Is it possible to earn a living wage doing what you love and without leaving your house?
If you believe the mountain of ‘how to’ articles floating around online, you’re mere clicks away from living the good life and being able to put your feet up. We’re talking about the opportunities of passive income; earning money off work that has already been done.
Of course, there are no guarantees that you’ll earn substantial cash through your efforts but that doesn’t mean that you should not give this option some consideration. And if it means getting to work on something that you are passionate about, there’s no reason not to give it a go.
Passive income is money that you make through one or more channels, usually over the medium to long-term, with only limited input. It’s not a new thing, it’s just that in the past this lifestyle was only available to those who were wealthy enough to live off investments like property. Now, thanks to the internet, the possibilities to produce work and sell it online are endless.
Passive income is an appealing dream for many people, especially young people, whether you’re just looking to earn some cash while studying or want to see if make money from your passion projects. The internet offers the ability to work from anywhere, and opening a professional looking website has never been easier so there’s no excuse not to give your dream side-projects a go (especially if they could earn you some money).
Here’s some ideas to get you thinking about how you could start earning some passive income for yourself:
Write an eBook Self-publishing platforms like Amazon have made writing for a living possible. Publishing houses are no longer the gatekeepers of the industry. Non-fiction is the most lucrative route to take, unless you’re sure you have a Twilight or Harry Potter in you.
There is a broad market for instructional texts on niche subjects. You’ll need expertise or a willingness to acquire it (if you don’t already have it). Bonus points if it ties in with your degree or you already have a significant social media following to tailor it to.
Once your content is well written and researched, you have a shot at selling some books. Some eBook writers claim to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. You’ll need to carefully research niches to see where demand lies. If your content stays relevant you can continue earning royalties well into the future.
Do you have a way with words? Are you an undiscovered expert in your field? Then blogging could be both a rewarding pastime and a way to make a little extra money on the side. If you have a big audience you’ll attract advertising and affiliates. You could even sell your blog on to an investor.
The key to starting a blog is finding a relatively undeveloped niche. There are millions of travel, fashion and lifestyle blogs out there, but is there is certainly still scope to explore these areas with a different approach. Maybe you can focus on a travel blog where you don’t ever take planes or a fashion blog where you only wear clothes made or found in your local area? There’s loads of ideas out there, once you start thinking outside the box.
Creating a digital course
Creating a digital course requires good knowledge of your subject. Perhaps you’re an expert in Photoshop, a whizz at cooking Thai food or an expert fitness trainer.
Udemy enables you to create an online course using videos, slideshows and other resources. You can charge whatever you like for access. A good way to start is to offer your course for free and build up some positive reviews.
Again if you have a following on social media already, you have a captive audience. If you share beautiful images online, think about selling your photo filters or presets. If you are into fitness, think about sharing your guide to training.
Photography is a common hobby, but most budding photographers don’t try to sell their stuff online. If you know your way around a professional camera and can take high-quality pictures that meet the standards of image hosting and stock imagery sites, you have a great chance of selling your pictures.
Pick a couple of sites that you think would accept your image style and try uploading some images to see if they are accepted. Photo sites that will accept imagery include Fotolia, Pixabay, Alamay and Shutterstock.
Quantity AND quality is key to making some actual money off photos. If you are doing a shoot, take the photo and the subject from as many different angles as possible. Make sure you upload every option you have that is of a good quality. Keep updating your library and take note of the photos that work well for you (i.e make you some money!).
When you are at university, you are in academia which means you are learning intensively about your chosen field and also writing academic papers, essays and dissertations on the subject.
If you are writing a lot on one topic, you can create a regular journal of content. You can submit high-quality journals to academic hosting sites such as JSTOR. If accepted, your content could be hosted online and you will be paid a portion of subscription fees to your journal.
Creating a regular journal is no joke though, so consider working with some classmates to keep the ball rolling. At the very least, it will be a great experience and an asset to your CV.
And remember… passive income isn’t all that passive
What the examples above indicate is that, while there is the opportunity to make money, competition is fierce and you’ll need to work hard to ensure you capture a share of the market.
Any passive income stream will require significant maintenance and upkeep, and you definitely have to make sure that any side projects you undertake do not affect your grades. But if you’re prepared to put the work in to get your creations in front of potential buyers, you might find you’re able to supplement your income with work that you love and can do from anywhere. This, in the end, may allow you more time to focus on your studies.