The Internet has opened up possibilities that wouldn’t have been available twenty years ago. Workers can telecommute, start their own businesses, or take advantage of existing opportunities. The trick is tracking down these opportunities and making the best of them once you find them.

Passive income has ballooned in recent years, thanks to the Internet’s ability to open the channels of communication worldwide. With passive income, participants literally earn money while they sleep, through a project they’ve initiated. A good example of passive income is an e-book that continues to earn money long after it has been created and published. With passive income, a small initial investment can lead to long-term rewards.

To better identify opportunities for earning passive income, here are a few of the top ways professionals are earning money while they sleep in the era of cyberspace.

Invest Wisely

Investor Tim Sykes began his career when he was still in high school, turning $12,415 in gift money from his bar mitzvah into $2 million. He did this through investments. A savvy investor can turn a small amount of money into a large amount of money in a matter of weeks.

This method of passive income can be risky, however. Those who are newcomers to the stock market may choose to trust their money to a stockbroker or financial planner, who will then invest it using their own expertise. But even then, consumers are risking their money through their faith in someone else’s ability. Those consumers who choose to handle investments on their own often learn too quickly that what seems like a good investment today can quickly turn into the worst decision they ever made.

Create a Great Product

Whether it’s an e-book or the next great app in the iTunes store, if you create a product that catches on with the public, you’ll be cashing checks for years. In fact, Apple stated earlier this year that the average app in its store earns 17.5 cents per download. Unfortunately, big successes in the app world are rare, with more than 775,000 apps currently competing for attention.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are now allowing entrepreneurs to obtain funding without spending months begging investors for money. Launching a product can be as challenging as launching an app, however. Since 2009, Kickstarter members have funded 48,000 creative projects. Today, numerous projects are posted in Kickstarter’s 13 categories, including books, films, technology gadgets, and dance productions.

Engage in Referral Marketing

If you’ve ever attended a Pampered Chef party or purchased makeup from a Mary Kay representative, you’ve seen referral marketing in action. With referral marketing, participants don’t merely earn money on the products they sell. They also earn a commission on the sales of people they bring into the company.

Referral marketing is ideal for those who have both a talent for sales and an existing social network. Many find that they never reach the point where they earn income due to non-performance of the people they’ve referred.

Own Rental Property

Some people become landlords unwittingly, when they put a home or condo up for rent to move into another property. Others purchase a property for the sole purpose of renting it out. However the journey to owning rental property transpires, it can be very lucrative for those who have the skills necessary.

One of the biggest issues landlords face is tenant non-payment. This can sometimes be avoided by conducting extensive background checks before agreeing to rent to someone. Landlords must also handle any issues that arise, including malfunctioning appliances and electrical problems. For earning passive income, rental property is ideal for those who have the ability to make basic household repairs, since paying a handyman for repairs will cut into profits.

Anyone with Internet access can find a source of passive income. It’s important that each person find an opportunity that matches their own unique skillset before putting money and time into starting a new project. By choosing the investment that best suits their own personalities, people can ensure long-term success from their passive income efforts.