Passive Income Suggestions (& What To Expect for Money)
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
I think most of us can agree that we could use a little extra income to help us fund our lives. Whether you need extra help for bills or vacations; there are a lot of ideas and suggestions on how to make passive income out there. I personally love the thought of creating something that could make me money day after day without me having to lift a finger.
What Is Passive Income?
Simply put, passive income is making money while not actively being engaged in working. So, while you sleep or while you’re at your ‘normal’ job, you can be making extra cash with some or all of the following ideas.
It should be understood that even though you don’t have to actively be on the clock with these ideas, they do require you put in work! And they are not ‘get rich quick’ schemes, either. Sorry guys, I’m here to keep it real with you, ya know?
You won’t find anything on this list that requires you to own or buy an extra home to rent out. This list is geared towards free to low start-up cost options. If you already have tons of cash and assets, well… good for you, but you have more options to make money off your money, so I’m not here for you. I’m here for the people that can’t stake thousands of dollars to try and make some extra income.
Passive Income Ideas
If you already have a blog or website, there are quite a few options you can add to it to help make some extra income. If you don’t have one already, it is relatively easy & cheap to get started! See my summary on how to start a blog & my list of blog resources to learn more.
Affiliate marketing is where you make a commission for referring others to products. As a consumer, you see these EVERYWHERE; on blogs & on social media. Anytime someone refers you to a product with a special link, they get paid a small portion of the sale or a commission if you buy something.
How you choose to do affiliate marketing is up to you, but I am a firm believer in only promoting products that you believe in or like. Be honest & have some integrity, ya know? Also, you MUST disclose when you are getting paid for suggestions (see my disclaimer above)!
Here are some places to get started with affiliate marketing. And yes, some of these are affiliate links themselves.
ShareASale – Companies provide links to their products or services for you to use. This site has everything from pet products to food, so you can find something you would like to promote. FREE to sign up.
Amazon Associates – This is the one I use the most, personally. Easily link products you are already writing about to the products themselves on Amazon. Easy for the customer & easy for you, too! They also offer advertising banners to add to your site. FREE to sign up, but to stay active you need activity in the first 3 months.
IZEA – This site allows you to bid on specific ‘jobs’ with companies looking to promote their product. There are guidelines on what, where, & how they want it done. FREE to sign up, but has paid options.
Sovrn – This site connects to your website and adds links to your existing posts automatically. For example, if you post about a certain topic, Sovrn will link keywords to a company site. FREE to sign up.
I’m not going to explain this one. Every website has advertising on it, every social media platform has advertising on it. We know what it is, right?
The only thing I am going to suggest is please don’t go overboard with this one. I personally hate sites that have several ads popup before I can get to anything – it is so annoying!
Google AdSense – One of the easiest advertising platforms for your website. Sign up & get approved before using. You’ll get paid a super small portion for visitors on your site & a little more if they click on any of the ads. There are other advertising companies out there that pay better, but you have to already have a high stream of traffic to be approved. FREE to sign up.
If you have something specific that you are very knowledgable about and want to share it with the world, then you can create & sell an e-course on your website. This is like a digital ‘class’ or ‘manual’ that someone can buy from you to learn at home. You can have them as PDF files or a special section of your site that only purchasers have access to. Has similar pay benefits as digital prints (see below).
I was NOT going to put this on the list because there are a lot of overpriced, bullshit e-courses out there; specifically the ones that bloggers make for other bloggers. But, as with affiliate marketing, I suggest honesty & integrity and a fair price for the knowledge you share. Can make for FREE.
Creative & Design Ideas
Want to get creative & sell your products, too? Digital products sales are a great way to make some extra income. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Stock Photos – If you like taking photos, this could be a good option for you. Upload your pics to a stock photo site & any time someone buys them, you get a commission. There are several different companies out there, but the process is basically the same for everyone; you will have to submit examples of your work & be approved. FREE to sign up.
Amazon Self Publishing – This one has become quite popular over the last two years thanks to the pandemic. Create journals & books then have Amazon print & sell them. You get a commission or royalty on each one sold. The easiest & most popular things to do with this are blank journals, but you can even write a whole book to sell. Find tutorials on YouTube on how to do this & make sure to follow the guidelines! Amazon also provides a calculator when uploading the book so you know exactly how much you will earn. FREE to sign up.
Digital Prints – This is probably my personal favorite on the list. Create a design & sell it as a print-at-home product! I sell them in my shop, but I also use Etsy since their platform has a further-reaching audience. This category is only limited by your imagination because you can make planners, stickers, home decor, original art, & much more! I use Canva for all my creative digital needs; creating printables, journal covers, & social media posts. Can make for FREE.
YouTube – Have something to say? Then start a YouTube channel! Once you hit the threshold for views & subscribers, you can start monetizing your videos. Plus, as with any other social media, the more subscribers and followers you have, it opens up more possibilities to make more money. Obviously this choice isn’t for everyone, but it’s still a relatively low start-up cost option. FREE to sign up, but may need to buy equipment for filming.
TikTok – If you aren’t on the clock app, then where the heck you at?!? I’m joking, but I’m actually really serious, too. TikTok is THE place to be now. If you own a small business, this is the easiest, best, & super free way to advertise it. If you don’t have a small business, you can still make some passive income here. As with YouTube, there is a threshold of views and followers you have to meet first, but they have a creator fund which offers a little bit of money to creators. FREE to sign up.
How Much Passive Income?
Okay, now to the real reason you’re here: how much can you expect to make with these suggestions?
The short answer is you probably won’t become a millionaire.
The long answer is that it VARIES a lot. There is no guarantee that any of the above suggestions will make you a lot of money. I know, what a downer. But the good news is that the possibilities of making some decent money are actually endless with the above things.
All of the blog suggestions depend greatly on not just the quantity of your traffic, but the quality of it too. Advertising gets you very small amounts of commission based on the number of visitors to your site & a little bit more if your audience actually clicks on an ad. Affiliate marketing only pays you if someone buys items from the company you send them to. So, if you want to make more money, you need to get more traffic to your site!
The creative suggestions are really where you can achieve some more success. If you can create something people want or need for their home, office, or business, then they will buy it. Plus, the pay rates are a lot better.
The below amounts are approximate & each site or company varies in rates. But I still want to put them here so you have a more concrete idea of what to expect from the passive income streams.
- AdSense pay rates vary, but you can expect around $4+ for every 1000 visitors to your site.
- Selling stock photos can net you around .30+ per photo that is bought. Not a lot of money to look at singularly, but if you have in-demand photographs, it’ll add up; approximately $300 for every 1000 sold.
- For self-publishing with Amazon, since you ultimately set the price, your earnings per book can vary widely. If you’re royalty is $2, you’re looking at $2000 for every 1000 books sold.
- Digital prints also have a range of pricing. But as an example, if you decide to sell your digital download product on Etsy for $5, you will net about $4.15. So you’re looking at $4150 for every 1000 sold.
- YouTube averages .18 per advertisement view, so you could expect $18 for every 1000 views.
- TikTok creators report between .02-.04 for every 1000 views. So, you would need about 3 million views to make $100. Not too shabby for some 15 second videos.
There are a lot of options out there to make passive income & I’ve only covered a handful. If you have some other favorites, let me know in the comments below!