Making money while you sleep may sound like an overused cliche. However, earning passive income is one of the best ways to build wealth. If you want to learn how to make money while you sleep, you’ve come to the right place!
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
– Warren Buffett
Different Types of Income
It’s generally accepted there are 8 different types of income. They are:
- Earned Income – The money you earn from actively working in your job or business.
- Interest Income – Additional money generated as returns in a savings account.
- Dividend Income – Funds paid out per share by companies on the stock exchange.
- Royalty Income – Earnings paid to authors by publishers for content like books, music, and other media.
- Residual Income – Ongoing income from sources like affiliate marketing.
- Profit Income – The price a business sells a product for, less the cost of goods sold.
- Rental Income – Money you generate from renting out a room, property, or equipment.
- Capital Gains – When an asset you’ve purchased such as a property increases in value.
Apart from Earned Income and Profit Income, all of the other types are typically “passive”. This means you have a ton of opportunities to make money while you sleep!
How many types of income do you have right now? Most people only have two or three, normally Earned Income and Interest Income – plus Capital Gains if you own stocks or real estate.
Earning passive income can be a great way to boost your wealth. It’s scalable and you can make money even when you’re not actively on the clock, like with a traditional job.
Note: Before you can earn passive income, you will have to put in some hard work first. It’s not a way to get rich quick without any effort on your part. However, it’s well worth it, considering you’ll eventually be able to make money while you sleep.
Best Ways to Make Money While You Sleep
Here’s a list of 21 ways you can make money passively.
We have sorted it in order of priority, taking into account the following factors:
- Your earning potential
- Required investment
- Possible risk factors
The items on top of the list offer the biggest reward for the least amount of risk. As you go down the list, your earning potential decreases or your risk increases.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is our #1 recommendation for making money while you sleep.
How it works is that you enter into an agreement with a merchant that you’ll promote their products or services. When you refer people to the merchant through your affiliate links and they make a purchase, then you earn a commission.
You may just earn enough money to buy a meal out at first, but as you scale, affiliate marketing has the potential to provide you with a very nice passive income.
Most affiliate marketers don’t like to provide details of their earnings, but fortunately some are generous enough to share. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents regularly earns over $100,000 per month from her blog. About 62% of her earnings – or $62,000 per month – comes directly from affiliate marketing.
There are obviously many affiliates that learn less than that, but there are also affiliates that earn more than that.
The other reasons why it’s our #1 recommendation are:
> It costs very little to become an affiliate.
You don’t have to pay merchants to become an affiliate of theirs. And it won’t cost any money if you use free social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest to promote merchants.
Although you can technically earn money affiliate marketing without a website, we recommend that you invest in one. This will help you control your affiliate marketing efforts, scale your business, and earn more passive income.
> Very low risk.
You don’t have to buy products or create your own products, so your risk of losing money is practically zero. The only real financial risk is if you use paid advertising to promote merchants as an affiliate. However, if you choose to invest in your own website or blog, you can attract free organic traffic from Google just by producing keyword-rich content.
Note: At BrandBuilders, we specialize in pre-made turnkey affiliate sites, as well as custom-made affiliate sites. All of our website solutions are geared towards helping affiliate marketers get the most out of their business.
2. Digital Courses
Digital courses are one of the best ways to make money while you sleep. Think you can’t do it? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Making short videos may seem difficult, but all you really have to do is break it down into some simple steps.
The first trick is not to get nervous. Just imagine you’re showing your partner or friend how to do something. If you’re not sure what topic to choose, have a look at the available courses on some platforms for inspiration.
According to Teachable, their average instructor earns $5,426 with each online course.
Teachable is a good platform to use for developing your own online course. Other great platforms include Thinkific, LearnWorlds, and Podia.
We also recommend you take a look at Skillshare.
Skillshare is not really a platform, but more of a marketplace. Instead of selling your course, you earn $10 for every student you refer to them who signs up for a membership. You also earn royalties based on the number of minutes your lessons are watched every month.
According to Skillshare, their top earning teachers make $100,000+ every year.
