Affiliate marketing

Passive Income: How to Make Money While You Sleep

12 min read
Oct 26, 2017

Have you ever wondered how your life would look if you earned passive income while you’re sleeping?

While most of us are knee-deep in the work system, settle in, and accept the status quo. Some have given up on a vision of a different life - or never had one.

funny system fit graphic

Still, there are exceptions, individuals who want more and try to escape the routine life of a mere employee.

My point is, you have common sense, and you can use it to choose your own reality. Imagine the luxury of doing whatever you want whenever you want. No more working 9 to 5. No more spending time at a boring office, no more reports, distracting meetings and all the pointless work-related stuff.

Picture yourself as a free spirit, a kind of solopreneur, making decent money by passive income. Income that would naturally flow into your bank account 24/7 while YOU are literally living your dream.

wild horses on beach

Wild horses on the beach at Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland, U.S.

Traveling, having fun, and exploring the world. That’s the essence that makes the idea of earning passive income so tempting. Sounds like a dream? Actually, some people live it.

As a matter of fact, life belongs to those who dare to turn their dreams into goals and follow through. Passive income doesn’t come easy. And if you want to achieve the “BIG” things in life, it means you have to find yourself fully committed, only then motivation will follow.

Achieving Goals Demands Real Determination

By the way. Have you heard Sylvester Stallone’s life story?

Sly’s “from rags to riches” story is an authentic tale of determination that is something worth remembering when you dare to start your transition from a worker into rentier.

Here’s his story in a nutshell.

Sylvester Stallone knew what really drives him from the very beginning. Acting. He craved to be part of the NYC show business industry.

However, the harder he tried to break in, the harder the industry rejected him.

His looks were a huge obstacle. Born with part of his face paralyzed, he wasn’t able to speak clearly, had huge trouble with the proper enunciation. No one wanted to hire him for a more extended period. Sly was so desperate to join the acting scene that in times of bad fortune he was even homeless and poverty made him sell his dog. But even these events didn’t discourage him. As we all know, his story got a happy ending. Sylvester Stallone became an icon of American cinema, and we all know him best as Rocky.

Although this beautiful anecdote might not be directly related to making passive income, it’s an exceptional story about achieving something really “BIG.” Sly’s story is an excellent example of true determination, effort, and faith in yourself. And you must admit that his dream wasn’t yet another middle of the road dream.

You’ll face similar struggles while setting up a smart passive income business. This isn’t something you can sign up for or get for free. Earning passive income is a great idea for life, though things won’t come easy. But it’s entirely doable if you pursue your goal consistently.

Once you’re truly determined, go for it.

Before you can start actually making passive income, first understand:

What is it anyway?

What is Passive Income

I’ve checked Wikipedia's definition of passive income, and in short, it says that:

“Passive income is revenue resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it.”

passive income definition

Typically, when we speak of making money actively as an employee, you do so by trading your time for it. You spend a great share of your day (i.e., your life) at work, providing various services according to your expertise to a given company or institution.

The definition of passive income says that you make money without being actively involved in the process of earning it. Instead, you invest time and hard work upfront, creating valuable resources, products, and experiences for people. Then, reap the benefits later on.

The whole idea of earning passive income is the exact opposite of active income.
It doesn’t translate into trading your time for money. In the case of having a real-life passive income business, you have these two greatest life values, time and money, at your disposal.

Smart Passive Income

While doing research on this topic, I spotted plenty of online resources, like the one shown below.

search snippet google

Most online articles about passive income are served with blatant clickbait titles - revealing X brilliant ideas to let you earn that desired cash flow QUICK - in 5 minutes or even less. Such posts miss the point by a mile. What’s crucial for passive income is to make it decent and stable... not quick.

That’s my definition of smart passive income.

How to Make Passive Income

If you wonder how to start earning passive income, do diligent market research before you jump in. It will give you some perspective on what’s in it for you, and you’ll get an understanding of all the possible passive income streams. Then you can dig further to see which ones have potential to be prominent channels.

Also, be mindful that most passive income ideas described online will either generate poor returns or consume lots of your time (and this is where it stops being so passive).

One of most classic passive income businesses that come to my mind go offline and come from assets like renting a property or writing a book.

Safe Passive Income Streams

Renting a Property

When I think of generating passive income the first idea that comes to my mind is through real estate. Yeah, this is the most classic example of making cash with no or very little real-time presence.

Who wouldn’t want to own property (the more, the better) and rent it out for easy money.

Unless you’re an heir to a wealthy family, this might not be the business for you. You have to come into possession of that property first after all.

If that’s the case, then you need to earn income actively first.
Get a well-paid job, save money, so that at some point in life you can invest in real estate to finally start renting it out in your 60s.

It looks like such a plan takes time. Sometimes even a lifetime.

But, once you are a valued expert in your field, you have all the advantages to achieve this state sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, renting out a property sounds like a pipedream. It sounds as if I was telling you to get rich if you want to be rich. Let’s move on.

Writing a Book (or an eBook)

Releasing a book or an ebook can generate a great and worthwhile stream of cash flow.

Downside? It takes a whole lot of hustling and grinding at the very beginning.

The writing process, even once you’ve done your research, is like carving a sculpture with a spoon.

