“Making money while you sleep” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Let’s be honest, if you want passive income for life, you have to get to the point where your assets are earning for you (even while you’re sleeping). But first, you’ll have to put in one of three things: time, money, work, or all three.
If you’re willing to commit your resources to the ideas below, like earning interest with High Yield Savings Accounts via CIT Bank or Peer-to-Peer lending with Lending Club, you could be earning effortlessly for years to come.
You just need to know where to start and decide what resources you’re willing to expend for your passive income ideas to take flight.
First, Here Are Our Top 5 Passive Income Ideas
|High-Yield Savings Account||Discover: 1.85%||Learn More|
|High Dividend Stocks||Ally Invest: $0 Minimum||Learn More|
|Passive Real Estate||REITs||Learn More|
|Robo-Investing||Betterment: $0 Minimum||Learn More|
|CDs||CIT Bank 11mo No-Penalty CD – 2.05%||Learn More|
What is Passive Income?
Passive income is money earned with minimal activity through a variety of ventures which require little daily effort or upkeep on the individual’s part.
The initial downtime you put into passive income can be as involved as starting a blog or as simple as logging into a robo-advisor platform and investing $100. You can earn passive income whether you’re an entrepreneur with a brilliant business plan, a talented artist, or just happen to have extra cash to invest.
There’s no magic trick that turns your time directly into money. Instead, you plant seeds so your money will grow, even when you’re sleeping or at the park walking your dog.
How To Create Passive Income
- Savings Account
- High Dividend Stocks
- Passive Real Estate
- Index Funds
- Corporate Bonds
- Lending Club
- Rent Your Space
- Start a Blog
- Buy a Blog
- Affiliatize a Blog
- Online Course or Guide
- Online Tasks
- Online Rebates
- Cashback Credit Cards
- Sleep Studies
- Advertise with Your Car
- Rent Your Car
- Rideshare Driving
- Silent Partner
- Buy a Business
- Outsource Your Business
Our Unique List of Passive Income Ideas
1. Invest in High-Yield Savings
Savings accounts might be the most boring investment ever invented, but they are also the safest.
At 0.15 percent interest or lower, you’d need to exceed the FDIC-insured $250,000 account limit to see any real action.
Online banks provide savings account rates as good as a CD without locking in your money for several years.
For example, right now Discover is offering 1.85% interest rate on their Online Savings account.
That is close to 25 times what you’d get at the bricks and mortar bank around the corner. Sure, it won’t make you rich, but it’s safe and easy.
Our reviews of online banks that offer high-yield savings accounts include:
- CIT Bank, which boasts some of the highest CD rates around.
- Barclays, which offers only savings and CDs in the U.S.
- BBVA, whose Money Market and short-term CDS are competitive.
- Synchrony, which also has limited account options.
- Ally, where you can also get a checking account.
2. Invest in High Dividend Stocks
By building a portfolio of high dividend stocks, you can create regular passive income at an annual rate that is much higher than what you get on bank investments.
Just as important, since high dividend stocks are stocks, there is always the potential for capital appreciation. In that way, you can earn passive income from two sources – dividends and capital gains.
You can make this process very easy and affordable by opening an account with Ally Invest. They have one of the lowest fees for each trade and are a long time top brokerage. If you are interested in other brokerage accounts we have provided a good write up of all the different options. Read my full Ally Invest review.
3. Passive Real Estate
With a REIT, all of the money is invested in real estate. Because the REIT owns the property, you don’t have to worry about handling the landlord duties.
REITs typically pay higher dividends than stocks, bonds, or bank investments. You can also sell your interest in a REIT anytime you like, which makes it more liquid than owning real estate outright.
If you don’t have the time, skill, or upfront money to flip a house, or if you’d rather not be a landlord, Fundrise is your go-to. With Fundrise, you buy shares in the trust, and it uses your money to develop a variety of real estate projects. If the project turns a profit, so do you.
With other real estate investments, you’ll have to have a lot of money saved up to start, but Fundrise lets you get into the real estate business with your Christmas bonus money, as little as $500.
In 2017, the company posted returns of 11.44%.
