We’re going to look at 9 different ways that you can make passive income. For each of those, I’m going to talk about how hard it is to get started, how hard it is to make a hundred dollars a month from it and how hard it is to maintain once you’ve created the thing in the first place
For me in my business, these 9 different sources generate around $27,000 per week these days, with varying degrees of passiveness. Obviously, this has taken me like 8 years to build up.
So don’t expect to be hitting those sorts of numbers when you first get started. But this is what I wish I would have had when I started my financial Independence many, many years ago.
So when I say passive income, I always air quote it because there is really no such thing as passive income. There is no way to make money without doing anything at all.
But when I say, passive income, what I mean is that it’s money that is not directly tied to what time. So let’s say you were to write the book, you publish said book and that book is now bookshelves.
You’ve done the work, once to write and publish a book, but now anytime the book sells you make money from royalties and that is passive income.
You can literally be making money while you sleep, because you’ve created this thing, which is out in the world, generating income for you.
The other thing with passive income is they always takes a very long time to get going. So if you see any ads when you are on online talking about how you can get rich quick by whatever scheme that is all a scam. It’s not going to work. There is no way to get rich quick, it is not a thing.
So you might as well not even try. And the way I think of this is that ultimately money is just a medium for exchange.
The only way to make money is to provide value. And the only way to make passive income passive money is to provide value in a way that is not directly tied to your time. So, please do not try and join a get rich quick scheme.
The only way to make money is by providing value. And so let’s talk about the nine different ways that you could provide value.
Investing in Stocks & Shares
Let’s kick things off with investing in stocks and shares. And in this context, the way that we provide a value is by offering up our money. Providing money and investing in a service is in a way giving it form of value.
So, when we give our money to a company in the form of buying that stock, it makes sense that we would get some kind of return for that investment. We’re starting with this because investing in stocks is the easiest way to make any kind of passive income.
If you have any sort of savings and they’re sitting in a savings account, earning 0.01% interest, they’re not really doing very much for you.
Whereas, if you had those stay savings and put them in stocks, you could potentially be earning passive income from the money that’s otherwise, just sitting there.
The thing that I recommend for most beginners as a non-financial advisor is that basically all my money that’s in stocks and shares is invested in index funds.
Index Fund is something like the S&P 500 and when you invest, let’s say a $1000 in the S&P 500, that basically means that your $1000 is distributed amongst the top 500 biggest companies in the US.
So, weighted by how big they are, 2% of it would be an Apple, 2% in Facebook, 2% in Google, 2% in Microsoft and then you probably wouldn’t have heard of the 500th company on the list,
Basically all the big US companies you’ve heard of, you end up investing in all of them a little bit at a time. So if you want to get started with that, all you need to do is sign up to a stockbroker.
If you’re in the U.S you can use a Webull. If you’re in the UK, you can use the Freetrade or Vanguard, basically, whatever country you’re in, just Google the phrase, “best stock broker platform” with your country name and you’ll find something that works.
It then becomes very easy to be able to invest in an index fund.
So within our side hustle assessment Matrix. We’re going to give the difficulty of starting this option a one out of five star rating. It’s very, very easy to get started.
How hard is it to make $100 a month by investing in stocks and shares?
Well, this kind of depends because it depends on the performance of the stock market overall. In the last 12 months from 2020 to 2021. The S&P 500 has actually increased by about 50%. That is a lot because it’s like gone up by about 50% despite Covid-19 and everything going on.
In April 2020, if you had invested $2,400in the S&P 500. The fact that it’s gone up by 50% means you would have made $100 a month, but obviously this is not the way to look at it because you know, things can go up and down and the stock market has a different level levels of performance depending on what time period you looking at.
If we average out the last 30 to 50 years, the S&P 500 is had a roughly ten point something percent return. Which means every year on average over the long term, it goes up by around 10%.
This is not inflation-adjusted for any economist among us, so if we do some “back of the envelope” calculations, if we want to earn $100 a month passively through stocks and shares we would need around about $12,000 invested in the S&P 500 to make that 10% $1,200 a year, which is $100 a month.
