Making money while you sleep.
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Earn money without even trying.
Okay, enough, we’re overstretching it.
But come on, who doesn’t like extra money for lesser effort?
Have you come across the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad? If you did, you are probably obsessed with passive income, as well. I did, and now I am literally obsessed with passive income ideas.
So, here’s what I did, I listed a number of passive income ideas we can all try.
What is Passive Income?
The common definition of passive income is income that you earn without being actively involved. It means that you make money, and you continue to make money, with no or very little effort on your part to maintain the flow of income.
You can see why the idea of passive income would be appealing. Typically when someone needs additional income, they get the stereotypical suggestion to “get a part-time job.”
But what if you don’t have the time or energy to put in all those extra hours?
For that, you may need some passive income ideas – ways to make money with little investment of time and effort on your part. And a great benefit of this is if you are trying to pay off debt quickly, this can be a huge help!
Here’s a list of quite a few passive income ideas, so it’s likely that you’ll be able to find at least two or three that cater to your situation and skills.
1. Invest in lending clubs.
There is probably no passive income that is more perfect than earning interest on safe investments, such as government treasury securities and bank certificates of deposit.
The problem of course is that those instruments pay paltry returns – generally less than 1%. It may be passive income at its finest, but you’ll never be able to relax or retire on returns that are that low.
You can try what we call lending clubs (locally called “paluwagan” if I am not mistaken). A lending club place where people come to get loans, and investors – looking for high interest opportunities – provide the funds for those loans.
You can earn interest rates in excess of 10% per year – which is about 10 times what you will earn on more conventional interest-bearing investments.
2. Try out index funds.
Index funds are a type of mutual fund that provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive.
Index funds in the Philippines for example, intends to achieve for its participants investment returns that track the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) by investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks comprising the PSEi in the same weights as the index.
In other words, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index (in our case, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index.
With any broker you are free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want.
For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is – energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets – you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.
You can try and check Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Philippine Equity Index Fund, for example. Minimum investment at BPI-PEIF is 10,000 pesos.
3. Make money for tasks you’d do anyway (say, Uber!).
What if I tell you that you can earn money from the things that you are already doing?
Do you like shopping? Try InboxDollars! It allows you to make money by searching the web, shopping online, and playing games.
And, you probably have heard about Uber and Grab, right? You can also make your own schedule with Uber and pick up extra income by driving others around when you are already out and about anyway, right?
4. Get cash-back rewards on credit cards.
You know that credit cards give rewards in terms of rebates of up to 1 to 5% of your money, and that’s with almost no effort on your part!
If you’re already using credit for convenience, you can also earn a huge sum of cash in the form of a signup bonus. If travel is your thing, we have seen people who are using bonus offers on travel rewards credit cards to save thousands of dollars on travel each year.
5. Sell your photos (that is if you like photography).
Do you like photography? Do you like taking shots wherever you go? Do you think people will like your still shots? Or, do many people like your shots?
If they love your work, then you may be able to convert it into a passive income. Photography websites such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto can provide you with platforms to sell your photos. They may offer either a percentage or a flat fee of each photo that is sold to a site client.
Or, if you are like my friend (a graduate of Political Science), you can make your own website and build your own portfolio and sell printed and laminated shots and be a photographer-for-hire. He’s earning a lot now, much more than his day job pay.
6. Write an ebook.
Writing an ebook is lot of work, trust me. But once it is done and marketed, it can provide a passive income for years!
Just choose a topic you are passionate about. Other than that, choose a topic you know a lot about! We take that if you are passionate about something, you probably know a lot about it, right?
Package your ebook nicely. Cover it with a nice front cover graphic and design. If you can’t make it yourself, get someone to do it for you.
You can either sell the ebook on your own website or offer it as an affiliate arrangement with other websites that provide content related to your ebook.
Do you know Peng Joon? He’s a millionaire now. You know what he did during college? He got addicted to Warcraft (popularly called DoTA in my neighborhood). And he made an ebook on how to play the game like a pro. He sold it on Amazon and on his personal websites. He earned millions.
Who knows, you might be the next Peng Joon.
7. Sell your own products on the internet
Online business is lucrative. I mean, the opportunities here are endless. You can sell just about any product or service that you like. It could be a product you have created and can manufacture on your own or it could be digital in nature (such as software, DVDs, or even instructional videos), or sell a service like digital or online marketing.
In order to sell stuff online, you will, of course, need a website. Alternatively, you can also sell it on an affiliate basis, either by offering it direct to websites and blogs related to your product.
