Earning money while working just a few hours per week or even sleeping does sound like a dream come true.
I want to help you achieve complete financial freedom in your life, and developing streams of passive income is the key to building your wealth.
You’re never too young to have a side hustle or too old to pick up a side job to generate passive income!
In this article, we will look at what is passive income and the best passive income ideas for you to get started with.
Before we get into our long list of income ideas, I’m sure you want to know our top picks for the best passive income ideas.
We found plenty of picks that can earn 5-figures a year, but some jobs have different perks you should know!
Well, here are our favorite ways to create passive income streams that we not only swear by but live by ourselves:
- Online Business: You can start your own blog or buy an existing blog; affiliate marketing can bring in great income after doing a little legwork
- Investment funds: Put your money to work instead of yourself by investing it in online platforms like Robinhood (hands-on) or Acorns (hand-off, Robo-advisor)
- Selling Printables: You can create lists or artwork and sell prints online for easy passive income, learn how with this free eBook
- Online Courses: Demonstrate your skills and knowledge while creating income by making online courses- you can learn how from this course!
What is Passive Income?
Passive income is where the money is continually coming in despite you not working hours to earn money.
According to Investopedia, passive income is “income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain”- meaning we make money without constant effort!
To create a passive income stream, you first need to understand that there is generally some work required upfront before it gets to the ‘passive’ stage.
One passive income strategy is creating printables to sell– you need to create them, but you can sell them passively and earn money easily.
Active income is what we are used to in the more traditional sense of exchanging time for money. When you go to a job from 9-5 you are paid for the time that you are there.-
Active income means that once you stop working, you stop earning money.
You have to actively put in more hours to keep earning more money, compared to a passive income stream that comes in regardless of more work.
Best Passive Income: Investments
Not all passive income ideas require an initial monetary investment, but don’t let an upfront investment put you off!
You can find ideas and create a passive income strategy to work little and spend less.
If you have some spare cash then you may be happy to put some money upfront into a passive income stream.
There are so many options for investment opportunities that will help you earn money without a huge upfront investment.
I highly recommend you see how you can invest your money with a financial advisor, but here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Investing In Dividend Stocks
Investing your money in dividend stocks is one of the best passive incomes out there, and we should all be doing it to earn extra money for our futures.
Investing $1,000 in dividend stocks, mutual funds, or even in your own professional development can give you a hefty return on investment.
Then there are investment platforms like Robinhood, which is a hands-on way to invest in the stock market.
If you are feeling a bit nervous about finding the right dividend stocks to invest in, Robo-investing could be for you.
Robo investing is where you will invest your money and the Robo-advisor will allocate the funds for you. Betterment is our go-to Robo investing platform.
2. Passive Real Estate Investing (Real Estate Investment Trusts)
Want to get into real estate without all of the hassles? Real estate investing could be a viable option for you to get an easy passive income stream.
REITs are Real Estate Investment Trusts where you can invest in real estate – they are investment vehicles that hold property in them.
This can be the perfect option for you if you are a bit apprehensive or nervous about getting into real estate but still want to get a taste of it.
A platform that you can use to get started investing in real estate and bring in some cash flow is Fundrise.
It’s the best place to get a real estate investment trust we’ve used and you can invest $100 to generate income today.
3. Buy Rental Property
Rental properties are great sources of passive rental income because you should have rent payments coming in from your tenants each month.
Rental income is another way to dabble in real estate, but be more hands-on than a real estate investment trust.
You’ll need to get an upfront investment to make a downpayment on rental properties, then see what house you can afford and how much rent you can charge.
Once you’ve got the finances worked out, it’s time to find the right rental property that can bring in rental income.
You’ll want to do your research, maybe have a real estate agent along for feedback, and don’t forget to be very critical when viewing properties.
Now that you have the house and it’s all ready, you can get tenants in soon after to start generating passive income every month.
To be even more hands-off, you could hire a management company to deal with the tenants. If you wanted to do it yourself, this could still be a fun work-from-home job.
4. Open a High Yield Savings Account Or Money-Market Account
A HYSA or a money-market account can be the best short-term investments for you and is a no-brainer in terms of earning money on the money that you already have.
