(This post contains affiliate links – please see my disclosure policy in the footer).
The passive income myth?
I watched a Ted Talk type video recently where the speaker, an entrepreneur, was talking about the myth of truly “passive income”.
Passive income sounds amazing doesn’t it?
You sit on a beach, laptop open, Mojito in hand, and watch the notifications from PayPal hit your inbox as the money rolls in.
Annoyingly, regrettably, frustratingly – it’s not quite as easy as that ?
What the Ted Talk speaker was getting at is that passive income only really comes when you’ve put in that initial hard work.
Even then, maintaining a passive income source still requires your time and effort – you can’t just take your eye off the ball and expect to see constant returns. At least not for any passive income source that is lucrative.
Now, there a few exceptions to that, like investing in stocks for example, but even with those investments you will have undoubtedly spent time researching the stock and eyeing the markets before you bought your shares. Even after you’ve purchased them, you’ll probably still want to keep your eye on any dips in the market and on the health of your investment.
So, whilst there probably isn’t anything out there that is truly 100% passive, there are certainly a few things you can do that are pretty close once you’ve done the initial hard work!
So before we have a look at some passive income gems – let’s pay homage to Warren Buffet’s famous quote
If you don’t find a way to make money whilst you sleep, you’ll work until you die!Warren Buffet
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1. Start a YouTube Channel
Those famous YouTube video creators don’t do what they do for the good of their health!
No doubt when you’ve been on YouTube you’ll have noticed those annoying adverts that pop up when you begin to watch a video.
You know the ones that you never watch and that you skip the moment the 5 second counter has expired? The bane of your life no doubt?
But you shouldn’t be too hard on those ads as without them the content on YouTube would be much thinner.
That’s because those who create videos for YouTube need to get paid somehow and they do it by running ads on their content and in exchange they get paid a few dollars for the amount of views and engagement they get with the ads they show.
Setting up a YouTube channel is no easy task though. You need to spend time building a following first so you can guarantee a good amount of views when you publish new content.
Some of the most profitable YouTube content niches are:-
- Product reviews. Especially electronics like mobile phones, headphones and PC parts;
- Funnies like pranks and people injuring themselves;
- Console/PC gaming;
- Cooking and recipes;
- Unboxing of toys, electronics and clothing;
It’s crazy the amount of views some videos get!
My 2 year old daughter is dinosaur mad. Everything she currently watches, plays with or talks about is dinosaur related.
She watches YouTube a lot and loves dinosaur related content. At present she is going through a phase of watching some channel where a man pulls plastic toy dinosaurs out of a plastic basket and gives a short description of what they are ?
I thought to myself – really? Who actually makes this stuff? How can they make any money from it?
To my absolute astonishment, one of this guy’s videos had over 3 million views.
Now, Youtube pay around $1 – $3 on average per 1000 views. You also get paid for the amount of clicks on the adverts you show. There are also other variables like niche, your location and engagement to consider…
But just taking a simplistic, ball park approach, if we take a midpoint of the pay per views, and say dinosaur man makes $1.50 per 1000 views, then that one video alone with 3 millions views will have netted him $4500.00.
He literally pulls 20 or so plastic dinosaurs out of a box and tells you their names, which takes him about 15 minutes!
Youtube is therefore definitely worth a look as one of the most lucrative methods of making passive income. Whilst the upfront work will be tiresome, if you get it right you’ll be earning money when you’re sat on the toilet!
If you’re interest in earning through YouTube then I recommend visiting here.
Blogging is another great source of passive income.
Again, you need to put in a lot of hard work initially but it’s actually quite surprising how quickly you can start to make money from blogging.
This blog started to make money in its second month, which came as a pleasant surprise to me given I started out with zero blogging experience.
Ok – it was only a few dollars here and there but it was the foundation for something much bigger and it definitely spurred me on!
I now sometimes make over $100 in a day from this blog and I am only in my fourth real month of blogging. I have done that by working on this blog at weekends and in the evenings, whilst working full time as a lawyer in the day!
If I can make $100 a day from blogging, believe me, anyone can!
It still blows my mind that I can be sat at work, have a quick peer at my blog stats and realise I’ve made an affiliate sale!
