Generating passive income isn’t as difficult as many people assume. One of the major obstacles preventing someone from making easy money on the side also happens to be one of the first steps in the process: coming up with an idea.
Sure, it’s fair to say that most people can’t suddenly think up a business plan on a whim. Even passive income guru Pat Flynn fell into the role accidentally—he discovered a personal blog he maintained on the side was more popular than he realized, and only then did he choose to monetize it in the form of an e-book.
We shouldn’t pretend that finding the right idea will be simple. You may need to spend some time thinking about this issue before arriving at the ideal plan.
However, while coming up with an idea can be tricky, it’s not as challenging as you think. Keep these tips in mind, and soon you’ll have plenty of passive income strategies waiting for you to implement them.
Keep an Idea Journal
Keep a small notebook with you at all times, and any time you have a thought that could be the seed of a passive income idea, write it down. Every few weeks, return to your journal and read what you wrote. While the ideas you record may not be full-fledged passive income strategies, they could inspire you to start developing them into something more substantial.
Follow in Others’ Footsteps
Many people who have successfully earned a lot of money via passive income businesses followed fairly similar routes to get there (they published an e-book, they launched an online course, etc.). The only difference is the content. One may have published an e-book on investing strategies, while another published a cookbook. Aside from that, their promotional and management tactics were virtually identical.
Don’t overcomplicate things by insisting that your business idea must be 100 percent original. There’s a good chance you can easily modify someone else’s strategy to your own skill set. Write a book or design a course on a topic you’re already familiar with, then follow the same marketing path as others.
Use a Random Word Generator
This may sound like an odd idea, but it’s actually a tactic that many others have used successfully to generate new ideas.
It’s hard to get outside of your own circular ways of thinking. When trying to brainstorm new passive income ideas, you may find yourself returning to the same thought patterns that haven’t led anywhere.
That’s where random word generators come in. Sites like watchout4snakes.com allow you to generate random words, two-word phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs.
To demonstrate how this kind of tool helps you come up with a passive income strategy, let’s try an example right now. I recommend visiting that type of site and asking for a two-word phrase. Mine was “saleable smuggler.”
Now, you want to try to find a way to turn this nonsense phrase into the seed of a business idea. You could do so by looking for a common link between the two words. When doing this exercise, it’s important not to focus specifically on what the word means, but on how it affects you. If the definition of the words is what stands out, fine, but even if you get words whose definitions you don’t know, you can still use your reaction as a starting point. The goal isn’t necessarily to let the meaning of a phrase guide you towards an idea—the goal is to get out of your own head.
When I read the word “saleable,” I think of, well, sales. This business will involve selling something. Easy enough. When I read the word “smuggler,” I think of sneaking items into or out of a place. Again, you don’t need to let the definitions direct the process, but in this case, it worked.
What could I passively sell online that has to do with my reaction to the idea of sneaking items from one place to another? How about an e-book offering tips for saving money at high-cost places like theme parks or concerts? Plenty of people would pay a few bucks for an e-book that recommends ways to save money at these venues, such as bringing your own food and water.
You can do some basic research and write the book yourself, or you can hire a freelancer via sites like Upwork to write it for you. Publish it online, sell it at a low price (because it’s an e-book, there are no manufacturing costs), and earn your profits. You might not make a ton of money, but hey, it took me all of five minutes to do this exercise and come up with this idea.