Both a high-yield savings account and a money-market account generate passive income with interest rates- you put your money in and earn extra cents on your dollars.
It’s not somewhere that we would recommend putting all of your money as there are places that offer you more interest over time (e.g. through investing) but it’s still a good passive income stream to have.
The interest rates for each bank change all of the time so it’s worth doing your research and finding the best one for you.
5. Invest Your Spare Change
When you join the stock market and invest in the best stocks, you can actually find a more passive way to invest in dividend stocks.
Acorns is great because they automatically invest your money in dividend stocks and mutual funds, using a round-up feature whenever you buy stuff.
So your morning coffee will go from $3.48 to $4, and the extra cents will go towards a new stock an generate income on the side!
You may not be familiar with mutual funds, but it’s actually very simple and doesn’t take any effort on your part.
Mutual funds are simply like a bulk buy of stocks, bonds, and more, where you and multiple investors chip in money on multiple companies, and everyone receives payouts when the fund is sold.
It’s a great way to get your investing fingers into a few pies and diversify your portfolio.
6. Invest in CD Ladders
There are plenty of safe options to invest in if you want passive income to grow every day.
CDs are certificates of deposits from banks whereby you can be paid in certain increments which will allow you to earn a better rate of return on your investment.
Something to note with CD Ladders is that you will not be able to withdraw the money until the account has reached maturity.
When you set up your account, you will choose its maturity. It’s up to you to decide how long you wish to have the CD and earn passive income, ranging from a few months to years.
7. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending is a great way to get some passive income if you have some money that you don’t need immediately.
You’ll be acting as the lender for the individuals or businesses that require a loan- and you lend money out to projects you think would earn you money.
The benefit of doing peer-to-peer lending is that you receive your money back plus interest.
However, this can be riskier than other investments, like a money-market account, because people can default on these loans.
One of the most popular peer-to-peer lending sites is Lending Club, where you can review ideas before you lend money to anyone.
The minimum deposit is $25 for peer-to-peer lending, and the average return is 4% – 7% on the loans you give.
8. Rent Your Stuff
Another unique way to earn passive income isn’t to just sell your stuff- you can rent it out to people.
You can rent your yard equipment like a lawnmower or leaf blower, or even kitchen gadgets like a blender and air fryer.
It has some risks since people will be using it and may cause damage, but you can be wise and make a “you break it, you buy it” rule to cover buying a new one.
It’s a great option because many of us have things around the house we don’t use every day (or even every month!), so you may as well see if someone would pay to borrow it.
You can post in Facebook groups or in the Marketplace section but there are sites like Sparetoolz, where you can list your tools for rent.
9. Invest In Small Businesses
We always talk about supporting local businesses, but did you know you can invest in those small companies?
Every sale makes a difference, but investing can make a big change!
Mainvest gives you opportunities to invest in delicious breweries, relaxing salons, your favorite little restaurant, your go-to gym, and more!
Minimum investments start at just $100, and even though small businesses are high-risk, you could potentially make 1.5X or more of your money back.
Best Passive Income: Online Jobs & Businesses
As we said before, some passive income ideas require some money to start, but others require some time and effort to get cash flowing.
And that’s ok! Because earning passive income investments can mean you earn money more in the long run.
Hopefully, you will agree with us that it’s still a good idea to put the work in upfront if it means that you will be able to work less in the future.
10. Affiliate Marketing via Blogging
Blogging is our favorite passive income business to start with just a little of your own money and time.
I said that we’d talk about making money from blogging, and here we are! Affiliate links are how we bring home the bacon.
A way to make money online from a blog is to use affiliate marketing- it’s one of the ways we’ve been generating passive income for years!
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend a product/company/service to a customer, and when they click through to purchase, you receive a commission for pointing them there.
We highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing if you want to start earning passive income with affiliate marketing.
11. Start a YouTube Channel
I’m sure that you realize how much work goes into running a Youtube channel – there’s not just the filming of the videos but the editing, marketing, research, etc. It’s a lot!
