“Can you really make money while you sleep?”
If I’m being honest, that’s probably the #1 question I’ve been asked over the years as a business coach & strategist.
The good news is that my answer is yes.
And the other good news is that I’m about to share 9 fantastic, tried-and-tested ways you can do just that starting, well, now.
Whether you’re looking to work less, make more or a little bit of both, this post is for you.
Idea #1: Create and Sell Digital Products
Why not get your creative juices flowing and whip up some digital products that your audience craves? Whether it’s ebooks, online courses or cute little printables—the sky’s the limit!
Digital products allow you to package all your knowledge of about one topic into a tangible but hands-off product. You can create it once, set it up for instant download, market it effectively (this is the piece most people leave out!) and voila. Just imagine waking up to email sales notifications or hearing that familiar PayPal ping from your phone while you’re enjoying a long shower (complete with aromatherapy shower steamers). That’s the magic of passive income.
Idea #2: Affiliate Marketing
If you’re an online business owner, odds are you have a blog (even if it’s really just a place to house your podcast show notes). That said, why not try your hand at affiliate marketing? It’s super easy to partner up with affiliate programs and promote products and services you genuinely love within your blog posts (or podcast show notes, if you happen to mention them on the show!).
When your readers make a purchase through your affiliate links, you earn a sweet commission. You can sign up through traditional affiliate marketing platforms (like ShareASale) or you can get hyper-specific about the types of products/services you become an affiliate for. What products, apps and courses do you use and love? Try creating a static tools or resources page on your website that lists your favorites. And don’t forget to include relevant affiliate links in the P.S. section of your emails, too!
Even better – if you truly love an online course or digital product that runs on a launch cycle, you can sign up to be an affiliate for that specific course and promote it during launch time to your audience. Simply use the swipe copy provided by the course creator to promote the course or product to your own audience. It’s way less work than having to write your own marketing, but of course, you can always add your own flair.
Idea #3: Launch a Membership Site
Are you an expert in your niche? Don’t keep all the knowledge to yourself! Instead, why not open the velvet ropes to an exclusive membership site, where your audience can access premium content and benefits for a recurring fee?
If you want to keep it super passive, make sure it’s low-cost and doesn’t require you to update it with new content every month. Instead, you can include a signature curriculum or focus on accountability/community as the selling point (instead of new content).
Idea #4: Sell Digital Assets Like Stock Photography
If you have a knack for design or photography, you can try your hand at selling digital assets like website templates, fonts or even stock photography. While this won’t work for every business, it can definitely be a lucrative income stream for web designers, graphic designers and the like.
Idea #5: Online Courses
Similar to digital products, an online course is a great way to package up your breadth of knowledge–and turn it into a cash-generating asset. Instead of trying to work with everyone one-on-one, you can create a course that helps your audience overcome their pain points and achieve their goals with far less “hands on” time with you. And–bonus!–once it’s set up, your course can literally help you generate passive income while you sip margaritas by the beach.
And if you’re new to online courses or have a smaller audience, you can also try course platforms like a built-in audience, like Udemy (and even Etsy!).
Idea #6: Create and Sell Physical Products (because who says passive income has to be digital?)
While most online business owners obviously think about passive income in terms of what they can create digitally, there’s actually lots of passive ways to make money selling physical products, too. With print-on-demand services, you can easily design and sell custom merchandise, from t-shirts to mugs, without the hassle of inventory.
Each new sale triggers the printing and shipping process, while you can simply sit back and let the cash roll in. This is great for the graphic design goddesses in the crowd, but literally anyone can create merch (or hire a designer to create the design for them). If you have a fun name for your audience or a catchphrase, slogan or tagline your audience loves, it could make a super fun piece of merch
Idea #7: Monetize Your YouTube Channel (or Other Social Media)
Lights, camera, passive income! If you’re a natural in front of the camera, why not turn your YouTube channel into a cash cow? Grow your subscriber base, create engaging content, and monetize your videos with ads and sponsorships. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you can create free workout tutorials, fitness challenges and/or educational videos for YouTube and as your subscriber count grows, you can play around with monetizing. Of course, YouTube is also a great marketing tool even if you don’t get (directly) paid from it.
Other social media platforms have also played around with paying creators, so be sure to look into it and see if your fave platform has a “creator’s fund” or similar program that pays you to create (or pays you when you get views).
Idea #8: Templates
Did you know you can literally turn anything you do in your business into passive income? From selling your SOPs to letting people access your project management Notion or content creation Trello templates, if you’ve created a process for your business, there’s somebody out there who’s likely willing to pay for it. Even better? You’ve already created it, so all you have to do is create a new version that you can share with your audience. It’s a win all around!
Idea #9: App/Software
Got a brilliant idea for an app or software solution? Apps are definitely a way to make money–even if it’s not your main moneymaker. Let’s say you’re a project manager with a passion for productivity. You could create a time-management app that helps users stay organized and focused. Offer a free version with limited features and a premium version with advanced functionalities. You get to share your knowledge and make a little money on the side.
Whether you choose to create digital products, launch a membership site, or explore the exciting realms of apps and/or templates, the key is to take action and make it happen.