3 tips on how to earn passive income, from people who do it (one brought in more than $1 million)


The popularity of side hustles and part-time work continues to grow. Of more than 3,000 job seekers surveyed by Monster in November 2020, 92% said that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, now is a good time to look into gig work.

Among the most popular ways to earn extra cash are passive income streams, like those from real estate properties or high-yield savings accounts. The idea behind passive income is simple: Do the work upfront, then reap the rewards for months or years after.

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For anyone interested in finding a passive income stream of their own, here's some advice from three people who've made thousands or more in passive income.

'Listen to what people are asking'

Colorado-based Michelle Jackson has self-published more than 15 e-books, ranging from romance novels to local tourism guides. Over the past few years, they've made her more than $12,000. Her advice for choosing a side hustle is to "listen to what people are asking and what they're interested in," she previously told Grow.

Jackson's first e-book was about Colorado. "I would get all these questions about moving here," she says, "so I was clued into the fact that that's a book."

5 most popular side hustles of 2020
5 most popular side hustles of 2020

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

Consider whether you have in-demand knowledge or specialized experience that would translate to an e-book or even a series of them. Maybe your parents want to know how you managed to fix that broken stereo, or your friends are constantly bugging you to give them plant-care advice, or you've developed a specialized skill at work.

An e-book based on your expertise could become a lucrative source of passive income.

Research competitors' pricing

In 2018, Emilio Gargano started a blog to vent about the challenges of trying to pass Texas' Technology Applications EC-12 (242) exam, which is used to certify tech teachers in the state. By the time he finally passed the test, he'd amassed a readership with lots of questions on how to best prepare for it.

Recognizing an opportunity to make some money, Gargano wrote and started selling study guides for several Texas-based teachers' tests. That's brought in more than $15,000 in passive income thus far.

To figure out the right price for his guides, Gargano checked to see what competitors were charging. Some were asking $80, which seemed too high, and anything below $20 seemed too low to be worthwhile, "so I priced it right between there," he says. Many of the guides on his site now go for $25-$50 each.

'Ask a lot' of questions

Chris Haroun was working in finance when he discovered a passion for teaching. In 2016, he decided to upload an MBA-in-a-day course to online learning platform Udemy. Haroun's course has since been downloaded more than 390,000 times, and he has uploaded dozens more classes onto the site.

Altogether, those streams have brought in more than $1 million in passive income.

Once you've decided what you want your side hustle to be, "ask a lot" of questions, Haroun previously told Grow. Look into who's made similar products, and see if there are reviews of their work that offer insight into any mistakes they've made along the way. Join Facebook or Reddit groups that touch on the hustle you're considering, and ask people questions about how they perfected theirs.

Udemy, for example, has a page dedicated to its community of instructors. Veteran teachers can write posts about what they've found works or doesn't, and people can reply with their questions and inquiries.

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The article "How to Earn Passive Income, From 3 People Who Do It (One Brought in Over $1 Million)" originally published on Grow+Acorns.

This millennial has made $100,000 reselling clothes
This millennial has made $100,000 reselling clothes