It’s not just about putting words together. The greatest challenge of writing books is about wrapping stories around emotions, making the readers feel things, finding your voice and style, playing with language.

What matters a whole lot when writing a book is not just what you write. It’s how you do it. And often that “how” is even more important than everything else. The soul inside your story is what attracts readers. It has to be authentic.

You can’t write a book if you are only driven by the lust for passive income. You can be sure this is a non-starter. Writing a book is a very personal act.

You need to have something special to say.

What you write can be total fiction, it can also be an educational how-to guide. And you don’t always have to be unique while telling the story. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of telling an already known story better.

Writing a book doesn’t just happen. You have to be a natural born writer. If you feel it in your bones - then go ahead, you will surely bring something good to light. But if you don’t, jump on my next smart passive income idea.

Make Passive Income through Affiliate Marketing

This is the part I would like to focus on. Why? Mainly because affiliate marketing is the easiest (and still smart) passive income idea, I’ve come across. How come?

Let’s dive in.

Becoming affiliate marketer is free, and you don’t have to jump through any hoops to enter this market.

You can just start your business one day from scratch and continue it as a side project being hired at a company. And see how it goes. If you’re determined to become an affiliate marketer, you build an affiliate website and start joining selected affiliate marketing programs that fit into your expertise.

Once the basics like website and merchant agreements are settled, you can get down to business and execute a robust marketing strategy for each product you promote.

There are plenty ways to get it started:


Most vendors are flexible and will do a lot to make your life as easy as possible. Just take a look at the LiveChat Affiliate Partner Program. Merchants often provide you with top-notch marketing materials you can use right away. Thanks to this, you don’t have to play with creating coupons, banners or even tweets copy.

What’s more, vendors educate you and help you improve your marketing skills for mutual benefit. Need a hand? Just reach out to dedicated managers, and they’ll surely provide you with key product selling points, buyer persona descriptions or any other materials that teach you about their products and market. This way, the promotion process gets easier, and your marketing skills develop.

Affiliate Products

As an affiliate, you are free to promote products of all kinds. No matter if these are FMCG, Amazon goods or SaaS. Once the merchant offers affiliate partner program, then you can signup and see what’s there for you.

A good idea here is to invest in promoting SaaS products. Why? Because the commission you earn on each referred customer is recurrent and you get your cut on a monthly basis.

For instance, If you generate 100 sales - $20 commission each, then you grasp $2000 monthly from one company.


However, don’t think that fruits from this kind of activity come easy. Affiliate marketing requires a severe ramp-up. It’s about observing your visitors journey and improving their experience at each level so they actually can convert better.

For instance, creating reviews website demands that you build up a high visibility in search results for strategically targeted phrases and continuously aim at higher organic traffic levels that are actually made of well-targeted visitors (that convert well).

As you can see this is also a complex jigsaw puzzle you have to become a master of. Often, it’s about combining all the available affiliate marketing tactics together for the best results.

Fortunately, affiliate marketing can be learned. With time, experience, and hard work, you will naturally get a better perspective. After a while, you can predict how specific channels perform, what is their potential and what you can expect. Then, things get definitely easier, and your passive income grows and becomes more stable.

Great Practice for Marketers

A side effect here, especially, if you are a marketer at your day-to-day work, is that affiliate marketing can be a great practice after hours. Nothing will train your marketing skills better than money-making motivation.

This translates to two benefits. First of all, you become a better marketer. Secondly, the reward here is worth your effort and time, as the better you become, the better results you hit, the more passive income there is to win.

Pat Flynn’s Success Story

A real-life example that validates that affiliate marketing can be a profitable passive income channel is the story of Pat Flynn. Heard of him yet?

Lately, I’ve seen an interview in Forbes Magazine with Pat.

forbes smart passive income article

According to the interview, his adventure with passive income began pretty unexpectedly. Pat used to work at an architecture firm and at the time he was trying to increase his earnings by getting an exclusive architecture license called LEED.

Supposedly, the exam was a hard one, so to make the preparation process more entertaining, Flynn decided to start a blog where he could describe all the experiences he had along the way. The more discussions he held on the blog and niche forums, the better prepared for the LEED exam he felt. So blogging occurred to be a helpful and fun learning approach.

And then, one day, he turned to Google Analytics and finally realized the potential of his blog. The numbers were literally striking. Thousands of visitors had been reading Pat’s blog each day. So he started capitalizing on it immediately. Things snowballed quickly.

By now, Pat Flynn has made a few million dollars in passive income and can be seen as a “passive income whizz.” Impressive? You bet!

pat flunn photo



If you are keen on starting a passive income business, you have a few things to sort out at the beginning. Firstly, whatever idea you pick, ask yourself if you do it just for the money. Cash flow can’t ever be the primary motive to establish a business. You have to operate in a field that really drives you, stands in harmony with you, whatever you are trying to devote yourself to make sure you feel it in your gut.

Remember that, eventually, you sell your products to people and they will quickly sense the fake attitude and won’t buy it. Making passive income online is always bound to provide value in the first place. So make sure you do. Above all, remember that “There is no such thing as 100% passive income”. Even when renting out houses you still need to manage them.

Do you have any questions about the topic? If you do, get in touch with me via my Twitter profile.