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Passive Income Ideas: 25+ Great Ideas…and 6 to Steer Clear Of…

passive income ideas30 years ago, most people wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about. “Passive income? How on earth would you make money without working at a job? Sounds like a scam…” But today, people are not only aware, they’re searching for passive income ideas left and right.

The idea of making money while you sleep appeals to many, and in this age of the Internet, it’s not only possible, but probable if you just do your research and put in the necessary efforts to make it happen.

Passive Income Ideas: 25+ Ways to Make Money While You Sleep

This post contains affiliate links.

So what are the worthwhile passive income ideas? Where can you put your time, efforts, and money, and yield a passive regenerative income? Surprisingly, the list is actually quite long. Feel free to incorporate just a few…or a couple dozen! It all depends how much money you’d like to make while you’re sleeping (…or traveling, or lounging on the beach, or you know…doing anything you want because you have a bunch of passive income streams!!! :)).

Oh, and don’t forget to scroll all the way down this list to see the terrible passive income ideas that you should never try!!

1) Rent Out a Room in Your House

This is becoming more and more popular and more socially acceptable. There are thousands of people out there that are looking for a place to stay while they’re traveling, but they don’t want to pay the obscene rates for a hotel stay. Instead, they’d rather just rent a room in your house for a couple nights. 

  • You already have that empty guest room that never gets used (take note, all your unpacked boxes that you’ve thrown in there do NOT count as use!)
  • The money you get from renting the room is pure bonus money since it doesn’t change your bills whatsoever
  • And, you get to meet some new, interesting people from all around the world!

Where do you advertise your room for rent?

The absolute best place to offer your short-term single room rental is on the web…specifically at AirBNB

How much could you earn?

I just hopped on their site and searched for places in Florida. It looks like the average place charges between $30 and $50 a night. Rent out a room for just a week and you could earn $350!

And what should you know before getting started?

Money Crashers has a great post that will basically tell you all you need to know. Check it out here.

Long-Term Room Rentals

You could offer up your home only to short-term renters and earn more per day, but if you’re looking for a more consistent income in the long-term by renting out a room, then I would suggest not renting out by the day, but by the month. And quite honestly, it’s a better passive income idea because you’ll have to do far less babysitting and interacting. 

Where is the best place to list your long-term rental?

And as for the rates, you’ll have to look at comparable listings in your area. But, as a rule of thumb, you’ll get more than a 1-week short term rental stay, but less than a one-month apartment rental (that’s fully private). Per the above example in Florida where a 1-week short term stay is $350, you can expect to get $500+/month for the long-term room rental. 

Again, the short-term rental will yield more cash, but the long-term rental is much more passive.

2) Rent Out Storage Space

You know all those storage unit compounds that are being built in your area? They’re becoming more and more popular every day.

You know why?

…Because people (especially us Americans) really love their stuff! They love to shop for it, use it, and they even enjoy just knowing they have it…even if it’s not on their property (because they have too much of it already).

Well it’s time for you to cash in on the stuff craze. 

You know that barn that you’ve got out back? It’s a gold-mine. Seriously. 

Let’s just talk about simple boat storage for a minute. In your barn out back, you have space for 40 boats. People want to store their boats for approximately 6 months out of the year (when they’re not in the water at their slip). Based on my conversations with people and my quick Craigslist search, you can expect to get between $150-$200 per month for simple barn storage (this is in my area…you’ll have to do your own sleuthing to discover your rates, but they’re probably pretty close to this, give or take $100 either way).

So how does the math work out on this?

  • Forty boats,
  • six months out of the year,
  • and for $200 per month. 

That’s $48,000!!

Sheesh, talk about a nice passive income idea! And, if you’d want to make it completely passive, you could hire someone to pull the boats in and out for you!

Want some more detail about how to set up your barn storage? Here’s a nice thread on BiggerPockets.

3) Invest with a Robo-Advisor

What’s the main reasons people give for not investing for retirement?

Most say, “I don’t have any money to invest,” but the reality is, nearly everyone can shift their lifestyle somewhat and invest something each month, even if it’s just $50. So what’s the real reason they don’t invest?

Mainly…because it’s confusing and scary.

