8 Passive Income Ideas for Software Developers

8 Passive Income Ideas for Software Developers

As a software developer, your skills are in high demand in many companies. With the wide range of skills applications, there are many ways to earn money as a developer. But often, software developers believe they already sell their souls working day and night building someone else’s business vision.

But if you’re looking for more freedom and the ability to make a living without having to clock in and out, creating passive income streams may be something to consider. In case you’re interested, we’ve laid out some of the best options to earn extra money across various categories.

What exactly is Passive Income?

Passive income is different from earning money from a traditional salary. When you work full-time or as a freelancer or contractor, you’re trading your time for money, and typically you’re paid a fixed rate once the work has been completed. 

However, when you earn a passive income, you do the work but get paid later automatically, even if you aren’t working on the product or project anymore. Once a product becomes well established, it’ll increase your annual revenue without you spending any more work hours on that project and achieve even more financial freedom. 

Passive Income process

What to Consider Before Looking to Earn Passive Income

There is a common misconception that generating passive income is something simple that requires little effort. While this can be true in rare cases, most of the time you’ll only be able to make decent money if you invest significant time and effort working on the product. 

So it isn’t always simple, nor is it easy. Therefore careful consideration should be given to ensure you’re comfortable investing time or money in any such endeavor. Remember, there may be a minimal upfront reward, but the value it’ll bring will increase over time. 

For example, many bloggers and YouTubers spend a few years creating content and gaining popularity before their activity starts to generate passive income. Once they do, they can reduce the frequency of content creation, and the pre-existing content will continue to bring in revenue. Their passive income strategy pays off, and it continues to bring more money.

Characteristics To Aim for In Good Passive Income Projects

Be warned some ideas sound good, but they might not be practical and therefore wouldn’t create passive income, not a substantial one in any case. Before launching a new endeavor, you’ll need to ensure your idea checks several boxes to feel confident that it has the potential for success.

Consider these questions to make sure your idea has traction.

Is your project orientated for businesses and/or websites that earn revenue? You want it to be able to integrate into other popular software which already has paying customers. 

How many project updates and demanding tasks will be required every year? If the answer is many, it will need more active time and effort from you.

Are the problems your product is looking to solve long-term problems, so your solution will be relevant to your target audience for several years?

Will the demand for this product cover your expenses?

Does it have the capability to generate recurring payments which you can reinvest into improving the project?

Is it easy to use and install for customers who aren’t tech-savvy?

Can you limit support requests?

Will this project eventually require minimal time from you?


8 Passive Income Ideas for Software Developers

Fortunately, there are various ways in which you can use your expertise to earn money with minimal effort, all while keeping your day job. Play to your strengths, and it is possible to significantly improve your monthly income. Keeping in mind some of the factors for a profitable passive-income project, we’ve put together eight ideas to inspire your thinking.

1. Become a Content Creator and Monetize Your Creations

One of the most popular freelance projects to earn money as a software developer is to create a blog. But this can’t be just any blog ‒ it should be explicitly geared toward making money. As an example, focus on content that teaches programming or developing software. Many aspiring developers want practical information on the topic to learn more about the challenges, innovations, and solutions to real-world problems. They are hungry for programming knowledge, so write about what you know and work towards building an audience, setting yourself up as an expert.  

Create a weekly blog post and monetize your blog with ad revenue, affiliate products, a monthly membership, reading time, or even the sale of eBooks.  These are all excellent ways to create a reliable revenue stream that can build over time.

Meet PayPro Global.
Your Dedicated eCommerce Partner.

Thrive with the industry’s most innovative all-in-one SaaS & Digital Goods solution. From high-performing payment and analytics tools to complete tax management, as well as subscription & billing handling, PayPro Global is ready to scale your SaaS.


Sell your SaaS globally with PayPro Global!

An eBook is a digital asset that can generate revenue for you. You could write one where you give programming tips and guidelines for developers or talk about more specific topics relevant to your expertise. Use digital platforms to launch your eBook, and then make passive income for as long as it sells. If this is something you enjoy doing, it's an easy way to build your reputation as an industry expert.

