Many people have the wrong concept about passive income. They believe it means they can lie on the beach all day, without having anything to worry about. When in reality, the real point of passive income is to free up your time to do some more fulfilling and enjoyable ventures.
Plot your escape from the boring day job and find true financial freedom. We have come up with 20 ways of generating passive income.
What is Passive Income & Why it is So Appealing?
Passive income is simply when you continue to get paid for work you have already done. This might be royalties from books, movies or songs. It might also be revenue that comes from real estate investments or business investment where you do not need to be present to earn it.
There are some forms of passive income, such as affiliate marketing where you need to put a lot of time and effort to get it to earn you recurring income and others where you do not need to any effort in at all, such as investing with a robo advisor.
Whilst passive income streams are a reality for many people, they may not always replace your entire salary – but these days having something for a rainy day is important and there are other options that done correctly can possibly lead to a comfortable income.
Some will advise towards having multiple streams of passive income, whilst others will only advise having one.
We are not experts on some of the ideas on our list, but what we can share with you is our thoughts about each idea we have come up with and then you can decide on whether you want to explore them or not.
How Much Can You Earn from Passive Income?
In reality, there is a common misconception that earning passive income can be done quite quickly and that is clearly not the case.
We love affiliate marketing, but we didn’t start earning from our blog for 6 months. There is also the problem associated with scams or low-quality products that claim to earn you untold fortunes when in reality, they just leave you scratching your head.
Creating passive income and multiple income streams will take time and is definitely a long-term strategy. SO, your goals must align with the fact it will take hard work and time to achieve success.
Don’t get me wrong, I know many marketers who are earning good money online, but they all have one thing in common. They have worked really hard to achieve their success, and you will need to put in time, effort and have determination to earn a passive income online.
Many bloggers are earning thousands online, but the thing we do not always get to know is how long it took for them to attain that success. Was it one year? Or ten years of hard work?
Our List of Passive Income Ideas…
There are options on our list that are not going to earn you a great return, but they are technically a passive income stream whilst others may lead to a full-time income. A good bet might be to work on a couple of the list to achieve your financial goals. But ultimately it will be down to you to explore the best options for you.
We are not experts with anything to do with investing and do not want to pretend to be, but in our research, we found that investing is a valid passive income source. In the past you might have needed to be a financial expert or get a financial advisor to invest your money for you there are no Robo Advisors that can identify trends for you to invest your money and receive a return on your investments
Wikipedia describes a robo-advisor as a “class of financial advisor that provides financial advice with moderate or minimal human interaction”.
Basically, this robo advisor bases its decision on a bunch of algorithms to help you invest your money the right way.
Below are links to three services, that allow you to invest your money, are good for beginners due to the information that provide, have low or no fees for your initial investments and can you give you a good idea of which one might be for you.
Wealthfront: Best for students and small-start investors as they will allow you to invest your first $5k for free. It is easy to use.
Betterment: No minimum to invest, and low fees (between 0.25%-0.40%)
Acorns: Acorns seems like a great way to start investing, as they will pay you $5 to start investing with them, and you can get started with just a $1.
Own stock in a company and you may receive a dividend. A dividend is a distribution of a portion of the company’s profit.
They are decided by the board of directors and can be issued as cash payments, shares of stock or other property. It is a way of rewarding shareholder loyalty.
The amount you receive will depend on how much stock you own, and whether there is any profit there to divide up.
There is also the option that people use their dividends to buy more shares for a (potentially) bigger reward.
You can find dividend stocks using Google Finance Stock Screener. This is a free service.
Now again, we are not financial experts, but through research we found the best way to find dividend stocks is through the following process:
Set the search criteria for the P/E Ratio, and Dividend yield (shown as a %) criteria.
You can set minimum and maximum values; in the dividend yield box, set it between 2-100.
This allows you to search for stocks that pay dividends between 2-100% of the current stock price.
IN the P/E box, set these values to between 0-18. These are the dividend stocks with a current price between 0 and 18 times more than the company earns in a year. You then can review the Dividend yield, to sort by the highest dividend yield.
Start there, and review which would be good options for you to get started with.
Peer to Peer Lending
Lending money out is profitable, and if you have the money you can choose to lend money out. Peer to Peer lending is an option when people would not qualify for a typical loan from a bank or credit union.
This type of lending benefits the borrower as they can get a loan. The benefit for the lender is the interest you will receive on the loan, as they can be typically higher than those provided by conventional loans. This can average above 10%.
2 options are Lending Club and Prosper.