And that’s why I love to promote Wealthsimple. (Sign up today, invest $100, and get $50 free!!). They simply ask you a few questions about your risk tolerance and your age, and then they get you into a simple fund! No B.S. or hassle with a financial adviser! It’s easy, it’s safe, and effective.

And the best part is, it’s totally passive. You invest, you forget about it, and the market does it’s thing. 

Related: How to Make a Passive Income With Wealthsimple

4) Invest in Index Funds

If you like the investment passive income ideas, but you’re more comfortable with investing than most, then I recommend you head to Vanguard. They have a ton of low-cost funds that perform very well and are great picks for your next passive investment. 

  • Just head to the site,
  • sign up,
  • load your account with funds from your bank, and
  • select a solid fund that you’re interested in.

That’s it.

The fees are low, and if you’re investing for the long term, chances are that you’ll make some of that passive income we’re all craving.

5) Own a Simple Warehousing Business

I work for a multi-billion dollar company that manufactures furniture. Do you know what our biggest need has been for a while now (and what it seems all our competitors are struggling with too?)…??


Our sales are growing at a record pace each year and we could do even more business if we committed to shorter lead times to the end customer, which means pre-builds — ie. building a product and inventorying it so that when the customer orders it, we can get it into their hands in a matter of days.

The only hitch in the plan…our lack of space to store a bunch of bulky furniture…

If we just had a person step up, buy a large warehouse, and then give us a competitive rate on keeping our boxes there (and allowing us to drop off and pick up inventory whenever), they could make some serious money while having to do virtually nothing. 

They’d need a forklift there at the warehouse, racking, and….that’s it!

Talk about a simple business model! I almost don’t want to write about it because it’s such a great money-making idea that I’m considering doing it myself!

Want to learn more? 9 Actionable Tips on How to Start a Warehousing Business

make a passive income6) Open a Checking Account with a Credit Union

How much are you earning with your bank savings account? $10 a year? $20 a year? Whatever it is, I imagine it’s pretty lousy.

What if I told you that you could be making up to $500 with a simple checking account? It’s true! You can earn 3%+ at select Credit Unions. Check out this link for more details! It’s not going to allow you to quit your job, but it’s still one of the better passive income ideas since there’s very little you have to do to earn the money.

The qualifications are generally pretty simple. They’re usually something like:

  • Make at least 10 transactions a month
  • Check your account 4 times a month
  • Have a direct deposit set up on the account

All things that you’d likely do anyway… And, for a free $40 a month, I’m game! How about you?

7) Put Your Money in a High-Yield Savings Account

Want to make some more easy money? Instead of opening a checking account, hunt down a high-yield savings account.

Bankrate has a nice breakdown of the banks and rates here. The top tier of rates are in the range of 2.0% to 2.5%. Still not too shabby for doing absolutely nothing!!

8) Open a Certificate of Deposit at Your Local Bank

And, if you want a slightly higher savings percentage and don’t mind your money being tied up for a while, then a certificate of deposit (often simply called a CD) could be a good option for you.

  • Deposit your money in a bank CD,
  • forget about it for a while, and
  • experience 2.5%-3.0% growth on your money.

Magnify Money has a great list for the best CD rates as of June, 2019. Again, it’s not amazing money, but it’s hundreds of dollars that you didn’t have before! And, it is completely passive!

9) Get the Best Rewards Cards

In your life you’re going to buy stuff…

  • groceries
  • gas
  • yard tools
  • vacations once in a while
  • furniture

…the list could go on and on…

So if you’re going to buy stuff, why not get paid back 1-2% for it?

Over the years, I don’t feel as though I’ve really overpaid on anything (like Dave Ramsey always proclaims), and I’ve earned nearly $1,000 in free gas cards from my Capital One credit card. It’s another one of those passive income ideas that isn’t going to make you rich, but you may as well take advantage of it for the easy kick-back!

Related: The (FOR REAL) Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

10) Invest in Dividend Stocks

Ever hear of dividend stocks? Some people can’t stand them, while others swear by them.

It’s one of the better passive income ideas, but there are definitely pros and cons.

  • Dividend stocks pay out a percentage of money above and beyond their stock performance each year. Some of the top dividend stocks pay out 6-7%.
  • While you receive a guaranteed dividend payout (as long as the company stays alive), you might also see growth in the value of the stock. So, you might earn 6% in dividends, but the stock might also go up 10% on the year. Now THAT would make for a nice payout!!
  • On the other hand though, stocks that pay a dividend are typically mature and slow-growing. So, you might earn a 6% dividend, but the stock might lose 4% in value on the year, which makes that stock an overall poor investment!

