Is there anything better than making money while you sleep? I mean, wouldn’t you love to wake up with an influx of cash creeping into your bank account?
I know this concept sounds crazy, but passive income is more than a pipe dream. Forbes contributor Brianna Wiest calls it an infinite potential income stream for a reason. The point, she says, it that “there’s always a possibility.”
Before I dive into my favorite ways to earn money without a lot of work, I want people to know the two reasons I love this topic so much. First, passive income seems to be insanely controversial for some reason. Whenever I write an article or post YouTube videos about the prospect of earning money passively, people in the comments go insane.
They often tell me I don’t know what passive income means, or that I have no idea what I’m talking about!
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The second reason I love passive income so much is the obvious one — it’s had such a dramatic impact on my life. Earning passive income has helped my family reach so many goals . We’re able to give generously and live life on our own terms due to the freedom passive income provides.
To prove what I’m saying here, I want to introduce you to ten passive income strategies I personally use to earn $1,000 per month or more. If you’re ready to set yourself up for life, you’ll want to pay attention.
#1: Dividend paying stocks and other investments
The first passive income idea on this list does take some start-up cash, but it absolutely helps me earn more than $1,000 per month. Dividend-paying stocks, ETFs, and other investments like Fundrise and Lending Club are helping me earn money around the clock – and all with no work on my part. While the amounts I have invested in these accounts vary, they’re all paying me more than $1,000 per month.
Dividend investing in particular has been a profitable endeavor for me and for many other investors. According to Forbes contributor Brett Owens, dividend investors who look ahead have the potential to score annual returns of 15%, 20%, or even 25%, if only they pick the right dividend-paying stocks and stay the course.
Obviously, it takes time and consistent investing to build up your portfolio where you’re earning $1,000 per month. But you have to start somewhere, right?
#2: Affiliate Marketing
Where investing is a wealth-building strategy that has been around forever, the second passive income option on this list is fairly new. Affiliate marketing is an income idea that requires you to have a website or platform you can use to promote other companies, or “affiliates.” When someone uses your affiliate link to purchase a product or sign up for a service, you get paid.
My main website,, earns all kinds of affiliate income through relationships we have with investment firms, insurance companies, online banks, and more. But you don’t have to do things the way I did; you could start nearly any type of website and find affiliates that work in your niche.
And remember, you don’t necessarily have to start a blog per se. I know people who are crushing it with affiliates using YouTube, podcasts, and other avenues. You can even build an affiliate business using social media!
#3: Display Ads
Another way I earn more than $1,000 per month passively is by using display ads. Once again, this is going back to the blog. The beauty of having online property is the fact that you can monetize it in so many ways.
Display ads work like billboards you see on the side of the highway, only they’re featured on your website instead. The point is that advertisers are paying to promote their products — their ads just so happen to be on your website.
Most display ads are set up by ad networks that work as the middlemen between you and advertisers who want to pay you. The best part about display ads is they are entirely passive. You can get paid a ridiculous amount of money based on your traffic — even while you sleep!
#4: CPC Ads (Cost Per Click)
With affiliate advertising, you only get paid when someone clicks on your link and signs up for something or buys something. Display ads, on the other hand, pay based on the amount of traffic and eyeballs you get on their ads.
With CPC ads, also known as “cost per click” ads, on the other hand, you get paid when someone clicks on an ad no matter what they do after that. I don’t have to hope and pray they buy something or sign up for anything at all. Every single click puts money in my bank account.
Does that mean I can head to my own website and click on ads all day long? I guess I could, but eventually that company would figure out what I’m doing and cut me off! With that in mind, clicking on your own ads should not be a part of your strategy here. Instead, try to build up traffic so your ads are seen by more and more people every day.
#5: Sell leads
After I launched Good Financial Cents, I launched a niche insurance site called Life Insurance by Jeff. Believe it or not, but I was able to generate $100,000 in income within just nine months of launching this website.
While building the website wasn’t passive at all, we made a lot of changes to the website over time to make it much more passive. Eventually, I even decided selling the leads my website generated was a lot better deal than earning commissions when a purchase was made.
While selling leads is a lot less lucrative than earning life insurance commissions, I realized over time that selling life insurance was way too much work. If I was going to keep things going, I would need to hire people, manage a team, and put in a lot of hours. I wasn’t really interested in doing any of that, which is why I opted to start selling leads instead. Now that I do, I’m bringing in passive income with hardly effort on my part.
#6: Course Sales
As of right now, the only course I sell is an online marketing course for financial advisors. Even though I hardly promote it at all, I still get plenty of sales. The course isn’t cheap, either — it’s $2,500!