Obviously, these are much higher than you’re going to get with most other investments. What’s more is that you can choose a plan that matches your investment strategy, whether your goal is Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, or Long-term Growth. You can also look at different real estate projects and choose for yourself which ones to invest in.
If the concept behind Fundrise appeals to you but you’re looking to invest in real estate with a little less risk, you need to check out Realty Mogul. This crowdfunded private REIT is targeted towards accredited investors and posts an average return around 8%.
One standout feature of Realty Mogul is its 1031 exchange platform. Based on IRS code section 1031, investors can sell their current real estate, invest the funds gained into a new property, and avoid taxes in the process if they make the exchange within 180 days.
With Realty Mogul, a 1031 exchange is easier than ever. The platform has successfully invested millions in 1031 exchanges. And as Realty Mogul puts it, you get instant passive investing with “No Agents, No Escrow, No Closing Costs.
4. Invest With a Robo-advisor like Betterment
Letting an algorithm manage your investments is about as passive as you can get. Robo-advisors like Betterment allow you to set your willingness for risk, then sit back and let the income flow. And the fees are much lower than what you’d pay a human account manager. Below is a rundown of a few of the leading robo-advisor platforms.
I have been a long-time supporter of Betterment and even did an interview with their CEO in my Betterment investing review. Betterment is great at reducing any taxes you have to pay on your investments, and they work with you to give you the best financial advice through their algorithms.
Unlike other robo-advisors, with Betterment, you can actually talk to a human being if you want to. Betterment charges the same fees as Wealthfront but does not waive the fee on the first $10,000 you invest.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either service, but if I am investing a large sum to create a passive income investment, then I would go with Betterment, as their overall fees are lower.
- Helps employer-sponsored accounts (401k, 403b, 401a, and 457 accounts)
- $10 per month no matter how large your 401k grows.
- Sign up with Blooom >>
M1 Finance (our review):
- No fees, not even trading fees
- Can borrow against your account with low interest rates.
- Sign up for M1 Finance >>
5. Invest in CDs
CDs are simple, straightforward, and if I’m being honest, far from the most exciting investment strategy out there. But if your goal is to make money while you sleep, there isn’t anything more passive than CDs. Investing in a certificate of deposit is a great-low risk strategy to accrue interest risk-free.
CDs are like savings accounts with a catch. You can’t touch your funds before they reach maturity, which is based on the time frame you set when you open the account. That time period can range from months to years.
Exception: CIT Bank 11mo No-Penalty CD – 2.05%
CD rates are on the rise, putting them in the top of our list of the best low-risk investments. As you might guess, the longer the CD length, the higher the interest rate typically is.
CDs are an awesome source of passive income because your interest rate is locked in, regardless of how interest rates fluctuate during the length of your CD.
CIT Bank, like savings accounts, is one of your best bets for opening a CD, with highly competitive interest rates.
6. Invest in Index Funds
Index funds give you a passive way to invest in the stock market. For example, if you invest money in an index fund based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market.
This means you won’t have to worry about details like choosing specific investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies.
E*Trade is our recommended online broker for buying index funds. They make the research and process of investing in different funds very easy. On top of that, getting your account going is super cheap, and the cost per trade very affordable.
All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, contribute money, then sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will be on autopilot.
Pro Tip: I would look at opening a Roth IRA. It will shield your savings from any future taxes and you can withdraw all earning tax-free once you hit 59 1/2. It is one of the best ways to save money for retirement.
7. Corporate Bonds
Corporate bonds are an interesting alternative for earning passive income via the investment route. Corporate bonds are exactly what they sound like: bonds issued by corporations. Companies then use those investments to fund their business.
You can buy corporate bonds from major corporations and earn higher interest than you would on, say, a U.S. Treasury. That’s because a corporate bond involves a higher risk than a government backed investment.
But if you approach corporate bonds wisely and do your research, the risk is relatively low. By looking into a corporation’s rating from the three major credit rating agencies, you can assess the company’s likelihood of defaulting. If they receive a high score, you can invest with confidence.
You can buy into bonds individually or set your sights on ETFs and mutual funds that include bonds. When it comes to purchasing corporate bonds, I recommend Ally Invest. With a robust offering of bonds and stellar rates, Ally is hard to beat.
