How To Make Passive Income Online - Cover

How To Make Passive Income Online Doing What You Love

Wouldn’t it be great not to work 12 hours a day for every dollar?

In 2011, Jon Morrow wrote a guest post on ProBlogger to share how he quitted his job, moved to paradise and get paid to change the world. Even though he didn’t answer the how question, that post went absolutely nuts.

Reason number one is because Jon’s story of overcoming his disabilities was extremely inspirational.

Reason number two is because we all want to be Jon, to work from anywhere (even better if it’s paradise) on something we love, on something that changes the world.

Never before was the idea of passive income so popular and, fortunately, doable.

Passive Income Trend - How To Make Passive Income Online

With a sustainable source of passive income online you can:

  • Retire and travel the world,
  • Work on something that you are passionate about,
  • Stay at home to take care of your family,
  • Sit in a coffee shop in Paris for hours on Wednesday morning,
  • Write the next bestseller on the balcony of a cruise in the Mediterranean,
  • Eat an Ai frutti di Mare until 1 AM on a Monday evening,
  • Or experience endless summer holidays all year round.

In this post, I’d like to share with you how to make passive income online doing what you love from my own experience and research.

And I’ll try my best to give you throughout insights on all questions you may have as you begin your journey into this confusing world of making money online from

Passive income & active income

According to Wikipedia, there are two type of income streams

active income,
and passive income.

Active income is any type of income stream that can only be generated in exchange for your time or effort. This means you have to constantly put into the hours, all day, everyday to earn an active income. The most common form of active income stream is a good old, typical jobs. Where you exchange 12 hours a day for monthly incomes.

On the other hand, passive income is any type of income stream that is generated regularly even without you working on it. Once you’ve put into the sweat and blood to create a sustainable passive income stream, you can sit back and watch as the money comes in. Some examples of passive income are:

  • Any type of property income,
  • Interest from a bank account,
  • Royalties from publishing a book,
  • And of course, earnings from an online business.

Out of all these methods, creating an online business is the model that requires the least overhead investment. You don’t need to buy a house, or put a huge amount of money into your bank account and the potential of earning is endless. Some online marketers like Pat Flynn even went out to generate up to $100k per month.

Why do you want to make passive income online?

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche

First and foremost, you want to determine why you need to earn passive income. It can be anything from:

  • Support your shopping sprees,
  • Support your financially struggling family,
  • Have alternative sources of income to secure your future career,
  • Become financially free.

Finding the right reason to earn an extra income not only helps you better understand where you are, but also how much you need to achieve your goal.

So take a few seconds to write down why, how much and where you will spend your future earnings.

How to make passive income online

Below I will introduce all major make money online methods to give you a clear understanding of how our industry works.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing helps you earn via promoting and selling other company’s products. Most information and physical products online have an affiliate program that you can sign-up for. Basically you’ll be given a special tracking link to promote with. And anyone who buys that product will earn you a commission, in other words, percentage of the sale.

The best approach to affiliate marketing is to create a WordPress blog that gives honest reviews on certain types of products from Amazon or any other affiliate networks with your tracking links. Then work your way to rank on Google for specific buying keywords that people are searching for. The idea is that these folks are more likely to read your posts and make a purchase through you.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most simple way to get started since you don’t need to worry about creating your own product, sales letter, or dealing with customer support. Your only job is driving traffic to other’s sales page.

Recommended affiliate marketing courses:

The only affiliate marketing training program that I recommend is Wealthy Affiliate, founded by Kyle and Carson, two amazing guys that you can contact anytime as a member. This is the platform that helped me make my first dollars online. They have detailed courses designed for absolute beginners to start an online business from scratch.

The best part about Wealthy Affiliate is that it’s an all-in-one solution. They offer everything from a keyword research tool to a web hosting, so you don’t need to spend extra money on anything else. (Read my review on Wealthy Affiliate here to learn more about what you can expect from the platform.)

2. Advertising

This method is as simple as adding Google Adsense to your website. When people visit your website and click the ads, you get paid by Google.

I personally don’t like advertising. Since you earn pennies for each click, it’s not worth distracting your readers. Worst of all, we simply don’t click on ads. In fact, 60% of all mobile banner ad clicks are accidents. That said, there are a lot of folks who do great optimizing their blog or website for Google Adsense. Another method is to simply add a few of the ads to their website as another stream of passive income.

