Until very recently, if you wanted to earn passive income, you generally needed to have money to start with in order to do so.
Some of the most common ways such as investing in stocks and shares, and earning dividends, or buying real estate properties and renting them out, required significant sums of capital which meant for most people, passive income was just a pipe dream.
That was until the internet came along, and in a relatively short period of time, it has allowed thousands of people to start online businesses and ventures, which not only provides them with a passive income, but they can do so without the need for lots of, if any, money upfront.
No Money, or Little Money?
Let's cut to the chase and define what we mean by ‘no money.’ If you are literally penniless, then there is obviously going to be some difficulty getting started. For instance, you are going to need an internet connection which normally requires a monthly fee, and of course, a device with which to access it.
Beyond having internet access, some of the ways we are about to describe, do need a very small amount of cash to pay for access to certain services, platforms and software, although not all do. So, in terms of defining 'no money,' we are talking about not having to come up with hundreds of dollars to get started. Instead, you may need somewhere between $10 and $50, which we trust is a reasonable level for everyone.
Even with just this amount, you could start an online passive income business today, and potentially have your first sale by tomorrow. If you take a look at Auto Tweets, it is one of those rare opportunities that do not cost a fortune to get started, and it can genuinely produce results very quickly.
Even, if you do not have $10-$50 to spare, check out the first passive income method, where you could raise that amount and more, in order to start any passive income stream you choose.
List Items for Sale on eBay
There are two types of sellers on eBay, those who are simply selling one-off items, and those who make a passive income from it. If we deal with the first type, this is where you could generate the startup money you need, and you would not be the first who has used this method to start a business.
Take a look through your home and make a list of items which you never use, unwanted gifts, and old collectables you no longer wish to keep, but make sure that anything you choose is something that someone else might wish to buy via an online auction.
Although you are not likely to get the full retail price for them, by listing 20 items that each generate a mere $5 each, you'd have $100 less eBay fees, which are normally around 10%, so there's $90 raised just by getting rid of some unwanted items. One of the great things about eBay is you can list several items without paying an upfront fee, so you only pay them when your items sell.
So now that we have resolved the issue of having some money to get you started let's look at some other passive income models which require little or no money to get started.
If selling your items by auction on eBay captured your interest, then why not turn it into a passive income stream. We are not talking about auctioning everything in your house, but instead using drop shipping services to source products and for them to deliver them for you.
Once you have researched and identified one or more products that you think will sell well, you can then create a listing to sell them. When a customer buys one you simply pass their details to the drop shipper who will deliver it to them. There are applications and software that can make the whole process automatic so all you are doing is posting the listings and then letting eBay and your drop shipper do the rest.
You can also use this same principle to create your own online stores on Shopify, Amazon, and other e-commerce solutions. There may be a small fee to pay to get started, although some offer a free trial. Again, you do not have to purchase any inventory before listing them, making this a great way to produce passive income with no money.
Creating and Selling Digital Products
One of the great advantages for anyone wishing to create a passive income with no money is that products sold on the internet do not have to be 'real,' physical products. Instead, lots of them are digital products which customers either download to their device or access online. This means that to create one or more of these digital products, you do not need to purchase any so-called raw materials.
There are multiple types of digital products you can create, and while some might require some technical know-how, there are many which do not. Once you have created your digital product, unlike the offline world you do not have to sell it yourself or employ a sales team. Instead, you can let affiliate marketers sell it and split the revenue.
There are several places online where affiliates look for digital products to sell, and many of these affiliates have sophisticated and proven marketing strategies, which will help increase sales. Sites like Clickbank and JV Zoo let you post your digital product for sale, set the price, and choose which percentage of the sale the affiliate gets. They also process the sale, take payment from the customer, and pay the affiliate their commissions for you.
Just think, if your product is good enough and proves to be popular you could have dozens of affiliates creating passive income for you, and it is literally costing you nothing in terms of time or money. If this sounds good, then you need to decide which type of product you want to create, so below are three of the most popular options.
Software and applications
People are always looking for ways to make both their online and offline lives easier, and creating software which will do that for them, is one way to have a digital product for sale. Obviously, you will require some programming skills, and you will need to carry out research to find out what sort of software and applications people are looking for.
You could sell it as a one-time payment to download, but better than that, set it up as a monthly subscription so that the revenue continues to come in passively every month.
Apart from Clickbank and JV Zoo, there are opportunities to sell apps elsewhere due to the ever-increasing use of mobile and voice-activated devices. Apple, Google and Amazon are three of the biggest web companies in the world, with each having their own 'App' or 'Skills' Stores. If you had the ability to develop a unique app or 'skill' for any of them, it could produce a very lucrative stream of passive income.
Books have been a source of learning and entertainment for generations, and while they have more competition than they used to, from the likes of television and other multimedia sources, books still represent a multibillion-dollar industry. If you fancy carving out your own little piece of that revenue, then you are limited only by any lack of imagination or determination to make it happen.
Books published online are known as e-books, and you can write about any subject you wish to, although as a source of income, you will want to choose a subject for your e-book that has a sufficient audience. The mating habits of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker may be riveting but you have to ask yourself how many people want to read about them, let alone actually buy a book about the subject.
