Make Money Work for You: 20 Passive Income Ideas for 2023
Having financial freedom and doing things you like while still accumulating wealth has always been the dream of the working class. That dream has become more accessible in recent years, thanks to the expansion of technology.
Before you ask yourself, “Where do I sign up?” thinking you’ll quickly earn some easy money, we’ll give you a few insights about passive income and suggest some options to get you started.
What is Passive Income?
Before going further, let’s talk about what passive income actually is and how it can become a source of extra earnings.
Passive income is the money you earn and regularly receive from investments, properties, or a side hustle that generates profits without you having to do much.
It differs from active income in that you don’t have to be actively involved and physically present at your workplace. In other words, you’re not committed to a steady full-time job, but you still achieve a steady flow of cash.
Creating a passive income stream is important because it can mitigate your financial risks while earning extra cash. There are numerous passive income options, but you should know that most require an upfront monetary or time investment.
Thinking that you don’t have to do anything to bring in income is a common misconception - we’re here to clear it up. You have to be ready to invest your time and money right away and then wait (sometimes for a long time) for it all to start yielding profits.
Open a High Yield Savings or Money Market Account
If you haven’t considered it so far, we can assure you that opening a high-yield savings account can help you generate extra cash flow. This type of account is favorable due to its significantly higher interest rates compared to the national average and a high APY.
Furthermore, your interest is compounded on a daily basis, making your earnings grow more over time. A high-yield savings account might be one of the best passive income ideas with little money needed upfront because opening it usually requires no more than $100, and there are no minimum account balances or commission fees to worry about.
Even though you might feel restricted since you’ll have a limited number of withdrawals each month, that’ll actually save your money as you’ll be urged to save and discouraged from spending.
If you don't want to think much about your money but want it to work for you, opening a money market account is another great option. These accounts usually have higher APY standard savings accounts while still offering checkbooks and debit cards. The downside is that MMAs often require a higher minimum deposit or balance on your account, even when compared to high-yield savings accounts.
Robo-Advisor Stock Market Investing
If you’re looking for simple passive income ideas that don’t require much effort, investing in stocks might be the best option for you. However, if you’re new to the stock trading market or if picking dividend-paying stocks sounds daunting, the good news is that you can lean on an automatic investment manager to do the legwork for you.
Robo-advisor software has democratized the share market, making it possible for less tech-savvy investors and even complete newcomers to join in and start earning.
Robo-advisors provide automated, low-cost financial advice and create your portfolio based on a series of questions you answer when creating an account. Similar to traditional brokerages, they provide analysis, give you insights, and set a goal based on the data given.
To earn passive income with the help of Robo-advisors, the only thing you need to do is pick one, pay a low monthly maintenance fee, sit back, and wait for your funds to start growing.
Invest in Dividend Stocks
If you’re ready to step up your stock market goals, consider investing in tried-and-true dividend stocks. Dividends are regular quarterly payments that a company makes to investors who own its stocks.
Companies distribute stocks to shareholders in a bid to share their profits, and investors can choose to trade them using stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or other options.
To start investing in dividends, make sure to open an account at an online stock brokerage with a reliable platform and keep a keen eye out on investment opportunities. By doing so, you’ll be able to amass a nice passive income in stocks over time.
Many brokerages offer a free service and don’t have account minimums, so you won’t have to break the bank to start trading. Remember, the more shares you have, the higher the payouts you’ll get as the stock increases in value.
The tricky part with these types of investments is choosing the right dividends. However, there’s a way to circumvent all the research and evaluation of the individual companies - investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
ETFs cover many markets and allow investing in a large number of securities at the same time - stocks, bonds, or commodities. They are easy to understand, less expensive for maintenance, offer trading flexibility and portfolio diversification, and thus make one of the best investment ideas for passive income.
Go For Cryptocurrencies
We’re witnessing a rapid expansion of the crypto market these days, and it seems that everyone around you owns some cryptocurrency in their virtual piggy banks. With so many crypto exchange platforms popping up that it’s hard to follow them all, you won’t have any problems finding a place to get started.
While the potential for growth is undeniable, there are risks, too. Crypto markets can inflict significant losses, too, on account of their extreme volatility. That said, most people regret impulse sales, and if you look at the big picture, the value of Bitcoin, Ether and some other major cryptocurrencies only grew over the years. With that in mind, don’t let yourself get cold feet as soon as you see a downward trend - as with most things in life, rewards come to those who are patient.
Another option related to cryptocurrencies is the new crypto savings accounts that have been rising in popularity lately. As one of the top passive income ideas, some online banks offer Bitcoin Rewards checking accounts. Simply by swiping the cards on the qualified points of sale (POS), you’ll get rewards in Bitcoins that pile up on your balance until you redeem them.
