Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Almost everyone dreams of making money while they sleep. But, is it completely feasible? Well, actually, it is.
If you want to be financially free and live life on your terms, making money while you sleep should be top of mind. But, how? While some methods require upfront work to create passive income, others get the money you already have to increase automatically as you sleep. And, yes, sometimes you can actually get paid while sleeping.
So, without further ado, let’s explore the top ten side hustles that make you money while you sleep.
Related: Top 11 Side Hustle Income Ideas to Make Six Figures Online
1. Start a blog.
Yes. You can make money from blogging. But, you aren’t going to earn a passive income until you put in a lot of work. And, it might take you months, if not years, until this happens.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to make an extra $500 – $2,000 per month in your first year of blogging. Additionally, you can significantly increase your monthly blog revenue in years 2, 3, 4, and 5. According to Glassdoor, the average blogger makes more than $48,000 per year. But, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to make six-figures from your blog.
A blogger’s passive income may consist of;
- Display advertising. The ads are run through networks like Adsense, and you get paid for each impression, click, or sale generated from your site.
- Affiliate marketing. This is when you get a special link to use on your site for a specific company or product. For every conversion made through a link, you are paid. Even though old posts may have been written weeks, months, or years ago, they could still generate income.
- Course sales. Bloggers that become authorities on a particular subject can create a course based on their expertise. It takes a lot of work to create the course. However, it becomes passive since you can sell it indefinitely without much effort.
Before you’ll start seeing cash flow from any of these sources, you will have to invest some time and energy. As a rule of thumb, the more time and energy you put into your blog, the higher the ROI will be.
Digital assets are products or pieces of media that can be sold and distributed through the internet without resupplying inventory. These are digital files, such as PDFs, videos, plug-ins, and templates that can be downloaded or streamed.
A user can purchase something and receive it via email or as a download after purchasing.
Among the many profitable digital products you can sell are:
- Music or art
- Digital images or graphics
- Stock photos or videos
- Membership sites
But, if you already offer a service or product, then you could also offer an accompanying digital product. For example, if you sold plants, you could sell a planting guide or access to a paywall site.
The process of creating digital products and marketing them can be time-consuming, just like with affiliate marketing. To build an audience that will buy your products, you need to create value, trust, and establish a relationship.
As it grows and more people discover it, you may be able to earn a substantial amount of passive income.
There will be times when you need to update the product or to add new ones, but with digital products you can earn money at any time.
Online education has become popular among students, professionals, and executives as a means of improving their skills and making themselves more attractive to employers. You can turn any unique knowledge and experience into online course material, which you can further monetize.
As already mentioned, it’s possible to make money through online courses in many different ways. For instance, you can charge a fee upfront for the entire course you offer on your site. Alternatively, you can offer the course for free but charge a fee for certifying or licensing each customer who completes it.
Or, if a product or service is purchased and the course is offered for free, that product or service may be offered as well. There are also subscription-based payment models and tiered payment plans.
The key is to make sure that this is a topic that you’re familiar with. And, you also want to price the course well and market it through services like Facebook marketplace.
In a similar manner, you can create a webinar, charge a fee, and make money from recordings over and over again. People can sign up for automated webinars at any time since they run day and night.
4. Start a YouTube channel and/or podcast.
Building a YouTube channel or podcast takes a lot of time, energy, and a little bit of money, just like with any other form of content creation.
You can make money through ad revenue, affiliate marketing, sponsors, and selling your own products through YouTube and podcasting. However, you could also offer premium content, courses, consulting, eBooks, or physical products like shirts or coffee mugs.
Furthermore, a YouTube channel podcast usually has an accompanying website where viewers can read or learn more. And, it’s not uncommon to have both simultaneously. For example, you can add a podcast clip to your YouTube channel.
An extremely lucrative monthly income can be generated from a YouTube channel or podcast. A successful YouTuber or podcaster could make millions of dollars from their channel each month. Yep, you read that right – each and every month!
Related: How to Make Passive Income in the Creator Economy
5. Rent your stuff out.
Did you know that you can make money by using the things you already own? While you can make money through a variety of side hustles, selling your stuff is one of the easiest and quickest ways.
Of course, the first option that springs to mind is renting out a spare room or entire home on Airbnb or Vrbo. Of course, how much you make will depend on the location.
But, there are numerous apps and websites where you can literally rent out anything. Some suggestions would be Fat Llama, Rent, or Loanables. There are also some more niche options including;
- Neighbor for storage space.