On the other hand, you do not want to write another generic 'dog training' or 'how to make money online' e-book. Instead, you want to niche it down to, 'How to Teach Your Dog to Guard Your Property’ or bring a whole new perspective to the subject, like 'How to Make Passive Income Using Twitter.'
Another form of digital product which can generate passive income by educating and training people is an online course. The process for researching your subject is similar to the e-book, although you may need some more in-depth training material for a course. The content can be presented as downloadable pdfs, audio, images, videos, or a combination of all of them.
Once again there are no up-front monetary costs, although you might need some software for recording videos, and screen capture. Many of these come with a free trial so you can use them without paying upfront. One advantage that courses have over e-books is that they have a higher perceived value, and thus they attract a higher price.
You can use Clickbank, or JV Zoo as before, but there is a website which is set up purely for selling online courses, and that is Udemy. Udemy will host all your course files and deliver the course sequentially and professionally via their platform. Udemy also has an affiliate program, therefore, you can continue to earn passive income from the sales affiliates make for you, weeks and even months after you first created your course.
Often creating products and services can require a pretty large investment of money, and a considerable investment of time. This includes not only developing and creating the product but also dealing with ongoing customer support. If that all seems like too much hard work, then affiliate marketing might be a great option for you.
It allows you to promote and sell other people's products and services in return for a commission, with the huge benefit of not having to deal with customer support or product updates. You also do not have the financial cost of developing and creating the product.
There are lots of ways you can send potential to an affiliate offer. Some can cost a lot of money such as pay per click advertising, and some require a lot of time and patience, such as building an affiliate blog or website. One way to get started for very little money is Auto Tweets, which gives you the ability to promote affiliate offers on one of the Top 20 most popular websites on the internet, Twitter.
Selling Stock Photos
Even if you have only the slightest interest in photography, selling photos on stock images sites can generate a decent passive income. You'll need to spend a reasonable amount of time to first research what photo types and subjects are in demand. There's obviously going to be some that will be impossible for you to produce, such as Buckingham Palace, if you live in Texas.
This isn’t a problem, as you will find that rather than lots of people looking for 'tourist' type photos, there is a huge demand for images of everyday things, including people, plants and animals. These are needed for all types of online ventures such as people needing website images, still shots for videos they are making, and for illustrations inside online magazines or e-books.
There are several stock images websites where you can upload your photos, and if they sell you receive a percentage of each sale. Bear in mind you are only likely to earn up to $1 at most for each sale, so the key to making this work is in uploading hundreds or even thousands of images. If you've taken lots of interesting photos in the past but done nothing with them, that would be a great way to start.
Membership or Subscription Programs
One of the most viable and effective ways to generate passive income if you have little or no money is to start your own membership program. With a membership or subscription program, your customers or subscribers will pay you a monthly fee in order to receive the product or service which you have created for them.
The diversity of niches you can base a subscription product on is almost limitless. Just take a look at the magazine rack in your local newsagent, and know that for every subject covered, there are people paying a monthly subscription to have that magazine delivered to them. Magazines are also a great way to get ideas for niches if you are struggling to think of one.
The array of products which you can offer is also very diverse and they can be either physical or digital. With physical products, you could offer a monthly selection of organic food, natural pet foods, fine wines, children toys or books, natural cosmetics, the tie of the month, and even a good old-fashioned printed newsletter. No doubt you can think of dozens more, and the beauty is you can get started with no money down by using drop shipping companies to fulfil the orders you receive.
When it comes to digital membership sites you will be providing your subscribers with monthly content or giving them access to an online service you have created, such as software. The beauty of the monthly content model is that the content can be created well in advance, and as you start to generate income, you can outsource the creation of that content, meaning you continue to earn, but have others do the work for you.
You can create an online membership site on just about any subject you wish, provided there are enough people interested in it. Making money online, self-development, specific hobbies, health (especially weight loss) and dating are just a few of the subjects where people will gladly pay a monthly subscription to receive the latest news, hints, tips, advice, and updates. These can be delivered in text, audio, and video and as we've said before, these cost virtually nothing to create.
One of the most successful phenomena of the internet age is social media. It has allowed families and friends, who may live thousands of miles apart, to keep in regular contact. You can video call, send photos within seconds of taking them, wish everyone you know a Happy Birthday/Christmas/New Year, at the click of a button, and you can even send movie stars and politicians your best wishes, or your most humorous insults.
While that may all be fun, for more serious, and lucrative, pursuits, you can also use social media as a very cost-effective, and often free, channel to promote goods and services. Better than that, you can promote to people you would never have been able to communicate with before the internet, and social media, were created.
Facebook lets you create groups and pages where you can build up a huge following that you can communicate with on specific subjects. Instagram has allowed some people to become millionaires purely by way of the number of followers they have generated.
Some YouTube channels have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and videos which have been watched by millions. Some Twitter accounts have tens of thousands of followers who look forward to every tweet. This is one reason why Auto Tweets has become so popular with those seeking to build a passive income. A two-line tweet using the methods taught in Auto Tweets can be all it takes for one of your followers to make a purchase and earn you income.
These examples show the power of social media and its ability to build audiences that will consume the content you send, plus act upon the promotions you occasionally send them. Best of all, most social media platforms do not require any upfront fees, so you can start building your passive income with no money right now.