How I make $27,000 in passive income every week

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How I make $27,000 in passive income every week

In this article, I’m going to talk about nine different ways to make passive income. I’ll apply my Side Hustle Assessment Matrix to each method, evaluating how difficult they are in three aspects:

  1. How hard is it to get started?
  2. How hard is it to make $100 a month?
  3. How hard is it to maintain an income?

Each method will be given a rating out of five in these categories, one meaning very easy and five being very difficult.

These days, these nine different sources generate around $27,000 per week for me and my business, with varying degrees of passiveness. It’s taken me over nine years to build up to this figure.

One can’t expect to be making an extravagant amount in the earlier days of their foray into passive income generation. But this article contains advice that I wish was available to me when I started my financial independence journey many, many years ago.

What is passive income?

There’s really no such thing as passive income. There’s no way to make money without doing anything at all. When I say passive income, I mean money that’s not directly tied to our time.

Let’s say you were to write a book. You publish it and that book’s now on bookshelves. You’ve done the work once to write the book and find a publisher.

Now every time someone buys a copy of your book, you make money from royalties. That’s passive income. You could literally be making money while you sleep because you’ve created a product that’s out in the world generating income for you.

The other thing with passive income is it always takes a very long time to get going. So if you see advertisements about how you can get rich quick, or if people on social media tell you to message them if you want to make a quick buck, that’s all a scam. It’s not going to work.

There’s no way to get rich quick. So if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, I’ve bad news for you: they don’t exist.

Ultimately money’s just a medium for exchanging value. The only way to make money is to provide value. And the only way to make passive money is to provide value in a way that’s not directly tied to your time. So please don’t join a get-rich-quick scheme.

Over the years, I’ve gotten messages from loads of people who signed up for things like cryptocurrency schemes and gambling schemes in the hopes of making a quick buck. They always end up losing money.

The only way to make money is by providing value. So let’s talk about the nine different ways that you could potentially provide value that generates passive income.

1) Invest in stocks and shares

When we buy stocks from a company, we’re giving them our money. This is a way of providing value. So It makes sense that we’d get some kind of return for that investment. We’re starting with this because investing in stocks is the easiest way to make any kind of passive income.

Let’s say you’ve money in a savings account and it’s earning 0.01% interest. It’s not really doing very much for you. If you put those same savings into stocks, you could potentially be earning passive income from money that would otherwise just be sitting there.

Just a disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor. This is not financial advice. These are tips I can offer you based on my personal experience with investing.

When you’re getting started with stock market investment, conventional wisdom would advise you to invest in an index fund. Most of my money that’s in the stock market is invested in such funds. An index fund’s something like the S&P 500.

Let’s say you invest $1000 in the S&P 500. That money’s basically distributed amongst the top 500 companies in the United States (US), weighted by how big they are.

For example, 2% of your money might be invested in each of the tech giants i.e. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. You might not even have heard of the 500th company on the list. Basically you end up investing a little bit in each of the US stock market’s biggest companies.

How hard is it to start investing in stocks and shares?

★☆☆☆☆

All you really need to do is sign up with a stockbroker. If you’re in the US you can use Weebl. Residents of the United Kingdom (UK) can use Freetrade or Vanguard.

Whatever country you’re in, you’d just have to Google some version of the phrase: “best stock broker platform + country name”. This’ll lead you to a service that works for you. After that, it’s very easy to just invest in an index fund.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from the stock market?

★★★☆☆

This factor can actually be highly variable because it depends on the overall performance of the stock market.

For example, from 2020 to 2021 the S&P 500 had actually increased by about 50%. That was a big increase, especially considering how Covid impacted markets. So if you’d invested $2400 in the S&P 500 in April 2020, you’d have made $100 a month over the next year.

Obviously this isn’t the best way to assess this factor.The stock market goes up and down. Its performance varies depending on the time period that we’re considering.

