If you are an accountant and want to find passive income ideas that will supplement earnings from your primary job, you are in the right place.
This article will cover 7 ways to earn passive income while still working full-time as an accountant. Now I am not going to cover obvious strategies like open a high yield savings account or invest in dividend paying stocks. They technically fit the bill of “passive income,” but you don't need a blog post to tell you that (and frankly it's almost a joke to talk about a savings account as a source of passive income given its meager return). I want to share some less conventional tips that I think can still deliver on the promise of passive income while providing the possibility of outsized returns.
Some of these strategies will take a bit of work to get off the ground, but once they are in place, they can provide steady passive income with minimal effort.
Let’s get into it!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
If you have a knack for writing, you can start a blog. You can write about tax or accounting topics (or related areas) or you can choose to write on any area of interest to you.
As an accountant, you may be exposed to different types of businesses – you have an insider’s view to how people make money, including what works and what doesn’t. That’s incredibly valuable information and can make for great blog posts.
I think blogging can be one of the best ways to create a steady flow of passive income. This isn’t based on speculation – I use this strategy myself. This blog, for example, produces reliable income for me every month.
Now it’s important to note that setting up your blogging website is not passive. Neither is researching the right topics for your posts or writing the actual posts. All of that requires work. But once you are up and running, the payoff can be awesome.
If you have a stable of good content on your website that is generating traffic, you can start monetizing that website through display ads, affiliate links (which are customized links to products you are promoting) and even informational courses or eBooks.
At that point, the business is almost completely passive.
That’s because, unlike other businesses, a blogging business has no inventory, no customers, no employees, no physical location, and very few operating costs. If you want to keep growing, you can keep writing articles (or improve existing ones), but really, the blog is going to keep rolling even if you take a week off (or even a month off for that matter).
To learn more about how to start a blog (including setting up the website, selecting your niche, getting traffic to your blog, and monetizing that traffic), check out my article on Passive Income Blogging.
Affiliate marketing is another solid way to make passive income. The concept is simple. You are basically a salesperson for a particular product or company. But instead of knocking on doors or calling people up, you promote the product online.
A common method of affiliate marketing is putting affiliate links on your website. As we talked about in the blogging section, this is one of the two primary ways you can make money as a blogger. Let's say you have a blog that talks about tax and accounting matters – it's a simple matter to start promoting accounting software products, such as quickbooks or freshbooks (both of which have affiliate programs).
When someone comes to a page that has your customized affiliate link and they click on it, you will earn a commission if the person buys the product (or takes some other qualifying action, like signs up, etc.)
How Do You Find Affiliate Programs?
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. They are especially well-suited for beginners because joining is easy (you don't even need a website), they carry almost every product you can imagine, and they are a highly trusted source for customers wanting to purchase stuff.
Love hiking and want to write about the best hiking boots? Drop an amazon affiliate link in your article to the boots you recommend and make money every time someone clicks on the link and buys the boots within the required timeframe (actually Amazon will credit you for other stuff that the customer buys too so long as they go through your affiliate link).
Of course, Amazon is not the only game in town. There are a host of other affiliate programs out there. Just Google any product or company you want to promote and add the words “affiliate program” to the end. You will discover that many of them already have an affiliate program in place. All you have to do is apply.
Other great places to find affiliate programs are affiliate program networks like awin, flexoffers.com, cj.com, clickbank, and Rakuten. These networks have access to dozens (or even hundreds) of different affiliate programs you can review and join.
Can I Do Affiliate Marketing If I Don’t Have a Website or Blog?
You can do affiliate marketing even if you don't have a website or blog. You simply place your affiliate links on other places where you have access to traffic. That could include your social media accounts (e.g. Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Or, you could generate traffic through paid ads on social media outlets (although that can get expensive and tricky) and create a landing page for visitors with your affiliate link.
If you want to make affiliate marketing as passive as possible, you should go the route of setting up a website that gets relevant traffic and then let the traffic do its thing. The stronger the traffic, the more clicks you will get, which in turn leads to more commissions.
If you like writing, but blogging is not for you, you can write an eBook and get royalties from selling it online. Amazon KDP (which stands for Kindle Direct Publishing) is a great place to do so. Another option is Apple Books.