8. Invest with Lending Club
If you want to add a little excitement to your passive income investing, meet Lending Club, the web-based peer-to-peer lending platform where investors looking for high-interest opportunities provide the funds for loans. You can earn interest rates in excess of 10 percent a year – about 10 times what you will earn on more conventional interest-bearing investments.
My advice: start out with $2,500. Since you can invest as little as $25 in a single loan, you could buy into 100 different loans. That way, you don’t have to worry about a single loan going bad and ruining your investment.
I have averaged just under 9% during the eight years I have been investing with them. Read my full Lending Club Review.
9. Rent Your Space
If you’re interested in making money in real estate but want more of a hands-on approach, renting out your vacation home, house, apartment, or even a single room can be a stellar way to earn passively.
Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. Their site breaks rentals into three categories: private room, shared room, and entire home.
Airbnb charges you 3% on every booking for their services, and you receive payment 24 hours after your guests check in. Wherever you are, you can make money on space in your home that might just be sitting empty otherwise.
With over 2 million rental properties, most of which are entire home rentals, VRBO has established itself as a legitimate service for renters and owners alike.
According to their user-friendly website, there are three simple steps to listing: you simple et up your property, get the perfect match, and start earning. If you rent year round, you can pay an annual fee, currently $400, to VRBO.
If you really want to get passive, you can outsource the management of your rental for a slightly higher fee. It’s effortless earning at its finest.
Pro tip: The key to your rental success is reviews. The more 4 and 5-stars you get, the more people will rent your space (and the more money you’ll make).
10. Start a Blog
Take it from someone who’s reaping the benefits as we speak — blogs are an unbelievable source of passive income. But there’s more to making bank with a blog than just posting good content.
If you’re looking for an extremely cheap, yet highly scalable way to create a passive income for yourself, you might want to take a moment and consider starting a blog.
Did you know: you can start a blog for as little as a penny for your first month, and just a couple dollars per month thereafter?
Here’s the idea: If you can consistently use your blog and create a lot of value for a lot of people, you can generate an extraordinary amount of passive income. As you post to your blog, more and more, your site will start bringing in traffic whether you put in any additional time or not.
A blog is the most cost-effective method to creating a truly passive income stream I know of. Hour after hour, day after day, your blog is out there doing work for you;
What’s the catch? It takes time to get it rolling. That’s it. The sooner you start, the sooner an income stream can begin to grow.
You’ll also want to access our Make 1k Challenge, which is a free email course that walks through the steps to start your first blog and make your first $1,000.
11. Buy a Blog
Thousands of blogs are abandoned by their owners every year. If you can buy blogs with a reasonable amount of web traffic and demonstrated cash flow, it could be a perfect passive income source.
Most blogs employ Google AdSense, which provides a monthly revenue stream based on ads that Google places on the site. There may also be affiliate programs generating additional revenue.
From a financial perspective, blogs usually sell for 24 times their monthly income. So if the site generates $250 a month in income, you can likely buy it for no more than $6,000. Translation: a $6,000 investment will buy you $3,000 per year in cash flow.
Some sites have good “evergreen content that will continue generating revenue even years after the site has gone silent, so a simple $5,000 investment can net you ongoing passive income.
Bonus tip: If you buy such a site then reinvigorate it with fresh content, you may be able to increase the monthly revenue and sell the site at a later date for substantially more than what you paid for it.
I recommend buying a blog on Flippa. Here are some quick facts on this awesome marketplace:
- Includes everything from small sites to ones that garner millions
- Currently has more than 2,000 web-based businesses for sale
- Based on a bidding system and fulfilled by Flippa Escrow program to ensure your money and business are safely secured.
12. Affiliatize your Blog
Whether you start your own blog or buy a pre-existing one, choosing to affiliatize it is a passive income technique that will serve you well. You can sign up to promote certain products or services on your site, for which you will be paid a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of the sale.
If you think affiliate marketing is too complicated for you, you’re selling yourself short. This strategy isn’t as hard to do as you might think.
You can find affiliate offers by contacting vendors directly or on dedicated websites such as ShopHerMedia.com. It’s always best if the product or service is one that you are either very interested in or one which is highly relevant to your website.
