If you are on this page, I want to start by congratulating you on taking this path to financial independence by looking into passive income!
Part of becoming financially independent is finding ways to multiply your income and use your time is more valuable ways.
Whether you are planning on FIRE-ing (Financial independence, retire early) or just being Financially Independent like me, having several sources of passive income will be greatly beneficial.
Defining Passive Income
To put it really simply, passive income is money that you can make without putting in much effort.
The IRS defines it as making money from businesses/enterprises where you are neither actively nor directly involved. It is a good definition, but I like mine better.
Misconception about passive income
The main misconception that I hear surrounding passive income is that it requires no effort.
But that is actually not the case for true revenue/money generating incomes. It is rare to find free money and even harder to get a large sum of cash without putting in any work.
The truth of the matter is that passive income will require you to put in work, and yes even money at the beginning before it starts making you money in your sleep.
But, the true path of financial independence will require time, energy, and money invested in order to be financially successful. Having multiple passive incomes is great, investing is even better, maximizing your earnings and time is the best option.
Luckily for you guys, I have done the carpal tunnel inducing labor so that you do not have to. I have assembled here what I would consider to be the ultimate list of passive income sources.
If you have some more ideas or suggestions please feel free to drop it in the comment section below.
This assembled passive income is all-inclusive and each one is not like the others. There are those that are highly profitable and there are those that will bank you a few dollars a year.
There are those that are simple and free and there are more that require both time and money. Before jumping into any of this make sure you learn as much as possible, trying choosing a couple before trying to ingest all of this.
Robo investing has been the new “thing” for a while now. I even talk a little about it in my ultimate guide to a Roth IRA.
What a Robo-advisor essentially does is create a diversified portfolio using different algorithms to get the best results.
So, if you are unfamiliar with the knots and bolts of investing or you simply do not want to this is a great alternative.
You can use apps to automate your investment which will reduce the risks of human mistakes when the market goes through volatility.
Certificate of Deposits
A certificate of deposits is a great place to put your money and then forget about it. Although, clinical and boring sound it is one of the safest ways to make passive income.
This can also be a great way to minimize cash value loss that comes from inflation. It is good to know that there is usually a minimum deposit period before you can withdraw their money.
The periods of time can range but for most, it is usually a minimum of one year. The amount of money you can early is fairly low with some barely reaching 2%.
You will not get rich from doing this at all but it can provide a nice avenue to put your money when compared to checking or savings account.
High Yield Savings Account
A high yield savings account is essentially like a savings account but they are high yield (lol).
Normal savings account usually have interest rates that are 0.05% and some major banks have a saving account that is 0.01% and sometimes 0!
Although, a high yield savings account is really low not as of 2020 it is still better than a regular savings account.
Similar to the CD this will not make you rich by any stretch of the imaginations. However, it can be a good option.
You can usually get 1.10% interest rates. I have created a list of an assortment of a high yield savings account that has the highest interest rates here.
Refinance Student Loans
If you are the average American you probably have several thousands of dollars’ worth of student loans.
And, no if you ignore them, they aren’t just going to go away. So, refinancing your student loans may be the best option.
The amount of money you could save could be in the thousands of dollars and I am sure you can find better ways to use those savings.
Companies like PENFED credit union, Laurel Road, earnest, and SoFi are readily available to help you with this.
Start A Blog
This a big one if you are able to successfully execute a successful blog. Blogs are especially successful if you have a particular niche and audience that you are trying to target.
You can pretty much create a blog about anything but the key to being successful with a blog is to make sure that you are treating it as a business.
Having a plan beforehand, outsourcing working, leveraging relationships, etc. As your blog audience grows and you gain more followers you can start monetizing it.
This can include ads revenue and affiliate product placements, if you are up to it you can even sell digital programs/courses and add to your income.
Being that you will be treating your blog like a business, would require you to invest a lot of time, energy, and yes even money. There will be ups and downs but that’s part of it. Starting a blog is now easier than it has ever been.
Especially with this convenient and easy 7 step guide I created because I gotcha.
Start A Podcast
This is on the same line as the blog. If writing is not your thing, perhaps talking is.
Podcasts have sorrowed in popularity over the past few years and they do not seem to be slowing down.
