Who doesn’t want to earn some extra money? But the problem is everyone has a job, and to earn extra money, we have to give extra time.
Regularly working extra hours is almost impossible and also harmful for your physical and mental health.
That’s where passive income comes. You can earn money without actively working. There are many ways to create passive income but let’s talk about how programmers can do it.
What is passive income?
Passive income is the money you earn that doesn’t require you to do a lot of “active” work to continue making it. Like if you own a house, and you earn money from the rental income. You can earn money from the rental income without working actively.
According to Wikipedia, It is called progressive passive income when the earner expends little effort to grow the income. Programmers have more opportunities than any others to make passive income because of their skills.
Here are the four easy ways:
1. Sell Software for a One-Time Fee
This is one of the best ways to earn money as a programmer and the best use of your skills. An overwhelming majority (89%) of B2B researchers use the internet in their research process. There are some excellent marketplaces where you can sell your software.
Let’s learn where you can sell and how much you can earn.
App Store/Play Store: You can sell your mobile app in the Apple app store or Google play store for a one-time fee. Setup is straightforward as they handle the payments.
You will earn 70% from each sale in the Google play store. Starting July 1, Google Play is reducing the service fee from 30% to 15%.
Apple also takes 30% commission, but it will also lower its charges to 15% for small business owners.
You can also spend a few bucks on promoting your app in the store, or you can do SEO. Once you start to get customers and a good rating, the money will come automatically.
Themeforest: This is the biggest WordPress theme marketplace on the web. The huge traffic this website gets will help you get your first few sales, and then it’s off to the races.
If you sell your products exclusively on Themeforest, you’ll earn 62.5% of each sale. Your commissions increase consistently as your total sales increase. Once you reach $75,000 in total sales on their platform, you’ll keep 87.5% of each sale. Non-exclusive authors get only 45%.
CodeCanyon: This is another popular marketplace by Envato. If you’re interested in selling WordPress plugins, CodeCanyon is a good candidate for your products.
There are tons of other marketplaces where you can sell your software.
Programmers are earning a lot from selling themes. You just have to make a good theme or software.
The top two themes from the last month in Themeforest have earned $780,000 and $128,700, respectively.
Do some market research. Find a niche. People usually like to spend on productivity or business tools.
The hardship of launching: 5/10 (Not so easy)
The hardship of revenue-generating: 7/10 (Hard)
2. Start Blogging
I find this way easier than others. The hard part is to be accepted as a writer in good blogs/publications. Before you start writing, read a lot of articles. I am sharing some sites where you can earn money as a tech writer:
Medium: For passive income, Medium is one of the best. You will write once and get paid according to the reading time of the members. While it’s hard to earn money in the beginning, there is no limit. An article might generate $200-$1000 or even more if it can attract a good number of readers!
You can also start your own personal blog. However, it will be hard to get traffic in the beginning. You also can earn more by putting affiliate marketing links in the article.
But if you want a fixed or active income, there are many blogs available to earn money with programming/technical writing.
Some of them are clubhouse.io, tutorialspoint.com, vonage.com, digitalocean.com, and many more. They will pay you between $250-$500 per article.
Read a lot before you start writing. You can also take a short course on writing.
The hardship of launching: 2/10 (Very easy)
The hardship of revenue-generating: 4/10 (Easy)
3. Make Video Tutorials
If you have any particular skills related to programming, you can make a video tutorial about it and sell it in an educational/professional-learning marketplace.
If you can make tutorials in English, then you can tap into the global market. Now, almost every country has “Udemy” types of local marketplaces. You can also try them.
There are many sites where you can earn money, but I will recommend two.
Udemy: Some people are killing it with huge sales ($20,000 a month or even more!) while many aren’t making a single cent. The average course creator can make $15-$30 per month per course, but those at the top earn $2,000 per course — every month.
Skillshare: Teachers typically earn between $0.05 and $0.10 per minute watched. This means that if your students watched 10,000 minutes of your class in the first month, you’d earn between $500 and $1,000.
I know some junior Bangladeshi programmers make $500 passive income per month by making tutorials in the local language!
Talking to the camera might make you feel uncomfortable initially, but you will get used to it. Try practicing in the mirror first and see your body language.
The extra benefit is you can learn more on the topic when you start teaching.
The hardship of launching: 6/10 (Hard)
The hardship of revenue-generating: 5/10 (Easy)
4. Making a SaaS Product
Saas means “Software as a Service.” SaaS is one of the best business models. You will make software and sell it for a monthly subscription fee. We use SaaS in our daily life a lot, like Adobe software, Microsoft Office, Dropbox, Slack.
If you can build useful products that people need, you can earn a lot. You don’t have to build complex software like those. You can build some easy, useful software.
One of my senior developers made $1000– $1500 per month from his SaaS product. He made an app that helps people lose weight. His secret formula was a super easy UX. He grabbed 500 paying monthly subscribers who pay $2 per month. He also earns extra bucks by showing ads to free customers.
You can find another motivational story here. A single founder earned $20k/month from their three SaaS products.
Tips and complexity
Create a 2–6 month plan. First, do some market research and use similar types of products.
The hard part is how people will find your software? There are some services/sites like sellSaaS that will help you to find customers. But it’s better to partner with some marketing agency on a revenue-sharing model.
The hardship of launching: 5/10 (Not so easy)
The hardship of revenue-generating: 8/10 (Very hard)
Why You Should Consider Passive Income
More time for yourself
Passive income is all about the relationship between time and money. You can earn while you sleep in this way. Isn’t that great?
Those who work extra time for extra money should definitely try it. It will give them more time for themselves because the whole point of passive income is to earn without working actively.
Most of the programmers are doing full- or part-time jobs. Some are also earning from freelancing. These types of active incomes are good but might be a little risky in some situations. You might lose your job in a company or global crisis, like COVID-19.
It’s not limited by your time and effort. It can have a positive and significant effect on your ability to build wealth. So why don’t you give it a try and become more stable financially?
There’s no guarantee of how much passive income you’ll earn. That can be either good or bad. You can earn a lot more than your expectations, but you also can earn a lot less.
But if you never try, you will never know. It might happen that you would earn 10x or 100x more than your active income. You might not have to do your regular job if you earn enough money!
I follow one rule — one metric — to calculate if I am successfully earning passive income or not, which is:
Suppose in your full-time job you earn $30 per hour. If you write a blog that earns $300 in its lifetime and it took you three hours to write that blog, then your per hour earning is $100.
But I will ask that you not calculate in the beginning so much. You will also become happy and excited when you see your blog, tutorial, or software helps thousands of people!
Many programmers try this as a hobby! So, at least try once. I am just sharing some of the options. If you research — you should before you start — I am sure you will find other ways.