Video is the number 1 source of information for 66% of people globally. Sharing your knowledge on a video-streaming platform is the way of the future. A YouTube channel is a regular passive-income stream for many people. Although some of the most demanding tasks are involved in creating good video content, it still qualifies as passive income. Once you have enough subscribers, you only need to post once a week. 

It is important to make sure you choose the right demographic for your content and specialty. For example, does your content cover the fundamentals of software development, or is it focused on more complex ideas? You’ll need to attract followers, so think these things through carefully.

With a platform like YouTube, there is a partner program where if you meet specific goals you can start to earn money purely off views. Besides this, affiliate marketing and ads have proven to be reliable ways to generate money through video content.

In addition to YouTube, Udemy and Skillshare are also great for earning money from creating video tutorials.

Film Video Tutorials

We don’t know what it is, but people love exclusivity. They seem to want access to niche sites and content that few others can consume. Therefore, an educational membership website containing articles, podcasts, and videos can be an attractive option to many. Set yourself up as an expert and once you’ve created high-quality content, start charging recurring fees to people for accessing it with little effort required on your part.

The podcast industry continues to grow in popularity and is an increasingly robust one. There are 383.7 million podcast listeners globally. People love interesting conversations and are looking for something to occupy their time while they walk, commute, work, or just need to relax. Monetizing your podcasts works in similar ways as a YouTube channel: using ads, paid promotions, and affiliate marketing. If you’re an overnight success, charging a monthly or yearly subscription is also possible.

Another great way to make a passive income is to use your software development skills to teach programming elements online through a pre-recorded course. Platforms like Udemy make creating and selling online courses elementary to create. In terms of pricing your offering, you can charge a one-time fee for a course or consider pricing it as a subscription model. Another consideration is to develop a tiered payment system where users pay for more advanced course material. In this vast market, the possibilities are growing along with the number of people interested in using these platforms.  

vector image of codding

2. Build a Micro-SaaS

While this is a popular way of earning a passive income,  it isn’t necessarily an easy way due to the initial effort required. But create and manage an effective SaaS product that solves a niche problem, and you could earn tens of thousands of dollars or more from it. Look at our comprehensive guide with tips on starting your own micro-SaaS business and see if you find a micro-SaaS idea that's a good fit for you. 

3. Sell Your Own Software

This is arguably one of the best passive income ideas for programmers and probably the most natural since you’re playing to your strengths and using your unique skills as a software developer. However, to make sure you will make it in competitive markets, consider partnering with a robust eCommerce solution. This will help you equip your business with the necessary payment tools, sure to increase revenue.  

The popularity of chatbots has grown exponentially as you have probably personally witnessed. 23% of customer service companies are currently using AI chatbots. They perform various tasks such as problem-solving, prompting customers to purchase, answering FAQs, and collecting information. Bots as a Service (BAAS) is becoming a viable industry for the future. Businesses now want chatbots to help them be more productive and save resources. Luckily, these bots can be created with various programming languages, making it an interesting way to earn a passive income. 

For software companies, having bugs in their products is terrible for their reputation and sales. You can build automated quality assurance testing software to check on code and its functionality. Pitch your services to companies or use freelance job sites. One way of earning passive income is to develop the QA processes and then charge recurring fees for companies to use them.

Build QA Animation

4. Sell Digital Products

An exciting way to generate income is to flip websites, apps, or domains. There are many existing niche websites available for purchase. You can manage them and work to improve them. All it takes is some knowledge of content creation and SEO. Once you own a site, you earn ad revenue or affiliate marketing income. The idea is that eventually, you could resell it for a profit. Check out one popular platform for buying and selling websites called Flippa.

Of course, you’ll still need to put effort into improving the site, but you start the process with an already established website so that you can begin monetizing it immediately. Check in on whether the website or app you’re buying is a good candidate for passive income and whether it’ll only require a few hours of your time a month. Remember, processes should be largely automated for it to be a good passive-income opportunity. 

