Unorthodox Secondary Revenue Sources

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Even in the best of times, a freelance web worker’s income can be spotty and irregular at times. Unlike salaried employees, contractors are subject to sudden and frequent variations in the amount of revenue they can generate at any given time. Those variances can be mitigated, however, by buttressing your revenue through a few out of the ordinary sources.

Before you get your hopes up, let me warn you that this post isn’t going to turn into an episode of “Weeds.” Instead, it’ll provide some much more tame (but workable) suggestions about how to make a little passive income on the side while you continue your main pursuit of a career on the web.

Write and Publish an e-Book

It may seem like a daunting task to write and distribute a full-length e-book, but look around. Just about everyone who works with social media seems to have managed to release at least one e-book. The reason it appears to be such a popular endeavor for those working in the social web is the multiplicity of angles there are on the subject. Your own specialized area is probably ripe with topics that would merit covering in a book-length work.

You may not even have to actually write a book to create a book. Check your existing IP to see if you have enough material to publish. It could be an archive of blog posts, or something much more technical, but if you think an audience may exist for it, go ahead and publish it. Actually creating an e-book and posting it for purchase requires almost no overhead, so any revenue you generate is profit, even it it’s only a small amount.

There are various services online that will publish and distribute your e-book. Take a look around and find one that’s right for you.

Rent Out Your Extra Space

This is definitely not a problem I have personally, but some web workers may find that they have tons of room at their home/office that they just aren’t doing anything with. You could fill that gaping hole with cats and/or flea market bric-a-brac, or you could offer it up to other, more space-challenged individuals in exchange for cash.

You can find renters yourself via an ad on craigslist or Kijiji, or you could use Sparefoot, a new web site specifically designed for the purpose. On Sparefoot, you can create an account and list for rent any space you’re not using, including rooms in your house, a garage, parking spot, empty lot, shed or whatever other square footage you might have.

SparefootOn the other hand, if you’re like me and find your belongings need more nooks and crannies to be crammed into than you have available, Sparefoot also provides great search tools for finding space to rent. That doesn’t generate any income, but it might pay dividends in terms of peace of mind.

Rent Out Your Car

I suspect people will be far less inclined to rent out the use of their car than they would be to rent out extra space, but as long as you do it intelligently there’s no reason it can’t become a profitable way to get some income out of that depreciating investment sitting in your driveway.

I live in a major metropolitan area, so I don’t actually own a car myself. I used to, for the better part of my life, when I lived in a much quieter, less densely populated area. As a result, I got used to the immediacy of private transport. Not that I don’t like public transit, but sometimes you just want to be able to pick up and go somewhere, on your own schedule instead of on someone else’s.

That’s why I occasionally give a friend of mine $25 to rent the use of his car during the day (he uses transit to commute to work, and generally only needs the car on weekends), plus the cost of giving it back to him with a full tank. He doesn’t feel like the cost of maintaining a car in the city is wasted, and I get to experience the freedom of car ownership once in a while.

There are countless ways to generate so-called “passive revenue,” but those I’ve mentioned above are specifically tailored to people who work from home. They generally don’t require too much extra effort on your part, and they take advantage of your position as someone who doesn’t have to commute to an office for work, or who can be on site as a facility manager at your home during most hours of the day.

Do you have any other suggestions for generating additional revenue? What are some creative solutions you’ve come across for supplementing your income?

Photo credit: Monochrome