Passive income is making money while you actively work on other ventures or even while you sleep- it requires little effort and money to maintain. However, many of these passive income ideas still need a fair amount of time, work, and cash investment up front. After the initial effort, they can start working their magic in providing a steady stream of passive income for you.
Here, we give you 27 proven passive income ideas from the experts and we break them into three categories:
Passive Income Ideas to Make Money Online
Jeremy Marsan, FitSmallBusiness
Here at Fit Small Business, we have a staff of over 20 people and sustain the company almost entirely off the profit from affiliate marketing. So we know what it takes to be successful with this type of business. Focus on what you can offer and how you can add value for your potential readers, based on your expertise and interests. Even for the non-tech savvy, there are quick and simple ways for you to create your own page now. In this article, you’ll learn the first step, which is making your WordPress website.
Once you’ve established your page, you too can earn through affiliate marketing.
Kean Graham, Monetize More
Websites that get decent traffic by offering high value free content monetize well with Google AdSense. If you can build consistent traffic from a returning audience and search traffic, the AdSense revenue stream is as passive as it gets. There are publishers that earn millions per month through this venue.
The first step to earning through Google AdSense is to create your website. Get started building your website today for $2.95 a month with Bluehost.
Christina Nicholson, Media Maven
Whatever you do, there is someone who wants to know how to do it too. I think selling your knowledge is key in a world of growing entrepreneurs. We need to be able to do it all, and online education is growing and expanding every day with new students waiting to learn what you know… so teach them and earn money while doing it through an online course!
Anthony Curren, Anthony Curren YouTube Channel
If you are fun and creative, and not afraid of public speaking — you can post videos to a channel, and get paid by monetizing ads on your videos. If you can get a viral video that hits home with people, you could profit immensely in a short timeframe. Not to mention, you could make money indefinitely from those videos!
Maintaining a vlog might require a lot of time and effort initially, but once you’ve posted several videos and captured your audience, you can keep on earning from the same videos for a very long time.
Gurpreet Singh, Pixpa
What could be a better option than to make money out of your hobby? If you’re a hobbyist who creates some sort of artwork such as sketches, doodles, paintings, etc. you can put these up on a portfolio website with your name as the domain name and sell them. You would need to frame the artwork, but do it only when you receive an order. You can easily build a portfolio website with Pixpa and sell your artwork right from there.
Jenn Stevens, Solopreneur Babes
Email classes are a great way to get in front of your audience in a regulated way. For example, if you have a class and you don’t want to put out all your stuff in one shot, breaking it up and “dripping” it out through an autoresponder is a great alternative. The autoresponder does all the work for you – meaning you won’t be forced to manually mail out every update.
Check out this guide to creating email courses.
Daniel Kopp, Shopify Store Owner
I would definitely recommend setting up a Shopify store. It is literally a turn-key business, from setting up and hosting your store, drop-shipping your products directly to customers, and paying you quickly even before you pay for the item!
It’s so intuitive, most anyone with basic internet skills can set one of these up and there are tons of support materials. Plus, readily available staff via phone or live chat.
Larissa Hildebrandt, Budget Undercover
A lot of people think of Etsy as a marketplace for handmade goods, but there’s actually a huge market for downloadable designs. You can sell posters, greeting cards, or other goods that the buyer will print on their own either at home or at a local printer. You can also sell the template files that can be used in cutting machines like a Cricut.
Check out FitSmallBusiness’ tips on how to be successful on Etsy.
Glenn Carter, The Casual Capitalist
Establish an authority website or blog and then monetize it. Authority websites don’t require extensive upkeep. Once you have quality evergreen content on the site, you can spend the rest of the time figuring out the best ways to monetize the web property through AdSense, affiliate marketing, etc.
Fit Small Business shares a helpful guide on how to create your blog using WordPress.
Remy Bernard, Miss Mamie’s
I’ve owned several traditional brick and mortar stores in a few locations around the world and have always been a small business owner at heart. But with www.missmamiescupcakes.com, I am on track to generate $1,000 per month in passive revenue through my reviews. It does take a fair amount of work up front, but once you get traffic- it converts to passive revenue pretty quickly.
Kevin Brinkley, The Website Nanny
The way that I first started earning passive income is through themes and design templates. As a designer, most people limit themselves into service-only revenue streams. However, it’s entirely possible to create products that you have designed, and sell them to clients or on online marketplaces.
Plenty of online marketplaces exist to sell web design, writing, and other common skills. But one marketplace in particular, People Per Hour, allows you to sell a well defined service. For instance, if you studied interior design, you could set a fixed price to design someone’s studio apartment. The marketplace is great and allows you to be more creative with what you can offer based on your actual background.
Jenn Stevens, Solopreneur Babes
Whether you self-publish or sell with Kindle, an ebook still has the power to make you money while you sleep. Self-publishing will make you more money than selling through Amazon. However, you still have to get customers to come to your page to make a purchase. Selling through Kindle is less lucrative but can get your books to a much wider audience.
