For our parents’ generation, “moonlighting” might have meant earning extra money by flipping burgers at a fast food joint or working at a department store on the weekends.
But for us? Well, we’re the gig economy generation. Whether you deliver groceries, participate in focus groups, or get rented out to be someone’s wedding guest, you’ve likely got some sort of side hustle. According to a recent Bankrate report, nearly 40 percent of Americans have a side gig. As for millennials, half of us have one.
If you’re still searching for an easy way to rake in money, we’ve got you covered. Here are four passive income strategies that can help you earn money in your sleep. Pretty sweet.
1. Video royalties
You don’t need a gazillion views to monetize your videos.
Yes, even you can make money off your adorable furbaby videos, clips of wild weather, political protests, and unusual street performers, says Peter Koch, founder of Seller at Heart.
Koch spends a few hours a month making short videos and uploading them to video licensing platforms. He rakes in about $150 a month.
Where to start? Video licensing agencies like Newsflare, Rumble, or Jukin Media are just some of the platforms where you can sell your videos. Yet, the ways in which you can earn money vary. For instance, if you use Newsflare and a website wants to use your video for a set amount of time, you can earn a flat rate. You can also make money via ad placements. With Rumble, on the other hand, you can earn money through syndication. And with Jukin you can make money through licensing, brand partnerships, and online monetization.
2. Stack cash back and rewards apps
What about making money by spending money on things you already buy?
Similar to credit card rewards, you just link your credit card to the app, explains Andrew Herrig, a personal finance blogger at Wealthy Nickel.
“You earn points that you can trade for cash for shopping you would normally do anyway,” says Herrig.
Pro tip: If you put in a little extra effort, you can score good bonuses for some non-cash back offers, explains Herring. And, if you already put some of these purchases on a credit card, you’ll be earning reward points on your credit card, too. Just be careful of making purchases you normally wouldn’t, and carrying too high of a balance on your card.
3. Creating digital products
Online businesses and products are popular ways to earn passive income.
If you already have a platform with a strong following, or it you’ve devised a marketing strategy by way of email funnels and ads, you can potentially rake in some cash selling e-books or courses.
“Online courses make for great digital products, because people are always looking for how to do new things — whether it’s to learn about SEO, or take on another hobby or interest,” says
Mike Pearson, who created an online marketing course for bloggers who want to boost their SEO.
“The best part about selling digital products is that you only have to create the product once, and then you can sell infinite copies over and over again, truly earning money while you sleep,” says Pearson, who is the founder of Stupid Simple SEO.
Pearson makes a killing from his online course — the course costs $300 and he rakes in about $10,000 a month as a side income. As for the upfront investment, he spent 20 hours filming videos, writing text, making a sales page, and coming up with an email sequence to sell the course.
“It was a lot of upfront effort. The good thing is, the costs were minimal as I did all of the work myself,” he says.
4. Sell your stories
A few years ago Jarek G. (FYI: that’s his blogger pseudonym) wrote a dozen short stories and self-published them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Jarek spent anywhere from six to 10 hours writing, editing, and publishing each story, and paid five dollars to get a cover made. He published each story as a stand-alone for $2.99.
At his peak, Jarek earned about $150 a month.
These days, he still makes $30 to $40 a month in passive income from these same stories.
“It was a bit of upfront work, but after that it’s relatively passive,” says Jarek, who is the founder of Time in the Market.
Understand the ROI
When earning passive income, make sure you save part of the money you earn and put it toward one of your money goals. You can even use a money-saving app to help you keep track of this extra income. (Or, you might want to auto-save a portion on the regular.)
And, to get to the sweet spot of earning money passively, you’ll need to make sure the costs and time upfront are worth it. Keep in mind that all streams of passive income require not only work, but a bit of luck and timing.
“There’s no easy path to wealth or making money,” says Jarek.
“For instance, with self-publishing, you’ll need to be active, and it requires some talent to write things people want to read.”