Lending Club brokers deals for amortized loans and these types of loan does favour the lender, as a higher portion of interest is received earlier in the loan. This means lenders are not as bothered if the borrower pays the loan off early.
Prosper is similar to Lending Club, but it does require a higher credit score. You need a credit score of at least 640.
Borrowers are graded against their credit score and debt-to-income ratio. This grade determines both the interest rate and the origination fee. It also allows you to decide on who you are going to loan to.
People will naturally look at real estate opportunities such as renting out properties as passive income, but this is often out of reach for most of us. But this is only one option and there are other options that might be within your grasp.
Real Estate Investment Trust
A REIT is a company that owns or produces incoming-producing retail estate. It is like a mutual fund for real estate investing. It works the same way as investing in stocks. You buy shares within a REIT and earn a share of the profit from that investment.
It takes away the bit about being a property owner.
Crowdfunded Real Estate
Again, this allows you to own a share of a property for a take of the profits.
RealtyShares is an online platform for investing into real estate. It also allows a virtual space for companies who need financing for their real estate projects. They showcase their projects to find investors.
Renting Out a Property
This will depend on how involved you want to be, if you get the right tenants it can be relatively easy. Otherwise you can let a lending agent deal with the tenants, etc but they will take a cut of the rental amount.
If you haven’t yet got a property to rent out, RoofStock might a good option. They have properties for single families that are independently screened, and certified giving investors the complete picture of what the investor is buying.
You might even find homes with tenants already in place, so it could earn you cash-flow from day one.
Personally, I feel with any of the financial options above that I am not best placed to advise on whether any of these options are best for you and your personal circumstances. So, you might want to seek financial advice before pursuing any of these options.
Online Business Opportunities – Scalable for Residual Income
Online businesses are more our field and we have both an e-commerce business and an affiliate marketing business up and running and these can lead to good passive income streams. We will go into details throughout this section.
Whilst you might assume you need your own products or services to start an online business, it is not the only option as you could explore drop shipping.
Your Own Products
If you do have your own products or services to offer, then naturally this works.
You create your own e-commerce store and sell your products. The options are eBay, WordPress & WooCommerce or Shopify.
We have our own wedding stationary business and the amount of work you would need to invest will depend on the complexities that go with the product you are selling.
For example, our wedding invites require personalisation and putting together before posting. Whilst many products may not have those things to worry about.
We opted for a WordPress website, as we get free hosting and the WooCommerce plugin is free to install and works well for what we need. We are currently in the process of reviewing Shopify, but initial thoughts are really positive for it being a good starting point for ecommerce.
There are two options if you haven’t got your own products, affiliate marketing or drop shipping. We will get into Affiliate Marketing in a moment, but drop shipping is still a viable option.
This is where you create an online store, market the products as your own but you are actually just the middle man or woman. You sign up with a wholesaler, when someone places an order – you order it from the wholesaler to deliver it to the customer.
You make the money from the difference between the two prices. Whilst this does look appealing, know that you will still have the customers to deal with. As far as the customer is concerned it is your product or service and if it turns up damaged or late, you will need to deal with the wholesaler. So, good customer service skills are key.
Start a Blog – Our Favourite & It is Easy
We love blogging, it gives you the freedom to start an online business in any subject you want. It is actually really important that you do not get drawn into thinking that you have to pick a niche because someone said it was profitable. This is because if you do not have any interest in that niche, how are you going to keep writing content? You aren’t and there goes any chance of earning passive income from a blog.
Picking a subject, you love means you get to enjoy it more, you are engaging into something you already love and can learn more about and help others by sharing your knowledge and experience and that leads to two ways of monetising your blog.
There are certain steps you need to take to make sure your blog gets started on the right foot and gets found by the search engines and gets ranked well to get enough traffic.
This is what will allow you to start earning money, but with our recommended training platform offering a free starter membership you could get started for free with some great training.
Affiliate Marketing is a great way of monetising your blog, there is no need to have your own products or services. You make money by promoting other people’s products or services.
Affiliate Marketing is more widespread than you might realise, and Amazon has its own affiliate program. You could join Amazon’s affiliate program and start promoting products that are related to your niche on your blog and earn money anytime someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link.
Related Post: How to Make Money with Amazon Associates
This can lead to regular recurring income for years to come without the hassle of dealing with any customer service side or dealing with wholesalers like in drop shipping.
Affiliate Marketing is our favourite form of earning money online, if you want to know how we got started, click here for more information.
Related Post: What’s Affiliate Marketing & How Does it Work?