Nevertheless, starting a Youtube channel is a great way to generate some passive income over time.
There are a few ways to make money via Youtube with the most common ways being through ads, sponsored content, and affiliate links.
You can create a video that will circulate on Youtube and bring you in some money when people watch your video and click on your links.
Not sure how to monetize your YouTube channel?
Take the Mastering YouTube course from Erika Kullberg, a lawyer who went from a newbie recorder to a pro YouTuber making over $100,000 in her first year!
You can learn how to record and edit videos, grow a following, and get more views on your videos.
12. Start an Online Lead Generation Business
If you start to look around at the small businesses in your local area you may find that some of them don’t have an online presence.
Not everyone has the time to update their social media accounts, and that can be the downfall of a business!
This is where you can come in. You can become a social media manager to keep businesses connected to their customers and help them find more.
Reach out to businesses that are lacking in social media presence. You can offer a variety of social media services, such as getting a website set up for them and social media accounts.
Facebook Ads are one of the best ways to generate passive income as a social media manager- once you create the ad, you just see how it’s going and see if they need updates.
One of the online courses we recommend for getting started with the Facebook Ad Side Hustle course. It’s amazing!
13. Open an eCommerce Site
eCommerce is what is known as an online store or internet commerce. It is the act of selling items online, which you can do using platforms like Etsy or Shopify.
There are physical items that you could sell online and then get shipped out. If you want to make this passive then you could use a drop shipper to send out the products for you.
There are a million different things that you could sell on an eCommerce site, and the fun part will be all of the brainstorming!
14. Sell Books
Books are a great way to generate passive income for decades. Writing a book will always require time investment upfront as you will need to actually write the book!
After that, though, you can put it up for sale and sit back to let the sales roll in.
It’s easier now than ever to publish a book because you don’t need to go down the traditional publishing route. You can use streams such as Amazon Direct Kindle Publishing.
15. Create an Online Course
There’s a lot of work that you have to put into creating an online course, but it can continue to bring in a lot of passive income opportunities over time.
There is likely one subject that you know a lot about, which you can turn into an online course!
Lots of people like to learn about a subject online, and you will be surprised at the popular subjects – don’t dismiss any of your ideas.
16. Sell Stock Photos
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to sell stock photos and earn passive income- if you like doing photography then you can get paid for photos.
A lot of websites – such as this one for example – need photos to use, and will typically head on over to stock photo sites to purchase them.
You can submit photos for pretty much anything, although it will be in your best interest to upload photos that will be popular.
Semi-Passive Small Business Ideas
Some other small business ideas have the potential to earn passive income even though they can be ways to make active income in some places.
What we mean by this is that they are more like business ideas that will need money and time investment. But they can be passive and not require you to be there to exchange time for money.
17. List Your House or Room on Airbnb
Airbnb is hugely popular which is good news if you are thinking about renting out a room or even your entire house!
Short-term rental property becoming more popular and this can bring you in more money in monthly payments than renting it out traditionally.
Airbnb charges 3% for the bookings on there for homeowners, but you can set any price that you want for renting out your accommodation.
Have a look at what other people are charging in your area for rental properties, and then price your property accordingly.
If you are renting out a room in your house this will be less passive as you will be there at the same time as them.
18. Rent Out Your Car
It’s not just property that you can rent out – you can even rent out your car!
If you don’t use your car that often (perhaps you work from home or are going away) you can put your car to use instead of leaving it sitting on the driveway.
The most popular site for renting out your car is Turo, although it’s always a good idea to look around and do some research as to which will be the best for you.
19. Vending Machine
Vending machines are a really cool income stream idea and one that we have seen parents gifting mini ones for gumballs and candies to their children!
But buying a full-sized vending machine and stocking it with drinks and snacks can create some amazing cash flow for you.
You will have to ask around to find local businesses that will allow you to put vending machines on their site – you will want to go to businesses that are popular and have a lot of foot traffic.
They are not completely passive because you will have to maintain and restock them consistently- but restocking means you’ve got plenty of money in the machine!
Even if you have to stock machines, it’s not exactly a way to make active income. iI’s still a way to earn passive income without selling food and drinks in person.
