Passive income – also known as ‘making money while you sleep’ – sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But what if there really were ways you could make money online, whilst barely lifting a finger? What if you could have money flowing in, the figures of your bank balance creeping up and up, whilst all you do is sit back and watch?
It’s true – you really can make passive income. All you need is to educate yourself, develop a strategy, and get started with time, money, and hard work. Then you can sit back for the rest of your life and let your income generate itself!
An income stream that’s passive is one that requires little to no maintenance to keep the money coming in. That doesn’t mean you can just forget about the source of income, but you should be tracking it, and measuring what's working and what's not!
Passive income is the ultimate dream of entrepreneurs looking to free up time – or to be free from from a "job" in order to make a monthly wage! Whilst no one can argue that passive income is preferable to exchanging time for money, the start-up hurdle often intimidates would-be passive income generators before they even begin.
It’s true, starting is the hardest part. Not only do you need to invest time and effort in researching passive income ideas and strategies, but you then need to invest your time, and money, in your passive income project with no returns. It’s possible to go months in the beginning without producing much, if any, money from passive income strategies!
It's important to understand this. Passive income does NOT mean No effort or easy money. There is no such thing as money for nothing. Marketers might try to sell you, saying "no effort & easy money", but it is NOT true! As I said, there is no such thing.
It can be frustrating. But if you persevere, it can pay off and passive income can change your life in a very nice way. Imagine having a steady monthly income, no matter what you do? This leaves you free to pursue a whole range of activities – travel, start a business, develop a product, or simply spend more time with your family and friends!
Time, is after all, the most valuable thing we have. You know the old saying, ‘time is money’? Well, it becomes more and more true and relevant the older you become! Money comes and goes, but we only have a finite amount of time. Once spent, it’s gone, forever. Being free to choose how to spend our time is of ultimate importance.
It’s time to start making that passive income dream a reality!
In this article, we’ve covered the first hurdle – ideas and strategies to get you earning passive income online. The rest is up to you!
So, whether you want to earn interest with Savings Accounts, or Peer-to-Peer with Lending Club, all you need to do first is read these ideas for making passive income online and decide what works best for you. Then, decide what resources you are willing to expend to make your dream a reality!
Here’s a list of [x] ways to generate passive income online. It’s likely at least one or two will work for you!
Affiliate marketing is the single most important method of generating passive income online. It isn’t easy, by any shape or form, as to succeed you need a large following on a platform (like Instagram) and you really need an email list of quality subscribers. If you don’t have this, you will need to run ads which can get pricey! Unless you are an expert in internet marketing (IM) and know you will succeed, I don’t recommend starting off running ads at the beginning of your online quest to make money online. Firstly, build up your platform following in whatever way necessary. Then, start thinking about affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is essentially selling products you don’t own – it’s a bit like being a broker! You earn a healthy passive income stream whilst advertising other people’s products and promoting their services on your site or platform. They will either pay you a flat fee or commission (a percentage of the amount of the sale completed).
It’s not as hard as you might imagine – there are millions of companies in the world, each of them willing to pay to sell their products in as many places as possible. Welcome to the world of online capitalism!
If you have a big enough following, chances are you’ve already been approached by companies asking if you want to sell, advertise and promote their products. If not, then you can try contacting vendors directly or searching affiliate product websites like ClickBank.
Affiliate marketing obviously works best if you are advertising products that have something to do with your platform or website. For example, if you are a vegan Instagram star, you don’t want to be promoting a brand of beef or, say, a crocodile leather handbag.
Likewise, if you are a blog dedicated to mountaineering, advertising mountaineering gear is more relevant than next season’s bikini swimwear. You get the picture.
Affiliate marketing can be an amazing passive income generator, as you will literally be generating income from doing next to nothing.
Alongside social media platforms, starting a blog can generate a huge amount of income – but it takes time! If you’re planning to start a blog, you should first understand that it’s going to take a lot of work and time to be successful. Whatever niche you choose, you need to have a sound knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing and the ability to create quality, valued content.
Once your blog is up and running and has a good audience, this provides you with a platform and audience to generate passive income. You can achieve this through affiliate marketing – marketing relevant products and services to your site visitors. It takes time, but running a blog is a great passive income generator and will last for as long as you want it to!
If you have some knowledge of SEO and online marketing, you can make money by generating leads and earning referral income. You can refer everything from insurance to credit cards to diets and weight loss products!
You may also find that selling the leads your website generates is more lucrative and easier than making commission off of leads. It’s a more passive way of earning money, with hardly any effort required on your part!
You could create a local service business website, a roofing company website for example, in a town somewhere in Texas for example. The company would be a made up company. This type of site is known as a “Landlord Site” and the purpose is to get business leads that you can sell or you can rent the site to a roofing company in that town.
