Imagine waking up in the morning to a lovely new chunk of money in your bank account.
Well, this scenario doesn’t have to be a fantasy. It’s very much within your reach.
In fact, it’s exactly what happened to me on the morning I wrote this post. I’d just made $149.17 overnight from an affiliate partner commission payout. Not a fortune, but a pleasant start to the day nevertheless.
Let’s discover these 27 practical ways to make money while you sleep.
27 Practical Ways to Make Money While You Sleep
#1. Start a blog and monetize it with display ads
If you have a blog, then sign up for Google AdSense, Ezoic or another ad network to put ads on your site.
The more traffic your blog gets, the more you’ll earn.
To get started with blogging, first choose a topic you’re passionate about and can create useful content around.
You can even use the latest AI writing tools as smart assistants to help you write blog posts faster. But to avoid filling your blog with low-quality content, you should first spend some time learning how to write effective AI prompts.
Once you’ve got a few blog posts bringing in traffic, then you can sign up for an ad network and start earning money as visitors click on ads.
I recommend starting with Ezoic or Adsense, then progressing to Mediavine once you hit 50,000 sessions per month.
#2. Sell digital products on your blog
Once your blog starts to build an audience, another way to make money while you sleep is by selling digital products.
First identify what your audience needs and outline the steps needed to get them from A to B.
Then use that outline to create value-driven products like ebooks, courses, or graphics. Canva is one of the best tools for doing this.
Next set up an online store using a platform like Gumroad or ConvertKit Commerce.
Promote your products heavily in your blog content, your social media (I’ve found LinkedIn is especially great for this) and your email list to drive sales.
#3. Become an affiliate marketer
A great way to make money while you sleep is by promoting other companies’ products on your blog and earning commissions when readers purchase through your links.
For example, some popular affiliate programs are Amazon Associates, Awin, Impact and ClickBank. And yes, affiliate marketing is legit.
To get started, do some research on these platforms to find affiliate programs for products that align with your niche and audience interests.
Sign up to become their affiliate and get access to their promo materials. Then you can strategically place affiliate links in your blog content and social media to promote relevant products to your audience.
#4. License your blog content
Allow other sites to republish your blog posts or resources in exchange for a fee. This lets your content work for you.
To get started, approach websites in your niche about republishing your articles in exchange for a fee.
Make sure to retain copyright ownership. You can use a licensing platform like Copyscape to manage permissions and payments.
#5. Rent out advertising space
Sell text link ads, banner ads, sponsored posts, etc. to advertisers looking to reach your audience. The revenue builds up over time.
Once you grow blog traffic and email subs, you can start offering various advertising options like sponsored posts, sidebar banners, etc.
Create an online media kit showcasing your metrics to attract advertisers. Make sure to vet all potential advertisers to ensure high-quality relevant ads.
#6. Build an email list
Collect email addresses and send subscribers valuable content. You can eventually monetize the list through promotions.
The first step in building an email list is to add an opt-in form to your blog. This allows visitors to easily sign up to receive your emails directly on your site. ConvertKit is my favorite platform for easily building an email list.
Use a plugin like OptinMonster to easily create popups, slide-in forms, and other options to embed an email sign up on your blog posts and pages.
Make sure you offer a compelling freebie like an ebook, checklist, or mini course in exchange for subscribing, so you provide immediate value to the reader.
You should also promote your newsletter and email list in the content itself.
Create blog posts, videos, and other content that encourages readers to sign up for more tips, insights, etc. from you via your email newsletter.
Giveaways and contests are another excellent tactic to rapidly grow your email list.
Offer fun prizes, free products, gift cards and other freebies to those who enter your contest by signing up for your emails. Then promote these contests heavily across all your platforms.
#7. Create online courses
Record educational videos, tutorials, or classes and sell access to them. To get started, first identify a topic or skill you can realistically create a full online course around.
Assess your expertise and choose subject matter you’re very knowledgeable about, so you can create an in-depth learning program. Then research the competition to see where there are gaps you can fill.
Next, outline the curriculum for your course. Break the topic down into individual lessons and modules. Come up with engaging titles and content for each video or section.
Make sure to structure the material in a logical order that builds on previous lessons.
Now start creating course content. The core of most online courses is pre-recorded video lessons. Write scripts and record high-quality videos covering each part of your curriculum.
Videos should be 5-15 minutes long on average. You can supplement them with slide decks, PDFs, audio files and other useful resources.
Consider using a course platform like Udemy or Teachable to host your course.
