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5 Passive Income Ideas Perfect for Solopreneurs

5 Passive Income Ideas Perfect for Solopreneurs

One of the things I miss most about working for someone else is time off with pay. When you’re able to go on a much needed vacation, enjoy a national holiday with family and friends, or simply take a sick day when you’re not feeling up to par—all without having to sacrifice your income to do it—it just feels different. It feels better.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to work every single day of the rest of your life as a solopreneur in order to earn a decent living. In fact, you shouldn’t. University of California Berkeley shares that regularly taking time off helps reduce stress, improves immune function, boosts productivity, and enhances creativity—all factors that can help you become a better business owner and sole employee.

So, how do you increase your revenues without overworking yourself to the point where you risk becoming burnt out? One option is to create passive income streams—which means that you do the work once and then draw residual income from that product or service for as long as it is available to your consumers—enabling you to continue to bring in cash even when you’re not actively working at your specific trade.

With that in mind, here are five passive income ideas that are absolutely perfect for solopreneurs.

Write a Book

As a freelance small business writer, this has to be my number one, right? Of course I’m going to promote my field, but there’s another reason why I like the idea of solopreneurs writing books. It helps them become recognized as experts in their field.

When a professional takes the time to share his or her knowledge in book form, it adds credibility to their expertise. It also shows their clientele that they’re not in their profession solely to make themselves rich, but rather to help their customer base solve some of their biggest problems. This increases their likeability, a factor critical to business success.

If you don’t have the time to write your book or don’t like to write, you can always hire a ghostwriter. This is someone who will write your book for you, yet still allow you publish it in your name as if you wrote it yourself.

The nice thing about a book is, once it’s out there, it’s out there. People can continue to buy it off your website, Amazon, or any other place you put it for sale and all you have to do is sit there and collect the check.

Plus, having a book gives you something to refer people to if they have a problem or question that you address in the book but they don’t necessarily want to hire you for. This frees you up to handle the bigger ticket items while also helping customers who either want to know more about a particular topic or prefer to do things themselves and just need some direction.

Create an Online Course

Speaking of needing direction and doing things themselves, another way to earn passive income is to create an online course that customers can purchase and take at their own convenience. This is especially appealing to those who don’t mind doing the work necessary to solve a problem they face, but aren’t sure what actions they should take.

For instance, if you’re a career coach, why not create an online course designed to walk people through the steps necessary to get the job of their dreams? Share everything from what their resume should look like in order to capture human resource’s attention to how to best respond to some of the most common interview questions.

Admittedly, this one can take some work up front (if I remember correctly, my online writing course took me about 8 hours to do). However, once it’s done, it’s done. All you have to do is get the word out that it exists and then collect the checks as more and more people sign up.

Developing Products

You can also earn passive income by developing products that are helpful to your customers. No, this doesn’t mean coming up with some complex gadget that has to be prototyped and put in mass production, but rather creating something that can be downloaded over and over again.

Think about the worksheets, checklists, white papers, or other types of digital products that would be most beneficial to your customer base. What information are you constantly being asked for? What are some of your customers’ most frequently asked questions?

Why not turn these things into passive income by creating products around them and placing them for sale your website? Give your customer base what they want most without having to recreate it every time and earn some money along the way.

Sell Other People’s Products or Services

If you don’t want to develop your own products, another option is to sell someone else’s. This is called affiliate marketing and essentially involves you earning a commission for selling another individual’s or business’s goods.

For example, if you are a plumber, you may sign up to be an Amazon Associate and create links on your website to some do-it-yourself items your customers can purchase on Amazon when handling smaller projects. This may include items such as plumbers tape or putty, or other commonly used plumbing tools. That way, when someone clicks on the link from your site and makes a purchase on Amazon, you earn a portion of the sale.

If you have a strong social media following and are considered an influencer in your field, other business owners may even reach out and ask you to promote their products or services, offering a commission if you do. This is another way to earn residual income.

Should you take this route, be sure to work with the other individual or business to set up a way to measure how many customers are buying based on your recommendation so you can easily tell how much commission you should get. Without this, you’ll have no way of knowing which of their customers bought because you suggested it.

Offer Advertising on Your Sites

Similarly, if you have a high-traffic website or a large number of social media followers, you can also leverage this financially by offering other businesses the opportunity to place advertisements on your online sites. Once the ads are created, you place them on your web page or social media profiles and you’re done.

Of course, you only want to advertise product and service providers that you would personally recommend to keep your integrity with your customer base. If you allow anyone and everyone to advertise on your site just to make some extra cash, you risk your clients viewing you as a sell-out, reducing your credibility in their eyes.

Earning passive income keeps the money coming in even when you’re not actively working. And that’s some of the best income there is.


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.