Skillshare is free to join if you’re a teacher.
Platforms do charge a monthly fee. For example, Teachable charges $39 per month for their Basic Plan. Their Pro Plan is $119 per month but it’s worth it as it includes integrated affiliate marketing. Getting students to promote your course in return for commission payments is an excellent way to get more sales.
If you’re not comfortable paying a large monthly fee to use a platform such as Teachable, consider using Thrive Apprentice. It’s a WordPress plugin that allows you to create a course using their drag & drop page builder. Although they don’t offer all the bells and whistles other platforms have, it’s a very affordable plugin. They only charge a one-time fee of $67.
The disadvantage of Thrive Apprentice is they don’t have a built-in payment gateway. To sell paid courses and attract affiliates, you’ll need to integrate with a 3rd party such as SendOwl. The good news is you can get started with SendOwl for as little as $15 per month.
If you want to go the route of digital courses, we advise that you invest in a decent microphone and webcam or digital camera.
We can recommend Blue Yeti as one of the best, yet affordable, USB microphones on the market. A good alternative to Blue Yeti is the Blue Snowball microphone. For a webcam, we recommend either Logitech C922x Pro or Spedal Full HD.
3. Print on Demand
Print on Demand has become very popular in recent years. It’s a great way to earn money in your sleep.
The business model is very simple. Let’s use Printify as an example:
Step 1. Pick from over 200 products in their catalog you would like to customize. Products include T-shirts, mugs, socks, and home accessories such as shower curtains.
Step 2. Customize products using their mockup generator tool. This allows you to apply your designs to your chosen products.
Step 3 (Optional). Order samples from the print providers you’ve selected. This is to ensure you’re happy with the design and quality of your products.
Step 4. If you’re happy with your custom product, you can automatically publish it to your online store. Printify seamlessly integrates with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, and eBay.
Step 5. When you make a sale, your order is produced and shipped directly to your customer. You can track the progress straight from your Printify account.
Another popular site is Teespring.
With Teespring, people order directly from them and your profit is paid to you via Paypal.
The most popular print-on-demand product is t-shirts.
Wondering how much money you can make on Teespring with t-shirts? Well, it’s not uncommon for a popular t-shirt to make over $100,000.
Coming up with your own designs may seem like a lot of work. However, you don’t always need a fancy design. Many t-shirts only have text, and often a single word will do.
Here’s an example of a t-shirt on Teespring that’s selling very well.
If you want to have a design for your t-shirt but feel you’re not creative enough, don’t let it stop you. You can always outsource the design on a site like Fiverr or 99Designs for only a couple of bucks.
4. Start Your Own Blog
Having a successful blog is one of the best ways to make money while you sleep.
Your partner will no longer have to shout, “Wake up, you need to make money!” Instead, your partner can say “Wow, check out how much money we made last night while we were sleeping!”
Earlier in this post, we mentioned Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who regularly earns over $100,000 per month from her blog. One of the first things she does every morning is to check how much money she made during the night.
The main advantage of a blog is that there are so many ways you can monetize it.
Think of the ways to make money while you sleep we’ve already looked at, including affiliate marketing. You can boost your earnings by incorporating any of one them on your blog. Best of all, you can monetize your blog with all of them at the same time and test to see which ones are most effective.
Although you can generate a good income without a blog, having a blog can significantly boost your earnings.
However, it’s not always quick and easy to make money blogging.
Before you should even think about monetizing your blog, you need traffic – specifically, free organic traffic from Google. This means your blog should be SEO optimized and contain quality, original content.
So although a popular, high-traffic blog can be extremely lucrative it does take time and hard work to build it. Fortunately, you can outsource a lot of the work and save yourself a lot of time in the process.
Note: At BrandBuilders, we can provide you with premium quality SEO-optimized content for your blog.
Having an eCommerce dropshipping business can be very rewarding. You can make a lot of money with dropshipping.
The concept is pretty simple: You sell physical products manufactured by third parties. Once you get a sale, you pay the third party and they ship the product directly to your customer.