But if we average out the last three decades, the S&P 500 has had a roughly 10% return. This means every year, on average over the last 30 years, it went up by about 10%. This isn’t inflation adjusted.

Let’s do some quick, back-of-the-envelope calculations: you want to make $100 a month, which is $1200 a year. Going by a very average figure, your annual returns will be 10%. This means your initial investment will need to be $12,000.

As I talked about in How to Invest for Beginners, over time our initial investment also compounds. So if you put $7500 in the S&P 500 and leave it there, after five years you’d be making roughly $100 a month — if we go by the very average figure of 10% returns annually.

Similarly, if you invested $5000 in the S&P 500, then 10 years later you’d be making $100 a month in purely passive income. Again, assuming the 10% average.

So overall, how hard is it really to make $100 a month in passive income from stocks and shares? Well, it kind of just depends on how hard it is for you to collect $5000, $7500, or $12,000 in savings and put them into a stock market index fund.

Crucially, this is money that you shouldn’t need to touch in the next five to ten years, at the very least. How easy it’s for you to make that sort of money obviously varies massively. It depends on which country you’re in, what your circumstances are, and what work you do.

If you’re in the UK or the US, where the median salary is around $50,000 then ,again depending on your circumstances, it’s not that hard to accumulate $10,000 in savings. Obviously if you’re supporting a family of 15 people on $50,000 a month, then it’s a very different situation to that of a single person’s.

In a country like India, where the average salary is $3600 a year, it’s very difficult to save $10000 and would take much longer. In that case, the difficulty of making $100 from the stock market would obviously be more than my rating.

How hard is it to maintain an income from the stock market?

★☆☆☆☆

Once you’ve saved up enough money and invested it, you can just leave it there and forget about it. There are other sources of passive income that require higher degrees of maintenance over time. But stocks and shares are a very easy way to make passive income.

How much do I make from the stock market?

I’ve been investing in stocks and shares since 2015 and my portfolio’s currently worth around $350,000. The vast majority of that’s in the S&P 500 index fund.

I can’t be bothered to work out the actual inflation adjusted returns. But if we assume a very rough average of 10% a year, then that comes to about $650 per week in purely passive income.

If you’re interested in learning more about the stock market and how exactly it works, you can also check out my video How to Invest for Beginners.

2) Start a YouTube Channel

This is a path that I pretty much specialise in, if I do say so myself. I’ve got my own YouTube channel and I actually teach a course called the Part-Time YouTuber Academy.

The course’s all about how to start a YouTube channel, even if you’ve no prior experience in making video content. Enrolments for our next cohort are actually live, so check out my website if you’re interested.

How hard is it to start a YouTube channel?

★☆☆☆☆

It’s actually very easy to start a YouTube channel. You just go on youtube.com and create a channel. You can pretty much just film videos on your phone and upload them.

Of course, it’s actually a lot harder to make good videos. And making good videos is how you grow on YouTube. But getting started is pretty straightforward.

If you're interested in starting a YouTube channel, you might like to check out my free YouTube crash course. All delivered to your inbox. In the course, I'll teach you how to get all the basics going and get your channel off the ground.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from YouTube?

★★★★☆

The real question is: how hard is it to actually make money from YouTube? Firstly, to be eligible for monetization on YouTube, you need 500 subscribers and 3000 hours of watch time and 3 valid uploads in the last 90 days (for longform video). It took me six months and 52 videos to get my first 1000 subscribers.

If we look at the averages, it takes about 90 videos to reach 1000 subscribers. That’s quite hard.

It’s not possible to start a YouTube channel and begin making money that very day. It took me six months to get there. You’ve to be able to put in the effort and do this for a very long period of time. I’d say you’d need to upload at least one video each week for at least two years before you can expect any returns.

Let’s say you’ve hit your 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. How hard is it to then make $100 a month? On average, you’d get about $2 per 1000 views. This varies massively and, for now, we’ll go with this average of $2.

