Updated October 16, 2020 8:58 AM PT

Passive Income Ideas to Escape the Daily Grind

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How do the rich get richer? Passive income. And you don't always need money to start. Here's how to fund your early retirement.

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Two friends bought a used pinball machine for $25. One repaired the machine while the other cut a deal with a local barbershop. They set it up in the store and collected money from waiting customers.

Soon, they had a pinball empire across town. The young man ended up selling his business for $1,000.

You might recognize one of the friends: Warren Buffett.

Sometimes it's the simplest ideas that blow up. But the hardest part of passive income is starting.

If this story inspired you, take a look at these passive income ideas.

What is Passive Income

Ever dreamed of making money while you sleep? That's passive income. Passive income is money you make when you're not actively working. Ideally, it should generate income on an ongoing basis and shouldn't require too much effort to maintain.

Passive income can be separated into two categories:

  • Investing some capital into assets that can grow (investing in stocks, rental properties, business, etc.)

  • Putting in time and effort to create something that will earn money (creating a blog, product, music, book, etc.)

The truth is that all passive income will require some work - don't expect to make money by doing nothing. But choosing good strategies and putting in the effort will result in positive outcomes.

Read on for the best passive income ideas, whether you have start-up cash or have time.

How much passive income can you earn?
How much passive income you earn depends on what you do. Refinancing your mortgage could save you a few hundred a month, while a successful blog or podcast could earn several thousand. By combining several of these passive income strategies, it's possible to add an extra $1,000 a month to your bank account.

Why Passive Income is Important

  • Have a safety net if you lose your day job
  • Earn extra cash to to supplement your retirement plan
  • Have more time to spend doing the things you love
  • Earn multiple passive income streams at once
  • Flexibility to work from anywhere (just need internet)
  • Potential to grow into your own business

How to choose a passive income stream:
To find the best passive income strategy for you, think about what you can utilize.

  • If you have money (invest, buy a business, buy rental property)
  • If you have debt (pay off debt, refinance mortgage and student loan debt)
  • If you have skills (create a course or blog, sell music, etc.)
  • If you have resources (rent your spare bedroom, car, garage)

Best Ways to Generate Passive Income

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Read on for the best passive income ideas, as well as the difficulty level to get started and make money.

Hopefully this list will inspire you to start your journey to build passive income and achieve financial independence.

1. Robo-Advisor (Easy)

Robo-advisors automatically invest for you. They pick investments for you and manage your portfolio, so you don't even need any investing knowledge or practice. Just sit back and let the investing platform do all the work.

Just answer some questions about your goals and risk tolerance, and the software algorithms will create an investment strategy for you. All you have to do is fund your account.

A lot of robo-advisors don't have a minimum, so you can open an investment account even if you don't have a lot of money.

Some of our favorite robo investing platforms are:

  • Betterment: No minimum, 0.25% annual fee
  • M1 Finance: Create your own portfolio and M1 manages for you. Trade stocks, ETFs, and index funds free. $100 minimum and $0 management fee.
  • Acorns: Automatically invests your spare change; No minimum, starts at $1/mo

See our complete guide to the best robo advisors.

Difference between residual income and passive income
Passive income is money earned when you're not actively working. Residual income is a type of passive income. Residual income is money you continue to receive even after all the work is done (such as song royalties, YouTube ads, or stock photo downloads).

2. Real Estate Crowdfunding (Easy)

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Traditionally, investing in real estate means you need a large amount of upfront capital. But not anymore.

With real estate crowdfunding, you pool money with other investors to fund properties together. The platform will automatically invest your money in different properties. There's no learning curve required at all.

You can earn returns from dividends (which is the rental income generated) and when the property appreciates in value. This is generally a longer-term investment of at least five years.

These real estate crowdfunding sites are open to everyone:

  • Fundrise: $500 minimum. Invest in diverse new and stabilized projects across the US.
  • DiversyFund: $500 minimum. Focuses on multi-family buildings to collect rental income.
  • Rich Uncles: $5 minimum. Focuses on commercial rental properties and paying dividends.

Another benefit is that you don't have to deal with tenants, repairs, and other headaches associated with owning rental properties.

