Wikipedia defines passive income as “income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it.” What this definition fails to mention is the fact that to earn a passive income, you need to put in some work in the initial stages to get the ball rolling. If you want to earn rental income month after month, you need to first build the house and get some tenants. Most people often ignore this part of the passive income process, because it involves hard work. Although earning a passive income from an online business is much easier than doing it in the real world, it still takes a lot of work and some time before you can see a consistent money stream. Passive income has been falsely advertised as “easy money” or “money without work” when there really is no such thing.
That being said, the big question remains: what is the best way to make a passive income online? Well, this article seeks to help you answer that question. Here is a list of some of the best ways you can take advantage of today and start making a passive income online.
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1. INVESTING IN CROWDFUNDED REAL ESTATE
Real estate can be an intimidating market to invest in. However, as technology constantly keeps getting better and better, newer and more convenient solutions have been innovated to help anyone break into the real estate market. Among these is crowdfunded real estate.
When you invest in crowdfunded real estate, you give your money to an investor, who could be a company or an individual landlord. They raise money from lots of other small investors just like you, and they buy property with this money. You will then be paid interest on your initial investment.
Where to start: Rich Uncles, Fundrise, RealtyMogul
2. WRITE AN EBOOK
Writing eBooks is very popular among bloggers and internet marketers. It is very easy to pull off, and if you already have relevant blog content, it is often as simple as putting together your existing content into a book format. However, don’t let this fool you. Readers often see through a half-assed eBook, and although you may make a few sales initially, the negative reviews will eventually catch up with you and your eBook will stop making you money. Therefore, if you decide to write an eBook, you’d better give it the attention it deserves. Take time with it and do it well, and be sure to offer value to your readers.
Another important factor to remember when it comes to writing eBooks is the fact that they do not market themselves. You need to drive traffic to your eBook and get people talking about it and eventually buying it. However, if you market it correctly, an eBook can make one of the best sources of passive income online.
Where to start: Amazon Kindle
3. CREATE AN ONLINE COURSE
If you have specialized knowledge on a certain topic, you can monetize this knowledge by putting it together into an online course and teaching it to others. For example, if you are good at Bass fishing, you can create an online course called, “Bass Fishing 101”, where you walk beginners through the ins and outs of Bass fishing. A key point to note here is that the more targeted and focused your course is, the better it is likely to do. For instance, instead of “Fishing 101”, go for “Bass Fishing 101”, which is more tailored to a particular type of fish.
The beauty of creating online courses is the fact that once you create them, they can be your passive source of income for years, as long as the subject remains relevant.
Where to start: Udemy, Teachable
Blogging is another great source of passive income. If you are just starting out, be aware that it takes time to build a blog to a level where it consistently earns a decent income. You will need to work on it and build your audience and your traffic numbers first.
There are many ways to monetize a blog. You can use affiliate links by posting links to relevant products that people can buy. When they make purchases, you earn a commission. Blogs can also be monetized using ads. Ads are usually placed somewhere at the top, on the sides or at the bottom of the site, and you can get paid per click or per view on each ad. Again, keep in mind that the amounts paid out on these ads are very small, so you need a considerable amount of traffic before it can translate into a decent amount of money.
Where to start: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr
5. FLIPPING DOMAIN NAMES
There are no two similar domain names on the web. If you want a domain name and you find that it has been taken, you have no other choice but to either give up on it completely or approach the owner and discuss a sale. This is what domain salespeople capitalize on.
Flipping domain names is simple. All you have to do is find a domain name that has some good potential resale value, buy it, then sit on it and wait for someone to approach you to sell it to them. There are several domain marketplaces where you can list domain names that you own for potential buyers to find.
A great site for buying unclaimed domain names for cheap is GoDaddy. Popular domain marketplaces include GoDaddy Auction, Flippa, Sedo and NamePros Forum.
Where to start: GoDaddy, GoDaddy Auction, Flippa, Sedo, NamePros Forum
6. BECOME AN INFLUENCER ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Becoming a social media influencer is a great way to make a passive income while doing what you already do on a daily basis. I should mention here that today, it is pretty hard to become an influencer on the crowded social media space. However, if you already have a good following on your social media profile, you can monetize it and make money promoting a product or advertising something for a company.
One trick that most influencers use is scheduling their promotional posts. This is quite simple. If a company approaches you and offers to pay you to promote their product on your page for, say, a year, all you have to do is take a weekend and schedule several posts to be auto-sent on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis advertising said product. You can then sit back and relax as the social media platform does all the hard work for you while you get paid.
Social media marketing can also be combined with other forms of marketing such as affiliate marketing by adding affiliate links to your posts, earning even more passive income from every post.
