Categories / Shop Center

Creative South Passive Income Workshop 2017

Kelley Johnson March 31, 2021 · 6 min read
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet up with shop owner Dustin Lee of Retro Supply Co. and co-lead a workshop to help 30+ designers. The designers came to learn more about how they can start earning an income by selling digital design assets online. It was an absolutely amazing experience. I’d love to share a little of it with you, as well as introduce you to some of the designers who have joined our shop owner community as a result of the workshop!

What’s Creative South?

For those of you haven’t heard of Creative South, it’s a four day design conference that takes place in the beautiful town of Columbus, Georgia. It’s known for its super friendly atmoshpere, with one of the conference’s taglines being, “Come as friends, leave as family.” After going once, designers continue attending the conference year after year. Now that I’ve been there, I know why. Not only is it a great chance to learn from top designers throughout the industry, it’s a place to make genuine connections with other designers as well.

Creative Market + Dustin Lee

Now that you know a little more about the atmosphere of the conference, let me tell you why I was there. Most of you are familiar with Dustin Lee and his Creative Market shop Retro Supply Co. Dustin has an amazing story about how he went from barely being able to make ends meet, to making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling design assets online. Also, a little insider knowledge here, Dustin is one of the kindest guys you’ll ever meet. For this reason, when his career dreams came to fruition, he didn’t hide away his secret sauce and chill out with his gold à la Scrooge McDuck. Instead, he decided to share what he had learned.

Passive Income For Designers

In order to share his knowledge with others, Dustin started Passive Income For Designers. His goal with Passive Income is to help designers create passive income streams with their skills so they can escape the cycle of trading time for money. He wants to help designers escape the work that is burning them out, and help them make a living doing what they love. That mission is something we at Creative Market can get on board with! For the last few years Dustin has been teaching a Passive Income workshop at Creative South. The workshop has been so popular, that it has sold out multiple times! The mission of Passive Income is right up Creative Market’s alley, so when Dustin reached out to me to see if I would be interested in co-leading the workshop with him this year, I jumped at the chance! Dustin and I met up a few times via Skype to plan everything out. Before we knew it, it was time to head to Columbus for the workshop. We both ran into a few bumps along the way on our travel day, but we got there!

Creative South Workshop: Part I

The workshop was three hours long. I took the first 90 minutes to introduce the 30+ attendees to Creative Market. I had six learning goals for the workshop attendees to hit in that first 90 minute session:
  • Get to know Creative Market
  • Learn why community-focused shops earn more
  • Open a Creative Market shop
  • Learn how shop owners fit into the community
  • Discover ways to get featured
  • Tackle Licenses and Taxes
It was an ambitious number of goals to take on, but we hit them all within our allotted time. After all of that hard work, it was time to take a little lunch break, and then we jumped right into Dustin’s half of the workshop.

Creative South Workshop: Part II

Dustin’s presentation was a beautiful combination of story telling and brass tacks product building and marketing facts. The number one goal coming out of Dustin’s half of the workshop was for everyone to upload their first Creative Market product. Yes, you read that right. By the time the workshop was over, the goal was for attendees to have a product in their shops. I know, it’s a pretty aggressive goal to ask people to learn all about Creative Market, open a shop, gain product marketing insights from a pro, and then ask them to build and launch a product all within three hours. But stick with me here. Dustin wasn’t telling people they needed to create a best selling product. Quite the opposite, he wanted them to focus on making something small. The goal was to get them past the fear and nerves of hitting the “Save as For Sale” button on their first product. So many potential shop owners let fear keep them from launching a product. They tell themselves that their work isn’t quite perfect enough to launch just yet, when in reality they may never feel like it’s good enough to launch. They’re too afraid to show the world anything less than perfect, and that attitude holds so many potentially great shop owners back from ever setting any products live. With that in mind, the goal was for workshop attendees to just launch something. Dustin told everyone it was ok if they went back to their hotels later and took the product down. He said it would be okay if the next week they totally revamped the work (in fact, he encouraged them to do so). But in that workshop, it was all about making sure we broke the spell that the product publishing button can so often hold. Do you want to hear something amazing? Lots of people actually did it! They took in all of the information they learned during the workshop, and they launched great first products!

Let’s Meet These Awesome New Shop Owners

Now that you know how the workshop went, I want to introduce you to some of these new wonderful shop owners and show you a few of their first products.

