Reading all the stories of entrepreneurs and other successful people sleeping just four hours a night scares me a little. You see, I like to sleep. I like to sleep a lot.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to make money or someday retire to my own private island. If there’s one thing I like as much as sleeping, it’s making money.
Wouldn’t it be great if I could figure out a way to make money WHILE I sleep?
Well you can…the three online income sources outlined in this article can put your money to work even when you decide to take some time off.
This post has been written by Joseph Hogue, who was an equity analyst and an economist before realizing being rich is no substitute for being happy. He now runs five websites in the personal finance and crowdfunding niche, makes more money than he ever did at a 9-to-5 job, and loves building his work from home business.
3 of My Favorite Online Income Sources
[This post contains affiliate links]
Enter passive income, investments and business ideas that take on a life of their own to keep generating income whether you’re working on them or counting sheep.
Rental properties are one of the most popular passive income strategies but can be more hassle than they’re worth. In fact, Derek shared last year how he creates passive income without falling for the property trap.
I wanted to add three great online income sources to the list, including an argument for one that didn’t make Derek’s list.
Blogging is the New Real Estate
I’ve been writing for bloggers since 2011 and started my own websites in 2014. I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to create and develop an online property and how it can grow into a solid cash flow. I now own five sites and booked over $66,500 in 2017 not including income from freelancing.
Want to Start Your Own Blog? Cover your entire first year for just $24.
Blogging isn’t the immediate source of passive income many people make it out to be. It’s a business just like any other. You have to put in the time to produce articles, promote them on social media and develop your revenue sources.
But blogging can grow into a passive income source over time. The largest traffic source for most bloggers is from Google search traffic. Building that traffic from search takes time but visitors will continue to find your site well after you’ve stopped promoting your articles.
In fact, blogging reminds me a lot of real estate investing. You can buy a raw piece of land or undeveloped building but it’s not going to make much money until you develop it into a rentable space. After that, regular maintenance is enough to produce a consistent stream of cash flow. It’s the same with your virtual property.
Creating an online income from blogging means following a few simple rules:
- Balance growing your blog traffic with making money. Too many bloggers wait forever to start making money because they’re still ‘building traffic’. If you have one visitor, you can make money.
- Diversify your income sources with advertising, affiliates, sponsored posts, courses and self-publishing. Blogging income sources can be unreliable, so you don’t want to rely on just one source.
- Don’t avoid search engine optimization (SEO). A lot of bloggers think SEO is too technical or too much work but learning the basics can really help set you apart. Even a new blog with a little SEO magic can rank your posts on the first page of Google for free traffic.
Self-Publishing, My Most Passive Income Source
Derek isn’t a huge fan of self-publishing, but I’ve found it to be easily the most passive source of income I’ve tried. Sure, it takes a few months to produce a 150-page book and launch it on Amazon but there’s little on-going work to do after that.
Self-publishing is a natural fit for bloggers and I’m going to share a strategy that makes it even easier to develop and publish your book. I spend approximately $200 a month on Amazon ads for promotion and sell a couple dozen copies through my websites. That’s enough to keep the books ranked on Amazon and sell an average around 600 copies a month.
In the last three years, I’ve published 10 books and average about $1,800 a month from an income source that took little more than what I was already doing.
Making self-publishing easy is a matter of integrating it with your blogging strategy.
- Brainstorm a book idea around your blog’s niche. Start with a question your readers frequently ask.
- List out the major topics and potential chapter ideas. Research books already published on Amazon for ideas. What are other authors covering and what might they have missed? Check the reviews for each book. What did readers appreciate and what else did they want?
- Outline 8 – 10 chapter ideas and plan on writing one a week and posting it to the blog. This will not only help keep you on schedule but will keep you from falling behind on your blog.
- Once the chapters are finished, put them together in a single document and format for book layout.
- Making your book a passive income source is all about the launch, getting enough initial sales and reviews to trip Amazon’s algorithm and ranking your book. Reach out to your friends and family with a personal email, not just an update on Facebook, to ask for their help.
- When the book is published, you can go back through each post, add a callout for the book and your Amazon link…boom, each post is now a marketing channel for the book.
If you can get ten reviews during the launch and a few book sales a month, you’ll be able to keep your book ranked well enough to get organic sales from people using Amazon. Not every book will be a success so write a few so your income averages out. Among the ten books I’ve published, monthly income ranges from $100 for a couple of books to $500 on my most popular.
Amazon FBA, Create Your Own Brand
Our last online income source is a 21st century standout. Before 2006, it could cost tens of thousands or more to launch a retail business. You needed to rent a store, contract with a manufacturer and hire staff.
That meant few people could ever hope to compete with large, established companies for the trillions spent each year by consumers.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) has leveled the playing field and it costs less than $5,000 to create and market your own brand of…anything.
- Use a platform like Alibaba to find and contract with Chinese manufacturers for your product. You can design your own logo and product packaging to build your brand.
- The manufacturer ships everything to Amazon’s warehouses. Amazon charges a fee for processing each sale and shipping directly to your customers.
- Advertise your page with Amazon Marketing Services or through your blog to rank your product and earn organic sales.
- You still have to manage your inventory, making sure the manufacturer ships a new bulk order before you sell out of your warehouse inventory, but the FBA business model reduces the amount of tasks in a retail business to a minimum.
Want your own line of exercise equipment? No problem. Always dreamed of your own fashion line or designer jeans? It’s never been easier.
A little research on Amazon prices for a product and how much it will cost to produce and ship from your Chinese manufacturer can tell you exactly how much profit there is in each product. Profit margins generally run between 25% to 55% before marketing and you can increase prices by building a following around your brand.
These three online income sources aren’t completely passive, but they can grow into solid income and semi-passive cash flow. All three can be started in your free time and developed for a couple of years to start producing reliable monthly income that will keep growing even if you take a break.
What do you think? What’s your favorite of the three online income sources?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.