How to Make Money While You Sleep: 21 Practical Ways
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Making money while you sleep is the ultimate dream for many people. And it’s not as impossible as you may think.
There are several ways to generate passive income, which means that you can make money while you’re sleeping, spending time with your family, traveling, or pursuing a hobby.
This article will explore how to make money while you sleep, with 21 suggestions. So whether you’re looking for side hustle ideas or just want to find ways to save up some extra cash, keep reading for some practical suggestions.
How to Make Money While You Sleep: Ways to Earn Passive Income
1. Start a Blog or Niche Website
One of the most popular ways to make passive income is through a blog or niche website. Of course, starting a content-based website requires time and effort. But if you’re successful, passive income will be possible in the future.
Content-based websites can generate revenue with display ads, affiliate marketing, publishing sponsored content, selling digital products, and more. Some monetization methods are better for passive income than others. For example, advertising is typically not the most lucrative way to monetize a site, but ad revenue is almost completely passive.
Most new blogs and niche websites make very little money for the first six months or even longer. However, with some patience and persistence, your site will eventually turn the corner. Once you have a consistent source of traffic (usually organic search traffic), your site will generate money every day, whether you’re working on it or not.
If creating a source of passive income is your goal, you can outsource most of the work involved in running the site by hiring freelance writers and virtual assistants. With others doing the work, you’ll be free to use your time for other things, including the possibility of duplicating the process with another site.
For more details, see my articles How to Start a Blog and the Guide to Building a Profitable Niche Website.
2. Create and Sell Digital Products
Another great way to earn passive income is by creating and selling digital products. There are countless types of digital products you could create, but one of the most popular options right now is to design and sell printables. Things like planners, organizers, and checklists are in-demand and can be created for various topics.
Once you’ve created the product, you can make money selling it over and over again without any additional work required. This is a fantastic way to earn money while you sleep since you only have to create the product once. Ideally, you’ll have a shop with several different products to maximize your income potential.
You could sell your products on your own website or blog by using Shopify, Podia, or SendOwl. Or, you could sell at a marketplace like Etsy. Selling at a marketplace allows you to tap into a large, established audience. However, you’ll give up a lot of control, and you’ll have to pay fees or share revenue with the marketplace.
Selling the products on your own requires more work to establish our audience, but you’ll have higher income potential. Of course, it’s possible to do both. You can set up a shop at a marketplace like Etsy while also working to grow your own website.
Once you have some successful products, sales will come in around the clock, whether you’re actively working or not. You may wake up in the morning and see a few sales that happened while you were sleeping. Or you may be on a family vacation and making money while taking time off.
Access this free workshop and learn how to generate passive income by selling printables on Etsy. You'll learn about the types of products that sell, how to get your Etsy shop set up, and how to make sales and ensure that your shop is a success.
This is the perfect side hustle if you:
- Want to work from home
- Don't have much time
- Like the idea of selling on Etsy
- Don't have prior experience
3. Affiliate Marketing
I mentioned affiliate marketing as an option for monetizing a blog or niche website, but there are also many other ways to promote products as an affiliate. In fact, many of the top affiliates worldwide use ads and paid traffic to generate sales.
If you need to find a way to make money online while you’re sleeping, mastering affiliate marketing is something you might want to consider.
As long as you have a stable and reliable traffic source that you can send to a relevant landing page through your affiliate link, you can generate affiliate revenue. This is why many of the best affiliates love paid traffic from sources like Facebook ads, Google ads, and other social media platforms that can produce traffic on demand.
Of course, if you’re just starting, you may have a limited budget for buying traffic. But there are methods, like social media marketing, that also allow you to get some traffic for free. As you earn affiliate commissions, you can reinvest into ads and develop your skills for creating winning ads.
To learn more, see The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Step-by-Step Blueprint.
Whether you’re selling a physical product, a digital product, or just promoting someone else’s product as an affiliate, sales funnels can be extremely effective.
