Passive Income Ideas: Making Money While You Sleep Isn’t Just a Dream


Make money while you sleep. That sounds like it could be a beautiful dream or a promise that a hustler is making to swindle you out of a few bucks. Most of us have heard the saying that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. However, the suspicion and doubt implied in this adage isn’t always correct or helpful. What if I told you that with a little work you could create passive income streams for yourself and literally make money while you sleep?

If you are still skeptical, read on and by then end of this post I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

What is Passive Income?

When it comes to how you make money there are really only two options: actively or passively.  We all know about active income. This is when you perform a job and get paid a salary or hourly wage. For many people, this is the only income that they earn. The problem with active income is that there are only so many hours in a day that you can work. You still need time to eat, sleep and enjoy life. Passive income provides an opportunity for you to earn money with only a small investment of time or money. Below are just a few ideas that you can start using today.

#1 Write an e-book

With Self Publishing by you can create an e-book and publish directly to the Kindle. If you have always dreamed of being a published author, here is your chance. You won’t need to make any financial commitments, however, you will need to dedicate a lot of time upfront.  Once your e-book is published, you can sit back, relax and watch the sales add up.

This is a strategy that I am currently pursuing so I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

#2 Sell your photos

Are you an aspiring photographer who has tons of great pictures? Share them with the world!  Sites such as Pixabay and Shutterstock allow you to upload your photos for others to use. Pixabay photos are downloaded for free and users can make a donation via PayPal. Shutterstock allows you to sell your video footage, images and vectors.

#3 Sell on Etsy

There are a reported 24 million buyers on Etsy looking for unique, hand-made goods and craft supplies. This means those cute dog outfits you love to make could be making you money. You may have some upfront costs for supplies and this strategy may require additional work, especially if your product takes off. However, waking up to an inbox full of orders would be a nice way to start the day.

#4 Create an app

As of December 2016, there are 2.6 million apps in the Google Play Store and 2 million in the Apple App Store. If you have an idea for an app, this could be a great source of passive income. You will need the programming skills, or the desire to learn them, as well as a time commitment upfront. Once your app is live you may need to create updates or fix bugs, but you will also be enjoying the monetary fruits of your labor.

#5 Invest via crowdfunding

Compared to the methods discussed above, this one requires the biggest upfront commitment of capital. Crowdfunding gives you an opportunity to earn better returns on your money than you may find elsewhere. The basic idea is that you, along with other investors, lend money to an individual or company. They will then pay you back over a set time period with interest. Remember, investing is risky so there is the possibility that you may actually lose money with this strategy. Lending Club is a leader in this industry, facilitating loans to individuals and businesses. As of December 2016, their “A” rated loans had a default rate of 1.3% and a net return of 5.5%. You can invest in riskier loans that provide a better return, but with higher return comes higher risk.

#6 Teach a course

Do you have a special skill that you think people would pay to learn about? Maybe you can make calculus simple and fun or you know everything about fly fishing. No matter what your skill(s), odds are someone wants to learn about it. You can create your own online course at and students from around the world can pay for your content. This will require some upfront work, but once your course is developed it will be smooth sailing as you collect your check.

The beauty of this approach is that you can take your existing hobbies and monetize them. There are courses on everything. An interesting one I recently saw is for sourdough bread baking.  The 521 reviewers gave it 4.7 stars. What’s interesting is the course sells for $19. Some quick math tells us that, if every person who paid for the course left a review, that’s nearly $10,000 in payments!

#7 Start a website or blog

Back in the day you had to be some whiz-bang computer guy or gal to create a website. Today that is not the case at all. With a few bucks for hosting and a domain name you can have your own website or blog. When coming up with an idea for a site, find a topic that you know a lot about. Then create engaging and educational content around this topic. Maybe you think your preferred subject is so niche it won’t be successful? You might be wrong. If you have a wealth of knowledge on a niche topic, you can put together excellent content and dominate that niche. To monetize you can use affiliate advertising, Google AdSense or sponsored content.

#8 Be a flipper

I used to work with a guy who loved swapmeets and open air markets. He would get off work and go to these places every single day. He bought old video games, vintage t-shirts, car parts…just about anything he could get a deal on. On the weekend, he would spend his time refurbishing or cleaning up his new inventory and then sell it on eBay. Items that didn’t move quick enough found their way to his booth at a swapmeet a few towns over. You could definitely argue that this is a more active income stream since it was time consuming. However, the monetary costs were extremely low and it was something the guy was passionate about. To him, this wasn’t work. If you feel like you have a similar mindset, check out your local swapmeet and see what you can find.

The Big Takeaway

If you think you noticed a trend with these 8 ideas, you did. All of these things have one central theme in common: making money doing something you enjoy. If you’re going to sell awesome pictures on Shutterstock, you probably already enjoy photography. If you’re going to create a Udemy course on knitting dog sweaters, you probably already enjoy knitting dog sweaters. Find something that you enjoy and figure out how to create a passive income stream from that activity.

There are many other opportunities to create a passive income for yourself. Have you used any of the methods discussed here or have you found something else that works? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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