8. Invest in real estate
This probably falls more in the category of semi-passive income, since an investment in real estate is always at least a little bit of an active venture.
Still, once you have an investment property that is established and fully rented, it’s mostly a matter of managing the property and keeping it performing well.
Additionally, there are professional property managers who can manage your property for you, usually for around 10% of the monthly rent. This professional management can make the investment much more passive, but will take a bite out of your cash flow.
Another benefit of investing in rental properties is the loan pay down. If you obtain a loan to buy the property, each month your tenants are paying off part of the loan. Once the mortgage on the property has been paid off, your cash flow will increase dramatically, allowing your mediocre investment to skyrocket into a full-fledged retirement program.
It wouldn’t take many paid-off properties to provide a pretty great, and mostly-passive, future for you and your family.
9. Be a YouTube sensation.
Kidding. You don’t need to be one to start earning. But you definitely will earn a lot if you become a sensation.
Monetizing YouTube is a lucrative business. Many venture into this and become vloggers (video bloggers).
For starters, you can create videos in just about any area that you like – music, tutorials, opinions, comedy, movie reviews – anything you want . . . then put them on YouTube. You can then attach Google AdSense to the videos, which will overlay your videos with automatic ads. When viewers click on those ads, you will earn money from AdSense.
The keys will be to create compelling videos, to promote those videos on social media websites, and to create enough of them that your income will be coming from multiple sources. There’s a good bit of work that goes into creating videos, but once a video is done it can become a completely passive cash flow source for a very long time.
You probably know PewDiePie, the Swedish comedian on YouTube who’d film himself sitting and playing online games and swear at the screen. He earn millions from those videos. Amazing.
10. Buy a blog.
Thousands of blogs are created every year, and thousands are either completely abandoned by their owners sometime afterward. If you can buy blogs with a reasonable amount of web traffic – as well as a demonstrated cash flow – it could be a perfect passive income source.
Most blogs employ Google AdSense, which provides a monthly revenue stream based on ads that Google places on the site. There may also be affiliate programs generating additional revenue. Both income sources will be yours once you purchase the blog.
From a financial perspective, blogs usually sell for 24 times their monthly income. So if the site generates $250 a month in income, you can likely buy it for no more than $6,000. Translation: a $6,000 investment will buy you $1,500 per year in cash flow.
You may even be able to purchase the site for less than 24 months earnings, if the site owner is particularly anxious to get out. Some sites have good “evergreen” content that will continue generating revenue even years after the site has gone silent. So a simple $5000 investment can net you ongoing passive income.
Bonus tip: If you were to buy such a site, and then to reinvigorate it with fresh content, you may be able raise the monthly revenue enabling yourself to sell the site at a later date for substantially more than what you paid for it.
Finally, instead of buying a blog, you might want to create your own blog. You can make some money either way!
11. Pay off a credit card (or two or three)
Reducing a fixed expense is the financial equivalent of creating passive income. This is certainly true when it comes to credit cards. Let’s say that you owe $10,000 on a credit card, on which there is a monthly payment equal to 2% of the balance, or $200 per month.
By paying the card off, you’ll be free up $2,400 per year in cash flow that would’ve gone to the monthly payments.
That’s like getting a guaranteed 24% return on a $10,000 investment. Good deal?
You can speed up this process by transferring your current balances to a 0% APR card. You can usually get the promotional rate for 15 months or more and supercharge your credit card payoff.
12. Set up a website selling someone else’s product
If there is a product that you are particularly knowledgeable about, you may be able to sell it on a dedicated website. The technique is similar to what you would use for your own product, except that you will not to be concerning yourself with product creation, but only with the sale of someone else’s product.
You may even find after a while that you are able to add other products that are related. Should that happen, the site could generate substantial revenues.
If you are able to have the product drop shipped to customers directly from the manufacturer, you won’t even have to get your hands dirty. That may not be 100% passive, but it’s darn close.
13. Invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs).
In #8 we talked about investing in real estate. But let’s say that you want to invest in real estate, but do it in a truly passive way. You can do that through a real estate investment trust.
This is something like a mutual fund holding various real estate projects. The fund is managed by professionals, so you never have to get involved.
One of the big benefits of investing in REITs is that they typically pay higher dividends than stocks, bonds, or bank investments. You can also sell your interest in a REIT anytime you like, which makes it more liquid than owning real estate outright.
14. Become a business silent partner.
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you can treat this as a business opportunity and take an equity position in the business.