These sites let you easily create and host paid online courses, enrol your students, process payments and handle other administration tasks, like access control.
They provide the technology and distribution you need to succeed in selling your course.
Finally, start marketing and sell your course. Start by creating a compelling course description page highlighting the value students will get from taking your course.
Then reach out to your target audience through content marketing, email promos, social media ads, affiliate partnerships and other marketing strategies.
Creating an online course takes a fair bit of time upfront, but it can lead to years of passive income through ongoing sales.
The keys to success are picking the right topic, producing high-quality content, and effectively promoting the course to drive enrolment.
#8. Sell digital downloads
Another way to build passive income is by creating valuable files like Lightroom presets, resume templates, social media graphics, and designer brushes and selling them as instant downloads.
Which one you choose depends on your skills. Before getting started, figure out what types of digital products you have the expertise and creativity to build that would provide value to others.
Dedicate time to produce quality digital goods around topics you’re passionate about. Format them for convenient delivery, such as optimized JPGs for templates and PNGs for backgrounds and graphics.
Then, build out a digital storefront through platforms like Gumroad or Etsy that handle hosting, payment processing and delivery of your files to customers.
Market your digital downloads by creating awareness and demand through social media promotions, email newsletters, search engine optimization and strategic affiliations.
Create enticing descriptions highlighting how your downloads will solve problems or enhance projects for your target audience.
Finally, use marketing tactics like limited-time sales, bundles and upgrades to continually generate new sales of your digital products.
#9. License your photos
If you enjoy photography and have a large selection of images, you could make money while you sleep by licensing your images through stock photo sites.
Start by building a compelling portfolio of high-quality photographs on topics and styles that are in demand for commercial use. Carefully curate selections of your best imagery.
Then, create accounts with leading stock photo platforms such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto that enable you to upload libraries of photographs.
Take time to thoughtfully title, tag and describe each photo you publish to maximize discoverability by potential buyers.
Stock sites provide reach to massive global audiences in need of licensed photos for websites, advertisements, merchandise and more.
When customers download your images for commercial use, you’ll earn licensing fees and royalties. The key is continuing to build your portfolio by adding new photographs that meet ongoing customer needs.
With an ever-growing collection of unique images, you can steadily earn passive income for years to come as your photos are repeatedly licensed, all while retaining your copyrights.
Stock photo sites simplify the licensing process so you can monetize your photographic passion into ongoing residual income even when you’re not actively taking or promoting photos.
#10. Rent out your home or room on Airbnb
Transforming your home into a passive income stream is possible by renting out extra rooms, or even your entire home, when you don’t need the space.
Platforms like Airbnb make it easy to market your rooms or property to travelers looking for accommodations through beautiful photos and detailed descriptions.
Prepare your space for guests by making it clean, comfortable, and equipped with necessities like fresh linens, toiletries, WiFi, and kitchen essentials.
Set your nightly rates competitively based on comparable listings and your local market.
Then, leverage the built-in audience on Airbnb along with your own marketing efforts on social media and travel sites to attract bookings from verified guests.
You could also consider hiring a property management service to handle key exchanges, manager cleaning, provide local recommendations, and address any issues to help your listing run smoothly while you focus on other priorities.
Taking advantage of high-traffic times like holidays and events allows you to maximize your passive income potential.
If you take time to create a well-managed, consistently booked property, you can sit back and collect rental dollars from travelers looking for an authentic experience.
#11. Rent out storage space in your home or garage
With the rise of minimalism and decluttering, many people find themselves with excess space in their homes and garages that sits empty and unused.
This presents a great opportunity to generate passive income by renting out the unused space as storage solutions.
First, identify areas of your property that could be converted into storage units, such as a spare room, basement, attic, or empty bay in a garage.
Ensure the space is clean, secure, and meets any legal requirements for storage rental in your area.
Next, determine what amenities you’ll provide as part of the storage rental to add value for renters.
For example, will you offer shelving, locks, 24/7 access, electricity, lighting, and climate control? Detail all included features and outline terms and conditions clearly in a rental agreement.
Research prices for comparable storage options in your locale and competitively price your rental space.
Promote the storage solution through listing sites like Spacer, Neighbor, and Craigslist using high-quality photos and detailed descriptions of the space and terms.
Market locally by placing ads in community hubs to attract renters.
Vet potential renters thoroughly and secure a deposit to minimize risks. Finally, ensure the space stays clean and maintained for a smooth rental experience.
#12. Rent out your car while you’re away
You can earn easy passive income by renting out your car when you’re not using it.
