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Thanks for dropping by awesome person! Today, I’m going to be writing a long, detailed post on the top 5 online passive income streams that anyone can start.

It’s okay if you’re tight on budget and time, because these 5 passive income streams don’t take a lot of time nor money to start.

You probably want to save this to Pinterest or bookmark this page because I’m not kidding when I say it’s going to be long. (Not like my usual posts aren’t long enough. YAY for free knowledge!)

Here’s a little summary of what I will be covering in this post.

The top 5 passive income streams:

  1. Kindle publishing
    1. What is it
    2. Why does it work
    3. How much can you earn
  2. Selling digital products on Etsy
    1. What is it
    2. Why does it work
    3. How much can you earn
  3. Affiliate marketing with blogging
    1. What is it
    2. Why does it work
    3. How much can you earn
  4. POD stores
    1. What is it
    2. Why does it work
    3. How much can you earn
  5. Dropshipping 
    1. What is it
    2. Why does it work
    3. How much can you earn

Why did I choose the above 5?

All of the above have the opportunity to earn a minimum of $1000 per month with very little skill or experience, money to invest and time to spare.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a working 50+ weeks who wants to pay off student loans faster, or a stay at home parent with only 2 hours to yourself. An extra $1000 is much welcomed for most people and these 5 passive income streams provide an opportunity to make that!

The above passive income streams are also well established industries.

What this means is the process and steps to success are not big mystery. There’s tens of thousands of other people who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

This makes your job a lot easier because you just need to copy other people’s steps to succeed.

Also, out of the 5, I have first hand experience with 4 of them. So I can vouch for the list as being easy and effective for anyone at any level of expertise.

I started with zero experience, zero guidance and zero clue.

That was a few years ago. Now, I make a full time income online from various passive income streams. I started with Etsy, moved on to Kindle publishing and then Affiliate marketing and POD.

I do other things, but this post is already really long. You can click around my site to discover my other business activities.

Kindle Publishing

Kindle publishing is the first on the list because I personally think it’s the best method to start earning any sort of money online.

I personally have enjoyed this type of passive income stream for more than 3 years now and after expanding into other streams of passive income, it’s the easiest, fastest and steadiest passive income stream for beginners.

What is it?

Almost everyone knows what a Kindle is, it’s an e-book reader created by Amazon. Kindle publishing is the publishing platform to create e-books for Amazon’s Kindle store.

So it’s basically creating digital content to be sold in the Kindle store on Amazon. But it has evolved over the years and Kindle publishing doesn’t just mean e-books for Kindle readers but also all other Amazon publication platforms. This includes the POD paperback service and audio-books.

That means when people say “Kindle publishing”, what they really mean is creating a publishing business through Amazon.

I didn’t have dreams of being a writer or a publisher, I stumbled upon the opportunity and it was too good to not take any action.

I soon learnt Kindle publishing has very little to do with writing and publishing but a lot about Amazon SEO and online marketing.

Why does it work?

Firstly, you need to understand that independent publishing isn’t easy and starting a publishing business is hard. The reason why Kindle publishing (specifically, Kindle publishing) works, isn’t because of the nature of the product or business, but because of the unique business structure it involves.


Kindle publishing works because of a few key factors, and they ALL revolve around Amazon.

1: You’re selling on Amazon’s platform 

Amazon is one of the world’s biggest online market places and it is THE best place to get the widest reach of international customers.

Selling on this one platform already allows you instant access to millions of potential customers

Not only that, but all these potential customers have the intention to make a purchase, which makes the likelihood of a sale so much higher than just any random person browsing online.

2: You’re reaching your customers through Amazon’s search engine

By only using Amazon to sell, you don’t need to compete in the big arena called the World-Wide-Web to find customers. Your customers willingly go to Amazon to shop and therefore you only need to compete within the boundaries of Amazon.

That means the Amazon search engine.

But it’s not ANY Amazon search engine. It’s Amazon’s Kindle store search engine to be specific.

This makes your job to connect your product with your customer is SO MUCH EASIER. This is one of the biggest reasons why Kindle publishing is so easy.

Everything online is about connecting your product or service to the right audience by getting exposure through search, and the Kindle store search engine gives you a highly focused audience that is ready to buy.

You just need to rank for this small search engine.

3: Bigger profit margins with larger economies of scale with delivery and payment

After you produce the book and do the marketing for it, which you can outsource to other people; Amazon will take care of everything else.