If you want to make $100 a month, you’d then need 50,000 views on your channel every month. Let’s say you make one video per week and you’re not getting any significant traffic on your older videos. That means every video you make needs to get about 12,500 views.

Very roughly, the average YouTube channel can expect about 20% of their subscribers to equal the average view count for each video. So to get 12,500 views on each video, you’d need about 60,000 total subscribers on your channel.

In reality, you’d probably be able to start making $100 per month before reaching 60,000 subscribers. I think I was making $100 every month when I had about 10,000 subscribers. It was fairly early on.

Having said that, it’s actually very hard to make compelling YouTube videos. It’s very easy to get started, but it’s hard to do it well.

It’s totally worth it, it’s a great skill set, and it’s really fun. You get to meet people across the world through the Internet. You learn how to talk to a camera, how to film and edit videos. So it’s really fun but it’s very hard to actually make money.

How hard is it to maintain an income from YouTube?

★★☆☆☆

Getting those 1000 subscribers is a lot harder than keeping it growing. Once you’ve got 1000 subscribers and your channel begins to grow, it means you’ve landed on a formula that works. So maintaining it then becomes easier than starting from scratch.

How much do I make from my YouTube channel?

I started making money from YouTube AdSense after my 70th video. These days the YouTube channel makes about $12000 every month in passive income from AdSense. This comes to about $3000 every week.

Again, this isn’t entirely passive because I keep uploading new videos. But actually the bulk of the money that we generate from ads is from older videos rather than videos that were uploaded this month.

There are other ways of monetizing YouTube, like brand deals and selling merch. But that doesn’t really count as passive income through YouTube, which is why I’m not including the money we generate through those revenue streams.

3) Start a podcast

Starting a podcast’s generally easier than starting a YouTube channel. But growing a podcast’s a lot harder than growing a YouTube channel. Podcasts themselves don’t really have an algorithm that’s helping them grow. In fact, a lot of podcasts grow by having a YouTube channel.

How hard is it to start a podcast?

★☆☆☆☆

It’s very easy to start a podcast. You could sign up on anchor.fm. Then you can literally just pass your phone around between you and your friends, record a conversation, and upload it as a podcast.

You can also use a website called Riverside that I’m actually an angel investor in. Riverside makes it very easy to record remote podcast interviews. So basically it’s not at all difficult to start a podcast.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from a podcast?

★★★☆☆

Again, this isn’t quite passive income because podcasters make money through brand deals. There isn’t an AdSense for podcasts. So you need a sponsorship or a brand deal to make money, generally speaking.

Apparently you can expect to make around $18 for a 30-second ad in a podcast. For a 60-second ad you can expect to make $25 per every 1000 listens.

Let’s say you’re hitting the numbers to attract sponsors that are giving you $25 for every 1000 listens. To make $100, you’d need around 4000 downloads every month. If your podcast is weekly, that’d come to 1000 downloads for every episode.

This begs the question: how hard is it to get 1000 downloads per episode?

Well, it’s a lot harder to get 1000 podcast downloads per month than it is to get 1000 YouTube views per video. Because, again, YouTube has so much distribution built into the platform, unlike podcasts.

Also, loads more people are watching YouTube videos than are listening to podcasts. If we look at the stats, the top 20% of podcasts in the world average more than 1000 downloads per episode.

To use a friend of mine as an example: my housemate Sheen Gurrib started her own podcast around two years ago. Within five months, her podcast was averaging about 400 to 500 downloads per episode.

This isn’t bad at all. Especially considering she had zero audience when she started. So she didn’t have the unfair advantage that I did when starting my own podcast, because I had already built an audience by then.

Sheen’s just launched season 2 of her podcast. She’s started posting videos about it on YouTube and that’ll really help the podcast grow. I’m pretty sure that in the next six months, she’ll be getting to a point where she can quite easily make $100 a month from her podcast.