Another option for real estate investing is to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) on the open stock market. These are companies that buy and manage real estate projects. The difference with these is that you can sell your share of the stocks at any time.

Investing in real estate is a great way to diversify your portfolio. Historically, real estate investment has seen a higher return compared to the stock market.

Can you make passive income with no money?
There are plenty of passive income ideas that don't require an upfront investment. This usually means sacrificing your time (like creating an e-course or starting a blog) or renting items you already own (like renting a room, equipment, garage space, etc.). Just remember that not all passive income ideas are guaranteed to work, which means you may be putting forth effort without reward.

3. High-Yield Savings (Easy)

Earning interest on money you already have is arguably the most effortless way to generate passive income. Online savings accounts pay more interest and have less fees than traditional banks.

Sure, an APY between 1% and 2% may not net you thousands of dollars. But if you continually save more money, your interest will compound over time with zero risk.

Check out some of these online savings accounts:

  • CIT Bank: Savings Builder up to 0.55% APY with $25,000+ balance or $100 monthly deposit. No service fees.
  • Capital One 360 Savings: 0.50% APY, no account minimum and no service fees.
  • Synchrony High Yield Savings: 0.65% APY. No monthly service fee and no minimum deposit. An ATM card is provided for easy withdrawal. Synchrony will refund ATM fees for other banks up to $5 per statement cycle

A savings account is an ideal place to park your emergency fund and money for short term goals.

Bonus Tip: Many banks also offer cash bonuses for opening new accounts. This is an easy way to get some extra cash in your pocket. Check out the current bank promotions.

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending (Moderate)

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms let you lend money to individuals who don't qualify for traditional bank loans. You'll earn returns as people pay back the loan with interest.

Lenders can earn returns in the range of 4-10%. However, there is the risk that a borrower won't pay back the loan. You can lower the risk through diversification by investing in multiple loans in micro amounts.

Here are two popular P2P lending sites:

  • LendingClub: $1,000 min investment ($25 min in each loan)
  • Prosper: $25 min investment in each loan

Both sites do have requirements for investors. For Lending Club, you need a gross annual income of $70,000 AND net worth of $70,000. For Prosper, you need $80,000 for both. (California residents have higher requirements.)

Does passive income get taxed?
Yes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does tax passive income, though the amount varies depending on the type of income and profit earned. Your tax adviser can help you understand the implications that passive income has on your taxes.

5. Dividend-Paying Stocks (Easy)

Dividend stock investing can generate regular passive income. Dividends are company profits that are shared with stockholders. Companies often pay dividends as cash, but sometimes they pay them as shares of stocks.

You can decide what to do with the dividends. You can either withdraw or reinvest the dividends to compound the growth.

Typically older (established) companies offer dividend-paying stocks. These stocks are lower risk and can provide a steady stream of passive income, combined with capital appreciation. However, there's no guarantee that a company will consistently pay dividends.

If you're not sure what to invest in, you can invest in a dividend index fund. Index funds are a basket of lots of different stocks, so you're instantly invested in a wide variety. Dividend index funds contains companies expected to pay higher dividends than average. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) also pay dividends.

You can invest in high dividend stocks with any online brokerage. Here are the best free stock trading apps.

6. Invest In Small Businesses (Moderate)

Investing in startups can be a good way to support a small business, while earning some passive returns.

With equity crowdfunding, you actually own a small piece of the company. You'll earn returns when the company is acquired or goes public. Or the business could have a dividend agreement that pays investors a share of the profits.

These three equity crowdfunding platforms are open to non-accredited investors. You can become an angel investor even when very little capital.

  • Wefunder: As little as $100 to invest. Wefunder does charge a 2% processing fee.
  • SeedInvest: Min investments as low as $500. SeedInvest also charges a 2% processing fee.
  • LocalStake: Invest in local food & beverage, consumer products, and retail companies. Typically $250 or $500 min. No processing fee.

This does have some risk because startups are more likely to fail. But the potential return can be higher too. Search for businesses you want to invest in and be sure you understand the terms.

Because the low minimums, you can even make several business investments to diversify risk.