If you’re going to invest in dividend stocks as a form of passive income, choose wisely (ie. don’t just choose the highest percentage dividend stocks…they might put cash in your pocket, but as an overall investment, they might actually net you a loss). Do your research and be sure that your dividend investments are just a small part of your overall investment plan.

Where to Invest

So where do you get started? If you’re looking to invest in a group of dividend stocks, then Vanguard is probably your best bet. If you’d like to pick and choose your exact divided stocks, then (according to The College Investor) Fidelity and Robinhood are the best places to go to get started.

Related: High-Dividend Stocks: 25 Stocks That Pay High Yields

retiring extremely early11) Buy a Rental Property

This is one of those passive income ideas that’s simple in concept, but not for everyone. 

Here’s the general premise:

  • Buy a house/apartment complex/office space/warehouse
  • Rent it out to an interested party
  • Sit back with your feet up and enjoy the mailbox money…

It seems like anyone could do this, right? 


Making money with a rental property takes…

  • Patience on the purchase (if you overpay out of the gate, your chances of making real money goes down substantially)
  • An understanding of advertising and who your desired target market is
  • Frequent communication regarding repairs, rent, future inspection appointments, lease renewals, etc.
  • A kind soul, but a firm business mind

Some people are just too shy and nice to manage a rental property and their renters walk all over them — they trash the house, don’t maintain the yard, pay the rent later and later with each passing month… Others get too worried about their place (and visit WAYYY too often) or are too pointed, which just makes their renters want to leave soon after they move in. And, without a business mind, many quickly say yes to renters that should never have qualified for your rental in the first place.

If you’re any of the above and try your hand at rental properties…and then fail because of your inadequacies, don’t run mouth off to all of your friends that rental properties don’t work.

They can absolutely work. 

My Experience with Rental Properties

I have owned a rental house since 2015.

  • We bought it with cash,
  • Fixed it up (it was a foreclosure),
  • And rented it out after careful reviews and background checks

Since then our house has been well taken care of, and we consistently earn 12%+ on it each year with very little effort on our part (maybe 10-15 hours of work per year). PLUS, with the increases in the property values, we’ve actually earned over 50% in that first year! It has been completely worth it and I couldn’t recommend it enough for individuals that:

  • can communicate well with others,
  • are likable, but are firm when they have to be, and
  • have no debts and have extra money in the bank.

Are you ready to buy a rental property to start earning a passive income?

Related: We Bought a Rental House with Cash – One Year in Review

12) Develop a Royalty Income Stream

There are some people in this world that earn a consistent paycheck every month without ever having a boss. And, if they stopped working tomorrow, the money would just keep rolling in! Sounds like a dream, right?

Well it’s not…but how on earth is this possible?

Royalty income. That’s the answer… Another thing that’s not easy, but if you can make it happen, it’s totally worth it!

What are all the different ways to earn a royalty income?

  • Write a book or eBook and earn a royalty on every sale
  • Write music and earn money whenever people use/download your music
  • Develop designs and put them on a site. You’ll earn money whenever people download your design. (the most popular money-maker today is with designing fonts)
  • Create art and photos – same premise as the above — earn money with each print and download.
  • Product design – design products and get paid a small percentage every time one of them sells.
  • Franchising – Do you own a business? If you can develop a system for someone else to make money with your business model, you could charge a small percentage of each of their sales.

I included helpful links within each of the options above if you’re interested in learning more about each one. 

13) Create an e-Course

Are you a master at something and would love to teach the world all about it? Maybe it’s time you start an e-Course.

According to, on their own website there are 68,000 people making videos and 18 million people watching and learning from these videos! And, among those 68,000 “instructors”, $338 million dollars have been paid out! 

Based on these numbers, e-Courses are even more lucrative than I thought! 

The premise is pretty simple. Create a course, charge money for it, and get paid when people pay to take the course. If you know a lot about something people are willing to dish out money for…then you’re sitting on a gold mine! Don’t delay. The risk is pretty low and the rewards could be staggering! Start an e-course today!

So how do you go about starting an e-Course?