Consider listing your vehicle on sites like Turo and Getaround to reach local people needing temporary access to a car.
Set competitive daily and weekly rental rates and use platform features like insurance, screening and booking management to minimize any potential hassles.
Then simply hand over the keys, collect the payment and watch the revenue roll in when your car is booked.
This converts an idle asset – your car – into a money-generating rental opportunity that can truly make money while you sleep.
#13. Refinance your mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage can free up monthly cash flow for other investments. By securing a new home loan with a lower interest rate, you can reduce your monthly mortgage payments.
Over time as you pay down principal, more of that payment goes towards building equity rather than just interest. This grows your wealth faster.
Shop mortgage lenders to find the best terms and tap into historically low rates. You can then invest your savings into other income streams.
#14. Invest in dividend stocks
Dividend stocks allow you to earn regular passive income by owning shares.
Start by researching stable, established companies with a history of steady dividend payouts.
Then build up a diversified portfolio across sectors and reinvest dividends. As companies distribute their dividends, you collect consistent payments simply for holding their stocks long-term while your portfolio value grows.
The best way is to start small and automate your stock purchases for effortless hands-off dividend income.
#15. Lend money online
Lending money online through peer-to-peer platforms like LendingClub generates interest income from loans.
You provide funding for loan requests by verified borrowers, earning fixed returns if they pay as agreed.
By spreading investments across many loans, you minimize individual default risk. Set up automated lending based on criteria you define to earn interest passively.
The key to success is building a large diversified portfolio of loans paying attractive high returns.
#16. Build a membership community
Membership communities monetize exclusive access to premium content, coaching, forums and other benefits.
Identify a niche you can serve and build a robust membership program that adds high value.
Promote it through affiliates, content marketing on your blog, social media and partners. Aim to sell memberships with recurring subscriptions for a great source of stable passive income.
Continue providing excellent membership perks to maintain loyalty and renewals. The most successful membership communities thrive by delivering real value that makes membership worthwhile.
#17. Start a YouTube channel
Launching a profitable YouTube channel starts with identifying a niche you feel truly passionate about that also has strong viewer demand and advertising potential.
Choose a specialized topic that you can create high-quality videos around consistently.
Use accessible video recording equipment and basic editing software to produce engaging content frequently. Script your videos to be fun, informative, or educational depending on your niche.
Spend time optimizing your video titles, descriptions, and tags to make them easily discovered by your target audience.
Promote new uploads across your social media channels and in relevant online forums or communities. Interact with influential creators in your niche to collaborate when possible.
As you build your subscriber base, monetize your growing viewership by enabling ads through YouTube’s Partner Program.
This allows you to earn a percentage of ad revenue from YouTube placing ads on your eligible videos.
Eventually, high-traffic channels can generate substantial passive income that keeps pouring in long after the video is initially created as it continues reaching a larger audience over time.
The keys to success on YouTube are proper optimization for the three main YouTube algorithms – search, suggested, and browse – plus strategic promotion, consistency, and plenty of patience!
But once you’ve got the ball rolling, YouTube is a great way to make money while you sleep.
#18. Dropship products
Dropshipping allows you to sell products online without actually stocking any inventory.
You do this by finding popular items online and creating listings to market these products yourself. But instead of purchasing the items upfront, you simply act as a merchant intermediary.
Start by using tools like Google Trends to identify rising trends and popular items to dropship. Look for products with high demand and strong profit margin potential.
Create appealing listings on ecommerce platforms like Shopify or eBay to advertise these products yourself. Then drive targeted traffic to your listings by running ads and optimizing your site for search visibility.
When a customer places an order through your ecommerce store, you fulfill it by purchasing the item directly from your wholesale supplier or manufacturer, providing them with the customer’s shipping address.
This way, the supplier ships the product out directly to the awaiting customer.
As a dropshipper, you earn the profit margin between your retail listing price and the wholesale price you pay the supplier to ship orders.
By finding winning products and marketing them effectively, you can build a substantial passive income stream that handles fulfilment automatically once orders start rolling in.
#19. Design printable products
Creating customizable printable products is a great way to make money while you sleep. With some initial effort, you can do the work once and build strong passive income potential in the future.
Start by using a graphic design tool such as Canva to produce items including custom T-shirts, quality templates, wall art, coloring pages, planners, puzzles, and other types of printable files.
Make sure your designs are original content that only you have the right to sell.
Then upload your collection of printable products to digital marketplaces like Etsy as instant downloads.
Market them to your target audience by joining and posting in relevant social media groups for makers and crafters.
