Robert Sullivan is a self-published author, blogger, social media manager, and more.
6 Ways to Make Passive Income With No Money
If you are truly looking for a great way to get ahead in this life, then you need to start looking at passive income streams. These are a means of creating positive income that don’t take any work (or at least minimal work) to maintain. Creating these forms of income usually requires one of two things, either money or time. This list forgoes the former and instead focuses solely on things you can do to earn passive income with no money.
You might be surprised to hear there are a lot of ways to do this, so don't think this list is entirely comprehensive, though these methods are tried and true. So if you're looking to get started down the road to financial freedom, then read on.
1. Write a Book
This is a perfect example of getting passive income without putting any money in it, the right way. You put in a lot of work upfront, and if you set things up correctly, you can reap royalties for years. Now there are some special precautions I would recommend when self-publishing a book, but it’s still one of the best sources of passive income out there.
The only problem with writing books is that it takes maybe a bit too much effort upfront before you start to get paid. And then, if you want to try and go with traditional publishing, you are going to have to get an agent, which can take months or even years.
Now that’s not to say that traditional publishing has lost its place, but if you are just starting out, then it may be better to self-publish a couple of ebooks for a quicker turnaround on your labors.
Also note that just because the book is done, that doesn't mean that you are. Doing this effectively means that you are going to have to put in some elbow grease to market it correctly. Contacting a few bloggers and getting them to review it is a good way of doing this. Understand, though, a lot of people do this, so it may take some convincing to get it into their hands.
2. Write a Blog
Starting a blog is one of the best ways to make passive income with no money. And the good news is that pretty much anyone can get on board. Even if you don’t have a dollar, you can sign up to create a free page on WordPress.com. Although if you were to go this route and have somewhere around 20 dollars a month you can drop on this, then I would actually recommend getting yourself your own domain name and hosting, as you would eventually do better in google search ratings.
Here is a video about how to get set up on WordPress for free, and as a bonus, it gives you a rundown of some basic operations.
One tricky part about this is figuring out what to write your blog about. There are literally millions of topics out there that you can cover, and some are more profitable than others. I wouldn’t recommend writing something just for the money involved, though. Good blogs that get high traffic tend to come from someone who is particularly passionate about what they are writing.
As for return of investment? Well, that’s up to you. The more time you put into making unique and engaging content, the more you are going to get out of it. Though, as a general rule of thumb, it takes somewhere around six months for blogs to start seeing some results. Although you can speed that up by learning how to write articles faster, it's actually estimated that blogs that get over 15 posts a month perform exponentially better. So it's worth taking the time to learn how to do it right.
You are also going to want to sign up for some form of affiliate program, like Google AdSense or Amazon’s affiliate program.
Chances are you are if you want to get serious in this, then you are going to take your time to learn about SEO (search engine optimization). It can make a drastic difference between a successful blog and one that never seems to pick up steam.
3. Start an Online Store
If you're looking to make passive income with no money, then there are few better ways than to start an online store. Starting an online store is pretty similar to creating a blog, as far as getting the website set up, but you are also going to want to create a shopping system on your site.
If you’re handy with coding, then you can do this for free, but here’s another time where a minimal investment can save you a lot of time in the long run. Shopify is a very simple way to get up and running in a very short period of time, and I highly recommend it.
Although, if you are savvy enough to run a blog to increase traffic to an online store, then you may want to take a look at this tutorial on how to integrate your Shopify store directly into your WordPress page.
But wait! What about products to sell in the store? You don’t have much unless you have those. Well, not to worry, there are plenty of free dropshipping companies out there. These companies will allow you to sign up and sell products from their catalog at a higher price. And the best part is you don’t even have to handle any inventory. Just send the order information their way, and the items will be shipped straight to the address you specify. The only real downside is that the profit margins on this kind of business are really slim, so you may have to get creative in what you are selling to avoid competition.
4. Write and Sell Music
Can you pick a tune, belt a chorus, or even synthesize music? Well, then you might be surprised at just how easy it is to start selling it online. You can sign up to begin selling music on Amazon in just a few minutes. Other platforms are a little tricky to get started on, though. iTunes, for example, doesn’t allow just anybody to publish their music with them, but there are a few companies that can help you out.
You might want to take a moment to think about how you are going to market it, though. I have never heard of someone buying a song that they haven’t heard before, and you are going to want to take note of that. If you want to make a name for yourself in the music industry, there is only one way to do it—get your song in front of as many people as possible for free.
A great way to do this is to sign up for Soundcloud. Even though you don’t make any money from them directly, you can use this and YouTube to get some attention to your work. Then it’s just a matter of redirecting them to the stuff you have for sale!
5. Design Products
If you're handy with some graphic software and have a flair for design, then you might be happily surprised that this is on the list of ways to make passive income with no money. It's as simple as making some catchy t-shirt designs. Websites like Spreadshirt and CafePress both allow users to create their own designs, mark up the prices, and keep the profits. No shipping, no handling, and no payment processing, just design and collect.
It's a pretty good system if you can market it correctly. Getting your wares in front of people is going to be the toughest bit, though. If you or a friend have an overactive social media profile, then you may want to share your designs through that network and see if you can pick up a few sales that way.
6. Post on YouTube
The last source of passive income on this list is perhaps all too obvious. I think it would be a stretch to find someone who doesn’t know that you can make money from YouTube. But nevertheless, it’s a great way to make some extra income if you can make quality videos. Though chances are you think you need some greed to start, right? Well, you don't. There are YouTubers who have over a hundred thousand subscribers and only use their phones' cameras. So don't go thinking you need to drop a couple of thousand dollars to start. This truly is a great way to make passive income without money.