Marc Prosser, FitSmallBusiness
You can engage in peer-to-peer lending and get returns on your investment for as high as 10%. The Lending Club caters to individuals who do not qualify for bank loans and other traditional financing options. The rate that you can earn for lending money is definitely higher than the typical savings account interest rates.
Cafepress is one the biggest online retailers of customized items: shirts, pajamas, mugs and drinkware, bags, onesies, posters, etc. When you create and upload your designs or photos on the site, they will use your artwork on their products, and will pay you royalties for each sale.
It might take some time to earn a good amount of passive income from Cafepress, but joining is quick and easy.
Holly Johnson, Good Financial Cents
You can earn money through rebates for your personal or business purchases when you use a cashback credit card. This is considered as residual income, as you basically just have to do your shopping as you normally would to earn the rebates.
These are the top six best cash back credit cards for 2016. Take note of the tips so you can maximize your rebates from each card and remember to spend only the amount that you can pay back in full.
Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents
Mobile apps are made to help make lives and tasks easier, to develop skills, or to entertain. There are all kinds of apps catering to different profiles of users. With almost every individual owning a smartphone or an android gadget, you can make a lot of money by developing and selling your own mobile app.
As this article shares, “If you can come up with something unique, you can make quite a bit of money. Simple – yet unique – apps can be pretty passive.”
Tyler Debroux, Oddball Wealth
If you normally enjoy taking pictures or already have a huge collection of good quality photos that you personally took, you can cash in on them by selling them online. You can sell the same image several times and earn a steady stream of passive income from your existing gallery. You can even use your iPhone to conveniently take pictures, wherever you are.
Passive Income Ideas Using Traditional Sources
Anthony Curren, Anthony Curren YouTube Channel
The easiest way to make truly passive income is to invest your money into a stock, ETF, mutual funds, etc. The richest people tend to get even richer because they consistently invest and reinvest their money. Keep it up, and you might even be able to never have to work again. I know one guy whose investments now earn roughly $50,000 a year in dividends, and so he is free to live without working if he so chooses.
Kirk Du Plessis, Option Alpha
Options trading doesn’t have to be complicated. Yet more often than not, when I present this system to new traders (and even experienced traders) they believe that making money with options must mean some crazy system and thousands of indicators. The reality is that this is not the case. Options trading definitely has its complicated parts but that doesn’t mean that it is extremely complex. You do have to learn a little bit and put in a little bit of effort but it is a simple process.
Learn more about the basic of options trading here.
Scott Doty, Scott Doty
I rent out two single family homes. You need to learn about how to analyze your return on investment, get the places rented, and deal with repairs, problem tenants, among other things. If you don’t do your research, you could easily lose money. I have to spend a few days a year managing things, checking up on the properties, finding new tenants, but it is effectively passive. I buy in areas near big universities with stable real estate markets so there is always a fresh crop of new people moving into the neighborhood.
Ian Atkins, FitSmallBusiness
Vending machines can be a smart investment- they require minimal upkeep and no manpower to generate sales everyday. However, you’ll want to consider the items you sell and your placement well.
Location is of utmost importance in earning a good amount of residual income from vending machines. In this, article, you’ll learn the places that you should consider: office complexes, factories, government buildings, schools/colleges, hospitals, etc. This article also goes over costs, warranties and regulations.
Steve Gillman, The Penny Hoarder
Shell out cash for properties and assets once and earn from them regularly by renting them out. Basically anything can be rented out these days: parking spaces, cars, bikes, boats, or equipment, to everyday items like clothes, tables, and chairs.
You can arrange your rental arrangements through online channels or you can do it directly. Make sure that you have a clear contract with the renter to ensure the proper use of your things.
Amelia Jenkins, Chron
Do you know entrepreneurs who might need additional startup funds for their promising business idea? You can invest in their company and become a silent partner- this can translate to a good source of passive income when the business starts making money.
Passive Income Ideas Using a Combination of Online and Traditional Sources
Matt Rodak, Fund That Flip
Real estate crowdfunding is a newer way to earn passive returns through investing in real estate online. Yields can range from 6-12% annually and investment minimums can be as low as $1,000 per project (our site minimum is $5,000). Investors are able to build a diversified portfolio of direct real estate investments all from the comfort of their home.
FitSmallBusiness gives you the ultimate guide on how to make money flipping houses.
Glenn Carter, The Casual Capitalist
Rent out extra space in your house through Airbnb. Yes, you will have to put in some work getting your place ready, but apart from that, most of the day to day management isn’t that hectic. In some instances, the work can even be outsourced to professionals. And the income is fantastic if done properly- check Airdna for Airbnb income by city.
Over To You
What are your experiences in earning passive income? What is your favorite way to secure a steady stream of residual income? Do you have other fantastic passive income ideas that you can add to this list? Leave your comments below!