Recommended Google Adsense advertising courses:

As mentioned, I’m not a big fan of ads. But it’s a complimentary type of income that you can set up on any blog that you create using Wealthy Affiliate.

3. Sell a product

This is pretty self-explanatory. You can sell products to an audience, ideally you want to create a digital product like eBooks or courses so you only have to create the product once (minus the times you’ll for update, maintenance, customer support etc.)

Another growing source of income that more and more online marketers are experimenting with is recurring income streams, in other words membership sites. This is where users would pay a regular monthly or annually amount for access to your premium content, community area, service, tools, coaching etc.

Recommended product courses:

I’ve never tried this business model but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Internet Business Mastery, an online business course started by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden. Not only were they featured on big sites like Forbes, Inc and Entrepreneur they also helped folks like Pat Flynn who went out and make over 100k per month.

Multiple Income Streams

Of course, you are not forced to stick to one method. Most full-time online marketers end up with multiple income streams.

Diversifying your income not only helps you grow quicker but also avoid the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket. Take infamous blogger Darren Rowse for example, who make money from 12 different income streams.

ProBlogger Earnings - How To Make Passive Income Online

For beginners though, I highly recommend you focus completely on affiliate marketing. It’s the most simple method that doesn’t require a product or an insane amount of traffic.

And as Bruce Lee used to say.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Bruce Lee

The worst passive income online myth

Before you plunge in, there is a huge myth that you need to let go of.

In all seriousness, this whole mindshift can make or break your chance of success.

So prepare to get your mind blown.

Mindblown reaction - Is Wealthy Affiliate A Scam

That’s right, you simply don’t make money online fast.

Folks like these

Paid Surveys - How To Make Passive Income Online

Don’t have a weird trick up their sleeve to make $3,500 per month, they just want to make money off of your newbiness.

I’m not here to give you false hope.

It’s gonna hard, and you will want to give up. However, making passive income online is possible. Anyone can do it, no matter where you’re coming from (well, as long as you have a laptop and internet connection!). Me and thousands of other online marketers are living proofs of that.

When you think about how a lot of us are shopping online, then it makes total sense how making money online is no joke. Where there is a market, there is profit to be made.

How long does it take to make passive income online?

Seriously. Who cares how long it takes? As long as you can keep going, and get through the burnouts, you’ll reach some level of success.

Don’t we all ask this question when we started? I know I did, now that I am more experience, I’ll try to answer it for you. If you ask me whether you can succeed with Wealthy Affiliate or how long it takes, all I can say is…

I don’t know.

Truth be told, as much as I don’t know how long it’ll take you to learn Japanese (or Spanish, or Vietnamese), I have no idea how long it’ll take for you to get a hang of online marketing.

It’s easy to get pumped after cracking the code behind monetizing your blog, and think “hey, I can make a fortune in a month!”.

However, not all of us see the same results. While some only took 6 months to earn a decent income, it took others, like myself a year to make a couple of dollars, and Jon Morrow 5 years of earning nothing, until he founded SmartBlogger and make a hundred thousand per month.

I’ve just laid down all the methods to making passive income online, but it’s much easier said than done.

If you want to succeed, accept failures and run the marathon.

Online passive income resources

Here are the best tools and resources I’ve used to build up my online business that you may want to check out as you create your own. I’ve also included some comments and personal notes alongside each products for easier reference.

Most recommended resources:

  • Wealthy Affiliate – A must-have to create a lucrative affiliate marketing business. An online course and community to learn about online marketing. This is the course that helped me make money online, also where I host Bloggingthing.
  • NameCheap – All of my domains are purchased through them. These domains are as low as $4.88 per year.
  • BlueHost – I’ve had a good experience with BlueHost, very affordable hosting. A nifty solid host for starters.


  • Jaaxy – Keyword is at the foundation of ranking on search engines. Jaaxy is a great low competitive keyword research tool that helped me rank on search engines.
  • MozBar – A Firefox and Chrome extension that shows you sharing and SEO ranking metrics of every site and pages you visit. I can’t live without this one.
  • Google Analytics – A classic. Google’s free website tracking and analytics tool that allows you to track all the stats and activity going on in your website.
  • MailChimp – Minimal, characteristic and easy to use, this is my email marketing tool of choice.
  • PeoplePerHour – A freelancer marketplace to hire web designers, programmers, graphic designers etc. for a great price.
  • Fiverr – Another freelancer marketplace… starting at only $5, I’ve found a lot of gems here!