So when it comes to making $100 a month, yes it’s hard to do so with a podcast. But because there’s no minimum threshold for reach and audience, it is possible to start making money sooner than you’d with a YouTube channel.

How hard is it to maintain an income from a podcast?

★★☆☆☆

Like I said, this isn’t really passive income. You’d have to keep producing new podcast episodes because you’d be relying on brand deals. But, like with a YouTube channel, once you’ve stumbled on a formula that works it’s easier to keep going. As is the case with most things, really.

How much do I make from my podcasts?

I currently produce two podcasts. My brother and I started a podcast called Not Overthinking about two and a half years ago. We make about $625 per week from brand deals and from our membership.

About a year and a half ago I also started my own podcast Deep Dive with Ali Abdaal, where I interview leaders and experts from various fields.

4) Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing means that you’re selling other people’s products but you’re getting a percentage of the sales from those products.

Apparently 48% of affiliate marketers globally earn $20,000 a year. This comes to about $1600 a month, which is actually not bad at all. Overall, people are doing very well with affiliate marketing.

How hard is it to start in affiliate marketing?

★★☆☆☆

Basically you can just sign up to a program like Amazon Associates. This is Amazon’s own affiliate program and probably the largest in the world. They give you custom links that you can post on your website and social media.

If people buy a product on Amazon through your link, you’ll get a tiny percentage of the sales. So it’s pretty easy to get started with affiliate marketing.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from affiliate marketing?

★★★☆☆

This is actually kind of hard. Let’s say you’re trying to sell a product priced at $50 and getting 5% commission on it. That’d be pretty good.

Assuming your average conversion rate – the people actually buying the product from everyone who visits the link – is 1%. That’s actually a pretty reasonable conversion rate. You’d then need 8000 visits to your affiliate link for you to make $100 every month.

It’s actually quite hard to get that many visits to your specific product page. Generally, doing well in affiliate marketing requires lots of upfront effort. You’ve to either build an audience or build enough domain authority to organically attract traffic.

Also, in reality Amazon’s affiliate commission ranges from 1% to 10% depending on the type of product.

Other than Amazon, there’re a few other affiliate programs you can join. One of them is Skillshare, who’ve an interesting affiliate program. You can get $7 in affiliate commission if you get one person to sign up for a free trial.

So if you wanted to make $100 a month from Skillshare affiliates, you’d need 15 people every month to sign up for Skillshare through your link. How hard would that be? Well it’s not that hard if you’ve already built an audience. It’s even easier if you’ve your own classes on the platform.

I personally have created 13 classes for Skillshare.

So if I want to make money through Skillshare affiliates, I can just tell my audience something along the lines of: “Hey guys, check out my Productivity for Creators class, which also happens to be a Skillshare Staff Pick. In this class, I’ll teach you all about how to manage your time if you do choose to start that podcast or YouTube channel.”

Hopefully some of you’ll click on the link and sign up. Then that’ll be making me some affiliate income from Skillshare =).

So in terms of how hard it is to make $100 a month through affiliates, I’d say it’s pretty difficult. It’s easiest if you’ve an already existing audience. Like I’ve said, the way to build an audience is by creating useful content and putting it out for free on the Internet.

Do this consistently for a few years and I guarantee you’ll have an audience. Then you’ll be able to make some kind of money by leveraging it. But that’s quite hard to do. Very few people manage to stick to content creation with the consistency it requires in the long-term.

How hard is it to maintain an income from affiliate marketing?

★★☆☆☆

The good news is once you’ve started making money from affiliates, it’s actually quite easy to maintain. Especially if you’re making evergreen content for your audience, the sort that they’d want to engage with no matter how long ago it was published.

That kind of content can become a good source of relatively passive income. It’ll keep attracting new viewers and listeners. These could potentially become sources of affiliate income.

How much do I make from affiliate marketing?

These days my business makes around $11,000 per month in affiliate income from Skillshare. This approximates to around $2750 per week.

