How to Generate Passive Income Online, so You Can Literally Make Money in Your Sleep

Photo: Getty Images/Hero Images
No matter how you finance your life (traditional full-time gig, odd jobs to make a burgeoning side hustle work, entrepreneur, or something else), it's possible to wake up to more earnings after a night of doing nothing but dreaming about it. All you have to do is share your passion.

Also known as passive income, the money earned while you sleep can cultivate a sense of freedom, empowerment, and opportunity. You can enjoy freedom to save, spend, or travel; feel empowerment in your unique expertise and knowledge that you can create even more; and then there's the opportunity to share your intel with others.

And in the online space especially, passive-income opportunities abound. Think: e-books, online courses, and membership sites. These options require work in the beginning stages, but after laying the groundwork, they allow for content that can forever generate income without you really needing to lift a finger or click a mouse. Below are steps to get you started

4 steps for setting up a passive income—so you can literally make money in your sleep.

1. Identify areas in which you're an expert and niche audiences you can serve

You have a unique set of skills that makes you an expert in something—you just have to be able to identify them. What is that people love to reach out to you about? Perhaps its your amazing plant-lady skills, or your crunching-number talents, or your baking chops. Something that comes more easily for you than it does for others is what you can offer to an audience.

Your intended audience should be as specific as possible. Think about who they are—location, age, ethnicity, income, all the demographics. Also make sure you understand the "problem" they want solved so you can appropriately provide the solution.

2. Choose your social platform, build your database, and collect those emails

You can share your expertise on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. Start off with an account, and a posting schedule—sharing your expertise on a regular basis is key. Furthermore, building a blog or website is crucial, because it's the online résumé that'll draw people off your social platform and onto your website. Wordpress and Squarespace are great options with simple templates and a wealth of step-by-step videos to help you get your site up and running. Once it's live, blog consistently about your expertise to share what you know with your audience.

Lastly, and I'd say most importantly, connect with your audience via an email newsletter, using a service like Mailchimp. This way, you can collect email addresses while sharing your product.

3. Write an informative e-book to detail your expertise

Now that you’ve completed those foundational steps, you're ready to cash in while you sleep. After six months to a year of gaining the trust of your audience, one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to share your expertise with your audience is to write an e-book.

An e-book is not a hefty investment, and it introduces your audience to the concept of paying you for your intel. A few ideas for how to structure your product include a how-to explainer, a step-by-step guide, or a memoir/journey recounting of how you got from point X to point Y. Most importantly, what you cover in your e-book should take into account what you're hearing from your audience.

Creating an e-book can be done as easily as drafting it in Google Docs, designing it on Canva, and hosting it on a platform like PayHip, Amazon, or Lulu. Once it’s all set, share it with your dedicated community and, voilà—purchases will happen in no time.

4. Create an online course

An e-book is just the beginning, and an online course is the natural path to follow next. The process of creating one, though, is somewhat backward: First think of the result you want to provide for your audience (like "How to pot your first plant" or "Your 5-step system to budgeting like a pro"). Then, plan it, step-by-step, breaking down how someone would get to their desired result. Write it down on a piece of paper, and get to recording your videos.

Throughout this journey of making money while you sleep, you may endure bouts of doubt, feeling as if you're not the expert you thought you were. But if you can dream it, you can achieve it—and smile all the way to the bank.

Shanna Tyler is a life coach and business coach based in New York City who works with entrepreneurial women. Listen to her podcast, The Self Soul Sport, here.

Here's how to become a financial grownup, according to Drew Barrymore. And forming these healthy financial habits this year will pay off big time.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...