Overtime we have compounding and if you put in $7,500 in the S&P 500 and you left it there for five years, then five years later, you would be making roughly $100 a month. If we go by this, very average figure of 10% a year,
Or if you invested $5,000 in the S&P 500, then 10 years later, you’d be making a $100 a month in purely passive income again, assuming the 10% average.
So overall, how hard is it really to make a hundred dollars a month in passive income from stocks and shares.
Well, it kind of just depends on how hard is it for you to make $5,000, $7,000, $5000 or even $12,000 in savings and put them into a stock market index fund.
Crucially, this is money that you shouldn’t need to touch in the next 5 to 10 years at least. So basically, how easy is it for you to them in? To make that sort of money, obviously, varies massively depending on which country you’re in and what your circumstances are and what your job is.
But if you’re in the UK or the US where the median kind of average salaries round about $50,000, then again, depending on your circumstances. It’s not that hot to get $10,000 in savings.
Obviously, if you’re supporting a family of 15 people on $50,000, it’s different. If you’re a single person, again, it’s different, but I’m going to give this roughly a 3 out of 5 star rating for difficulty of getting $100 a month.
Obviously, if you live in a country like India, where the average salary is $3,600 a year, it’s very, very difficult to make $10,000 in savings overall.
Finally, the third category in our side hustle assessment matrix is how hard is it to maintain this income once you’ve set it up in the first place.
Now, we’re going to give this a 1 star out of 5 because once you’ve got the money in, you just set it up and forget it and it’s not that hard to maintain.
There are other sources of passive income that require higher degrees of maintenance over time but stocks and shares is a very easy way to make passive income.
To use my personal example, these days, my stocks and shares portfolio, which I’ve been investing in since 2015 is now worth around about $350,000 and the vast majority of that is in the S&P 500 Index Fund.
Now I can’t be bothered to walk at the actual inflation adjusted return for that, but again, if we assume a rough average of 10% a year, then that averages out to around $680 per week in purely passive income.
Starting A YouTube Channel
Number 2 for generating passive income is to start a YouTube channel. Using our side hustle assessment matrix, well, I’m going to give this one out of five stars.
Just go to YouTube.com, You click create a channel and you can upload videos, by just filming with your phone and uploading. In reality, it’s a lot harder to make good videos and making.
Good videos is how you grow on YouTube, but getting started on YouTube is very straightforward.
The real question is, how hard is it to actually make real money from YouTube?
Let’s say we want to make $100 a month in passive income. What does that look like?
Well, firstly to be eligible for monetization on YouTube, you need 1000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time. It took me 6 months and 52 videos to get my first 1000 subscribers. And if we look at the averages, it actually takes on average and 90-something videos to get to 1000 subscribers.
So that’s quite hard. If you’re thinking, you’re gonna start a YouTube channel and start making money from day one, your that’s basically not going to happen.
It took me 52 videos, six months to get there. So if people message me like hey, almost all you do not like you have to be able to put in the effort and do. This for a very long time at least once a week, I say, for at least, two years before, you can expect anything in return. But let’s say you’ve had your phone subscribers and you 4,000 hours of watch time.
How hard is it to actually make a $100 a month? Well, on average, the kind of revenue per thousand views on YouTube is run about $2. So this varies massively.
Let’s say on average about $2 per thousand views. Therefore, if you want to make a hundred dollars a month, you need 50,000 views on YouTube to make $100 a month.
Let’s say you make one video per week, and let’s assume you’re not getting any traffic on your older videos. That means every video you make needs to get around about 12,500 views and very roughly the average YouTube channel can expect around about 20% of their subscribers to equal, the average view count for each video.
So on YouTube, if you had 60,000 subscribers, very roughly. You can expect 20% of them. , i.e 12,500 views on each video and assuming you have no evergreen content of the long term, you would need to run about 60,000 subscribers to be making a $100 a month.
In reality, you make $100 a month, a lot before, 60,000 subscribers, but when it comes to assessing, how hard is this to do, I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5 Stars.
It’s actually very hard to make compelling YouTube videos and it’s very easy to get started, but it’s hard to do.
