Passive income for freelancers

Your freelance business needs a passive income stream. Here is why.

There’s no doubt that running a freelance business is often hard work. But you don’t have to spend countless hours in front of the screen or race against the clock every single day.

I’m sure you didn’t start your business to feel stuck and anxious about your income. Yet, this is the daily life of many freelancers who forgot to put the “free” back into “freelancing”.

So how to gain more freedom and avoid the constant exchange of your time and skills for money?

Here is a simple solution: make sure your business generates regular passive income.


Why do you need it?

Passive income means more security. If you suddenly lose of your customers, decide to take longer holiday, if your health deteriorates or you need to limit your working time due to family commitments—you’ll be able to rely on your passive stream of income.

The pandemic proved that our economic situation may transform unexpectedly, and even the most profitable business might be forced to close its doors. With passive income, you’ll be able to weather the storm and adapt smoothly to the inevitable changes.


How to create it?

  1. Online courses

No matter what industry you work in, there’s always something you can share with others – such as your knowledge and experience – and convert it into a steady source of income.

For example, you can create an online course based on your area of expertise. If you’re a freelance photographer, maybe you can teach others how to take specific type of pictures? If you’re a graphic designer, maybe you can show how to use a certain tool or find inspiration for amazing designs? The possibilities are endless.

Although online courses require some initial work, once you publish your content, all you need to do is to update it from time to time, if necessary, and make sure your course promotion runs smoothly.

For example, for my recent course How to translate and localize websites Level 2 I scheduled the promo content for a month in advance and automated my marketing campaign as much as possible. In this way, once the course was published I could sit back and relax, watching how my student number (and revenue) grows. 


  2. Digital products

Another way to generate passive source of income is to create digital products such as graphic, document or website templates, e-books, printable coloring pages or calendars, mobile apps, nutrition plans, newsletter templates and so much more!

Of course, the product you choose should be aligned with your expertise, and if possible, linked to your other products or services. Don’t just copy what others in your industry do, but convert your knowledge into a unique product that will be useful to your target market.

As in the case of online courses, you’ll also need to invest time to promote your products. Plus, many digital products have a low price point (e.g. stock photos, graphic templates), so you’ll either have to attract a huge number of customers or add more products to your offer to generate decent income.


  3. Blogging

If for some reasons you don’t want to spend too much time or energy on creating courses and digital products, you can also consider selling spaces on your blog. There are companies out there who need a support of influencers and bloggers. That’s why they’re ready to pay for sponsored articles or offer other incentives if you mention their services and products. If you blog or social media profile is popular you could turn into a money-making tool by helping other businesses promote their products.


4. Affiliate marketing

If you want to generate passive income with even less effort, than affiliate marketing might be something for you. All you need to do, is to (skilfully) share products or services created by other companies. If you’re successful, your commission can build up into a decent income.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the products you recommend really serve your audience and promote the content in a graceful way. You can share your affiliate links on your social media profiles, on your website, newsletters or in other places. This means, however, that you need to build the right audience first to be able to show them the products that you believe are useful.


There are many different ways to ensure your freelance business generates income, even when you take time off. Look around, decide what method is the most suitable for you, and create more stability and freedom with passive income.


Over to you

What can you create or build today to be able to work less and be more peaceful tomorrow?

Dorota helps digital brands infuse their content with a local touch. She is a localization consultant, translator specialized in IT, prompt engineer, and a book author. Dorota teaches online courses on localization, writes for her blog and a Medium publication. She also runs a Small Biz AI, a Substack newsletter for freelancers and small business owners ready to discover handy AI tools.