Along with affiliate marketing, you can then also earn recurring income from having ads on your website. You require traffic for both affiliate marketing and ads to work, but the advantage of ads is you can earn income for impressions as well as clicks.
Impressions work by giving you earnings for when people see the ad, they do not necessarily have to click it to earn money.
Google AdSense is a good one to get started with, whilst it doesn’t give you a great return you can always explore places like Media Vine when you get the relevant number of pageviews you need.
Start a YouTube Channel
Video Marketing is a major growth area with more and more people absorbing information from videos these days.
Starting a YouTube channel can allow you to do this. You don’t always need expensive equipment to do it, especially with the cameras on most smartphones. You can also use the cameras within laptops.
Creating high-quality relevant videos and posting them on YouTube is how you create the traffic needed to earn money through your videos.
My 6-year-old loves watching videos on YouTubes, especially “Ryan’s Game reviews” channel. Ryan plays with different toys and reviews them with his parents.
That is one of the top grossing channels on YouTube. It kind of shows that as long as someone will have an interest in your video, there will be earning potential.
How you Make Money with YouTube
The way you make money from a YouTube channel is through ads, Google Adsense. Google owns YouTube, so it makes sense.
You will need to have reached a certain level of traffic to your YouTube channel before you will be able to place ads on your channel. But in the same way as on a blog you earn money for impressions and clicks, you earn money for those too.
Write an eBook or Audiobook
Another idea for earning passive income is by creating an eBook or audiobook. It could be on any topic, as long as it is useful and offers value.
You could use a website like Canva to create an eBook, it is really useful and free to use. It is the tool we use to create the featured images for our posts, and we have played with the eBook creator feature. Seems like a great tool, especially as it is free to get started.
Once you have decided on your topic, created your eBook you need to decide one of two ways to make money with it.
- Charge a fee for it when you place it on the kindle marketplace
- Keep it as a free eBook and lead them to your blog or affiliate links via links in your eBook.
Let’s be honest, people will only pay for something if they think it is going to be great value. I also know a number of bloggers who use it as a free “gift” to get them to join their email list where they make money through mailing them relevant product ideas and reviews.
Audiobooks can be done in a similar way, using the microphone on your phone or laptop to record the audio and releasing it as a podcast, or audiobook.
Either way, charging for it or using it as a way of increasing your traffic an eBook is a good option if you are considering starting your own blog.
Create an Online Course
Offer great value in an online course on a subject and you can earn regular income from it. We recommend you check out the courses that are already available on Udemy.
You can create your own online course and publish it via Udemy relatively easily. Using a combination of videos or PowerPoint type sessions, you can create a course that people go through and pay for it.
There are other options out there, but Udemy is really user friendly and beginner friendly.
Combining These to Build Multiple Streams of Income
We do not see these options as singular ideas. We feel that if you are going to work towards a blog, you can definitely combine social media, YouTube and even eBooks and online courses to build up multiple streams.
With the right training and support you could be working towards your own online business and earning money from several directions:
- Affiliate Programs
- Ads on your blog
- YouTube Channel
- Social Media
- Online Course
The options are endless, as are the earning potential. See how we got started here.
Buy a Small Business
If you are not interested in starting your own small business, you could invest in an existing business or blog and hopefully take on one that is already established.
Buy an Existing Blog
You could buy an existing blog; people often enjoy building up a starter blog and then selling them on for a profit. But the advantage is that you benefit from a profit-ready blog.
Our personal preference is those available from Human Proof Designs.
You could see opportunities on Flippa, but the problem is that many are just duplicate content websites that you will find will not earn you any money but give you a lot of grief because search engines do not rank duplicate content.
Human Proof Designs offers a selection of starter websites, that would be of benefit to someone wanting to buy an existing blog.
Buy an Existing Business
You could buy an existing online business, if you are thinking about starting an ecommerce website anyway you could find a number of offers available on eBay or BizBuySale.
You could earn money from owning the royalties on Music. Having the ownership allows you to earn money from the earnings of the songs.
Royalty rights are not affected by any financial markets and can lead to a steady passive income stream.
You can put bids in on royalties at Royalty Exchange.
Buy & Sell Domain Names
You might be surprised at the value domain names can hold. Think about why famous couples rush to buy out the domain name relating to their children before someone else gets there.
So, they have the rights to it and don’t need to buy it from someone else.
There is a need to understand keyword research to be able to pick the right domain names to pick, as you cannot be random and make money from it really.
Find a good one and buy it, hold it and put it up for sale making money from the difference.
Activities You Already Do
Whether it is earning cash back or shopping around, you already do a number of activities that could earn you some money.
