps too. ;)

  9. Sean Hodge on the 28th October

    I hope to upload some material to Graphic River in the future. Great to hear the success stories in the comments here.

  10. mpc on the 28th October

    Envato bought my Mini Cooper S ;D It was the best choice ever ;)

  11. POG on the 29th October

    it’s really amazing your site.. very beautiful..would be easier to learn from rejection if criticism was slightly more constructive than “does not meet our criteria”…

  12. Justin Hubbard on the 17th December

    I love envato, they’re an awesome company. Definitely a company I would want to model after if I built my own.

    That said I’ve put a few items online but it’s hard to keep doing it when the sales are stagnant. Not only that, I see people get featured, etc. I can’t even get envato to list one of my items as a freebie, makes me wonder if only “insiders” get the privilege of home page exposure.

    Just my $0.02

  13. Sherman on the 1st February

    I am scared I will lose all my money, I have earned a lot :)

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