And I mean everything.

This is a big reason why it’s a great passive income stream. You have this massive multi-national enterprise supporting your business for a small fee, without that support your business wouldn’t be passive nor very profitable.

Amazon takes care of delivery, technical issues, after sales service, payment as well as other things.

How much can you earn?

Realistically, an absolute beginner should be able to reach $1,000 per month within 6 months without much guidance. Just by working hard after learning the basics is enough to see you reach this point.

But that will depend on the amount of time you have to commit, as well as your upfront capital you can invest.

I personally took 6 months to reach $1,000 per month and I was going at it blind needing to test and experiment to understand what works. In total, it took me 1 year of active working to get to $2,000+ per month of passive income. This is the amount I’ve been enjoying for the past year with no additional hours of work.

But you don’t need to make my mistakes and experiment as much if you’re willing to invest in your Kindle publishing education. Getting a course from a reputable instructor or coaching from a mentor can easily cut 6 months into 3!

Selling digital products on Etsy

Selling on Etsy was the first online business I had ever started. And I famously wrote a post on how Etsy closed down my shop overnight, but for 6 months prior to this unfortunate event. I had passive income.

100% passive income. That at the time, I didn’t understand how to manage. In fact, I didn’t even know what passive income was at the time.

The good news is, I do now and I can confidently tell you how to make selling on Etsy a passive income stream.

What is it?

Etsy is a niche selling platform for handmade or vintage goods. The items command higher prices because of the handmade nature of the items and the customers who buy on Etsy appreciate a good story they can support.

Be it a product story or a shop owner story.

Now, selling handmade goods isn’t very passive and so you won’t be selling physical products. Instead you’ll want to be selling download-ables. These products are essentially files.

You create files and upload them onto the Etsy platform which will take care of the delivery and management of your product, and the customer can then safely download and pay for it.

Think, greeting cards, posters, printables etc.

Why does it work?

Digital products/ files are one of the easiest product categories to start on Etsy because you just create the file once and leave it. And because you’re selling on Etsy, the whole time it takes to start earning money is extremely fast.

A lot faster than selling on your own website.

Just like Kindle publishing, you’re leveraging Etsy’s fame to connect your product to your potential customers. Etsy isn’t as big as Amazon but it gets millions of visitors everyday and these visitors are highly niche and focused. If you manage to create a product that fits the Etsy audience, you’ll get rewarded very handsomely.

People who go on Etsy are also not browsers. From my experience they convert more than Amazon visitors and are higher up on the buying decision process by the time they login.

Another big reason for selling digital products on Etsy specifically is because Etsy’s search engine is easy.

It was easy to rank when I started and it’s still easy to rank now.

The algorithm has gone through changes and you will need to adapt, but for Etsy shops that have a certain level of momentum (a certain amount of sales in a given amount of time), these changes will not affect you. That means, rankings stay relatively stable.

Manage to rank for a keyword on Etsy and your product won’t get knocked down easily from competition.

How much can you earn?

The faster the process to set-up and start making money, the lower the potential for passive income to be earned. This correlation is true with most business models and Etsy is a very easy and fast method to creating a passive income stream.

Selling on Etsy was how I stumbled upon passive income and started this whole crazy adventure of mine.

It’s that easy. I managed to create a passive income stream without having the intention to.

I was making $600 – 1000 per month, by the time my Etsy store was on auto-pilot. This was nowhere near the limit to my store or my niche. A realistic estimation to how much I could have earned if I carried on would be $3000 per month.

My niche wasn’t very big (quote posters) on Etsy and I think $3,000 per month would be the upper limit to what I could have earned. I would say if you’re in the wedding niche then that would easily go up to $10,000 per month.

Not all niches are created equally.

Expect to use a month to create your files and then another month to rank them. You’ll want to also spend another month or two to tweak designs and prices according to market feedback. That means you’ll need to put 4 -6 months of active work until you can start taking a step back from the day to day runnings of your business.

It took me 6 months to start making it semi-passive (less than 10 hours a week) and another 6 months to make it run by itself (realistically I was spending 5 hours a month in total on my store).

Affiliate marketing with blogging

Okay, enough with the fast and easy. It’s time to showcase a passive income stream that has massive potential for huge earnings but is going to require some dedication and patience.


