Earning money while working just a few hours per week or even sleeping does sounds 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.
Best Passive Income Ideas 2023
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 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
- Investing: 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?
According to Investopedia, passive income is “income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain”- meaning we make money without constant effort!
Usually what we do is go to work for a certain amount of hours and are compensated for those hours.
This means that if you want to earn more money, you will have to work more hours.
If you create passive income, however, you won’t need to exchange your time for money like a typical income stream.
The money will keep on coming in regardless of whether you are actively working or not!
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.
What Does It Take to Earn Passive Income?
To create passive income you will need to understand that there is generally a lot of work that is required upfront before it gets to the ‘passive’ stage.
We will cover how to generate passive income in this article, but let’s first look at the difference between passive and active income:
Passive income is where the money is continually coming in despite you not working hours to earn money.
Some ideas may require effort upfront to create passive income streams in place but you can reap the benefits in the future.
Like creating printables to sell- you need to create them, but you can sell them passively and earn money easily. You could take 1 hour to make them, and then sell them for years to earn more money!
Active income is what we are used to in the more traditional sense of exchanging time for money. When you go to a job for 9-5 you are paid for the time that you are there.
The Best Passive Income Ideas That Require an Upfront Monetary Investment
Not all passive income ideas require an initial money investment, but don’t let an 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, but there are so many options for investment opportunities that will help you earn money without a huge upfront cost.
We will look at how to make passive income with some extra cash below:
Investing your money is one of the best passive income streams out there, that we should all be doing to earn more money toward our futures.
Investing $1,000 in dividend stocks, mutual or index 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 more hands-on and includes cryptocurrency opportunities.
If you are feeling a bit nervous about what to invest in and you feel as though it’s holding you back, 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. We like companies like M1 Finance, which has premade pies with dividend stocks and reinvests your money for you.
We also recommend Betterment as your go-to Robo investing platform.
2. Passive Real Estate Investing
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. You will get to benefit from all of the ups and downs with the properties.
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.
3. Buy Rental Properties
Rental properties are great sources of passive 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 REITs.
It’s obviously not as easy as just buying a property – you will have to save up for the down payment and make a proper business plan.
Hopefully, you will create passive income streams to tide you over in case something happens such as a tenant not paying rent. Always pays to have a backup plan!
Once you’ve got the finances worked out, it’s time to find the right building! 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 and earn passive income easily per 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
A HYSA is one of the best short-term investments for you and is a no-brainer in terms of earning money on the money that you already have.
A good savings account should be earning you more passive income with interest rates- otherwise why have your money there at all?
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 in Dividend Stocks
When you join the stock market and invest in the best stocks, you can choose to get paid via dividends.
This means that you own part of a company’s stock and they will pay you a small part of their earnings in the form of a dividend.
The amount that you get paid will depend on the amount of the stock that you own and how much the company decides to payout.
You can start making passive income with dividend stocks by signing up with Acorns.
Acorns is great because they automatically invest your money in stocks, 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!
6. Invest in CD Ladders
There are plenty of safe options to invest in if you want passive income growing 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 do this, with it ranging from a few months to years.
7. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending (p2p lending) is a great way to get some passive income if you have some money that you don’t need immediately.
You will be acting as the lender for the individuals or businesses that require a loan.
The benefit of doing this is that you will receive the money-back with interest.
One of the most popular p2p lending sites is Lending Club. The minimum deposit is $25 and the average return is 4% – 7%.
8. Pay Off or Reduce Debt
One of the best passive income ideas that you can do for yourself and your family is to get rid of the debt that is hanging over you.
We know what it’s like to have student loan debt hanging over your head, and it’s got to go! Having thousands of dollars go to interest over the years is a waste, that money should be staying in your pocket as much as possible.
If you aren’t in a great place with your debt right now don’t worry – there are lots of things that you can do to get a grip on your debt.
To start with you need to write out all of your debts – including the total balance, monthly payments, interest rate, etc.
The next step is to figure out which debt you want to start with first. Two main debt payoff strategies are widely discussed – the debt snowball method, and the debt avalanche method.
The debt avalanche method is where you start with the debt with the highest interest rate.
The debt snowball method is where you start with the smallest debt and then once that is paid off you put the amount that you were paying off into the next debt.