Becoming a social media influencer is lucrative because once you do all the hard work of attracting followers to your account, you can easily start making money off all the people who listen to everything you have to say.
Where to start: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
7. SELLING STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY
This is another great way to make a passive income online. If you enjoy photography, you can monetize your hobby or profession by selling stock photography. Unique stock photography is always in demand. Online business owners often do not have the time to take their own photos for every blog post they make on their sites. They usually purchase specific stock photos for each post or a prepackaged bundle with several photos relevant to their niche.
With this in mind, you can take several photos and post them to stock photography sites like Shutterstock or iStock. Have a few free samples to build an audience of people who like your work, then create a package of 10 to 15 pictures and sell it as a bundle. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you could collect pictures of various types of engagement rings then sell these as a package to people in your niche.
The beauty of selling stock photography lies in the fact that once you put up the pictures for sale, you can sell the same pictures to as many people as you want. The pictures you took that one time will keep earning you passive income for years.
Where to start: Shutterstock, iStock Photo, Getty Images, Fotolia
8. BUILD AN APP
There is an app for everything. We’ve all heard that saying. Apps are a huge deal. Having an app listed on one or more of the various app stores means you have a chance to capitalize on a thriving market. If you know a few programming languages, you are at a clear advantage because you can easily create your own app, put it on the App Store or on Google Play Store, then sit back and earn money from each download.
If you do not have the skills to build an app, you have two options. You can either choose to learn how to do it yourself from the huge number of tutorials online, or you can pay someone to do it for you. Either way, the result is the same.
Before you begin building your app, you need to find out what the trends are, what apps do well, and what is lacking in the app space. In other words, do thorough market research. This will prevent you from making costly mistakes because you will go in knowing what you need to do.
Once you have your app, you can monetize it through ads, in-app purchases or affiliate marketing.
Where to start: YouTube for tutorials if you are planning to do it yourself, Fiverr for cheap outsourcing if you want to pay someone to do it for you.
9. CREATING CONTENT WITH ROYALTY PAYMENTS
If you are a creative soul, there are very many ways you can make a passive income by capitalizing on your talent online. Several sites can help you market and sell your content with royalty payments. This means that all your intellectual property including music, art or pictures will be sold under copyright laws, so you will be getting royalty payments.
Some of the best such sites include iTunes for music, Redbubble for merchandise designs, Amazon Studios for movie and TV series scripts, and Shutterstock for pictures. Again, keep in mind that the effort you may need to put into it upfront is probably going to be a lot before you can start reaping the rewards.
Where to start: iTunes, Redbubble, Amazon Studios, Shutterstock
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10. CREATING YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Creating YouTube videos is another great way to make a passive income online. With YouTube videos, all you have to do is upload them once and monetize them to earn a consistent income indefinitely for work you did once. Things have become even easier since the advent of the YouTube Partner Program, which essentially made being a YouTuber an actual career.
YouTube videos earn you money from the ads that are played every time people watch them. This means that the number of viewers your video gets is very important because it relates directly to how much money you make. Which is why besides simply creating your videos, you also need to market your channel and build a subscriber base that will see your videos as soon as you post them.
YouTube videos can also be monetized by adding affiliate links in the descriptions of the videos, or by promoting sponsor products in the video itself. These are also very effective passive income methods, but you still need to build an audience first to maximize their efficiency.
You should keep in mind that you will probably not earn a livable income from one video, even if it gets about a million views. If you want to make a living off YouTube, aim for over 100 videos. That way, money will keep streaming in even if you stop posting videos completely.
So, there you have it. Passive income from making YouTube videos. You put in the work once, and it makes you money indefinitely.
Where to start: YouTube
11. DROP SHIPPING
Drop shipping is massively popular with internet marketers. The idea behind it is also quite simple: you find a niche and a manufacturer of products in that niche, then market those products on your site or online store. You do not own any of these products personally, but when someone buys them from you, you place the order with the manufacturer and the manufacturer ships the product directly to the customer.
You make money by listing the product at a slightly higher price than what you are paying for at the manufacturer. So, when someone buys it, your commission is the amount above the buying price.
Drop shipping is great because you do not get to buy any inventory, it is completely cheap to set up, and you do not handle any products. On the flip side, it is a very hands-on business model. You will have to handle customer service yourself and manage refunds and returns, among other mundane tasks. It also has several hidden costs, such as the cost of a Shopify store and an autoresponder.
However, if done right, drop shipping can be a great source of passive income online.