The ways of earning passive income are similar to a blog. You can have ads, have affiliate placements, or sell products. The start-up fees are minimal and typically less than a dollar.
The anchor app is a great source if you are interested in going down this avenue. These options also allow your listeners to donate money on a monthly basis.
So, if you have 10 listeners giving $10 then you’ll have $100 a month. Not too shabby.
You didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging right? Here is 7 steps to start a podcast and make money.
At this point, we have all heard of Airbnb, I hope. Airbnb allows you to rent out your whole home or a singular room.
The possibilities are quite varied. The ease of setup is pretty painless and the cash flow potentials are high. If you want to make even more money than you can buy homes and use them for the sole purpose of Airbnb.
The COVID situation has drastically affected this market so be careful prior to wadding into this pool, but if things ever get back to normal then this is a really great passive income option.
Airbnb is not the only platform out there to do this, but it certainly is the most well-known out there.
Rent your room/sublease
Piggybacking off the previous ideas, it has almost the same benefits. The main differential is that it is usually for longer-term rentals and facilitation usually does not occur through an app, although it can.
Facebook marketplace (at this point they need to sponsor me for the number of times I mention them) has several groups where you can sublease your whole place or a singular room.
This is a great passive income that can help you pay down your mortgage or cut down on rent.
Be careful different cities and jurisdictions have rules concerning this, also make sure your lease/landlord does not oppose this.
Okay, so technically this is not earning you any direct income, but it can save you a ton of money.
As of June 2020, when I am writing this article interest rates are at a record low, they are actually under 3%! That is a huge savings opportunity that could really benefit you.
Seeing as how mortgages are really expensive even a fractional decrease in your interest rates can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in a given year.
This money can be used on other things that could help you generate even more passive income.
Neighbor is a new app that calls itself the Airbnb of storage. What this app essentially does is make you money by storing stranger’s things.
So, if you have a spare room, closet, basement, garage, etc. then you can possibly rent out these spaces and rake in a couple of hundred dollars a month.
If you are in a really expensive city *cough New York” *cough San Francisco*then you can rack up several thousand dollars each year. All by renting out space, you weren’t using anyways!
The best thing about this business is that both the hosts and renters are insured. The guarantee program means that you are protected up to $1,000,000 for personal liability and for the renters they can get back up to $25,000 if there is ever any damages.
Real estate investing
REIT refers to real estate investment trusts that usually pay good dividend amounts. This is a great option to have because these accounts usually invest in high income-producing properties or high-interest options.
This makes a great source of passive income with investment. The amount of money you gain from REIT will be determined by the real estate market.
So, if the real estate market is on fire, your investment will be on fire. If the real estate market is in the gutter then……yeah. This investment is not necessarily correlated to the equity market as well, sometimes they drop at the same time, sometimes one rise and the other falls.
The great thing about REIT is that it can be bought and sold as easily as index funds. This can be a great option for diversifying your investment portfolio.
Private equity funds
I’ll keep this one short because it is mostly available for the wealthy.
Private equity funds occur when accredited investors pool a large amount of money into large projects, this can be real estate investing, a major start-up, or some other huge cash hungry project.
This oftentimes requires investments that are longer terms.
This is another opportunity for you guys to jump into the real estate game.
This option allows you to invest in real estate without having to purchase a single plot of land or a single property.
With this particular option, you have the option to lend real estate investors money for whatever deal or project they are working on.
You have the option of directly investing in them with something called a “private note” and you can set up whatever interest rate is beneficial for both of you.
An example of this would be if you loaned money to Billy Bob in Atlanta for 12 months and you earn 2% per month. This is an amazing deal, however, there is also a high risk associated with this.
If Billy Bob in Atlanta defaults on his loans then you may not have much leverage. So, make sure to keep yourself safe. Make sure the debt is attached to the property’s deed as a lien. Make sure you trust the people/person you are giving these private notes to.
If you are a college student than selling your notes online can be really lucrative.
There are several websites out there that allow you to sell your notes as a means of passive income.
This is a really great option because you are essentially getting paid to do something that you would have (should have) been doing anyways.
A bonus is that you can also sell old college entrance essays or college essays to companies out there that buy notes.
