What is passive income and how to earn a passive income online?

“If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” - Warren Buffet the billionaire investor once said that, and basically explained what passive income is.

passive income

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What is passive income online? 


Simply put, passive income is a way to make money without working. Or more accurately, when you have an income stream that generates you profit without requiring you to do the hard work. 


It can’t get more passive than making money while you sleep is it?


Passive income is so appealing to people because it shows a future where they can be more free. Imagine you’d be free to spend more time on your hobbies. Free to travel. Free to be there for your family. Free to pursue a different job. Free to choose.


Having a passive income stream can help you live more of the lifestyle you wish for. Whether by adding extra money on top of your 9 to 5 salary or by replacing it. Once you have more money or more time, you basically have the means to create more of your desired lifestyle. 


So I imagine now is the time you start thinking, that’s all good and nice but..  

How easy is it to add a passive income stream?


Before we can answer this, we should get an idea of how it is possible to earn passive income online. And when focusing on online income it means we are not talking about renting a room in your apartment with AirBnB, earning from rentals or even from investments in the stock market or other financial instruments. Those all require some upfront money investment. 


We are talking about what you can create online that will earn you a passive income. Most online passive income ideas require some upfront time investment rather than money investment. Many of the ideas will work better by starting a blog or website, but for many of the options it is not a requirement and you can start without one.



Six affordable options to earn a passive income online in 2023


Sell an eBook

Have you heard about Amazon? Well, most chances that when you buy an eBook on Amazon you purchase a self-published book. It’s extremely easy to self publish a book nowadays. 

You’ll need to write and edit the content, create a cover and upload it to a marketplace via a program such as Amazon KDP (Kindle Self Publishing)


Sell stock photos

Have you ever seen a reputable content website who doesn’t have at least one photo in each of its articles? These are usually bought through stock photography websites. The photos on these websites are uploaded by photographers who receive a small commission every time someone purchases their photos. 


Create an online course

Do you have a subject that you are an expert on? Are you highly knowledgeable in a subject people are interested in? Then creating an online course is an option for you. 

Basically, it means you can create a set of video tutorials, upload them to one of many online education platforms that offer courses in a wide variety of subjects and when people enroll in your course and pay, you get a commission. 


Create and sell digital files 

There are so many digital files that people love to buy and there are marketplaces for it as well. People buy printable posters, photography filters, wallpaper designs, documents, templates and more.. If you know how to create a relevant digital file that people would like to buy, find a marketplace to upload your files and whenever people buy your files you’ll get a commission. Without any extra work.


Design T-shirts (Print on demand products)

Many marketplaces offer products with unique designs. A lot of those marketplaces do not have the products in stock, but only print the design on the product once a design is sold (print on demand).This allows the marketplace to allow designers to upload their designs to the marketplace and when a design is sold on a product, the designer gets a royalty on the purchased item. Again, this is passive because after you do the initial work and upload your designs, even if you don’t do anything and those designs get sold, you get paid.


Affiliate marketing

There are companies who are willing to partner up with people and pay them for referring paying customers. Those people are called affiliates. As an affiliate you get a special tracking link to the company’s website and when you refer people who buy you get a commission. 

This method works well for people with an online presence, such a YouTube channel, blog or website.


How easy is it to earn a passive income online?


Now that we have a better idea of what type of passive income streams online we can have, let’s get back to the big question. How easy is it to earn a passive income online?


Obviously once it’s passive there’s not much work to be done, right? However, how easy it is to get to this point? You may not like the answer. You know why? Because it depends. But it’s safe to say that it’s not that easy and needs some upfront work (there’s a reason this blog is called Somewhat passive income…). 


In order to have a passive income in the future you need to put the upfront investment in the present. How much? Depends on the following questions:. 


When will you be satisfied? 

If you’ll only be satisfied when you reach seven income sources and a 6 or 7 figure income, it may require a lot of work until you get there. If you’ll be satisfied with an extra few hundreds a month the amount of time and work you’ll need to invest may be much lesser.


What’s your starting point?

The above goes for your starting point as well. Having initial money to invest or the required experience makes it easier to some extent. For example, if you already have a lot of money to invest in the stock exchange, you can research it and within several days have your own portfolio. It will be much harder if you don’t have that amount right now. 


What is your experience?

Related experience such as marketing, design or anything that is closely related to your chosen method of income, can make it easier and faster to create a system that will get you to the point of earning a passive income. Having no experience at all will require extra time and effort to learn and get better. 


Oh, and don’t get intimidated from the word “system”, eventually it’s just some steps you take that get you the results you wish for. When those steps are defined and can be reproduced, you have yourself a system.


Once you have a system you can say it gets easier to build a new passive income stream. Until then, here is what you may need to invest:



Do you wish to save time in the future? It will take time to build the systems and get the hanging of how your chosen method works. If you work on it full time you can achieve it faster, but it’s totally possible to do it while keeping your 9-5 job. Choose whatever time you can invest that makes sense in your current situation. Just make sure to allocate that time and use it for that purpose.  



Money can save time. Having money can accelerate part of the process so if you spare money to invest you can consider using it. However, this will be a bad idea if you won’t take the time to learn and make sure you have a plan to understand how that money will actually help you shorten the process. Otherwise you may end up without the passive income and with even less money than you started.



Effort is what you consider as effort, so it is not straightforward to define. However, when you choose the income method you wish to build, you should consider how different this is from anything else you’ve ever done and how you feel about it. If you feel it will be high effort and hard, make sure you set an easy enough routine to work on building this passive income. Something like, investing 30 minutes a day each morning, or 2 hours each Sunday evening.  This way even if it will take time, you are more likely to continue and reach your goal without quitting along the way.  


Sound’s too hard? Don’t get intimidated. 

Obviously all of the above shouldn’t hold you back, adding extra streams of passive income is an achievable and attainable goal. Many were able to do so before you and many will do so in the future.   


A quick getting started guide:


Choose your desired method

As you saw, there are many opportunities and options when it comes to building your own passive income stream. Learn a bit about each that sounds interesting to you and then choose one to start with. 


Learn the basics

Once you’ve chosen the method you’re going to focus on, it’s important to learn the basics. Learn the terminology, what are the key components and the general flow you’ll need to follow. 


For example, in “Print on demand” you’ll wish to learn basics like:

  • What type of suppliers are there?
  • What type of products are available? 
  • What type of print on demand designs are being used by other sellers?
  • How do you make money from it?
  • What is the process you’ll need to go through?


And for the process you’ll have something like this:

  • Choose a niche 
  • Create relevant designs
  • Upload designs to print on demand platforms
  • Set the pricing
  • Get people to see your designs
  • Repeat


There are many options to expedite the learning curve with online courses that take you step by step through everything you need to know in order to get closer to your passive income goals. 


On Somewhat Passive Income you can find free curated passive income courses that will help you start new passive income streams without paying for costly courses. All the courses content is based on people who are doing it in that field and have hands-on experience. 

So pick your course now. What do you have to lose? It’s free 🙂


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Make money while you sleep

Welcome to
Somewhat Passive Income

What’s in here for you?

  • No more settling on lesser tools or services because you wasted your money on courses. You get FREE passive income courses, so you can save money for things that will help you earn even more money.

  • No more frustration and quitting in the middle because you need to follow a method that is not right for you. You get unique knowledge shared by different people with different experience levels, so you could learn from a number of perspectives and proven methods and follow what feels right to you.

  • Learn quicker and start achieving your passive income goals earlier. You get structured and curated courses, so you can save time on finding the right information or figuring out what’s the right order.

Enjoy your learning and remember: The only step you need to take is your next step

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