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Are you looking for great passive income ideas to earn money without having to work for it? Then I am afraid that you landed on the wrong page.
Passive Income actually requires work, but it is more complicated than that.
Would you like to find out what passive income is all about? And get some tips and ideas along the way? Let’s go then!
No, I’m not going to talk about buying stock, building a portfolio, and more of that. Although investments may be mentioned in a passive income article, depending on the type of investor you are.
I, however, know little to nothing about financial investments, so I am not going to write about it. But if it is something that holds your interest, by all means, explore that possibility.
What I mean with investment, is that creating a passive income requires you to invest time, money, or both, upfront.
Time, Skill, Money, and Passion
Money and time are the currencies of the investment you need to make to create a passive income. However, skill and passion are the secret ingredients to make it a success.
Did you notice how I mention create or make a passive income? That is because it is an activity, and that brings me to the first ingredient: time.
All activities you undertake require time from your side. You will find that time and money are often interchangeable.
If you have less time available, you can buy it or buy someone else’s time. And if you have less money, you will have to invest more time.
Activities that require skills may need an investment of time, so you can train or acquire those skills.
If you have money, you can shorten that period by hiring professional trainers, or hire the skills of others.
See how it fits together?
There is also a ‘secret’ hidden inside this balance: Anyone can start a passive income stream.
For some, it will take longer, depending on their financial situation or level of skills. Still, except for people living in extraordinary situations, nothing is holding you back. Just pick the currency that you are willing to invest in.
The Secret Ingredient
So how does passion fit in?
Try to see it as a seed of a fruit-bearing plant you want to grow.
If you neglect it, and you will if you have no passion for the act of growing plants, it will fail to become big or old enough to provide you with fruits.
This calls for another secret: don’t depend on the possible fruits of just one plant. A lot can happen to that plant, and it might even die.
Creating multiple passive income streams will reduce the risk of losing your income.
Of course, passion will make anything you do better.
But unlike that, possibly, dull 9 to 5 you might have to take to pay the rent, this is something you choose yourself.
Don’t commit yourself to something you don’t really, really, like to do.
Means to an End
Why would you want to create a passive income stream?
If you think that the answer lies in making more money, then you are not digging deep enough.
What should this money bring you?
Do you want a bigger house or an expensive car?
Passive income will not get you there fast enough.
Working more, harder, better, or faster will probably get you there faster.
Passive income is an investment and investments may fail or even cost you money. No guarantees there!
But I know a blogger that has bought a huge house from her passive income!
Ah, now you are mixing things up. You confuse success with passive, freedom with income, and wealth with money.
You can have a very happy life, in a small house, without having a job, enjoying the freedom to do whatever you like.
If you want to be able to buy whatever you want, you will have to become successful. Passive or active income makes no difference.
The end goal is to unlock time and create the freedom to do with that time as you please. This is often referred to as FIRE, which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early.
8+ Great Ways to Create a Passive Income
There are far more ways to create a passive income, and I will probably write more often about them, but I would like to highlight those methods that I know or have experience with in this post. Hopefully, these great passive income ideas will inspire you!
Let’s start with the obvious one:
This one is great as it gives you a lot of freedom to share your passion.
And you can start it with very little to no investment of money.
Although there are free blogging platforms out there, I would recommend finding an inexpensive but good hosting provider.
It will give you more freedom to make technical modifications to your blog.
While researching Domain Authority, I learned another thing about blogging platforms concerning SEO ranking. Check it out!
Concerning the ‘time’ part of your investment: You set your own pace. Simple.
Your blog can grow with you as you grow your skills to write, learn the technical aspects and find a way to monetize it.
There are a lot of (free) resources out there that can help you gain or train the required skills.
I also wrote an article on How to Start a Blog that is very beginner-friendly. So do check it out if this is something you would like to try and need a guide to get started.
You can generate passive income from ads and affiliate links.
These will ‘live’ as long as you have your blog.
2. Sell Your Photos Online
This one is also dear to me.
Of course, it requires a passion or interest in photography.
Never mind the skill, that is something you can train.
I started with this, knowing nothing about photography, but I loved it.
To grow my photography skills, I used stock photo sites to submit my work to. So, again, time is the investment.
Of course, I got many rejections, but I turned the reasons for these rejections into goals and learned all I could learn about it to get the next batch accepted.
I stopped contributing years ago (I could only invest my time in a couple of things at a time), but I still get paid.
As I was more interested in photography than making money, I invested what I earned in new hardware and, of course, in photo editing software like photoshop.
I also traveled to other countries with it to take new pictures to sell.
One of my favorite longlists is The Ultimate Sell Your Pictures List, where I have collected over 35 sites that allow you to become a contributor.
If you like to draw instead of taking pictures, you should also check that longlist, as many sites are looking for illustrators!
3. Sell Prints and Printables
I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but it is close to the previous one.
The whole idea is basically the same. You invest your time into creating a product that can be printed or downloaded.
Let’s say you have an awesome image that would be a perfect fit for a canvas that someone can hang in their living room. Or maybe you drew a great illustration to print on a t-shirt.
Print-on-demand stores will let you upload your design, select the products you want to include, and set a price. They will take care of the whole sales, printing, and shipping process. Awesome right?
You can also create printable planners, checklists, posters, door hangers, wine labels, holiday decors, and the list goes on. People are making a lot of money with it on sites like Etsy.