Teachable has you covered with this post. Here, they’ll teach you how to:

  • create a course
  • the details of the course you’re creating
  • search engine optimization, and
  • how to brand your course

Other e-Course Options

There are, of course, other options outside of Teachable. You could also use:

…and quite a few others. Learning Revolution actually has a pretty good list of options with the pros and cons of each.

You could also self-publish video courses on your own blog (I use iPage to power this site). Learn how to get set up with your own blog here: Start Your Own Blog.

14) Peer-to-Peer Lending

If you haven’t heard of this before, the concept is fairly simple. Some people either don’t want to or can’t get a loan through a traditional bank. So, they turn to the Internet for funding – specifically, to individual people that are willing to take a chance on them…often at a slightly higher rate than what the banks offer. The beauty of peer-to-peer lending is that the risk of each borrower is spread to multiple lenders, which decreases the risk of default substantially.

It’s kind of like investing in mutual funds vs. just one single stock. Your exposure is reduced severely and you might even earn more money in the long run!

What are the top lending sites?

  • Prosper
  • Lending Club
  • Upstart
  • Funding Circle
  • Circleback Lending
  • Peerform

How much can you expect to earn?

There are some PF bloggers out there that claim to earn 10% or more with peer-to-peer lending, but they either:

  • are getting paid for their review of a p2p site and are stretching the truth on their post, or
  • they haven’t been in the game for very long.

The truth is, peer to peer lending is pretty risky and you’ll likely only earn between 5% and 7% in the long-term…and that’s if you invest wisely. I’ve heard accounts from quite a few people that earn next to nothing in the long-term. After fees and defaults, the percent on their returns has certainly not been worth the risk.

It is possible to earn money with peer-to-peer lending, and since it’s quite a passive investment once you get the ball rolling, I’ve left it here as one of the top passive income ideas. But, know that you can’t just hop onto a site, make a few clicks, and expect to earn 10% on your money. You really need to dig in and understand how the whole operation works, make your own wise investments within your portfolio, and then keep on eye on how things are going from time to time. 

Related: Lending Club Investing Review: My Experience After 5 Years as an Investor

15) Pay Down Consumer Debt

You might not think of consumer debt when you make your mental list of passive income ideas…but I do.

You know why?

If you do nothing to pay down the debt, then what would you call that interest payment that hits you every month?

passive expense… right??

No matter what you do during the day (work, sleep, or perhaps do nothing but play with your pet chincilla…), when it comes to that special time of the month….when your credit card payments are due…the company swipes your money, no questions asked.

Do away with that interest payment and you’ll essentially be earning yourself that 15%+ of interest every month. Now that’s a pretty good investment! 

spend your tax refund16) Put Money Into Your HSA

I freaking love the Health Savings Account option, and you should too, and here’s why I’ve got it on the list of passive income ideas:

  • First of all, you never pay tax on this money…ever. It’s not taxed going in, and as long as you use it on medical expenses, it’s not taxed coming out. That’s a 30%+ savings right there! If that’s not passive money, I don’t know what is!
  • Second, when you build up your HSA account to a certain amount (typically $2,000), you can actually invest the savings and likely earn even more on your money (again, tax free)!

If you have discretionary income and are waffling on the idea of putting money away into your HSA, stop waffling…

No matter what you think, you’ll likely use the money in that account and you’ll be glad it’s there. After all…

  • Do you think your kids will ever get hurt? Need fillings in their teeth? Need braces?
  • Do you think you’ll need medicine in your old age? Doctor visits? Surgeries? How about long term care?

…the HSA can be used for all these things and is hands-down one of the best passive income ideas out there. Again, it probably wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about passive income ideas, but you can’t deny it now that you’ve read all about it! Get all your questions answered about a Health Savings Account right here.

Related: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About a Health Savings Account

17) Invest in Annuities

Much like savings accounts, checking accounts, and CD’s, one can deposit an amount of money into an annuity and expect to earn interest…but the concept and payout of annuities are actually quite different.

Here’s the typical process for annuity investments:

  • You develop a lump sum of money (let’s say…$100,000) and decide that you’d like a guaranteed return (instead of an uncertain one in the stock market). 
  • So, you take your money to a top-rated insurance company and purchase an annuity – the interest rate is 4.25% for a 10-year term.
  • Over the course of those 10 years, you receive a monthly payout of $1,258. 
  • By the end of the term, you will have received 120 payouts of $1,258, or $151,000 – earning you $51,000 more than you initially invested.