When it comes to transcription the work can be mindlessly boring but it is usually very flexible and you can make some good money.
This essentially requires you to listen to audios and transcribe them. You are usually paid by the hour for this kind of organization. If you do not have the stomach for mindless work then this might not be for you.
Publish a book
This actually requires you to put in work or have some sort of social cache.
If you have a great story to tell, or you are an expert in some subject manager than this option will be great for you.
Physical books bring in some extra level of authority and if you are successful then it will bring in some great passive income.
Publish an eBook
Ditto the information above. However, eBooks are significantly easier to publish than physical books.
Amazon has a really robust program to help you self-publish your books. The start-up cost is minimal to nonexistent and you are not at the mercy of any major publishers.
Whenever someone downloads your book you get a portion of the proceeds and royalty fees. Make sure you promote your eBook.
Create a course online
Even prior to coronavirus there was a boom in online courses. The Covid-19 situations have simply expanded and accelerated a pattern that was already happening.
So, if you are really knowledgeable about a certain topic this could be a really lucrative path for you. If you can break down concepts into small, bite-size actionable steps then this is a perfect passive income stream.
There is an abundance of sources and software that are readily available out there for you to sell your courses.
This can be difficult to profit from if you do not already have an established audience, clout, or just plain authority. Coursera and Udemy are some of the most popular platforms that are available out there however there are many more options.
Lend money to your peers
Websites like Lending Club and Prosper have made it easier to “lend” money to your peers in exchange for some benefits at the end.
These loans tend to be personal loans made to individuals. You have the option of picking both the loan amount you want to give as well as the borrower you want to give to.
If you think this is a great option for you then start off with an amount of money that you are comfortable losing. The amount you can earn can range from 6%-10%.
This is a significant amount, let me remind you that the stock market returns 6% to 7% on average in a 10-year period. As you get used to it and become more comfortable then you can lend more money.
Take the concept of flipping houses and make it websites instead. There are burgeoning marketplaces for website flipping out there.
What you essentially do is make a website that is being sold, purchase it, upgrade it, increases traffic, readership, etc. and then resell it at a higher price. Bam!
Sites like Flippa and Trademysite facilitate this transaction.
Buy an existing business
If starting a business is not for you, then consider buying one instead.
This gives you the business without having to go through the hurdle and struggles of establishing a business, coming up with an idea, getting partners, investors, etc.
Buy buying an already profitable business you can avoid all this messiness. This can be a digital business, an eCommerce, brick, and mortal.
Websites like BizBuySell allows you to browse through several options and see what is readily available. Remember that buying a business is a major commitment to make sure to do your research before making a final decision.
Buy an Ecommerce Business
You also have the option of starting an eCommerce business but that requires a lot of “action.”
In this instance you are essentially selling physical products here without having to hoard and store them. You can use drop shipping companies to handle all the nitty-gritty for you.
This can be fairly low maintenance if well organized and established from the very beginning. The best way to stand out and make money is to have a niche product that is not readily available out there.
I have seen some interesting eCommerce stores out there, everything from utensils to bird cages, to outdoor gears.
Take and sell stock photos
If you are really great at photography to have some beautiful variable options then you can monetize these photos.
There are websites out there that will pay to have your photos and use them for their business.
This can be sold on online platforms but they can also be sold at local art shows and art exhibitions.
Buy and sell domain names
The online business world has exploded in recent years and more and more people are creating a really interesting and niche website that requires very niche and interesting names.
You have to do some research to find out the kind of names that corporations, businesses, and individuals might be interested in buying.
Install apps on your phone
If every penny counts than installing apps can be a great way of making money/pennies. There are apps that track your behavior.
You do not have to do anything except to download them on your phone. There are also autosave apps like acorns and chime.
These cards/apps round up your purchases and then transfer the remaining balance to your bank account. These apps also allow you to invest those rounded up changes.
Some survey sites allow you to make money while watching, movies, and doing other activities.
Some companies commission these sites in order to have you watch specific programming and sometimes different ads as well.
Start a YouTube channel
No, it is not too late, it is never too late if you think you have something to offer.
Starting a YouTube channel can be very lucrative even if you do not have a million subscribers.