Where to start: Shopify
12. MONETIZING YOUR SITE WITH ADS
If you have a website, you can monetize it using ads and earn a passive income from them. Ads are arguably the easiest way to monetize your site. To get started, all you have to do is sign up for a free Google AdSense account, then paste a few lines of code into your website. Once this is set up, ads will start appearing on your site and you will start earning some money from them.
You can earn money from Pay Per Click ads or display ads. However, you should keep in mind that individual ads pay a very small amount. If you want to make a significant income from them, you need to make sure that you have a good amount of traffic coming into your site.
Another thing that you need to remember is that people have gotten tired of ads these days. Very few people click on them anymore, and many of them even use ad blockers. These are the downsides of using generic Google AdSense ads. However, if you have a large enough traffic, it is inevitable that a few hundred people will click on your ads and make you some money.
Where to start: Google AdSense
13. SELLING DIGITAL PRODUCTS
The greatest thing about digital products is that you only need to create them once. A digital product can be viewed or downloaded hundreds of times by hundreds of people, and this is exactly what you want. With digital products, the sky is the limit. You can sell literally anything you want in any niche you like.
Instructional videos and eBooks (discussed above) have become really popular in recent years, so it is worth looking into those. But you can also try selling other products such as audio books, design templates, digital art, software, among others. To maximize efficiency, set up a dedicated website for your product. If you do not have your own website, you can use affiliate platforms like Clickbank, Amazon and JVZoo, then invite people to promote it for you for a commission.
You can make even more money from your products by building a sales funnel, where you up sell different products to your audience after they have already bought the initial product.
Where to start: Clickbank, JVZoo, Amazon
14. ONLINE MARKET TRADING
Online market trading is another great way to make a passive income online. It is however quite risky, and you may lose all your money in an instant if you go in unprepared. Which is why you should only invest money you are prepared to lose. However, online market trading is a high risk, high return venture, so you could significantly increase your initial investment within a very short time. Or you could lose it all. Make sure you know what you are doing if you choose this path….
Some of the biggest online market trading platforms are eToro and Plus500. These are great because they reduce the risk involved in online market trading by distributing it among millions of users. They also do everything for you, so you can just sit back, relax, and let their team of experts make trades for you.
However, as I have mentioned, only get into online market trading and trading stocks if you have money that you can afford to lose. You can win or lose in equal measure with this venture, but it can make an amazing source of passive income if done right.
Where to start: Plus500.com, eToro.com
15. AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is a great way of making passive income online. In fact, I believe it is one of the best, simplest (not easy), most straightforward ways of creating wealth on the internet. Let me tell you a little about it and why I think it is so awesome:
What it is
Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows you to promote someone else’s products and earn a commission from it. You do not personally own any products as an affiliate marketer, you just simply get paid to help someone else sell theirs. This makes it a unique business with many benefits, such as:
– Uncapped income potential
There is literally no limit to how much you can make from affiliate marketing. The more you sell, the more money you make, so this means you can potentially make lots of money as an affiliate marketer. Many people have already done so, and many more are discovering ways to do it every day. The sky is the limit!
Affiliate marketing offers you an unbeatable level of freedom. No 9 to 5 job can offer you this much freedom for this much compensation. With affiliate marketing, you become your own boss. You pick your own hours, decide how much you want to work each day, and determine just how much money you want to make within a given period of time. It is actually this level of freedom that attracts so many people to affiliate marketing. It simply just feels so good not to be tied down to the rat race.
Job security is a beautiful thing. Many people lose their jobs every day, and they often have no idea how to start over. When you are left out in the cold, with no source of income, no job prospects looking up, and bills piling up every day, what do you do? With affiliate marketing, that will never happen to you. Because you are your own boss, you cannot fire yourself unless you choose to quit. If you are employed, having an extra source of income besides your normal monthly paycheck and salary has a way of giving you a feeling of financial security, like life is not actually as hard as it could be. You have it good. You can finally enjoy the joys of life worry-free, without the anxiety of when your next paycheck will come in.
So how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is simple. To get started, all you need to do is pick a niche, which can be literally anything you have an interest in, then build a site for your business. You will then have to work towards attracting readers to your site with consistent high-quality content, then monetize that traffic through affiliate marketing.
It is important to keep in mind that as an affiliate marketer, you will have to go out and find products that you care about, products that you believe in, and products that you know first-hand work as advertised. Only promote these products to your audience, because your audience needs to trust you if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer.
So, there you have it. My list of the 15 best ways to make a passive income online. Although our brains have been wired to think traditionally, when you simply go against the grain and think a little outside the box, you will realize that there is money to be made in every corner of the internet. And the best part? Most of these strategies can be combined, allowing you to earn even more income.
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Hopefully you found this long post helpful! Please leave me some comments or questions below and I will respond as promptly as I can.
To your success!