Your typical dropshipping business consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Find a business you can buy competitively priced products from that you can sell at a good margin. Make sure they’re willing and able to ship orders directly to your customers.
Step 2: List and import the products you want to sell on your eCommerce store. Shopify is a popular choice, as its eCommerce platform is very user-friendly.
Note: Many people start with Step 2. They’ll first open a Shopify account and then use Oberlo to find and import products into their store.
Step 3: Optimize and promote your store.
Step 4: Receive orders from people visiting your store.
Step 5: Place orders to your supplier, who will drop ship the products to your customers.
Since you only pay your supplier after you’ve already been paid, it’s great for your cash flow.
6. Sell Stock Photos
Do you enjoy photography and are good at taking great pictures? You can earn money by adding your photos to some major stock photo websites.
There’s always a demand for high-quality stock photos. If your photos are popular, you can earn a lot.
The top-rated site to apply with is Getty Images.
Getty Images can charge their customers hundreds of dollars for a license to a single image. This depends on the image and the size of the image.
As a contributor to Getty Images, you earn a royalty which is a percentage of the price paid by the customer. You can easily earn 20% for each download. This makes Getty Images one of the top sites to consider.
To apply with Getty Images you must be at least 18 years old. It’s a 3-step process.
Step 1. Download their Contributor by Getty Images app from the App Store or Google Play.
Step 2. Upload 3 to 6 sample images, and illustrations, or add links to sample YouTube videos.
Step 3. Once they’ve looked at your samples, they’ll let you know if you’re accepted to either Getty Images or iStock by Getty Images.
Some other excellent sites worth considering include Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and Adobe Stock.
7. Open a Laundromat
Opening a laundromat can be a good way to earn passive income if you employ other people to run it. It doesn’t require a huge investment or a lot of work.
In case you’re thinking you don’t know anything about starting a laundromat, don’t worry. If you buy a franchise from a reputable company, such as Speed Queen, you’ll receive all the support you need.
As mentioned by Speed Queen, investing in a laundromat can be very profitable:
- ROI of 20% to 35% – An average cash-on-cash ROI of up to 35%.
- Nearly 94.8% success rate – Very low risk compared to other businesses.
- Low labor costs – The machines do most of the work. In fact, 70% of investors only have 0 to 3 employees.
Investing through a robo-advisor has become very popular in recent years. It’s a way to make money (passive income) from investments without incurring the costs of working through a financial advisor.
It’s easy to have an investment portfolio automatically created for you online based on your investment goals and risk tolerance. A robo-advisor will normally invest your funds in a wide range of financial instruments. These include exchange-traded funds, stocks, and bonds.
There are many robo-advisors to choose from. One of the pioneers of the industry is Betterment.
Betterment is completely independent, so they’re not affiliated with any fund. Their account minimum is $0 for robo-advisor services. They charge an annual fee of only 0.25% for all robo-advisor services.
Other robo-advisors worth considering include M1 Finance and Wealthfront.
9. High-Yield Savings Account
A high-yield savings account is a savings account that earns a much higher interest rate than the national average.
With a high-yield savings account, you can often earn above 1% APY (annual percentage yield). This is much higher than the current national average which, according to the FDIC, is only 0.06% per annum.
American Express is an example of an institution that offers a high-yield savings account. They require no minimum deposit. However, they will automatically close your account if it has a zero balance for 180 days.
Having a savings account won’t make you rich overnight. It may not be the best way to make money while you sleep. But you’re sure to sleep a lot better if you have some savings, and you’ll sleep even better knowing that it’s actually earning some decent interest.
According to the 50-30-20 budget, your after-tax income should be split 50% and 30% respectively on needs and wants, with the remaining 20% set aside for savings.
10. REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)
Most people will agree investing in real estate can be one of the best ways to make money.
REITs are a great option if you want to profit from real estate but don’t want the hassle of owning property. You can invest in individual companies, or through an exchange-traded fund or mutual fund.
