What is Passive Income?
Before we jump right in, let’s have a quick look at the definition.
Passive income is money that is usually (but not always) received on a regular basis without any or only little effort.
Sounds good so far? It sure does. But please keep in mind that no income, not even passive income, just flows in like that.
You ALWAYS have to put in some work.
You either have to do much, in the beginning, to set up your passive income stream or/and you regularly have to invest at least a bit time, effort or money to maintain that income.
Don’t get tricked by the illusion that you don’t have to do anything and receive money. It’s not going to work like that.
The Best Passive Income Ideas
Now let’s talk about the interesting part. Since there are quite a few ways how you can generate ongoing cash flow, I have structured the following passive income stream ideas a little bit to keep an overview.
Get Paid for your Daily Activities
This is probably the kind of passive income that most people have in mind and want to do. With these income opportunities, you are doing pretty much the same things you are doing anyway and get paid for it. Doesn’t get easier than that.
The only downside is that you won’t get rich with it. Depending on how active you are, you can definitely make a couple of hundred dollars a month. That surely is great extra pocket money but won’t pay your rent.
Get Paid to Shop Online
If you are like me, you buy loads of stuff online, mostly on Amazon. Believe it or not but you can actually get money back for doing so. Websites such as Ebates partner with popular retailers, for example, Walmart or Amazon, and give you up to 10% cash back.
All you have to do is register with Ebates and click on their provided links to enter your desired store. That’s it. Super easy, definitely passive and well worth it. Even if you only shop online every once in a while you should check them out because they also offer discounts, such as up to 40% off at American Eagle.
Get Paid to Search the Web
Another super easy way to make passive income without doing much is using platforms such as Swagbucks or InboxDollar. Every time you search the web using their search console (very similar to Google) you get paid.
And they offer even more: Every time you are bored and play an online game they offer, you get paid. Every time you read emails or shop online, the money comes right back in. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Get Paid to Watch Videos
Lazy Sunday night, all you want to do is watch TV? Head over to Swagbucks. Why? Because every time you watch a video on their site, you get cash back. These videos usually range from news to sports to sponsored videos. Easy!
Get Paid to go Shopping
You can’t only get cash back with online shopping but also when you buy products locally. All you have to do is add what you want to buy in the Ibotta app, go shopping and take a photo of your receipt. Within 48 hours you will get a certain amount of cash back in your Ibotta account.
There are over 300 partner stores, for example, Walmart, 7-Eleven, Best Buy or Homeland, so a wide range to choose from.
Get Paid to Walk & Exercise
Walk your dog in the morning or a quick run in the evening and get paid for it! Sounds crazy? But it’s true. Apps, such as Sweatcoin or HealthyWage will pay you for every step you take and every pound of body fat you lose. That’s not only great for your bank account but also for your health.
Get Paid to Eat Out
Do you like going out for dinner? If so, go ahead and download the app Seated. Every time you use the app to make a reservation in a restaurant, you get a gift code for 15-50 USD for brands like Amazon, Starbucks or Lyft. Yes, please!
Get Paid for Using Credit Cards
If you need to use a credit card for your purchases anyway, why not use one that gives you cash back? Some credit cards give you 1-5% back on the money you have spent using them. As easy as that. You can get good conditions with, for example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Create & Sell things
This kind of passive income requires you to invest a decent amount of time (and sometimes money) in the beginning. Once you have set up your idea and it’s running smoothly, it only needs little maintenance to keep it going.
Books or E-Books
A very popular way of creating passive income. Do your research and find out which niches are particularly trending right now and what subject has enough potential to sell well. Write the book yourself or get a content writer to do so for you. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be the longest book ever. If you manage to get quality content on 30 pages, that will do, too.
Now you can publish it (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is one of the easiest ways) and promote it on social media or on certain websites for eBook authors to get good reviews. Once everything is set, all you have to do are frequent updates of the content if applicable and promoting it.
You will now make money every time someone buys your book.
Since you have invested so much time in writing a book, why not make an audio copy of it, too? You can either record it yourself or hire a freelancer to do the job for you. Similar to the eBook business, you only have to upload it, e.g. on Amazon, and get paid royalties every time someone buys it.
Print on Demand Products
T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads… The list of products with custom made designs is very long. Want to jump on the bandwagon and make good money with that, too? All you have to do is upload your design on Amazon Merch and they take care of the production, packaging, and shipping.
Or use sites like Café Press. Every time your design is sold, you earn royalties.
Are you an expert in a certain area? This could be blogging, photography, investment banking or whatever you can think of. If so, you can create an online course which could be based on videos of you explaining or written text. Upload it on platforms such as Udemy and run your promotion. Once everything is set up, you will earn money for every course sold.
License your Photos
In case you have a talent and passion for photography, why not selling your pics? Maybe you have some awesome landscape photos or are specialized in portraits? Upload them on websites like Shutterstock and get paid whenever people download them.
Do you have a great idea for a useful or fun app? This could be a game, dating app, cooking or fitness app, travel or money related app or whatever you can think of. The opportunities are almost endless. Again, once you have created the app and got your promoting sorted, it can be a lucrative source of passive income.
And don’t be scared off in case you have zero knowledge of how to develop an app. There are plenty of talented freelancers out there who are happy to help you out or you can use specific software like iBuildApp to do it easily yourself.
Ok, online marketing is a huge field and could literally be anything. Luckily, there are also a few ways to make passive income online with marketing. Here are the most popular ones:
Simply put: You promote other people’s products or services and get a reward (usually a commission) if someone buys it because of your efforts.
- One popular way to use affiliate marketing is on a blog. You recommend certain products to your readers and if they buy it after clicking on the link you provide, you get paid.
