If you’re looking to make an extra $100 to $10,000 on the side, then you’re not alone! For years I’ve been collecting different passive income ideas – ways to make more money requiring as little effort as possible – to add to my money design.
Remember that when you consider what passive income is, some minimal effort will always required – especially in the beginning. However, as you work towards it, each income stream should get to the point where only a little bit of maintenance is necessary.)
With that said, here’s my actionable list of ideas for you to try yourself.
Passive Income Ideas That I Use:
Blogging / Affiliate Marketing: To date, blogging has been the biggest income generator of all my passive income ideas! I started this blog for less than $100 and it has since then generated thousands of dollars of side income!
To build a blog that makes money is a lot like taking an empty piece of desert and turning it into something as busy and glamorous as Las Vegas. In other words – You need to make it a place that people actually want to go to.
Ideally once your blog has traffic and good Internet rankings, you’ll find that several different types of income generating opportunities will present themselves to you. Here are the two most popular methods:
- Direct advertising: You’ll start getting emails and solicitations from lots of marketers looking to work with you on their advertising campaigns.
- Affiliate marketing: More traffic leads to more people clicking ads on your site. Some of the common affiliate partners include Google Adsense, Amazon Affiliates, Commission Junction, Flex Offers, and Clickbank. There are also other avenues such as promoting products from Click Bank, eBooks from fellow bloggers, software, etc.
If you’re looking for more, I highly suggest you check out the following books:
- “Problogger” by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
- “The Six-Figure Second Income” by David Lindahl and Jonathan Rozek
- “Get Rich Click” by Marc Ostrofsky
Or if you’d prefer to hear my personal advice, you can read a few of my blogging tips that I’ve learned along the way.
Paid Surveys: Marketing companies are always in need of detailed information about what prospective customers are into. In return they’ll often offer cash or rewards points just for taking the time to quickly fill out a short and simple 5 minute survey. It’s about the easiest way I can think to make money for doing literally doing nothing more than clicking on a few boxes. Here’s a really good link to find a huge list of paid surveys (note: access to the list costs a small one-time fee).
Dividend Income: What’s better than owning a stock that goes up in price? One that also sends you quarterly dividend payments from the profits they make! Collect enough high quality stocks, space out the payments, and you can start receiving significant monthly income.
You can read all about which dividend paying stocks I own and why in this article here. Every quarter I publish a report of my dividend income and stock performance to see how well they are doing and how much money they are bringing me. My ultimate goal of course is to gain so many of them that the passive income I make them might some day replace my working income.
If you’re just getting into dividend stocks and looking for something good to read, try:
- “The Ultimate Dividend Playbook” by Josh Peters and Morningstar Inc.
- “The Little Book of Big Dividends” by Charles B. Carlson
Licensing – If you’ve got a great camera for taking photos or love playing the newest guitars when you record your music, don’t just let them sit around on your computer never to be seen or heard. You can license them on a royalty-free website where customers will pay you a fee to use for a publication, website, radio or TV ad, etc. Click here to learn more about how to sell your creations on iStockphoto.
Credit Card Cash Back and Rewards: If you’re responsible with your credit cards and pay them off each month, then why not get paid for the things you’re going to buy anyways like gas and groceries? All you need is a handful of cards with a variety of unique bonus rewards categories, and then you can use them to make four figures in a year! One good one I’d recommend is the Citi ThankYou Premier card. You can earn $500 in just 6 months!
More Ideas for Passive Income:
Peer-to-Peer Lending: Want to invest in dozens of people’s dreams at once? As an alternative to borrowing money from banks, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become an Internet platform where everyday people can loan money to other people. This is usually done at very high interest rates that you set. You also have access to the borrowers’ credit rating and back story (reason for needing the money). In return for being the broker, the P2P lender takes a cut of the exchange. Two popular P2P companies are Lending Club and Prosper.
Free-Lance Writing: Do you know a lot about a subject but don’t want to start your own website? Some popular sites like eHow or About.com pay contributors to write quality articles. As you become more well known, you can also get paid to write for popular blogs!
eBooks: If you really know a lot about a niche topic and believe you could write a lot of beneficial material to help someone, then why not create your own ebook? With the resources available today, you could easily put together something in MS Word or Google Docs, PDF it, and charge whatever you think someone will pay for it. Sell it through your own site or on a major distributor like Amazon, eBay, or ClickBank.
eProducts: Think you could put together some valuable tool or instructional product such as a DVD, software, podcast, technical paper, etc? If you do, you could sell it on your own website or on a well-known distributor such as eBay or ClickBank.