Well, it’s totally worth it. Great skill set is really fun. Get to meet people across the internet, into their, how to talk to a camera, and how to film and video editor, and it’s really great but it’s very hard to actually make money.
Finally, in terms of effort, to maintain like, actually getting that first 1000 subscribers is a lot harder than keeping it growing. Once you’ve got a 1000 subscribers and watch channel is growing. It means you’ve landed on a formula that works.
So maintaining it that becomes easier than starting from scratch. And so in a side hustle assessment Matrix, we’re going to give maintenance of a YouTube channel passive income stream to be round about 2 out of 5 stars.
There are other ways of monetizing YouTube, like brand deals and like, selling merchandise or other sort of stuff, but it doesn’t really count as passive income through YouTuber that is why I am not including this in this side hustle assessment matrix,
Starting A Podcast
Number 3 for making passive income is to start a podcast. This is generally easier than starting a YouTube channel. Although growing a podcast is a lot harder than growing your YouTube channel, because podcast themselves don’t really have a algorithm that’s helping them grow.
In fact, a lot of podcasts grow by having a YouTube channel, which is kind of weird. The question then would be; how hard is it to start a podcast?
Well, again, one out of five stars, it’s very, very easy to start a podcast, go on Anchor.Fm and you can literally use your phone.
You can pass your phone around between you and your friends, and you can start a podcast. This is not quite passive income, because the way podcasters make money is by relying on brand deals.
There is no YouTube AdSense for podcasts. And so you need a sponsorship or a brand deal to make any money for your podcast, generally speaking, and apparently you can expect to make around $18 for a 30-second ad in a podcast and $25 per 1,000 views or 1,000 listens for a 60-second a.
So if you want to make a hundred dollars a month and assuming you have a stream of sponsorships who are giving you that level of sponsorship deal based on your download numbers, you would need around 1,000 downloads per episode.
If you have a weekly podcast, so you would have 4,000 downloads a month. And if you’re putting a 60-second ad in there for $25 per 1,000 views that would make you write about a $100 a month by having a 1,000 downloads per episode and 4 episodes per month.
This begs the question, how hard is it to get a thousand downloads per month? Well, it’s a lot harder to get 1000 podcast downloads per month than it has to get 1,000 YouTube views of month.
Because we get YouTube has so much distribution built in its different podcasts. Also loads more people on YouTube that on podcasts, but if you look at this, That’s then it’s the top 20% of podcasts in the world that get on average, more than 1,000 downloads per episode
Going back to our side hustle assessment matrix, starting a podcast is 1 out of 5 stars making $100 a month going to give that 3 out of 5 stars, because it’s hard, but not as hard as maybe monetizing on YouTube where you have this minimum threshold.
Finally maintenance, well, it’s not really passive income because you do have to keep on making podcast episodes because the brand deals are associated with that.
But again, once you’ve stumbled on a formula that works, once, you know, how to be a podcaster, it’s easier to continue going.
Once you’ve already got started, as is the case with most things and so in terms of Maintenance of the podcast, I’m going to give that to stars
Becoming an Affiliate Marketer
Idea number 4 for generating passive income is to become an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketing means that you are selling other people’s products, but you’re getting a percentage of the sales from those products.
Now, apparently 48% of affiliate marketers globally own $20,000 a year, which is $1,600 a month and it’s actually not bad at all.
People are doing very well with affiliate marketing overall So, how hard is it to get started with affiliate marketing? Well, I’m going to give this a 2 out of 5 Stars.
Basically, you can just sign up to an affiliate program like, Amazon Associates. So Amazon have their own affiliate program, which I think is probably the biggest in the world.
Then once you have your little special links, you can post those on your website or Twitter, or social media, or whatever. If people buy the product through your link or in fact, buy any product on Amazon through your link, you’ll get a percentage of the sales.
But how hard is it to make a hundred dollars a month?
Well, this is actually kind of hard. Let’s say you had a product that was $50 and you were trying to sell to get 5% commission on it. That will be pretty good. Amazon doesn’t offer nearly as much as 5%. It offers about 2-3%.
Let’s say your average conversion rate i.e. people visiting the product store versus people actually buying the product after product store. If we give that 1%, which is pretty reasonable for conversion rate.