The honest truth is – I am small fry in the blogging world. A complete “Z-lister” of the blogging fraternity!
Let’s look at what the big boys (and girls) earn:-
- Ryan Robinson at RyRob.com – $50k+ a month
- John Morrow at SmartBlogger – $100k+ a month
- Michelle at Making Sense of Cents – $100k+ a month
- Alex and Lauren at Create and Go/Avocadu – $100k+ a month
- Tim Sykes at TimothySykes.com – $1m+ a month
Making money from blogging is generally done 3 ways:-
- Affiliate marketing. You link to affiliate products you write about on your blog and earn a commission if your reader clicks your affiliate link and buys a product/service or signs up to something;
- Advertising. You display ads on your blog which pay out based on the amounts of clicks your visitors make on those ads (PPC) or on the amount of views those ads get (PPV);
- Selling courses or ebooks. You put together a course or write an ebook that you promote and sell on your blog.
The most exciting thing about blogging is that you can do it on the cheap. I struggle to think of a business with such lower overheads.
You can start a blog for as little as $3.95 with BlueHost. Just click get started below to get hosting a new blog!
If you want to learn more about blogging you can read my bespoke guide here which covers exactly what you’ll need to do to get a blog started:-
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the wonders of the world. Especially for passive income seekers!
No, seriously, it is!
If you’re scratching your head as to what affiliate marketing is, I will quickly enlighten you.
Affiliate marketing is a way of making money by promoting someone else’s product or service. Band a few hyperlinks around to products you want to sell, someone clicks that link, buys a product and you get a commission. Happy days!
Realistically, of course, it’s not as simple as that.
You need traffic to do well with affiliate marketing. In fact you need more than that, you need engaged traffic – i.e. people who are going to click your link and buy something or do something that will secure you that precious commission.
As you will see above, blogging is one way of getting traffic to affiliate links.
That isn’t the only way, however. There are other ways of promoting and distributing affiliate links such as:-
- Social media posts. You can display your links on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit for example;
- Emailing marketing. If you’ve got access to a list of emails you can distribute affiliate links that way;
- YouTube. YouTubers not only make money from advertising, they also make money from affiliate marketing. Check the written description part of the next YouTube review video you watch. Invariably in the description there will be an affiliate link to the product being reviewed;
- Making courses or ebooks. You will often see that people who make courses/ebooks often display affiliate links within the body of the course/ebook.
Affiliate marketing isn’t easy but it’s not that hard either. It’s just getting those eyes on your link that’s the tricky party.
Saying that, I made $3500.00 by posting an affiliate link to a service I was using on Facebook. I made that by putting about 20 posts on my wall after adding around 4000 friends who shared similar interests to me. You can read how I did that here.
If you want to know a few affiliate programs then check out my list here.
4. Get Paid for Your Web Searches
Yup – sounds crazy doesn’t it.
But the Qmee browser extension lets you do just that.
Qmee have a relationship with a number of web based retailers. When you search for something on Google, say, “electric toothbrushes”, Google brings back your results but will also display a number of Qmee related search results in a column to the side of your screen.
If you click on one of these Qmee links, you instantly earn a few cents which is recorded in the Qmee extension.
The Qmee app is great for those who do a lot of internet shopping or even just browsing.
You’re not going to get rich with the Qmee app but I struggle to think of something more passive and effortless.
The great thing is that you can withdraw your earnings through PayPal and there is no minimum withdrawal.
In addition, for some extra quick cash, Qmee also offer surveys that you can take but unfortunately they are quite poorly paid, working out at about $1.00 per survey.
If you want to complete surveys as a side hustle, I would stick to a better paid survey company like Survey Junkie who have been known to pay up to $75 for one survey.
5. Get Cash Back When Shopping
The Ibotta app is an amazing tool that allows you to get cashback on items that you buy when internet or in-store shopping.
Ibotta have relationships with a number of retailers and products. It allows you to earn rewards and get cashback on items that you buy that qualify through the Ibotta app.
The Ibotta app allows you to scan the barcode of items that you have bought whilst out shopping and you can the redeem your cash back through the app. Pretty amazing, eh?
