10 Passive Income Ideas to Help You Generate Extra Cash
UPDATED FOR 2021
Is there a way to generate extra cash without scrambling your daily schedule?
Yep! I have a few passive income ideas that may work for you.
But first, what is passive income?
Passive income is the exact opposite of trading your time in exchange for payment.
It is not an active income that you rely on to pay your monthly bills or mortgage. But it can be the extra cash you need to pay off those debts, pad your savings, or pay for additional expenses.
Passive income is money earned from an enterprise or system that you created once, set in motion, and now needs minimal effort to keep the income coming in.
Some confuse passive income with active income because you can scale passive income to 5-6 figures, depending on the business model. However, the two most significant identifiers of passive income are, 1) you do not have to work daily to generate the revenue, and 2) the income comes in irregularly or "passively".
There are tons of ideas out there, but I’m going to share the ones that I am successfully doing, or I know someone who is knocking it out of the park.
10 Passive Income Ideas to Help You Generate Extra Cash
Niche Notebook Design
I picked this style for myself because it has so many opportunities to scale to a 6-figure passive business. Low content book publishing or niche notebook design is the most popular field of publishing in paperback commerce. Still, it costs very little to get started and maintain this passive income model. Get started with me!
I like this one because it nicely complements notebook design and publishing gigs with the sale of just the downloadable cover designs and interiors. But there are other types of digital products you can create, too, like eBooks, instructional guides, and anything that you can convert to a PDF and sell online. Check out this free course on creating and selling printables.
Print on Demand
I read this article by Elenny Frometa that talks about print on demand. It works pretty much like the digital products I mentioned above. Still, instead of printables, you are placing your designs on physical products like t-shirts, coffee mugs, water flasks… and wait for it… hardcover notebooks! What?!? Once I read that I could expand my notebook design gig to spiral and hardcover notebooks, I jumped right on it!
Do you consider yourself chief officer with the grammar police? Or maybe you are just passionate about the flow of words and stories. Being dyslexic, I am neither. However, I do have a couple of friends who make a healthy side income as proofreaders. It's not 100% passive, but this model does allows for extreme flexibility. I don’t know anything about it except they both started with the ProofreadAnywhere free course and use Upwork to find flexible gigs. Check it out.
Social Sales (Update 2021)
Direct selling/Network Marketing is a 100% passive income side gig for me. I do not host parties online or off, but I do build a network of preferred customers and consultants. I use my smartphone to market products solely on social media and post to my blog, and it gives me the residual cash flow I need to pad my savings. Once I switched my thinking to "long-term" financial goals, it was a no-brainer for me to ditch my jewelry biz and partner with the Rodan + Fields Dermatologist Inspired Skincare. Now I can reach my long term goals by advancing an online business based on recurring customers and replenishment orders.
Niche Blog / Website
This was the very first model I implemented when I decided to embrace my passive income lifestyle permanently. The key to generating extra cash as a blogger is to choose a profitable niche, use the best keywords for that niche, and then find an authentic way to monetize the site. Twins Mommy dot com got me started, and then I took a blogging course on Teachable.
YouTube Content Marketing
Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet?
I’ve been following Lisa Siefert of Pretty Fabulous Designs for a few years now, and in mid-2020, she announced that she was scaling back on social media marketing to focus solely on her Youtube channels. She is slamming it on YouTube with killer planner design content and just didn’t see even close to the same results with the other social media platforms.
The good thing about YouTube is that once you establish great niche content and SEO, you’re going to have the traffic coming in from videos you made in the past. When some of your videos begin to rank high within the search engine, they’ll continue to drive new views, new traffic, and passive income. Click here to read how to get started.
Speaking of videos, digital courses are extremely popular. Most people use Podia, Teachable, or Thinkific to virtually learn a new skill. It is undeniably one of the best passive income ideas of the year 2020. I hadn’t even thought about generating extra cash this way until I took an incredible free webinar on this subject with Danielle Leslie. She inspired me to add courses to my digital portfolio in the future.
Photography and Illustrations as Stock Photos
Consider selling your art and other designs on my affiliate partner's site, Creative Market, to reach millions of potentials buyers. I haven’t uploaded anything yet, but I use Creative Market artwork every month to design covers for my notebooks and journals.
Music as Stock Music
This is something that has interested my son for many years. Now that he is an adult, he is uploading music tracks for passive income. He does it all with Logic Pro X software on his MacBook Pro. Amazing. People are always looking for original background music files for podcasts, videos, and courses. Check out Premium Beat and Stock Music for inspiration.
Steady Remote Work
Maybe not one of my passive income ideas is the right fit for you. Perhaps a smaller yet steadier income sounds more appealing.
Give FlexJobs or Indeed a look. In the past, I have worked part-time-remote for two private schools, a jewelry company, and a candle company. But be aware that virtual employees tend to make a small fraction of what in-house employees make, there are no medical benefits, or opportunities to scale the earnings, but they do get an established amount of income regularly.