There are several ways to earn an income. Performing a service for a regular paycheck falls under the category of an “active income,” where your ongoing participation is mandatory. This isn’t the case with “passive income,” where the work is done up front, and the product or service you produce continues to bring in money for months, and even years, to come.
Earning passive income helps you reach your financial goals and offers a form of protection. If you lose your job, you still have a steady stream of money coming in from a passive revenue source. So, where can you start earning passive income? Here are a few tried-and-true strategies for making extra cash without consistent effort.
Selling Books or Online Courses
If you’re a writer or have expert-level knowledge in a subject, you can earn money by sharing what you know with others through books you write or courses you create.
Creating an online course or writing a book will require a time investment, of course. Depending on your writing speed and availability, you’ll likely need at least a couple of months to write a book, though it’s highly variable.
One way to calculate how long the writing process will take is to decide how lengthy you want the book to be, setting a writing goal each day to meet your desired word count. If you write a 50,000-word book, you’ll have to write around 1,000 words a day to finish within two months (if you only write on weekdays). You’ll also want to factor in time for revisions and proofreading, as well as time for preparing the book for publication.
How long it takes you to develop an online course depends on how long you make the course. If you prepare a series of four 15-minute video lectures, it might only take you a week or so to put everything together. But if you want to interview experts and put together lectures that last for 30 minutes or longer, the process might take you several weeks or months.
To succeed as an author or course leader, it does help to have certain skills. Along with subject matter expertise and writing ability, it pays to understand how to market your work and get people to buy it. You’ll want to have the right equipment as well, such as a camera and high-quality microphone to record your lectures and publishing software to put your book together.
Once you’ve written your book or produced your class, there are multiple ways to get your work out to the public. Some people partner with an agent, who shops their books around to various publishers. If you prefer to do things yourself and want to get your book out sooner, rather than later, self-publishing through Amazon is an option. You can also post your online courses on Udemy to sell them to interested people.
It may take some time to build up momentum and get people to pay for your courses or books. But once you get a few positive reviews and you market your products in the right places, you can potentially earn income from your work long after it’s been completed.
Stock Photography or Videography
If you love taking pictures or videos, you can turn your passion into a reliable source of passive income.
To get started selling your photos or videos, you’ll need photo and video equipment, as well as editing software. You might want to take a photography or videography course to brush up on your skills or develop new ones. For marketing, it helps to have a website with a portfolio. Social media sites, particularly Instagram, allow you to reach a wide audience.
You can sell your photos or videos in a couple of different ways. If you’re just starting out, you may want to upload the image or video files to a website that specializes in selling stock imagery. If you already have a large fan base, you can try selling your pictures or videos directly through your website.
Developing an App
You’ve likely seen this kind of story on the news: An amateur developer makes an app, sells it, and becomes an overnight millionaire. While rags-to-riches stories aren’t the norm for most app developers, if you know how to code and have a unique idea for an app, you have the potential to earn passive income.
As with writing a book, taking photos, or producing an online course, developing an app requires a time investment up front. How much time you spend on the app depends on how quickly you get an idea and how much time you need to build and test. It’s a good idea to allow yourself at least a year for development. It’s better to take longer and iron out any bugs or issues than to launch too soon with a glitchy app that’s ultimately disappointing.
Ideally, you should know how to code before you try building an app. There are coding boot camps out there that will give you a crash course in the languages that developers use. Having a background in computer science is helpful but not necessary. You’ll also need to register with Android™ and iOS before you can post your app for download.
When it comes to making money from your app, you have a few options. You can charge a fee to users who download it, such as $1.99 to purchase the app, or you can use a “freemium” model, which allows people to download the app for free, then pay to use certain features. Some apps also encourage in-app purchases, which provide an ongoing stream of income for the app developer.
Blogging or Vlogging
Maybe you have something to say, but a book or course isn’t the best channel through which to say it. Blogging or vlogging (making and sharing online videos) might be a better fit for you.
As with writing a book or making an online course, how much time you spend working on your blog or vlog depends on several factors. Some people can whip up a 500-word blog post in less than an hour, while others need three or four hours to get the words out. The complexity of your subject and how much outside research you do also determines how much time you spend creating your posts.
Making videos can be a bit more time intensive. Depending on what you’re filming and the amount of editing you do, you might need several hours to produce a video that’s just a few minutes long.
Beyond writing and video skills, you’ll want to have knowledge of online marketing and SEO to help your posts and videos attract the widest possible audience. If you’re posting on a popular platform, you should be familiar with the algorithms of the site and how they can promote or hide the content you share.
Your blog posts and videos can earn income in a few ways. You might join an affiliate program and promote products on your blog. If someone purchases one of the products you write about, you earn a percentage of the sale. You can also partner with brands and produce sponsored content for them.
On video sites, you usually need to have a minimum number of subscribers before your channel is eligible to earn revenue from advertising. In the meantime, you can partner directly with brands or act as an affiliate marketer to earn income.
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