- You don’t need to have a blog to use affiliate marketing. You can also dedicate a whole website for affiliate products. Comparison websites are super popular and a great way to generate passive income. Think of post titles like “The Top 5 Best Travel Cameras” or “The 10 Best Smoothie Makers” or anything like that. The opportunities are almost endless.
- But affiliate marketing works even without a website. You can, for example, promote a product on Instagram and insert your affiliate link in your Instagram profile.
- Or promote items on Pinterest and link your pins directly to the retailer. If you want to find out more about it, read Regina’s comprehensive guide on The Money Market.
In case you have a website for affiliate marketing or a blog, you might as well use ads to generate some extra money. There are several companies out there, which you could use, for example, Google Adsense or Mediavine. The more visitors you have, the more money you can make.
And another great way to make passive income is monetizing YouTube Videos. If you are a Vlogger anyway and regularly upload new videos or already have very popular ones on the platform, you can run ads before your video is displayed and get paid for that.
Again, you need to have a lot of views to make good money with it. But if you are active on YouTube anyway, why not make a few extra dollars with it?
No matter what list with passive income ideas you look at, I bet that 98% of them list “blogging” as a great source of money. So let’s see how exactly you can monetize blogs or websites.
The classic. Start a blog. Sounds super easy but I can guarantee you, it is not. Especially in the beginning, you have to invest countless hours to get enough regular visitors to be able to monetize it.
However, there are plenty of ways to make income from a blog. As mentioned before, affiliate income and ads are a very popular way. Or you can sell memberships to a private area where members can download documents or can connect.
Once you have everything up and running, this can make you thousands and thousands of dollar a month. Check out blogging superstars like Michelle from Making Sense of Cents and learn from their expertise.
Extra Tip: If you don’t want to invest the time to start a brand new blog, you can also buy an existing one and “only” maintain it to drive continuous income.
Flip a Blog
How about this: You have your blog up and running and can now sell it for a big chunk of extra cash. Or you buy a blog, improve it a bit and then sell it again, making a profit doing so. Once you have turned into a little expert in your niche you will know how to increase the value of a blog without too many difficulties.
This option might not be completely passive, however, it can be great money if done correctly. Go and check out websites such as Flippa to buy and sell blogs.
Flip a Domain
In the same way, as you can flip a blog, you can also flip a domain name. Since there is a limited number of popular domain names out there, you can make some nice extra cash with it. The idea behind it is to find out what names will soon be in high demand and buy them. You can then either sell them immediately or wait for a while until the trend for the name or niche has reached the highest point.
You should do your homework and research profitable niches, though, to not buy useless domains. Again, Flippa is a great platform to buy and sell domains.
There are more ways to generate high passive income on a very professional level. Check these ones out:
Ever heard of dropshipping? What you need to do is to set up an online shop, for example with Shopify, and then sell products. You don’t need to produce, own or store these products yourself but let the manufacturer or another retailer handle the logistics.
Once your store is running, you don’t have to spend all of your time on it anymore but can focus on marketing only.
If you want to learn more about this and how to start your first dropshipping business, check out the linked post.
Outsource your Business
Who says that you have to create new businesses to make passive income? Maybe you already have a business up and running and can outsource most of the work? Books like Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker teach you how to find and train people to do your business tasks. That gives you more freedom to do other things.
If you have money that you are currently don’t need, you could also invest it. This can bring quite a bit of money on the long run without any work from your part. But please keep in mind that any type of investment has a certain level of risk to it.
Crowdfunded Real Estate
Who doesn’t dream about buying a great house or apartment, renting it out and making lots of money with it (I can’t be the only one!)? But since real estate is not a cheap thing, most people can’t afford that investment.
People who don’t qualify for traditional ways of financing often look for private investors. If you loan private individual money, you can often expect a return of 6-10% if not more. Where to find people you can support? Check out platforms such as Lending Club.
Invest in Cryptocurrencies
Ever wondered if you should invest in Bitcoins? Well, I can’t tell you if you should or not. But as a matter of fact, there are many people out there who made great money with it.
Definitely go and have a look what other cryptocurrencies are out there and learn how to invest in them the right way. To get a first glance at the potential of Bitcoins, check out Mike Vestil’s video on his first cryptocurrency investment.
Rent Stuff Out
I know this last section is nothing you do online. But these are still great passive income ideas, so maybe they can work for you, too.
Rent out a Room
Do you have a spare room in your house or apartment? If so, why not rent it out? It doesn’t even have to be all year round. Maybe your location has popular seasons, like festivals or is in a great spot for summer holidays? Rent it out for only a few days a month and make easy money with it. Use platforms like Airbnb or EasyRoommate to find tenants.
Rent Your Car/Motorbike
If you have a car or motorbike which you don’t use 7 days a week, you could rent that out, too. You will be surprised how much money that can make in popular locations. Use platforms like HyreCar to match with potential renters.
Rent out Tools
As you might have noticed you can literally rent out anything you own and other people need from time to time. Tools are another great example. Do you have a drilling machine, motor saw, bicycle car rack or a high-pressure cleaner? Put it on websites such as Craigslist or RentMyItems and make easy money with it.
Rent Car for Ad Space
And for everyone who owns a car and drives a lot with it, you can rent your car for ad space. Get a random advertisement on it and drive around as you normally do. Just beware to not pay anything upfront, as there are quite a few scams out there in that area. Check out legit companies such as Carvertise, Autowrapped or Pay me for Driving.
Is Passive Income Possible? You Bet!
Oh boy, what a list! That gives you plenty of passive income ideas that you can test out. Some options only require you to download an app and use it for shopping or watching videos. Other methods need you to invest in something and again others require you to put in a bit of work in the beginning.
Go with whatever you feel most comfortable. Even if you will only make 300 USD a month, that comes to 3.600 USD a year! That’s definitely worth a bit of effort.
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