Passive income is making money while you actively work on other ventures or even while you sleep. While most will need a fair amount of upfront work to get going, watching the steady stream of passive income will make it worthwhile. We curated an expert list of passive income ideas to inspire your own.
Here are 25 proven passive income ideas from the experts:
1. Invest in Cryptocurrency
Mark Moss, Founder & Market Analyst, Signal Profits
Investing and trading cryptocurrencies is very different than any other asset class in the world. The way they are purchased and exchanged is not the same as other stocks, commodities, bonds, or currencies. Understanding valuation methods, adoptions curves, and technical chart movements takes unique sets of skills not found in other markets. It does take time to learn, but it is worth it. Anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to learn can learn about this emerging market.
2. Earn Commission by Writing Comparison Lists
David Mercer, Founder, SME Pals
Create fantastic product comparison lists using tools like GoPennyGo, and market them online to earn ongoing commissions. If you have an existing following of people (or are planning to grow one) interested in your specific niche, then there is the opportunity to make a really good passive income from products you genuinely recommend as useful.
The trick is to offer your readers valuable recommendations with information that will help them achieve their objectives. Plain old affiliate ads often tend to miss the mark on this issue, but there is a way to personalize and customize the products you recommend so that they are specifically tailored by you specially for your community.
3. Invest in Rental Properties
Brian Davis, Co-founder, SparkRental
I’m a huge believer in rental properties as a source of passive income. One advantage is leverage—investors can buy an asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with only a fraction of that in cash. Over time, your tenants pay off your mortgage for you, and you earn monthly cash flow all the while.
Another advantage is that the income rises with inflation, even as the mortgage remains fixed. New rental investors need two things: cash and knowledge through free landlord resources. If new investors learn nothing else before buying their first rental property, they should learn how to calculate rental cash flow
4. Write an E-book
Tenesha L. Curtis, CEO, Volo Press, LLC
E-books can be quick reads that are only a few thousand words long, so they don’t have to take a lot of time to produce. Digital books help business owners save money on printing and shipping costs, while still getting their company name and expertise out into the market. This exposure helps increase brand recognition and strengthen a company’s reputation, all while bringing in passive income.
Consider what problems your customers already run into regularly, then create a short outline of the information you want to include in the book. You can write it yourself or hire a writing services firm to ghostwrite the book. They’ll also be able to help walk you through the process of posting the book for sale on sites like Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.
Jillian Ilao, Review Editor, Fit Small Business
Blogging opens up a number of avenues to earn passive income. Whether you’re writing reviews for affiliates, offering sponsored posts, or selling premium content, it’s important that your blog is supported by a reliable web host that can handle a large volume of traffic without sacrificing your website’s accessibility. We recommend Bluehost for your professional web hosting needs. Bluehost is widely used by successful, professional bloggers who generate serious income from their website. It also offers domain registration and a business email address for just $2.95 per month. Click here for Bluehost hosting plans.
6. Drive for a Rideshare Service
Nooria Khan, Content Marketing Executive, GigWorker
If you own a car and have some spare time, you can share your ride and drive people around. You can earn a decent amount of money using this passive income opportunity. It’s a good idea because your spare time will be utilized in something productive, and also because you don’t need any extra hustle to start this work. All you have to do is to sign up on platforms like Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno, and you’ll have money in your account by next week.
7. Start a Peer-to-Peer Lending Business
Cody Smith, CEO, PeerLoanAdvisor
I suggest peer-to-peer lending as a passive income opportunity. An account can easily be established with one of the major peer-to-peer platforms like Lending Club or Prosper. There isn’t any real work required upfront if you choose to use the automated loan buying feature. However, lenders can choose to be more active by selecting loans themselves, which may make the venture more profitable. One of the benefits of this opportunity is that the risk of failure is pretty low, meaning it is very unlikely that the lender will lose money.
8. Get Paid to Have Apps on Your Phone
Logan Allec, Owner, Blogging Done Right
In 2019, data on consumer behavior, especially what they do on their smartphones, is incredibly valuable. And believe it or not, some companies are willing to pay you to simply download an app and keep it on your smartphone. Nothing more is required; you just use your phone as you usually would and allow the app to collect your data.
Nielsen, for example, will pay you up to $50 a year to have their app on your phone. And they aren’t the only one. If you have an Android, check out Slidejoy and Fronto. If you have an iPhone, check out Panel App. Sure, you’re not going to be able to quit your day job with these apps, but nevertheless they can provide you with a steady stream of passive income with very little effort on your part.
9. Venture Into Real Estate Syndication
Annie Dickerson, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Goodegg Investments
As a passive investor in a real estate syndication, you can leverage your savings to create reliable monthly passive income while also having a positive impact on the communities you’re investing in. You get to invest in commercial assets (often apartment communities) in growing markets around the country. You can invest with professionals who will safeguard your investment and use it to improve the communities you invest in. There is quite a bit of a learning curve on the front end when you first get started investing in real estate syndications to ensure that you’re confident in the process and understand the risks.
Maggie Aland, Marketing & Review Editor, Fit Small Business
Thanks to drop shipping, it’s now possible to earn passive income from one’s online shop. Merchandise on your online store can be delivered directly from the manufacturer so you earn money without having to hold inventory. Use Shopify for a quick and easy way to create an online store with beautiful, responsive themes for your drop shipping business. Choose from the many Shopify drop shipping apps like Oberlo to help you curate and add products automatically to your store. Try Shopify for free.
