5 legit passive income ideas to make $100k+ a year

So, I am guessing you’ve heard about passive income?

Set up an income source, sit back on the beach and watch the dollars roll in!

Easy money, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as the gurus make out and behind every passive income stream are hours of blood, sweat and tears.

Some people say passive income doesn’t even really exist.

I kind of disagree with that because I know first hand that you can make money whilst you’re sleeping but not without putting in the effort first.

Like anything in life, you get out what you put in, but once you’ve put in that initial hard work you can reap the rewards for many years.

my own example of passive income – a bit of inspiration

From time to time I promote affiliate products on my Facebook page as a side hustle.

If you’re unfamiliar with affiliate products, they are essentially products/services someone else has made which you promote in exchange for a commission if you sell one of those products.

A few years ago I was promoting a service I use called “Profit Accumulator” where I receive a 50% commission for any signups I generate.

I put a few links on my Facebook, probably in no more than 20 posts, and a few people signed up to the service.

Now the good thing about Profit Accumulator is their affiliate program provides recurring commissions which means you get paid for as long as the person you’ve referred is still signed up!

And amazingly, even though I haven’t promoted that product on Facebook for about 4 years, I still get about $60 per month due to recurring commissions.

Whilst it’s not tons of cash, it still pays one of my bills each month despite me doing the ground work 4 years ago!

That to me is passive income, regardless of what the naysayers might say!

So, without any further commotion, let’s look at some legit passive income ideas to make money whilst you sleep.

Let’s check them out.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click one of our links and go on to purchase a product we recommend, we may receive a small commission. See our disclosure policy for more information.

bonus side hustles – earn up to $200 a month extra

Before we get started on the main content, did you know you can earn a couple of hundred bucks extra a month with online surveys. Check out these two survey sites to earn extra cash this month:-

Earn up to $10 an hour taking simple surveys. Join through my link for extra bonus points (only available in US, Canada and Australia).

Earn up to $5 – $10 an hour taking surveys, watching videos and playing games. Join through my link for a $5 signing up bonus (only available in US, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, UK and Ireland).

1. build a niche site

what is a niche site?

A niche site is a website dedicated to one particular area which focuses on answering people’s queries they have in relation to that niche.

The idea of a niche website is to attract very targeted visitors who are searching for specific answers to specific topics.

Your aim is to then monetize your website to earn an income, which can be quite passive.


An example would be a website dedicated to, say, car stereos.

So you write about different types and brands of car stereo including things like reviews, testing and specifications.

Someone searches Google for a query like “what are the top 10 car stereos in 2020” and hopefully the search result shows your web page answering that query and that person then clicks and lands on your website.

how does it make passive income?

There are various ways to monetize a niche website but the two main ones are display adverts and affiliate sales.


So affiliates are where you promote a product or service made by someone else, for a commission when someone buys that product or service.

The main affiliate network for niche sites is Amazon Associates, which is Amazon’s own affiliate program.

In the car stereo niche example, the visitor would land on your site, you’d have a review and a link to a car stereo being sold on Amazon, that person clicks that link, buys the car stereo on Amazon and you make that lovely commission.

If you make a few hundred sales every month from your visitors clicking your affiliate links and, say, you earn $10 per sale in commission, then the money soon adds up to a hefty income.

Display Ads

Display ads are the annoying adverts you see displayed on websites.

Essentially ad networks pay publishers to put ads on their site and in return they pay them a fee usually depending on how many people view those ads.

For example, on my other blog, I am with the premium ad network “Mediavine”. I earn around $25 for every 1000 people that see my ads that day.

So, get 5000 visitors to your niche site in a day and you’ll have made $125 in one day and that’s excluding your affiliate sales.

The best thing is these streams of income are passive. You literally make money whilst you’re asleep, sitting on the couch or even when in the rest room!

how do i get started?

I would recommend using WordPress.org as your niche site platform (do not confuse this with WordPress.com which you should avoid).

Something like 75 million websites are built with WordPress so you cannot go wrong.

WordPress.org is a self hosted platform which means you have to buy hosting for the blog to live on.

This can be bought with my link for as little as $3.95 per month from a hosting company like BlueHost. I have used them in the past and they are fine for first time websites.

how much can i make?

The sky really is the limit with niche sites. It will all depend on how successful you are at getting eyes on your content.

The best example I can give is Mike Pearson who runs the courses Stupid Simple Seo/Niche Site Academy.

He has two niche sites where he makes $10k+ a month on each.

2. create a course

what’s this?

If you are an expert in a topic, or even if you aren’t, you can create and sell online courses and do extremely well.

Some examples might be:-

  • How to be a freelance writer
  • How to play the piano
  • How to blog
  • Music production
  • Web building

The options really are endless.

how does it make passive income?

The great thing about making courses is that once they are made, that’s it, they are done, and you can sell them pretty much on autopilot if you can market them correctly.

how do i get started?

Courses can be delivered in a number of different ways such as by video, audio-book, as an e-book and as online step-by-step courses.

There are tons of places where you can make and market courses but here are few examples:-

how much can i make?

There really is some great money to be made with courses.

