Passive income is one of the best ways to earn money online. What is passive income? Passive income is income generated without having to trade time for dollars.
This is different from active income which is when you earn money for tasks performed or when you are paid for time spent working.
Before the invention of the internet, the only passive income models available were renting out houses and investing in the stock market. Now the number of passive income opportunities has exploded and there’s almost too many models to choose from.
Fortunately, one of the benefits of passive income is that you can use many different passive income models to create multiple income streams. This is also a good way to diversify your income streams so in case one of them fails, you’ll still have other income to rely on.
It does takes some initial work to get your passive income business up and running. The joy of passive income though is that once you get going and begin to earn money, you can then focus your attention on more important things like school, family or after-school activities, all while you continue to earn money on the side.
Now that you know what passive income is, here’s a list of online passive income ideas to choose from:
A simple way to earn passive income is to start a blog, draw traffic and place advertising on the site. Each time a visitor clicks on an ad, you earn money.
Some keywords earn more in advertising than others so it’s best to research higher paying keywords before setting out to start a blog with this monetization method in mind.
The reason why online advertising is passive income is because these advertising networks do all of the hard work for you by finding the advertisers, picking the ads, keeping track of the clicks and then sending you your money.
Some popular advertising networks are:
Google Adsense – minimum age to join is 18 years old.
Chitika – minimum age to join is 18 years old.
BuySellAds – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Media.net – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Revenue sharing sites are a great way to make passive income through online advertising without having to own a blog or website. These sites allow you to post an article on almost any topic and, if the article gets a lot of traffic, you earn money every time a visitor clicks on an ad.
Revenue sharing sites are considered passive income because they do almost all of the work for you by providing the traffic, promoting the site, keeping track of the clicks and sending you your money (unless the site uses Google Adsense, which Google will handle instead.)
Here are some popular revenue sharing sites:
Triond – minimum age to join is 13 years old
Infobarrel – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Hubpages – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Snipsly – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Bukisa – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Affiliate marketing is when you promote another company’s products, usually on a blog or website, and earn a commission for each sale that you make. There are many methods to do this and hundreds of thousands of products to promote.
The most effective way to make money with affiliate marketing is by establishing trust with your audience by providing them with honest, helpful content and then occasionally writing blog posts and articles about the products you want to promote.
You should also create a resource page on your blog with a list all of the useful products you recommend for your audience. The links in the resource list should be affiliate links so you can earn money for each sale.
The following are some popular affiliate programs:
Clickbank – no minimum age requirement
Amazon Associates – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Commission Junction – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Ebay Affiliate Program – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Selling ebooks is one of the best ways for writers to make passive income online. Pick a niche on a popular topic, such as health or wealth, narrow your focus to a small point within that topic and write a 20,000 word ebook on it. You can then sell your ebook on your own website or through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.
If you decide to sell on Amazon’s Kindle Program, you can maximize the amount of money you can make by writing a series of ebooks on one specific topic, over a period of time, and build up a fan base who will eagerly buy each book as they are released.
Another way you can make money selling ebooks is, if you have a blog with a lot of posts, compile all of your blog posts, or at least the most popular ones, into an ebook and sell it on your site. Your readers will be more than willing to pay money for the convenience of having the blog posts at their fingertips in book form, instead of having to wade through your entire blog just to find the info they need.
Yet another way to make money selling ebooks is to write a how-to guide or tutorial on a specific subject and sell it on Fiverr. Fiverr members are always looking for solutions to problems, so if you know how to do something, they’ll pay you for that knowledge.
You don’t have to be a writer to make money selling ebooks though. You could easily hire a writer to ghost write a book or even create a first draft for you, which you can then rewrite in your own words, if you want.
Fiverr – minimum age to join is 13 years old.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing – minimum age to join is 18 years old. If you are a minor, a parent or guardian can sign up for you and act as your publisher.
If you’re a photographer and have a decent camera, you can make passive income selling your photos as stock photos online.
Stock photos are royalty-free photos available for purchase that can be used and reused for commercial purposes. When a photo sells, the photographer makes a small commission on the sale, usually anywhere between 25 cents to five dollars.
Although that isn’t a lot of money, the plus side is you can sell the same photo over and over with no limit to how many times it can be purchased. This can add up to a decent passive income.
To make the most amount of money, submit your photos to multiple stock photo sites, at least four at first. Once you have 200 photos accepted by these sites, begin submitting photos to another four stock photo agencies and so on.
