Passive income sounds like money you earn for doing nothing, but, in reality, there’s always at least some work involved when earning money. However, once you get going, you can earn extra money for what feels like doing nothing.
There are many ways to earn passive income today, whether you have a special skill, love to invest, or have stuff lying around your home you can sell or rent to others.
When you earn passive income, you diversify your income. You no longer depend solely on the income from your 9-to-5 job. Millionaires have an average of seven streams of income—that’s how they get rich. 2020 taught us that no job is secure. Why not learn about some passive income ideas to help during tough times, pandemic or otherwise?
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- 1. Create an Online Course
- 2. Invest in Real Estate
- 3. Start a Blog
- 4. Affiliate Marketing
- 5. Sell Stock Photos
- 6. Rent a Room in Your House (or the Entire Home)
- 7. Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding
- 8. Invest in Dividend Stocks
- 9. Open a CD
- 10. Save in a High-Yield Savings Account
- 11. Write and Sell an eBook
- 12. Create and Sell T-Shirts
- 13. Take Advantage of Cash-Back Rewards
- 14. Rent Your Car
- 15. Start a Podcast
- 16. Start a YouTube Channel
- 17. Start a Dropshipping Business
- 18. Rent Personal Items
- 19. Sell Your Clothes
- 20. Sell Digital Products on Etsy
- 21. Sell Items on eBay
- 22. Rent Ad Space on Your Car
- 23. Pay Down Your Debts
- Have Fun With Your Part-Time Passive Income Ideas
23 Fun and Easy Part-Time Passive Income Ideas
1. Create an Online Course
If you’ve mastered a skill and love to talk about it, consider teaching an online course. People look for and purchase online courses all the time. You create an online course once, market it on your chosen platform—like Teachable or Udemy—and, every time someone buys it, you make money on the sale.
The sky’s the limit on topics to choose from. Identify your niche and create a course. Popular topics include business, marketing, crafting, technology, self-care, and parenting. Anyone can create an online course, but make sure you have somewhere to sell it. Whether you have a blog or social media page, you’ll need to promote it to keep sales going.
It’s one of the top ways to earn a passive income because you create the course and sell it many times, earning money for each sale while only having spent the time to create the course once.
2. Invest in Real Estate
Investing in real estate can be a lucrative way to earn passive income. You’ll do some work up front, especially when you’re looking for a home and renters; however, once you get everything arranged and settled, it’s somewhat passive.
You can invest in condos, single-family homes, or multi-family units. Do your due diligence before investing in rental property. Make sure it’s in an area with a demand for rentals and consider if you want a fixer-upper—which you buy for a lower cost and make the necessary repairs and upgrade yourself—or a turnkey property—one that’s ready for renters or may even already have renters living there.
3. Start a Blog
You can earn money if you start writing a blog. It sounds strange that a blog could earn money, but there are many ways to monetize it.
Here’s how it works: Start a blog and work on gaining an audience. It’s best if you choose a niche. For example, rather than blogging about parenting in general, choose a concentrated area of parenting, such as parenting toddlers or multiples. Once you gain an audience, add advertisements to the blog. You can put banner ads on your site and blog and insert affiliate links into your blog posts.
Each time someone clicks on a link or advertisement and makes a purchase, you earn a small commission for the sale. You can also create sponsored posts, which are blog posts paid for by brands and companies to help spread the word about what they offer.
4. Affiliate Marketing
If you decided to start a blog, affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize it and make more money. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still earn passive income with affiliate marketing on a social media platform. All you need is a following.
You can create blog posts, videos, and social media posts about products and services. Include a link for the item or service on the chosen platform. Every time someone clicks on it and buys a product or service, the company pays you a small commission.
If you do this often and with a variety of products and services, the commissions can add up
5. Sell Stock Photos
If you’re great with a camera and love taking pictures, why not sell stock photos for a little passive income? You get paid for doing something you love, and since the pictures are digital, you can sell as many copies as you want. You’ll be practically making money in your sleep.
6. Rent a Room in Your House (or the Entire Home)
If you don’t have the funds to buy a rental property, you can rent a room in your house. It could be anything from a bedroom to the garage. For example, you can rent a bedroom out on Airbnb. You set the availability, price, and terms of the rental, and collect the money three days after your guest’s visit.
