The Truth About Passive Income, Side Hustles and Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Let's Break It Down
So I've been seeing a lot of side hustle, passive income, and get-rich-quick stuff more frequently on social media lately. These types of posts make it seem like it’s easy. I’m here to deliver the bad news that it isn’t. Any type of side hustle or passive income will require work from you;, ome more than others.
What I’m going to do is list all the common ones I've seen and address them one by one. I’ll give you the lowdown on what’s really involved and if it’s really worth your time. So with that, I’m going to start with some of the most obvious ones.
So what is drop-shipping? So basically people will have a website, an Amazon seller account, or an eBay account. From there they'll advertise products. Any products. When you order from them they don’t actually have these products. They order them from the Chinese suppliers directly. So you order an iPhone case for £10. They then order it from Ali-Express for £3 and get it sent directly to you. They then get to pocket the £7 difference. This is one of the most prevalent business models out there at the minute as it requires very little money upfront. It’s a business model that can be successful for those with the time and knowledge to make it work. But there are the downsides. To start, the most important thing you need is a product to sell. This is harder than it sounds. Chances are if there’s a product that you find that sells then it’s already been picked up by the thousands of other drop-shippers out there. And if it isn’t yet it soon will be. They’ll undercut you as soon as you start. The advice is usually to find a niche you like and sell products that most people don’t have. But again, niche products aren’t always easy to market and sell. The next issue is the fact that you never see the product so quality control becomes a problem. If people want to return the product or leave you a bad review there isn’t much you can do to fix the issue. Not unless you want to travel to China to visit the factory where your product is made. Then there’s the shipping time. I ordered a product from Amazon and realised it was drop-shipped when it took over a month to get delivered. Let me tell you I wasn’t happy. With all this, you also need to factor in fees for selling on eBay, Amazon or owning a Shopify website (this alone is $30 a month). So my verdict? This can be a sustainable business but requires a lot of work. It certainly isn’t passive income. Advertising and marketing your products alone can take a lot of time and money. If you choose this business do a LOT of research.
Flipping is basically the art of buying items from charity shops, car boot sales or discount stores and selling them on eBay for a profit. eBay has millions of users daily so you have a large audience and you have no advertising or marketing fees to pay. One of the other benefits is you can choose to sell unique items like antiques or clothes that don’t have much competition from other sellers. You also don’t pay any fees until your item is sold. The challenge is finding items that you can sell for a profit. For some, this comes naturally but for most, it can be a challenge. You’d be surprised what items you think would sell quickly for a lot of money that dont. Antique items aren't as popular as one would expect. Certain types of clothing and electrical items like mobile phones appear to be popular however. The trick is finding them for cheap so you can make a profit. My verdict? I'd say if you have a bit of time to search for items around charity shops and discount bins when you’re doing your shopping and you can develop an eye for bargains then this is always a good side venture. Just be prepared for aforementioned eBay fees, the odd scammer, and difficult customers. It'll be part and parcel of becoming an eBay seller.
I’ll just mention that you can use Gumtree, Craigslist, Shpock, and Facebook Marketplace instead of or alongside eBay.
What is forex? Foreign exchange is trading one currency for another usually to make a profit. You use Euros to purchase US dollars and when the price of the Euro rises against the dollar you trade back and make a small profit. Sounds easy right? Wrong. The majority of people who try Forex trading lose money. It’s much more complex than it sounds and the people on Instagram and TikTok who claim to make money from it are probably trying to sell you something. Probably a referral link or signaling service. I won’t go into what that is because there’s no point. My prediction is that if you try your hand at forex you'll lose money and anyone who tells you they can make you money if you just buy their online forex course is a trickster. My Verdict? Avoid like the plague.
Forex Trading Bots
I’ll add this one as an extension to the above. A trading bot is basically a piece of software (artificial intelligence if you will) that trades forex for you reading the signals of the market. Now I’m not going to say these are a waste of time because that’s not necessarily true. The internet is awash with trading bots for sale. Most of them are a complete waste of time and will lose you a lot of money. Some of the more expensive ones however have much more consistent results. I'm not going to state which ones these are because I don’t want anyone to lose money on my recommendation. You still need to have some knowledge of the forex markets and how to set the bots up. Some do need tweaking when you first get them set-up on your PC so expect to lose a little bit of money at first. The trick is to not put too much money in your forex account and set your bot up to trade cautiously. I don’t keep too much in my trading account because it’s just too risky. These bots work in the background and could lose you all your money in a matter of hours. My Verdict? This is something you could always look into but it isn’t for the faint-hearted or technologically impaired. it requires some level of initial investment for your Bot to trade on top of actually buying the bot. Then there's the act of setting the thing up. Definity one for the more experienced trader.
Dividends From Shares
So the good news is that receiving dividend payments from owning shares is one of the few genuinely true passive incomes. The bad news is that you will need hundreds of thousands of dollars in shares to generate enough full-time income for one person. If you’re looking for a smaller level in income to supplement your working wage then this might be doable. To get any meaningful amount you’d still need a sizable amount invested though. How much really depends on the individual company's policy on paying dividends and how much you would want. My verdict? This is certainly the dream scenario but I’m guessing the majority of people reading this just don't have a few hundred thousand dollars laying around. But If you do, look up high dividend-paying companies and get a stockbroker. Read my other article on A simple guide to investing.
So royalties can cover a fair few topics. Usually, music is the one that comes to mind or most people. Many people actually make a living making music from their own homes and license them out to use in TV, video games, adverts, and other artists' music. One area that is a little more accessible to people is stock photos. So basically when artists, writers, bloggers, and all manner of other content creators need pictures for their articles/blogs/books/magazines etc. They go to a stock photo website like istock.com and can browse thousands of user-generated images to use. So if you have a camera then you could take photos, upload them to one of the many stock photo sites and set your price. If someone wants to use your photos for a magazine article for example. They’ll pay the fee for the right to use your photo. My Verdict? Easy in principle but taking magazine quality photos is not that easy and you may very well need some expensive camera equipment and a copy of photoshop. After all, your pictures will be competing with thousands of other pro photographers who do this as a side hustle. So by all means have a go. Just don't get your hopes up.
Fiverr / Upwork
What are Fiverr and Upwork? These are sites where people who need services can advertise for said services and people (you in this instance) then bid for the job. These are usually jobs like graphic design / website design / logo creation / copywriting / translation / SEO and a whole lot more. So you’ll need a skill for this side hustle. My verdict? If you have one of the skills required this is genuinely a good place to pick up small jobs to do on the evening or weekends. The only downside is the amount of competition. There's some very talented people on this site. But don't let that put you off. There's always room in the market for more. After all, it’s a big world.
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.