Annuities are a decent option for people nearing retirement. The interest rates typically aren’t more than 4-5%, but the guaranteed earnings give the buyer peace of mind. And, they also receive a monthly paycheck to cover the cost-of-living gap left after their not-so-beefy Social Security check.

Different Types of Annuities

In the example above, I spoke of an immediate, fixed-rate, 10-year term annuity; but this is just one of many annuity types that are offered by insurance companies out there. You could also buy:

  • Deferred annuities, where payments start at a later date in the future (maybe you’re 55 now, but you’re purchasing the annuity to start paying you regular checks when you turn 65)
  • Variable annuities – Instead of just paying out a flat percentage, a variable annuity will rise and fall with the stock market and bank rates. This adds more risk to your investment, but it might also earn you more money.
  • A lifetime payout – Perhaps you want a payout for life…not just 10 years. Insurance companies will offer that, but the math tends to get a lot more complicated since they’re now estimating how long you’re going to live (to ensure themselves an earnings and not a loss).

It’s not one of the top-earning passive income ideas, but it’s often a nice security blanket for older people that want to continue seeing a paycheck in retirement and aren’t so certain about the longevity of the stock market.

Want to learn more? Check out the top fixed annuity rates here, then simply contact the insurance company and they’ll get you started!

18) Pay Off The Mortgage

As you may have guessed, this is the same premise as paying off the credit card. For all the interest you would have paid each month, if you simply pay off the principle, you’ll never have to make those monthly interest payments again! This essentially saves you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars each month, which is why this makes the list of top passive income ideas!

When Should You Consider Paying Off Your Mortgage?

Before you start tackling your house debt, I say that you should first…

  • pay off all consumer debt,
  • stash away your 6 month emergency fund, and
  • invest at least 15% a month into your retirement.

If you’ve checked all those boxes, then I say go for it! Pay off that house!! It’s a guaranteed return on your money and there’s nothing quite like a fully-paid-for house! 🙂

Related: Should You Pay Off The Mortgage ASAP??

19) Affiliate Marketing

If you already have a wildly successful blog or social media page, then affiliate marketing might earn you some pretty sweet cash for very little effort. 

What is affiliate marketing?

Basically, you sell a product for another company and earn a kick-back for the referral. You’re the affiliate and you’ve lead a particular individual to a company and secured a sale. That’s affiliate marketing.

And, if you’ve already got 100,000 followers on Twitter as a DIY guru, it would probably be pretty easy to become an affiliate for some power tools company, send out  a few tweets, and get paid $40 per referral… but that’s just one example. There are probably an unlimited amount of scenarios where affiliate marketing makes sense for you.

How to get started…

There are two gurus that come to mind when I think of affiliate marketing…and I am most certainly NOT one of them…

  1. Niel Patel, and
  2. Michelle Schroeder

Follow these names and you’ll be way more likely to bust into affiliate marketing with a bang (…rather than a quiet pfffffff, and fizzle out). 

Quite honestly, I still need to find the time to follow these names more closely so that I can increase my affiliate income. Maybe you can beat me to it, brag to me how awesome you’re doing, and therefore make me mad enough to get serious about doing it myself. 


Now go make yourself some serious passive income so that I can too!! 😉

make money in an mlm20) Network Marketing

Also known as “multi-level marketing”, this is where you start your own business, sell a particular product, and then recruit people to sign up under you and sell product. You get a cut of their sales and eventually, if you build up a big enough team, you’ll start earning large amounts of money for essentially doing nothing…

I know I know, it sounds like a pipe-dream, and it even sounds a bit like a scam. But, there are plenty of legit businesses that pop up each and every year that operate by this model.

Now, does everyone that enters into a network marketing business make loads of money?

Definitely not.

In fact, probably less than 60% of people actually earn more than they put into the business…but these stats aren’t unlike the success rate of a normal businesses, so it’s hard to dispute the legitimacy of the model… 

Derek, have you earned a solid passive income with network marketing?

Absolutely not.

In fact, I probably lost close to $5,000 on my network marketing business (including all the leadership materials I purchased…which were actually valuable to my career advancement in Corporate America…so it wasn’t a total loss).