20. Storage Rentals
Storage rentals are spaces that people rent out to store their things in.
This could be because they don’t have enough space, they’ve had to downsize, they’re renting before buying, they’ve gone traveling, and a whole host of other possible reasons.
Renting out your extra space is how you can earn passive income each month without much effort.
It doesn’t have to be in a big storage unit either – you could start by renting out your garage.
List your free space on Neighbor to earn an extra $100 a month or more!
This is frequently referred to as a great passive income idea as you shouldn’t have to be on-site, but there could be a lot of maintenance needed.
If you put up instructions for how to use the machines, the customers should be able to carry it out themselves and you won’t need to be on site.
22. Create a Popular Podcast
Who doesn’t have a favorite podcast to keep them entertained? I can’t make it through a long-haul drive without a good podcast to keep me awake!
Creating a popular podcast can take time but on average, 10,000 downloads can make you $500 – $900 in affiliate marketing.
That means if you spend 2 hours recording and editing an episode, that’s $250 – $450 per hour!
You can talk about anything you like on a podcast, or even make multiple channels if you have a lot of topics to discuss. The more topics you have, the more people you draw in.
Depending on your interests, you could make a podcast about true crime, the news with your own opinions/views, life in whatever country or tone you live in, or just comedic stories.
Again, this takes time to start, but long term you can earn enough to create a team to help you record and edit- they’ll handle the business while you’re the pretty voice drawing in the masses!
23. Sell Printables
It can take time to create a printable to sell, but once you have one page created, you can sell it over and over and over! It’s the product that keeps on earning!
So if it took you one hour to make a to-do list that you sell on Etsy, and you sell it 100 times in the first week at $5 a pop, your one hour has earned you $500 in passive income.
You can create to-do lists, questionnaires for bachelorette parties, budget templates, and more.
The startup time will be where your hours stack up, but once things are created and posted online for sale, your passive earnings will roll in without additional effort on your part.
24. Rent Out Your RV
Do you have an RV sitting in storage collecting dust most of the year? Well, get in on RVShare or Airbnb and rack in some extra cash!
When you aren’t using your RV, you can let other people rent it for trips and vacations as well.
Rather than paying for storage, you can be earning money by letting someone else take it for a spin.
You might want to consider other things, like cleaning the RV, making sure you have good insurance or adding on roadside assistance.
But you can make $10,000 – $40,000 in extra income depending on your RV.
Easy Passive Income Apps
We have covered a lot of passive income ideas which require quite a bit of time, money and effort put into them upfront, but now we can look at some easier ideas.
25. Cash Back Sites
Cashback sites are a super-easy way to make some money passively because you are making money from doing things that you would usually be doing anyway.
The way that cash-back sites work is that you are paid a small commission for clicking through to a site and purchasing something from them.
The reason that this is good for passive income is that you can go through the cash-back sites to buy the things that you were going to be getting anyway.
Say you knew that you wanted to buy a camera, and you knew which store you wanted to get it from.
You would head on over to the cashback site, type in the company name that you wanted to buy from, and then click through onto their site and complete your purchase.
The cashback site will track your visit and purchase and pay you some cash back for this.
It can take a while to come through because it will have to get past the returns period that the store offers.
Click here to grab your $5 sign up bonus with Ibotta and start earning cash back on your grocery shopping
26. Cash Back Reward Cards
Another great passive way to earn passive income is by using cash-back reward cards.
The way that this works is that you use your credit card as normal but you will get paid cash back on it.
You can typically earn 1% – 5% cash back on your purchases depending on what credit card you use.
It’s worth researching the best option for you, say if you want more cash back on groceries or gas versus dining or traveling.
27. Save on Your Monthly Utilities (Trim)
This isn’t exactly an opportunity to make money, but it is a way to keep you from spending more of your hard-earned income!
Sign up with Trim and save money on your monthly utilities. Trim isn’t an app but an AI assistant which will look at every personal finance detail and see where you can make some savings.
It is passive because they will look into your spending and direct debits and analyze where you can save money.
