Creative Ways to Build a Passive Income

One of the income avenues often ignored is passive income. While difficult to set up, building this income stream can provide you with a supplemental income that requires no extra effort.

a wallet with money poking out of it

Making money is hard work- but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine earning money while doing nothing at all. Sounds too good to be true, right? Far from it, passive income provides an excellent source of supplemental income, increased buying power, and greater financial freedom. All it requires is a little time investment in setting up your passive income source, then maintaining it with little cost or effort. There’s many ways in which to set up a passive income, meaning that there’s a wide range of options available to those looking to set up this important financial resource. Here are some of the easier ones:

Stocks on computer

Index Funds

Generalize Stocks

An index mutual fund is a stock portfolio which is aimed at matching or tracking the components of a financial market index. The market index is a number used to compare the current market to previous versions in order to get a reading on stock’s performance. A fund manager builds the portfolio in order to mirror the securities of an index. If you don’t have much experience in building a stock portfolio, this option provides the perfect area for beginners to try their hand at investing. Their money will be invested in a general market sector such as oil, minerals, technology, or health care without the investor having to concern themselves with particular stocks or investment strategies. They may choose a sector and put money into their index fund which provides a safe and easy way to invest without worrying about a particular stock dropping and ruining their portfolio. While an index fund provides an easy way to grow a passive income, it is also a slow one with substantial returns taking years to decades to come to fruition. 

Youtube on mobile

Youtube Videos

Creative Earning

An increasingly popular form of passive income, Youtube videos provide a platform for both creative outlet and revenue generation. When creating a video, you have the option to overlay your video with Google AdSense which automatically overlays your video with interspersed ads that will generate revenue with each click. Creating engaging Youtube videos is a venture in it’s own, but it does not have to be a particularly taxing one. Youtube videos may be created as an additional extension of your everyday life such as filming morning make-up routines or releasing daily vlogs. In addition, videos you release will provide a lasting income for a very long time with continuous clicks allowing for continuous income. Once a substantial channel has been built, clicks from old videos can render a relatively comfortable passive income avenue. An important note on this passive income stream is that it is taxed and taxes will need to be filed on it at the end of the year. 

Laptop opened to Facebook ads

Affiliate Marketing and Sales

Clicks for Cash

For owners of a website, affiliate marketing allows for revenue through placed ads on your blog or website. Even relatively small sites have good success in this form of income, as there’s an endless stream of businesses eager to sell their product and willing to pay to reach as many eyes as possible. Depending on the size of your website’s viewer base, there is a high ceiling for the amount of money this stream can provide. Adding affiliates is easy, the vendor may either be contacted directly or reached through an in between service such as ClickBank. For those who do not own a website, this process can still be achieved but first requires creating and marketing a successful website which is no easy feat. This stream becomes easier and more obtainable to those who already have the avenue open to them. 

Man holding camera

Web Design and Photography

Talent to Value

If you’re a skilled photographer or graphic designer, you can either use your previously collected photographs, created images, or icons for a long lasting and lucrative passive income stream. Sites like ShutterShock and iStock provide a conduit for users to sell their photographs or images to their platform at either a flat rate or for a percentage of the revenue generated from business buying rights to the image. Once you have your photo or image posted, choosing a revenue based payment plan can allow you to receive an income over a long period of time. Building a substantial portfolio becomes especially helpful as you are gaining the income from each individual photograph, but buyers also may particularly like your portfolio and choose to use multiple images from it. This means that with time, you can build a relatively robust passive income that will last the test of time. In addition, if you are a particularly prolific photographer or graphic designer you can create your own online platform from which businesses and individuals may choose photographs. You may create multiple accounts and attempt to gain interest in your platform, although this is more successful for those who have specialized photography or graphic design skills as a platform for general pictures will often lose customers to larger and more generalized sites like ShutterShock and iStock. 

Man typing on tablet

Online Writing and eBooks

Writing an Income

eBooks are becoming an increasingly profitable way for writers to receive payment in exchange for their talents. By creating an eBook and selling it through Amazon, a creator can gain a passive income on their book which will range in amount depending on the popularity. Creating a wide portfolio and having either a niche or substantial audience becomes particularly important in this income avenue, as having dedicated fans ensures that your works are receiving purchases not only from the occasional curious buyer but also from readers who have enjoyed your work and want to read more. This avenue of creation may be difficult to set up as it requires both talent in order to engage readers and marketing to get eyes on your eBook. Even the best eBook in the world won’t turn a profit if no one knows about it. Generally writing a classic brick and mortar book can provide a greater revenue stream, although the process is much more lengthy and difficult and it can be a hurdle getting multiple books published. 

Unmarked vial

Sell Products Online

Digital Storefront

Several e-commerce sites such as Etsy, Amazon, and Ebay provide a great platform to make money selling products from home. If you’re good at crafting, Etsy becomes a tool in which you can reach out to an audience and get a decent amount of views on your product. This is one of the more lucrative options, as sales can pull in a very sizable income depending on the amount of product you are able to move. While the beginning stages can prove to be exhausting, definitely not passive income, with time you can begin to use profits to put back into your business in finding ways of increasing the amount of product you can produce, hiring people to sell and ship products for you, and eventually creating a self-sustaining business that will grant you a very comfortable income without any work. The process can take years, but the payoff becomes especially enticing. 

Abby Marsh

Abby is a Student at Pitt majoring in Communications.
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