A funnel involves taking a potential customer through a series of steps that eventually lead to a sale. Most funnels start with an email lead capture. Once you have the prospect’s email address and permission to market to them, you can send a sequence of timed emails that continue to promote the product you’re trying to sell.
There are endless possibilities for designing funnels, but one of the most common methods is to give something away for free (like an ebook) in exchange for an email address.
You can use ConvertKit to create landing pages and lead capture forms that can be placed on your website. ConvertKit also allows you to create a series of messages that will be sent at specific intervals. You can automate the entire process and even set up advanced rules to send different emails based on the subscriber’s actions.
The best thing about using funnels is that they can continue to work while you’re sleeping or taking time off. As long as you have a stable traffic source, the funnel will continue to generate leads and sales.
Webinars are live events that usually involve some sort of teaching or instruction. They can be used to promote a product, build an email list, or just provide value to the audience. Webinars are extremely effective for building trust and selling through teaching, so they’re often used to promote high-ticket products like expensive courses or services.
Of course, hosting a live event doesn’t allow you to make money while you sleep. However, not all webinars are live, even if they have the appearance of being live. You can record a webinar and offer it over and over again. The webinar recording will promote and sell for you while doing other things, like sleeping.
Whether you use a webinar to promote your own product or service or to promote something as an affiliate, it can be an effective way to earn passive income.
Creating the webinar will require work upfront, but once it is set up, it can function on autopilot. And if you’re promoting a high-ticket product or service, you might make a few hundred to a few thousand dollars with every sale.
To learn more about creating and hosting a successful webinar, see the Webinar Success series.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to build relationships with your audience and promote products or services. It can be used to generate leads, make sales, or just keep in touch with people who are interested in what you have to offer.
The best thing about email marketing is that it can be completely automated. You can set up a series of messages that will be sent at specific intervals and have full control over who receives them and when they are sent.
Email marketing allows you to make money while you’re sleeping because it doesn’t require your constant attention. As long as people subscribe to your list, you can continue to earn passive income from email marketing.
You can use email to promote your own product or affiliate products, or both. ConverKit is an excellent option because it also includes e-commerce capabilities, and you can customize which messages are sent to customers who have purchased your products as opposed to those who have not purchased yet.
7. Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube is one of the most popular websites worldwide, and it’s also a great platform for making money. You can create videos on any topic you want. If you can build a large enough following, you can make money passively through advertising revenue, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or selling your own products and services.
Of course, starting a YouTube channel requires work upfront. You’ll need to create videos regularly and build a following before you start seeing any significant income. However, once you have a successful channel, it can make money passively while you’re sleeping or doing other things.
With people searching for video content all the time, your established channel will rack up views around the clock. It’s very similar to the way a blog or niche website generates passive income once it is established, except you’re using video content instead of written content.
In fact, you could create a YouTube channel for your website or blog and combine the two methods together. This way, you’ll be able to create video and text-based content for each topic you cover.
8. Create an Online Course
If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can create an online course and sell it for profit. Just like other digital products, courses can be created once and then sold over and over again.
Creating a digital course requires work upfront, but once it’s complete, you can continue to make money from it indefinitely. And you can duplicate the process with multiple courses to maximize your earning potential.
It’s possible to create a course on just about any topic. Think about the topics you already know well and brainstorm potential courses you could create. You don’t need to be the world’s leading expert on a topic to create a successful course. Many people have created successful courses based on their hobbies or passions.
Setting up a course may sound difficult, but thanks to platforms like Teachable and Podia, anyone can set up a professional website to host their own course.
Online courses provide excellent income potential because of their high perceived value. Many people are willing to pay a few hundred dollars for a good course, so you can make a significant amount on each sale. You can also offer others a commission to promote your course as affiliates, which is a great way to spread the word and increase sales.
