How To Make Money While You Sleep

Freelancers. Creators. Entrepreneurs. Here are nine ways to create money streams that flow when you're not working.

One reason freelancers and creatives don’t reach a higher level of financial success is that their revenue is directly linked to their labor. If they don’t work, they don’t earn. When they stop working, they stop earning.

According to Warren Buffett, it’s essential to have a flow of money that keeps flowing whether you’re on the grind or not.

I didn’t need to get that from Buffett. My dad told me a long time ago, “Don’t expect to get rich by hand-work.”

Sure, there are few exceptions. Say a neurosurgeon. But for the most part, those of us who operate on a work-and-collect system can do well but most of us won’t be well off.

Oprah money? Buffett money? No way. Not on freelance writing or graphic design jobs. Not composing and hustling photos or artwork one by one at a trade show.

But there are ways we can improve our financial results. And that’s by setting up money streams that allow us to earn while we sleep. Here’s how:

Launch a Website

There are a number of ways you can make money with a website, including ad revenue from affiliate programs, selling ad space to businesses, membership fees, and offering premium (aka paid) content.

Granted, you have to populate your site with content, and you have to drive traffic to your address. But once you have something to offer, and you have people coming for it, you can earn while you do other things.

Launch a YouTube Channel

Do you know Daniel Middleton? Maybe not. But according to Business Insider, he was the highest paid YouTuber in 2017, earning $16.5 million. He was 26 years old making videos about video games.

YouTube is becoming a media stallion. People turn to it for everything, from music and news to instructions on how to apply eyeliner and change motor oil.

Again, you have to create content and get an audience. But the facts are it’s turning everyday people into millionaires.

Write a Book

Once, it was quite an accomplishment to say you were the author of a book. And that’s largely because it was a feat to get a book published.

Now, with the popularity and ease of developing and distributing material electronically, virtually anyone can write a book and get paid.

And don’t think book writing is a revenue stream only for writers. Chefs, socialites, photographers, web designers… You name a field, and there are people cranking out books.

Sell Merchandise

Image by Daveb CC 2.0

Create a revenue stream by selling merchandise online.  A lot of creative entrepreneurs are already doing it. Posters, t-shirts, mugs, postcards, laptop stickers… whatever.

You can create a merchandise website, add a shop to your existing site, or create an account with a company that allows you to sell passively. With those companies, you provide the designs and they take care of payment processing, production, and shipping. Steven King uses Zazzle and Cafe Press.

Sell Courses


How to write better. How to develop a website. How to create an online course. How to launch an Instagram brand…

These are all things you, I, and the rest of the world can learn from downloadable courses because there are people who made them and people who sell them.

Nick Loper of said he made over $5,000 in a few months from a course he developed. Follow suit and you could have yourself a lucrative source of passive revenue.

Collect Recurring Payments

Image by: Marcin Wichary CC 2.0

When you’re looking for work, look for opportunities that keep paying after the work is done. One way freelance writers keep generating revenue from old work is with ad-sharing agreements.

Freelancers and other creatives can also sell licenses and collect royalties from contributions to larger bodies of work, such as anthologies, coffee table books, or music projects.

Related: Create Recurring Revenue With Pageview Incentives

Refer People

Image by: Summet Jain CC 2.0

Directing people to the service, projects, or opportunities they need can be a lucrative side hustle.

For example, on my Resources page, there’s a link to Constant Content, a site where writers can advertise their work and those in need can buy it. When any content sells, the company takes a cut. If you sign up using my link, they’ll give me a portion of it.

There’s a wide range of affiliate and referral programs out there. Some you can access using just a phone. All you have to do is send email or text invites to people or suggest services through social media posts.


Image by: Fibonacci Blue CC 2.0

Sub-contracting sounds big timer. But really, it’s not.

Find work. Assign others to do it. Take a cut. It’s really that simple.

Of course, it’s best if you vet and develop relationships with the professionals you’ll commission in advance.

Invest Your Earnings

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How did Warren Buffett get super-rich? Investing.

About 94% of the top income group owned stock in 2016, according to CNN Money. But, overall, only about 54% of all Americans own stock. And many have very little, said CNBC.

That means almost all wealthy people recognize the stock market is a place to get wealthier. Meanwhile, most of us common folks are missing out on a prime opportunity to make our money grow.

Be Buffett-minded. Invest.


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