If you lost money, why would you recommend it as a way to make passive income?

I couldn’t make it work – mainly because I wasn’t passionate about the product and I was too much of an introvert at the time – but I’ve seen plenty of people have huge success in the business (like, make more than $1,000,000 a year successful). Some of these businesses are the real deal and there is a ton of money to be made.

If you’re:

  • Passionate about the product and talk about it with all your friends anyway,
  • Naturally outgoing and seem to make friends wherever you go, and
  • If you love to develop and lead teams of people to help them succeed…

…then this is probably one of the best passive income ideas for you.

For most of these network marketing businesses, the buy-in is pretty cheap. If you’re interested in the product and want to see if you could make network marketing work for you, then give it a shot! Sure, your friends might jab you a bit here and there, but if you’re making a million bucks a year, I bet you could handle a few jabs! 🙂

Related: 50 Best Network Marketing Companies of 2019

Related: 12 Tips to MLM Success

21) Rent Out Your Car

If you live in a big city and own a car that you rarely use, you could actually start putting it to work for you…earning (according to the top sites) up to $10,000 a year!

So how does one find people that want to rent their car and then get paid in the process? Through an entrepreneurial online company of course! The top names in the industry now are:

Both options work pretty much the same. You:

  • Sign up through their site,
  • List your car,
  • Get partnered with a renter that’s interested in your ride,
  • You meet them, they take the car,
  • They bring it back, pay you through the site,
  • And that’s it!

It’s pretty easy and quite passive if you think about it!

This option won’t make you millions, but if you try it and have success with it, you might just earn thousands! Not too shabby!

Related: AirBNB is Popular, but Renting Out Your Car? That’s Another Story…

22) Wrap Your Car

There are about a million and one scams (I counted) out there related to car wrapping…so you have to be careful out there. BUT, according to a careful investigation performed by Penny Hoarder, one can actually earn a few bucks by using their car as a moving billboard.

The top legitimate companies are:

Car wrap ads typically start at the $100 per month range…so potentially over $1,000 a year for doing nothing different than you’re already doing today!

23) Buy an Already-Profitable Blog

I started my blog back in 2010 – more as a hobby than a business. Since then, I have had more than one person offer $60,000 to buy it (and yes…I turned them both down!). 

So why on earth would someone pay so much for a blog? 

Because of the huge profits and passive nature of it. 

If I did nothing but put up staff-written articles each week and continued to have my VA handle the sponsored partnerships, I’d earn at least $1,500 in profit every month.

At $60,000, that would mean that the blog would pay for itself in about 3.5 years. Ramp it up a bit and utilize the thousands of articles that have been published on this site, and a buyer could probably earn their money back in 2 years or less, and then coast and watch the income just continue to roll in after that.

What to look for in a website

If you have the extra cash and are serious about buying a website for passive income, you’ll want to find one that’s:

  • established
  • has a proven income for several years
  • earns money via passive income channels like affiliate marketing, Google ads, and e-product sales
  • has a large email mailing list (ie. insurance against a potential Google rank dive)
  • has the potential for growth (and not degradation)

And, you’ll of course want to be interested in the topic of the blog. Sure, buying a blog will be fun, but if you hate the topic, it will soon get old and you won’t easily succeed with it.

So how do you go about buying a site?

There are two common practices for scouting out blogs that are for sale:

  1. Go to and see what’s officially for sale
  2. Find blogs on your own and personally reach out to the owners to see if they would ever be interested in selling

The first approach is simple and easy, but the second might result in you scoring a deal since no one else knew that this blog was for sale. 

Want to Learn More? Check out this post from Blog Tyrant: How to Buy a Website and Start at the Top

24) Build a Popular App

If you are a programmer to the core and have a great idea that everyone should download, then you might just be the talk of your neighborhood soon… Something like, “Do you know how much Timmy makes a month? It’s insane!!! All because of that stupid app. I wish I would have come up with that idea…”

The concept of an app as one of the top passive income ideas is pretty simple:

  • Come up with an idea
  • Develop the game/tool
  • Publish it in the various app arena (Mainly, Apple and Android)
  • Watch the dollars flow in from sales and advertisements

Some popular apps out there are…

  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Slack

These apps had humble beginnings, and today are worth billions of dollars. It really is insane, but your next app could generate a passive income, and maybe even be sold for billions someday!

