It’s the simple equation every human being has to deal with: Your ability to earn money is infinite, but there are only so many hours in the day.

Passive income is the potential solution for that problem. It means income you generate without having to be constantly physically present to earn it. 

Write Ebooks

Generating passive income is ultimately a question of leverage. If you can leverage your skills once and create the opportunity for ongoing sales, you could potentially earn while you sleep. The trick is to change the way you think about earning money. Rather than trading your time for money, consider trading your knowledge.

Earning money while you sleep is increasingly normal in the digital age. There are enough platforms and software offerings out there that if you stumble onto the right idea, you really can earn passive income with minimal upfront work. 

Writing ebooks is a great introduction to this new kind of digital leverage. It’s also an old idea. Ever since the invention of the printing press, writing books has had the potential to create long-term rewards for your short-term work.

Sell on Amazon and Other Sites (Barnes and Noble, Apple, and More)

Source: UnsplashKindle publishing is a fast way to get your digital content out to the world.

The printing press was a neat invention, but today’s digital environment is full of platforms that are superior for passive income. On Amazon, publishing a Kindle book is a breeze. Barnes and Noble, Apple, and other platforms make it just as easy. 

Again, the idea is to create leverage for yourself. You may have a great ebook full of great tips and knowledge. But do you have the leverage to reproduce that ebook across multiple platforms? If you do, you can have a wider reach—and a better chance you’ll make passive income that makes a bigger difference in your life.

Sell on Your Own Website

Source: UnsplashSelling on your own website maximizes your revenue for every sale.

If you want to capture as much of the royalties from your ebook as possible to generate passive income, you can sell them on a website that you set up for yourself. 

This is a mini-skill that will serve you well across a number of ways to make passive income. Even if you don’t sell enough ebooks to quit your job, you’ll have learned a skill (building a simple website) that provides a new platform for your next business idea.

Become an Affiliate

Some people never start building passive income because they think it will be too complicated. Dropshipping, manufacturing, learning how to write an entire ebook—it can sound like a lot to learn.

Affiliate marketing eliminates most of the complexity with a simple proposition: You don’t need to create anything yourself. Instead, you earn a commission for selling someone else’s product. 

According to Greg Jefferies, Skillshare instructor of the Affiliate Marketing for Beginners course, it can be a simple equation. Identify the places where you can advertise, figure out the right offers that pay you commissions, and learn how to drive traffic.

It might sound slightly pyramidal in structure, but affiliate marketing is essentially becoming a sales representative on behalf of a brand. It’s popular enough that 80% of brands have affiliate programs of some sort.

Affiliate marketing does take some initial setting up. But on the plus side, if you can generate affiliate traffic through free social media posts and other affordable techniques, you can immediately start building passive income streams without having to worry about creating an online shop of your own.

Directly Sell on Amazon

amazon app
Source: UnsplashAmazon makes affiliate marketing approachable and easy. 

Not sure where to get started with affiliate marketing? We’ll give you the short answer: Amazon. This e-commerce giant offers tons of opportunities to sell using passive income ideas like affiliate marketing.

The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest affiliate-based selling platforms in the world. If you already have a platform that drives traffic (like a social media account or a blog), you can send that traffic to relevant products on Amazon and earn a commision for every sale you generate.

Once it’s up and running, your only role is to wake up in the morning and check how many new sales you’ve made.

Sell With Other Brands

Amazon is just one platform. There are other ways to earn affiliate commissions online to generate passive income streams.

In fact, many brands offer affiliate programs of their own. They’ll give you a customized link to use so that any sales you generate can be tracked—and then you’ll earn a cut from those sales. 

Create a list of some of the brands you use and love and then check their websites to see if they have affiliate programs. Chances are good that several of them do!

Sell Through Affiliate Platforms

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you won’t need to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. 

Platforms like Commission Junction and Pepperjam will do the legwork for you. They pair affiliate marketers with companies looking to sell their products. You simply have to connect yourself to that digital infrastructure, provide the necessary information, and you’re off to the races.