You are probably going to want to make something that is evergreen, and it will definitely need to add value to your customer’s lives. What does that mean, you ask?
How to add value to a Youtube video:
- Make it entertaining
- Make it informative
- Be charming
- Show people how to do something
- Share a piece of art
To put it simply, it has to be something people actually want to watch. If you can do that, then you can start to gain traffic.
Bonus: You can use YouTube to help advertise all of the other methods on this list and make money on your advertising. If you wrote a book, then do an interview about it. Wrote a song? Put it up on YouTube to collect profits from people listening. Include it in blog posts and talk about the products you are selling. So long as you can keep it entertaining, you should be able to monetize both of them effectively.
While there are always more ways to make passive income with no money, I certainly hope this list gave you some ideas. Be sure to remember that all of these ideas are going to take a serious investment in time.
Not only do many of these methods take weeks or even months of work before you can even launch them, but it also takes time for them to gain popularity. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away, and keep at it. On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is going to pay you a little quicker, then there are other ways to make money online for free.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: What are your ideas for businesses that not only would provide me income if I begin, but also would profit those in need at the same time?
Answer: I've though about this too. One of the simplest systems I've seen is freerice.com. They split the advertising revenue with the needy. Though I suppose than any business that you start can essentially operate the same way. When I was a social media manager, the company I worked for would do pink label products to and donate a portion of the proceeds to help fight breast cancer. So don't think that it has to be the core of your business model. Though, starting any non-profit does allow you to take some of the proceeds as your salary. I believe it's up to 50% before you have to claim you are a for-profit organization. But I would double check that if I were you. You don't want to be on the wrong side of the law.
Michael on November 22, 2019:
Drop shipping is dead and has been for quite some time.
Joseph Thomas on June 29, 2019:
Thanks for the helpful &informative tips.
Robert P Sullivan (author) on June 14, 2019:
I've written 4 books (I'm working on more) and a couple of pieces of music, (several songs for a game that was on the app store) So don't go telling me it's not possible, I know what it takes to do these things, and I am telling you, anyone can do it if they apply themselves. That means you too! Go out there and try, and have yourself an amazing day!
Karrey on June 14, 2019:
Write a book, write music. Why didn't you also add "win a major golf championship, star in a movie or join the NBA" while you're at it?
sonda on March 17, 2019:
Thanks for the great suggestions
Farrah Young from Lagos, Nigeria on March 05, 2019:
I love all topics passive income as i see them as one of the best ways to build wealth.
Not many incomes streams beat earning money continuously from an effort you made just once.
I got to know about passive income a few years back and now I don't miss any opportunity to create one.
This is a good list and I have tried a few with good success.
Erudite Scholar on January 21, 2019:
This is a very interesting article.Thank you so much.
Thelma Alberts from Germany on January 03, 2019:
Very interesting and informative hub. I am thinking of self publishing whenever my book is finished. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year 2019.
The resource cannot be found. on November 29, 2018:
Robert P Sullivan (author) on September 29, 2018:
Self-publishing is a great way to go, but do be aware there are a whole different set of challenges to face. Marketing is going to be your biggest one. Figure out a way to get your books in the hands of readers BEFORE you release it. I suggest starting social media profiles for your professional endeavor now, then work with the groups that are most related to what you are producing, so that when the time comes, you can have a big launch. On top of that, don't underestimate the value of setting up book readings at schools, bookstores, and what-have-you. The more you get your work out there, the better it is going to do.
kirtidv2006 on September 28, 2018:
That's very helpful information. I am exploring writing childrens books myself. I am exploring options and so far self-publishing sounds like the better way as there will be benefits in the long run. thanks for sharing.
Robert P Sullivan (author) on September 02, 2018:
Hey Sigh, to respond to your comment about how each of these doesn't work without money.
1. You don't need luck, you just have to build a social media following before you release your book so that you have marketing, and you can make the cover yourself with some practice.
2. You can get free hosting at wordpress.com, Wix.com, blogger.com or even blog here on Hubpages. It's not as good as having your own domain name, but it still works.
3. You don't have to have your own products to sell, you can use dropshipping companies that allow you to sell their products for free.
4. Reaper, LMMS, Audacity and a whole load of other music making software exist, and they are free, so you don't have to pay for that.
5. You don't need photoshop, Gimp and Inkscape both work just fine, they are open source, and free. And there are a ridiculous number of tutorials on youtube for how to use them.
6. You don't need tons of expensive equipment to get started with a youtube channel. Literally thousands of people have gotten started with the camera and mic on their phone.
In the end, you can really do all of these for free, it's just a matter of whether or not you are willing to look for the answers, and put in the leg work to get it done.
Pedro Fidalgo on July 13, 2018:
Yes I believe in your ideas Robert. Need resilience and motivation!!
Thanks for the ideas and warm regards,
Sigh on July 09, 2018:
Wow, great article. 1 doesn’t work unless you’re very lucky and you do have to invest money into covers and editing and marketing.
2 you need to pay for a domain name
3 you need a product to sell
4 you need instruments or music software which costs money
5 you need photoshop and other software which cost money
6 you need equipment such as a camera to create high quality videos that people watch
Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan on June 24, 2018:
Incredibly awesome info.
swalia on February 27, 2018:
Greta ideas but need patience. One must not expect overnight results.
Robert P Sullivan (author) on July 25, 2017:
Actually I would say that a lot more people have the ability to write a book than you might think. It does take practice, and a lot of patience, but it's definitely achievable for the average person. Music is much the same, if you are devoted to learning how to do it, then there is no reason you can't succeed.
Jane Chong from New York on July 21, 2017:
Though not every person has the potential to write their own books, or music, I do like this article and the advice it's giving. Blogging is probably the best out of the many options presented.