Buy and Start Renting a Property
Buying a property is quite a significant upfront investment, but it’ll bring you regular monthly income with little effort down the line. If you outsource running it to a management company, you will make a bit less money, but it will become even easier to manage. Passive income Ideas related to real estate provide a lot of opportunities, but you have to be careful in today’s volatile market.
Someone who’s already in the real estate business won’t need to do a lot of research, and the best part is that investing in a property can these days be done entirely online.
If you already have a spare property to rent, things are even better; simply invest some money into renovating and redecorating it as needed, and you’re good to go. Your tenants will pay for your mortgage debt if you have one, so this is a great idea for people who already have a house but want to buy another one without having to pay it off by themselves.
However, if you find long-term renting stressful due to maintenance, mortgages, property tax bills, investing in tenant screening services, and other expenses, there’s another option.
Short-term leasing of your home via websites such as Booking or Airbnb is one of the best ideas for passive income that’ll bring you profits without much of the hassle associated with long-term home renting.
However, if you opt for this option, ensure that your area is attractive to tourists all year long, or you won’t earn much. In any case, if you’re not satisfied with your earnings, you can always sell your property and try to return the money you’ve invested.
Participate in REITs
Speaking of real estate, we’ll present you with another related option for passive income: Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs for short. These are companies that own and operate commercial properties such as office buildings, apartments and hotels, and retail spaces.
Some REITs are publicly traded on exchanges, and some are privately held. We recommend you go for publicly traded ones as it’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make passive income.
REITs behave like any other stock, and you can purchase some stock on an exchange just like any other dividend for as little as $5. Then, you can simply wait for your earnings that the REIT will pay you out as a dividend and look for an annual increase.
On the flip side, REITs can be pretty risky; you’ll have to do a lot of research on the companies to pick the most financially stable ones that’ll earn you the most cash in the long term.
Try With Crowdfunding Platforms
If you’re interested in the best passive income investments but not sure what to fund, here’s an idea; why not financially back a project, a campaign, or a start-up through one of the many online crowdfunding platforms?
Thousands of innovators are looking for investors to support their ideas and enterprises. They often join crowdfunding sites to match with interested sponsors who can make their ideas become a reality.
You can become an angel investor by joining these campaigns on crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Krowdster, etc., and fund a project you think will make a profit. Then, all that’s left to do is wait and hope. If you’ve picked well, returns on your investment via interest or equity will start rolling in once the company starts earning profits.
Practice Peer-to-Peer Lending
The next on our list of passive income opportunities is Peer-to-Peer lending (P2P), an innovative alternative to traditional funding sources. P2P, or social lending, is a way of taking a loan from intermediary peer-to-peer lending companies or individuals instead of a bank or a credit union and it’s most commonly used when you have bad credit. When borrowers take loans from you as a P2P investor, you can expect returns of six up to ten percent.
Even though that sounds great, risks are increased, too. Lending money to borrowers who can’t qualify for traditional financing sources due to low creditworthiness is a risky endeavor.
There’s a chance of your debtors defaulting on their installments, so you’ll have to vet the potential borrowers carefully. If everything goes well, though, you’ll be able to relax and wait for your returns to start piling up.
Engage in Affiliate Marketing
If you’re running short on passive income ideas that’ll boost your budget, affiliate marketing might be a great option to consider. Those already running their blog or creating content online are probably familiar with the term.
For those who aren’t, affiliate marketing is a way of advertising through promoting other people’s products or services via email outreach campaigns or social media marketing. Basically, you earn a commission for promoting another individual or company’s product.
If your blog or Instagram and TicToc account already have an audience, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll probably have to grow your influencer potential first.
Here’s how to make passive income by engaging in affiliate marketing; Make sure to do a thorough research of the market, pick your niche, join the relevant affiliate programs, start creating engaging content, and start driving traffic to your affiliate site.
We recommend addressing the millennials, as 40% of them claim their favorite online influencer understands them better than friends in real life.
Once you’re all set, you can wait for visitors’ clicks on affiliate links that’ll earn you commissions. These usually range from three to seven percent of the sale value, so don’t expect to generate significant income quickly.
Although considered passive, you’ll actually have to be 100% engaged in creating exciting and appealing content that will attract the audience to your site, blog, or social media account. If not, expect to earn very little from affiliate marketing.
Own a Vending Machine
In a push to provide steady passive income streams, more and more people are considering the changes in the financial ecosystem after the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm. One of the consequences of the lockdowns is the increased use of vending machines that took the place of brick-and-mortar shopping booths.
