Freelancers go into business for themselves for many reasons, but freedom and independence is typically the deciding factor. I mean, what’s better than working out of a laptop on a beach or passive income for freelancers?
How about only working for 10 hours a week? Or what about 5 hours? Maybe even 0 hours?
It sounds like a pipe dream to quit your day job and build a passive income business or make a reliable income without putting your nose to the grindstone. But thanks to the internet, that goal isn’t out of reach. In fact, it’s really smart to create multiple streams of income as a freelancer.
But what is passive income, and what makes it different from active income? How do you make passive income? In this article, we’ll look at ways to make passive income for freelancers.
What is passive income for freelancers?
Before we jump in, we need to establish what is and isn’t considered “passive income.” You’ll come to find that passive income isn’t inherently “passive” despite its name!
What is passive income?
Passive income is income that’s generated without a significant time investment once the revenue stream is stable. Passive income for freelancers could include starting a YouTube channel, creating an online course, investing in digital advertising, among other things.
It’s a misconception that passive income streams are 100% hands-off. You still have to make an upfront monetary or time investment to generate passive income. You also need to be skilled in marketing, develop a number of soft skills, and learn how to generate and nurture leads.
What is active income?
In contrast, active income is earned from a time-consuming service, like a full-time or part-time job. Active income is quicker and more consistent than passive income. However, freelancer income, commissions, and tips count as active income, even though they may not be reliable.
7 ways to generate passive income for freelancers
Generating enough passive income for freelancers doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re looking to make a bit of extra money on the side, here are 7 ways to do just that.
1. Create a course
Freelancers are already good at something. After all, they’re selling what they’re good at to other clients. Why not use that knowledge to generate some passive income on the side?
Creating a course is one thing, but marketing it is another. If you want to generate hype for your course (and earn a truckload of money in your first month of launch), pre-sell it and create a launch email sequence. Once your course is complete, send review copies to select affiliates.
Why? Because you can add client testimonials to your course’s landing page to generate social proof! Social proof is one of the best ways to convince audiences you’re a thought leader.
One week before launch, you need to pull out all the stops. A live webinar, a blog post and a social media post will generate enough buzz for your product in the long and short-term.
2. Work with an outsourcing company
If you want to turn your active income stream into a passive one, consider outsourcing client work to someone else. You can take a small fraction of their pay as a “finder’s fee.”
But, and this is a big but, you need to be transparent with your clients if you’re outsourcing your projects to another freelancer or company. This is especially true if you’re handling private client information, such as social security numbers, credit card information, or home addresses.
You’ll also need to ensure your team has the right qualifications for their role. For example, if you’re filing a client’s taxes, a CPA accounting certification is required for legal compliance.
Keep in mind that some clients won’t be comfortable with this arrangement. They may prefer to work directly with you, so give them the option to choose between you or another freelancer.
3. Sell your unused freelance work
Freelancers often make hundreds, even thousands of assets a year. Some of these assets could be sold to other clients, companies, or individuals if they catch someone’s eye.
Designers alone have at least several ways to turn their unused work into income, but many of these ideas apply to other freelancers. For example, you can rework an Excel-made content calendar and sell it as a product or sell blog posts that were made but not used.
However, you can’t just sell freelancing work your client paid for, even if they didn’t use it. Contact your client for their permission and write in your contract that you can sell unused work.
Unused freelancing work can also include your free time. If you don’t have enough work or you have an hour or two to spare, you can supplement your income with gig economy apps.
4. Proof-of-stake (PoS) staking
Dividend-earning tokens, like KuCoin Shares (KCS), are often accessible to people with limited income. KCS price per share averages out at $10, but Komodo (KMD) only costs $0.25 a share.
While there’s no such thing as a sure thing in the crypto market, dividend-earning tokens will provide passive income. All you need to do is hold on to the token, and you’ll earn a percentage of the company’s revenue. The share you receive depends on the number of coins you own.
