If you are a social worker and want to find passive income ideas that will supplement income 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 a social worker. We are not going to cover standard advice, like open a high yield savings account or invest in dividend-paying stocks. My strategies are more unconventional and will take a little more effort, but can yield far better results.
Most people get into social work to help people who are distressed or underserved. Unfortunately, the job often doesn't pay at a level equal to the amount of work and stress that comes with it. But the good news is that you can continue to serve the needs of people who need help in society while making some solid passive income on the side.
Let’s get into it!
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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 topics in social work, government aid, politics, mental wellness, or related areas or you can choose to write on any area of interest to you. The topic you write about is often referred to as a “niche.”
One word of caution. If you are writing about health matters (or even politics), Google may classify that as a YMYL topic (which stands for your money or your life).
It may be harder to succeed in YMYL niches because Google wants your site to have “E-A-T” (which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Expertise). Source. In other words, they want advice regarding these areas to come from really reliable sources because incorrect advice can cause serious harm.
Is Blogging Passive?
Not in the beginning. Setting up your website is not passive. Neither is researching the right topics to write about or writing the actual articles. All of that requires work.
But once you are up and running, the payoff can be awesome.
If you have a bunch of good articles that are generating traffic, you can start monetizing your blog through two main channels: (i) display ads and (ii) affiliate links (which are customized links to products you are promoting). If you want to expand your monetization options even further, you can create informational courses or ebooks and market them on your blog too.
At that point, the business can be almost completely passive.
This business has no customers, no inventory, no employees, no physical location, and very few operating costs. That’s about as passive as you can get!
If you want to keep growing your blog, you can. Just continue writing articles (or improve existing ones), but even if you don’t, 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.
If you want to short-circuit the work of starting a blog, one option is to buy an existing blog that is already making money. It can be a fine source of passive income for you with some great potential returns. To learn more about this strategy, check out my article on Buying a Blog for Passive Income: What You Need to Know.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another popular way to make passive income. The concept is simple. You are basically a salesperson for a particular product that you want to promote. But instead of knocking on doors or calling people up, you “sell” 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.
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 they have easy qualifications, carry almost every product you can imagine, and are a highly trusted source for customers wanting to buy stuff.
Love a particular product and want to write about its benefits? Drop an amazon affiliate link in your article to the product you are recommending and make money every time someone clicks on the link and buys it.
Of course, Amazon isn't the only game in town.
There are many 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’ll find that many already have an affiliate program in place. All you have to do is apply.
Can I Do Affiliate Marketing If I Don’t Have a Website or Blog?
You can still do affiliate marketing by putting your affiliate links on other places where you have access to traffic. That could be 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).
If you want to make this 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.
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. You can write about any topic, but given your experience and knowledge in social work, government programs, and related areas, you may find success by identifying an underserved topic in that field and filling that gap.
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. These can be journals (diaries), coloring books, guest books, music composition notebooks, planners, quote books, etc.
4. Online Courses
Another passive income idea that you can pursue is developing an online course and getting income from the sale of that course.
Video is the prevailing medium for these types of courses, 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 you prefer making videos instead of writing, you can start a YouTube channel. As with blogging, you will start to earn passive income once you get enough traffic coming to your channel.
Once you create the content, the passive income begins, but getting there can take a lot of work. Creating a quality video is not easy. And like blogging, getting traffic to your channel can be a challenge. You have to create informative (or at least entertaining) content and have compelling titles, and great thumbnails. You also need to 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 (which is included in the cost). Now I don't do YouTube, but I can say that their blogging course is outstanding and has definitely worked for me.
6. Rental Property
Owning rental properties is one of my favorite ways to make passive income.
If you want to make your rentals almost completely passive, the obvious solution is to simply hire a property manager. 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 I have to do 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? 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.
7. 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 Rooms 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 should 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 Storage Space
If you’ve got a spare bedroom or closet, or some extra space in your basement or garage, you can rent it out to people looking for extra storage space and generate passive income each month.
Check out Neighbor, who 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 Our Your Cars Through Turo
You can also rent out your car when you aren't using it on Turo. 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.
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 social workers.
If you want more great passive income ideas, check out my ultimate beginner's guide to passive income [25+ strategies that work], where I cover tons of effective strategies that generate passive income.
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.