They are low cost and low maintenance, and if you go for a used and refurbished one, you will have to pay as little as $1,500. Should you decide to buy a new high-end vending machine, prices can go up to $10,000. Add in some extra cash to replenish the machine with goods, and you can start a vending machine business even with limited resources.
Don’t forget that the location plays a significant role in total revenue, so make sure to place your vending machine in busy areas such as manufacturing and distribution facilities, offices, apartment complexes, or hospitals.
If you’re still wondering how to generate passive income with vending machines, we’ll tell you that they yield over seven billion USD in annual sales in the US alone and that each machine can make more than $300 per month.
Sell Stock Photos
Here’s something for artistic souls out there who feel trapped in their nine-to-five jobs. There’s a way to turn your passion for photography into a lucrative side gig.
Here’s how one of the more creative passive income ideas works: first, you’ll have to research the market and choose your niche according to it. Then, create an account on sites such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, or Alamy.
The final step is to set up a portfolio, license your photos and start snapping some memorable shots.
The stock market is cluttered with photos, so you’ll need to hone your editing skills as well if you wish to truly stand out from the crowd.
Once you get approved by the platform of your choice, you’ll get paid every time someone downloads and uses your photo for their website. Keep posting, and don’t give up if your pics don’t start generating money right away. Sometimes, a single shot can be a game-changer and earn you a fortune.
Write and Sell an eBook
The next option on our list of passive income ideas is selling an ebook online. This is an opportunity to share your knowledge or expertise with a broader audience while earning a nice passive income.
If you’re wondering how to market your book, worry not: there are numerous self-publishing platforms, and the most famous one is undoubtedly Amazon. Now, it’s time to pick a topic for your ebook: it can be something you’re good at, a guide on a specific topic, but it can also be fiction if you’re good at writing novels about adventures or romance.
Once you write your book, you should edit it, choose the design for the cover, and upload it to a self-publishing program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. As with almost all creative ways to make passive income, this one requires a lot of time to pay off, so arm yourself with patience.
Even though writing and selling an ebook requires an upfront investment of your time, you will definitely see the fruits of your labor once your ebook builds up an audience.
Start a Blog or YouTube Channel
When it comes to writing, an ebook isn’t the only choice you have. You can also commit to writing a blog, publishing it regularly, and thus building traffic. First off, you need to get hosting and register a domain for your website.
The rest is writing exciting and engaging content in your niche and monetizing it through display advertising or affiliate marketing. Another way of earning is through publishing sponsored content on your blog.
Have you considered any passive income ideas for your teens that seem to have problems getting off their phones? Did you know that they can use the time spent online to earn pocket money?
Starting a YouTube channel related to video games, books, cooking, product reviews, health, fitness, traveling, or posting vlogs of everyday life can target specific audiences and make the channel profitable through advertising, fan donations, and sponsorships. It’s not restricted to teens, certainly, but you’ll need to carefully consider your target audience depending on your chosen field.
Alternatively, if you prefer shorter video formats, TikTok also presents a great money-making opportunity.
Start a Podcast
Blogging, vlogging, writing, or photography are just some of the fun and creative hobbies that can make money. Chances are, you’re already listening to podcasts while commuting or doing house chores.
These audio-only shows are getting increasingly popular, and more and more creative individuals are starting their podcasts. If you think you can have your say on a relevant topic, this might be one of the most straightforward ideas for passive income around.
You’ll have to choose a topic that’s popular with your target audience, pick a co-host if you wish to share the fun (and earnings), get a professional intro including music cover, and pick recording good equipment.
Then, you can talk about anything you think is relevant for the theme, invite guests to discuss it, edit the recording and submit it to a podcast host such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.
Once you build up followers, your podcast can become a substantial income source through direct support from fans, sponsorships, affiliate sales, and complementary products.
Sell Vintage Clothes Online
In the times when female entrepreneurship is booming, we’ve come up with one of the best passive income ideas for women that will bring them some extra cash. Shopping around for the best vintage pieces of clothing in packed second-hand shops is something most of us have done at least once.
Now you can turn your passion for finding killer deals on vintage clothes into a small business. Simply create a social media account on Instagram or Facebook, invest some time and money into picking the best clothing items, post them, and start selling.
It’s an even more budget-friendly option if you own a collection of retro clothing from your mom or grandparents so that you can simply put it on display in your virtual shop window instead of having to snoop around to create an inventory from scratch.
Passive income jobs like this can easily become a more lucrative business given time and effort on your behalf. If your pieces attract attention from online crowds, your business can quickly start blooming.
This idea is loosely related to the one on our list about selling vintage clothes. However, designing your own t-shirts or other products requires investing more of your time while also requiring talent and creativity to create appealing designs.
Once you brainstorm your signature design, you can open your online merch store. You’ll need to find suppliers for quality materials and decide on the printing technique you will use. You can get a printer and do everything from scratch on your own, or you can outsource this part of the process to specialists.