Start today

Make passive income online.

4 words, easy to say, damn hard to achieve.

I can’t say that I’m a huge success yet. In fact, I’m still working a full-time job. But I’ve come as far as actually making money online, be featured in major sites like The Huffington Post, among many many other awesome things, all because of that one decision: do whatever it takes to achieve financial freedom.

My dream is to live on my own terms and travel the world like Jon Morrow, Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas.

Of course, that’s no easy feat.

Nothing worth having in life comes easy.

How about you?

I hope this post gave you that kick in the butt to start pursuing your dream.

See you at the top.

Get started, right freaking now.

Feel free to ask me anything about online passive income, I’ll try my best to answer ASAP!

Gifs are from the awesome GIPHY

Anh Nguyen is a blogger and minimalist who's crazy about design and content quality. Learn more about him here, or connect with him on Twitter.

Leave a Reply


  1. pmbaluka2016

    I must confess that I was completely immersed in your website. Your presentation is so easy to understand. I like your simplicity in material presentation as well being focused. You’ve given different options of doing online business. I love the way you’ve diffentiated between passive and active income. Eventually you’ve given strongly your own recommendations as you pointed people to Wealthy Affiliate. I must comment your appropriate use of quotes, it’s so nice.

    I think your business is ready for a big sell.



    • Anh Nguyen

      Aww, thanks Paul for the kind words. I try my best to be as informative as I can, and give the best options to my readers so your compliment means a lot to me. 🙂

  2. M Dvo

    I learned a lot just now. This looks like it could be a viable way for me to make a second income while working full time. Thanks for the great information. As a single mom, my resources are limited but I found this site to have opened my eyes to what could be possible for me. Thanks for the boost of confidence!

    • Anh Nguyen

      It’s my pleasure, I wish you all the best in your endeavours. The good thing about online marketing is that you don’t need to invest too much, I hope $40 – $50 per month is something you can afford.

      Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, it would be my pleasure to help!



  3. Darren

    I think a lot of people underestimate how easy making a passive income actually is and being able to stay motivated when they’re not seeing any money within the first 6 months. That’s the hardest part for a lot of people because while you’re working on your website, you’re not working a job which guarantees you income.

    For all the “take risks in life” and “you don’t need to work a 9-5 job” a lot of the time people really don’t have a choice and the ones who succeed online have goals every single day and are driven towards making money. You must give value towards people that visit your site. That is the only way to generate any money. I think a lot of people miss that crucial part of giving value.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Well said, Darren. I know how intimidating it can be to work your ass off on a business that’s uncertain. Kind of like stumbling in the dark, at one point you wonder if there is a light switch at all.

      And of course, I’m a big believer on giving value. In fact, I’ve chosen to focus on content quality rather than scale as my mentor Kyle suggested.

      The only reason I didn’t write about values because I think it’s more of a stage 2 thing, that you realise down the road. It may be too much information for starters.

      Thanks for sharing!



  4. Derek Marshall

    Hi there Anh!

    As a fellow blogger always seeking to improve my skill set I absolutely love your site… seriously awesome!

    You mention an article by John Morrow, I have not seen it or read it. Do you have a link to it?

    In terms of income types I’d add a third – semi passive, simply due to way of earning money online require that you do the work initially, like blogging and then later you can gain a passive flow of money from the site. Due to needing some work done I say semi passive,

    Another nice semi-passive stream I’d add is having your own amazon shop and using their FBA drop-shipping program pack and deliver your products sold, like blogging requires initial work (ranking on Amazon, finding quality product, having it sent to Amazon’s distribution centre (can be done direct from manufacturer!) dealing with customer comments/questions.

    • Anh Nguyen


      I agree with you about semi-passive income. Then again, there is no type of income that’s 100% “passive” where you don’t need to put in the work at all to maintain it. This is an idea that a lot of online entrepreneurs like to discuss, while folks like Pat Flynn and Ramit Sethi basically have a good steam of passive income, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work on maintaining it via blogging, podcasting, building their brand etc. oer grow it.

      Ultimately, it all comes down on your view of what passive income means. You’ve raised a great point (again!), I’ll add it onto the post.

      About Jon’s post, it’s called “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World”, you can read it here. It’s highly inspirational and I hope you enjoy it!



