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7 easy passive income ideas to make money while you sleep

This post shares 7 passive income ideas you can start using today. Generate cash from an automated business while you sleep!

Published onOctober 9, 2019

Passive income ideas might just change your life.

Passive income is income that you earn while you’re not working. That doesn’t mean earning money for nothing, but rather it means earning money from a business or an idea that you set up previously and that is now running on its own.

You’ll wake up a little richer every day

It means escaping a situation where you are trading time for money; so that you’re free to choose what you do with your time once again.

It means that you’ll earn money whether you’re working or you’re fast asleep.

It means you’ll wake up a little richer every day.

See also: The 10 best side hustle jobs to make extra money

And if you really master it, then it means you won’t need to work another day in your life! And if you never get to that point? Passive income ideas can still help you to live more comfortably within your means and supplement your income.

In other words, passive income is very much “the dream.” True financial independence and freedom from work. Automation on a personal level!

So how do you go about setting this up? Here are seven passive income ideas that will help you earn money while you sleep, and that anyone can get started with right away.

7 effective passive income ideas

1. Making courses

A while ago, I was invited to an event at the YouTube Space in London. There I met some very interesting people, but perhaps one of the most interesting, was a guy who was a full-time YouTuber, despite earning no money from it yet. And he didn’t care if he ever did!

How was this possible? Simple: he was already earning a comfortable full-time living selling courses he’d made a long time ago. He had a full-time income without lifting a finger. In his case, the courses were on self-improvement and personal development.

Making courses as a passive income

This is an incredibly simple and easy passive income idea and one that anyone can replicate with a little time and a marketable skill or knowledge. You can sell an online course directly from your own channels (websites or social media), but it’s easier to sell the courses through sites like Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare, etc.

He had a full-time income without lifting a finger

If you can afford to take a few weeks off work and quickly film/write a bunch of courses, then you can start generating a fair amount of cash very quickly!

2. Creating a blog

Creating a blog or YouTube channel are among the most popular passive income ideas. These options take a fair bit of time to get up and running, and there is no guarantee they will ever be popular enough to generate significant profit.

Creating a blog as a passive income

But if you blog or vlog about something you love, and do it in your spare time, that doesn’t have to matter. As you start to gain a following, there are then countless ways to monetize your creation: through AdSense, through affiliate products, through sponsorships, or by selling a product of your own.

Even if you never make the big time, getting paid to write about your favorite topics can’t be all bad, right?

Even if you never make the big time, getting paid to write about your favorite topics can't be all bad, right?

Create a site with evergreen content (content that won’t go out of fashion or become irrelevant quickly), and this can eventually become self-sustaining.

Man Typing on Laptop

Of all these passive income ideas, this is perhaps the most difficult but also potentially the most profitable.

If you want to learn more, try “Blogging Masterclass: How to Create a Successful Blog in 2019” over at Udemy to get started.

3. Selling a digital product

A digital product is any product that doesn’t have a physical form. Examples include things like ebooks or video courses. While many of the options on this list could technically be considered digital products (such as an app), in the context of passive income ideas, most people mean a free report, video series, or ebook of some kind.

Spend a little bit of time writing a guide to fitness, programming, dating, confidence, golf, or whatever else. Then save that document as a PDF file. Now upload the file to your server and use a tool like “Sell Digital Downloads” for WordPress to handle the sales.


As long as you can generate a stream of traffic to your website (perhaps by hiring a marketer, or maybe by paying for advertising), this can sit and generate cash for you indefinitely. Of course it’s not quite as simple as all that and there are many factors to consider such as your niche (subject matter), your conversion rates (number of people who buy), your advertising budget, etc.

If you’re not good at writing or find that idea daunting, then you can buy a ready-made book that comes with the copyright and permission to sell. These typically cost just a little more than the price of a regular ebook, and allow you to profit many times over!

You can buy a ready-made book that comes with the copyright and permission to sell

Just search for PLR ebooks (private label rights) and you’ll be able to buy ready-to-sell tomes that even come with ready-made marketing materials such as sales scripts and blog posts!

4. Selling affiliate products

Don’t want to write an ebook? Or buy a PLR book?

Selling affiliate products as a passive income

Then why not sell someone else’s? Affiliate marketing is one of the timeless passive income ideas, and has helped make a lot of people rather rich!

An affiliate product is a product that you can sell and gain commission for. Sites like JVZoo, Clickbank and Commission Junction let you sell other people’s ebooks and keep as much as 50-90% of the profits!

This is the passive income idea that Tim Ferriss recommends in his book The Four Hour Workweek: find an affiliate product, create a page selling the product, then pay for Facebook Ads to send targeted traffic to that page. As long as you choose the product and the audience wisely, this can earn you a few hundred dollars in a short amount of time. And it’s infinitely repeatable.

A great course to get you started is: Clickbank Success.

5. Stock footage and photography

If you’re a dab hand at photography, then why not sell them via a stock imagery site? Examples include Shutterstock and Envato Elements.

Stock footage and photography as a passive income

These sites are used by webmasters, business owners, and bloggers to get images that they can place in their articles. Most sites charge some kind of fee, and then provide a revenue share for the creators that upload their work.

If you’ve got a bunch of beautiful scenery pictures sitting around on your computer, then you can start selling that right now with no additional work whatsoever! Music tracks, video clips, fonts, and more are all also welcome.

6. Create an app

You guys are probably sick of hearing it by now, but I once made an app that helped me to significantly boost my income for a couple of years. That was by far my best passive income idea!

Create an app passive income

With the Google Play Store, you have a ready-made distribution platform. That means you don’t need to pay for advertising or build a following in order to start earning, you just need a searchable idea for an app — something that solves a pain point that a lot of people struggle with. This can be incredible simple, but with a small fee, or a few ads, it can bring in a steady flow of cash for years to come.

7. Kindle book

To start selling a Kindle book, all you need to do is to head over to the Direct Kindle Publishing page and upload your PDF or even .doc file. As long as the book is written, the process takes just five minutes! And yes, you can use PLR books too (as long as they aren’t anywhere else online and no one else has gotten there first). You can even sell books in the public domain! Some books are only a few pages long, and that’s fine too as long as you are upfront about this in all the marketing and you still manage to provide value. Your book will make it to market within 24-48 hours and you’ll begin earning right away. This is truly one of the easiest passive income ideas out there.

Amazon Kindle e-reader

Again, this is a ready-made market, so the main struggle is simply standing out. Again, you can do this by solving common problems and answering questions that a lot of users have. Check out the competition, and see where there are gaps in the market.

Closing comments

So what do you think? Are any of these passive income ideas right for you? Know any smart ways of making money while you sleep that we missed? A few more passive income ideas that didn’t fit here include: selling 3D models, selling custom t-shirts, dropshipping, and self-publishing print books. Or how about leasing a room of your home, or even a useful appliance you own?

Help each other out in the comments down below, and happy earning!

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