7. Reduce Your Consumer Debt (Moderate)

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If you have debt, make paying them off your highest priority. If you have debt with high interest rates, the money you're paying on interest will wipe out any earnings from elsewhere.

For example, credit cards usually carry 13% - 20% interest (and that compounds every month you don't pay it off). It's unlikely you can earn that much returns from investments.

If you cannot pay your debt off in full, consider refinancing debts, such as student loans or personal loans with high interest rates. Any money you can save on interest is passive income.

You can use online budgeting tools like Mint or YNAB to help with debt payoff planning.

Another option to pay off credit card debt faster is to do a balance transfer. This is when you transfer your current debt to a new credit card with a 0% APR balance transfer promotion. This way, you have some time to pay off your debt interest-free.

8. Credit Card Rewards (Easy)

If you already use credit cards for everyday expenses, a rewards credit card can earn a little passive income. This is a no-effort way to earn extra money on things you normally buy.

Cashback cards give you a percentage back on everything you buy. Travel rewards cards let you earn airline points to help save you money on travel.

In addition, credit cards often offer bonuses for new applicants. You can get bonus cash or points after spending a certain amount within a certain time.

But don't overspend just to earn more rewards. Make sure you can pay your bill in full or you'll be charged high interest.

9. CD Ladders (Easy)

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Certificate of Deposits require you to tie up your money for a specified period. Typically, the longer term you commit to, the higher interest rate you earn.

If you don't want to tie up all of your money in the longest-term CD, a good strategy is CD laddering. You split your investments into different CDs with different rates and lengths. As each CDs matures, you can take out your money, or reinvest into another CD.

This way, your funds aren't stuck in one long term investment. And if CD rates go up, you can reinvest into an new CD with a higher rate.

Here's what your ladder strategy may look like:

  • $1,000 in a 1-year CD at 2.30%
  • $1,000 in a 2-year CD at 2.50%
  • $1,000 in a 3-year CD at 2.70%
  • $1,000 in a 4-year CD at 2.80%
  • $1,000 in a 5-year CD at 2.90%

After the first year, you can withdraw the money plus interest in your 1-year CD. You can then reinvest all that into a 5-year CD. Another year later, your 2-year CD will have matured, and you can reinvest that into another 5-year CD. And so on.

    CIT Bank

    CIT Bank Term CDs

    • Up to 0.50% APY
    • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC insured
    TermCD Rates
    6 Month0.35% APY
    1 Year0.35% APY
    13 Month0.35% APY
    18 Month0.35% APY
    2 Year0.40% APY
    3 Year0.40% APY
    4 Year0.50% APY
    5 Year0.50% APY

10. Bond Ladders (Easy)

Bond are fixed income investments. You will learn interest payments at a fixed rate over a set period of time. At maturity, you'll get your principal back. Unlike stocks, there is very little risk, so it's smart to include some bonds in your portfolio.

Bond ladders work similar to CD ladders. You purchase bonds of different amounts and maturities. As each bond matures, you collect the interest payments and can reinvest the funds in another bond (if you wish).

The idea is to have a series of bonds with staggered maturity dates so that you always have liquid funds and earnings. Ideally, you keep reinvesting the funds to generate more growth.

11. Cashback for Online Shopping (Easy)

Do you shop online often? Use a cash-back website to effortlessly earn some extra money when you make purchases. This is perhaps the easiest way to take your first steps to making passive income.

Instead of purchasing directly on your favorite stores' websites, just shop through a link on one of these cash-back sites.

Three common reward programs include:

  • Swagbucks: Earn points when you shop online, take surveys, watch videos, and more. Trade in your SB points for gift cards or cash back from PayPal.

  • Rakuten (formerly Ebates): Standard deals offer between 2%-5% cash back on purchases. But there are often double-cash-back specials and other incentives. You'll get cash back in the form of quarterly checks or PayPal payments.

  • Earny: Add the Chrome extension and earn up to 20% cashback when shopping online. It even offers refunds if prices drop after you make a purchase.

12. Cashback for Dining Out (Easy)

The Seated app gives you rewards for dining out.