Want to Learn More: Check out HuffPost’s article, “11 Key Steps to Creating a Popular Mobile App“.

25) Develop a YouTube Channel

Are you charismatic? Can you easily gain people’s attention? Do you have something that you love to talk about or do that you think people would love to watch?

There are people that…

  • Sing,
  • tell jokes,
  • show you how to do crafts,
  • produce music,
  • make 3D animation to popular nursery rhymes.

Seriously…the above list is the description of the current highest subscribed channels. You do NOT have to be a rocket scientist to do well on YouTube (in fact, that would probably be a hindrance since no one would know what you’re talking about…and therefore earn you about 8 subscribers instead of 100 million like the folks above). You just have to find your niche, create some videos, and see if you could gain enough interest to develop a passive income.

So how is this one of the top passive income ideas?

Yes, it sounds like a lot of work to create a popular YouTube channel. BUT, once it IS popular, you could either sell it, or just let it stay rolling and keep producing an income. 

How? …you might ask.

Through the advertisements on all the videos that you have posted on your channel (YouTube does this automatically for you). With a large enough following and massive quantities of views each month, you could continue to earn thousands of dollars by doing nothing new!

How much could you possibly earn?

According to G2, in order to make money with YouTube, you’ve got to have at least 1,000 people subscribed to your channel and over 4,000 “watch hours” in the last 12 months. Once you get approved by YouTube, the average video earns $0.18 per view, or roughly $18 for ever thousand people watching your stuff.

So…for those that draw millions of views to their seemingly simple channels, they earn tens of thousands of dollars. 

The top channels earn millions of dollars per year. 

Insane, I know, but it’s apparently possible…

Related: 10 Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel

26) Start a Driving Range

This has actually been my dream for quite a while…

  • to buy some land,
  • plant some grass,
  • put some pins out in the field,
  • build a small clubhouse that I can sit in…
  • and then blog about passive income while I earn it in the clubhouse! 😉

The business of a driving range is obviously a bit more complex than that, but one can really turn it passive. In fact, the driving range near my house has an automatic credit-card enabled golf ball dispenser! So literally no one has to be there for the establishment to earn eight of my hard earned dollars every time I go there. If they attract roughly 20 golfers a day, 30 days a month, they’re earning a top-line revenue of $4,800 a month.

Pay a guy $10 to pick up the balls each night to stock the machine and you’ve got yourself $4,500 of pure passive income profit!

Related: Passive Income with a Driving Range

reasons to get out of debt6 Passive Income Ideas That Suck…Do NOT Try These!!

All of the 25+ passive income ideas above have quite a high potential to earn you money while you’re sleeping. Dig into them, explore the income possibilities, and create a few channels if you can (if one passive income is good, then two is better!). BUT, beware of the “great” passive income ideas that are simply lousy. I’ve listed them below. 

Remember, you can do whatever you want to do, but I’m personally staying far away from these passive income ideas…

1) Vending Machines

This seems like such a great idea – to put machines with food and drinks in them into popular areas and just waiting for all the money to come in.

…But then there’s the:

  • continual stocking of the machines,
  • the money collection (or, if you’re using a credit system, then make that the fees that you need to pay on every sale),
  • vandalism to your machines, and the
  • ability for people to get better food around almost every corner these days…

I’ve seen so many people trying to get out of this business that I’m almost certain it’s a terrible idea. It may have worked well 50 years ago, but not nearly as well today.

2) Laundromats

How do these businesses even stay alive? I mean seriously. Nearly every household in America has a washer and dryer, so the majority of people never step foot in a laundromat. Then, for those that do, they pay like, $1.00 to run a load of laundry…?? How does this eventually turn into a profitable venture?

For most, it doesn’t…

Laundromats cost $200,000-$500,000 to start up, and owners earn an average of less than $50,000 a year… with some earning just $15,000. 

For me…I’m just staying away from this business.

3) Cash Back Sites

The premise on this is pretty simple:

  • Sign up with a company like Ebates,
  • When you want to buy something, navigate to the store through the Ebates portal, and then
  • Get cash back for that purchase.

You’re essentially earning part of Ebates’ kick-back from the store that gets the product sale.