REITs offer you the opportunity to not only receive dividends but also to benefit as property values appreciate. It’s a good way to diversify your investment portfolio if you mainly hold stocks, bonds, and cash.
An alternative worth considering is an eREIT such as Fundrise, which uses a crowdfunding model.
You can open an account with Fundrise for as little as $500. The disadvantage of an eREIT such as Fundrise is that they’re not publicly traded on the stock exchange. Your investment isn’t liquid and you can’t cash out at short notice.
11. Rental Property
Investing in your own property and renting it out is one of the best ways to achieve financial freedom.
If you buy a property in a good location for the right price, you can get a good return on your investment!
- If you rent it out for a good price, your tenant will pay your mortgage for you.
- The value of your property should appreciate over time, making it more valuable.
- Once your mortgage is paid off, you’ve got a passive income for the rest of your life – or a great down payment on an even bigger investment.
Buying property with the intention of renting it out is considered a long-term investment.
You may experience some challenges over the short term. Some tenants may not look after your property and may not pay you on time. An economic slump may make it difficult for you to sell the property at the right price.
Although there are some risks associated with buying real estate, it remains one of the best investments you can make in the long run.
12. High-Dividend Stocks
By investing in high-dividend stocks, you can get a good passive return on your investment.
You can either invest directly in selected stocks or invest through an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or index fund. If you don’t need the money, it’s always a good idea to reinvest the dividends automatically.
13. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending enables people to obtain loans from other people, without the involvement of a financial institution.
There is a certain amount of risk involved, but you’re able to spread your risk across many different loans. The average return on your investment is normally around 5% per annum.
Two of the most popular peer-to-peer sites are Prosper and LendingClub.
With Prosper, you can select the loans you want. Loans are assigned a rating from AA to HR. AA loans are lower-risk loans that offer a lower return. HR loans are higher-risk loans that offer a higher return.
With LendingClub, you buy Notes (fractions of loans) in $25 increments across different risk grades. Your net return is the average interest rate of your Notes portfolio, less losses and fees.
14. Write a Book
There are a couple of ways you can earn a good passive income as an author.
1. Work with a publisher.
You can follow the traditional route of submitting your book to a publisher. If they accept your manuscript, you’ll earn royalties from book sales.
2. Use a self-publishing print-on-demand service.
There are many self-publishing options to choose from. One of the better options is Amazon KDP.
With Amazon KDP, they’ll print your book on demand as a paperback. You don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory. When you sell your book, they simply subtract the printing costs from your royalties.
Amazon KDP also allows you to distribute your paperback through bookstores and online retailers through their expanded distribution service.
Another great option to consider is Lulu.
With Lulu, you’re not only limited to a paperback option. They also offer a hardcover option.
3. Sell your book as a digital download on your website.
Many authors prefer to sell their books as an ebook that can be bought and downloaded from their website. This way, they get to keep 100% of the profits.
If you have a WordPress blog – and you should have one – then you can use the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.
Easy Digital Downloads is quick and easy to install. People can order straight from your website. The plugin handles the whole process, from payment integration with Paypal to delivering the download to your customer.
Writing a book can be hard work, but it’s a very good way to start earning money in your sleep. You don’t have to write a 1,000-page novel. Even a good 20-page to 50-page book on an in-demand topic can give you a decent passive income.
15. Buy a Blog
Buying an established, profitable blog is a fast way to start earning passive income while you’re sleeping.
As a rule of thumb, a blog normally sells for around 30 times what it makes every month. So the price for a blog that makes around $100 per month should be in the ballpark of $3,000. This means it will take you on average 30 months to recoup your investment from the current monthly income.
Fortunately, $100 per month is $1,200 per annum, so that represents a 50% return on your investment of $3,000. Not bad at all!
One of the best sites to buy a website or blog from, often at a bargain price, is Flippa.
Flippa is a very popular platform for people wanting to buy or sell a blog or website.
A word of caution, though: do your due diligence. Ask for proof of income and traffic stats. Watch out for brand new blogs that are “earning a lot of money” or only have a one-month earnings history.