The Ibotta app is a great way of making passive savings as you’re effectively making money on back on things you’re buying anyway.
6. Invest Your Money
I am not sure you can honestly make a passive income blog post without mentioning the most traditional and arguably oldest form of making passive income – investing!
The problem with investing is that it’s quite intimidating for people who know nothing about the various investment opportunities out there. No one wants to invest in a dead duck!
The great thing is that investing can now be done easily and relatively hassle free with services like Betterment.
In user friendly and hassle free fashion, Betterment takes into account your budget, age and appetite for risk to help you put together a portfolio of investments to help grow your money.
With Betterment the days of having to spend big bucks on professional financial advice, are over.
The results speak for themselves with the average portfolio making returns of over 200%.
You can check out Betterment here.
7. E-Books and Courses
You can write an e-book or make a course about literally anything you have extensive knowledge or expertise in.
Websites like Blurb let you design and create professional looking e-books that are perfect to sell on places like Amazon Direct Publishing.
If you want to create a course then I would highly recommend Teachable, which allows you to make awesome looking courses.
If you are looking to make an ebook or course then my strong advice is that you use affiliate marketing to help sell it.
The vast majority of bloggers who are making 6 figures a year are doing so by making and selling courses or ebooks and using the power of affiliate marketing to get their work out there in front of people.
The best thing about selling ebooks and courses is that your shop is open morning, noon and night. That is the beauty of the internet.
How I made $3500 on Facebook with affiliate marketing
In around 2015, I started affiliate marketing on the only platform I had available to me at the time – Facebook. I didn’t have a blog back then.
Even so, I still managed to make around $3500 just by using Facebook!
Better still, I only posted on my Facebook wall around 20 times to do this. That’s the power of affiliate marketing!
I have written a full post about exactly how I did it.
8. Peer-2-Peer Lending
Peer to peer lending is away of lending your money to people or businesses directly by cutting out the middlemen (the banks) which can offer the lender and also the borrower better rates of return and interest.
Peer to peer lending is not as safe as a traditional investment as you are ultimately relying on the borrower not defaulting.
The sites which offer this service generally check the credit rating of the borrower, let you check who you are lending to and/or spread your investment over several loans.
If you are interested in peer to peer lending then check out Lending Club where the average return of the lenders is around 6-7%.
9. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a way of selling goods without necessarily having to keep inventory.
You set up an online store, someone makes a purchase and your supplier ships it straight to the customer saving you the massive headache of having to deal with not only shipping, but returns too.
Drop shipping isn’t easy! Like any internet business you need to get the traffic before you get the sales but if make a success of it the rewards are clear to see:-
- Flat Tummy Tea – $35 million annual revenue (for a tea shop – Crazy!!!)
- LDS Man – $1m in 92 days selling Kevlar Pants and others novelty items!
- Endy Sleep – $20m revenue business selling mattresses!
- Freshly Pickled – multi million dollar a year business selling baby shoes!
10. Sell Your Internet Trends
An unusual one that you’ve probably never heard of?
However, the Nielsen app lets you do just that.
Simply download the app onto your phone and Nielsen will give you $50.00 in exchange for your internet browsing trends.
The Nielsen app can be downloaded on more than one device too so if you’ve got multiple mobile phones, you can download the app onto each.
It’s completely secure and there’s no risk of any serious data breach.
11. Inbox Dollars
Inbox Dollars is best know as a survey site which it is pretty good at.
But the great thing is you can do much more than surveys to make money.
For example you can play arcade games, watching videos, print coupons, scan products in-store, search the web, and even read emails for extra cash.
They even offer a free $5.00 sign up bonus so if you don’t like it, at least you’ve made $5.00.
⭐⭐BONUS SIDE JOB⭐⭐
Since being a teenager I have done surveys to help boost my side earnings. I earned $500 in one month in 2018 doing surveys!
Surveys are a great way of increasing your extra monthly cash if you’ve got a spare hour or two in your day.
Unfortunately a lot of survey sites can be scams. There’s only about 10 survey sites I actually trust and by far the best is Survey Junkie . You can earn up to $75 per survey with them and they are 100% genuine and credible.
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