If you want something more long-term, you can advertise the room for rent in your local paper or on social media. Airbnb offers insurance up to $1 million to help prevent financial devastation from any potential damages. If you rent on your own, make sure you talk to your insurance agent about proper coverage and think about all the shared spaces, like the kitchen and bathroom(s).
If you’ll be away from your home for a week or more, you can also rent out your entire home, making some passive income while you’re away. It may even pay for your vacation while you’re away.
7. Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding
Whether you have a little money or a lot of it, you can start investing in real estate through crowdfunding or pooling your money with other investors. Platforms like Fundrise require just $500 to invest, while others like RealtyShare require $5,000.
Depending on the chosen platform and type of investment, you may be able to choose the properties you invest in, but not always. Keep in mind, real estate investment trusts (REITs) aren’t liquid, like stocks. You can’t sell them on the open market. They tie up your money for the duration of the term, which is disclosed when you buy into it.
Make sure you can tie up your funds for that long. Terms are usually a couple of years long. If you can, you stand to earn a decent rate of return, sometimes as high as 12%.
8. Invest in Dividend Stocks
Investing in the stock market—if you stick it out and don’t bail at the first sign of bad news—provides an average 10% return over a 10-year period. You can take it a step further and start investing in dividend stocks.
Dividend stocks earn you cash flow—typically each quarter, sometimes semi-annually or annually, depending on the company. Dividends are a portion of the company’s profits, so you’ll only find well-performing companies offering dividend stocks.
You can decide what to do with the dividends, whether you reinvest them and grow your passive income streams or pocket the cash, keeping it for your current financial goals.
9. Open a CD
If you can tie up your money for a while, open a high-yield CD. You don’t have to open it at your local bank—you can open an online CD anywhere in the country. The longer you can tie up your money, the higher the APY you’ll earn.
CD APYs aren’t as high as they used to be since the federal government lowered the interest rate during the pandemic, but any interest is better than no interest. Make sure that the bank you choose has FDIC insurance. With FDIC insurance, you’re covered up to $250,000 per depositor if the bank goes out of business.
Also, make sure you’re okay tying up your funds for the duration of the CD. If you withdraw the funds early, you’ll pay a hefty penalty.
10. Save in a High-Yield Savings Account
If you prefer something more liquid in case you need to withdraw the funds, find a high-interest savings account online. High-yield savings accounts pay an average of 0.60% APY on the savings balances. It’s not a huge amount, but, again, it’s better than nothing—and it’s a great way to earn passive income.
Put money in your high-yield savings account that you don’t need right now. Maybe you’re saving for a down payment on a house or to buy a car. Putting the money in a high-yield savings account gives it a chance to grow while keeping it out of the way, so you don’t spend the money intended for your goals.
11. Write and Sell an eBook
Today, anyone can be an author. If you love to write and have a story to tell, write, and sell a fiction or non-fiction eBook. Amazon has a great self-publishing tool that not only helps you publish but gets you in front of Amazon’s large reader audience.
Writing and selling an eBook is a great way to generate passive income, but you may have to promote your book from time-to-time. If you have a blog or social media platform, it doesn’t take too much work. The hardest work is done once you write and publish the book.
12. Create and Sell T-Shirts
If you’re a bit crafty and love to make unique designs, consider creating and selling t-shirts. It’s a great way to make extra money, even though you have to do some work. However, once you create a design, it should be easy to replicate it and sell more of the same design.
You can sell your t-shirts on your own blog or website or on a marketplace like Etsy or Amazon. Decide how much work you want to put in and showcase your talents, creating fun t-shirts, which are quite trendy right now.
13. Take Advantage of Cash-Back Rewards
If you’re financially responsible and can handle having a credit card, consider taking advantage of cash-back rewards. Many credit card companies today pay you to use your credit card. Use one to pay your regular expenses, and make sure you pay the balance at the end of the month. You’ll earn cash-back for buying what you normally buy, saving you money every month.
If you don’t want cash-back but would rather earn gift cards or rewards for things like travel, shopping, or spa trips, there are plenty of credit card options that offer these types of rewards. Think about what you’d use the most and take advantage of the offers available.
14. Rent Your Car
If you have an extra car you don’t use or just don’t drive a lot, you can generate passive income by renting your car on sites like Turo. It’s a great way to make money on a car you no longer drive but wouldn’t make much selling.