13. Create an Online Course or Guide
Why not create an online course based on your passion? My buddy Ramit Sethi at IWillTeachYoutobeRich.com is an expert at creating online courses. He has made an insane amount of money selling his lessons.
One very simple way is to produce and share your course is Teachable.com. Teachable has over three million students and is a great way to get your content in front of others.
What do you put in your online course? Good question. You can add:
- video lessons
- checklists for completing steps you recommend in your video lessons
- small ebooks to supplement the lessons
- audio files for people listening while traveling
- informative interviews with like-minded experts
- and a whole bunch more!
Pro Tip: Create several packages at different price points. Some people want everything, so you can include ‘the works’ for the highest price point and have two lower price points so you can receive the largest possible volume of orders.
If writing articles or creating videos isn’t your thing and you want to make money online, try creating an online guide. A good example of this income source comes from Pat Flynn’s website, SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. On the website, his map allows someone to click on any state to see the security guard requirements for that state.
By providing specific information in a guide-like format, you can make money through some of the means already addressed: Google AdSense, affiliates, and even memberships to your online guide.
It’s a fantastic idea!
14. Shop, Search, and Play Online
InboxDollars allows you to make money by searching the web, shopping online, playing games, and more! While some of their options allow you to take surveys for cash, others simply require you to read emails. Period. With PaidEmail, you get up to three emails a day.
Just open the message, read it, and click a button to acknowledge you read it. Voila, you’ve just made money!
While you can opt to sign up for services to receive even more money, you’re only required to read the messages to earn.
Swagbucks also allows you to make money doing similar activities. When you shop with major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon through Swagbucks, you get Swagbucks points.
You also earn Swagbucks points for watching videos, reading messages, answering surveys, and conducting your web surfing through Swagbucks. Then you exchange your points for PayPal payments or gift cards to your favorite retailers.
15. Get Online Rebates
With Ebates, you can get a rebate when you shop at a surprisingly wide variety of online retailers. Here’s how it works:
- Start an Ebates account.
- Follow the directions to activate the Ebates browser extension.
- Shop like you normally would online.
Cashback percentages range from 1 to 22 percent (occasionally higher)! Each month you’ll get a check, PayPal payment, or gift card to the store of your choice.
If you buy a big-ticket item like a refrigerator or a smartphone or do your grocery shopping online, you can earn some noticeable income.
16. Use Cashback Credit Cards
If you’re already using credit for some of your purchases, pursuing credit card rewards is an absolute no-brainer. Most top rewards cards let you earn anywhere from 1 to 5 percent back with almost no effort on your part!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred®card offers one of the best opportunities out there. Spend $4,000 on the card in 90 days to earn 50,000 points, worth $500. Add your spouse as an approved user, and you score an extra 5,000 points. That’s 59,000 points for just $4,000 of spending you were going to do anyway.
Our post on the top six cash back credit cards for 2019 offers an array of additional options. With the right card, you could earn 1 to 5 percent back with almost no effort. If travel is your thing, you can get bonus offers on travel rewards credit cards to save thousands of dollars on travel each year.
17. Get Paid to Snooze With Sleep Studies
I’m not even kidding. If you’re in decent health, catch plenty of Zzz’s, and are in an area where a sleep study is being conducted, you could make the most passive income of all.
If you qualify, you could make thousands of dollars in one study. Once accepted, you’ll probably have to undergo a physical, alongside an exam from a psychologist to ensure you’re up to the task. Did I mention you get paid every step of the way?
Keep in mind, though, that these studies have their own challenges, like cutting you off from media sources and your social life and requiring you to be watched and studied for the duration of the experiment.
You might also be asked to sleep in potentially uncomfortable positions for an extended period of time. But the pay is impressive. For sleep studies and other medical and psychological studies, search ClinicalTrials.gov and filter results based on your location, age, and other factors.
18. Advertise with Your Car
Carvertise: With Carvertise you could earn up to $1200 during an ad campaign and can usually expect around $100 a month, just to use your car as ad space. Check out their site to see if they’re currently advertising in your area.
Wrapify: Wrapify operates a lot like Carvertise, but differs in how you get paid. With Wrapify, you track your mileage and location. The more you drive, the more ads you qualify for, and the more money you make, which can add up to $200 a month.