For example, Lauren and Alex from the blog Create and Go make $50k+ selling blogging courses, which teach you how to set up a blog.

Michelle from the Making Sense of Cents blog also makes $50k+ a month selling her affiliate marketing courses “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing“.

3. drop shipping

what’s this?

Drop shipping is a way of selling physical products without having to deal with logistics like delivery and returns.

So the manufacturer may store the products or you may store them in a managed warehouse.

When a customer buys a product off your online store, the manufacturer or warehouse sends the product out, acting as a middle man and removing the massive headache of having to deal with logistics.

how does it make passive income?

Because you aren’t having to deal with the logistics of delivering your products, it means there is a much less hands on approach compared to conventional e-commerce.

You make a sale and from then on the remaining part of getting the product to the customer is done by someone else.

how do i get started?

There are several ways you can set up a drop shipping store but here’s a few examples:-

how much can i make?

Drop shipping does take quite a bit of effort and will power to become successful as the market is quite saturated but if you’re persistent then the sky is the limit.

Here’s some examples to get you motivated:-

  • Irwin Dominguez – $1m profit in 8 months
  • Aloysius Chay and Galvin Bay – $60k a day with their business
  • Freshley Pickled – Multi million dollars selling baby shoes

4. blogging

what’s this?

A blog is similar to a niche site but generally more personal and more about someone’s story.

Blogs are written in a conversational style for a unique kind of informal engagement the blogger tries to create with the reader.

To me blogs are about sharing an experience whilst still trying to inform and teach the reader how to achieve their goals!

how does it make passive income?

Blogs make income in a variety of different ways, most of which are quite passive, in that once you’ve done the hard work they make money on autopilot.

These are:-

  • Through affiliate sales
  • Through display advertising
  • Sponsored posts where an individual or company pays you to blog about their product or service
  • Selling products like courses, e-books and webinars

how do i get started?

Again, like I advise for niche sites, I would recommend using WordPress.org for your blog and self hosting it with a host like BlueHost which is fairly simple to set up.

The thing to remember with blogging is that not every blog makes money. There has to be enough potential readership out there to make your efforts worthwhile.

I have seen plenty of examples where bloggers start blogging about something where their potential audience is minuscule.

For example they blog about their pet gerbil, and wonder why they aren’t getting any traffic or making any money.

The blunt truth is that no one really cares about your pet gerbil and, even if they did, what are you going to sell them?

💡 My top tip is to stick to an established niche where you know there’s a huge audience.

Some tried and tested niche examples are:-

  • Personal finance
  • Health and well being
  • Cooking and food
  • DIY
  • Adventure
  • Travel
  • Beauty
  • Fashion

I know for a fact all of these work and make money!

how much can i make?

Blogging income really depends on how much traffic you can get to your blog and again how much effort you are prepared to put in.

I know bloggers who make a few hundred dollars a month, some who make a couple of thousand dollars, a few that make $10k – $20k a month and several that make $100k+ a month.

The income potential for blogging is only limited by your imagination!

5. start a youTube channel

what’s this?

Anyone can start a YouTube channel or make YouTube videos and try to make money.

Those who make YouTube videos don’t do so for the fun of it.

They do it to make cash, and lots of it!

how does it make passive income?

The main way that YouTubers make money, is from adverts.

You’ll no doubt recall those annoying adverts that display when you’re just trying to watch your favorite funnies video?

Well those adverts are what allow content creators to carry on making YouTube videos!

Essentially YouTubers are paid depending on the amount of viewers who watch their videos and the ads that come with them.

The best thing is this can be completely passive once you’ve done the video as viewers can keep coming and viewing your video (and the ads on it) for as long as it remains on YouTube.

YouTubers also make money through affiliate marketing.

If you check just under the video you can often see affiliate links for the products mentioned in the video, especially on YouTube review videos.

how do i get started?

YouTube videos can be made with pretty much any camera but for a more professional job, you’ll probably want to invest in a decent video camera with a tri-pod.

Here’s some examples of YouTube videos that make cash:-

  • Funnies and prank videos
  • Product reviews (smart phones, cameras, household appliances)
  • Video guides and how to videos
  • Cooking videos

how much can i make?

The amount of money you will make will heavily depend on the amount of viewers you can get.

You want to aim for a healthy number of subscribers who will be notified whenever your latest video goes live.

YouTube ads pay around $2-$4 per every 1000 views.

Here’s some inspriation:-

  • Pew Die Pie with his gaming channel- $21m
  • Disney Collector – $5.1m (a Brazilian lady uploads videos of Disney toys)
  • Ray William Johnson with his – $18.2 million reviewing and providing his views on various things


Generating passive income does take time!

Run a mile from anyone who says you can set up a passive income source over night and make 5 or 6 figures in no time.

The gurus trying to sell you courses on how to make a million dollars a month whilst on a beach in Hawaii won’t tell you about the initial hard work involved!

It kind of damages their sales pitch to do so!

The truth is that behind every passive income stream is a ton of hard work!

But if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, then you definitely can make money in your sleep and the above examples are living proof of that!


Leave a Comment