You would apply SEO to get the landlord site to rank. When it is ranking and getting enquiries, you can approach a local roofing company and rent the site for a monthly fee. You can do this with numerous sites and make good passive income
Another way to earn money is by having ads on your site. Advertisers will pay you to display their products – you work with an ad network, who are the middleman essentially between you and the advertisers who pay you.
With affiliate marketing, you will only be paid when someone clicks on your link or buys a product. When you display ads, you are paid for the amount of traffic and people viewing your ads!
You can also try cost per click (CPC) ads, so you will get paid when someone clicks on your ad – they don’t have to buy anything afterwards! As long as they click through your ad, you will get money in your bank account.
Don’t be fooled – this doesn’t mean you can just have someone clicking on ads on your website all day long. Companies will surely find out if that’s what you’re doing. Instead, focusing on creating organic clicks by building up your site traffic.
Many hundreds of thousands of blogs are created every year and are abandoned by owners who gave up or changed their mind after beginning! If you can find a blog with a high volume of site traffic, then you’re halfway there already. You just need to create similar content to what came before and watch the cash flow in!
Blogs can employ Google AdSense, which provides a monthly income based on ads Google places on your site. If you purchase a blog that’s already running, the income from Google Ads will be yours as soon as you purchase the site!
Blogs usually sell for 24 times their monthly income – if that income is $250 a month, you can buy the blog for $3,000. This investment will bring you $1,500 a year in income! That’s a passive income stream that requires only a little maintenance – creating content or outsourcing freelancers to do so.
You may be able to buy the site for less than 24 months earnings, if the site owner really wants to sell! You may also not need to generate too much new content – some sites have content that is called ‘evergreen’ – it continues generating passive income even after the site has stopped creating new content!
Lastly, once buying a blog, you can invigorate it with new, better quality content, and raise the monthly income from it. Then, when you sell it yourself at a later date, you get much more than what you paid for it! Think of it a bit like real estate, but for websites, not houses… You buy an old house, do it up, and then sell it on for much more than you bought it for!
Just like using a blog for affiliate marketing or ad revenues, you can use a YouTube channel to create a passive income stream.
You can create a YouTube channel for just about anything, in any niche you like – play music, give tutorials, give your opinion on topics, become a comedian, review movies or games… The world of YouTube is your oyster!
Create videos of anything you like, and then attach Google AdSense to the videos, which will overlay then with automatic ads. When viewers click on the ads, you earn money from AdSense.
The crucial thing here is to create quality content first and then promote it on social media websites to grow a following. Once you have an audience and subscribers, you can start making money from ads. So whilst there is a lot of work going into creating videos that are compelling and interesting, once the video is done it can create a flow of passive income for a long time.
Moving on from the world of affiliate marketing, you can create a passive income stream through creating a digital product. Writing and publishing an eBook can create a respectable amount of money!
Non-fiction eBooks are the best way to go – these books can help educate your audience on marketing, business, online work, or areas of self-development. They can be cookbooks, fitness books, or other health related topics, too! Get creative – non-fiction eBooks are a fast growing genre that will make you a decent amount of money.
If you want to go down the fiction road, be aware that it’s rare for fiction to make a huge amount of money for a new writer. Once you are an established writer with a following you can make a fortune – but that takes time and great skill!
Utilize platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Platform to publish eBooks in pre-existing, popular niches. Then you sit back and watch the numbers in your bank account rise!
Do you have a sought-after skill? Could you teach others that skill? Then you can make an online course!
Everyone is an expert at something. Creating an online course about your passion is a great idea for generating passive income, and it’s never been easier.
You can use websites like Udemy to help you create your course and then market it to your target audience. Udemy has over 8 million students and is a great platform to get your course out there in front of willing buyers!
In your course, you can include everything from video and audio lessons, reading lists, small eBooks, checklists for completion, and interviews. You can create several different packages at different prices, too, as some people will want to buy everything, and others will opt for the bare minimum. As long as you cover the most important content in all of your packages, you’ll please all different buyers, from the high-flyers to the scrimp and savers!
Literally anything can be taught in an online course – technical skills like web development and SEO marketing, language learning techniques, photography, and playing musical instruments!
If you price your course at a hundred dollars or more, you don’t have to sell thousands to earn a considerable income. If you manage to sell 500 or more, your online course can be a considerable source of income. Many people are willing to pay $100 to learn a skill – if you can convince enough people your course is valuable and high-quality, you can have a steady income stream from this!
A lot like creating a course or eBook, creating an online guide might work for you. A great example of this is SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, a website by Pat Flynn that helps security guards see the specific requirements for security guards in every state of the US.
You then make money by – you guessed it – Google AdSense, affiliate links, and even memberships you can sell via your online guide.