In this way, the business owner will handle the day-to-day operations, while you will act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits of the business. You will probably want to look at some business credit card offers in order to get a feel for how to manage your business finances while keeping tracking of how your partner is handling everything.
15. Become a referral source.
Every small business needs referral sources in order to maintain sales. Make a list of small business providers that you use on a regular basis and feel you can recommend to others without reservation. Then contact the owners and see if they have any kind of cash referral marketing offers available.
You can do this with accountants, landscapers, electricians, plumbers, carpet cleaning services – the list is endless. Keep a list of these businesses, and be ready to refer them to your friends, family and coworkers. You can earn a fee on each referral just from talking to people.
Don’t overlook referral programs at work either. If your company offers a referral bonus for either new employees or for new customers, then take advantage of that plan. It’s easy money with virtually no work.
16. Rent out unused space with Airbnb.
Airbnb is a concept that has only been around for a few years, but it has exploded around the globe. Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. They do this by staying with participating Airbnb members who rent out part of their homes to travelers. By participating in Airbnb, you can use your residence to accommodate guests and earn extra money just for renting out space in your home.
How much you will make will depend upon the size and condition of your home and your location. Naturally, if your home is located in a high cost city, or close to a popular resort, your income will be much higher. It’s a way of earning money on space in your home that might just be sitting empty otherwise.
17. Build an app.
Apps can be an incredibly lucrative income source. Think about how many people today have smartphones. Come on, it’s just about everybody! People are downloading apps like crazy – and for good reason…
Apps make people’s lives easier. Whether it’s an app that helps people put together nice pictures for their blog or an app that keeps track of tasks, there are helpful apps out there for everyone.
You might be asking if there are so many apps out there, why would you want to attempt to create an app? Isn’t there a lot of competition? Well, yes, but fresh, creative ideas can win. If you can come up with something unique, you can make quite a bit of money. Simple – yet unique – apps can be pretty passive.
Don’t know how to code? No problem. First, you can learn. Check out Nathan Barry’s success in his inspiring article, How I Made $19,000 on the App Store While Learning to Code. Nathan also put his design expertise to work in an ebook teaching others how they can design their own apps.
Second, you can hire a developer to build your app based on your idea. This could end up being an expensive option, although it will probably yield a professional-looking app.
The end result is an app that has the potential to make you some relatively passive income. Don’t downplay the idea to build an app – it’s a good one!
18. Create an online course.
Everyone’s an expert at something. Why not create an online course about your passion?
There are a number of ways you can produce and host your own online course. One very simple way is to use a website like Teachable.com. Teachable as over three million students and is a great way to get your content in front of others for their consideration.
Once you create an online course, it can work for you while you sleep!
What do you put in your online course? Good question. You can add video lessons, checklists for completing steps you recommend in your video lessons, small ebooks to supplement the lessons, audio files for people listening while traveling, informative interviews with like minded experts, and a whole bunch more!
In fact, you can create several packages at different price points. Some people will want everything, so you can include ‘the works’ for the highest price point and then have two lower price points so that you can receive the largest possible volume of orders.
19. Make an online guide.
If writing articles or creating videos isn’t your thing, and you want to make money online, try creating an online guide.
A good example of this comes from Pat Flynn’s website, SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. On the website, he has a map of the United States that allows someone to click on any state to see the security guard requirements for that state.
By providing specific information in a guide-like format, you can make money through some of the means already addressed: advertisements through Google AdSense, affiliate links, and even memberships you can sell from your online guide. It’s a fantastic idea!
20. Outsource most if not all of your business needs
If you’re spending too much of your time on an existing business running it yourself, why not outsource most if not all of your tasks? Yes, it will require you to give up some control, but in many businesses it’s the only way to free up your time so you can focus on other tasks that will result in more income.
If you don’t want to hire employees, consider hiring freelancers who work as contract laborers. Look for freelancers with a strong work ethic who provide quality results.
Here’s a list of tasks that you might want to outsource:
- Web design
- Task management
- Social media marketing
- And so much more!
Yes, many people can turn their existing businesses into passive income businesses. As long as the main product or service isn’t something only you can do, you can transform your business into a passive moneymaker.
21. Try affiliate marketing and make sales
This is a passive income technique that is better suited to people who have blogs and active websites. You can sign up to promote certain products or services on your site, for which you will be paid either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of the sale completed.
This isn’t as hard to do as you might think, since there are thousands of companies in the world who want to sell their products in as many places as they can.
You can find affiliate offers either by contacting vendors directly, or on dedicated websites, such as ClickBank. It’s always best if the product or service is one that you are either very interested in or is highly relevant to your website.
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