Once you have paid off your debt you will have all of that money that you were putting into debt to use for all of these other passive income streams!
We have a complete Debt Payoff Planner that has helped thousands of families on their journey of become debt-free.
9. Refinances Your Student Loans or Mortgage
Another way to give yourself another quick cash boost is to refinance your student loans or mortgage. Again, not a way to make money but a way to save you thousands of dollars over time!
Check out the interest rates to see if it is worth refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of any low-interest rates. It’s really important to look at the big expenses that we have to make the biggest savings.
The same with your student loan as well – if you refinance your student loan you could save thousands over the term.
If you are looking for a place to compare all of your refinancing options Credible is a great option.
10. 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 but 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.
11. Purchase an Already Profitable Blog
Starting a blog is a great income stream (which we will go over in another example further along) but how about making money from a blog that is already profitable?
There are lots of blogs that are for sale – the owners may have created them intending to sell, but a lot of the time it’s because they can’t keep up with it.
Blogs generally tend to sell for 24 times their monthly income. You will need to do your research on this – whether the blog in question will be a sound investment.
There are sites that you can buy which will have ads and content which are already generating a passive income, which is something to look out for.
A good site to start looking for blogs to buy is Flippa. It’s easy to use and provides a lot of helpful information.
The Best Passive Income Ideas Requiring an Upfront Time Investment
Like we said before, some passive income ideas require some money to start, but others require some time put into them from the start.
And that’s ok!
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.
12. Affiliate Marketing via Blogging
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.
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.
The best way to do this is naturally and to only recommend things that you truly believe in.
For example, say that you are teaching people how to draw, and you recommend the type of pen that you are using.
If you do a search and find that the pen company has an affiliate program, you can stick an affiliate link in there and it’s a win-win!
We highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing if you want to start making passive income with affiliate marketing.
13. 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 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 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.
14. 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- ones that don’t have an active account or don’t have much information about their business online.
You can offer a variety of social media services, such as getting a website set up for them and social media accounts.
One of the online courses we recommend for getting started with this Facebook Ad Side Hustle course. It’s amazing!
15. 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!
16. Sell Books
Writing a book will always require some 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.
17. 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 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.
18. Sell Stock Photos
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to sell stock photos – 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 for earning passive income.
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.
19. 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 rentals are becoming more popular and this can bring you in more money than perhaps just renting it out traditionally would do.
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 and then price the 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.
20. 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 sat 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.
21. 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 with stocking the machines, they are a pretty hands-off semi-passive income source.
22. 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 can bring in some great money that will make you passive income each month.
It doesn’t have to be in a big storage unit either – you could start with 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.
24. 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!
25. 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.
26. 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 Ideas
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.
27. Cash Back Sites
Cash back 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 cash back site, type in the company name that you wanted to buy from, and then click through onto their site and complete your purchase.
The cash back 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
28. 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.
29. 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 is an AI assistant which will look at your finances 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!
30. 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.
31. 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!
32. Invest In Small Businesses
We always talk about supporting local business, but did you know you can invest in those small companies?
Every sale makes a difference, but investing can make 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Passive Income
How Much Money Can I Make?
The amount of money that you can make is dependent on a lot of factors.
It will depend on how much time, money, and effort you can put into it, and other things such as your location and target demographic.
There is no reason why you couldn’t make a lot of money from passive income sources and use that money to live off.
That is a great goal to have!
What are the most popular passive income ideas?
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 checking 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.
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.
Does creating passive income really work in building wealth?
Yes, passive income is the best way to build wealth. If you look at very wealthy people then they will have a variety of income streams and a lot of them will be passive.
How to Pick and Get Started Building Passive Income?
The type of passive income stream that you choose will be ultimately up to you and how you want to grow your wealth.
It will of course firstly depend on how much time and money you have available to put into it.
Or you may be a more traditional person who finds the idea of being a property owner that rents out rooms more exciting.
The best thing to do is have a read-through of our list and write down which ideas appeal to you.
It’s also always worth keeping your goals in mind. Think about your short-term and long-term goals.
Do you want this passive income to carry on when you are in retirement?
Do you want this income to fund your retirement?
These are all important questions that you will have to ask yourself before you put up an investment.