Whether you have one car or several, you could make a little side cash. If you use a site like Turo, you’ll have insurance protection too. Turo is big with travelers who don’t want to pay the hefty rental prices at places like Enterprise. Frequent travelers love renting cars from individuals because they save money, and they help someone else earn passive income.
15. Start a Podcast
If you love to talk and have something to teach or words of wisdom to share, start a podcast. Many people use this as a way to earn extra money, especially those who don’t love to write blogs.
You can talk about almost anything—there are no rules. Just like blogging, you can monetize your podcast by sharing products or services that you love. It helps if you choose a niche and focus on it. That way, you can monetize with affiliate links to products and services your specific audience will buy. If people buy from your link, the company or brand will pay you a small commission.
16. Start a YouTube Channel
Do you love making videos? If so, and you think you can nab a decent target audience, start a YouTube Channel. As you build up an audience, you can monetize your videos, much like monetizing a blog or podcasts, and make money on product and service sales.
You can start a YouTube Channel about pretty much any topic. Maybe you’ve started a side business and want to share how it works with others, or you love traveling and want to share your experiences, or you’re the next Master Chef—there’s a YouTube audience waiting for you to create your first video. Check out this free guide to get started on YouTube!
17. Start a Dropshipping Business
If you love marketing and have always wanted to own a store, but don’t want the inventory (or the work), consider a dropshipping business. You work with a drop shipper (i.e., wholesaler) who fills the orders. All you do is set up the website and market it.
Every time someone places an order, the drop shipper fills the order and ships it. You pay the drop shipper their fee for handling the transaction and you keep the rest of the profits. It’s the most passive way to own a store without all the hard work that owning a store involves.
18. Rent Personal Items
You can earn passive income by renting out items you have around your home that you don’t need right now. Baby gear, tools, cameras, electronics, and musical instruments are just a few examples of items you can rent out to the general public and earn extra money. Make sure the products are well taken care of and ready for proper use, and you’ll earn money for the time you rent them out.
19. Sell Your Clothes
If you have clothes sitting in your closet collecting dust, why not earn money by selling them? If you have new clothes with the tag or barely-worn name brand clothing, there is a huge market out there for you.
Poshmark is a great place to sell all types of name brand clothing and accessories. You can also sell clothing on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Name-brand clothing sells for the most money, but even if you have non-name brand clothing, you can sell it in bulk and earn extra money.
20. Sell Digital Products on Etsy
If you create digital products, set up an Etsy store, and make extra money. Etsy is a marketplace for all things crafty, but they don’t have to be physical crafts. Pictures, calendars, invitations, and cards are just a few examples of digital products you can sell on Etsy.
You set the price and handle the inventory for your Etsy shop. You’ll pay Etsy a fee for handling the shop’s administrative work, but you get to leverage their very large audience of people looking for craft products from people like you.
21. Sell Items on eBay
If you have items lying around or you’re a rock star shopper and find great deals, consider selling them on eBay. You can make extra money just by selling what’s lying around your house. There’s quite a large market for older items, including nostalgic electronics and antiques; however, you can sell just about anything on eBay today.
For example, if your kids outgrew their clothes or stopped playing with their toys, sell them online, and earn money. Items in great condition often sell well, earning you money for doing nothing but decluttering your home.
22. Rent Ad Space on Your Car
A company will pay you to wrap your car with their advertisements. Some companies pay quite well for the advertisement opportunity you offer. All you have to do is drive around like you normally do, and you’ll earn money by advertising for companies.
23. Pay Down Your Debts
This may not sound like income since you have to pay money out; however, if you pay down your debts, you’re no longer paying high-interest rates.
Suppose you’re paying 19.99% interest on two credit cards, each with a $1,000 balance. That’s a lot of interest you’ll pay when, instead, you could be putting that money to use elsewhere. What if you were able to put that $1,000 (plus interest charges) in stocks and earn dividends or even in a CD and earn a little bit of interest? Get yourself out of debt to get your passive income going.
Have Fun With Your Part-Time Passive Income Ideas
Part-time passive income should be fun. While you may have to do some work to get things going, eventually, part-time passive income ideas can serve as extra money that doesn’t require much work from you. When you diversify your income, you become less dependent on the 9-to-5 income and feel less devastation should you lose your job or become unable to work for a period of time.