Businesses are often looking for apps that will perform specific functions such as increasing productivity, streamlining project management, and helping to manage finances more efficiently. Many businesses don’t know exactly what they need, and this is where you can step in to help them. Once you’ve built it, you can charge a monthly or annual usage fee and then watch the revenue increase as more customers become aware of your product. 

mobile vector image

Developing special effects, functions or animations is an effective passive- income stream because they can remain relevant for a long time after you’ve created them. Use a reputable platform to sell them and you’ll likely see an interest. Some examples to check out are Unreal Engine marketplace, GameDev Market, and Unity Asset Store

According to W3Techs, WordPress is used by 43.2% of all websites and is very popular amongst digital marketers. Businesses are looking for specific plugins that will suit their needs and will add features to their websites. Research what users need and visit forums or blogs where needs are discussed to learn more about this option. Then sell your plugins to platforms such as WordPress itself, CodeCanyon, and ThemeSnap

The same idea applies to Chrome Add-ons, just with a more specific target organization.

5. Invest in Other Tech Companies

Investing in tech companies is a great way to earn passive income.  The first thing you’ll need is some capital with which to start. Use your expertise to evaluate companies, and look closely at what their future might look like. Invest in those with a steady upward trajectory, and once your money has doubled, take out your initial capital and repeat the process with other tech companies in which you’re interested. Your money could well compound, making this a relatively practical option.

6. Get Involved in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing basically means that you sell someone else’s product and earn some commission for every sale you make. One benefit is that you don’t have to be an expert on the subject, instead, you’ll just need to know how to sell products well. Of course, you need a receptive audience, so ensure your social media following and your work network is sufficient before attempting affiliate marketing.

Meet PayPro Global.
Your Dedicated eCommerce Partner.

Thrive with the industry’s most innovative all-in-one SaaS & Digital Goods solution. From high-performing payment and analytics tools to complete tax management, as well as subscription & billing handling, PayPro Global is ready to scale your SaaS.


Sell your SaaS globally with PayPro Global!

7. Start Blockchain PoS, Lending, and NFT

Proof of stake (PoS) is a process where investors put some of their cryptocurrency capital at risk and create validator nodes by locking them up for various periods. PoS blockchains reward those who want to put their assets “at stake.”

Lending refers to the process of an investor loaning cryptocurrency to another person or group of people with the expectation that they will be paid back with interest in the future. You can earn money passively, lending out your crypto holdings.

Non-fungible tokens are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain and cannot be replicated. If you create NFTs, you can earn passive income long after they are first sold. Every time someone uses or sells your NFT, they’d have to pay you royalties.

8. Get Paid to Play Video Games

Lastly, if you’re into gaming, you could have other users watch you play games to learn from you. In Q2 2021, people spent a collective 9.0 billion hours watching live streaming video-game content worldwide (excluding China). Platforms like YouTube and Twitch are ideal for this. With your knowledge of software, you can also add tips on how the games were created to add unique value for those viewers who find this beneficial.

How Can PayPro Global Help?

Whether you’re set on flipping niche sites, building writing software, or helping your audience improve their programming skills, you need to partner with a strong eCommerce solution for your online business to succeed. The truth is that it’s not enough to set up your own website to generate revenue in your spare time. You need dedicated sales tools that allow you to adequately manage subscriptions, collect payments in different methods and currencies, handle global taxes, and ensure compliance. 

It’s one thing to establish an online business and a totally different one to succeed. And the difference rests in the eCommerce partner you choose. Having the latest technology, powerful analytics, and marketing tools, we know we are able to deliver the support you and your clients need. 

Closing Thoughts on Passive Income for Software Developers

There are countless opportunities for software developers to earn a passive income. If you’re willing to put in a bit of work, you could make enough money to quit your full-time job and invite more freedom and flexibility into your life. If you’re looking for an e-commerce partner for any of your endeavors, contact PayPro Global

The most significant cause of churn is when customers are not receiving enough value from the product or service to justify the expense.

Infrequent login or usage, requests for refunds due to changes in billing, dissatisfaction with product updates, and lack of loyalty benefits--all are sure signs that customers are unhappy.


Meir Amzallag

Co-founder and CEO of PayPro Global

Ioana Grigorescu

Content Marketing Manager at PayPro Global

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