Vugo: Vugo is an awesome way to earn passively alongside rideshare driving. All you do is mount a phone or tablet to your dash and play ads, games, and videos. The app is compatible with Google Maps and Waze. Drivers can earn up to $200 more a month playing the ads, and there’s a driver tipping feature built in.
19. Rent Your Car
HyreCar: With an Uber or Lyft inspection report, photos, and a description of your ride, you can start earning. 24 hours before a rider takes your car. you’re provided with insurance coverage for the rental period. Renters typically pay around $35 to $65 a day, providing you with a nice stream of passive income.
Turo: Similar to HyreCar, Turo offers optional accident protection and allows users to rent their cars easily through the website. With Turo, car owners collect anywhere from 65-85% of the trip’s fare, or 90% if they forego insurance. Your pay gets direct deposited within a week of the ride. Piece of cake.
FluidMarket: If you have a truck, you can rent it to movers in need. According to the Fluid market website, you can make up to $12,000 a year with a pickup and potentially earn $24,000 with a box truck. And you never have to lift a single moving box.
20. Become a Rideshare Driver
While it isn’t completely passive, rideshare driving makes the list due to its flexibility. You can make your own schedule with Uber and pick up extra income by driving others around when you are already out and about anyway! There’s no productivity level you have to reach with Uber or Lyft; you call the shots.
Since you make your own hours and activate the app when you please, you can make Uber driving as passive as you want.
Driving to a football game or a concert in the city? You can pick up a passenger headed the same way and pocket some quick cash without going out of your way to do so.
21. Become a Silent Partner
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become a small-time angel investor. Rather than offering a loan to a business owner like a peer to peer lender, you can treat this as a business opportunity and take an equity position in the business.
The business owner will handle the day-to-day operations while you act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits.
If you want to become a silent partner but don’t have a particular business in mind, I give you AngelList, which, according to their tagline, is “where the world meets startups.
You can be an angel investor to one of over 90,000 companies, meaning you give money to startups in need of traction in exchange for equity. With AngelList, you can earn passively, diversify your portfolio, and support a startup in need. What’s not to love?
22. Buy a Business
Sometimes you can buy a flourishing business and profit from it with little effort. The key is searching out businesses which require little hands-on activity. For instance, consider the idea above of buying a blog.
Say you buy a popular website that has been monetized with affiliates. Even if you never post another piece of content to it and leave the posts there as is, it will still make you passive income.
But if really want to make money on the business you purchase, you will make improvements to it. To do so passively, you need to outsource the work.
23. Outsource Your Business
Outsourcing will free up your time so you can focus on other tasks that will result in more income. If you don’t want to hire employees, consider hiring freelancers who work as contract laborers. Look for freelancers with a strong work ethic who provide quality results.
As long as the main product or service isn’t something only you can do, you can transform your business into a passive moneymaker.
Here are the companies I recommend starting with:
- CloudPeeps: CloudPeeps does an excellent job matching business in need with skilled, vetted freelancers who can manage everything from PR and marketing to web development and administrative tasks.
- Fiverr: Fiverr has it all. Much like CloudPeeps, it supplies hand-picked freelancers for all of your business needs.
- Guru: Guru offers similar services to Fiverr and CloudPeeps but emphasizes their flexible payment options, like hourly pay, recurring payments, payment by milestones, and payment by the project.
- PeoplePerHour: With an advanced AI system that matches your project needs to the perfect freelancer and features on Forbes, CNBC, and BBC, PeoplePerHour offers a legitimate pool of talented artists to outsource to.
- Upwork: Like the other freelancing networks, Upwork pairs you with freelancers in several sectors and boasts hires by companies like Microsoft, with short-term, full time, and recurring options.
Passive income can work for you, regardless of if you have millions of dollars to invest and no time to spare, or $0, ample free time, and a spark of ingenuity.
While they might take some funding and fortitude to get started, the moneymakers on this list will continue to earn you money long after you’ve put in the work.
So look at what your working with: establish your financial goals and decide how much time, effort, and money you’re willing to put into your venture.
Whether you choose to invest, buy a business, outsource your own, or get paid for your daily routine, you can prosper from passive income.
What are you waiting for? Plant the seeds today with one of the ideas on the list.