In this article, I’m going to rate seven passive income ideas based on firstly how hard it is to get started, and secondly how hard it is to maintain and make money from it. So whether you’re working a 9-5 and want some passive income on the side or you’re looking to start a side hustle, there are two main ways you can do this.
1. Rental Income
The first is by buying physical property and making money through rental income. For this, the barriers to entry are quite high. You need money for a down payment, a good credit score, and then you need to source the property and find a good tenant.
So in terms of getting started, I’d give this a three out of five. And in terms of maintenance, you can choose how passive you want this to be. If you want to manage your properties yourself, it will cost you your time. Or if you want to hire someone or give it to a property manager to handle, it will cost you money. So if that sounds like a lot of work…
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
The second way you can make money through rental income without actually needing a deposit or managing the property is through investing in a real estate investment trust (REIT). A REIT is essentially a company that invests in different types of properties, like hotels, warehouses, and shopping centers, and then it rents those properties out.
From the rental income it receives, it’s legally required to pay 90% of that income to its shareholders in the form of dividends. So in terms of getting started and investing in a REIT, I give this a one. It’s far easier to do, and you could buy publicly traded REITs through a brokerage account like you would any other stock. And in terms of maintenance and how much you can make, I’d give this a two.
The second on our list is being a “Creatorpreneur.” This is being a content creator, but I’ve called it Creatorpreneur to emphasize that to make this a passive income stream, you need to think about content creation as an entrepreneur. And this is a middle ground that isn’t really tapped into.
So on one side, you can love creating content, but if you don’t think of it as a business, it’s just a hobby. Whereas if you solely focus on the business side of it, you’re going to burn out before even making it into a passive income stream. So you want to tie both of these together.
For a platform like YouTube, in terms of getting started, anyone could do it. You literally need a phone and an internet connection. So I’m going to give this a one to get started. The harder part and what makes this into a passive income stream is actually how long you can keep this up for without seeing the returns.
And this is where the entrepreneurial side comes in—setting up the process, hiring, and outsourcing so that you can concentrate on producing quality content for as long as possible. It might take you months of making no money through YouTube for you to finally be eligible for the partnership program, and after that, you can make hundreds a day from YouTube AdSense, and most of that will be passive because it’s coming through your videos.
An example is Ali, who last year made $405 million from YouTube, and he spends a couple of hours a week on it. He also has a YouTube course on how he’s built this up.
But the hardest part of this income stream is putting in the time and staying consistent. So I’m going to give this a four in terms of maintenance. But if you can get through that initial phase, you can make a lot of money through YouTube, and this is one of the best passive income streams in my opinion.
3. Online Course
An online course. I’m a big fan of this one because, firstly, as a consumer, it gives you so much access to information that you wouldn’t otherwise have, and from a passive income point of view, it’s a great place to make scalable income.
An example of someone who has done really well from this is Cat Norton, who started a TikTok profile around tricks and tips of using Excel. Those videos blew up and evolved into her teaching others about Excel through online courses.
In her first year from doing this full time, she made one million dollars in sales. And now, on a good day, she makes over six figures a day from her courses, which are completely passive. She made it once and now she sells it again and again.
So, how hard is this to get started? The real difficulty here is to identify what value you can bring and what you can teach to other people that they’re willing to pay for. Once you’ve got that bit figured out, it’s about creating the class and putting it on a platform like Skillshare or Udemy, which doesn’t really require much in terms of maintenance. Or you can host it on your own website and make sure you’re driving traffic to it. So, in terms of maintenance, that’s the easier part, and I will give that a two out of five.
4. Dividend Investing
The fourth way to make passive income, and this is the truest form of passive income out there, is through dividend investing. The way to think about this is when you buy a share of a company, you now own a little piece of that company. And so, if it’s paying dividends, that means they are taking part of their profits and giving you a percentage.
In terms of getting started, I’ll give this a three because buying individual stocks for the dividends requires a lot of research. If you don’t want to be spending a lot of time reading through all the financial statements and the accounts, then a better way to make passive income through dividends is by investing in index funds.
This is the path that I take, and it’s a safer way to earn dividends than only individual stocks because you’re diversifying what you have exposure to. So, instead of being focused on one company and its dividends, you now have pieces of lots of different companies that will pay dividends.
