Apparently, everyone and their grandmother is an Internet expert these days. With a handful of exceptions, all selected from the elite ranks of Neil Patel (Quicksprout), Joost de Valk (the man behind powerful SEO plugin Yoast), and moz wizard Rand Fishkin, almost everyone else is lying to you. They’re advertising alleged strategies for generating a passive income stream online that are not actually passive. This is the case because these strategies require too much sustained effort in time, and they do not even make you that much money (poor use of AdSense strategies, we’re looking at you!).
So, then, are there any legitimate ways of making money online and then keeping that money pouring in? Yes, there are, but we’ve counted a grand total of two basic methods. They can, of course, be refined, developed, meshed, remixed, and grown to utmost sophistication. However, at the end of the day, there are just two things that will help you earn a passive income stream online. Without further ado, here they are:
The Only 2 Legitimate Ways to Make Passive Income Online
Keep in mind that, while all these moneymaking methods are passive, the passive part begins after a long, difficult upfront overhaul, which can eat up hundreds of hours of your time. You can, of course, automate or outsource some or all of the work. But it all begins with a lot of effort, be it toward building a quality website, or producing and selling a worthy product. Yet, at the end of the day, when those email notifications with PayPal payment alerts start pouring in, you’ll finally understand what this passive income hub is all about.
Create a website and use basic strategies
• Join an affiliate program for your site. All you need to do is produce good content on a regular basis, as well as asking to join or sign up for an affiliate program. The only prerequisite is that your blog/site is super-niched, so that you would only be selling one type of product. Most website owners manage to make their first sale within a month. However, bear in mind that some products are easier to sell (ebook and other digital downloads) than others (fitness equipment producers don’t usually offer affiliate program partnerships).
• Create a price comparison website.
• Create a discount coupon website. Both this idea and the one above (price comparison website) will require massive amounts of digging for research, plus some ongoing work to keep them up-to-date. However, you can also hire a virtual assistant at the other end of the country—from California, even if you’re in Michigan or Colorado; heck, they can even live in India, regardless of your Ohio or Missouri address. They can do all the maintenance work for you, thus making this idea cooked up in our online income solution lab, somewhat more passive.
• Create an e-store with drop shipping or digital products. You can sell your own products, or affiliate with sellers from other industries. You can buy items wholesale from Asia and sell them overseas for a profit. Whatever you do, remember that platforms like Shopify have their limitations, and that automation is the key to success for such projects: the more you automate, the better.
• Create a lead generation website for a business. Whether you’ll be helping to sell their lucky amulets or pans and pots, your goal is to create a website that asks for emails and other details from lead captures. You would then sell these leads to the business you’re doing the work for.
• Sell ad space. This, of course, is the most tested-and-true of all passive online income generation methods. You can either sell ad space via Google, or directly to product manufacturers. The latter method is, of course, liable to generate more income, but careful how you tread, lest you should find yourself in direct violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
Sell a Product
• Create and sell an eBook. Starting at 60 to 80 pages at the very least, this project will likely take a couple hundred hours to complete. To sell it, you’ll also need a bit of online marketing skills, to create a good website, blog, and landing page for it. You might also want to promote it through guest posts, for instance, and also sell it through affiliates (who also require sales fee payments).
• Create and sell membership-only courses. You can keep this concept small, with one or two courses created in your immediate area of expertise—but be warned that even this will take a lot of effort, depending on how sophisticated you want the course to be. In between course plans, lessons, downloadable forms, and even video tutorials, you’re looking at a minimum of two months’ hard work upfront. However, if that course is good value, you’ll be cashing in quite soon. You may even consider starting your own online university, where you leverage the expertise of others and sell several courses at the same time.
• Curate public domain content. There’s no lack of great, free content out there, which belongs to the public domain. Hundreds of years of images and words, plus a couple of good decades of film are wasting away, in disorganized repositories. Organize it in an accessible, topic-centric fashion and you’ll have a goldmine on your hands.