On average, we make around $450 per month from Amazon’s UK store. We make a little bit more from the Canada and US stores.

If you want to learn more about how to make money from affiliate marketing, you can check out this course taught by Pat Flynn. Pat’s also the founder of the Smart Passive Income platform.

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5) Sell a digital product

Digital products are products that you create once, like an e-book or an app. Once you’ve created it, you can sell it as many times as you like. This is because selling digital products doesn’t usually have any cost associated with it.

One really good example is this guy called Traf who I follow on Twitter.  In 2020, Traf made an iOS 14 icon set and sold it online for $28 a pop. He ended up making $100,000 in less than a week.

Loads of people wanted to buy his icon pack and you can still buy it for the updated iOs. He put in the work of creating the pack once. Then he made loads of money by distributing it digitally.

Another example is my YouTuber friend Oliur. He’s made over $600,000 since 2014 selling his website themes for Tumblr. To find out more about just how he’s managed to make all that money, check out his episode of Deep Dive with Ali Abdaal.

How hard is it to make a digital product?

★★☆☆☆

Technically, anyone can write an e-book and that’d count as a digital product. So it doesn’t have to be particularly difficult.

But like I said, money’s an exchange of value. So obviously the thing that you’re selling has to provide enough value for people to want to buy it. That’s often quite hard, especially if you don’t have any experience with creating a product.

How hard is it to make $100 a month by selling a digital product?

★★★☆☆

It’s very easy to create an e-book. Getting people to actually buy it is a whole different ball game. This applies to whatever product you create, whether it’s a website theme, an app, or an icon set.

The market around this stuff is very competitive. Your product has to be genuinely really good for people to want to buy it. The way to make a good product is to first identify a problem that people have. Then you find a way to solve the problem and charge money for it.

If you can do those three things, then making $100 a month is doable. You just genuinely have to be selling a product that solves a pain point well enough for people to want to buy it. I won’t say it’s easy to make $100 a month, but it’s very doable.

How hard is it to maintain an income from a digital product?

★★☆☆☆

While you’d have to maintain your product a little bit, that’s often much easier to do than creating the product in the first place.

6) Sell an online course

An online course is a type of digital product that’s generally in video format. I’ve multiple online courses that I sell across various platforms like my Part-Time Youtuber Academy and the courses I offer through Skillshare.

How hard is it to make an online course?

★★☆☆☆

It’s not that hard to make an online course. Generally, you’d need to know how to do video but you could potentially even film the entire course on your phone. Stick your phone on a tripod, talk into the camera and teach something. So it’s not too difficult to create a course.

To get your course out in the world you can just go through a platform like Skillshare. Anyone can upload a class to Skillshare provided it meets certain quality requirements. It’s a lot easier than making your own website and creating your own platform.

How hard is it to make $100 a month selling an online course?

★★★☆☆

To actually make money from a course, you’ve to make a good one. It has to be something people will want to pay for. You can also avoid having to charge for your online courses by using a platform like Skillshare.

Like I mentioned, I’ve got 13 classes on Skillshare. I’ve been teaching on the platform since September 2019.

I also pay for Skillshare and have been doing so for years, even after I started teaching on it. It’s genuinely a fantastic place to learn stuff. They’ve got thousands of classes on all sorts of topics.

Of the 13 courses I’ve got on Skillshare, five are about productivity. These cover a range of topics including the fundamentals of productivity, the productivity equation that I personally use, and productivity for creators.

I also have two courses on how you can study for exams if you’re in school. Those have been rated quite highly. If you use my link to register for Skillshare you can also get 30% off the premium membership. That’s a pretty good deal. Then you can access all of my classes.

I love putting my courses on Skillshare because then I don’t have to directly charge for them. To make $100 a month on Skillshare, you need about 1700 minutes (or 28 hours) of watch time.

If you have a one-hour class on Skillshare, you need 28 premium members to watch it every month. This is based on my Skillshare figures over the nearly four years I’ve been on the platform.

