I have always wanted to be financially independent without having to work a 9 to 5 office job. Over the past few years I discovered ways to reach that aim and although there are already hundreds of (more or less useful) guides on the subject, I want to share some of my personal experiences with you.
#1 There is no ultimate way to success
All of us have our personal strengths and weaknesses that make us the person we are. Some are more talented with languages, while others have a thing for numbers. This makes it impossible for a single guide to exactly fit everybody’s personal set of skills and talents.
In this sense it is crucial for you to know clearly what you are good at and even more important: what kind of project are you willing to enjoy spending time on. Because let’s be clear about one thing: to build a passive income for yourself you can live on, you will have to spend a lot of time and hard work. Everyone who promises you an easy way out is probably a scammer trying to lure you into his pyramid scheme.
#2 What do you have to offer?
Nothing in life comes easy. That is sad and at the same time hard to change. That’s why no matter what strategy you choose to make money, you have to be clear about what benefits you bring to the table for whomever is going to pay you. Are you generating traffic for other websites, e.g. through a referral program or are you selling your own products directly on a website?!
Here are some sample strategies. They all need upfront time investment and may take some months until they start to pay off. But I made very good experiences with them, because they do not need a lot or none upfront financial investment at all.
- Sell your Photos, Illustrations and Music
Businesses and shops often don’t have the resources to create all of their advertisement by hiring an professional designer. They rely on microstock agencies that sell royalty free licenses. You can sign up on their agency websites as a contributor and sell everything from photography, vector illustrations, video footage and music.You don’t have to be a professional – simply the quality and quantity of your work decides on the marketplace. If you already a collection of unused pictures on your hard drive, just try it. You stay the owner of all the copyrights of your work and only sell the licenses to the customers.
Most big agencies like Shutterstock, Fotolia and Dreamstime allow you to upload your work non-exclusive, so you can sell on as many websites as you want. That way you can build up a lucrative source of income and a serious portfolio. There are apps by the big agencies that allow you to even sell pictures you take with your mobile phone.
Learn more about how to get started as a microstock contributor in our Beginners Guide!
- Free-Lance Writing
If you are good with words and (even better) speak a variety of languages, you should look into freelance writing. You can specify what topics you are interested in and would like to write about. It’s a good first step to offer your services on eLance or Freelancer to get an idea of the industry. In addition it can be helpful to write for well known blogs and publications can help build up your reputation which will then help you to get higher rates.
- Publish your eBooks
If you have a thing for reading and writing or you just like fiction or have a lot of knowledge on a special subject, you should consider publishing an eBook. Modern eBook platforms allow you to sell anything from guides to coloring books, without having to invest any money. There are a lot of new publications pouring into the market everyday, so you need an audience or a special subject to stand out. Just think about the success local crime novels have because they are linked to a certain are. Take time creating a cover and raise awareness for your product through advertisement in local newspapers and reviews on literature blogs. There are a lot of freelance authors living from their sales on Amazon. Sadly I’m not one of them yet…
- Create your own eCourse
You can turn any skill to money by creating an eCourse teaching others. Everything from beekeeping to online marketing has sales potential. It all depends on how you set up the course and how well you teach. If you do a good job, you can build a following. Some of these courses sell for a few hundred dollars a peace, although I think you should start with lower prices in the beginning. A lot of people build websites or blogs with additional information to market their product.
Either way you should focus on one strategy until it proves useful or not, but do not try to run everything parallel from the beginning.
#3 Be organized and keep track of your schedule
Creating a passive income is hard, because you have no one reminding you of your schedule. It is a great benefit not to have a boss, but at the same time it means you have to be well organized and keep track of your time as well as your finances all by yourself. It sound easy, but it makes the difference between success and failure.
#4 Be persistent!
After picking the project you would like to dedicate your time to, you can take the next step and ask yourself the big question: “How can I utilize this talent in the most effective way?”
This is a tricky question, especially when you are at the beginning of your journey and have no clear strategy yet. Just take me as an example: I was drawing and painting a lot in my free time and after a few years I started to search for a possibility to make some money with it. I knew that my work did not yet meet the quality standard of professional illustrators or freelance painters, but I found Spreadshirt and started to sell T-shirt designs.
Naturally the first designs did not sell well at all, but I kept learning and improving until I eventually reached a point, where money started to pour in. The first step had been done; I had found my base. The practical skills I developed doing shirt designs helped me with the follow up projects like selling vectors and illustrations on microtock agencies and freelance work as an graphic designer.
In the process of searching for a matching project you might have to give up strategies, when they turn out to have little sales potential or are too time consuming. Check all options, but do not waste your energy on something with no future. 😉
#5 Keep an eye on the active market
Especially as a newcomer it is always useful to see how others have already achieved what you are trying to do. You can learn from them in many ways and avoid mistakes they made. Be creative and try new things as well, but always keep a close eye on the market and current trends. Other people already being successful in your new line of work should not hold you back from working on similar subjects. You probably won’t get the whole pie, but a few crumbs will be exactly what you need to stay motivated! If the industry is big enough, the crumbs might even add up to a nice salary and passive income.