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It’s always been my dream to make money while I sleep (geddit?)
A few years ago I remember waking up, having only sent my first box of products in to Amazon FBA a couple of days before, refreshing the Seller App (which is oh so addictive!) as the first thing I did, and found I made £20 profit in my sleep.
From then, I was hooked – passive income was the goal, and financial freedom was the plan.
In a normal job, you’re trading time for money. In a lot of side hustles, you’re doing the same – whether it’s a second job, a freelance position, dog walking – you’re still trading time for money.
Instead, by focusing on passive income sources, you have an initial input of effort, but it keeps on giving long after you stopped working on it.
It might take a fair amount of initial output and result in a few intense months – or even years – but once it’s up and running, you can be making money while you sleep, are seeing friends, spending time with family, or binge watching The Real Housewives.
There’s no such thing as 100% passive income (heck, even making money through investments required an initial effort to have the money to invest in the first place). BUT, if you’re willing to put in the work at the beginning, you can reap the rewards for years to come, and what’s a little short-term pain for very long term gain?
So here we go: 20 ways to make money while you sleep (or 20 great passive income methods for you to look into today!)
- Make a Blog/Instagram account
- Take in a lodger
- Sell stock photos
- Write a book and publish on Amazon
- Credit card points/travel hacking
- Peer to peer lending (P2P)
- Print on demand products
- Buy an investment property
- Lifetime ISA
- Premium Bonds
- High Yield Savings Account
- Build your pension
- Create and sell a course/membership community
- Create your own app
- Rent out your car
- Become a Youtuber
- House sitting
My true passion – I will always fly the flag for ecommerce to anybody who will listen. Sure, it takes time and effort at the very beginning, and is one hell of a learning curve – but the process on the whole is simple once you break it down into just that: a process.
Whether you resell branded products on eBay, your own private label products on Amazon, or downloadables on Etsy, there’s no better feeling than waking up to find out you’ve made money while you slept.
Make a Blog/Instagram account
This is a long-term game, but the earning potential is incredible – it’s not unheard of for bloggers to make millions (yep, millions!!) every year through various income streams.
To maximise returns, many bloggers make money through advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, digital products and courses, and once you’ve built up a readership/nailed your SEO strategy, there’s no reason why you couldn’t replace your 9-5 income with your blog or Instagram income.
Now this is a long-term game, but one that has real potential for high reward.
You will need to spend a lot of time researching investing and identifying a strategy that works for you and your circumstances, but with average yearly returns of 7% on investments (compared to less than 3% for normal savings accounts), I’d say it’s worth considering!
I personally use Trading212, and have no complaints! For a free share worth up to £100 (which you can withdraw if you want to!) after you deposit £1, sign up to Trading 212 here (I’ll also receive a free share if you do).
Take in a lodger
It’s not unheard of for super-savvy landlords to rent out a spare room in their home to have a lodger cover their mortgage payment, meaning they’re effectively having somebody else pay for their house.
Sure, there are downsides to having a lodger, but as an income stream, it’s one worth considering if you have the spare room available.
Sell stock photos
Stock image sites are always on the look-out for new images that they can sell to individuals and companies that need them, and it’s no longer necessary to have a state-of-the-art DSLR to supply them – your camera phone will be just fine!
I even know somebody who gets a royalty everytime a picture of his wee is used (yep, you read that right – he had to take a photo of his wee in the toilet bowl, and now makes approximately 25p everytime somebody buys his photo from a stock image site).
A few good ones to start with include:
Realistically, you aren’t going to be getting rich off this, but it’s another potential income stream to explore!
Write a book and publish on Amazon
Through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you could self-publish ebooks or paperbacks within 48 hours and be making a passive income through the sales you receive – and best of all, it’s completely free to do! (Although you are subject to Amazon fees when you receive a sale).
Whether you’ve written a non-fiction informative book on training dogs, or have an idea for a romance novel that you’d love to release, KDP is the quickest way to get your work out there – and be earning passive income in no time!
It’s also not unheard of for authors to use ghost-writers sourced from Fiverr or Upwork, so it could potentially be more passive than you’d initially think.
Credit card points/travel hacking
Now this is one that you need to approach carefully – but if you do your research, there’s no reason why you couldn’t be racking up a whole host of credit card points to allow you to travel in the upmost of comfort (without landing yourself in trouble with debt).
I get all of my information from The Points Guy UK, and this post in particular is a great place to start if you’re new to travel hacking.
Peer to peer lending (P2P)
Peer to peer lending is riskier than leaving your money in a savings account – but it can be more lucrative.
P2P involves lending money to individuals or businesses, and receiving interest on repayments. You can choose whether you lend your money to specific causes, or whether you’d prefer your money to be added to a pot to be distributed between applications, but there is always a risk that the person who received the loan might not be able to pay you back.
Again, it’s another one to do further research into, but as a rule, the higher the interest rate somebody is willing to pay you, the riskier the investment will be.
Print on demand products
Print on demand involves coming up with your own designs (or commissioning a graphic designer on Fiverr or Upwork) and customising products such as tshirts, tote bags or mugs with these designs – without ever having to store any inventory.
Print on demand is run on a per-order basis – meaning it’s only printed when you receive an order (and therefore minimise risk and initial investment costs).
Even better, you don’t even need to fulfil the order yourself – once the sale is made, your print on demand supplier will print and ship your product to your buyer.
This blog post on Shopify provides a great overview of the system, and even gives you a few places to start if you’re interested in finding out more.
Buy an investment property
This is typically seen as the traditional way of making an extra bit of cash, and it’s not uncommon for money-savvy individuals to tie up their retirement funds into property.
