8 Easy Ways To Earn Money While You Sleep
by Natalia Lusinski
Jacob Lund/Bustle

Wouldn't it be nice to earn income without worrying about it? I'm not talking about doing your regular 9-to-5 job, but through passive income. Because, believe it or not, there are several easy ways to earn passive income. Yes, some of the ways may involve some work, time, and money up front, but once that's taken care of, you can sit back and watch your bank balance grow.

"You know what they say: 'Don't work for your money. Make your money work for you,'" Jenna Goudreau, Managing Editor of Make It, CNBC's new site focusing on all things money, tells Bustle. "That's exactly the goal with passive income: By being smart about the resources you already have, an initial investment of effort can eventually earn you money while you sleep."

But, passive income is different from having a side hustle, which is another great way to earn extra money. While side hustles are usually ongoing work, earning passive income is usually not.

Jennifer Barrett, chief education officer at Acorns and editor-in-chief of Grow, agrees with Goudreau. "Developing steady passive income streams can be a great way to supplement your regular paycheck and boost your bottom line," she tells Bustle. "Just be sure to do your homework ahead of time so you're aware of the costs and risks involved and realistic about the income you can expect. Investing regularly in the stock market can provide earnings over time from compounding market returns. But there are also ways to create steady streams of passive income that pay out at regular intervals — from investing in stocks that pay dividends and bonds that pay interest to investing in a rental property or renting out your own home."

All that said, here are eight passive income ideas to get you started, according to experts.


Have A Rental Property


Although renting out your room or home can also be a side hustle to make extra cash, it's also a great source of passive income. However, another route to go is to get an income property just for the purpose of renting it out. This is even better if you live in a touristy area, because you can probably make even more than usual during the high tourist seasons.

"Rental properties provide a source of passive income and the possibility of overall appreciation of the property with tax advantages," Lou Cannataro, partner at Cannataro Park Avenue Financial, tells Bustle. "Our generation and those to follow will not have pensions, and social security is 'iffy,' at best. Rental properties can provide that constant income (people always need a place to live) that is not directly tied to the marketplace and one cannot outlive."

In fact, according to Airbnb, women hosts are using their Airbnb income to help afford their homes more so than men, particularly single mothers who host (62 percent globally). In 2016 in the U.S., the typical woman host earned $6,600. And, since Airbnb launched in 2008, women Airbnb hosts have earned over $10 billion through the platform.


Use A Cash-Back Credit Card


When you go shopping, do you use cash, your debit card, or a credit card? Instead, why not use a cash-back credit card and make money while you shop? It sounds contradictory, but Goudreau elaborates. "With a great cash-back card, you can make money when you spend money," she says. "The key is to keep your spending rates the same and pay your balance off in full at the end of every month. It's also important to pay your bill on time. That way, you're not paying interest or getting hit with any late fees, and any cash back you earn is pure profit.

To find one that works for you, check out sites like Nerdwallet that rank the best cash-back credit cards annually.


Open An Etsy Or Online Store

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Chances are, you have hidden talents that not many people know about. Perhaps you're that person who creates handmade greeting cards for friends and family. Or maybe making candles is more your thing. Whatever the case may be, why not take your talent to Etsy or an online site, particularly if you already have a bunch of your product already made?

"Create your own products and services," financial blogger and life coach Michael Tamez tells Bustle. "Any company you could ever work for can replace you at any time. However, your individuality can never be replaced! I encourage you to explore your creative talents and abilities more. What are you good at? How can you monetize that talent and perhaps even build a business out of it? Have you experienced something extraordinary in your life, and because of it, have tons of knowledge and wisdom to share? ... Creating your own products and services can create steady streams of residual income, which pays you continuously, even when you're not working. Essentially, you bust your ass once and get paid for the rest of your life — even when you're sitting on the beach, sipping coconut rum. Just remember this: When you invest in your creative abilities, you become irreplaceable!"


Write An eBook

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OK, I know what you're thinking — maybe you're not a writer. However, as Tamez says above, chances are, you're an expert sy ~something~. Also, chances are that other people want to know what you know. So whether you write an eBook on dating or tips on how to fix your car, once you write, self-publish the book, and let it go, it can sit on a site like Amazon and sell itself. Of course, you can market it, too, but that's another story! Some sites let you keep most of the earnings, while others do not.

For instance, with Kindle Direct Publishing via Amazon, you can earn up to 70 percent royalty on sales to customers in several countries. That is a big percentage. Writing a book is not easy, but once you invest in the time it takes, you can reap the monetary benefits.


Use a High-Interest Savings Account

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While some people tend to use a savings account at the same bank where they have their checking account, make sure it's a high-interest one, not just a convenient one. "For short-term savings that you have parked in a savings account for easy access, you can often make more money just by researching whether you're getting the best interest rate," Goudreau says. "While many traditional banks offer as little as 0.1% interest on savings, online banks tend to offer higher interest rates. By switching to an account that offers 1% interest or more, you would be making 10 times as much just by moving the money."


Use A High-Yield Checking Account

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Along the same lines of using a high-interest savings account, another easy way to make and have more money is by using a high-yield checking account.

"You can also make your checking account work for you by earning interest on your balance," Goudreau says. "One caveat: If it's important to you to have a convenient, nearby branch or easy access to ATMs, your options will be limited by where you live."


Invest In Low-Cost Index Funds

You probably already know that investing can result in earned money down the line. However, this is a friendly reminder about investing — even if you don't know anything about investing! — particularly in low-cost index funds.

"For long-term savings, investing in low-cost index funds is the ultimate passive strategy," Goudreau says. "As legendary investor Warren Buffett recently told CNBC’s On the Money, 'Consistently buy an S&P 500 low-cost index fund. I think it's the thing that makes the most sense practically of all time.' By not picking individual stocks and, instead, buying a low-cost fund that tracks the market, you pay less in fees and take less of a risk. Then you can sit back and watch your money grow over time."


Affiliate Marketing


You've probably read blog posts and articles that recommend a certain brand of backpack or water, so you click on their hyperlinked link. Oftentimes, that person gets paid a commission when you do. If you have a blog, the same can happen for you. It's a win-win-win for everyone involved — you, the product you're recommending, and the person who clicks on the link to get the product. Pat Flynn talks about this at length on his website, Smart Passive Income, where you can learn a whole lot more on the topic, aside from affiliate marketing.

Whether you use one idea above, or all of them, you can find streams of passive income(s) that work best for you and your lifestyle. You're probably sitting on a gold mine and don't even realize it! But, by taking some time to do the above, that gold mine can start to become a reality.