Digital Passive Income Ideas

digital passive income

In this post, we’re going to focus on top digital passive income ideas that you can start today.

While there are hundreds of ways to earn passive income, the focus of this post is on five actionable digital passive income ideas for busy professionals.

So-called internet gurus are painting the picture of you sipping mai tais on the beach with the little umbrella and enjoy your time. In the meantime, there are thousands of dollars rolling in as you do nothing!

That is absolutely not the case. Passive income is not passive at first, you have to work for it.

Passive income is really a marketing term. Yes, you can make money while you sleep but you have to put in the grunt work in the beginning. Essentially it is you putting in the work now so you can reap the benefits later and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.

Digital passive income number 1: YouTube

YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine, the first being Google and a surprise, google owns YouTube so you’re dealing with the two biggest search engine in the world when you have a YouTube Channel.

The way YouTube works is that there’s a revenue split through advertisements. Remember those ads that play in the beginning, middle and end of a YouTube video? Google split the proceeds from the ads with the creator. It’s roughly a 55/45 split.

YouTube provides the platform and it’s up to you to create content that grabs the attention of your viewers. Examples of topics you can create are traveling, finance tips, reviews, gaming, and cooking. It is really limitless, it is really up to your creative abilities.

YouTube viewership has skyrocketed, there are 7 billion people in this world and there are daily YouTube users. Most likely, there will be someone interested in your niche videos.

Here are some stats for YouTube:

  • 1.9 billion monthly users
  • 30 million daily users
  • Average time spent on YouTube: 40 minutes
  • 5 billion videos watched each day
  • 150 million hours of video watched each day
  • 180 million people in the U.S. use YouTube

Source: Roadside Dental Marketing

Pro of YouTube

I live in Texas, so let’s look at this oil boom example:

Each video is like an oil well, You only needed to create the video once, after that is done, you don’t have to trade the time for it anymore like you would with a 9 to 5 job.

Most YouTubers have stated that videos that are a year and a half old are still generating money for them right now.

Granted, depending on the popularity of your channel and viewership, it’s likely not going to be life-changing money, but still, you’ll get a steady source of money coming for doing literally nothing.

Con of YouTube

It takes time to build an audience and viewership of people that know and trust you and come back for your videos.

There’s also an initial requirement of 1,000 subscribers and 240,000 of minutes watched before any monetization, however.

Not sold on YouTube yet? This CBS article lists the top 10 highest-paid YouTube stars in 2018. Coming in at number 1, Ryan’s Toy Review made $22 million dollars pre-tax in 2018 alone. The previous year the channel made $11 million, that’s all from Ryan playing with his toys.

He’s gotten so big that he has his own collection at Walmart! I can more examples here but I think you get the point.

Digital passive income number 2: Start a membership group

This generally works better when you already have a following or audience. If you didn’t have a following, you can still make this work if you’re a really good marketer.

One of the best ways to start a membership group is through a membership website. You can also create a forum or a Facebook group but monetizing with these latter groups is much harder.

Let’s say, you’re a famous Chef who’s built a large following on YouTube, blog, or other platforms. The membership website can be an outlet for you to share exclusive recipes, how-tos, and other advanced techniques. Because of your brand name recognition and reputation, people will flock to your website to sign up.

Another example is Bigger Pockets, they have a website, a podcast and a large following wanting to pick their brains on all matters relating to real estate investing. This is a good recipe for success. Since their expertise is in real estate, they offered a premium website for those seeking it.

Pro: Recurring Revenue

You get recurring money for your content, let’s say, you’re charging $5 a month for access. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but if you can scale your business to thousands, then that can bring in some serious cash.

Let’s say you gained 1,000 subscribers, that is equivalent to $5,000 per month in revenue.


This is kind of a double-edged sword in that, the website owner has to continuously refresh or add-on to their content to get their members engaged and interested.

If you are a member of a site that does not regularly update its content then you’re more likely to cancel your membership.

Digital passive income number 3: Create a digital product

What is a digital product? It is something that will only take a little overhead, you’re not taking up materials, and time and other things needed every single time.

This is different when you have a physical product where you have to gather all sorts of supplies to create your finished product. Let’s say a pair of cowboy boots for example.

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A digital product can be something like an Ebook. I am a big fan of podcasts and Smart Passive Income podcast is one that I frequently listen to. They have a free Ebook you can get here.

In this case, the Ebook is free, but it can bring in passive income if he decides to charge for it. Pat created his Ebook once and you can sell it over and over again. This Ebook can be bought 24/7, 365 days since it is available on an online platform.

Other examples include an online calculator, spreadsheet etcetera.


Very little overhead needed, no material, it’s all digital.


You have to spend the time upfront to create your product but once you’re through then you will get that residual income.

Digital passive income number 4: Create an online course

This is similar to a membership website but the main difference is with an online course you only create it once and continue to keep selling it.

You can host the course yourself or you can host them on popular platforms such as Udemy and Teachable and benefit from their vast user base.

Digital passive income number 5: Affiliate Marketing

A lot of you have heard of this. This all goes back to the fact that if you have an audience or really good at marketing, you can make a lot of money selling other people’s products.

It all boils down to this. Affiliate=commissioned salesperson.

For example, if I refer you try Audible for free and if you click on this link, I get paid a small commission from Amazon’s affiliate program and at no additional cost to you. You get two free books for signing up with my link above.

While affiliate marketing pays a small commission, however, this can really build over time.


Here a quick recap:

  1. YouTube
  2. Membership Group/Site
  3. Digital Product
  4. Online Course
  5. Affiliate Marketing

As with most things on this list, a requisite for success is that you are really good at marketing, created a personal brand and have a large audience.

But don’t let that deter you from starting today. For example, my wife’s YouTube channel started in April 2019 and within three months she’s gotten to a good start.

She has 539 subscribers and 76,000 in watched minutes. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that creating passive income streams is no work. In fact, it takes a lot of initial work. However, once you get that momentum going, it’s going to become a significant source of income for you over time.

Are you going to try any of these digital passive income ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment below! Thanks!