10 Simple Ways to Make Money without doing Anything

Eltjo Koc
Blog post

Making money takes work, but work is too hard. Luckily, there are some ways to make money with little to no effort. Thanks to apps, basic investment tools, and savvy shopping strategies, you can make get extra cash without doing much. Though some of these methods do take some work up front, they can set you up to earn passive income for the long term.

A lot of small, local businesses – like landscapers, electricians, and home improvement companies – spread by word-of-mouth. Many of them pay referral fees for people to help spread a good word about their businesses. So the next time you have your plumber over, ask if they offer referral bonuses. And if they do a good job, take advantage of that when you recommend them to a friend.

Okay, so this one takes a bit of work. But lets say you’re an expert on a subject. On Marissa Mayer and the company Yahoo, for example (now available in paperback). Once you actually write the book and put your expertise to paper, then get it published, you’re pretty much done. From then on, whenever people buy your book, you get paid in royalties. The precise amount of royalties are contingent on your contract with the book publisher.

If yourself publish on Amazon or another self-publishing platform, there are standardized contracts that pay out depending on how many people download the ebook or read it through Amazon’s ebook-lending program. That way, you can cut out the middlemen of the publishing industry and make a higher percentage of profit from your own book.

If you’re an expert in a subject, but that subject isn’t fit for a book project or an online course, set up a website!

Use WordPress, Weebly, or some other web-creation platform to make a site and make your guide there. Then sell online ads – which you can do with Google, for example – on your site so that you get some spare revenue whenever someone reads your work.

If you’d rather implement a paywall instead of advertising, the startup Verst can help you do just that.

If you’re an illustrator and want to explain the vocabulary of your trade, you can make a video about that. As with the web, YouTube lets you set up ads on your videos. People searching for those subjects will find your videos, watch them, and then the ad revenue will roll in indefinitely.

Whether your website is an online guide, a blog, or whatever else, use referral links whenever you discuss a product. Sites like Amazon, for example, let you add a bit of code in the URL of a product. If anyone buys the product through that URL, you get a percentage of the revenue from that purchase.

If you use an app often enough, referral credit is as good as cold, hard cash. Uber and Lyft (ride-sharing), Seamless (food), Touch of Modern (clothes), and other apps offer you some credit for every person you refer who uses the app to make a purchase.

Any actor will tell you that getting an acting gig – even a commercial – is tough. But if you live in a major metropolitan area, though, it isn’t as difficult to become an extra.

If the contract is good, you can make some serious money. One of my friends was featured in a Target commercial that was in heavy rotation during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He got $500 every time it aired and used the cash to pay off a good chunk of his college tuition.

If your kids have flown the coop and you have an extra room in your house, or if you’re traveling for awhile and won’t be in your apartment, consider renting it out for the short term on websites like Airbnb or VRBO.

They basically allow you to turn your room into a hotel. You can list your room, set rental dates and prices, and people visiting the area will pay you to live in your room for a short amount of time.

How much you can make depends on the rental market in your area. If you have an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for example, you can stand to make a pretty penny by renting out your room while you go backpacking in Europe for the summer. But if you’re in Pittsfield, Maine, you might not find as much demand for your house’s extra bedroom.

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