It's a term you'll usually hear about with investments like bonds, dividend-paying stocks, and rental real estate, but there are side hustles that can bring in passive income, too. You'll likely have to put in some work upfront and you may have to take on some small ongoing tasks, but, ultimately, you could continue bringing in money without putting in active effort.
"Passive income streams have helped me feel more secure as my own boss," Jen Glantz, founder and CEO of the business Bridesmaid for Hire, recently told Grow. "This year in particular, when some of my longstanding clients and jobs were paused because of the pandemic, these passive income strategies have continued to bring in income month after month."
Personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi recently told Grow she was able to raise her earnings 25% by offering courses and workshops. "I have skills, there are things that I know, that I don't just do, that I can share and people will pay for that," she says.
Here are three sites to consider using to build a course:
The internet is rife with e-books about every imaginable subject matter and of every length. If you love writing and have expertise on a given topic or are part of a community that loves a specific genre (romance novels, anyone?), consider writing a work of nonfiction or fiction about what you know or love.
"Listen to what people are asking and what they're interested in," says Michelle Jackson, a digital entrepreneur who's written more than 15 e-books.
Video by Courtney Stith
Jackson's first e-book was about Colorado, her home state. "I would get all these questions about moving here," she says, "So I was clued into the fact that that's a book."
Jackson recommends looking into publishing platforms including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Gumroad. And don't be afraid to set a fair price. "I do not subscribe to the 99-cent book," she says. "If you can afford $3.52 for a cup of coffee in Denver, not including tip, then you can pay $2.99 minimum for any of my books."
Keep in mind fees will eat into that list price. Barnes & Noble charges a 15% commission fee, for example, while Gumroad charges either 8.5% plus $0.30 per sale or 3.5% plus $0.30 per sale, depending on which type of account you have.
Whether you're an avid traveler or you simply know a few popular travel destinations like the back of your hand, perhaps from living or growing up in one, you may be able to monetize your knowledge. Consider writing a personalized travel itinerary to a specific location on sites like Wild Bum.
Wild Bum guide architects, as they're called, typically charge $25-$150 for each itinerary they write and keep 75% of every sale.
If you own a house or apartment and plan to be out of town at some point during the year, consider listing your home on Airbnb. Airbnb hosts make an average of $924 per month, according to lending platform Earnest. Keep in mind the coronavirus pandemic may influence regular earnings as less people are currently traveling.
If you're Airbnb-ing your home during the pandemic, make sure to follow their latest guidelines on staying safe, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distance when interacting with guests and following the site's enhanced cleaning protocol.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
You can make money renting more than just your space. Here are a few other items you can rent out.
To limit your risk during the pandemic, make sure to keep items and surfaces clean according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the company that made the item may also have guidelines on its website), and to adhere to social distancing protocols when meeting with any renter.
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