Buying is also dangerous because you never know what’s been done to a site, so it’s usually smarter to build from the ground up yourself. You can also rely on experts (that’s us 🙂 ) to help.
Make sure you understand the blog’s business model and that you’ll be able to manage it. Look for blogs that already have great content and monetization in place.
YouTube is one of the most frequently visited sites on the internet. It’s a potential gold mine for people looking to earn money from posting their videos online.
There are mainly two ways of making money with YouTube.
1. Promote your own products/services or those of a third party.
Some of the most popular YouTube videos are “how to” videos and product reviews.
Take reviews as an example. Many people look at reviews before buying a product. You can do well by reviewing products on YouTube that you’re an affiliate.
Post an informative video and invite prospects to click on the link in your description to get more information. You can either send them directly to the merchant, using your affiliate link or to your website.
2. Join YouTube’s partner program.
By joining YouTube’s partner program, you can earn a passive income from AdSense, Google’s ad program.
Before you can apply, your YouTube channel should:
- Have more than 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months.
- Have more than 1,000 subscribers.
Note: Adsense earnings can vary significantly depending on your niche and keywords. All else being equal, if your video is about insurance, you’ll earn a lot more from Adsense than if your video is about butterflies.
17. Rent Out Space in Your House
Renting out space in your house, like a spare bedroom, can be a good way to monetize free space.
Airbnb is a very good service to use.
Airbnb takes care of everything from payments to verifying the identity of your guests. They also provide free $1 million protection for property damage and free $1 million liability insurance.
18. Car Wrapping
Did you know you can get paid for just driving your car around? Many companies will pay you if you allow them to place an ad on your car.
The requirements to qualify, and payouts, will vary from company to company. At the very least, you’ll be required to do a fair amount of driving every day to make it worthwhile.
One of the best-known companies to use is Carvertise.
According to Carvertise, you can make $300 – $1,200 per campaign.
To qualify, you need to:
- Drive at least 30 miles a day.
- Have a clean driving record.
- Own a 2008 model car or newer one.
- Maintain a factory finish paint job.
Other respected companies include Wrapify, Free Car Media, and Nickelytics.
Car wrapping is not going to make you rich. Generally, individuals can earn between $100 and $500 per month. But it’s not bad getting paid for just driving your car around as usual.
Warning: Be cautious. There are many scam artists out there making fake promises that you can earn thousands every month. This is simply not true.
19. Pay Off Your Credit Card
This may sound like a very strange way to make money while you sleep, but consider the following:
If you have $10,000 credit card debt and have to pay a minimum of 2% per month on the balance, that’s $200 every month. Saving $2,400 every year is like getting a 24% return per annum on a $10,000 investment!
This won’t get you rich on its own, but if you have any debt, paying it off will help you get cash flow positive faster with any of these other passive income strategies.
20. City Portal Directory
Having your own city portal directory can be very lucrative. It will take time and effort to set it up, but once you’re done, it can be very rewarding.
It’s not that difficult from a technical perspective to build your own city portal.
By using a WordPress plugin such as Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro, it won’t take you long to get started.
You can allow free listings, charge clients for ads, and include a practically unlimited number of categories.
21. Angel Investing
Becoming an angel investor gives you the opportunity to invest in new startups. It can give you superior financial returns, but it can be very risky and is not for everyone.
Note: You may need to be an accredited investor before you pursue angel investing, which means a net worth of $1 million or an annual income of $200,000 per year (or $300,000 in joint income).
Some popular angel investing platforms are:
All good ideas require hard work and knowledge. Before you can hope to make money while you sleep, you need to put in the required time and effort.
Simply knowing what to do isn’t nearly as important as knowing how to do it. The best way to learn how to do something is to work with someone who can teach, and help you. Someone that already has the necessary experience and knowledge.
At BrandBuilders, we’d love to see you succeed in earning passive income, literally while you’re sleeping. We specialize in helping entrepreneurs like you build income streams that work 24 hours a day.
Book a coaching call with one of our experts right now to find out how we can help you succeed!