When you go shopping online, stop for a minute and think that you could be getting a better deal or earning cash back from your purchase. Below are some options you could check out and see if they are right for you.
Earny: When you shop online, I am sure you shop around for the best price but Earny takes it one step further. If you buy something and then the price goes down within a specified time frame, Earny works out the difference and then gives you a refund.
Swagbucks: Swagbucks has over 1,500 retailers and offers you cash back when you make purchases.
You can also earn points that you can redeem back on, by completing surveys, making purchases, taking part in the exclusive deals, etc.
Ebates: Get cash back when you shop online. It is not actually a shopping platform, but it is an affiliate of more than 2,000 stores. These include Amazon, Macy’s, etc.
You get a list of each store and the percentage cash back you get when you shop online.
You will only receive money back quarterly via PayPal or by check.
How often do you go out and eat? It can be an expensive night out, right?
Seated: This is an app that currently only works New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta & Philadelphia and it works by every time you book a reservation, you get a gift code for $20-$50 for Amazon, Uber or Starbucks.
If you shop at those places, you can definitely benefit from this.
Everywhere Else? Swagbucks can help you generate gift cards for eating out too
You could earn some additional money through signing up with Uber. The benefits will depend on where you live, whether you have a suitable car and have the time to free up to make this a beneficial choice for you.
But you could make $100 over the weekend or over a couple of evenings driving an Uber around.
I haven’t gone into detail, but I highly recommend you read more about it on the Uber website. There are things to consider, like the age of your car and as we live in the UK there are things like having a taxi licence, etc. needed too.
Rent it Out
There are options when it comes to renting stuff out
Rent a Room
Airbnb has become really popular lately and you can use it to hire out a room you have available. You can choose whether it is short term or longer term and make money from having a spare room. At the moment, there is not much restriction on this. This might change in the future, but at present there isn’t anything stopping you.
Rent out Your House
You could also use Airbnb to rent out a house you have available. People often have an additional house in a desirable location that they rent out when engagements are on.
Thinking locally, we are not too far from Edgbaston cricket Ground and the owners of the flats overlooking the ground often rent out their flats whilst England are hosting international cricket matches. Here is an article
I found around doing this.
Rent Out Your Stuff
Have you ever gone out and bought stuff thinking you were going to really get started with golf or photography and then realise you are not really into it like you thought…?
Well, you can use places to rent out your stuff for others to use, like Peer Rentals.
You will be surprised what you can rent out, camping gear, photography equipment, sports equipment, etc.
It is a great place for people to get involved in what they enjoy without having the invest heavily in the first place.
Financial Freedom is Possible… With the Right Strategy!
Let’s face it, the main reason we start exploring ways to make money online is because our we either hate our day job or it doesn’t afford us the luxuries we like. Financial freedom is possible, but there is one thing in common with the people who are enjoying it – THEY WORK HARD!
Some of the options on this list are not going to end up doing that but make sense anyway. If you shop online loads, getting cash back makes sense.
Not all of us have another property to rent out or are willing to invest in the stock markets.
SO, what does that leave us. Well, I want to share with you the way we are working towards financial freedom.
We started a blog (this one) to help others find a way of earning money online through affiliate marketing and truly build up an income within a subject that you will enjoy.
The reason you will enjoy it, is the fact that you will be picking a subject you are already interested in…
Say you love pets, music, technology, photography, arts and crafts, helping people, healthcare, keeping fit… literally the list is endless and it is also really easy to get started and you will not need to become a financial expert to earn money from it.
Gemma & I are working hard to earn financial freedom so we can both leave our day jobs. Are we there yet, no but that is because we are realistic about the timescales and we were able to invest into a wedding invitation.
This shows that making money online is a reality.
But like we said, you need to work hard if you truly want to achieve passive income from a blog. Affiliate Marketing, Ads and your own YouTube channel are all going to be yours if you commit to working hard and working towards your own success story, like we are.
If you feel like you are not ready to put that time and effort in, or it sounds like too much hard work – I wish you luck in your pursuit of passive income.
If you are still with us and are ready to explore affiliate marketing and your own online business, then we can offer our help and support to get you started and keep working until you are earning your own income and are on your way towards Financial Freedom.
What we can offer is training, websites and expert help and support from a community of other entrepreneurs all learning and working together to reach the same goals.
If you feel you are ready, we highly suggest you read how we got started and see if it is the right fit for you!
If you have any questions about passive income, affiliate marketing or any general questions at all, please write them in the comments below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
14 thoughts on “20 Passive Income Ideas that Work & Can Get Started With Today!”
