Smart Passive Income: 8 Ways to Make Some Extra Cash

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Sean Higgins
Sean Higgins


As a salesperson, a big part of your compensation is variable. Closing big deals takes time. And with such high earning potential, it can be tough to make it through slow months. Worrying about finances weighs on your mind and can hold you back from your full earning potential. After all, why go after that big, uncertain deal, when there’s a smaller fish guaranteed to close?


Passive income provides financial freedom and the ability to take larger risks by going after massive deals -- regardless of sales cycle. It also protects you from the months when you simply miss quote (Which happens to the best of us). But how do you get started? Here are my tips for diversifying your finances and take bigger risks with passive income.

1. Teach a class and put it online

If you find yourself reviewing the same content at coffee meetings, consider developing that content into an online course. For example, if you’re a salesperson who helps social media marketers save thousands in ad spend with your product, you likely have many conversations about social media best practices. Distill that knowledge into an online class.

Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and Kajabi make it easy to create, market, and profit from your online classes. This saves you from taking too many meetings on the same topic, and it gives you an opportunity to earn passive income.

And you’re not limited just to sales knowledge. Consider your hobbies as well. If you’re an expert stamp collector (Why not?), create an online class for experienced collectors of French stamps from the early 20th century.

Not an expert at the topic at hand? That’s alright. Level your course for beginners, and help your audience get a “101” view of the topic at hand.

2. Collect rent without owning property

Renting property sounds like something you’d need a sizeable amount of cash on hand to do. After all, you must own a building and hire a property management group, right?

If you have the necessary funds to do this, great. But, if you’re a less-established salesperson, consider buying a share of a property. For as little as $500-$5,000, platforms like Fundrise, Roofstock, and RealityShares allow you to do just that.

These programs payout dividends quarterly and can net you 6-7% in passive income on the money you deploy. One thing to note here is that each investment has a term tied to it, typically, one-to-five years. This signals when you’ll get your initial investment back on the property. So be ready to part with that initial investment for a while.

3. Find interest income from crowdfunding

Alternative investments, like peer-to-peer debt that pay you interest, can provide nice passive income streams. Platforms like LendingClub make this type of venture easy. You can deploy funds in $25 increments and fund almost anything -- from projects around the house to family trips and refinancing.

Before pulling the trigger on an investment here, you should have access to the borrower’s track record with lending, their credit history, and their household income. In peer-to-peer lending, it’s not enough to get the interest income, you’ll want your principal back too. For this reason, pay attention to the maturity date as well.

4. Charge for what you’re good at

Do you excel at discovery calls, building rapport, or closing enterprise deals? Do your colleagues often come to you for advice or help? Start marketing those skills and charging for classes, one-on-one coaching, or seminars.

Advertise your services on Craigslist, local job boards, and targeted LinkedIn or Facebook groups. If your city has local sales meetups, reach out and ask if you might be able to speak one week and tease your training or coaching services at the end.

Take a look at similar online offerings to judge where pricing should begin, and once you’ve developed a client roster, increase that price by 10-20% with each new client you take on.

5. Take up photography

Already have a passion for photography? Great! If not, invest in some equipment and online classes from Lynda, Creative Live, or Craftsy to create a portfolio you’ll be proud to share. Next, build a website, Facebook group, and Instagram page to showcase your work and drum up interest.

Start by taking photographs of friends and family at a discounted rate, and build out your client base with referrals. Photography is an excellent source of passive income, because you’re able to set your own hours, and work primarily on weekends.

Once you’ve developed an impressive body of work, shop your photos to sites like Shutterstock. If they use them, you’ll receive a royalty each time a customer downloads one of your images.

6. Create a YouTube channel

All the kids are doing it. Create videos of you sharing sales advice, speaking about that stamp hobby, or even cooking your favorite weeknight meal. Create a destination YouTube channel and populate it with a regular cadence of videos.

The monetization comes from the ads that appear on your page and play before or after your content. Put simply, when someone watches one of your videos, you’ll make money from the ads that appear.

The more viewers, the more ads. From channel teasers to copyright regulations, you’ll want to make sure you know how to responsibly run a channel of your own. Here’s a great video to help you get started.

7. Sign up for Uber or Lyft

Have a free Friday night or want to swap that expensive happy hour habit for something more lucrative? Sign up to be a driver with Lyft or Uber. You set your own hours, get paid regularly, and there’s little-to-no cost to begin.

Lyft even offers rentals if you don’t have a car of your own. Get a car any time, and return it when you’re done. One night a week might be all you need. According to Lyft, some drivers make more than $800 just driving on a Friday night.

8. Spend time with furry friends

Like Uber for pets … kind of. Sites like Rover and Wag give you the same freedom to choose your schedule, services, and rates. What you get in return? Snuggles, a little extra exercise, and some epic greetings from your canine clientele.

Pick from dog walking, simply letting pets out in their backyard, or even house sitting. You can even specify what size of dog you’re most comfortable walking. Out of all the ways to make a little extra cash -- this might be the most fun.

As a sales rep, your finances can be a roller coaster. Will you close that big deal or push it to next quarter?

Passive income helps you gain control over your financial future. It also gives you the steady income while maintaining the commission upside of a sales role. So, happy closing and happy earning. Start putting your free time to work today.

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