9. Invest in the Stock Market
Investing in the stock market is one of the oldest and most well-known ways to make money. Although it’s been an option for a long time, platforms like Public.com and Webull have made the stock market more accessible than ever before. Even if you only have a few dollars to start, you can buy fractional shares to invest your money in the companies of your choice.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that any company will be successful, so investing in stocks always comes with risk. However, many investors prefer to buy dividend stocks that tend to provide more stability than the stock market as a whole.
By learning to invest, you’ll also build valuable financial skills that will pay off in many ways. Investing helps you to actively take control of your finances and encourages you to become more financially literate.
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10. Invest in Real Estate
Investing in real estate is another popular option for generating passive income. There are a few different ways to invest in real estate. One option is to buy a property for rental income by renting it out yourself. Having rental property requires more work than other options on this list, but it can be a great way to make money and build wealth.
Another option is to invest in a real estate crowdfunding platform like Fundrise. These platforms allow you to pool your money with other investors and invest in a large portfolio of commercial real estate projects. They’re a modern alternative to the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
Real estate crowdfunding platforms typically have lower minimum investment requirements than traditional real estate investing (you can start with Fundrise for as little as $10). Also, as an investor, you’ll have no responsibility to manage the property or deal with tenants, which makes it passive income.
Fundrise pays quarterly dividends to investors. The dividends can be taken as cash if you’re looking for a supplemental source of dividend income, or the money can be reinvested. Reinvesting is ideal if you have a long-term focus since it helps your money to grow faster.
Fundrise is the easiest way to invest in a portfolio of income-generating properties. You'll get the benefits of owning real estate with a totally passive, hands-off investment.
- Excellent track record and historical returns
- Invest in a diverse portfolio of properties
- Earn quarterly dividends
- User-friendly platform
- Start with as little as $10
- $10 bonus with your first investment
11. Invest in Alternative Assets
Alternative assets are non-traditional investments that aren’t stocks, bonds, or real estate. There are a growing number of platforms that make alternative investments accessible to everyone.
You could invest in fine wine with Vint or Vinovest. Both of these platforms are open to all investors (not just accredited investors), and they’ll help you to select wines that have excellent potential for producing strong returns. You won’t have to store the wine yourself or sell it when the time comes. They take care of the details for you.
Another option is to invest in art. Masterworks is an online platform that allows you to buy a share of paintings from blue-chip artists. The paintings are stored and insured by Masterworks, so you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging your investment. You purchase a share of the artwork, and when it is eventually sold, you’ll get your share of the returns.
Cryptocurrency and NFTs are also popular alternative investments, although they’re highly volatile and come with a greater degree of risk.
By investing in alternative assets, you can add diversity to your portfolio and potentially earn higher returns than you would with more traditional investments.
12. Rent Out Storage Space
If you have extra space in your home or office, you could rent out storage space to earn passive income. Neighbor is one platform that allows you to do this.
With Neighbor, you can list your spare space on their site, and renters can book the space for however long they need. Neighbor will handle all of the logistics for you, so you don’t have to worry about managing the rental yourself.
This is a great option if you live in a high-demand area and have extra space that you’re not using. You can also set your own price, so you’re still in control.
Renting storage space is an excellent way to make money while you sleep. Your only responsibility is to make sure that the renter can access the space, so it’s a very passive way to make money.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
13. Rent Out an RV or Camper
If you own an RV or camper, you can rent it out when you’re not using it. RVshare is a platform that connects RV and camper owners with renters who are willing to pay.
RVshare is similar to Airbnb but for RVs and campers. You can list your RV on their site and set your own price. They’ll also handle the rental process for you, so you don’t have to worry about many details.
It’s a very passive way to make money, and it can be quite lucrative. You’ll turn your RV or camper into an income-producing asset instead of something that just sits around when it’s not being used.
The rental market for RVs and campers is very strong since most people don’t have them, and they’re expensive to buy. As a result, this is an excellent side hustle that doesn’t take much of your time, aside from cleaning it out between renters.
Do you own an RV? If so, you can make a great passive income by renting it out when you're not using it. RVshare is a platform that connects RV owners with renters.