So why am I against it? Too many people are on the Ebate’s site looking for things that they can buy so they can then earn money. Essentially, they’re buying things that they wouldn’t have bought otherwise so that they can earn a penny on every dollar they spend. 

In my opinion, it’s better to just ignore these cash back sites altogether. You’ll earn more by spending less. 

4) Crowd Funded Real Estate

I am one of the few personal finance gurus that isn’t in love with crowd-funded real estate. If you’re not familiar, here’s the operation:

  • You sign up with a company like Fundrise,
  • deposit dollars into a real estate deal (along with hundreds/thousands of others to complete the deal), and
  • earn a percentage on your investment when the deal goes through.

It sounds all well and good until you start discussing the fees and the actual risk you’re taking on each one of these deals (especially if this housing market goes soft again). The typical investor will only earn 5-6% after all the fees are deducted. 

I say if you want to invest in real estate, you should look and feel the property that you’re purchasing. The easier the process is for you, the more you’ll just take the investment for granted and the more likely you’ll be to lose your shirt. 

Interested in real estate? Find a place in your area and buy it with cash. I highly recommend it!

Related: What is Fundrise? And Should You Invest Your Money Here?

5) Pinball/Candy Machines

I’ll make this short and sweet. Nobody uses these things anymore, and even if they wanted to they probably don’t have any quarters on them to put into the machine anyway! 

If you want to buy a pinball or gum ball dispenser for your house as a novelty item, fine. But don’t buy one and think you’re going to make money with it.

6) Car Wash

Yes, people use car washes all the time, but how many of them are in your city?

  • Six?
  • Eight?
  • Maybe even ten?

The market is pretty saturated, and there’s way more that goes into a car wash than you know. Sure, it’s possible to make money here, but it’s not easy and it may not even turn out to be very passive!

Related: Invest in a Car Wash – 5 Things Your Broker Won’t Tell You

Passive Income Ideas – Which Ones Will You Choose?

You’ve just reviewed one of the most comprehensive passive income articles ever written. The question now is, “What are you going to do now that you’ve read it?”

  • Will you continue to do nothing, earn nothing, and then complain about the fact that you have to work a job every day to make a living?
  • Or, will you actually try a few of these passive income ideas, make thousands of dollars, and do practically nothing each year to earn it?

The choice is yours. Which of the passive income ideas will you choose? Tell me in the comments below!!

Grow Rich Money Passive Income


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Hey Derek…

    I have read many articles on passive income and thought I had heard it all and read about all the ways to create it. However, I had never thought about “Wrapping my car”.

    But, the idea I took from this was starting a warehousing business. This sounds pretty simple and it’s something I could do! Wow, thanks for creating such a great list!

    By the way, in your list of passive income ideas that suck, I had a bubble gum (bulk candy) vending business years ago and it was highly profitable. The downside was there were times machines got vandalized but fortunately, those machines we cheap.

    • Glad you liked the list! Do you think your bubble gum vending business would do as well today? What made you stop if it was going so well?

  2. Hey Derek:

    I’m not sure what would happen with the vending business today. I assume it still works because I see the bubble gum bulk candy vending machines everywhere. I mean if it wasn’t working, I don’t think people would still be doing it.

    When I was in that business there were some massive companies such as Folz Vending. They had all the major grocery stores and malls. Not sure if they still have that.

    I stopped doing it because although it was profitable, I was not great at getting locations. I hated that part of it. I was young and not as confident as I am now.

    • Makes sense. I always look at them, reach into my pocket, and realize that I never carry change anymore! 😉 I feel like there are plenty of other people out there that do the same thing. So I can’t imagine the sales are anything like they used to be.

  3. Great point! I think sales for these types of vending machines must be down because I’m sure less people carry cash or have coins. Even so, they’re still everywhere. Now, regular snack and pop machines are still doing great because they take credit cards.

    • Yup yup. I see it all the time at the office. *swipe*, soda. *swipe* chips. etc etc. 😉

  4. Hi Derek – great list, this is the most comprehensive list I’ve seen on passive income. There are quite a few I hadn’t thought about before. Aside from the investing ideas, I think my favorite is the driving range–that one sounds pretty fun!

    • Ahhh the driving range. My childhood dream. I could blog while I wait for customers and hit balls any time I wanted to! Maybe when I retire at 45… 😉

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