Blogging in and of itself doesn’t make any money, but using a blog as a platform to do affiliate marketing is a great way for beginners to create a passive income stream. It’s the easiest method and very simple to do. You just need to be dedicated and patient.

What is it?

Everyone knows what a blog is, but just incase; a blog is a digital journal or platform for the writer to write anything they want.

But blogs aren’t just personal journals these days.

What once was a way to simply write whatever you wanted and most likely vent about life, has changed into a way to create entire business empire.

“I’m a blogger” is a now a legitimate answer to the question of “what do you do?”, and during this time between digital-public-diary and internet-savvy-entrepreneur, advertising and marketing happened.

It happened in a big way.

Out of all the ways to advertise and market, affiliate marketing has the lowest bar of entry while still promising good returns.

The way it works is the blogger acts as a middle man between the producer and the customer. Your job is to create the leads or find the audience to buy the product or service in return for a commission.

You can work with brands directly or you can work with them through an affiliate marketing platform. The latter is the easiest way to get started for beginners because everything is clearly set out for you and payment is safer.

After getting approved to be an affiliate, you can start promoting the product or service to your readers by linking within your website.

Depending on the terms and conditions between you and the brand, you will earn money from a reader buying, clicking or signing up.

Most of the affiliate links on MDW appear on the resource page, where I showcase useful tools that help me in one way or another. The commissions range from $0.5 for a sign up to $100 for a purchase.

It took me awhile to understand how to do it right, but recommending products you like and use yourself is a big secret to making promoting the products easier. 

Why does it work?

Affiliate marketing works because of a few core reasons.

Affiliate marketing works because of trust. Its a sophisticated form of peer recommendation. (Hence why you should ONLY promote what you use and enjoy yourself)

Affiliate marketing is also a solution for many small to medium size enterprises. These brands don’t have the big budgets large companies can throw around, and they don’t have the manpower to push the message across the internet to gain followers.

So for them, having countless affiliates do the marketing for them solves a real business problem of theirs.

Now you understand the demand for this type of marketing from the customer and the need from the businesses, you also need to see why it’s worth your time to do it.

Almost every niche and industry has brands with affiliate programs you can join in a matter of minutes. From normal household goods to insurance. You are bound to find products related to your niche.

On MDW, I didn’t even need to look for affiliate programs to join. Most of the time, the affiliate programs were advertised to you if you’re a user yourself.

And with commissions as high as $100 per transaction, I easily made $1,000 from just 10 transactions.

How much can you earn?

A blog has many ways to be monetised and you’ll be a fool to not use multiple ways to make money off your blog. But if we only look at affiliate marketing and nothing else.

A beginner blogger that is simply putting in links where relevant and knows how to target a focused audience will make a steady thousand in 1 – 2 years.

I know that sounds like a long time for only a thousand, but anyone starting a blog to earn affiliate commissions isn’t simple aiming for $1000.

There really isn’t any limit to how much you can make.

$50,000 per month in affiliate commissions seem to be a common amount where many big name bloggers don’t pass and then end up going into other income streams like selling their own products.

But $50,000 per month isn’t a bad number. I have never heard of anyone complain about getting $50,000 per month in passive income. Have you?

Thought not.

POD Stores

POD stores are “print on demand stores”. I added this to the list after experiencing first hand how easy it was to start getting sales.

When done right, you can build a nice business that runs on auto-pilot. It doesn’t take too much technical knowledge or effort compared to many other passive income streams. All you need to do is learn how to rank for keywords.

You don’t even have to design the product…(I’m not joking)

What is it?

POD stores are e-commerce stores that create products on demand. There’s no inventory stored and the whole business model is streamlined and efficient.

The products you sell are only created when the customer places an order for it. This is where the opportunity to create a passive income stream exists.

Unlike traditional stores that have to buy and store inventory upfront, which eats away the profits. POD companies allow you to create only what you sell and nothing more. This maximises your profit margins and because you’re using a third party producer; you pay the vendor by the order.

Nothing is upfront, so unless you’re making money, they aren’t making any either. That’s why it’s a great beginner passive income stream. The risk is super low and the margins are great.

A lot of POD stores run on POD marketplaces such as Zazzle, Redbubble and CafePress. You can also POD paperback or hardcover books that make $10 – 20 profit per sale.

Why does it work?