Like with blogging, once written, the book can continue to provide you with passive income for years.
If you don’t like writing but do like the idea of receiving royalties on eBooks, you may want to consider creating “low” or “no” content books and selling them on Amazon KDP. What is a no content book? They are basically empty books like journals, coloring books, guest books, music composition notebooks, planners, quote books, etc.
Another passive income idea that you can pursue is developing an online course and getting income from the sale of that course.
As with blogging or writing an eBook, you should pick a topic where you have some expertise. General accounting or tax courses may be too crowded and competitive, but if you can write about a subtopic, such as tax tips for restaurant owners, tax tips for home-based businesses, tax tips for real estate investors (you get the picture), you may find a niche where you can break in and succeed.
Video is the prevailing medium for these types of course, although audio courses and courses with slides and other written materials also exist.
There are a lot of tutorials on how to create online courses. A simple Google search on the topic will give you some great places to start.
Once you have created the course, you can market it through various channels, such as you own website (if you have one), social media, and online course platforms such as Kajabi, Udemy, and Teachable.
If video is your preferred method of communication and you have the gift of gab, you can earn passive income by starting your own YouTube channel.
Like with blogging, once you create the content, the passive income begins (usually through ad revenue but even through affiliate marketing or online courses). But getting there can take a lot of work. It’s not easy to shoot and edit a video and it takes time. And like blogging, getting traffic to your channel can be a challenge. You have to create compelling titles, great thumbnails, engaging content, and really understand how YouTube’s search algorithm works.
If you want to learn from the experts and fast track your success, check out incomeschool.com. I purchased a subscription for their course to improve my blog, but they have a terrific course on successfully starting a YouTube channel too.
Rental Property Investing
Owning rental properties is one of my favorite ways to make passive income.
If you want to make rental property investing almost completely passive, the obvious solution is to simply hire a property manager for your rentals.
They will find tenants, screen them, and sign them up for leases. They will collect rents, make repairs, and basically take care of every issue that pops up when it comes to your rentals.
I own nine rental properties and self-manage them, so it’s a little more work. But even then, it’s hardly a daily grind. I may spend on average about 5 hours a month managing these 9 properties (I do outsource all of the repairs, etc. to my team of contractors).
That’s pretty much a self-running operation in my view.
If you want to learn more about rental property investing, check out my step-by-step guide to start investing in rental properties.
Want a more passive way to invest in real estate with only a $500 investment? You may want to check out DiversyFund. They are a real estate crowdfunding platform that takes care of all of the work for you. Not a bad way to dip your toe into real estate investing without too much time and effort.
Rent Out Stuff You Already Have
There are a ton of ways to generate passive income from stuff you already own. What I like about this strategy is that you don’t need any money to get started and you can keep it as low-key as you want.
Rent Out Your Extra Room Through Airbnb
This one’s pretty obvious, right? Everyone knows you can rent out extra rooms through Airbnb and collect some cash on the side.
But you have to be careful to make sure your activities are permitted by your local municipalities, your HOA (if you have one), your landlord (if you are renting out your place), etc.
Rent Out Your Extra Space
If you’ve got a spare bedroom or closet, or some extra space in your basement or garage, you can rent it out and generate passive income each month.
Check out Neighbor, which is a leader in this space. I have used them myself – their platform is easy to use and you can get up and running in minutes. I participate in their “refer a friend” program, so if you sign up using this link, you (and I) will get a $50 Amazon gift card when you list your space.
If you want to learn more about this strategy, check out my article on the topic here.
Rent Out Your Car
You can also rent out your car when you are not using it on sites like Turo or Hyrecar. According to Turo, you can make hundreds of dollars a month doing this. Check out their Carculator to get a sense of how much you could make renting out your car through this platform. Based on their research the Jeep Wrangler is the best car to make money on Turo.
If you want to learn more about this passive income strategy check out my article on the topic here.
So there you have it: 7 great strategies for generating passive income for accountants.
If you are short on cash and time, but still want to generate passive income (I am talking really passive, like no upfront work involved, no ongoing work, etc.), check out my article on 15 ways to make truly passive income with no money.