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5 Ways For Freelancers to Generate Passive Income

  • November 25, 2020

Making an active income as a freelancer is great, and it’s how almost everyone gets their start. But once you’ve established yourself, generated multiple income streams, and have rates that are high enough to leave you with a little free time, it could be worth it to try generating passive income.

Generating passive income can be more difficult than generating active income, but if you’re successful enough, all you have to do is sit back and watch the money roll in.
There are endless ways to generate passive income depending on the field you work in, your expertise, and your creativity.

But, before you get started, heed graphic designer Brent Galloway’s advice: “Always focus on generating a steady stream of income first. But this doesn’t mean you can’t work on generating passive income at the same time. The beautiful thing with passive income is that you can work it in-between projects. The goal, though, is to have your main source of income fuel your side projects.”

Good advice. Now let’s look at some ways that freelancers can generate passive income.
The beautiful thing with passive income is that you can work it in-between projects. #freelance #passiveincome Click To Tweet

Sell digital assets to generate passive income

Galloway has employed some key strategies that have helped him generate passive income as a freelance graphic designer.

“The most effective way I’ve found to generate passive income has been through selling digital assets,” said Galloway. “Things like textures, mockups, vector graphics, etc. They’re simple products to put together, and in most cases, you might already have your own assets which could easily be packaged and sold on a platform like Creative Market.”

But where do you start? Thing of the old adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. When you’re done with a project for a client and find yourself with a few hours to pass, start by building one product that you think would be valuable to the wider world.

“I recommend starting small. What assets have you created for yourself that makes your job easier? Chances are those assets could also be of value to others in your field of work. For me, I started with a very simple texture pack,” said Galloway. “I also built my own t-shirt mockups for my work, which I then repackaged as a premium asset for other designers. I didn’t build it with the intent to make money off of it. I had a need, so I built it. But then realized if I had this need, chances were other designers could use this asset too.”

Once you’ve created a few digital assets to generate passive income, and if they’re beginning to sell, you can ramp up your production in those markets. Since they’re all digital, there’s no cost associated with production—if your digital products aren’t selling, you can always change your focus and try something else, or try what you’re doing differently. Your attempts at generating passive income will be unique to you and will naturally have to work as an experiment, but if you keep plugging away at it, you will eventually get it right.

Create online courses to generate passive income

Online learning is a huge industry. As in, 100+ billion dollars per year huge. As a freelancer, you have developed skills that hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people would like to develop themselves. Creating online courses is a way to teach what you know while also generating a passive income.
Creating online courses is a way to teach what you know while also generating a passive income. Click To Tweet

According to journalist Mridu Khullar Relph, when it comes to generating passive income, “Online products, whether in the form of courses or workshops or webinars, are generally the best way. The key thing with online products is that people buy them to get a specific result, so if your program (whatever form it takes) can help lead them to that result, it can be a great way to build some extra income.”
You might not end up as lucky as the math teacher who earned more than $1 million after creating only four online courses, but you can, with concentrated effort, generate thousands of dollars per month in passive income through the creation of online courses.

Not every course will earn you money, though. Like anything in life, sometimes your efforts will not be rewarded, and creating online courses can take a lot of time. That’s why it’s wise to heed the advice above and make sure you have steady sources of active income—then you can spend some of your free time working on creating an online course. Worst case scenario, you learn a lot about yourself or pick up some new skills from creating your first course. Best case scenario, you learn a lot about yourself, pick up some new skills, and earn a whole lot of passive income.

Blog to generate passive income

This is one of the most crowded fields on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it—especially because the benefits of creating your own blog are two-fold.
The truth is, for every blog that earns a sizable income, there are thousands that do not. But your blog can be created first as a means of building your own brand and driving clients to your services, which can increase your active income. Then, as your posts begin to lead to more engagement, you can turn your blog into a source of both active and passive income.

You can also use your blog to drive other passive income sources like the online courses and digital assets you have created.

Write eBooks to generate passive income

As with most sources of passive income, there is a level of dedication required to make writing eBooks work. Your content has to be valuable to potential customers. You have to do marketing. You have to become a trusted source of information, or develop a niche. The topics you can write about are endless—from Dinosaur-themed romance novels (yes, this is real, and seems to really sell…) to eBooks about how to write and generate passive income from eBooks (perhaps you can go even more meta and write an eBook about how to write eBooks about writing eBooks).
Joking aside, if you’ve always wanted to write a book, there’s never been a time in history when it’s been so easy to get your work out there. You can also take a highly-rated Udemy course on the subject.

Design WordPress themes and plugins to generate passive income

If you’re good with WordPress, then there’s a huge market out there. The field may be crowded, but if a few themes or plugins that you have designed take off, you can generate a nice passive income from them.
You can check out freelancer Chris Wharton’s story to see how his passive income from creating WordPress themes went from just under $10,000 in 2012 to nearly $50,000 in 2014.

No matter which of these potential routes you choose to take to generate passive income as a freelancer, you will be faced with a challenge before you see any money roll in. First, you must create something new, useful, and marketable, and then you have to get the word out.
To generate passive income, you must create something new, useful, and marketable. Click To Tweet

Sometimes it requires plugging away at it for months before you see any of the fruits of your efforts. However, if you’re already on solid footing with your regular streams of income, then you don’t have much to lose—you only have a lot to potentially gain.

It’s worth a shot, especially if you start to generate more passive income than active income—because how much easier would it be to enjoy the freelance life if you knew that a certain amount of income every month was guaranteed to come in?
Have you found any great ways of generating passive income? Tell us in the comments!

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