In terms of getting started, I’ll give this one. It’s really easy to do—set up a brokerage account, invest in index funds. But in terms of maintenance and making a lot of money through this, I’ll give it a three.
Because although you don’t really need to do anything with your investments if it’s an index fund, to really reap the benefits, you do need to keep investing and also reinvest the dividends to buy more shares of those index funds. And then the real passive income will be through the appreciation and the capital gain side of it.
5. Selling Digital Products
The fifth way to make passive income is through selling digital products. This includes ebooks, downloadables, presets, and website themes. What I really like about digital products is that it takes time to create them, but the costs are so low, and it’s pretty much passive thereafter.
One example of someone who has done really well from this is Steve Shoga, who has packaged up all the knowledge and digital products he had learned through his day job about design tips and bundled it up in an e-book. According to an article online, he made $2.3 million from it.
We all think we have to create something revolutionary to make a lot of money, but that idea may just come from what we do day to day. Most of us go to a job daily as an expert in our field but never think to turn what we know into an ebook, and that’s exactly what he did.
In terms of starting, I’d give this a two. You really don’t need any money to get started. But the harder part, again, is actually coming up with the idea that people will pay for.
And in terms of maintenance and being able to make money from it, I’m going to give this a three out of five because you can either put it on sites like Etsy and people can search for it, or you could spend more time creating an audience and creating content and use that to boost your sales even further. But the most important thing is being able to provide something valuable that people are willing to pay for.
6. Affiliate Marketing
The sixth passive income method is affiliate marketing. So, this is when you promote someone else’s goods or services and get a commission or a small percentage for doing so. So, for example, if you see the links in some of my articles about products I recommend, those are affiliate links, and so I get a percentage of that sale. And it doesn’t cost you any more money for buying that product through the link. According to an article online, the national average amount an affiliate makes is $55,000.
So, how easy is it? Anyone can sign up and join the affiliate program. That takes literally five minutes. So, I’m going to give that a one in terms of getting started. But the hard part here is actually driving traffic. So, whilst I say I made X amount in a week, actually, it took me over a year to build a platform and build an audience to get me in a place where I can make that passively.
And so, the affiliate side is almost a by-product of the amount of work that you’d put in to grow that audience in the first place.
Basically, to really scale and make this passive, you do need a lot of traffic. So, you can put it on your social media, website, your blog, your Twitter, and the amount you make from it is really dependent on how much you’re putting up front to grow those avenues. With that said, in terms of maintenance, I’m going to give it a four because it is a lot of work to keep that traffic coming through organically.
7. Productized Service
Finally, idea number seven of this passive income stream video is productized service. This is a hybrid between a product and a service. Making money through a service is one of the easiest ways to make money, like editing videos or one-to-one coaching, but these are limited, they’re capped because it requires you to trade time for money, so it’s hard to scale.
There’s only one of you. So, a productized service then is turning that service into a product, and you’re automating the process so that you can eventually take yourself out of the equation and that income can be made passive.
So, for example, one of my friends is a personal trainer, and she used to, before the pandemic, do one-to-one classes and charge by the hour. Then she built it into a productized service, so she offers subscribers 30 workouts per month for $18 per month, and she has about 4,000 people that are subscribed, and she’s making monthly income from that.
So, she has ultimately made a packaged service. She’s built an app, she started a subscription service, and hired a team of people. So, she spent a lot of time building this up, which is why I’ll give this a four, and in terms of getting started. It’s not easy.
But now she has other people that have stepped in and run the day-to-day, so other personal trainers who record the workouts and upload them or do the marketing. And she basically oversees it all. But it requires the skill set to be able to get there and make sure that value is consistently being provided, which isn’t simple to do.
And so, even on the maintenance side and being able to consistently make money from this, I would give this a four out of five.
Wrapping It Up
So, those are some passive income streams to give you some ideas. If you have done any of these already, I’m curious to know what your experience was with them, and if you’d recommend it yourself. Or if you have other passive income streams that have really worked for you, I’d love to hear about it. If you did enjoy this article, you may also enjoy my other article that I have below. Peace and Happy Hustling!
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