You need at least 1,000 subscribers and a certain number of views before you can join YouTube’s ads revenue program.
But ads are not the only way to make money on YouTube you can have sponsorships, promote certain products, and yes also have affiliate links.
The best thing about this is that you can still generate passive income from videos that you posted a long time ago if they are still successful and bringing in new viewers.
This is like regular babysitting but for houses. This is probably the easiest money you can ever make, ever.
If you have friends, colleagues, co-workers that are out of the town for a vacation or work then you can babysit their house.
This might require you to occasionally water some plants, look after pets. You can work and doing your regular jobs, extracurricular while staying at someone else’s house.
This is one of my favorite websites to make money and it will be mentioned twice on this site. But, for good reasons, because Respondent is pretty awesome.
It allows you to provide feedback to companies for their product. This can be done both in person or from the comfort of your home.
The pay is really nice too and is usually more than a hundred dollars an hour. You heard that right, an hour.
Become a notary
You heard that right. Yes, you stranger on the internet can also become a notary. There is an initial upfront investment but this can quickly be recovered.
Notaries are simply people who act in an official capacity in a legal document signing proceeding.
You simply have to stand there and sometimes use your special notary stamp and bam! You can rake in thousands of dollars doing this and the initial investment is no more than $100 in most states.
Start an Etsy store
If you are the crafty type than starting an Etsy store might be the perfect solution for you.
This website essentially lets you sell home hand, handcrafted items to millions of people online.
The best way to generate passive income from Etsy is by selling digital prints or something that can be quickly multiplied with minimal effort.
Sell your clothes
This is fairly self-explanatory. If you have clothes that are lightly or never worn than selling it might be a great option.
Different apps are available out there to help facilitate your transaction. You can sell individual stocks/items or some sites that allow you to sell your items in bulk if you do not want to sort through.
There are also niche sites out there that allow you to sell specialized items, such as designers or vintage.
I have assembled a list of some of the best clothes selling apps out there.
Buying is overrated anyways especially for things you will not need for a long time.
This is why several marketplaces have popped up to help you rent out those items that have been collecting dust in your home. A variety of equipment can be rented in this marketplace.
Babyquip lets you rent out large baby gears for families on the move. Apparently, some families are able to rake in several hundred dollars just from renting out baby equipment they were going to throw away anyway.
Another example of this marketplace is ShareGrid, which allows you to rent out expensive high-end cameras.
And for those who think these two marketplaces are too niche then FatLlama might be the perfect place for you, is for your “stuff.”
You have probably seen this on television as a comedic gag, but this option also exists in real life.
Companies can pay you to act as a billboard. This is a great passive income because you don’t have to do anything except for tacking on the advertisement poster to your car.
You can make a couple of hundred dollars a month doing this. Websites like Wrapify allows you to facilitate this transaction.
If you have a following than becoming a brand ambassador can be a good money-making strategy.
You also do not have to be a major celebrity, Instagramer or YouTuber to make money. You can also partner with local businesses and promote their brand.
Sometimes these companies have affiliate links and codes that allow you to make extra money on the side.
The quintessential guide to making money as a broke person or a hustler as I prefer to be called.
If you don’t like blood then this is not for you. You can make 75 dollars a session, but it depends on a variety of factors
Become an Angel Investor
Angel investors are those that are willing to invest in early-stage startups.
This essentially means that you are lending these companies, start-ups, business money in the form of capital and then once they make it big, you also make it big.
This exchange involved can be cash/money/capital in exchange for equity or future profits. You have to have a lot of faith in the success of the business. It is high risk, but high rewards.
Yep, that right. You can make some changes to both your wealth and your health! The HealthyWage app allows you to wager money on how much you would lose in a given period of time.
If you meet your goal then the app pays you, if you don’t then you lose the money. So, if you are on a health kick this might be the kick you need in order to reach your goal.
Sell graphic designs
With this, you have a variety of options. You can go down the Etsy route spotlighted in this list by creating prints.
Or you can work with local businesses and brands to create content for their websites, social media, etc. Regardless, you can flex those creative juices.
Be a movie extra
This is your time to shine for those actor aficionados. Being a movie extra requires you to do very little and you can make a couple of hundred dollars.
