Earn money without doing anything. That’s the dream, isn’t it? How many times have you heard about money making opportunities called “making money while you sleep” or some such way?
The idea of getting paid for doing nothing is something people have wanted since probably the invention of money — and even before that there must have been people who wanted to fill their fields with livestock and their silos with grain… some farming trouble, actually.
It’s just human nature.
And now, in the days of the Internet, which never sleeps and which reaches a global audience every second of every day, it seems there really might be a way to “make money in your sleep.” right?
Well… yes and no. But mostly yes. But not completely. Let me elaborate.
Are we really talking?
Money you earn doing nothing is commonly called “passive income.” It’s income because it’s income, and it’s “passive” because, in theory, you’re not doing anything to earn it—it just comes to you.
Passive income gets tons and tons of hype these days because of the incredible opportunities the internet gives us. With a global reach that never stops, if you do things right, there are definitely ways to set up an income-generating stream that allows you to make money seemingly without doing anything for it.
It’s like magic, isn’t it? You don’t wave your hand, and *poof* there’s money for you.
Well… not exactly.
Passive income is hardly passive
Passive income is a real thing, but calling it “passive” is a bit misleading. The truth is, passive income requires work – and sometimes a lot of work!
But the follow-up truth is that when you do it well, your passive income stream will require the vast majority of “up front” work. You front-load the effort and then you can “turn it on” and reap the benefits. Sometimes there will be ongoing maintenance and you may want to do a big marketing push every now and then to get a bump in income, but for the most part it can be a passive income source. Theoretically Start earning your money when it’s ready to go.
There are some legitimate ways to make what we call passive income — and (surprise, surprise) many of them are very well-connected to blogging, which is one of the keys to how many successful bloggers make their money. Let’s see!
1. Self-publishing on Amazon
Generally speaking, you won’t make a ton of money selling your book on Amazon. That said, there could be a nice little increase in book sales. Pro Tip: If you can include good keywords in your book title and description, you’re more likely to get traction in Amazon search results and therefore more sales. Don’t blow off the description — really make it count.
Many people use a self-published ebook as a marketing tool to build their personal brand. It becomes a way to validate your skills, which is especially important when you’re trying to raise your profile online for your other ventures.
Others, usually fiction writers, will build a large library of self-published books. By writing several series and making them available for readers to buy or download, you build an audience that appreciates you and is happy when the next volume comes out. This is especially true of books like sci-fi, romance, and mystery/crime.
Whatever your approach, though, there’s nothing like the great effort required to write a good book that will make people happy. Writing a book manuscript, designing a cover, formatting everything, and optimizing the book description requires hours and hours of work, but those are the times you put into it once the book can be for sale (and you get paid) indefinitely.
2. Building a downline
Downline is an important part of making money direct sales. If you want to build a direct sales business, you need to build your own Rolodex of clients and contacts, as well as build yourself a team to work “under” you. The commissions you earn from your own sales are substantial, but the commissions you earn from your downlines will take you into the five and six figures.
Managing a team is rarely considered “passive” because it requires you to be available to provide training and insight as well as answer questions and whatnot, but when you’re making 8% of what someone else is selling, that’s a pretty good deal. . No matter how you slice it.
Some popular direct selling companies are:
3. Ad networks
Placing ads on your website or blog is a way to earn passive income. For some bloggers and major websites, ads are a huge part of the income, but for most people, they don’t bring in the full amount. You need to know what you are doing and have the traffic to support the ads to be a big success
Ads had a reputation for easy passive income about 10-15 years ago, but as internet technology has grown and search engines have become more sophisticated, it’s not nearly as easy to make a fistful of cash by placing a few ads and moving on. On to the next project. That said, ads are pretty passive and every little bit helps!
Also Read: How To Make Money Blogging
4. Sell your own digital products
Develop a course, a workbook, a printable planner, or whatever you want. The work is done up front and then you list it for sale to download anytime. It’s a big tool in the passive income toolbox.
They aren’t really passive though. You front-load most of the work of creating digital products, but you need to devote some time to maintaining your sales. Whether it’s working with ads, getting a promotion campaign on Pinterest, or optimizing SEO, there’s always something more you can do to get more eyes on your product and more sales in your wallet.
If you’re interested in aggregating courses, you may want to consider the fairly passive option of listing on a course site like Udemy or SkillShare. These sites largely handle their own marketing. As long as your course is something people are interested in buying and you’ve got the right keywords in your course title and description, you should be able to get some traction without spending a lot of energy on it.
Read more: Sell digital products on Etsy
5. Affiliate Marketing
One of my favorite ways to make passive income is to use affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when someone offers a product or service for sale and then when someone buys that product or service using a link with my “tag”, I get a small portion of that sale. My “job” is to sign up for an affiliate account, and then when there’s a relevant time to use that link in an email or website, to use it.
Affiliate marketing can be really passive or not-so-passive, depending on how much you want to put into it. Some people will put together a whole series of emails promoting something using their affiliate links, while others will just drop a link in a blog post and move on. But since that blog post will “live forever” on the Internet, it will continue to be a potential source of income.
Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing
6. Pick up those pennies
There are many opportunities out there that will help you put money back in your pocket. Online services like Ebates only require you to click a link when you make an online purchase to potentially put up to 20% of that purchase back in your pocket in the form of a quarterly rebate check. It’s super easy and can add up over the course of years.
is another great option Paribas. This company is part of the Capital One family. Once you register your email address with them they will look for purchase confirmation and then make sure you get a refund for any price drop within the company’s deadline. This service is completely free and the refund is credited directly to your payment method. Very cold!
Also Read: Apps That Pay You
Make money doing nothing
While you can still make passive income without having a blog, there are some ways that blogging can support your efforts for passive income.
Passive income is never truly “passive” because it always needs to be something You are, but once everything is set up it’s a legit way to make money doing nothing (or close to it).
PS Paribus compensates us if you sign up on Paribus using the links we provide.