There are two main routes to passive income – either you invest money to make it happen, or you invest time to make it happen. But is there a third option? Sort of.
I’ve written about passive income before (you can see over 20 passive income ideas here) but today I wanted to tackle another question that often comes up: How can I create passive income with no money?
Can You Create Passive Income Without A Financial Investment?
Passive income can be earned in two ways. The first is to make your money work for you. This could be done by investing in the stock market, real estate, or a business.
I'm extremely bullish on real estate investing right now – and you can get started with just a little bit of money. You can start investing in real estate for as little as $5,000 at platforms like RealtyShares (We offer our readers a bonus to of $25 to start to off. Simply reply to the “Congratulations on Linking Your Bank Account” email with the referral code TCI25. It takes up to 30 days to process the referral code and make the payment, but it's free money). Another similar platform is FundRise, with just a $1,000 minimum.
The second way to earn passive income is to invest your time. For example, you can start a side hustle.
While it’s definitely possible to earn passive income with no money, it isn’t easy. It will require a lot of initial hard work and comes with no guarantees.
If you want to give it a shot here’s how to create passive income with no money.
Create An Information Product
If you have expertise in any particular subject you can create an information product and sell it online. This could be a course, a guide, or an eBook.
Here are some examples:
- Rosemarie Groner of Busy Budgeter earned over $58k in January from selling two short informational guides and a personal finance workbook. (Note: she did spend a lot of money on Facebook advertising to reach that level but that is NOT necessary when you’re just getting started.)
- Greg Jeffries earned over $30k in one year by creating online courses. He also shares where you can sell those courses.
The information product you create could be on any topic. If you need some ideas visit Amazon and start looking at some of the best-selling book topics and see if any of those match up to your expertise. (Even if they don’t it doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for what you have to share!)
Write A Kindle eBook
Another popular way to earn passive income with no money down is to write an eBook and sell it on Amazon through the KDP program.
KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing and is Amazon’s program for self-publishers. While you will have to write your book, figure out Kindle formatting and come up with a cover design, it costs you nothing to self-publish a book through Amazon.
If your Kindle eBook is priced at $2.99-$9.99 you’ll receive a 70% royalty on the sale price of each book. When your book is priced below $2.99 or above $9.99 you’ll only receive a 35% royalty.
If you want to check out a real life example Steve Gillman of the Penny Hoarder shares how he earned $2,000 from a Kindle eBook. He covers his writing process, marketing strategies, and other key takeaways.
Sell Stock Photos
If you’re a freelance photographer or just enjoy taking photos and are good at it, you can earn a passive income selling your stock photos online.
Different sites will have different rules and commission rates. However, there are a ton of different places you can submit photos to.
The great thing about selling stock photos is that one photo can be purchased by many different people.
You can find 13 places to sell your stock photos here along with commission rates and more.
Consider Multi-Level Marketing
Multi-level marketing can leave a bad taste in people’s mouth and I completely understand that. In fact, there’s nothing like logging into Facebook and seeing a dozen people trying to sell an MLM product. I get it.
However, all multi-level marketing doesn’t have to be done in such an in your face type fashion. If you can find a product that is truly helpful and that you’d tell people about anyway then you have a fair shot of making MLM work.
But beware of MLM firms that are focused extensively on recruitment or strongly encouraging you to buy more and more of their own products. MLM can work, but it can also fail you.
Sell Your Class Notes
Are you a college student? If your answer is “Yes” and you happen to be an excellent note taker you can sell your class notes for passive income.
Study Soup has a program that allows college students to upload notes and study guides and sell them to other students who need help.
Top note takers have earned as much as $2,300 per semester. You can find out more here.
Earn For The Things You’d Do Already
If you’re looking for easy ways to earn money that don’t require as much of a time investment as the other items on this list you should consider earning for the things that you already do.
- Use Ebates when shopping online.
- Use a cashback rewards credit card.
- When you search online use Swagbucks to earn extra money. (I earn hundreds of dollars per year with Swagbucks.)
- Install Qmee and earn for occasionally clicking on advertisements.
While these methods won’t bring you in thousands per month they will still add up and are pretty effortless.
Passive Income: It Takes Time or Money
There really are no shortcuts to passive income. You’ll find a countless number of people who’ve created solid passive income streams with and without money.
The important thing to remember is that those people who did create passive income without money were willing to put in the hard work it took to create the product that would earn them passive income over the long haul.
Have you tried creating passive income without money? If so I’d love to hear what did and did not work out!