- Use the RV when you want, rent it out when you don't need it
- Turn your RV into an income-generating asset
- Passive income opportunity
- You control all the details like pricing
- Largest RV marketplace
14. Rent Out Your Truck
If you have a truck or cargo van, you can rent it out when you’re not using it. Fetch is the leading platform for peer-to-peer truck rentals. According to Fetch, you can make up to $1,800 per month by listing your truck for rent on their app. That’s a pretty nice cash flow for a passive income stream!
You can list your truck on Fetch, and they take care of all the logistics for you, so you don’t have to worry about managing the rental yourself. You can even use the Fetch device so renters can get into your truck and retrieve the key, so you don’t have to meet with renters in person.
There are countless reasons why an individual or business would need a truck, so there’s plenty of demand from renters. It’s a great opportunity to start earning extra cash if you have a truck that you’re willing to rent out.
Rent out your truck and make money passively with Fetch. Fetch's platform automates most of the process for you. They'll promote your rental to people in your local area, handle all customer inquiries, renter verification, and payment. The Fetch smart device even allows renters to unlock your truck with their phone so you don't have to meet them in person.
- Great side hustle for busy people
- Turn your truck into an income-generating asset
- Excellent income potential
- Rent out a single truck or build your own fleet
- Fetch guarantees that you'll make at least $1,500 in the first 90 days
15. Rent Out a Spare Bedroom
If you have an extra bedroom (or a separate unit), you can rent it to earn passive income. Airbnb is the most popular platform for this, but there are other options.
Renting out a spare bedroom is a great way to make some extra cash without doing much work. You’ll need to clean and prepare the room for guests, but Airbnb will take care of the rest. They’ll handle all of the marketing and reservations for you.
You can also set your own price, so you can control how much money you make. This is a great option if you live in a popular tourist destination.
Aside from short-term rentals, you could also rent out the spare bedroom to a long-term tenant. Short-term rentals provide more income as long as the room is rented most of the time, but you’ll also have more work to clean the room between guests. Opting for a long-term tenant will require less time and effort.
Today, anyone can become a self-published author thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). KDP makes it easy to write a book or ebook and make it available for sale on Amazon. You can sell it in e-book format, or paperbacks will be printed and shipped by Amazon as they’re sold. That means there’s no need to invest money in large print orders or inventory.
If you have a book idea, you can write it yourself or hire a ghostwriter to do it for you. Once the book is written, you can upload it to KDP and start selling it immediately.
You can write any type of book that interests you, including fiction, non-fiction, how-to guides, and even children’s books.
It’s also a very passive way to make money since you don’t have to do any work related to publishing or order fulfillment. It’s an excellent work-from-home job that allows you to make money even when you’re not working.
If you have your own website or blog, you can promote your book there as well. Amazon gives you access to its massive audience, but doing some promotional work yourself will help your book to get more exposure.
To learn more, please see From First Draft to Bestseller.
17. Sell on Amazon
If you’re not interested in writing your own books, you can still make money from Amazon by selling physical goods. You can sell just about anything on Amazon, and there are a few different business models you can follow.
One of the most popular options is to build a private-label brand. You’ll choose a product you want to sell and source it from a supplier. The supplier will add your own branding and packaging so you can sell it under your own brand.
You’ll need an initial investment upfront to get started, but you can quickly recoup your investment and start making a profit if your product becomes popular. Once your brand is established, it can be a somewhat passive way to make money since you don’t have to do the work related to manufacturing and order fulfillment (assuming you’re using Fulfillment by Amazon).
Thanks to Amazon FBA, this can be a low-maintenance business. You’ll send your inventory to Amazon, they’ll store it in their warehouses and fulfill orders.
My wife and I ran a private label business selling on Amazon for about two years before selling the business. It’s great to wake up and see that you sold several products and made money while you were sleeping.