You could also consider collaborating with influencers in this space for additional promotion of your printables.
As buyers purchase and download your creations, you earn passive income that continues rolling in automatically whenever a sale is made.
Buyers can reprint your designs again and again while you earn money from the initial work of designing templates and listings. Continue adding fresh designs to expand your passive income potential.
With some strategic promotion and partnerships, your creations can continue providing residual earnings long after uploading them.
#20. Invest in real estate
Buying real estate for rental takes some upfront research and preparation, but can be a great way to build lasting passive income streams.
To succeed, you’ll typically need to find an attractive rental property market, secure suitable financing, hire the right professionals, and manage the investment smartly.
Start by researching top rental markets using tools like Mashvisor that analyze factors like rental yields, occupancy rates, appreciation forecasts and more.
Then get pre-approved for investment property financing based on your credit, income, and down payment savings. This gives you buying power when you’re ready to make the leap.
It’s also a good idea to partner with a knowledgeable buyer’s agent that can help you identify promising listings selling under market value with strong rental income potential.
Compare listings based on projected monthly rents, operating costs, appreciation outlook, and overall cash flow.
Make an offer on the optimal rental property for you. Then work with a property management company to handle tasks like tenant screening, maintenance issues, rent collection and more for hands-off income.
Owning and managing rental properties takes some initial effort. But once up and running, the investment can earn you money while you sleep for years to come from tenant payments.
What’s more, appreciation and rising rents will also build your equity over time.
#21. Build a mobile app
Developing a mobile app certainly isn’t for everyone. But if you have the necessary skills, creating your own mobile app is a great way to eventually make money while you sleep.
To make the process easier, you could use an intuitive low-code app building platform such as Alpha Anywhere to design something user-friendly.
You could also hire a professional freelancer from Upwork or similar to handle the coding part for you.
While it takes significant upfront effort, over time a mobile app can earn you good money passively through automated in-app purchases and downloads.
Start by identifying a need or problem that a well-designed app could solve for a defined target audience. Research competitors and validate demand for your app idea before diving in.
Take time to learn skills like coding, or use an intuitive app building platform to design something user-friendly.
Build and test a high-quality app that delights users by offering valuable functionality or entertainment. Get some beta testers to provide feedback to refine the app before you launch it.
Market the app across Google Play and the Apple App Store by optimizing its listing for keywords.
Promote the app on social media and run app store ads. Pay close attention to user reviews and continuously improve the app over time.
Monetize the app either by charging a flat download fee, or offering it for free and selling premium in-app features, upgrades, and content.
You can also plays display ads on your mobile app to provide passive income from traffic.
#21. Start a podcast
Launching your own podcast is an exciting way to make money while you sleep, while also fulfilling your creative urges.
It does require an upfront time investment, plus consistency and commitment, but you can build an audience and revenue channels that will eventually bring in passive income.
First, identify a podcast topic or niche you’re passionate about and can discuss with authority.
At this stage it’s good to do a competitor analysis to find out who else is talking about similar topics and what you can learn from them.
Then, pick out several topics for your first episodes and either script them out or create an outline to help you stay on track and maintain a clear structure.
Decide if you’re going to record the podcast alone or interview a series of guests.
Make sure you find a quiet space to record episodes and use a quality microphone and editing software.
I’ve had good results with the free GarageBand software on my Mac. BuzzSprout and Audacity are two other good editing programs.
Promote your podcast across platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more to maximize listenership.
Market your episodes through social media, guest outreach, and search optimization. Making the charts on any platform leads to more organic growth.
Once you build an audience over 50 or 100 episodes, offer sponsorships to relevant brands who want to reach your listeners. Then, you can insert brief prerecorded ads to earn revenue for every episode.
You can also monetize your podcast with a subscription plan offering premium content or ad-free episodes. An engaged following that loves your show will happily pay for extras.
#22. Write an ebook
Ever wanted to write your own book? With self-publishing, now it’s more feasible than ever.
It’s also a great way to earn money while you sleep, although the initial effort is in writing quality content readers will pay for.
Start by identifying a focused ebook topic or niche that has strong demand but isn’t yet saturated with competing titles. Outline and write engaging chapters that provide big value to readers.
Once the draft is ready, hire an editor and designer to polish the ebook. You could even design it yourself using Canva (but I recommend getting a pro involved).
Use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing which makes the ebook publication process easy.
Just upload your manuscript and cover, set your pricing, and publish your ebook to start reaching Amazon’s vast audience across Kindle and the Kindle app.