Just simply make a walk-in or reservation with the app's partner restaurants. After you have dined there, just take a picture of the receipt with your phone and upload to the app. You can get up to 30% back.

You can use your rewards points for gift cards for Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Delta, Nordstrom, and more.

13. Get Paid to Take Surveys (Easy)

Many sites offer surveys in exchange for cash. You can get paid to share your opinions on products and services you already use.

Don't expect to get rich, but it's an easy way to make some extra money online while watching TV on the couch.

Try some of these reputable survey sites:

How much you earn will vary with each website. For example, Survey Junkie pays $1 to $3 per survey on average, while Swagbucks pay $0.40 to $2 per survey. Inbox Dollars could even pay up to $5 per survey.

Want to literally make money while you sleep? Participate in a sleep study. Researchers usually pay people a couple hundred dollars per night.

14. Invest in Small Business Inventory (Moderate)

Kickfurther.com has a unique crowdfunding concept where you help a company purchase inventory. The company specifies a rate of return and an expected timeframe to sell.

Essentially, you are buying the inventory on consignment. You actually own the products. Once the products sell, you'll earn your share of the profits.

All buyers also get their own Kickfurther site, so you can help sell the inventory on your own. If you sell items directly from your store, you'll receive extra 5% commissions.

You have to do your own due diligence and research the companies. Though Kickfurther has a thorough screening process, there could still be risk of the products not selling.

15. Refinance Your Mortgage (Easy)

If mortgage rates have decreased or your credit score has improved, refinancing your house can save you money. A lower interest rate can help you save hundreds each month.

Generally, if you can lower your rate by at least 1%, it's worth refinancing. For example, on a $300,000 mortgage, the difference between 5% and 4% interest could be over $300 a month. Over the life of the loan, you can save tens of thousands of dollars.

You can then take that extra savings to pay bills, invest, or save for retirement.

16. Wrap Your Car in Advertisements (Easy)

If you don't mind driving a car that looks like a mobile billboard, you can get paid to wrap it in company advertising. Wrapify matches you with available campaigns and pays you to wrap your car and drive it around.

You can choose how much you wrap your car (panel, partial, or full). Partial wraps pay on average $180 - $280 per month, while full wraps pay on average $264 - $452 a month. You could make easily a few extra thousand per year.

If you live in a big city, this is an easy way to earn passive income while driving your normal daily commutes. You can earn better rates if you drive during "high traffic times".

17. Rent Your Car on Turo (Easy)

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If you have a car you don't use on a daily basis, you can make money by renting it out to those in need.

Turo is the Airbnb of car sharing. You list your vehicle, add pictures and available dates, and set the price. There's no penalty if you turn down a request to rent, so it doesn't hurt to keep your listing active as an extra passive income source.

Turo even provides liability insurance coverage for car owners up to $1 million.

18. Rent Your Home on Airbnb (Easy)

If you have an extra room or you don't live in your home year-round, consider listing it on Airbnb. This platform connects private renters with travelers looking for a vacation home. You set the availability and price.

Rentals can be either a shared room, private room, or entire house.

This is one of the easiest ways to earn passive income. But there is some work required. You'll be responsible for keeping the place clean for guests, as well as taking care of any problems during their stay.

Guests pay through the Airbnb platform before their stay, so you don't have to worry about payment. Hosts pay 3% to the platform.

You can even consider renting out your spare bedroom or house to long term tenants. Becoming a landlord will guarantee a more consistent stream of passive income. But choose your tenant carefully and make sure you screen them properly.

Roofstock is a marketplace that easily lets you buy a property online. You can buy a house already with tenants. Unlike REITS, with Roofstock, you are actually the owner the house.

19. Rent Storage Space (Easy)

If you're not sure about sharing your place with strangers, you can rent a part of your home to store people's stuff instead.

Have an extra bedroom, garage, attic, or basement? Sites like Neighbor lets you list your extra space and earn income when someone rents it for storage.

This lets you make money on an empty room that would otherwise just collect junk. A garage in Los Angeles can rent for $100 - $200 per month. This can provide a consistent passive income stream.