The Audiobook business is an incredible stream of passive income – if done right! Using platforms like Audible’s ACX, you can create and market your audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.
It’s particularly useful if you have specialized knowledge or skills in some area - you can teach these in audiobooks.
Yes, this will definitely not be easy – but if you have the right skills, you can design an app and develop it yourself. If you have a bit of money, you just need to come up with an idea and then get someone to code it and make your vision into reality.
Although many ideas out there have already been done – you might say the ‘gold rush’ of app creation is over – you can still earn a decent income if you can think of something new, or improve something already existing!
Apps can be an incredibly lucrative income source – with almost everyone owning a smartphone, you can easily get your app out there with some advertising. People are downloading apps like crazy these days – they make our lives easier, and so if you can design one that does exactly that, you’ll make money!
You can also teach yourself how to code as you go – it’s a lot cheaper than hiring an app developer.
There are a growing number of platforms for lending money to people – websites like Lending Club and Funding Circle are making it easy for people to look for loans and investment. That way, as a lender, you can invest in people or businesses, and your passive income stream is the interest you charge.
Most of these sites have accurate algorithms for calculating risks – so you can invest your money without worrying about seeing it returned!
Again, this is only an option if you have some money to invest to start with. It’s a lot like investing in stock, except without using the stock market.
Rather than investing in stocks, you can invest directly in a small business. Rather than offering a loan, you simply become part of the business – as a silent business partner. The business owner handles the day to day operations, and you participate in the costs and profits of the business
Like all things related to business and investment, you need to have money to begin with. But once you’ve invested in a small business, you just sit back and let your bank statement take care of itself!
You may not have heard of this one – but you can make income from recommending areas for ATMs to be installed!
It’s as simple as this: locate a company that will allow you to place their ATMs are their business locations. You then earn a percentage of the income these ATMs generate.
Since ATM’s can sometimes charge as much as $5 per transaction, you can get a chunk of that. If enough people are using the ATM (in other words, if you chose a good location) then that can add up to a lot of money!
This is a pretty passive venture that only requires a little bit of maintenance. You can also install multiple ATMs, and get earning!
If you’re already a photographer, consider breaking into the online world of photo selling. Use websites like Shutter Stock and iStockPhoto to sell your photographs – be aware that there’s a lot of competition involved in the art and photography world, but if you’re really good, you’ll be able to make a fortune!
Believe it or not, there’s a lot of websites out there that will pay you a little just for doing what you do normally – shopping, searching the web, playing games and so on! Check out websites like Swagbucks to find out more.
One of the move obvious ways to earn passive income is through the stock market. This might be the first thing you think of when considering passive income, which is why it’s first on the list!
Dividend-paying stocks to take a fair amount of start-up cash but can easily land you earning more than $1,000 per month. If you’re good at looking ahead and predicting the stock market, as a dividend investor you can have an annual return of 15-25%.
You don’t need to sell dividend stock to generate income – just buy a significant amount of shares and you’ll see a healthy revenue coming in! Just do the right research and be diligent in monitoring the market to find the right dividend stocks. Start small, and keep searching for high-income producing dividend stocks.
It takes time and consistent research to build up your portfolio and earn $1,000 per month – but we all have to start somewhere!
Once you have created a portfolio of high dividend stocks, you can begin generating passive income at a yearly rate by purchasing stock. You’re then earning money from two sources – dividends and capital gains.
You’ll need a brokerage account to purchase stock, and a lot of market research!
Index funds is a completely passive way to invest in the stock market. You simply invest money in an index fund, say one based on the S&P 500 Index, and you will be investing in the general market. This means you don’t have to worry about choosing investments, knowing what companies or trends are going well, or when to buy or sell companies! Instead, everything is handled for you by the index fund you invest in. You can, naturally, choose a fund that is based on any index you desire. There are index funds for just about every sector of the market – banking, energy, precious metals, and more! All you do is decide what index fund you want to be part of, contribute money, and then relax. Your stock portfolio will be automated and do everything for you!
Let a robot, or more exactly, an algorithm manage your investments for you. That’s about as passive as you can get! Let’s face it, in this day and age, computers are smarter than humans. Letting an algorithm manage your investments is not only passive income generation, it’s probably more intelligent than trying to do it yourself – unless you’re an expert in stocks and exchange (in which case, see no. [x]).
Robo-advisors like Betterment, Blooom and Acorns (to name a few) allow you to set your willingness for risk, and you then let them do the rest! The fees are much lower than what you’d pay a human account manager, just as smart, and give you the best financial advice through their algorithms.
Investing in the stock market has never been easier! Get started today with you own robotic investment advisor!
There you have it – 20 ways to make passive income online! Hopefully there’s something on this list for everyone, from real estate to stock investment, from affiliate marketing to buying websites. Get started on your passive income generator and look forward to never working again!