I really love how you describe passive income, you are so right in that so many people have the wrong idea about what it is! I must admit, I never quite understood what it was until a few years ago, and I am still doing the work to build my passive income so that I can free up some of my time to do more of the things I love doing.
But it’s getting there, thanks to recently coming across affiliate marketing!
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. I see it often where people believe you just sit back and watch the money come through, when in reality it does actually take up some work.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult, just need to put the right time and effort in. Affiliate Marketing is loads of fun, as well as being hard work. But if you get the wrong training, it can work out being much harder.
Thanks for all these great tips. Blogging is something I am doing now and enjoying very much. What I love about this article is you have ideas for every budget. Some require money and some actually require little money, like blogging. I joined the Wealthy Affiliate platform, and I only pay $49 a month for everything, but it’s free to start, which I signed up for the free membership at first. I like the idea of writing and selling ebooks as well. I love to write, so that might be a good fit for me. Thanks for the inspiration!
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. Writing an ebook is a great idea, if you feel that is right up your alley.
Blogging is a great, but a lot of people underestimate the work you need to put into it to reap the benefits. But Wealthy Affiliate’s training was definitely a huge help to us when we first got started.
all the best
Thank you for your comprehensive article! I really gained a lot of great ideas from reading it.
I’ve searched for many years for the perfect business opportunity (and sometimes lost money in the process) and yet I still seem to come across new ideas once in a while; A few of your income ideas are ones I’ve not seen yet.
I’m very curious about blogging and affiliate marketing as it seems to be one of the less expensive businesses to start.
Thanks for showing me a path forward!
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. We are so glad you were able to find some new ideas.
Affiliate Marketing is a great one, as you get to choose what you are promoting and can easily get started for free, with help.
All the best
Thanks for this great article John, I must admit I had forgotten just how many passive income streams there are. I have a few of these in place already but I am focusing all my time currently on affiliate marketing and blogging.
It’s a great feeling when you start to make money every month.
Which would be your least favourite from your list and why ?
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments.
It is surprising the number, as I left a few off as there would be a lot more…!
Whilst a lot of people shop online, I personal haven’t got the patience to search for cash back deals first.
I know there is an opportunity to recoup some of the cost, but when you are really busy having to shop around and then look for cash back deals. That is the one I would say is my least favourite.
I know I should do it more, but never do (Should take my own advice really)
Wow, you have introduced so many ways of making passive income. I am very interested in the dividend investment, Ads, Making Money with YouTube, Buy & Sell Domain Names you introduced. I have already established my own blog and started to do affiliate marketing. I’m looking forward to seeing articles in which you share the experience of dividend investment and Make Money with YouTube. By the way, I live in China. What should I do if I want to invest in foreign stocks?
Hi Jealous Li,
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. There is a long list we are wanting to get into, including the ones you have suggested.
To be honest, having a brief look China does seem like a lucrative investment route, rather than exploring the other way around. I am not an expert, and would personally suggest you ask a financial advisor before investing in foreign stocks, as I am unsure of the regulations, etc.
I know it may be hard for others to invest in China from the outside, so you might find it a good idea to buy chinese shares, as they do seem to be on the rise.
Drop back and let us know how you get on.
I thought I knew the definition of passive income, but when I saw your definition it all made a lot of sense. I am already deep into passive income and I didn’t even know. I didn’t know properties and dividends were part of passive income. Right now I’m hoping to build more passive income with the help of wealthy Affiliate.
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. There are literally loads of ways of earning passive income, as you progress you will probably explore other avenues too.
When you haven’t got money, you can’t invest it. When you do, you want to invest it wisely and let it work for you. That is where the investment and property passive income streams come in.
All the best
I have been thinking about doing some investment online – the low-risk kind of stuff first – and I am quite keen on the first three investment platforms you suggested. Another one you can check is called Swell Investing. However, I still have some reservations due to the term robo-advisor. I am not sure if it’s reliable to put your money in semi-automation without having a professional to guide you on what to do.
Have you tried any of this program before and is their ROI up to your expectations? Thank you.
thanks for checking out our blog and for writing some comments. Thanks for the suggestion, we will have to check out Swell Investing.
I haven’t tried the investment route yet, I also have a couple of reservations about robo advisors. But, I think there are elements where a little automation can help with investments.
My advice would be to check out some actual reviews of the platforms and see what comes up. We will get around to it, but at the moment I wouldn’t want to give any advice, especially as I am not a financial expert.
Sorry that doesn’t help, but my initial thoughts are these platforms are worth another look.