20. Rent Parking Space (Easy)

Got an extra parking space? If you live in a metro area with great access to local hotspots, you can make extra cash by renting your unused parking spaces.

Apps like CurbFlip and Pavemint lets you list your parking spots. Drivers reserve your spot and pay online through the app. You can offer bookings by daily, weekly, or monthly.

21. Ecommerce Drop Shipping (Difficult)

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Drop shipping is a low-cost way to get into e-commerce. You don't need to carry your own inventory, and you just sell other people's products.

Drop shipping means you don't actually stock the products yourself. Instead, other suppliers keep your inventory and ship products directly to your customers. You just handle the marketing and maintain your e-commerce store.

However, this business model isn't as easy as it sounds. There are lots of other online stores also selling the same products. So there's lots of competition and it could be hard to make your site stand out. Your profit margins are also low since you're not selling your own goods.

If you want to consider this, Shopify is the most popular platform.

22. Buy an Existing Business (Moderate)

Don't want to start a new business from the ground up? Become a business owner by buying an existing business. You can buy an online business or blog that's already making some revenue.

Then all you have to do is keep it going through marketing, creating content, looking for more ways to monetize, etc.

Here are some marketplaces to buy existing businesses:

  • Flippa: Bid on blogs, websites, and e-commerce businesses. Keep an eye out on the thousands of listings on sale everyday.
  • BizBuySell: Buy established businesses and franchises.
  • SocialTradia: Buy existing instagram accounts with some following.

If you don't want to run the entire business yourself, you might want to freelancers as contract laborers to take care of business needs. Hiring experienced people could lead to better quality results and allow you to grow faster - though you'll have to give up some control.

23. Sell Digital Files (Moderate)

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Got a knack for art and design? You can create digital products, such as printable wall art, coloring book pages, crochet patterns, invitations, or thank-you notes. You'll make money with each download.

If you're not artistic, you can sell things like budget spreadsheets, Lightroom presets, blog templates, meal plans, etc. Lots of people would like to buy things like that. There are many possibilities.

The great thing about digital product sales is that you don't need to run to the post office to ship. So it makes for a really good passive income side hustle with very minimal time commitment.

Etsy is the most popular platform to start selling things. Creative Market is one of the best places for digital products like graphic design files, fonts, and templates. There are tons of other online marketplaces for specific niches.

Even if you're not artistic, you can always hire a designer or artist on a freelance site like Upwork, Fiverr, or Guru to design the product. And then you just sell and market it.

24. Sell Stock Photography Photos (Moderate)

If you fancy yourself an amateur photographer, why not take the opportunity to profit from your photos? You can upload your pictures on a stock photo website and earn royalties whenever someone buys it.

You don't have to worry about having shows or carrying an inventory. An added benefit is that you can make money multiple times on the same picture.

Some of the best websites to sell stock photos are:

Some sites don't require exclusive royalty rights. So you can even list your photos on multiple stock photo sites for more exposure.

25. Sell Your Music (Moderate)

Got an original song, jingle, beat, or sound effect? Sell your music online and earn royalties every time someone uses it.

Some places to sell music are:

  • Soundcloud: Monetize songs with ads (similar to YouTube). SoundCloud Premier pays 55% share of net revenue.
  • Epidemic Sounds: A music subscription platform for content creators. Music artists are paid up front and split streaming revenue 50/50.
  • Bandcamp: If you already have a following, this platform allows you to sell directly to your fans. Fans have paid artists $528 million on Bandcamp.

26. Sell on Merch by Amazon (Moderate)

If you're already a content creator with a fan base, Merch by Amazon gives you another way to reach your audience. It's a print-on-demand service that allows you to easily sell your branded designs on t-shirts and hoodies.

All you have to do is upload your design. Merch by Amazon takes care of the rest, including production, shipping, and communicating with the customer. You earn a royalty each time someone orders your item.

There is no up front cost for you at all.

You have to request an invitation to join the program. Because of the popularity, they do screen you and it could take months to be approved.

27. Start a Blog (Difficult)

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A blog takes a lot of time and hard work to start monetizing. However, a successful blog could be one of the most rewarding side hustles, and even turn into full time work.