Once you have everything ready and approve the samples you’ve been given (or are happy with the ones you’ve managed to produce), you’ll be good to go. All that’s left is to launch an online T-shirt or merch store through a dedicated website or a popular social media platform and wait for the money to start piling up.
While this is not one of the easiest ways to make passive income, it’s definitely one of the more creative ones, and if you have a knack for design, one that can make you a ton of money.
Sell Your Designs Online
Online passive income ideas for businesses shouldn’t be limited to designing t-shirts and other clothing items. If you’re good at drawing or have basic graphic design skills, there are many ways to cash in on some passive income from your designs.
Creating original art prints, digitized wall art, embroidery patterns, digital files, monthly planners, and many more types of items can be not only a fun hobby but a lucrative business, too.
To capitalize on your ideas, simply upload your designs on popular online platforms such as Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, CafePress, or Zazzle. Customers that want to purchase your product will simply download it and pay for it online, and you won’t even need to go to the post office to send packages. It’s as simple as that.
Create an Online Course
You don’t have to have unique passive income ideas to make a profit. One spin on a classic teacher role that gained momentum in times of social restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic is creating online courses. Instead of being an active teacher or tutor, these allow you to create a program that students can follow and complete without your active presence.
If you speak a foreign language or have a skill or expertise, you can prepare and record the lessons and sell them on popular learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare, and others.
Make sure to create engaging and informative content and use different lecture styles and teaching materials. Upload a promotional video so that potential customers can preview your course, craft a course summary, set a price, publish the lessons and wait for approval from the admins.
This might be one of the best passive income ideas for students who can share their expertise with others and earn a significant passive income while completing their studies.
Rent Your Car
We’ve talked about renting your property or purchasing one to rent it. However, lots of people do not even consider leasing their car. If you are a car owner in need of extra cash, it’s another option worth considering.
The only investments you’ll have to make are getting the vehicle inspected by a mechanic, making sure you have auto insurance, and vetting your potential car renters well.
You can start your own renting business online or outsource the whole process to agencies or specialized apps. We recommend partnering with Turo, as the only thing you’ll have to do is to set the price; Turo will deal with the rest, including all of the tedious administrative tasks.
Finally, what is passive income investment without a risk? You’ll have to deal with the possibility of your vehicle getting damaged or stolen, so make sure to do thorough research on the app you plan on using and read its terms and conditions. Also - don’t forget that care insurance we’ve mentioned before!
Advertise Brands on Your Car
If you think renting your car is too risky, there is another option: using it as an advertising platform. If you like driving around, you can capitalize on your hobby by allowing advertising companies to wrap your car in their advertisements.
There are usually strict requirements regarding the quality and age of your vehicle, your driving licenses and records, and so forth. That said, if you don’t drive a half-broken disaster from half a century ago and have no DYI’s and such on your record, you should be fine.
Considering you’ll have to get out and drive around, advertising on your car isn’t something we’d put on the list of cheap passive income ideas unless you already spend a lot of time in your vehicle.
Advertisers will pay the drivers per mile, so if your primary job or lifestyle already requires you to travel a lot or have long commuting hours, why not use the opportunity to earn some additional money?
You may also be interested in:
What is the easiest passive income?
We’ve reviewed a long list of passive income streams that can help you boost your budget. Most of them require either upfront monetary or time investment, or both.
Those that aren’t that demanding are financial ones that require simple actions, such as opening a high-yield savings account, buying cryptocurrency, or investing in the stock market using Robo-advisors. That said, if you have spare clothes, an apartment you can rent, or other assets that you can easily turn into passive profits, those will be excellent options, too.
What are some good passive income ideas?
Depending on your type of personality, preferences, and interests, you can go for financial ideas that require investing in stock, dividends, real estate investment trusts, etc., or choose some more creative jobs.
Good examples are designing your own T-shirts and merch, writing an ebook or blog, starting a YouTube channel or podcast, and selling stock photography.
How can a beginner earn passive income?
If you don’t have experience in the field of affiliate marketing, stock exchange, or the real-estate business, the best idea for you would be to use your existing skills and create an online course, write an ebook, or start selling vintage clothes.
You can also rent your car or advertise brands on it or even invest in a vending machine.
How can I make a 50k passive income?
If you’re looking for high-end passive income ideas that would generate a lot of cash, the best fields to look into are the real estate and stock exchange markets.
Investing in dividends, engaging in peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding, or buying cryptocurrencies can earn you a significant amount of money. Buying property and renting it or participating in REITs are other good ways of making big bucks, but all of these methods will require some serious upfront investments on your behalf.
Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.
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