Some popular stock photography sites to start with are:
BigStockPhoto – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Dreamstime – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Shutterstock – minimum age to join is 18 years old
iStockphoto – minimum age to join is 18 years old (minors can join if their parent signs a Minor Contributor Consent form)
Selling plr, which stands for private label rights, is another great way for writers to earn passive income. PLR articles are articles that are sold for a low one-time fee. The purchaser buys not only the article but the publishing rights as well. That means they can use the article anyway they want and can even republish it under their own name. PLR articles are typically sold for about $1 an article in packs of 5-10. Just like stock photos, you can sell the same plr articles over and over.
You can start your own website or online plr store and sell plr articles there or you can sell them on a digital marketplace. The only downside to selling them on a digital marketplace is they often sell for a lot less, typically $5 for a pack of 100-1000. The upside to selling on these sites is these sites already have a lot of traffic and buyers eagerly searching for plr articles to buy.
Some popular digital marketplaces to sell plr on are:
Fiverr – minimum age to join is 13 years old
Seoclerk – minimum age to join is 14 years old
Tradebit – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Creating an online course is a great way for tutors and teachers to make passive income. Instead of teaching students one-on-one in private lessons, the tutor or teacher records each lesson as a video tutorial and then sells access to the videos.
Online courses are in high demand because they’re great for visual learners who don’t want to learn how to do something from a book. Keep the videos short, between 2-20 minutes long, and to the point so they are easy to watch and act on.
You can start your own website or blog to sell your online courses on or you can sell them on an online learning site. The downside to to selling them on an online learning site, rather than your own site, is that you only get to keep a portion of the sales for your videos. The upside to selling on these sites is that they already have a lot of web traffic and eager students.
Some of the most popular online learning sites are:
Udemy – minimum age to join is 18 years old, but if you are over 13 you can join if a parent or guardian will assume responsibility for your performance
Coursera – minimum age to join is 13 years old
Lynda – minimum age to join is 18 years old, if you are a minor you can join if you have your parent’s permission
Reselling services is a way to make passive income by becoming a middle man. You don’t have to actually have any skills or do any of the work yourself. All you have to do is set up a website offering a specific skill, such as article writing or logo design, and set a price. You then find a writer or logo designer who will do that job for less than the price you are charging.
When someone comes to your site and places an order with you, you then give the order to your writer or logo designer. When they deliver the order, you pay them and then deliver the order to your customer and get paid yourself.
Some places to find writers, logo designers, etc are:
Fiverr – minimum age to join is 13 years old
Elance – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Odesk – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Drop Ship Ecommerce Store
Setting up an online store with drop shipping is a great way to make passive income and sell products without ever having to handle, store or ship the inventory yourself.
Drop shipping is when you purchase products for sale only after a customer has bought them from you. The drop shipping company then packages and sends the product to the customer for you.
With this business model, you can set up an ecommerce store with very little money upfront and run it in your spare time.
The trick to running a successful ecommerce store is to sell the right product. You should sell products that are: in the $50-$200 price range, cheap to ship, stable over time (not being constantly updated or running out of demand) and something that can’t be easily price shopped online (items that can be priced shopped are branded products like Nike sneakers.)
The minimum age to run a drop shipping ecommerce store is 18 years old since most of the companies you’ll be working with will require your Tax ID# or Resale Permit. It is still possible to do this type of work if your parent or guardian is willing to take legal responsibility for your business.
Some popular drop shipping companies are:
World Wide Brands
Drop Ship Direct
Usually email marketing is used in combination with a blog or other online business model. Email marketing is when you collect email addresses from people interested in a specific topic and then send them marketing emails promoting products and services.
The most common way to do this is to set up a landing page on a website, which is basically a sales page that prompts the visitor to give you their email address. This is usually done by offering the visitor a free product or information they can download in exchange for their email address.
You should email your list about once a week, offering advice, information, asking them questions and occasionally promoting products or services which you earn a commission from each time they make a purchase.
To make the emailing process more passive, you should sign up for an email autoresponder, which is a service where you can send prewritten emails automatically, without having to do it manually. That way you can keep in constant contact with your list and make money from them with no extra work.
Some popular email autoresponders are:
Aweber – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Mailchimp – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Constant Contact – minimum age to join is 18 years old
iContact – minimum age to join is 18 years old
Although you should experiment with different types of passive income models, remember to only start one passive income business at a time. If you start too many businesses at the time, your attention will be divided. It will be hard to get each business off the ground without your full attention.
For that reason alone, after you start a new business, wait at least six months before you start another one. That will give you plenty of time to work hard on growing and expanding the business before you split your time and attention on other projects.
For more info about making money online, check out our article on Types of Online Jobs for Teens.