So if planning is your passion, turn your own planners into downloads. If you love to create paper games, why not sell them?
Making coloring pages for your kids? Others might love them too!
Does it require money: it depends.
You can start without a financial investment in software, courses, or fees.
And how about time?
Well. Those creations won’t draw themselves, so, yes, it takes time.
As for the skills: If you are not used to software like Illustrator or Photoshop, the learning curve is quite steep. I would recommend going pro with Canva to let you create illustrations in a very user-friendly way.
This article will give you a good impression of the user-friendliness of Canva: Check it out
4. Affiliate Marketing
I mentioned using affiliate links in the paragraph about blogging, but affiliate marketing is much more than placing links in a text.
There is a certain finesse required. You can’t throw links all over the internet and expect them to generate income.
In fact, it might even make you look like a spammer.
I personally liked this course that Ana Skyes made about affiliate marketing. It made me change some of the ideas I had about affiliate marketing, especially when it comes to the concept of value.
Ask yourself why your visitors are going to click on that link.
You will have more success if it is valuable to them.
A link to a great BBQ book on Amazon will not hold much value to the visitors of a gaming blog.
But if you write about amazing BBQ recipes and you show your audience why this book has the most awesome recipes, you highlight the value it has for them.
Affiliate marketing isn’t limited to blogs. On the contrary!
Think of all the ways you can connect to an audience. For instance: Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, newsletters, ebooks, courses, etc.
If you have a blog, make sure you start creating an email list and sending out newsletters ASAP. Newsletters are perfect since your subscribers clearly are interested in your content.
It might seem a lot of work managing those subscriptions, but plugins like ConvertKit or MailChimp can make this easy.
Both have a free version, but you might have to level up to a paid plan if your mailing list grows.
(Don’t forget to sign up for mine. hint, hint)
5. Sell Digital Products
If you find this looking a lot like the previously mentioned selling pictures and creating printables, you are correct. Those two are really popular, but there is so much more.
Digital products will not run out of stock. You can sell a digital product indefinitely, and the best thing: you can create a lot of different products around your passion. Let’s name a few:
(6) Courses and eBooks
If you manage to find a way to ‘digitalize’ your knowledge, then you can sell that over and over again. This sounds more complicated than it is.
This may sound scary, but you don’t necessarily have to be in front of the camera. And you don’t have to shoot a full-featured video either!
You could save a Word or Powerpoint file to PDF and sell it, or you could use platforms like teachable.com to create courses.
Most courses I took were a mix of an (introduction) video, some written content, a downloadable ebook, or resource files.
Games, apps, tools, plugins, you name it!
Now, doesn’t this require some skills? Yes, it does, but depending on what you want to do.
It is possible to do this at a beginner’s level with software that helps you with that. Don’t expect to create the next WhatsApp with an app maker, but if you find a niche and demand, then it is possible.
Learn to code.
If you are passionate about this, then learning these skills is just a matter of time. CodeAcademy offers free courses for over 10 different programming languages.
I am a developer myself, and truthfully, I love to create things that come to life from just some lines of code.
Although I am more web / online minded when it comes to programming projects, I have made and sold a genealogical tool long ago.
Like other digitals, you can make an app or game once and then sell it as often as you can.
A lot of the tools you are going to use to do this are free. Microsoft Visual Studio is a very versatile tool for lots of development projects, including apps.
Nothing is really free though. You will have to invest time to learn how to use them.
(8) 3d Models
You won’t often find this activity in passive income listings, but I personally believe that this might become incredibly popular in the next years.
I admit, 3d is hard. The learning curve for most 3d studios is steep, but I think it is worth it.
Why do I think that it is worth learning?
Games are hot, VR is hot, 3d Printing becomes more popular every day, 3d models are being used everywhere. The demand for original 3d models is growing fast.
One of the largest 3D model stores, TurboSquid (where I sell a few models), was recently acquired by one of the largest photo stock sites, Shutterstock (where I sold 3d renders along with my photos).
That does say a lot.
If you want to start exploring 3D, then Blender is a free and incredibly complete 3D studio. Fair warning ahead: it is hard as hell if you are starting. Take some time to follow some basic courses or YouTube tutorials.
Creating something, bringing it to -digital- life, is so very satisfying!
More, more, more
Try to find a link between your passion and a digital product, so you can sell it over and over again.
Love gardening? You can’t sell a plant twice, but you can sell an ebook with the best gardening tips from your own experience.
Are you an amateur barista? Create a course and sell it!
I’m not kidding: Become a Coffee Expert: How to Make the Perfect Cup.
Blogger? Turn your list of ideas into a sellable product: One Year Of Blog Content In One Month. In fact, a lot of bloggers share (sell) their experiences in courses and ebooks.
Before we come to that: the examples of great passive income ideas I have given are digital, online passive income streams. There are other examples, like investing, renting out things, provide loans, etcetera.
I chose to give you examples of things you can create from behind your computer (or camera) and market them online. This is what I like to do myself, and I have done most of the above.
Passive income takes a lot of work, but if you balance the ingredients money, time, skills, and passion for fitting your lifestyle and resources, that labor can result in a long and frequently recurring pay-out.
Even if after you stopped putting time and energy in it.
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Thanks for reading, you are awesome!