While it took a ton of work to create this course three years ago, really all I’ve done since then is sit back and collect money off the occasional sale. I easily make over $1,000 per month with the course now, and that’s on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I made when I was actively promoting it every week.
With this in mind, earning money with course sales is not as easy as turning on a switch! You have to create the course first, which can require weeks or months of your time. Once you’re done with the work required to create your product, however, the income can become passive.
Holly Johnson, a professional freelance writer who earns over $200,000 per year creating online content, is another successful entrepreneur who is doing well with course sales. Johnson launched her Earn More Writing freelance writing course in 2017 and has sold over 700 courses for $199 each since then. In January of 2019, she also launched a “Pro” version of her course that retails for $349. She sold 40 on the first day.
“Selling 700 courses doesn’t sound like a lot,” says Johnson. “But when the price of a course is a hundred dollars or more, you don’t have to sell thousands to earn considerable income.”
That’s a good point, and it’s one to consider if you have skills to teach that people will pay $100 or more to learn. If you can get enough people to buy or your price is high enough, courses can bring in plenty of cash flow over time.
#7: Create a Digital Product
While courses are digital products you can sell over and over, there are other types of digital products you can dive into. I’m talking about e-books, online instruction guides, and basically anything else you can market and sell online.
My latest digital product is an online challenge that helps people earn $1,000 online. I actually offered this challenge for free, but I gave the option to pay $7 for an upgraded package with PDFs and instructional worksheets.
This upgrade is only $7, but even small amounts can add up quickly when you’re selling a couple hundred per month.
If you think digital products can’t work, consider a Forbes interview I did in 2016 with Christian rockstar Chris Greenwood. While Greenwood has earned considerable sums of money online now, his first product was a self-published book.
Greenwood launched the book idea on Kickstarter and raised $20,000! This just goes to show how a little idea can translate into big profits with the right plan.
The bottom line: Think of an online product you can create that solves a problem or provides a service. Once you create it, you can sell it over and over and earn passive income in your sleep.
#8: YouTube Ads
While YouTube ads aren’t nearly as “passive” as some income-producing strategies on this list, they still fit in with the rest of this post. I’m making YouTube videos anyway, so why not post ads that bring in additional revenue? The passive part comes in because I make the video once and earn income over and over as more and more people see it.
For example, I took a ton of time off with my kids over the holidays since they were out of school. I don’t think I recorded any videos during that time — okay, maybe one — but the passive income continued rolling in since just as many people logged into YouTube to watch my show.
And it’s amazing just how much content YouTube viewers consume. Some people make a living with videos about extremely random topics. Take the “Slime Queen” Karina Garcia, who boasts over 10 million social media followers who tune into watch her play with slime. She is only 24-years-old according to Forbes, yet she’s making bank!
If you love being on video and want to earn some passive income while you sleep, YouTube ads are where it’s at.
#9: My Financial Planning Practice
Even though I live with my family near Nashville, Tennessee, I owned a financial planning practice in Illinois until recently. I hadn’t stepped foot in that business forever, but it still continued bringing in a healthy amount of profit.
How much? My financial planning process has brought in over $400,000 in revenue every year for the last few years — and with almost no work on my part.
But, it took me a while to get to that point. Where I once worked in my financial planning office on most days, I started by testing things out with a few days per month away from the office at first. From there, I began working remotely 2-3 days per week, then 4-5 days per week, and so on. Eventually, I was able to run my business remotely without ever having to show up for work.
You may be wondering how this is passive since I obviously built this business many years ago. The reality is, creating this business from scratch was a lot of work.
The thing is, I have slowly disengaged each year as I have hired competent people to run the day-to-day operations. The end result is a business that has consistently provided passive income while I sleep.
#10: Selling a Business
While I loved being a financial advisor and running a financial planning practice from afar, I eventually decided I was done. In late 2018, I decided my financial practice was a distraction and sold it! Yes, you read that right; I sold my financial planning practice.
Selling a business can sometimes lead to upfront income you get right away; other times, you’ll receive payments over several years.
My situation falls in the latter category since I’m getting paid for my practice in monthly payments. This means for the foreseeable future, I’ll receive completely passive income in my bank account every single month.
Like owning a business and managing it from a distance, selling a business requires a lot of work upfront. You have to build the business first and get it to start producing revenue. Only then will you have a business someone will pay for.
Once you reach that point, however, you can achieve the holy grail of passive income — a huge sum of money that’s hitting your bank account each month.
The Bottom Line
If you’re reading this and thinking “there’s no such thing as passive income,” that’s a shame. You’ve already decided the premise of this article is false, so you’ll never start the journey to build passive wealth that increases over time.
I hope you love your 9-5 job, cause you’re going to be there a while. If you need me, I’ll be over here building even more passive income streams that work around the clock — even when I don’t feel like it.