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Six Ways to Make Passive Income When You Have No Money

Updated on July 26, 2017
Robert P Sullivan profile image

Robert Sullivan is a self-published author, blogger, social media manager, and more.

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. There are a lot of ways this can be done of course, but if you are just getting started, and don’t have a lot of cash in your pocket, then I recommend these ways of generating passive income that don’t cost a dime.

It's nice just being able to call yourself an author.
It's nice just being able to call yourself an author.

Write a Book

This is a perfect example of doing passive income right. You put in a lot of work up front, 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 up front 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 turn around on your labors.

Write a Blog

Writing a blog is a proven way to get some serious income over time. 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 one 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 about. There are literally millions of topics out there which 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 in to 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, so keep that in mind and plan ahead.

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.

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 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 a 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.

It could be you with some time and talent!
It could be you with some time and talent!

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 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 you work. Then it’s just a matter of redirecting them to the stuff you have for sale!

Designing Products

If you’re handy with some graphic software, and have a flair for design, then you might be surprised that you can make some serious income by just making some t-shirt design. 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, has an over active 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.

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.

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 products you are selling. So long as you can keep it entertaining, you should be able to monetize both of them effectively.

Which of these passive income methods have you tried?

See results

While there are always more ways to make passive income without any 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.

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    • Robert P Sullivan profile image
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      Robert P Sullivan 3 months ago

      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 C 123 profile image

      Jane Chong 3 months ago from New York

      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.