How hard is it to get 28 students a month watching your class? Well if your class is actually good, it shouldn’t be too hard.

If you’ve an existing audience, it’s very easy to get that many students. People already know, like, and trust you. You’ve already built goodwill with them. So they’ll watch your stuff and give you a shot.

The good thing about Skillshare is that they’ve their own algorithm. The better a course, the more visible it is. If you genuinely have a really good class then, even if you don’t have an audience, there’s still a high chance that people will watch it.

When members give your class high ratings, it’ll rise to the top and be visible on the Skillshare homepage. If people search for topics related to your class, the platform will also recommend it to them.

The other way of making $100 a month from an online course is to just charge $100 for it. Then you just need one sale every month. How hard is it to get one person a month to buy your course for that amount? Again, that depends on how good the course is.

The world of online education is exploding right now. Every year, more and more money is being spent on online education, especially since the pandemic. So if you’ve a valuable skill that you can teach, courses are one of the best ways of making passive income.

It’s fun to create a course. You can teach stuff and you don’t need too many technical skills. You also don’t need to make a website, you can just shove it on Skillshare.

How hard is it to maintain an income from your online course?

★★☆☆☆

Once you’ve managed to start making $100 from your course every month, it’s actually quite easy to maintain that income. You don’t really need to update it too often, perhaps once in a while. You just need to make sure you’re getting a reasonable amount of traffic to the course that grows over time.

How much do I make from my online courses?

The vast majority of my online courses, at least the very passive ones, are hosted on Skillshare. Those make between $60,000 and $65,000 every month.

I literally do nothing for my Skillshare classes once I’ve made them. At most, I’ll reply to comments and occasionally plug them in my YouTube videos. That comes to about $15,000 per week. This makes the bulk of the $27,000 passive income that my business generates per week.

7) Build a membership community

This isn’t a route I’d recommend unless you’ve that existing audience we keep coming back to. Everything becomes easier when you’ve an existing audience.

Again, the way to gain that audience is by very consistently creating valuable content over a long period of time. That audience knows, likes, and trusts you. So when you ask them to sign up to your Patreon, some people are actually going to.

When talking about Patreon, we can use my friend Hannah Witton’s example. Hannah’s a YouTuber with over 700,000 subscribers to her channel. She has around 937 patrons. Going by her public Patreon stats, this means she’s making somewhere between $3000 and $7000 per month in passive income.

Keep in mind, only 937 people have signed up to be her patrons out of an audience of 700,000. That’s one person in every 700 subscribers. If those stats represent an accurate average, that means you need a big audience to make a significant amount of money from Patreon.

Again, this also depends on how much you’re charging patrons and exactly what value you’re providing.

The other way of building a membership community is by creating a value proposition that’s compelling enough for people to want access to it. An example of someone who did this is my friend Anne-Laure Le Cunff, who runs a website called Ness Labs.

Ness Labs has a paid membership community which’s about $9 a month. Anne-Laure started the website in 2019 and had zero audience at the time. She just wrote 100 blog posts over 100 working days and built up an audience.

In March 2020, Ness Labs launched the membership. Within a year they had passed $100,000 in annual recurring revenue. That was pretty awesome, considering she’d started less than two years before.

How hard is it to start a membership community?

★☆☆☆☆

It’s actually very easy to start a membership community. You just make an account on some kind of membership platform like Patreon. Making money from that community is then a whole different ball game.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from a membership community?

★★★★☆

To make $100 a month, you need to provide $100 worth of value to potential members of the community. That’s actually quite hard to do.

How hard is it to maintain an income from a membership community?

★★★★☆

The nice thing is once you’ve figured out the right formula, it’s actually a lot easier to maintain that income. This is because of the way the economics of membership communities work. If you keep showing up and providing value in some capacity, you’ll be able to retain the members that’ve already signed up.

How much do I make from my membership communities?