However, there are even more ways to save when trading crypto. For example, did you know you’re charged credit card transaction fees when buying crypto with a Visa or Mastercard?
The best way to trade crypto and earn the most money from your investment is by using crypto apps. Many of them will even offer discounts or incentives for signing up or trading regularly.
5. Become a social media influencer
While becoming a social media influencer full-time is pretty tricky, freelancers should share their lives and expertise on social platforms anyway because it could lead to something great.
For one, you could gain the attention of brands and other influencers who want to utilize your followers. Once you do, you’ll be asked to create sponsored material and affiliated posts. After putting in that work, you’ll generate passive income from advertisements and affiliates.
However, you can’t expect opportunities to fall in your laugh. You have to actively promote your profile and your following to brands if you want to see any traction on your social media pages.
If you don’t end up creating a stream of passive income, your social presence won’t go to waste. You can use the platform you have to find active income from clients looking for freelancers.
6. Sell templates and digital products
Selling physical products, unless you’re running a dropshipping business, takes a lot of time and effort. However, digital products, like templates, music, or fonts, are easier to make and ship.
Digital products only have to be created once (unless you want to edit the file) to generate a hefty amount of passive income. As long as you market the product on your site or social media, your customers will find and buy it, and your website will deliver the file directly to their inbox.
With that said, sellers can completely automate the process. This makes your passive income stream relatively hands-off, reducing overhead costs and producing a high-profit margin.
7. Automatic dropshipping business
Dropshipping is an eCommerce fulfillment method that allows you to sell products without carrying an inventory. Dropshipping can be extremely profitable if you pick the right niche.
Although dropshipping is a common passive income for freelancers, you need to select the right suppliers to avoid upsetting your customers. Some suppliers offer low-quality products and a frustrating return policy. Always research any supplier or company you plan to do business with.
You can set up your dropshipping business on a third-party app, but it’s better if you make a website. This gives you more control over your marketing, content, and on-site advertisements.
Dropshipping software, Facebook Pixel, and other apps can automate the majority of your business functions, eventually turning your company into a truly passive income stream.
3 tips to start generating passive income now
It can take months to generate enough passive income from your various income streams to live off of, so you’ll need to get started right away. Use these 3 tips to get the ball rolling.
1. Use skills you already have
Successful freelancers already have marketable skills, so all you’ll need to do is think outside of the box. Ask yourself how you can use what you know to create a successful passive income stream. Then, market your products and services to an audience that’s likely to buy them.
For example, if you’re a designer, you already possess enough skills to generate passive income. By staying in the design space, you can leverage your experience to find clients right away. If you start a new career, you’ll have a harder time getting consistent freelance work.
2. Study your competition
Talented marketers sometimes reinvent the wheel, but it’s more profitable to take notes from your competition. That doesn’t mean you should copy them. Instead, examine how they market their products and services to their customers and follow their playbook while adding extra flair.
Don’t forget to pay attention to their customers. The way they interact with a competitive brand can give you insight into how to cater to them. For example, if a landlord in your area isn’t conducting regular maintenance, state you’ll answer repair requests promptly on your ads.
3. Diversify your income streams
Passive income for freelancers involves diversifying your income streams. If you rely on one source of income, you’ll have to scramble to find another job before you eat up your savings. Plus, you’ll have the chance to experiment with multiple income streams before you settle.
From the examples we put on this list to unexplored options, like passive income apps, you’ll never run out of ways to supplement your income. If something doesn’t feel right, you can move on to the next. Eventually, you’ll create 5-10 passive income streams that work for your needs.
How will you generate passive income for freelancers?
There are so many ways to make money on the internet. Fortunately, generating passive income for freelancers isn’t difficult, as they can use their skills to create incredible things.
However, your current skills don’t limit your ability to diversify your income streams. Just about anyone can invest in real estate, build a dropshipping business, or get cash-back on their purchases. The only true trick of any passive income stream is knowing where to start.
How will you generate passive income? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!
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