Promote your ebook heavily around the initial launch period to maximize visibility.
This might include marketing on social media and your blog, running discounted promotions, pursuing reviews, and doing outreach to relevant influencers or blogs.
Over time, you’ll earn royalties each time an ebook sells.
After the initial push, ongoing organic sales come in passively without any extra work required from you. Every new buyer equals more cash in your pocket.
#23. License or sell your software
If you have the technical skills to develop software applications or online services, licensing your creations can lead to passive income through ongoing usage fees.
Start by identifying a problem your target users have that can be solved with an app or online platform you build, then develop a minimum viable product with just core features to validate the concept early on.
Price your software or SaaS with a monthly recurring license fee scaled to your different plan levels. Offer discounts for annual subscriptions.
Integrate seamless payment processing to make it easy for customers to pay.
Market your software across a range of channels by optimizing it for app store discoverability, leveraging content marketing, targeting promotional ads, and writing effective sales copy.
Provide excellent customer support and keep improving the product over time to maintain loyalty and satisfaction. Having lots of positive ratings and reviews will boost your conversions.
Once your software gains traction, a predictable recurring revenue stream is established. Users continually pay their subscription fees each billing cycle with minimal overhead required from you, creating true passive income.
#24. Invest in a high-yield savings account
Opening a high-yield savings account allows your money to grow passive income completely hands-free through interest.
Compare accounts online and find one offering at least a 2% APY, which is far higher than traditional banks.
Make sure the account has FDIC insurance protection if you’re in the US, or FCSC (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) deposit protection if in the UK.
If you’re in a different country, check your national scheme for deposit protection and make sure it covers your account.
Link your main bank account to easily transfer any amount into high-yield savings whenever you have funds available.
The best way to maximize growth with minimal effort is to set this up to happen automatically for any extra cash each month.
As your money sits in the account, it earns significantly higher interest than a regular savings account. This interest compounds over time to grow your balance.
All you have to do is open the account and make the occasional deposit.
Resist the urge to withdraw from your high-yield savings often. Let the balance build through monthly automated transfers into your account.
Over time, thousands of dollars can accumulate from interest without you having to actively manage investments.
High-yield savings turn your idle money into higher passive income just by sitting in an account.
Opening one is an easy way to make money while you sleep with very little effort from you!
#25. Invest in P2P lending
Peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub allow you to invest money into personal loans and earn interest on the repayments.
You provide the capital to fund loans requested by individual borrowers. Your investment is spread across many loans, automatically diversifying your risk exposure.
Lending platforms allow you to set up your own criteria for accepting borrowers. You should aim to screen each potential borrower based on factors such as income, credit score, job history, and debt-to-income ratio.
As borrowers make monthly payments over their loan terms, you receive your share of interest based on the percentages you initially contributed to the loans.
These consistent interest payments are made passively – you can just sit back and collect without having to manage loans actively.
You can automate your entire P2P investment strategy by setting portfolio criteria for borrower qualifications, loan amounts, rates, and terms according to your risk tolerance.
New loans are automatically added to maintain diversification.
#26. Start a print-on-demand store
Print-on-demand (POD) allows you to make money with no upfront inventory costs.
POD products like custom t-shirts and mugs are only printed when a customer orders. The flexibility of POD enables customers to personalize products to their preferences.
According to Straits Research, the print-on-demand market is expected to reach $39,035 million by 2031, presenting a massive opportunity to profit while avoiding the risks of traditional manufacturing.
With POD, you don’t have to worry about purchasing and storing inventory. Instead, you can partner with a print provider to produce and ship products as orders come in.
This hands-off fulfillment model allows you to earn passive income. Even while you sleep, your print partner handles all the production and delivery tasks – so you don’t have to.
#27. Build an AI product
If you’re good at crafting AI prompts, you could build your own AI product and sell it to make passive income.
You’ll need a simple problem to solve, reliable prompts that produce high-quality outputs, and a simple interface to accept payments from users.
Once your tool is up and running, you can drive traffic to it through social media, organic, or by running paid ads.
It’s easy to get started for free using AI tools like ChatGPT, Claude, or Bard.
For more inspiration on making money with AI, check out my full guide.
Actionable Next Steps
There we have it, 27 practical ways to make money while you sleep.
But nothing good in life comes for free. Most have one thing in common – you need to spend time and effort upfront, to reap benefits later. But take it from me – the effort is well worth it.
Once you’ve built a high-quality digital asset, like a blog, you can put it to work for you in more ways than you can imagine.