As you build an audience, you can earn money from a variety of different income sources, such as affiliate marketing, selling ad space, sponsored posts, and more. But it's not completely passive as you'll have to keep on writing new articles and looking for partnerships.

In general, having a niche will make more money than being a "general lifestyle" blogger. Think about your interests. Even if you're not an amazing writer, anyone can find something they have knowledge about.

Some popular topics that make good money include:

  • Health and fitness
  • Business and marketing
  • Parenting / Baby
  • Budgeting / Personal finance
  • Crafting and DIY
  • Technology
  • Self improvement / Relationships

Don't be afraid to get into a super specific topic. Even a blog just about vegan dessert recipes or camera equipment can do well. Just make sure the content is high quality.

28. Affiliate Marketing (Moderate)

If you already have a blog or website with a decent amount of web traffic, affiliate marketing offers a truly passive income revenue stream. Some people make thousands per month just from affiliate links.

You recommend products or services by including links on your site. Every time someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn a small commission.

The Amazon Associates Program is the most popular affiliate programs for beginners. Other popular ones are:

You can also contact companies you want to support and ask to join their affiliate marketing program.

29. Run Ads (Moderate)

Another way to earn passive income on your website or blog is to sell ads. Advertisers will pay a lot of money on blogs with a lot of traffic.

There are two ways you can do this:

  • Display ads: These are ad banners on top or the sidebar of your website. An easy way to get started is Google AdSense. A downside is that you'll have ads clogging up your site.

  • Native ads: This kind of ads match the look of your content. For example, you can slip in ads in your blog articles or videos. These ads are not so obvious and often pay a lot more.

30. Buy and Sell Domain Names (Difficult)

You can buy domain names (website addresses) at a low cost and then sell at a profit. You can come up with your own names, or buy an existing domain name from a site owner who no longer wants it.

You'll have the best chance of making a decent profit if you buy popular or generic domain names. Many businesses are after generic names and will pay hundreds or even thousands for the domain.

There are a number of domain flipping sites. Start with these four:

31. Create an Online Course (Difficult)

If you have a special skill, expertise, or professional certification, you can create an online course and teach others.

There are plenty of platforms that allow you to create online courses, market them, and sell to consumers around the world. Design and formatting are all done for you so you don't have to worry about technical setup.

Three reputable websites are:

  • Teachable: lets you customize a domain to host and promote your course. You can post PDFs, images, videos, and audio files to enhance your courses.
  • Udemy: create your own video course; has an established user base of over 50 million students.
  • Skillshare: platform to teach a creative skill with video lessons. Teachers are paid on a royalty system.

32. Create a Podcast (Difficult)

Podcasts are super popular right now. If you have charisma and are good with spoken words, you can create your own with just a little bit of equipment.

You can start a podcast about literally anything. Here are just some examples of things you can talk about:

  • Teach a language
  • Share books and shows recommendations
  • Find strange news from around the world
  • Interviews with local small business owners
  • Answer weird questions people are too afraid to ask

After you have a following, you can monetize your podcast by including affiliate advertisements, sponsors, or selling your own products.

33. Create an Alexa Skill (Difficult)

Just like smartphones have apps, Alexa-enabled devices have "skills." These are voice-activated programs that lets users interact with their device. Simple examples are setting alarms, playing music, getting weather report, etc.

If you are a developer, you can create your own Alexa skill on just about anything. Think of something that solves a problem. Some ideas are:

  • Games that users can play
  • Food and drink recipes
  • Work outs and guided meditations
  • Daily vocabulary or new language learning
  • Trivia of your favorite books and shows

Skills can be either a one-time purchase, consumables (users buy, use, and buy again), or subscriptions.

Amazon offers free courses to teach you how to make an Alexa skill.

34. Start a YouTube Channel (Difficult)

Along the same lines of blogging and podcast, making YouTube videos does require a lot of work and effort, but can be very lucrative once you have a following.

Most likely, you won't make anything in the beginning. But even one viral video can generate continuous passive income through ads.