They can also negotiate your bills for you and cancel any unwanted or unused subscriptions. This saves a lot of time and hassle!
28. Play Video Games
Now, who would’ve thought you could make money playing video games? It’s a teenage dream!
Yes, you can generate passive income by plopping down in front of the computer and going hard at your favorite game.
This isn’t work in the typical sense, and you may “work” a lot of hours to gain followers- but hey, it’s a sacrifice I’d be willing to make!
You can stream your games on Twitch, gain sponsors and fans, and even sell your own merch to get some cash flow started.
29. Arcade Games
On that same note, why not earn passive income with some other games?
If you have some money to put down on an investment, why not buy an arcade machine or two and use it to make passive income?
You don’t have to start a whole arcade business, as even just one popular arcade game can draw in a crowd. It’s like the claw machines that people flock to at the mall or grocery store!
Why Build Passive Income Streams?
Having more than one income really helps the bank account, but each passive income stream means extra cash with no extra work.
You probably don’t want to have to work more hours to earn more money, and it’s nice to have some time off too!
If you have money from multiple sources coming in at all times during the day, this means that you have the freedom to do other things.
You can use this money to fund your retirement (either the money you save, or as an income when you are retired), or as an income whilst you’re going around doing whatever you want to do!
The best thing would be for us all to have several passive income streams because this means that we are covered in case anything happens with one of the income streams e.g. with a job loss.
This also means that we could scale back a bit and work less. If you have passive income streams this means that you can take a break if you need to such as on maternity leave or if you are poorly.
The dream that is sold to a lot of people is sitting on a beach with a cocktail in your hand whilst the money rolls in – but it tends to require a lot of effort before you get near that point.
The truth is, we don’t know what the future holds and we need to prepare for things as well as we are able.
This means making sure that if we have a dip or something goes wrong, we will still have the money needed to live our lives.
They can be great side hustle ideas as well and you can scale up as needed.
How many income streams should I have?
The right number of income streams depends on your money goals.
Do you want to retire early? Do you want to set aside money for your kid’s college?
The more successful income streams you have, the more money potential you have.
So I recommend having a few passive income streams- like real estate investing, dropshipping in a Shopify store, and blogging with affiliate links.
With more than one option, you’ve got the change to make more than $1,000+ per month.
You can also consult a financial advisor to plan investments and see how much money you need to bring in every month in passive income.
What are the most popular passive income ideas?
We have tried many passive income side hustles, and some work better than others.
The most popular passive income ideas are generally the more traditional ones – investing, using high-yield savings accounts, and property rentals.
That doesn’t mean that you should just pick the most popular one and go for it as it’s important to think about what you would personally enjoy.
Does passive income really require “no work”?
When it comes to passive income, this doesn’t mean that money just floats into your savings account every month for no reason.
You will have to put in the work beforehand and set up systems to ensure the money will come in regardless of how much time you put into it, following on from there.
Some income streams will be more passive than others, though.
There are businesses that run themselves once they’re set up, like blogging or an online store, with less effort to get paid.
But then businesses like proofreading or data entry require you to do the work unless you hire someone else to do it!
What are some examples of passive income?
We have gone over a lot of examples in this article so if you’ve skipped to the end, we recommend going back through and taking some time to read through them.
A passive income source that a lot of people aspire to is having a rental property. This can bring in an income stream for a really long time.
Is passive income taxed?
Yes, passive income is still taxed because you’re earning money. All these ideas are still making money!
Even high-yield savings accounts since it’s considered taxable income.
If you want to find out more about taxable incomes, check out Investopedia’s article to clear things up.
Don’t hesitate to talk to a financial advisor to get a better handle on how much money you may owe in taxes.
The type of passive income stream that you choose will be ultimately up to you and how you want to grow your wealth.
The best thing to do is have a read-through of our list and write down which ideas appeal to you. Though I think you should definitely set up a savings account with Chime today to get started on the right foot!
Or you may be a more traditional person who finds the idea of being a property owner that rents out rooms more exciting.
Pick one idea for an easy passive income stream, or even try out multiple income streams to see how much money you can make passively!