Passive Income: How To Start Your “Side Hustle” & Make Money

Have you ever thought about establishing a source of passive income? Do you think your 9-5 job isn’t enough to cover your financial needs? Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to do nothing? Maybe you can!

(Eventually!)

There are many ways to set up passive streams of income to fatten your pockets and keep you a little warmer this winter. Having a few extra income streams can be beneficial in preventing financial disaster when something like this inevitably happens again.

But here is the question: But where do you even start, and which passive income ideas are actually the most lucrative?

Here’s what we’ll cover for how to make passive income:

  1. What is passive income?
  2. Reasons you should have passive income
  3. Building a platform for passive income
  4. Writing a book for passive income
  5. Sell materials online
  6. Create online classes for passive income
  7. Get into rental property ownership
  8. Make smart investments
  9. Affiliate marketing for passive income
  10. Some general tips to keep in mind

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What is passive income?

Passive income is regular earnings from a source other than an employer and accumulates without your need to be actively working. It’s income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain.

You’ll almost definitely have to do a bit of work at the start-up to get things rolling, but ideally, passive income will require very little upkeep in the long run.

Passive income can mean freedom. It can be a great supplementary income, a way to free up valuable time, and it can give you room to have a flexible schedule and build the life you’d rather have.

Many people even go into early retirement through passive income streams like writing and publishing a book, or other means.

Why should I have a passive income in 2020?

So we know what passive income is–why do you care? Is it something you can do yourself? Why spend the time and effort creating a passive stream of income when you already have a regular paycheck? WELL–

  1. Because of COVID-19, passive income is more relevant than ever. A global pandemic is a great time to be secure: you’ve been laid off and need an alternate source of income until you find a new opportunity. You can simply take advantage of the extra time people have on their hands by providing entertainment or engagement with your product or service. If you’re busy taking care of family and others, a more passive stream of income would free up the time you’d be committed to a traditional form of income. It’s hard to imagine a situation right now that couldn’t be improved by a passive income stream.

  2. Extra money! Who would say no to some extra, practically effortless cash? It can give you more financial independence, flexibility, and safety. Perhaps you stream your passive income directly into a retirement fund. Maybe you use it to fund a hobby. Maybe it goes to a savings account for vacations, or even adopt a dog. Or maybe it’ll just grease the wheels in your monthly expenses. No matter what you’re using it for, the extra money that doesn’t cost a ton of time and effort will never make your life harder.

  3. More time to devote to things you actually care about. Maybe you don’t invest the money for extra things–maybe you just allow yourself to work less. Time is our most valuable commodity, so the more you can free up, the better. If setting up alternative income streams can cut the number of hours you work so you can use that to spend time with family and friends, fix up your house, or just have more fun, why wouldn’t you do it?

  4. Security. Even with a regular job, nothing is permanent and nothing is guaranteed. If you lose your job today, where does that leave you? Do you have a savings buffer? What if you burn through it before you’re able to be employed again? Having passive streams of income expands your safety net between monetary stability and poverty. Even if you can’t completely live on passive income streams, they will give you more room to tread in a flood.

As you can see, passive income is never a bad idea. An initial investment of time and effort can pay off Big in the long run.

So how do we get started? What are the ways to generate those passive streams of income?

make money as an author

How to make passive income?

There are countless streams of passive income, but I’m going to talk about seven big ones you should jump on today if you want the freedom of making money while away in the future.

#1 – Build an online presence

Be it a blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram dedicated to your skill or interest, or any other type of content, having a platform to sell things to can make a huge difference for any business endeavor you’re interested in trying. I use the platform I built through my YouTube channel to sell books, workshops, freelance services, and more.

Having an online audience in and of itself won’t generate passive income, but it will give you the means with which to find success doing several things, such as the other items on this list!

#2 – Write a book!

Self-publishing an ebook can have no start-up costs and still pay off BIG with a little work. This is one of the main ways our Become a Bestseller students bring home a few extra bucks (or even full-time equivalent incomes).

Not sure what to write about? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Do people often ask you about something that you have to explain over and over again?
  • Do you have an idea that has been lingering in your head for years?
  • When do people say, “you should write a book!”

Turn one of your interests or skills into a book and earn royalties for as long as it sells—and self-publish it, while you’re at it. So you keep 100% of the royalties.

Writing a book isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, especially if you’re writing about something you know and you have the right writing and publishing system in place to guide you to success.