  5. Marty

    Anh, you inspire many reasons and business ideas for developing a passive income. The reason for creating a passive income is the reason to live as if you have it you will be able to help many people.

    Motivating people to take action on their dream is a gift that you have.

    Where do you think people fail when they decide to build a passive residual income?

    • Anh Nguyen

      Wow, Marty, thank you very much for the compliment. It’s always been my dream to motivate others to be their best version, what you said meant a lot to me.

      I think we “fail” when building passive income when we give up. It’s a simple as that. Like anything worth having in life, it takes commitment and consistency to see your dream come true.

      If you work irregularly for 3 months and call it quits, you fail. If you show up all day everyday for a year and some then you are bound to succeed, there is no doubt about that.

      I hope this helps!



  6. Hey Anh,

    The moment you stop putting in time or effort, the income comes to a halt. You have to consistently work hard to earn an active income.The income generated by the automated systems that you’ve set up will produce a consistent passive income for you without any real-time presence.

    While creating information products is a great way to make passive income online, it can take some more time than the other business models mentioned. For an information product, you’ll need to create a website, sales letter, a digital product, as well as do the marketing and traffic generation. It does require more skills and some experience, but it’s the best long-term and steady passive income stream mentioned here.

    Affiliate marketing gives us the ability to earn a commission for promoting other peoples products. Most information and physical products online have an affiliate program that you can sign-up for. When you sign-up, you’re given a special link to promote that product with. Anyone that buys that product through our link will earn a commission. Amazing thought against this subject and eventually thanks for shaing your worthy informative ideas with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

    • Well said, Amar.

      Creating your first product from scrap can be very intimidating, not to mention the amount of money you have to invest before hand.

      That said, I know a lot of affiliate marketers who went on to create their own product afterwards, and that’s where I’m aiming in the future with the profit I made from affiliate marketing. 🙂


  7. Kyle

    Anh, very nice read! I have actually been a member at Wealthy Affiliate for about 2 weeks now and completely agree with everything you said. I also learned a couple things since I am still a newbie so thank you for the info! Congrats on your success and good luck moving forward.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Aww, thanks Kyle and I’m glad you learned something new from the post. I wish you all the best as well, it may take time to build your momentum but the ride is gonna be worth it. 😉 Feel free to let me know if you have any questions on passive income.



  8. Michel

    Very inspirational article on living the dream lifestyle. I too am working on websites and affiliate marketing, and you are so right when you say it is not how long it takes, but when.

    A lot of people give up too soon, but if you keep going, you do see rewards after a time, the trick is to just keep going.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Michel, well said! I know when I first started, I was always looking for that “trick” that will make things easier. I was very disappointed when the experts would tell me to suck it up, to keep going. In the end though, it’s really all there is to it.

      If you want to achieve something meaningful, you’ve just gotta put in the sweat and blood and tears.

      I wish you all the best with your endeavours and feel free to let me know if you have any questions. 😉



  9. Chiqui

    Thanks, I needed that advice and that pep talk at the end! I’m new to the online marketing business myself so sometimes I find myself doubting if I can ever make money in my niche. I’m still currently building up my social media network though, and I’m learning how to set up a mailing list, so I still have a long way to go!

    Very informative post with a lot of tips on how to make money online. Thanks for it!

    • Anh Nguyen

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Chiqui! Online marketing is tough because most of us don’t have physical proofs on whether it’s going to work or not, no one besides to show us how, no official schools that teach the craft. In my experience, you just have to ignore your doubt and keep going anyways. And your actions will eventually prove how far you can go.

      I wish you all the best with your projects and feel free to let me know if you have any questions. It’s always my pleasure to help. 😉



  10. Hi Anh,
    Very inspiring and motivating post.
    Wonderful to read your amazing story of success journey.
    Wish you all the best on all your future endeavors.
    I am following some of the things, Google’s AdSense is one of the best bet I am using.
    I am sure this will be a good guide to the blogging newbies!
    Thanks for the kind mention of our post on Huffington Post.
    Keep Going!
    Miles to Go!

    • Aww, thanks a bunch Phil. As mentioned, I’m not a big fan of ads but I’m so glad it’s working great for you! I try my best to write throughout and genuine guides so your praise means a lot to me.

      I wish you all the best in your online endeavours as well!

      Take care,