Can Freelancing Be Passive Income?

Working on your terms while making good money is a wonderful thing. However, there comes a time when you want to step up from one-time gigs and all-nighters. 

As a freelancer, you can earn passive income by expanding your revenue streams into complementary products.

Once you do that, you can free up some time in your tight schedule and generate a steady income source. 

In this guide, we’ll answer the burning question most freelancers who’re ready to take the next step have: how to make freelancing passive?

How to Automate Your Freelance Business

Can freelancing be passive income? The short answer is yes. 

Thousands of freelancers around the world are generating passive income through multiple streams.

Initially, it’s harder to get started with passive income, but once it catches on, it will only grow more.

Once you’ve established yourself, the money keeps rolling in more smoothly. As you have a steady income coming in, you can give yourself some free time and make working hours more flexible.

Now, there are plenty of ways to earn a passive income. Depending on your skills and expertise, you can choose to earn from one or many streams.

1. Outsource Your Projects

If you have a lot of projects and you’re confident that more will come in, you can start outsourcing them.

Outsourcing allows you to accept more work but work the same number of hours or even less. Your time is valuable and by outsourcing you move yourself up the value chain in your hourly rate

Since you’re in charge, you can decide how much you want to pay someone. Luckily, finding freelancers to outsource your work to isn’t very hard.

Freelancing sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr have thousands of people willing to work for rates as low as $10.

However, the tricky part is finding the right person for the job.

When outsourcing, you have lesser control over the quality of work being done. The most you can do is be the guide and supervise, but someone else will be doing the work.

So, make sure you have a reliable and competent team that you’re outsourcing to. If you have a qualified team of workers, you can expand the outsourcing as much as you want.

2. Sell Online Courses

The global online education market is expected to reach $319 billion in worth by 2025. This figure should give you an idea of how fruitful selling an online course could be.

If you’ve been working in your respective field for five to ten years, it’s time to teach others.

You can sell your course on websites like Udemy or Skillshare, where millions of students enroll for courses annually.

The Internet is filled with opportunities and information. Why do people pay for online courses rather than learning the same thing for free on YouTube?

Because they want to know about your experience and story.

For instance, if you’re a graphic designer and want to sell a design-related course, you have to make it interactive.

As much as people want to know the basics of design, they want to know how you made it through. They want to know how you found high-authority clients and convinced brands to work with a freelancer.

Make sure your course has selling potential. Some qualities of a successfully-selling course are:

  • Compelling learning outcomes
  • Significant market demand
  • Well-defined course content
  • Engaging delivery

Along with selling your course on popular websites, you can also sell it on your social media or blog. Since these people are already following your work, they’re more likely to enroll.

Even if you don’t have a self-designed course, you can compile successful freelancers’ interviews to make a short course.

If you’re still thinking: can freelancing be passive income, take a leaf out of Bronson Taylor’s book. He created Growth Hacker TV, a platform where members pay to see successful entrepreneurs and freelancers’ video interviews.

That says a lot, right?

3. Sell Digital Assets

Besides creating online courses, you can also make and sell digital assets that are of use to other freelancers.

For example, if you’re a writer, you can make writing prompts and sell them to newcomers.

Similarly, you can sell plugins, widgets, and themes. Photo and video editors can sell presets too.

Selling digital assets, if it works, is a profitable passive income. Even if you’re unable to sell much, there is no loss.

Since you’re producing things online, no manufacturing cost is involved. Therefore, even if your products aren’t selling, you’re not losing money.

You might not get it in the first attempt, but keep trying and marketing your products the right way. Eventually, you’ll start making money by selling digital assets.

People are making thousands of dollars by selling a product or service that took them a few hours to make.

Rachael Towne sells Lightroom presets on Etsy, her blog, Adobe Addons, and Creative Market. With an annual income of about $110,000 right now, she’s expecting the amount to double as she has taken on a new project.

You can also take your favorite social media influencer, for instance.

Most influencers sell presets online. Since they have a huge following, they manage to sell enough presets to generate an extra source of income.  

Marketing is the most important aspect of online selling. No matter how awesome your product is, if no one knows about it, you’re not going to earn a penny.

So, create a digital asset that others can use. Then, market it through your blog, Facebook groups, Creative Market, and other platforms to attract buyers.

How to Make Freelancing Passive Through Blogging

Many freelancers have an idea that they can build on, and some even have a product to sell. However, they’re stuck with this main question: how to automate your freelance business?

The short and easy answer is to start a blog.

With over a billion websites on the Internet, you’re unlikely to start getting viewership in the first week. But here’s the thing: you don’t need a million people to read your blog. You only need the ones who’ll end up buying something from you.

The best way to get a relevant audience is to write guest posts.

For example, if you’re a photographer selling presets, write guest posts for popular photography blogs. Their audience is already interested in photography, so they are more likely to buy presets, using the link you’ll smartly include in your guest post.

After getting a sizable audience on your blog, you can earn money from it in multiple ways.

1. Affiliate Products and Services

Accounting for 15% of the total digital media revenue, affiliate marketing is huge nowadays.

Through affiliate marketing, you earn a commission without having to spend a single penny as an investment. Not only is it the safest way to earn money, but it’s also bound to grow exponentially.

For example, if you’re a designer and your design blog has tips and tricks for beginners, you can market a software, font, brush, or mockup.

Most of the time, companies give your audience a special offer, such as a 20% discount on the product or free first month of subscription.

Ashley aka bestdressed is a Youtuber and freelance filmmaker, and also an affiliate for Skillshare. Her followers get the first two months for free on the website while she earns a commission.

Even if she decides not to work for a whole month, she’ll still be generating income.

You might not have two million followers, to begin with, but you can start with a few hundred and build up.

2. Market Yourself

Along with being an affiliate, you can also market your products through a personal blog.

For instance, if you’re selling a digital service or an online course, tell your readers about it. You’ve already earned their trust, so they will probably buy from you.

Also, they’ve been following you for a while and have witnessed your growth. So, your followers may associate your growth with the product you’re selling.

As a result, they’ll end up buying the course to learn more about how you did it or purchase the product to get the same results.

3. Write eBooks

After excelling at writing blog posts, you can level up to writing eBooks. 19% of the books sold annually are eBooks, so there’s a huge chance of someone buying your book if you market it properly.

You can write a book about your personal experience in the field, things you’ve learned, things to avoid, etc.

Make sure to market your book the right way, as there’s already too much reading material on the web.

For example, if you’ve worked as a social media marketing manager for Sephora and run a small blog with a viewership of 5000 people, choose the more exciting thing when marketing.

People don’t want to read a book written by someone who posts about makeup tips (unless it’s James Charles), but they’ll want to know how you ended up working at Sephora.

So, when marketing your book, make sure your best freelancing project or gig is the highlight.

If your biggest achievement was designing the Google Doodle or you’ve written Nike’s web content, talk about it in detail.

People are more interested in spending money reading your experience rather than the basics they can find elsewhere.

Final Words

With a vast digital marketplace, there are many opportunities that you can use to earn passive income. Initially, the joy of getting a high-paying gig is immense, but it soon wears off when you realize that this is only a one-time thing.

What’s the solution? Invest your time in expanding your streams of income for better stability. 

Hopefully, this guide helped you with how to make freelancing passive and earn even on your days off.

Author Bio: Freelancer Nomads is the ultimate freelance community. We’re on a mission to help over 50 million freelancers work better and smarter. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest


Disclaimer: All the information above is not a recommendation for or against any investment vehicle or money management strategy. It should not be construed as advice and each individual that invests needs to take up any decision with the utmost care and diligence. Please seek the advice of a competent business professional before making any financial decision.

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