5 Real Passive Income Opportunities (Quit the 9-5 Grind to Travel the World)
“Quit your job and travel the world” might be a nudge you’re getting often.
The weather gets cooler, the sun sets earlier, and work projects keep stacking up as we near the holidays.
Whatever it is, if you are reading this post, you are at least somewhat curious about what it would take to quit your job, make real money, and travel the world.
When you’re traveling and working, sometimes it can be tough to balance work and doing fun or relaxing activities during the day.
This is where passive income comes in!
What is passive income?
Passive income is some type of revenue source where it earns money, (almost) on its own over time after you’ve set it up.
Passive income allows you to stop trading your time for money, so if you have a working system in place, you can potentially scale your money and have it work for you, not the other way around.
The internet has made passive income opportunities expand even further, which allows you to take out the need for having physical products, a physical store, or the necessity to be trading time for money - which is perfect if you want to travel.
Note: I heard Pat Flynn say something along the lines of how passive income requires you to work hard now so you can reap the rewards later. Know that with any business or side hustle, you HAVE to put in the work up front and be willing to do maintenance or other updates if necessary.
All that said, here is a list of real passive income opportunities that can help you make money over time so you can quit the 9-5 grind and travel the world!
5 Real Online Passive Income Opportunities
While there are some non-internet-based passive income opportunities (for example, real estate), I’m focusing on online opportunities in this post.
You can get started on most of these today! I’m not saying you will be able to make money today or even tomorrow, but if you stay focused, are patient, and validate your passive income idea/do it correctly, you should be able to make these work for you over time.
Let’s get started!
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is where you get a commission on a sale from another company’s product or service that you recommend. Affiliate sales do not cost the buyer anything extra and do not alter the online shopping experience either.
In order to track your sales, you will use either:
a unique URL that contains your affiliate link and tracks your sales
a unique discount code/coupon that tracks your sales
There are countless affiliate programs out there.
Some popular affiliate programs include:
Amazon Associates (many things)
Clickbank (digital products)
Share-a-sale (many things)
Booking.com (hotel/travel reservations)
In order for this to be lucrative, you need to drive traffic (views/people) with these links and know that a small percentage of those that click through the link tend to actually buy.
Keep in mind that programs like Amazon are very popular, but your commission percentages are very low, and you need to earn a minimum of $100 USD before you get paid out.
So it is helpful if you already have a blog, website, or YouTube channel with regular traffic, an Instagram profile where people are swiping up on stories or clicking your bio link, an email list where people click through, well-designed pins on Pinterest that use your affiliate links and are performing well, etc.
2. Digital Info Products
Digital products are an area where people who do well, can make a lot of money. Like affiliate marketing, this can be quite lucrative, though you do need an interested pool of people with some people who will be willing to buy.
One of the best features of digital products is that there really is no limit to how many you can sell. Because of their digital nature, if you set up the right systems, you can scale a digital product significantly.
Knowing that most people sell digital products ranging from as low as $5 or $10, to upwards of $500, $1000, or even $2000 or more depending on the value, that’s not a bad way to make money online.
Again, it takes a lot of work to validate your idea and do research, pre-sell if you prefer, spend (usually a lot of) time creating the product, and of course setting up online systems to keep it running.
A few ways you can make passive income with digital products:
digital files/workbooks (printables)
downloadable fonts or other graphic design elements (to see examples, look at Creative Market)
selling website themes (to see examples, look at ThemeForest.net)
Tip: I read a great book on passive income streams called Create Profit Party by XO Sarah years ago. I still refer to it today if I get curious about looking into a new passive income stream!
There are also plenty of courses and e-books (digital products themselves, ha) that teach people how to create and sell digital products.
3. Sell licensed photos, videos, or music to stock websites
This can be quite simple for photographers or videographers to submit content to stock photo/video websites and earn money from sales coming in.
Since you don’t need to update your photos or videos once they have been submitted, you can pretty much just submit-and-forget.
You can license music, too - this isn’t just limited to visuals.
For blogs and websites, putting ads on your website is one of the most passive forms of passive income.
Once you’ve been approved with an ad network, you set up the code and placements on your site, and then you earn money from the ad network based on clicks and/or impressions (views).
This is something I used to have on my site and I’ve debated adding ads back in, in a non-intrusive manner of course.
Two of many popular ad networks:
Google Adsense (most popular, though notorious for paying much less than others)
Mediavine (requires around 30,000 monthly pageviews to qualify)
Many podcasters work with companies to advertise on their podcast as well, so if you have been considering starting a podcast, look into ways to work with brands relevant to your audience.
5. Cryptocurrency Investing
Cryptocurrency is a new arena that is getting plenty of buzz these days. Crypto can definitely be a passive source of income, or, it could go the other way and you could lose money.
I’ve started to learn about crypto and have invested a (very small) amount of cash into it.
What most experts recommend is to only invest money that you wouldn’t mind losing if you actually lost it - since investing can be very risky.
I’m not a financial advisor and this isn’t financial advice - nothing on my site should be considered “financial advice” :) so please do plenty of research before deciding whether you want to get into cryptocurrency or any other money-making opportunity!
Ian Balina is a great resource on crypto investing.
Remember, all of these are very real ways that people make passive income (some even replaced their day job income partially or fully) but they do require work up front.
I recommend you use this post a starter guide or point of inspiration, choose which one sounds most appealing to you, do your research, and go for it!
Want more inspiration?
One of my absolute favorite books on this subject is The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. He focuses on creating passive income and systems to work less, live more, and take “mini retirements” (travel breaks) every few months. I’ve even heard people call it the “digital nomad’s bible.”
Note: this post may contain affiliate links which help support the site at no additional cost to you.