11. Create Online Courses
Micala Quinn, Owner & Founder, Micala Quinn LLC
Online courses have been an amazing add-on for my business. I was a high school English teacher, launched my first course a year and a half ago, and will make my yearly teaching income in one month as an online course creator by April this year. Currently, my course generates around $25,000 to $28,000 in revenue a month. And I’ve built this all while being a mom, working 20 to 25 hours a week.
12. Rent Out Your Spare Room
Russell & Maleah Barbour, Owners, UnconventionalProsperity.com
My wife and I make passive income by renting out the spare rooms in our house. We make about $2,000 passively every month with this. We love doing this because it is an easy, yet significant source of passive income for us. It is truly a passive income source that does not require any special skills or even much work upfront.
It does require that you own a house with spare bedrooms, sacrifice your privacy a little bit, and spend a few hours occasionally finding new tenants. People will always need housing, and this is a great way that you can make passive income and provide housing to people at a reasonable price.
13. Create Viral YouTube Videos
Zaheer Dodhia, CEO & Founder, LogoDesign.net
Earning money from YouTube views is a good passive income source if you’ve got a niche that people crave. With free tools readily available online for video making, you just need to have a knack for making engaging (natural) videos. This combination will earn you great views, which equal dollars.
All you have to do is sign up on YouTube for a channel and optimize it for keywords that are in demand for the niche you’re aiming for. Create videos that are focused on your niche—it can be about beauty products, video game reviews, funny videos of kids or pets, and so on. Be sure to market it on social media and other channels to generate traffic. The aim is to earn subscribers who will become your consistent source of viewers.
14. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Tanya Hekimian, President & CEO, Flow Benjamins
My favorite online idea for passive income is affiliate marketing. The best thing is that you can make passive income with affiliate marketing either with or without a blog. Without a blog is done by registering with affiliate marketing companies and then making pins that link directly to them using your link so you can get paid. If you want to do this with a blog, you can write an article (aka a post) and intersperse your affiliate links therein. Disclosing affiliate links is always a must in every circumstance.
15. Use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) System
Charlotte Ang, Ecommerce Seller on Amazon, Legend Age
Using the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) system is a good way to earn passive income because it settles all your logistic issues for you. The most tedious and manual part about ecommerce is that you have to find a storage space for your inventory, fulfill your orders via a third-party logistics provider, and deal with the returns. It is almost a logistical nightmare, especially if you are a one-man team.
With the FBA system, you can automate these processes and concentrate on getting more sales. The best thing about FBA is that you can have both your own Shopify store as well as list on Amazon to sell. The hardest part will be finding out how to get sales and conversions. But once you figure that out, with an automated fulfillment process, you are on your way to earning the passive income you desire.
16. Hire Content Writers for Your Small Business Website
Hassan Alnassir, Founder & Owner, Premium Joy
A great idea for online passive income is to establish a full content writing service that’s geared toward small businesses. The service should take care of everything for the client (from topic planning to content writing to publishing), deliver only high-quality content, and charge reasonable prices.
To get started, you need to hire content writers who can perform the work needed while you manage them (maybe two to three writers to begin with). There is still a good demand for online content as most of the currently available writing services are marketplaces, produce inconsistent writing quality, or are just expensive. One way you can find good writers is to search on social media or post a job on freelancing websites like Upwork.
17. Start a Lead/Client Generation Site
Libby James, Director, Merchant Advice Service
I started mine by matching clients’ card processing requirements to suitable brokers worldwide, which gave me the ideal passive income while still being around for the kids and helping other business owners along the way. This could be small scale to begin with (e.g., matching customers to car mechanics), but once you start making a cut of the profits, things build very quickly. You will need to become an expert in your field, write about problems experienced within the industry, and then present the solution. No doubt the work upfront will be labor intensive, but once successfully achieved, your passive income will grow.
Ian Atkins, Finance General Manager, Fit Small Business
If you don’t have an IRA or 401(k), then not only are you missing out on a great opportunity to earn passive income, but you are also likely paying way more in taxes than you should. By opening an IRA with Betterment, you can save up to $5,500 of income without having to pay income taxes on that money. Betterment will automatically invest that money for you using their proven investment strategies. Try Betterment today.
Being able to turn your hobby into an income-generating activity is always a good passive income idea. So if your creativity revolves around photography, then you should consider submitting your work to stock image agencies like Shutterstock, where you can sell licenses to use your images. The submission process is easy, and as long as your images meet their technical requirements, you’ll have your photos available for purchase in no time.
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.
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. Make sure to have great photography and offer excellent customer service to help build your customer base for your digital products.
Options trading doesn’t have to be complicated. Yet more often than not, when this system is presented 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.
The easiest way to make truly passive income is to invest your money into stock, ETF, mutual funds, and so on. The richest people tend to get even richer because they consistently invest and reinvest their money. Keep it up, and you might never have to work again. There’s 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.
Vending machines can be a smart investment—they require minimal upkeep and no manpower to generate sales every day. 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. Consider office complexes, factories, government buildings, schools and colleges, hospitals, and so on. This article also goes over costs, warranties, and regulations.
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.
Nowadays, it’s important to have more than one revenue-generating stream. But like every other business, the best passive income ideas will require a relative amount of investment, whether it’s time or money, in order to succeed. Our list of the best passive income ideas from the pros should help inspire your next venture.
Want to share more passive income ideas? Let us know in the comments.