• Sell anything you can create. Similarly, there’s no shortage of fulfillment companies for products as diverse as leggings, t-shirts, pouches, throw pillows, posters, and so on. Try Zazzle, RedBubble, CafePress, or Threadless, to be among the most creative designers of the www generation.
Image source: RedBubble.com
Of course, you can get as creative with the above list as you wish. You can mix up niche informative websites with drop ship stores and end up with… a niched drop ship e-commerce business! You can monetize in an endless array of ways online—or, better yet, you can automatize and outsource the process, simply invest your money, and let professionals handle the production, fulfillment, and delivery side of things for you.
5 Expert Tips for Capitalizing Passive & Residual Income Streams Online
#1 KISS, right from the get-go
Henry Ford, the inspiration for thousands of entrepreneurs and their web-based counterparts around the world, had a very simple concept, which has everything to do with scalability. It involved only selling one size and one color of a single product. The takeaway here, in what concerns passive online income streams, is to start simple and preferably keep it simple throughout, to avoid running into scalability issues later on—often enough far too late. In other words, diversify your website portfolio, if you will, but make sure to keep it down to a size where the periodic traffic and monetization reports can still be tracked by a single person: you, the investor.
#2 Dig into all the amazing advantages of automation
As Pat Flynn and many others, both before and after him, have explained, building a steady stream of passive online income is all about automating your investment and put it to work for you. Otherwise, there’s not much passivity to it. These days, there are plenty of tools, which have been designed to do just this—from HootSuite for social media, to ZenDesk for inbound support, to Shopify for building a simple, but effective online store for you. What you need to remember, when going into the business of making money online from passive sources, is that the more you automate right from the beginning, the more time you’ll have later on, to just kick back and enjoy the ride.
#3 Be the early bird
There’s plenty of advice out there on why you should tap into passive online income streams from a very early age. These days, webtrepreneurs are in their tweens and, with the ever-growing issue of post-college debt, there’s good reason why.
It’s My Biz is a startup initiative program aimed at tween girls, created by craft game company Fashion Angels
Image source: Youtube.com
The logic behind such a lifestyle choice is simple: the earlier you start making money, the earlier you can retire. That is not to say you can start cashing in on that 401(k) straight out of college, but rather that, by building a website early on, you can quickly build it to a nearly all-automatized income source, liable to produce a six-figure amount on your behalf each year. Try to start in your 20s at the very latest, build one solid product, and then work on diversifying your asset portfolio, while you explore new technologies and business opportunities.
#4 Be upfront from the beginning
#5 Find your niche and stick with it
In 2014, the number of online users on Facebook alone reached 1.4 billion. Google runs through more than 40,000 queries each second, which makes for 3.5 billion searches every day. Cisco has proclaimed the age we’re living in ‘the age of the ZetaByte’. With that much information being transacted, day in and day out, specialization has become all the more important—as evidence by the many tips in the previous section, which focus on the power and value of niches. Your goal is to create perennially relevant content, reduce the need for updates to a minimum, and then rake in on the income generated from your money-making website investment with no more effort than a few occasional tweaks here and there.
Here’s how Google search volume evolved over the course of its first 14 years in existence
Image source: InternetLiveStats.com
To conclude, the best thing about leveraging the power of the Internet to create passive or residual income streams, via money-making websites which promote various products or services, is that anyone can do it. Earning an estimated $100,000 in returns, after 2 or 3 years of investing into a website portfolio is not at all uncommon, as several online sources can attest. You can do all the work yourself: sign up for web content development classes, if you will. There are plenty of good ones available around the U.S., from NC to PA and Georgia, and several high quality paying online courses.
Alternatively, forget about going to class, or even applying to enroll. Check out online investment companies that can offer you a real profit for your digital property. This way, the state you live in, be it CA or NJ, won’t matter in the least anymore. You won’t have to watch out for pesky algorithm changes yourself. You won’t have to sort through countless freelance content writer applications, in search of a single good one. All you’ll have to do is check out your income passively multiply!