18. Build an E-Commerce Website
While Amazon provides an incredible platform for building an online business, there are some drawbacks to selling on Amazon. Of course, Amazon’s fees eat away at your profit margin. Additionally, you’re at Amazon’s mercy, and they can change policies or even shut down your seller account anytime. Some people prefer to build their own e-commerce site instead of (or in addition to) relying on Amazon.
Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for building an e-commerce site. It’s affordable, and you can get a professional-looking site with no design or coding skills needed.
You’ll need to invest time and money into setting up your shop and building traffic. But once it’s up and running, it can generate money around the clock, whether you’re working or not.
You can also use drop shipping to fulfill orders if you don’t want to carry any inventory yourself. In that case, you’ll need to find a supplier who will ship the products directly to your customers as they’re sold. There are some options for integrating drop shipping with your Shopify website.
19. Start a Print-on-Demand Business
A print-on-demand business is much like an e-commerce website, but instead of selling products in stock, you’ll be selling custom-printed t-shirts and other merchandise.
You can upload designs to sites like Redbubble or CafePress, and they’ll handle the printing and order fulfillment. The downside to this approach is that your income potential is limited. If you want a higher ceiling, you can create your own e-commerce website. Shopify integrates easily with print-on-demand providers like Printful.
You’ll need to get traffic to your site. Many print-on-demand businesses get most of their traffic from social media (organic sharing and paid ads).
As orders come in, the products will be printed and shipped directly to your customers. You don’t have to worry about holding any inventory or fulfilling orders yourself.
It’s an ideal side hustle for graphic designers who want to start an online business. If you’re not a designer, you can use a tool like Canva to create simple designs, or you can hire a designer on sites like Upwork and Fiverr to do the work for you.
20. Sell Stock Photos and Graphics
If you’re a photographer or graphic designer, you can make money by selling your photos and designs online. Shutterstock is one of the most popular options for selling stock photos. You can also sell stock graphics on sites like Creative Market and Etsy.
You’ll need to create an account and upload your photos or designs. As people purchase them, you’ll earn a commission.
It’s not a hands-off way to make money, but it can give you some passive income if you have a large portfolio of high-quality images or designs.
Stock marketplaces are highly competitive because there are already millions of resources available at the leading sites. You’ll need to create something that stands out or serves a specific type of user.
Due to the level of competition, it’s not easy to make a huge amount of money on stock marketplaces. But if you’re looking for a way to use your skills and make a few hundred dollars of extra cash each month, it’s a realistic option.
21. Passive Income Apps
Several mobile apps allow you to make extra money (or earn rewards like gift cards) with little-to-no effort. You’re not going to get rich with these apps, but it can be an easy way to get some extra money. This is a good option if you’re looking for easy ways to make money.
- MobileXpression: You can earn about $50 in gift cards per year by simply having this app installed on your mobile device. It collects data related to your browsing activity but does not collect personal information.
- SavvyConnect: This one is very similar to MobileXpression, but it can also be used on desktops. You’ll earn $5 per month per device.
- Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel: Similar to MobileXpressions and SavvyConnect. You can earn $50 per year in rewards.
FAQ on How to Earn Money While You Sleep
Yes, there are several ways to earn passive income around the clock, including while you sleep. Some options involve investing (stock market, real estate). If you don’t have money to invest, you can build a business that generates passive income. Popular options include blogging, niche websites, selling digital products, YouTube channels, and affiliate marketing.
While it doesn’t produce instant results, creating an online business is one of the best ways to make money while you sleep. Online businesses operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even when you’re sleeping, on vacation, or having fun, your website or online business may be generating income. Popular options include starting a blog, building a niche website, creating a YouTube channel, or selling digital products.
Our favorite passive income apps include MobileXpression, SavvyConnect, and Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Money While You Sleep
There are many ways to make money while you sleep, but not all are created equal. The best way to choose is to look at the options and decide which one makes the most sense for you.
No matter what you choose, remember that it takes time and effort to build up any form of passive income stream. Don’t expect to get rich overnight. But if you’re patient and consistent, you can create a passive income stream that will help you to reach financial freedom in the long run.
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