Freelance In 40 Days [Day 37]: Passive Income

Posted: December 9th, 2009

Photo by M Kasahara (Flickr)

Photo by M Kasahara (Flickr)

This is Day 37 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll learn some ways you can earn a passive income as a freelancer.

Wouldn’t be nice to earn a little side income as a freelancer… without doing the additional work?

Many freelancers do it everyday and earn what is known as passive income, or additional revenue streams that adds to the income from their own work. Even the new freelancer should get familiar with this right away.

By not taking advantage of establishing a passive income stream,  you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Not only can it supplement an income and savings but it also provides a little relief when you hit the slow times on projects.

So here are some ways freelancers earn a passive income.

Website Hosting

For designers and developers who build web pages, offering to host a website for a monthly fee is the easiest way to generate a consistent income stream. Consider that each client who takes you up on this will have a website for years, multiply this by a lot of clients and you can see this can become lucrative in itself.

The best part is that hosting companies have special accounts you can set up, known as reseller hosting, which makes this all simple process for you.

Two of the most reliable hosting companies that provide reseller hosting plans are HostGator and Lunarpages.

Sell Stock Images and Photos

Graphic designers surely have (or will develop) a cache of jpegs sitting around on their harddrives collecting dust. While some of those may be logos and other material that can’t be reused, there also might be some other unused images that can be sold as stock images to others. So why not put them to work for you?

To get yourself aquainted with the process, have a look at WebDesignerDepot’s thorough how-to on selling stock images.

Upselling Clients

OK, this is technically not passive income, you can consider this a nice little bonus on top of what you make on projects. That’s easy money, too, right?

Tack on a few dollars to your projects by offering upgrades or additional services to your clients each and every time. They won’t always take you up on this but there are those that will. Skip this, however, and you leave money on the table. Have a look back at Day 27 where upselling to clients is covered.

Publishing Websites

For the writers, there are sites where you can publish articles and generate a share of revenue from the Google Adwords ads that appear along side of them. The catch is that you have to write articles that provide useful information, such as how-to’s, which draw a lot of visitors to click on those ads.

Like the old saying goes, solve a problem and the world will beat a path to your door… or something like that.

Some publishing websites to get you started are Squidoo, HubPages and Xomba.

Sell an Ebook

Is there something you know how to do that many others out there have no clue about? Write an ebook and sell it on a web page for a fee. This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, though, so before you take this on, ask yourself the following:

  • Is there a real need for a solution to the problem you are solving?
  • Is the market already saturated with other ebooks and free tutorials on your problem?

To answer these, do a Google search on the problem and see what’s out there. Also try out Wordtracker’s free keyword tool to see what kind of search queries are made on the problem as well.

If you notice a lot of tutorials and ebooks that solve the same problem then nix the idea and try another. If you notice there isn’t much help out there and there are searches done on the problem you can solve, then you could potentially have a money-maker.

For some good help on writing ebooks, check out Jim Edward’s 7 Day eBook (no affiliation). It will set you back 29 USD but it provides good information for the beginner ebook writer.

Additional Information on Passive Income

For some additional information, Collis Ta’eed from Freelance Switch has a guide to passive income available online or in a pdf file and free of charge.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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