Jessica Slevin

Amy Wilkins

Nick Brito

Ryan Caronongan

Maura McDonald

Roscoe Peacock

Brandon Hopkins

Eric Robinson

Harrison Mills

Ryan Montgomery

Meagan Apperson

Justin Fielder

Ari Woeste

Taylor Cashdan

American Eargle

Welcome the New Shop Owners

You know what would be an amazing way to end this journey? Having you check out some of these new shops, give them a follow, and leave an encouraging comment on some of their first product uploads. One of the things I told these new shop owners is that the Creative Market community is a supportive community. Fellow shop owners don’t treat each other like competitors here, they treat each other like a support system. Let’s show them what this supportive Creative Market community looks like!
Lettering Worksheets
Getting started with hand lettering?
Free lettering worksheets

Download these worksheets and start practicing with simple instructions and tracing exercises.

Download now!
About the Author
Kelley Johnson

I’m an ex-schoolmarm who is excited about all things creative. Photography makes me smile and when I find a new-to-me dress that fits just right, it makes my day.

View More Posts
Go to My Shop
Related Articles
  • Great recap and workshop, Kelley (and Dustin)! 5 years ago
  • Amazing work both of you! 5 years ago
  • Sounds awesome! I would love to attend something like that (pity I live in Namibia!) 5 years ago
  • This is the best post ever, @Kelley Johnson ! I'm so glad to have a memory of this great time. It was amazing to work with so many new shop owners. And it was seriously SOOO fun to hang out with you and @Josh Johnson. Thank you to all the workshop attendees that worked so hard to make unique products and take some risks. It was an absolute honor to hang out with all of you! 5 years ago
  • I am brand new to this, and literally just jumped in with a few photo based digital products, so its wonderful to hear about Dustin and how open he is to sharing this info with other designers and getting others to jumper right in as well. Happy to be here and be a part of the community! 5 years ago
  • Great recap and workshop, Kelley and Dustin! I missed part 1 but you quickly got me set up in part 2. I am working on a better than 30 minute product right now. So excited to see where this goes. 5 years ago
  • @Joseph Borreson, welcome to the Creative Market shop owner community 🤗 @Dustin Lee really is a star example of how shop owners here at Creative Market support each other. If you haven't yet, I definitely recommend checking out the shop owner's only area of our Discussions (you have to be signed in as a shop owner for that link to work). So many shop owners share helpful and encouraging information in there about running a Creative Market shop, and staff members often jump in and write helpful and informative posts in there too! @suzi Seha, I'm so sorry your location makes it difficult for you to attend things like this. Maybe one day we'll be able to do something similar online so people could attend remotely (we don't have any plans to do this that I know of right now, but if people were interested in it, maybe we could look into it). 5 years ago
  • Hey there, @Kelley Johnson, thanks so much for that, and sharing this info on @Dustin Lee here too, I am already checking out his site and podcast and videos. I did just sign up to access that Shop Owners area, and it looks like a treasure trove of good stuff to meander through. Time to get reading and making and doing!! Love it. So glad to be here and thanks so much for the encouragement. 5 years ago
  • Sounds like a great conference! Great work everyone! 5 years ago
  • @Kelley Johnson, an online workshop is a great idea. Our exchange rate is, of course incredibly bad - US$ 1 = N$ 14 or so - making every online or international purchase a bit hefty but it is maybe worth it....? 5 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Welcome to all the new shops! Happy to have you here. 5 years ago
  • Awesome and exciting read! Welcome new shop owners! Excited to see more of your work! 5 years ago
  • Awesome write up @Kelley Johnson ! I was one of the students in the Beta run of Dustin’s 'Passive Income for Designers' course. I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone more generous with his time and knowledge. Through doing the course I was able to not only release a product on Creative Market but also launch a dream side-income business which is growing steadily. Seriously grateful for all you do @Dustin Lee! 5 years ago
  • Wow, thank you for the kind words @Nicole Mauloni 🙂 It's been amazing to watch you build out your business. The content you've made for your lettering products has been inspiring. Thanks for everything! 5 years ago
  • This is so awesome! I wish I was there! (I actually have relatives in Columbus haha). 5 years ago
  • What a wonderful workshop! I wish I could have attended! Are there ever any online style workshops run by CM or sellers? 5 years ago
  • I love this article. What a great experience for all. I really wish I was there! I'm a CCAD alumnus. It would have been fun to go back to my college town and learn from this amazing course. 5 years ago