Build Passive Income With Your Own Online Business

E-Commerce Essentials: How to Start a Successful Online Business

Teach Online Courses

Creating and selling an online course is one of the most powerful examples of passive income there is.

One major advantage of the digital age is that if you have specialized knowledge, there’s probably someone out there who’s willing to pay for it. Like Neo in The Matrix, we don’t want to major in a field of study just to learn the basics. We want someone personable and knowledgeable to teach it to us in a matter of hours.

Skillshare instructor Phil Ebiner knows this, which is why he created a course on—what else?—creating courses. Of all the types of passive income, an online course may be the most straightforward. From learning how to create courses that students will love to selecting topics and recording yourself speaking, Ebiner’s course covers the entire process of building a course.

Building a course requires some upfront work. But, once it’s up and running, a valuable course can keep generating income for years.

Teach on Skillshare

"inspire creativity in others"
Skillshare makes it easy to get your first course up and running. 

You’re already here, after all! Once you have the basics down, it’s easy to publish your online course and let the students roll in. 

If you’re curious how you earn royalties on Skillshare, it’s pretty simple: You’ll get a share of the royalty pool based on how many minutes your students watch your courses. That’s it. The more compelling and valuable your course is, the more money you make.

Host Webinars

Hosting a webinar is a classic example of the kind of leverage you can use to generate passive income. You’ll host the event once, but you can repurpose the webinar in a number of different ways like:

  • Turning it into a lead magnet or an ebook
  • Selling the webinar recording
  • Packaging the webinar with other content as an informational product

Remember, one of the smartest ways to make the most of passive income is to avoid reinventing the wheel—and repurposing content in several ways is a great strategy to do that. 

Create a Paid Newsletter

For starters, you immediately know there’s a market. Platforms like Substack currently feature over 500,000 paid users. And the best thing about paid newsletters is that if you can keep people reading, you never have to worry about petering out when you run out of customers. The customers keep returning for the latest issue.

Create a “News Roundup” Newsletter

There’s a question you’ll have to answer if you want anyone to pay for your newsletter: What problem are you solving for your readers? For some readers, it’s as simple as shutting off the Internet surfing and relying on great content curation from a trusted source (that’s you!). 

Offer a Service Through Your Newsletter

Some newsletters aren’t as much about what’s in the inbox as what people get from signing up. For example, some paid newsletters offer curated services like links to exclusive “productivity” playlists full of creativity-spiking music. 

Create a TikTok Channel

tiktok app
Source: UnsplashTikTok has high engagement rates, making it a great option for passive income. 

Why TikTok? It’s especially easy to get started with passive income there. Some statistics suggest it has higher engagement rates for influencers than other social media platforms. And its unique algorithms can put one of your TikTok posts in the spotlight even if you have a brand new account.

Become an Influencer

The question is: how do you make money on TikTok? Social media influencers can leverage a substantial following by producing sponsored content. 

The key is to settle on a niche. If you post nothing but household kitchen tips, for example, it makes sense to align yourself with kitchen products. Companies will run entire campaigns with TikTok users in mind—you just need the following to get you on their radar.

Create Sponsored Content Posts

You can combine a few of our ideas on how to make passive income and start using sponsored posts to run affiliate marketing campaigns. This is a great way to attract instant traffic to an affiliate link and generate interest—particularly if you’ve learned the ropes on TikTok and know how to craft compelling content.

Separate Money From Time With Passive Income

Most passive income isn’t completely passive. Much like a rocket, most of the work is front-loaded to get things off the ground.

What it’s really about is leverage. And with specialized knowledge and a willingness to see a project through, you can use that leverage to create something that will generate passive income—yes, even while you sleep.

Create a Course and Earn Passive Income

Skillshare Teachers: Learn to Build and Market Your Channel

Written By

Dan Kenitz

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