You would need 8,000 visits to your website or whatever to make $100 a month. It is actually quite hard to get 8,000 visits per month to your website or to a specific product page.
Generally doing well in affiliate marketing requires lots of upfront efforts, in terms of either building an audience or building such domain authority in whatever space you are in that you’re organically getting traffic from.
Other than Amazon, there are a few other affiliate programs that I’m part of one of them is Skillshare.
Skillshare have an interesting affiliate program where if you refer someone to sign up for a free trial of skillshare, you can get $7 in affiliate commission, just for that thing.
So, if you wanted to make $100 a month from a videos, you need 15 people every month to sign up for skillshare with your affiliate link thing. How hard is it to get 15 people a month to sign up with your affiliate link? Well, it’s not that hard if you have an audience and it’s not that hard if you have your own classes on Skillshare.
So going back to our side hustle assessment matrix, how hard is it to make $100 a month?
I’m going to give this a 3.5 star rating because again, you need an audience and the way you build an audience is by creating useful content, putting it for free on the internet, once a week and doing this for at least two years.
If you just follow the 3 steps, I guarantee, you’ll have an audience and you’ll be able to make some money through passive income.
It’s quite hard to do and no one sticks to it for, at least two years. So we’ll give that a 3.5 star rating. The good news is, once you’ve created in, once you started making money from affiliates and it’s actually quite easy to maintain,
because especially if you have Evergreen content, the sort that isn’t relying on like current affair or the latest news, the sort that people might search for over a long period of time, this becomes like a relatively reasonable passive income.
Selling Digital Products
Method number 5 of making passive income is by selling digital products. These are products that you create once like an e-book or a download or app or something like that. You create it once and then you can sell it multiple times because selling digital products doesn’t usually have any cost association with it.
So, how hard is it to get started making digital products? I mean anyone can write any e-book, any book counts as a digital product.
I’m going to give this a two-star rating to out of 5 stars, but obviously, like, again, money is an exchange of value. So the thing that you’re selling, you have to be providing enough value to make up for the price that you are selling it for.
That’s often quite hard, especially if you don’t have any experience in this sort of field. You know, it’s very easy to create an e-book but it’s a whole different ballgame trying to get people to actually buy your e-book, your icon set, your app or your website themes because the market around the stuff is so competitive.
You have to be genuinely really good to get people to buy your stuff and the way you get people to pay money for something as that, you identify a problem that they have, you solve that problem in a charge money for it.
If you can do those three things then you can surely make $100 a month.
I will give this 3 out of 5 stars to make $100 a month from selling products. Finally, in terms of maintenance, we’re going to give this a 2 out of 5 stars because usually you do have to maintain your product a little bit, but it’s often easier to do like it much easier to maintain a product that created from the first place idea.
Selling A Course
Number 6 for passive income generation is to create online course. Online course is sort of like a digital product but generally online courses are in video format.
In terms of getting started we’re going to give the starting difficulty a 2 out of 5 stars because it’s not that hard to make an online course,
But generally you do need to know how to do video. You actually could film an online course on your iPhone or whatever phone you using. Just stick your phone on the side, record and teach something. So it’s not hard creating one.
But in terms of making $100 a month, again at that point, your course needs to actually be good and that’s the only reason that people will pay for it.
You can avoid having to charge for your online courses by using a website like Skillshare. That’s actually a really good deal because I also pay for Skillshare. I’ve been paying for it for years, even after I started teaching on it.
Because it is genuinely a fantastic place to learn stuff, they have thousands of classes on all sorts of topics. It is a genuinely good place to teach stuff because you can teach things on Skillshare with directly having to charge for them.
It’s kind of like having something on Netflix in that the end user does not have to pay directly for the products. The other nice thing about Skillshare is that, it’s sort of like YouTube in that anyone can upload a class to Skillshare provided it meets certain quality requirements.
So it’s a lot easier than having to make your own website and create your own courses platform and all that kind of stuff.
It was a 2 out of 5, but how hard is it to make $100 a month from teaching online courses?
This kind of depends if you’re going down the Skillshare route, then to make $100 a month on Skillshare, you need, right about 1700 minutes of watch time, which is 28 hours of watch time.