If you have enough money for a deposit (bear in mind, deposits on buy-to-let properties are typically larger than for those of houses you intend to live in), and can afford to cover the mortgage payments should you have a few months without tenants, it could be worth looking into.
If this is of interest to you, it’s well-worth booking an appointment with a mortgage advisor and running the numbers – but don’t forget, if you buy in an up and coming area, the resale potential will be considerable!
A Lifetime ISA is a great way to make an extra 25% on savings of up to £4,000 EACH. YEAR.
This ISA can then only be used on your first house deposit, or can only be withdrawn when you turn 60 (without incurring any fees).
However, if you’re committed to saving for a deposit, or want to allocate savings to your retirement, 25% is a considerable bonus to receive!
Now this one is the least guaranteed of all the options listed here in terms of returns, but I thought it was worth including as the returns over a year are typically still higher than a standard savings account.
Think of Premium Bonds as a savings account – but instead of accruing interest, you’re put into a prize draw each month for a chance to win cash prizes between £25 to £1 million.
There’s no guarantee, of course, that you’ll win anything – and the more money you have in your account, the more chance you have of winning – but as with anything in life, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
NS&I are the go-to platform where Premium Bonds are concerned, and whilst nothing is guaranteed in terms of winnings, this calculator should give you a good idea of the returns you might be able to expect, based on the amount you have in there.
High Yield Savings Account
Current Accounts are currently offering a huge 0% interest on any cash held with them – and standard easy-access savings accounts might go up to 1.5% if you’re lucky.
Instead, it might be worth looking into High Yield Savings Accounts, which can typically give you higher interest rates – if you’re willing to sacrifice easy-access and view these savings as more of a long-term strategy.
I’d recommend MoneySavingExpert or MoneySuperMarket as great places to start when researching the best savings account for you – high yield, or easy-access (and don’t forget, you can always have both!)
Just keep in the back of your mind the fact you want your money to work for you.
Build your pension
I know when you’re in your 20s, and even your 30s, retirement is the last thing on your mind – but it really needs to be something your prioritise!
Sure, it’s not the sexiest or most exciting way to make a little extra cash, but by opting in to your workplace pension schemes – and maybe even saving separately as well – you’re not only helping to look after future-you, but will also be accruing interest on your pension contributions.
Think of your pension as a long-term savings pot or investment. As it’s trickier to access, and it’s viewed as a long-term investment, your average interest/returns are considerably higher than a standard savings account.
Create and sell a course/membership community
One of my favourite bloggers/influencers is Christina Galbato, who made a huge $1.2m last year from her content – with around 80% of this coming from her online courses!
If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.
She spent years growing her travel blog and Instagram account, before pivoting to become an online educator, teaching hundreds and hundreds of content creators how they can replicate her success.
Sure, it might take a while, but if you build up a trusted reputation online as a thought-leader within your area of expertise, there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t sell courses or create membership communities that will lead to massive success and financial freedom in time.
We all know AirBnb as a way to hire a whole house/apartment when visiting an area, and this is a great option if you’re going to be away for a while.
But did you know you can rent out a room instead, whilst you’re still staying at your house?
If you have a room spare in a location that you think people will be visiting, and are comfortable with having strangers in your house, get listing it on AirBnb!
Alternatively, could you create an ‘Experience’ that visitors to your area might be looking for? Think a local guided tour, a photography masterclass, a painting workshop, or cooking class – experiences are quickly growing in popularity, and could be a great way to make some extra cash while meeting new people.
Create your own app
Even if you’re not that technologically gifted (oh hi!), there’s no reason why you couldn’t outsource the creation of an app if you have a great idea for an offering that doesn’t currently exist – or a lightbulb moment on how to improve on existing apps.
You could then monetise the app with adverts (and keep it free for users to download), or charge users a fee to be able to use it fully. Both are great models, and once set up, you can be earning passively for years to come!
Rent out your car
If you own a car but don’t need to have access to it at all times, why not look at renting it out and have a stranger help cover the costs?
It’s typically free to list your car on a regulated platform or marketplace, and you then set your ground rules – from pricing, to availability, to mileage.
The marketplace will then take a cut of your earnings to cover their fees and insurance, but if you weren’t going to use your car that day anyway, it’s a great way to make a bit of extra cash.
Become a Youtuber
Similar to becoming a blogger or Instagrammer, Youtube is a great place to make some passive income! Sure, there’s an initial effort output with content creation required, but with advertising and affiliate marketing available to you, you can be making money around the clock!
This is no get-rich-quick-scheme however, and before you can start running ads on your channel, you’ll need to have secured over 1,000 subscribers, and clocked 4,000 hours of watched-time. But even before you reach this level, affiliate marketing would be a great way to start making some money with smaller audiences!
House sitting is a popular option with world travellers and digital nomads, as it typically involves staying at somebody’s house whilst they’re away to make sure everything’s ok, and in return receiving free accommodation.
But did you know that some homeowners will also pay you to housesit? This is more common for those who have pets that might need taking care of, but if you’re getting paid to stay at somebody’s house, you are quite literally making money while you sleep!
Of course there are precautions you need to take here where safety is concerned, and I’d always recommend going through a platform such as Trusted Housesitters, but if you’re looking for free accommodation for a while, get yourself out there!
So there you have it – 20 ways to make money while you sleep! Sure, some require an initial output of effort, and others are more of a long-term strategy, but if you’re committed to making your money work for you, these are great places to start.
From selling products, to investing, to renting out rooms or creating content, there are so many ways you can top up your regular income – or replace it entirely – by making money around the clock.
There really is no better feeling than waking up having made money while you slept. Trust me.
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