4 content-creating side hustles that can produce passive income, with tips from the pros


About a third of Americans have a side hustle, according to a recent Zapier survey of 2,001 adults. Of those, 67% started their side hustle within the last three years, and 31% started it in 2020. Nearly a quarter of Americans, 24%, plan to start a side hustle in 2021.

One popular approach is building a stream of passive income, or earnings that require an initial effort but only minor ongoing maintenance. When most people hear the words “passive income,” they think about investments and rental real estate. But creating content like e-books and online courses can bring in passive income, too.

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“Passive income is not passive, until it is,” says Michelle Jackson, a digital entrepreneur who has written more than a dozen e-books as one of her income streams. “It’s a lot of work upfront.”

That said, once you’ve put in the work, you can reap the financial rewards for a long time after. For instance, although each e-book sale typically nets Jackson just a few bucks, collectively they have brought in nearly $13,000 in passive income since 2018.

Here are four content-creating passive-income side hustles to consider.

Create Excel spreadsheets to sell on Etsy

If you’re handy with a Google doc or Excel spreadsheet, consider creating organizing templates to sell on sites like Etsy. “Google spreadsheets or Excel spreadsheets to track things like your budget, income, [and] goals” are actually very popular on the platform, says side hustle expert Daniella Flores.

Some budgeting spreadsheets sell for $15 each on the site.

Write a travel itinerary

The weather’s getting warmer, Covid-19 restrictions are lifting, and Americans are eager to get traveling. Almost three-quarters of Americans (72%) are planning a summer vacation or getaway, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Recovery Insights Dashboard.

If you know your hometown or city like the back of your hand, consider creating a local itinerary for travelers to purchase on sites such as Wild Bum.

Wild Bum guide architects, as they’re called, typically charge $25-$150 for each itinerary. They keep 50% of the profits from each sale of their guide and they get an affiliate link to the site through which they can earn 25% of any sale made, including sales of other people’s guides.

Create an online course

“Everyone has something to teach,” says veteran online instructor Chris Haroun, who’s made more than $1 million selling his dozens of courses on online learning platform Udemy.

Maybe you’ve developed a mouth-watering banana bread recipe, or you have a really good sense of how to decorate children’s bedrooms. Consider your work experience, your longtime hobbies, and the things friends and family ask for your help on, and see if you can create a course out of them.

Judging by his site, many of Haroun’s courses currently sell for anywhere from $10 to $16 on Udemy.

Write an e-book

The popularity of e-books continues to grow. Revenue is projected to reach $15,635 million in 2021, with an expected annual growth rate of more than 3% between 2021-2025, according to Statista.

If you’re creative and knowledgeable, there may be an audience for what you’d want to write about, from how-tos about record collecting to novels about zombie invasions.

Digital entrepreneur Jackson, whose published works range from romance novels to travel guides, recommends looking into publishing platforms such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Gumroad. Barnes & Noble charges a 15% commission fee, while Gumroad charges either 8.5% plus 30 cents per sale or 3.5% plus 30 cents per sale, depending on which type of account you have.

Don’t be afraid to set a fair price, either. “I do not subscribe to the 99-cent book,” Jackson previously told Grow. “If you can afford $3.52 for a cup of coffee in Denver, not including tip, then you can pay $2.99 minimum for any of my books.”

The article “4 Content-Creating Side Hustles That Can Produce Passive Income, With Tips From the Pros” originally published on Grow+Acorns.

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