So if you have a one-hour class on Skillshare, you need 28 students to take that class every month and watch it with the premium membership and that will give you round about $100 a month.
The question then is, how hard is it to get 28 people a month watching your class?
If your class is actually pretty good, it should be that hard to get 28 people a month watching it. If you have an existing audience, it’s very easy to get those numbers because the people who are watching it already know, like and trust you.
They’ll watch your stuff and give you a shot because you’ve already built that goodwill with them.
Again the nice thing about Skillshare as a platform is that they have their own algorithm, so the good courses rises to the top. If you genuinely have a good class and you put it on Skillshare, then, even if you don’t have an audience, there is still a high chance that is if the class is actually good at people.
When people recommend and give a high ratings, it will rise to the top and it will start getting recommended to people who find it on Skillshare homepage or search for it specifically.
The other way of making $100 a month for a course is to just charge $100 for a course, and then if you do that, you just need one sale in every month. So how hard is it to get one person a month to buy your course?
The world of online education is exploding so much every year, more and more money is being spent on online education, especially with the whole pandemic stuff. So if you have a valuable skill that you can teach, I think courses are one of the best ways of making passive income.
It’s fun to create course you can teach stuff. You don’t need that many technical skills, like making a website or anything like that. Just upload it on Skillshare and then people can take your course and learn on the internet.
Once you’ve made the course and once you’re making a $100 a month from it, maintaining that level is actually quite easy. We’re going to get that a 2 out of 5 stars because generally you don’t need to update the course that often and you can do that once in a while. You just need to make sure you’re getting reasonable amount of traffic to it and hopefully that traffic will grow up time
Building A Membership Community
Idea number 7 for passive income is by creating some kind of paid membership or community model.
This is generally a bad idea unless you have an existing audience. Everything becomes easier when you have an existing audience by creating content that has been valuable over a long period of time, and very consistently, that audience know, like and trusts you and so when you say “hey guys, sign up to my Patreon.”, then some people are likely to do that thing.
The other way of doing a membership is by creating a value proposition that is so compelling that people would be willing to pay for a community like service for this.
You need a big audience to make a significant amount of money from Patreon. This also depends on how much you are charging for them and exactly what value you are providing.
How hard is it to start a membership program? Well, it’s very easy to start one so we wil gove this a 1 star, just make an account on a membership platform like Patreon.
To make $100 a month, you need to provide $100 a month worth of value, which is quite hard to do so we will give that a 4 out of 5 stars.
Once you have gotten the formula and making $100 a month, it becomes much easier to maintain it due to way the economics of membership community’s work, provided you keep showing up and providing value in some capacity.
Automating A Business
Idea number 8 for generating passive income is creating a business that sells goods or services and then automating or delegating aspects of that business so that the income that you generate from it is reasonably passive.
This is the stuff that Tim Ferris talks about in his in the “4-hour work week”, where there are a lot of businesses that you can make where you are selling goods or services and then delegate or outsource, automate in intelligent ways to make the passive income.
These are generating passive income from a kind of goods and service-based business but it’s quite hard to get started with this stuff.
To get started, we are going to give this a 4 out of 5 star rating because you first need to create a business which is quite hard to make a business that genuinely provides value.
Equally we are going to give it a 4 out of 5 star rating for making a $100 a month in revenue.
Building an App or Website
Last idea is to build an app or a website or some kind of software product that you can offer either as a one off or more likely these days as a subscription service.
If you look at a website like inidehackers.com, there are literally hundreds of examples of people who have built software businesses that are making passive income and they share the revenue numbers, they tell you how they got started and give you tips as well.
In terms of setting these things up, I will give it a 5 out of 5 star rating because to make an app is actually quite hard. You have to know how to code for the most part.
You have to be able to offer something compelling and you have to actually build it which takes a lot of work and it’s very hard but it’s a lot fun.
Once you have made it, I’m going to give this a $100 difficulty a month a 4 star rating. You can make an app, but then getting people to purchase the app is an entirely different set of problems to overcome.
The nice thing is that with maintenance, it is actually easier to implement so we will give it a 3 star rating