Those are my ideas on how Photopea can make (more) money.
Make a desktop version for Mac and Windows and sell it for one-time fee of $19 to $39. Or make it an additional feature of pro account.
Implementation wise, Mac version could be a very simple Objective-C wrapper of wkwebview. On Windows you https://github.com/mattkol/Chromely. Or you can use Electron (but it creates much bigger executable).
Promote desktop app on the main screen. Handle payments with Stripe and/or Paypal.
You mentioned (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/9urjmg/i_made_a_free_alternative_to_photoshop_that_is/e9776o6/) that you're afraid uses wouldn't update but it's simple to add auto-update system that checks version on startups, downloads the update in the background and updates itself on next launch (I do something similar in my open-source Sumatra reader https://github.com/sumatrapdfreader/sumatrapdf/)
Be a marketplace
This is a bigger project but potentially much more profitable.
Be a marketplace that connects people who look for artists to commission graphics (logos, covers etc.) with artists who can do such work, using Photopea as a tool to do it.
You'll connect a client with an artist and take a cut (e.g. fiverr takes 20%) of the price client pays to an artist. You can probably handle payments using Stripe.
The hard part of building a marketplace is building a critical mass of service providers. Photopea gives you a huge jumpstart here because people who use Photopea are potential providers. But you would need to build some more things:
- gallery for people to post their drawings made with Photopea, something like https://www.behance.net/ or https://www.deviantart.com/. It could run e.g. as a gallery.photopea.com. Photopea.com should prominently link to gallery.photopea.com and vice-versa
- a menu item "post to your gallery" (by default work is private, posting makes it public. it posts to "gallery stream" as well as adds to a gallery for that specific artist
- implement the basic of community like voting on images so that you can show "popular today", "popular this week" etc.
- gallery is essential for potential buyers. It's much easier to buy e.g. a logo design from an artist if you can see good looking logos that this person designed in the past
- allow artists to easily opt-in into being providers. If artist opts-in, the client can initiate work request directly from gallery page ("commission a project from this artist")
- define some standard categories of work (logo, book cover, a cartoon drawing etc.), allow artists to narrow down what kind of work they want to provide (some artists might only be interested in doing logos but not book covers). Allow clients to filter out artists by that i.e. if I want to commission a book cover, I should be able to narrow down the gallery view to only see work from artists who opted-in as providers and provided "book cover" as type of work they do. Possibly this would also only show work of that type that the artist tagged (when posting to gallery the artist can indicate that this is "book cover" and client can filter by that type). This is to allow potential clients easily find the artist whose past work best matches the style they're looking for
- a very important thing would be to build a smooth job management i.e. a tool for client to communicate with the artist before, during and after commissioning the art (copy fiverr)
The beauty of this business model is that if it takes off, you can get rid of ads and pro accounts. You could even open-source the editor because the value is would be not in the editor but in network of artists that can do the work. Such network effects are almost impossible to overcome (if someone was thinking about competing with you).
Photopea promotion idea
This is not strictly about making money but about promoting Photopea.
You already have "Post to imgur" option. Add "Post to twitter" which would post to user's twitter account and tag it with #photopea https://www.photopea.com/ (or #madewithphotopea) . People like to promote their own work, their twitter is a good place to do it and by posting their work in their twitter they also promote Photopea.
As a bonus feature, create additional twitter account "photopea gallery" and every day search for recent tweets tagged with #photopea and re-tweet the ones that you like. Potentially use some tool to schedule those re-tweets so that e.g. every day you can spend 10 mins finding a couple of nice images made with photopea recently and schedule re-tweets so that you don't re-tweet them all at once but every couple of hours.
If you want me to expand on those idea, you can reach out to me.