This is probably best for those in LA, NY, or ATL but you never know. Join an extra Facebook group in your city.
If you are not a risk taker nor someone willing to deep their toes in the investing well then purchasing bonds may be for you.
This is probably one of the safest treasury options that are available. With bonds you essentially loan your money to a government or a business for a period of time and during that time they pay you interest on that loan.
There is a potential cost associated with bonds and that’s the money you lose due to inflation.
So, you have to make the choice as to whether this is the best option for you. It is definitely less risky than stocks, but studies have shown that the average return is only about 2.5%.
There are many small businesses out there that do not know how or do not have the time to do their own email marketing.
This is where you come in by using technologies like Mailchimp, constant contact, and convert kit you can automate the entire process.
There are email templates out there that are readily available and can simplify the work that you do. Emails can then be scheduled and sent out based on business needs.
There are plenty of small and local businesses out there that need help with this particular service, and while It is certainly not exiting it can be good for passive income.
If you have a creative bone than this might be the best way to flex that muscle, make money while also creating a portfolio.
You can create generic logos and then customize them with specific customer needs. You can then sell these logo templates to different digital print reselling websites.
Participate in scientific studies
Alright, so I cheated a little bit. Can you blame me this list is long.
But, yeah this is still a great way to earn some easy money while also doing something really beneficial.
Participate in study groups
If you have an opinion and a mouth then you can probably do this. Study groups are when companies seek out research participants to give them insight into their products.
I have managed to almost one thousand dollars doing this focus group studies. The most interesting and perhaps the best part of this is that sometimes studies get more people than they need, if that happens you are sent home but you still get paid!
The lowest I have earned from this has been $90. They usually, do not take more than 2 hours even though they are often advertised as taking longer.
This is along the same branch as the blog idea; however, this is a little bit more specific. Affiliate marketing can be set up in almost all medium including non-writing ones.
With affiliate marketing, you earn money every single time someone clicks on an ad on your page.
With these programs, you usually have to sign up to receive a personalized affiliate link however it is usually free to join these programs.
Like I mentioned before you do not need to have a website to have an affiliate code although this is often the most popular and successful option.
Each affiliate program has different rules and terms of conditions. Make sure you review them thoroughly before beginning.
Credit Card rewards/cashback
There are several credit cards out there that offer rewards, cashback, and cashback matching options.
So, you can receive passive income while completing your normal tasks. My biggest warning with this is to be careful and pay off your full balance at the end of the month.
You should not be spending more in order to get these benefits or this cashback amounts. The cash backs are usually 1% to 2% whereas the interest rates on credit cards if you do not pay it off, can rise to 28%
Checking account interest
Yes, you read that right. There are some companies out there that offer interest rates for checking accounts.
This is not going much, and by not much I mean it is barely anything but it is something, I guess.
Vending machines are a great means of making passive income. This can be installed at several local businesses at an affordable price.
The only thing needed for the vending machines is cheap inventories and a dedicated supply and maintenance chain.
Start loading up on those Costco, Sam’s Club snacks. The initial upfront cost of obtaining a machine can be a few thousand dollars depending on where you purchase it from.
Remember how I talked about making money from stock photos earlier? Well, this is a very similar process for my musically inclined readers.
You can license out generic music or any music that you create. There are major media companies that are always looking for affordable music.
With the rise of several different media platforms the demand will only continue to rise and with that your passive income.
Share your Data
I mean if companies are going to take it anyways why not sell it? If you do not care about your data, then you are in luck.
Data is extremely valuable and companies are salivating to get their hands on your data. And now you can sell it to them.
Apps like Nielsen, Honeygain, Datacoup are all places where you can sell your data. It is a lady on the shady side, but it is a completely legitimate way of making passive income.
Voice over royalties
If you like and have some technical skills related to audio engineering then this passive income might be straight up your alley.
You will have to read people’s work in order to get paid. You’ll be like the producer of your own media company. There are different payment options one is a fixed rate for a project and another is royalty.
In the latter plan you will not get paid upfront but instead, receive a share of the royalties for the project. If you are interested check out ACX.
Sell Your Videos
Quite frankly you can sell just about anything on the internet nowadays and that includes videos! Streaming videos is a massive enterprise with plenty of opportunities.