App Creation: Short for “application”, apps are becoming a hot commodity with the rise of the smartphone industry. Most apps require less effort to produce than a full-scale software programs and can usually be outsourced for creation to a software programmer for relatively cheap. If you can get your app for sale on one of the popular app marketplaces such as Amazon or Apple, then you have an instant audience of interested customers.
Web Services: If you know how to do anything with websites, then you could sell your services using a technical consulting service broker such as Elance or 99designs. You could also do this over eBay or on your own through referral.
Niche Websites: Rather than start a big blog, try starting several smaller ones centered around specific keywords and topics. Use the sites to either generate completely passive income from advertising revenue such as Google Adense. Or you can sell the sites to the highest bidder on an auction site like Flippa.
Single Family Home Rental: A rental property is a staple among classic passive income ideas. As long as you can earn more from your rent income than what you pay on the mortgage, taxes, and bills, then you will have added income every month (for as long as your tenants pay their rent). Check out my exploration of this topic in How Much Money Would I Make If I Rented Out A House?
Apartment Leasing: Rather than leasing out one house at a time, how about collecting rent from +20 tenants at a time? This is one of the investment recommendations made by “Rich Dad Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki and his wife Kim in their most recent book “Unfair Advantage”. Robert Kiyosaki’s advice has inspired other authors who also share in his endorsement and success with the apartment leasing revenue technique. Most notably, author George Antone of “The Wealthy Code” delivers a very descriptive how-to on acquiring residential real-estate and the advantages of using “leverage” (borrowing money at a lower rate than the rate of return you make on the investment) as part of this process.
Commercial Real Estate Leasing: Have you ever seen the show “19 Kids and Counting” on TLC? Have you ever wondered why Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle never seem to be at work and are always spending time with their 19 kids? It’s because they own several commercial real-estate investments and live off of the revenue they generate (on top of what they make from you watching their show!). Just like people, some businesses find it more favorable to rent the building that they occupy rather than own it. Because of the size of the buildings and other factors, the stakes are usually much greater in owning commercial real estate than they are with single-family homes. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki and his wife Kim are big promoters of using commercial real estate and discuss many examples in their book “Unfair Advantage”.
Bond Interest Payments (or Bond Ladders): Bonds are payments of debt upon which the interest is paid annually. Similar to dividends, strategies can be applied where a series of different types of bonds are purchased such that the interest adds up to significant monthly income. The book “Higher Returns from Safe Investments” by Marvin Appel describes some great techniques and also has a step-by-step explanation for setting up bond ladders.
CD Ladders: Certificates of Deposit (CD’s) can also be laddered in a fashion similar to a bond ladder where various ones will mature (pay out) at different times and at varying interest rates. From my experience, Ally Bank usually has some of the highest rates available. On top of that, it is really easy to move your money in and out.
eBay: Everyone knows that if you’ve got some old stuff around the house, you should try to resell it on the popular Internet auction giant. But what about other techniques such as reselling niche and hard to find items, valuable products that may have been poorly posted, or selling for others for a percentage of the winnings. The books “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss and “Get Rich Click” by Marc Ostrofsky feature some unbelievable true stories about regular people who have gotten rich by using this strategy.
Etsy: A wedding I went to had the most beautiful hand-made and crafty decorations. Where did the copule get them all from? Etsy! Similar to eBay, try selling your crafts on Etsy to people who are looking for just those types of creations.
Drop Shipping: In the book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, author Timothy Ferriss literally only works 4 hours a week (from his laptop while on exotic vacations) because he has designed an incredible automated system of selling products where all his transactions are fulfilled through drop shipping. Drop shipping is when someone orders something from you, and you turn around and have the product made and shipped directly to the customer. You never see, handle, or do anything with the product. As a seller, this is an incredible advantage because it means that you never have any inventory, overhead costs, storage costs, and very little liability. Once you have a product to sell, you could setup your own web page or setup a store on eBay or Amazon to capitalize on their already-established traffic.
Consulting: If you are really good at what you do (or at what you know) and can market yourself towards someone who really needs your service, consider performing consulting. Nothing beats good old fashion networking, and these days, networking has gone digital. Try LinkedIn to get started.
Small Business Owner: Comfortable with risk and have money to invest? Venture capitalists are always looking for people to partner with so that they can get their product or service off the ground. You could become a partner in opening a store, a restaurant, a real-estate purchase, or even the next Facebook. Just make sure you trust the people you invest in and get everything in writing!
Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, Stuart Miles, Michelle Meiklejohn, RTP411, adamr, James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net