POD stores are a great passive income stream because it’s very similar to selling digital products on Etsy. The marketplace/ third party vendor is doing all the heavy lifting for you.

The idea is the same, you are leveraging the size and fame of the marketplace to make money. Many of these marketplaces get a lot of traffic and you just need to rank within the marketplace to connect your product to the customer.

It’s a lot easier than starting a shopify store and trying to find your customers on Google search from scratch.

Additionally, similar to Kindle publishing, these POD marketplaces enjoy the benefits of economies of scale. This means they create products at a competitive price and deliver the goods efficiently. A lot more efficiently than if you were to attempt to do it yourself.

Each POD marketplace is a search engine you’re competing in and most of these search engines are nowhere near as sophisticated as Google, Amazon or Etsy. Not even Pinterest.

What does this mean?

It’s easy to get sales.

How much can you earn?

Many artists and designers that got into the POD game during the early days have created six figure empires from it, but these individuals are definitely not the norm.

Instead, a realistic number would be a few thousand per month in passive income if you rank well and implement a thoughtful strategy.

This will take some upfront effort to achieve and it will be comparatively harder than Kindle publishing but easier than selling on Etsy.

The ease of entry to the market is so low that the amount of people entering the market is so much higher than the other passive income streams that use a marketplace on this list.

However, it’s still easier than Etsy because you’re still selling a physical product and not a file. This way, it’s a lot easier to translate the value to the customers.

Buying something you can hold is valued more than a digital file on a computer.


Dropshipping is last on the list because of how easy it is to get started. Anyone can start a Dropshipping store within a month, and should be seeing sales within 3.

Its a great business to start for anyone who doesn’t want to create a product to sell like POD or Etsy, as well as create content for a blog.

What is it?

Dropshipping is when you sell goods from suppliers to consumers and profit the difference between the supplier’s price and the price you charge the customer.

There are a few variations of dropshipping, but the essential characteristic is similar to POD.

You offer a selection of goods in your store, and orders from your store are sent to your supplier to be sent out directly from them.

For example, if the supplier is selling a product for $10, and the retail price is $15 then you can safely charge $15 on your site and pocket the $5 difference as profit.

Why does it work?

The main reason why it works is because of the cost effectiveness to attract quality leads to your store with paid ads.

Dropshipping just wouldn’t be worth it without the ease of creating paid ads at a low cost, because paid advertising is the main source of attracting customers to your store.

Dropshipping is a pure numbers game of keeping your cost per action as low as possible. Create brilliant paid ad campaigns (which isn’t hard to do) and start making sales.

And the great thing about ad campaigns, you can auto-pilot the process once you figure out what works. The amount of maintenance work would be minimal with only a few hours a month to make sure your campaigns are still generating sales.

I use to sell earrings with a basic store front on Shopify with Facebook ads. I found a supplier willing to drop ship and that was pretty much it. It took a few months to fine tune my ad campaigns, but once they started working, sales were automatic.

How much can you earn?

How much you make really depends on your niche and product price.

I stopped selling after a few months because the profit margin was too low and the jewellery niche was too competitive.

However, I would definitely drop ship again in the future and this time I would aim for high ticket products costing a few hundred at least to make the cost per click down and the profit margins up.

Shopify is definitely the only option you should consider if you want to create an e-commerce business, but if you’re still not entirely sure, then enjoy a 14 day free trial with my special link.


  • Affiliate marketing through a blog will take the longest time to start making money from
  • Kindle publishing will be the fastest to start making money from
  • Dropshipping is the hardest method to succeed at
  • Kindle publishing is the easiest method to succeed at
  • Affiliate markting through a blog has the highest earning potential
  • Selling on Etsy or a POD marketplace has the smallest overall monetary potential
  • Selling on Etsy and POD marketplaces have the smallest learning curve
  • Affiliate marketing through a blog and dropshipping has the biggest learning curve

Other resources you should also check out:

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Darell Alekna

    Wow! Thanks! I have wanted to enter in my webblog something similar to that. Can I reference part of your post to my site? Thanks once more for sharing this online. I certainly loved every bit of it.

    1. Winnie MD

      Sure, you can reference back. I’d appreciate a link back if you do. Thanks

  2. Jay Rudd

    Wow , thank you for your knowledgeūüí™I had recently heard of the term ‚Äúaffiliate‚ÄĚ and you covered it … and more!!!

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