There are several companies that exist for just this reason the main one being Uscreen.
So, for all my burgeoning filmmakers your time has come to shine. Just make sure that the videos are good qualities.
Consulting requires you have some skills, or expertise that others will pay to have. You do not need to be a professional either to make some money.
This year I have had the opportunity to be a “Genz” consultant for companies looking for GenZ opinions of their websites and social media.
My experience as a consulting specialist for GenZ design has been rewarding and interesting! Websites like Clarity.fm allows you to consult for businesses and some startups.
Blogs and websites are making more money than ever and are a good way of making passive income without the nitty-gritty of daily involvement.
They require frequent updates, ranking changes, new content updates, etc. Onfolio is a service that helps you invest in this asset class.
This could be a lucrative cash flow option and a great way of acquiring passive income if you are informed and know what you are doing.
Roofstock is another entrance into the real estate game. This is more so for hardcore investors that are hoping to significantly invest in the real estate market.
They match real estate investors (you) with turnkey rental properties all over the United States. They facilitate your real estate empire one house at a time.
This is a super easy app that essentially allows you to get cashback on purchases that you make at retail stores and restaurants.
All you have to do is simply download the app and connect it to your card. You can then go on to your normal days and make purchases as you normally would and you earn cashback from them.
The average cashback amount is 2.5% but it can range up to 10%. The best thing about this app is that it frequently includes smaller local restaurants and others in addition to the large ones that we all know about.
Rent out your car
I stumbled upon Turo a few years ago when trying to figure out how to run several errands without a car. This is a really cool concept that I wish I would have come up with.
Turo essentially allows people to rent their cars out on a short-term basis, usually a few hours. The best thing about this is that insurance is included in the booking process, there are also other options that car owners can opt to gain more protection.
This is a great option if you do not use your car often, and if you are like the majority of Americans then you’ll know that the average car is immobile more than 90% of the time.
If you are a real business person this can be turned into quite a lucrative endeavor. You can buy multiple cars and rent them out on Turo!
Beware however and do your research before starting. Make sure you fully understand and the potential risk and benefits before jumping in.
Rent out your parking spot
On the same car theme, you can rent out your parking spot. This is a great passive income idea if you are in a major city that is often tight on space.
If you do not need your parking space then rent it out! In major space-restricted cities like San Francisco, this could fetch a few hundred dollars a month. Websites like pavemint and SpotHero help facilitate this process.
Pei is an automatic savings app, when you sign and sync your card you automatically earn between 1% and 3% cashback at stores and restaurants.
There is a lot of security attached to this app. There is a two-factor authentication when cards are linked and they also use bank-level 356-bit encryption.
Refer people to studies
There are survey sites out there that pay you money when you refer people to their sites. When they complete a survey/study you get paid some money.
The best-known one to me is Respondent.io. This survey site is catered for professionals they pay is really high. If the person you refer completes a survey, they will pay you $20 to $50 depending on your level of expertise.
This is similar in line to house sitting except it requires a little bit more work.
You can take care of the animal while their owner is away and make some money. Most animals are fairly independent unlike children so you can leave them alone after feeding, taking them out for a walk if need be, letting them relieve themselves, etc.
My favorite animals to babysit are cats and reptiles they are very low maintenance.
This company offers small business bonds that pay about 5% interest. You can buy these bonds for prices as low as $10.
This is usually considered safer than the personal and business loans talked about above. The amount of interest you gain can also be reinvested and you can withdrawal at any time without being penalized.
This is like the REIT that I talked about earlier except a miniature version. You can buy a combination of debt or equity for commercial properties that are bundled together.
You can start investing with a minimum of $500.
If you took my advice above and wrote either eBooks or a physical book than creating an Audiobook might be the next step.
If you aren’t too fond of your voice that’s fine there are companies like ACX, that allow you to hire professional narrators and audiobook artists. In some cases, these professionals will due to reading free of charge in exchange for some royalties.
If you made it through this exhausting list, I am impressed. I hope you learned quite a bit about passive incomes and the options that are available out there for you.
I’ll continue to update this information with new sources and streams of income. If you have any questions feel free to personally reach out to me via my contact. Or simply add a comment below.