The most popular types of videos include:

  • Video game walkthroughs
  • How-to guides & video tutorials
  • Product reviews
  • Shopping & beauty
  • Fitness

It takes time to grow your channel. It'll take hundreds of thousands of views to get to the point of making money. And you'll need to frequently create fresh videos to keep your viewers engaged. But many people have been able to turn their YouTube channels into a full time job.

60% of people prefer online video platforms versus TV, giving you a large audience to choose from if you are already a video marketer.

35. Write an eBook (Difficult)

Ever dreamed of being an author? Years ago, publishing a book means writing proposals, finding an agent, and sending your manuscript to various publishers. But now, you can easily publish your own e-book using Amazon's self-publishing tool.

Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing is a free program. It's self-explanatory and the process is really simple. You can earn up to 70% royalties on your ebooks with each sale.

You'll be responsible for formatting, cover design, and your own marketing. But you'll be taking advantage of Kindle's huge customer base.

You can even use Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to turn your e-book into an audiobook for distribution on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. You'll be able choose your own professional audiobook producer.

For self-published authors without a following, non-fiction e-books like "how-to's" tend to fare better than fiction novels. For fiction novels, mystery/thriller books sell the best.

36. Buy Vending Machines (Moderate)

Vending machines are a great way to start a side business without a lot of startup costs or overhead. The hardest part is finding the best locations to place vending machines.

A used vending machine could cost just $150 to $400. After that, your only other cost is replenishing inventory. You'll have to take time to restock the machines, so this venture does require some active work.

You don't just have to sell sodas and junk food. Healthy vending machines snacks are now trendy, as well as prepared hot food.

37. Buy a Laundromat (Moderate)

Buying a laundromat can be a great passive income opportunity. They have an especially high success rate. People need to do laundry no matter how the economy is.

Self-service laudromats require very minimal supervision. That makes it an ideal physical passive business that can generate a lot of cash flow each month.

You will need a decent amount of money for the down payment. If you finance the rest, your revenue can most likely cover the monthly payments. It's literally an investment that can pay for itself.

If you want to invest in a physical business for passive income, some other ideas that generally do well are:

  • Self storage facility: Location and condition of the storage units is important
  • Auto car wash: You'll need to also invest in equipment like a pressure washer, dryers, cleaning solutions, etc.
  • ATMs: You'll need to purchase a machine and put in money. Choose a good location.

38. Create an App (Difficult)

If you know programming (or have the ability to pay for a software engineer) and have a great idea, try creating an app.

There's an app for almost everything today, so do your research first. After it's created, you'll also need to market it so it doesn't get lost in the millions of apps in the Google Play and App Store.

You can earn money by offering a premium version, ads, in-app purchases, or selling a subscription.

39. Be a Social Media Influencer (Difficult)

Popular on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook? Depending on the size of your following, social media influencers can earn good money by promoting products or services for other companies.

However, it can take a long time to build up a large enough following to attract sponsorships. You usually need at least a 5-digit following and active engagement on your posts.

It's best to have a niche, aesthetic, and post regular, creative content.

40. Lead Generation (Difficult)

A lot of small companies don't have time or don't know how to bring in new clients online.

If you're good at SEO and digital marketing, you can offer services to local businesses to help them bring in leads. This means helping the business rank on search engines, Google ads, and/or social media marketing.

This is called lead generation. The main goal is to develop a list of potential customers.

Industries that pay the most for lead generation include lending, mortgage, life insurance, contractors, and home service providers.

What Experts Say

CreditDonkey assembled a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions:

  • Why are so many full-time workers looking for a side hustle?
  • Why is real estate a good (or bad) investment?
  • Why is budgeting so hard?

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

Passive income is the holy grail of achieving financial freedom. There are a ton of ways to make different income streams no matter your financial situation.

For the passive income options that make the most sense for you, think about what you have on hand - whether that's cash, skills and/or resources. Once you choose a method, the key is to stick with it. Continue to remind yourself of your reason.

Earning a passive income is possible if you make a plan, put in the time, and have a strong work ethic. There's no guarantee as to how much you may earn. But if you diversify your efforts and build multiple revenue streams of passive income, you can make it into a reality.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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