- Fetch is a peer-to-peer truck rental platform, while Getaround lets you rent out your car.
- If you have office space, list it on LiquidSpace.
- You can rent baby equipment through BabyQuip.
- Splinster lets you rent out your bike.
- With Honeygrain, any extra bandwith can be rented out.
6. Invest, invest, and invest again.
Passive income from investing is a tried and true method. If you want easy passive income, however, invest in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds rather than individual stocks.
Even though there is still some initial research, investing in the stock market is all about playing the waiting game. In other words, once you invest, you let it sit and let compound interest do its thing. If you earn more interest on your investments, you’ll earn more interest. This is why investing early and consistently is so vital.
But, why stop at traditional investments? You could also explore alternative investments. Examples include crowdsourced real estate, REITs, farmland, an existing business, or peer-to-peer lending. If you really want to think outside the box, you can also invest in blue-chip art, fine wine, mineral rights, or royalties.
7. Start an eCommerce site.
The three most common types of e-commerce websites are:
- Selling your own products
- Selling other people’s products
You’ll probably earn the least amount by setting up a dropshipping site through Shopify in the beginning. But, it’s also probably the most passive.
There are higher margins in the other two options, though. It can, however, take some capital to start.
So, that begs the question. What is your motivation for starting an e-commerce site?
Through hard work and solid marketing skills, you can earn good money if you strongly believe in a product or idea. You also have less overhead to manage with an online store, which means you generate more profit in less time.
As soon as everything is set up and running, an e-commerce site can become a passive income source. Additionally, some tasks like filling and shipping orders, running payment systems, and managing websites, can be outsourced when the cash begins flowing in.
8. Flip websites.
Businesses and individuals alike today rely heavily on websites, making this a profitable endeavor. Purchase a domain that you believe has potential by visiting sites such as Flippa, TrademySite, or Afternic. Then, build it up so that it becomes more valuable. For starters, make it more attractive and make sure it has high-quality content.
While that sounds easy enough, this isn’t for those looking to make a quick buck. You can make a decent amount of money if you understand how the market works, what’s hot, how buyers behave, and how to attract buyers. In fact, it’s possible to make over six-figures website flipping.
9. Start a vending machine business.
“Vending machines are by no means a novel business idea—they’re basically everywhere, after all,” notes Nerdwallet. But there is much to like about the vending industry if you’re interested in starting a low startup-cost business or hustle. What’s more, vending machines generate over $23 billion in revenue every year in the United States alone, and there are millions across the country. That’s enough reason to explore how to start a vending machine business of your own.
Of course, how much you make depends on its location, what you’re selling, and how well-stocked it is. Sure, there’s some upfront work, and you may have to frequently refill the inventory, but this is literally a business where you can make money while you sleep.
10. Get paid to sleep (literally).
When it comes to literally making money while you sleep, you can do so by taking part in sleep studies or testing mattresses and bedding. Even NASA offers a bed rest study.
If you aren’t camera-shy, you can also stream yourself as you sleep on TikTok. For example, an 18-year-old made about $10 doing this, while a 24-year-old man live-streamed his Tesla “sleeping” overnight and earned $50.
TikTok’s counterpart in China, Douyin, attracted 18 million viewers to watch a man sleep. His earnings totaled over $4,000. Why? Well, people enjoy not only watching people sleep, but also chatting with other viewers.
So, if you want to make money while you sleep? Just stream it.
Related: Best Mattresses You Can Buy Online
Steps to making money while you sleep.
The following are some important steps to get started earning money while you sleep now that you know some of the top options. After all, you won’t be doing everything at once, so establishing some kind of plan is important.
You don’t need to overcomplicate these steps. That’s why I broke it down into six painless steps.
- Prior to earning money while you sleep, you may have to invest time.
- Besides time, write down any upfront costs and investments you need to make in order to begin working towards passive income streams.
- Research the topics that interest you.
- Establish the steps you need to take in order to get started. Is it necessary to acquire a domain and build a website? Are there specific types of investments to consider? Is an LLC necessary?
- Once you receive passive income, you can run parts of your side hustle automatically. In order to maintain or grow your results, however, you will need to do some work.
- Follow the steps into other options for real income diversification. That way, if one option fails, you still have an income source. Also, there’s no need to do all of the above. But, be sure you know what interests you and fits into your financial plan.