Print on demand (or simply “merch”), where passive income thrives, took about two decades to get off the ground. CafePress, an online gift shop that calls itself “the recognized pioneer of customizable products,” launched back in 1999, followed by Zazzle in 2005 and Redbubble in 2006. By 2007 the trend had caught on widely enough that the Washington Post referred to custom T-shirts as a “growing market” and CNET published a listicle of “20 rad T-shirt sites.” Society6 started in 2009, then Teespring in 2012, and Merch by Amazon in 2015.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.