Today, we're talking about ways you can earn money while you're sleeping! In other words, stuff you can do that will pay you around the clock, whether you're actively working these things or not. We also call this “passive” income.
While all income requires effort to get going, some things can be “set it and forget it” once you've done the initial work. Passive income is my favorite type of income, and there are lots of things I currently do that earn me money around the clock.
10 Things That Earn You Money While You Sleep
1 – Creating and Selling Customized Merchandise
These days, there are a variety of different websites you can create an account with to design custom merchandise. This includes T-shirts, mugs, calendars, phone covers, tote bags, pillow covers, and much more.
You might think that you need to be a very talented graphic designer or artist to do this. While having skill in those areas can certainly work to your advantage here, it's not necessary for success. Most of these sites have easy-to-use tools that make it easy to create what you want to display on the merchandise you're selling.
While each site you might sign up with to do this has different payment structures, you're usually going to earn just a portion of whatever the merchandise after fees and the site takes their cut. Many people are doing really well making money on these sites. And once the merchandise is created and posted for sell, you're good to go! You obviously don't need to design it again. So in that way this is very passive income.
Here are some websites we recommend you check out if you're interested in doing this:
2 – Creating and Selling Printables
Creating and selling printables is something I'm getting into myself. Basically, printables are what they sound like they are — digital files, usually in PDF format, that people can download and print off. There is no physical product to mail to anyone, which is what makes it even better.
If someone buys a printable you created, they will get an email with the digital file, and there is nothing else for you to do! Except get paid.
People make all different kinds of printables. You could create things like
- To-do lists
- Password trackers
- Goal lists
- Daily planners
- Motivational quotes
- Household cleaning schedules
And once you've created your printable, you can list it for sale on a site like Etsy. I'd also recommend browsing Etsy using the keyword “printable” just to see what sorts of things others are creating and selling to get some inspiration.
It may take a little time to learn to create printables, but it's not rocket science. Sites like PicMonkey and Canva actually make it pretty easy to do, plus they have lots of tutorials you can look at to get specific instructions.
3 – Selling Stock Photos
Do you have photography skill? If so, you could earn some money taking stock photos and posting them on various websites for royalties. Stock photos are almost always in demand by business owners and bloggers/webmasters because let's face it, they need an online presence. And stock photos are important for branding.
Selling stock photos is true passive income because you only take the photo once, and then it can sell over and over. The purchasers generally do not have exclusive rights, so there is not really a limit on the amount of money you can earn.
If you'd like to begin posting your stock images for sale (and get an idea of what to take photos of), check out these sites:
4 – Writing E-Books
The great thing about e-books is that you write them one time and then sell them forever! You *may* need to make occasional updates to your content if your e-book is non-fiction that covers an ever-changing topic, but generally the hard work is done just once, and then that book is yours to sell forever.
So where can you sell e-books? I've listed a few of the most popular places to upload and sell e-books below:
And there are of course several other options. The great thing is that most of these are not mutually exclusive. Your e-book can be made available across many different platforms, increasing the earning potential.
That said, your success will depend on great deal on your own promotional efforts. You can't just expect to upload your book and make a ton of money. It may be necessary to invest in advertising (and most of those platforms do offer options for that). If you are lucky enough to have an online presence with followers, you already have an easy way to make some sales.
For more information on creating and selling e-books, Become a Blogger has some useful information that goes a little deeper into the process.
5 – Creating and Selling E-Courses
Like e-books, e-courses are quite popular and can result in true passive income. You create your e-course content, and then it can sell over and over again. That said, it is likely with an e-course that you may have to make occasional updates to your course content if the subject matter is ever-changing.
Most e-courses are made up of audio, video and/or written content. The way you do your own course is up to you. I'd recommend buying an e-course or two just to see how others have done them to get some inspiration.
So where can you sell your e-course? Below, I've listed some popular platforms people use to host and sell e-courses:
Most of these will also offer helpful instructions and tutorials to get you up and running once you've signed up.
6 – Referring Your Friends To Extra Cash Opportunities
Because this blog extensively covers various extra cash opportunities, we must let you know that referring your friends is a great way to earn some passive income!
Now, depending on how many friends you have — or if you happen to have an online presence already — you may or may not be able to earn more than just extra money. Still, it's a great way to earn money without putting in a ton of effort.
Most extra cash opportunities that you might sign up with, like Swagbucks or Qmee to name a few popular ones, will give you extra points or cash for referring your friends. So be sure to do this as often as possible if you already participate in those kinds of programs to earn even more in addition to what you're already making.
We've listed the extra cash sites with the best referral programs if you'd like to learn more.
7 – Blogging
Having your own online space is a great way to begin creating passive income. This very blog earns me money while I sleep, for example. How? Well, there's about 100 blog posts on this site, and they all earn me money even though many were written years ago.
Each post is monetized with display ads and/or affiliate links. These things are put in place once and then no more work is required, unless at some point the post needs to be updated. And of course that is a possibility.
But, having a website/blog is a great way to earn money while you sleep because you can monetize your content and earn from it indefinitely.
You can learn a lot more about earning money with a blog here.
8 – YouTube
If you don't think writing and blogging is your thing, how about starting up your own YouTube channel? Some people do come across better “in person” than they do in articles. And yes, a YouTube channel will earn you money while you sleep in much the same way a blog can.
Basically, you film your videos once, and they can earn royalties indefinitely.
As a YouTube creator, you can use Google ads to monetize your videos. And if your content gets popular enough, some companies may also pay you to participate in sponsorships.
Google has most of the information you need on joining the YouTube Partner Program and earning money with your channel here.
9 – Rent Out Your Stuff
If you have something people need, you can earn money renting it out. Years ago, it wasn't quite as easy as it is now to get the word out that you have rentable items! But thanks to the internet, you can spread the word far and wide that you'd like to rent out …
And plenty of other things. If you have something other people may need, you can rent it to them. The only requirement here is being the owner of the things you'd like to rent. A pretty easy way to earn money on autopilot.
10 – Sleep Studies
No blog post on earning money while you sleep would be complete without talking about actually earning money to sleep! And that's where sleep studies come in. Yes, this is a real thing.
Many reputable organizations — including Harvard Medical School — are regularly looking for research participants to participate in studies that monitor sleep patterns. You can earn a lot of money for doing this — hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how long the study goes on for and how much time you must spend away from home.
So that wraps up our list of ways to get paid to sleep! Good luck if you try any of these!