Passive income is making money while you actively work on other ventures or even while you sleep. Many passive income ideas still need a fair amount of work upfront, but after the initial effort they can start working their magic by providing a steady stream of passive income for you.
Here are 29 proven passive income ideas from the experts:
1. Sell Products Online with a Free Square Site
Jeremy Marsan, Fit Small Business
Selling your products online used to be a complicated expensive endeavor. New website builders make it easy but can be costly. That’s why you should check out Square who offers a free online store that allows you to sell unlimited products.
2. Sell Other People’s Products Using Clickbank
Katherine Schneider, Kalkuna Island
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn passive income. You can find products to share via your social media platforms, website, or through an email blast. Once somebody purchases a product, you are given a 20-70% commission. I like to use Clickbank and find affiliates that correspond with my meditation brand. You can also seek affiliates out directly such as Hay House which offers a 50% commission on any courses sold.
3. Become an Uber Driver and Get Paid For Going Where You’re Already Going
Abigail Orencia, Fit Small Business
You may not think of driving for Uber as a “passive” income strategy, and in many cases, it’s not. What you may not know, however, is that Uber has a feature called “Going my Way” that allows drivers to specify where they are headed and pick up passengers along the way. So why not sign up as an Uber driver and start getting paid for driving where you were already headed anyway?
4. Create an Online Course on Udemy to Share Your Expertise
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 on a site like Udemy!
5. Get Paid for Lending Money Through Lending Club
Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
You can engage in peer-to-peer lending and get returns on your investment that are as high as 10%. 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.
6. Operate an Online Store with Shopify.
Daniel Kopp, Shopify Store Owner
I would definitely recommend setting up a Shopify store. It is literally a turnkey business, from setting up and hosting your store, dropshipping 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, there is readily available customer support via phone or live chat.
Learn how to set up your own online store with Shopify in this free guide from Fit Small Business.
7. Create Your Own YouTube Channel (Vlog).
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 video blog (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.
David Waring, Savings Bond Advisor
If you have extra cash sitting around that you want to earn a return on without risking it in the market, a high yield savings account may be the right option for you. The highest yield accounts are generally found at online providers, and you can see current rates here.
9. Become an ATM Vendor
Jason Rueger, Fit Small Business
Looking for a way to make easy income at your business location? If so, buying an ATM machine for your business could be a great option. We will help you figure out whether an ATM actually has legitimate potential to make your business money and walk you through the process and details of buying an ATM machine for your business in this article.
If you want to make money off an ATM without spending thousands to install and maintain it, we recommend using an ATM service such as Prineta. They’ll install and service your ATM for free while you earn a commission on withdrawals. Click here to schedule a consultation today.
10. Invest in real estate- online.
Matt Rodak, Fund That Flip
Real estate crowdfunding is a newer way to earn passive returns by 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.
11. Start a Portfolio Website and Sell your Artwork Online.
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.
Learn all the ways you can go about selling art online in this free guide from Fit Small Business.
12. Save on Taxes and Get Passive income by Opening an IRA with Betterment
Ian Atkins, FitSmallBusiness.com
If you don’t have an IRA or 401K, then not only are missing out on a great opportunity to earn passive income, but you are likely paying way more in taxes than you should be as well. By opening an IRA with Betterment, you can save up to $5500 of income without having to pay income taxes on that money. Betterment will then automatically invest that money for you using their proven investment strategies.
13. Create and Sell T-Shirts Online
Krista Fabregas, Fit Small Business
Nowadays, anyone can create and sell t-shirts online, even with minimal design skill and absolutely no screenprinting know-how. You can create designs on t-shirt marketplaces that do it all for you, upload designs to print-on-demand vendors who drop-ship orders for you, or even sell tees that you print and ship yourself via your own online store.
Learn how to get started today in our free guide showing you the 3 ways to get started selling t-shirts online.
14. Buy Income Producing Websites on Flippa
David Waring, Fit Small Business
Want to earn money passively online without having to create your own website and build traffic from scratch? Flippa is an online marketplace with thousands of websites for sale, many of which are already earning consistent, passive income.
15. Sell Your Unique Skill Set Online
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.
16. Create an Authority Blog
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.
For tips on choosing the best blogging platform to start your blog on, see this free guide from Fit Small Business.
17. Write Online Reviews
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.
Learn how to set up your own review site with Fit Small Business’ free guide.
18. Create and Sell Website Themes and Templates
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.
19. Take Great Pictures & Sell Them On iStockPhoto.
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.
(To learn more about how to sell photo’s and other artwork online see this free guide.)
20. Utilize Your Artistic Talent & Sell Your Designs On Etsy.
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.
Learn all the ways you can sell your art online with Fit Small Business’ guide.
21. Try Options Trading
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 basics of options trading here.
22. Invest in Rental Properties.
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.
Read Fit Small Business’ article explaining how to get an investment property loan for more information.
23. Be an Airbnb Host
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.
24. Create an Ebook with eBookStarter.com and Sell it on eBooks.com
David Waring, Fit Small Business
If you have expertise in a particular area but don’t want to run an online course through sites like Udemy, creating and selling an eBook may be the way to go. eBookStarter.com makes it easy to design your own ebook, and you can even hire someone to write it for you on Upwork. If you prefer to have someone else design the ebook for you, check out Fiverr.
25. Allow Websites Such as CafePress to Use Your Designs and Photos
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 cash back 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 user profiles. 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.”
28. Build a Traditional Investment Portfolio.
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.
Ian Atkins, Fit Small Business
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.
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!