For my business, we’ve a membership community for our Part-Time YouTuber Academy alumni. We call it the Part-Time YouTuber Inner Circle and make roughly $2800 a week from our members.

But it’s not very passive. We have a few events every week and coworking events on Zoom twice a day, along with lots of other stuff. So it takes a lot of work,

8) Start a business and automate it

Another way to generate passive income is to create a business that sells goods or services. Then you can automate or delegate aspects of that business so that the income that you generate from it’s reasonably passive.

This is the stuff that Tim Ferriss talks a lot about in The 4-Hour Workweek. There’re a number of businesses that you can start in which you’d be selling a good or service and can delegate, outsource, automate in intelligent ways to make the income passive.

Again, using my friend Oliur as an example: on his YouTube channel, Oliur talks about his $1,000,000 Shopify store. He designs, manufactures, and sells cool vegan leather products like bags and desk accessories. Loads of work went into setting the store up but now he’s got a team that manages it. So he spends proportionally less of his time running that business.

Equally, if you’re going down the service route: I’ve got a friend who runs an Instagram and Facebook ads marketing agency. His clients pay him a few hundreds dollars a month to manage their Facebook and Instagram ads.

He initially has to put in the work to set up the ads. After that it’s automated. He’s got a team that he delegates to. He also uses tools like Zapier to automate aspects of the business. So each month he has to do a very small amount of actual work to keep the business ticking along.

How hard is it to start your own business?

★★★★☆

Creating a business is quite difficult. You’ve got to identify a way to genuinely provide value to people. Then you’ve to find a way to fund your operations. It’s like opening a whole can of worms.

How hard is it to earn $100 from a business?

★★★★☆

Again, to make money from your business you’ve to be able to provide value and that’s hard. It’s not as easy as making an account on a stock market platform and just putting some money into various businesses. You actually have to give value to people.

How hard is it to maintain an income from your own business?

★★★☆☆

Like with anything, once you get started and get the business up and running, maintenance is a little bit easier.

9) Build an app or website

Lastly, you can also try to generate passive income by building an app, website, or some kind of software product. You can sell these with one-off payments or, as is more common these days, as a subscription service.

There’s a whole category of such products called SaaS — software as a service.

If you look at the website indiehackers.com, there are hundreds of people who make passive income through software businesses. They talk about how they got started and share tips.

In fact, two years ago I was interviewed on an episode of the Indie Hackers podcast. That was really cool because I’d been following the them for years. I was interviewed around the concept of starting an online course like the Part-Time YouTuber Academy.

How hard is it to build an app or website?

★★★★☆

I’ve had a bit of personal experience with this.

When I was still in university, me and my brother made two websites called BMAT Ninja and UCAT Ninja. These basically offered softwares as services. They were question banks for students applying to medical school, to help them do well in admissions tests.

Working over the summer of 2015, we coded the websites completely from scratch, having learnt to code when we were young. In the beginning, I think we made about $10,000 in a year. It was pretty good money but it was a lot of hard work.

Making an app or software is actually quite hard. For one thing, you’ve to know how to code. You also have to come with an idea that’s compelling. Then you’ve to actually build it, which takes a lot of work.

How hard is it to make $100 a month from your app or website?

★★★★☆

Once you’ve made an app, getting people to pay for it is an entirely different kettle of fish. You’ve to market it and convince people to buy it, which can be quite hard.

How hard is it to maintain an income from your app or website?

★★★☆☆

As with everything else on this list, once you’ve created the app and begun to sell it successfully, maintenance is a little bit easier.

Ali Abdaal

About The Author

I'm an ex-doctor turned YouTuber, Podcaster, entrepreneur and author. I've been creating YouTube videos for over 7 years and have a following of over 4 million over on my main channel.

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Peter
7 months ago

This rundown on the different types of passive income sources is quite awesome. I love how you’ve thrown in those star ratings to make it super clear how tricky each one can be. Nice touch!