#3 – Sell online

Again, what are you good at?

These days, starting and maintaining a website is easier than ever, so what’s stopping you from launching one to sell non-fiction books like:

  • Cookbooks
  • Craft instructions
  • Self-help guides
  • Whatever informational packets you can produce in your field

Or maybe you use your website to sell products like:

  • Merchandise (websites like Teespring and Redbubble allow you to create and sell merchandise for no down cost)
  • Homemade items (you could also use sites like Ebay and Etsy, as opposed to creating your own)
  • Flipped items (furniture, clothes, and other items bought at a discount and revamped to sell at a markup)

The options are endless, but one of the most cost-effective materials to produce and sell are ebooks!

#4 – Online classes

Are you an expert on something? Produce your own course about it!

Platforms like Skillshare and Udemy allow you to produce, upload, and sell your own classes. If you’re up for a slightly bigger challenge, you can run a class from your own website with online lecture series, live streams, worksheets, ebooks, etc.

Hosting it yourself would provide more freedom, but also requires a larger time and money investment, so keep that in mind.

I teach on Skillshare. I produced classes with the equipment I already had from YouTube, so all I paid for was a Skillshare account (which I use a lot), and that runs for less than $10 a month.

So the startup costs to produce a class were very low for me. The payoff has been amazing.


Here’s how to get started on this passive income stream:

  • Figure out what you’re best at
  • write a script for your class
  • film it
  • pick a platform
  • and let it roll!

Once your class is posted (on Skillshare, as an example), it requires no upkeep! I’ll occasionally promote my classes on social media, but once I had some good reviews posted, Skillshare started internally promoting my class.

Now it’s just free money.

#5 – Rental property

Maybe you have the money and time to invest in spare real estate, but not a lot of people do. But! Rental property can still be an option for you. Do you have a spare room? A couch? A truck you’re not using? A lawnmower? Consider renting out your space and equipment.

Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo make it easy to rent extra rooms and space to travelers, so if you have spare space, think about listing it!

You can post about equipment availability on a ton of free sites, like Facebook Marketplace and craigslist.

You might have free money laying around in the form of unused assets. Give it a think!

#6 – Investments

If you’re in a stable place right now, maybe you have some money lying around to invest in the stock market.

Sites like Robinhood and e-trade help you invest in stocks, ETFs, and options easily. Investing is a great way to make your money work for you instead of working for your money.

#7 – Affiliate marketing

There are tons of ways to cash up with affiliate marketing. If you have a platform of any kind, there will likely be a company willing to partner with you.

Especially if you’re already producing some sort of content, slipping affiliate marketing into the things you already make is a super easy and quick way to earn some extra cash.

Maybe you do one-on-one sponsorships with companies to plug their product or service, or maybe you do general affiliate links, like with the popular Amazon Affiliate Program.

You could even cash in on company-specific perks, like this link I use to get and give $10 of store credit on ThredUp. 🙂

I check with the companies for any service or product I use and love to see if they have affiliate opportunities. It costs me nothing to promote something I already like to an audience I already have, so there’s no reason not to utilize affiliate marketing opportunities.

Passive Income Tips to keep in mind

Now you understand what passive income is, and you probably have a few ideas bouncing around in your head about how you can make it happen for yourself, but here are a few things to think about:

  1. Beware of anything that promises huge and effortless rewards. Passive income isn’t an overnight achievement. Everything worthwhile will require a little work, so look out for get-rich-quick schemes and multi-level marketing gigs. Look for long-term gains versus overnight magic.
  2. Do your research! When you have an idea, read up on other people who have done it, look at their success, and see if you can figure out what they’re doing that makes it successful. Almost everything has been done before–it’s been done well, and it’s been done poorly. Knowing what a successful version and a failed version looks like before you begin can save you a lot of strife later on.
  3. Be hesitant to drop large amounts of money right away. Think your ideas through before you invest more than you’re willing to lose. Do your research, and have a plan before you invest in anything. But remember, some investments make sense. It’s all about your end goal and how much you really want this.

Those are only a few of the many ways to generate passive income. Which one sounds the most achievable for you?

Writing a book might be a great place to start.

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Hannah Lee Kidder

Hannah Lee Kidder is a contemporary and fantasy author, writing coach, and YouTuber. She has published two bestselling short story collections, Little Birds and Starlight. Hannah is currently minding her own business somewhere in the Colorado mountains with her roommate, Saya, who is a dog.

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