32 Best Passive Income Ideas for 2021

  • Share

Among the most powerful ways to generate wealth is to leverage passive income, meaning that you are generating revenue with little or no effort, even while you sleep. You’ll find no shortage of passive income strategies in bookstores and online, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

This post is meant to be a how-to, beginner passive income guide that lays out some of the most powerful ways to generate revenue outside of working for it. It’s an introduction to passive income ideas that let you grow your wealth with minimal effort.

Traditionally, passive income refers to putting your money to work for you through investing. And to be sure, some of these ideas do require some research upfront.

But compared to a 9-5 job there is no comparison.

Passive Income Ideas Graphic

 

List of Top Passive Income Ideas

In this post collecting ways to earn passive income, we’ll start with what has traditionally generated the most passive income over time and work down to the least lucrative but safest, passive investment opportunities. 

First, we identified the type of opportunity, and then reviewed various tools available to take advantage of the opportunity.

Invest in Real Estate

Investing in real estate has been one of the most powerful ways to grow wealth for generations. The problem until recently has been that you usually need to have a significant amount of money to buy a property. But as technology continues to open up new areas, that is changing.

Today, just about anyone can generate passive income through real estate with even a small investment.

There are different ways to make money in real estate, which affect the return you’ll get and the risk you’ll be exposed to.

The primary ways of making money from real estate are from the recurring revenue from rental income or the profit from selling a new or refurbished property.

Crowdfunded Real Estate Primer

Several companies are bringing real estate investing to regular people through what’s called real estate crowdfunding. Crowdfunding refers to getting a lot of people to invest relatively small amounts that when taken together adds up to what you could originally get from large investors.

It lets small investors pool their money together and share in the rewards. Some of the most powerful ways to passively grow your wealth come from crowdfunded real estate.

There are several ways to leverage crowdfunding and real estate. You can buy a part of actual property or development, or you can buy an investment in a collection of properties.

You can invest in new developments, acquire commercial and residential properties with existing tenants, or in properties that are rehabilitated.

Like any investment with a potentially big reward, there can be a higher risk when investing in real estate.

Luckily, many of the crowdfunding platforms have found ways to minimize investor risks.

Unfortunately, some of the most lucrative investments are still available only to accredited investors, which means they have a net worth of over $1 million.

Some of the crowdfunding platforms are attempting to lower this barrier to entry, but as of this writing, many options are only available to accredited investors.

Pros of crowdfunded real estate investment

  • Access to real estate investment options that are new for people who aren’t super-wealthy.
  • Can invest in a slice of a property that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
  • Returns that have traditionally outpace the stock market in the long term.
  • Helps to diversify your investment portfolio like choosing real estate sectors such as industrial real estate or even investing in laundromats. The options are endless.
  • Don’t need to deal with the hassles of owning a house (maintenance, tenant issues, etc.)

Cons of crowdfunded real estate investment

  • Illiquid – you’ll usually need to hold your investment anywhere from 3 – 10 years.
  • Risky – Depending on the type of property you invest in, there can be more risk when dealing with real estate.
  • Unpredictable – Macro-events like the housing crash or Covid pandemic have had an outsized impact on real estate. Finding tenants can be a challenge, and if there aren’t tenants you aren’t making money while still have to spend on things like taxes, utilities, etc.
  • Some won’t start paying out right away – If you invest in new construction, you’ll likely not start making money for several months or even years.

See Related: How to Underwrite Real Estate Investments

Fundrise

Fundrise is one of the oldest real estate crowdfunding sites. They aim to bring real estate investing to average investors.

As they explain, “By removing gatekeepers and structural flaws, Fundrise’s full-stack system delivers investors access to the private market at up to 40% lower cost than traditional investments.”

logo_image

Fundrise
Minimum:

$500


Fundrise is a leading real estate crowdfunding platform that allows you to directly invest in private commercial real estate opportunities. With an investment minimum of only $500, you can start earning passive income or capital appreciation through one of funds and investment plans. I personally use Fundrise to invest and diversify my real estate portfolio.
SIGN UP FOR FREE

When you invest with Fundrise you are actually purchasing a stake in a diversified portfolio of real estate projects that have been thoroughly researched, acquired, and managed by the Fundrise team.

They act as the real estate holding company, with the more money they get from investors resulting in a growing portfolio of properties.

Fundrise pros

  • Safer than other choices – Fundrise is “one of the few sites that put full-fledged bankruptcy protection on every fund, which gives investors extra peace of mind.” according to Ian Ippolito of The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review.
  • Low entry cost – Their $500 minimum is among the lowest in the industry.
  • Large selection of properties.
  • You can auto-invest, meaning that you can continually contribute a set amount regularly and automatically.

Fundrise cons

  • Hard to know what you will be investing in.
  • At the starter level, you won’t be able to choose the individual properties to invest in.
  • Non-liquid – There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell your investment before the specified terms.
  • Unpredictable – To stabilize their portfolio, Fundrise had to stop allowing cashouts immediately after the Covid Pandemic outbreak in March. They resumed allowing them in July.

How does Fundrise work?

To begin investing with Fundrise, you will choose your starting account level and specify the initial amount to invest:

Depending on your starting account level, you may also choose an investment plan (Long-Term Growth, Supplemental Income, or Balanced Investing) that balances your desire for growth with risk exposure.

Min To Invest Accredited Only? Fees Next Steps
$500 No 1%/year Read Full Review

Once you’ve completed your account setup, Fundrise will allocate your initial investment into the properties they own.

Depending on the property and specifications, you can start earning passive income right away. 

TRY NOW FOR FREE

RealtyMogul

RealtyMogul says they “are here to simplify real estate investing through using technology…To date, investors have invested over $550 Million through RealtyMogul, financing 400+ properties valued at over $2 Billion.”

The RealtyMogul team finds real estate offerings from developers. Before giving you a chance to invest, their in-house team of estate professionals review the offerings and then decide if they meet their criteria. They claim to only go forward with less than 1 percent of deals they review.

The RealtyMogul team concentrates on multi-family housing but can also include office, industrial, self-storage, retail, and medical office. 

Min To Invest Accredited Only? Fees Next Steps
$1,000 No 0.50%/year Read Full Review

When you invest in RealtyMogul you can invest in one or both of their REITs or stand-alone projects, although the former option is only available for accredited investors. 

  • Non-accredited investors are eligible to invest in the MogulREIT I or MogulREIT II
  • Accredited investors have access to all investments on RealtyMogul. When you invest in a stand-alone project, you are usually buying shares in an LLC, which then holds at least some of the title to real estate property.

RealtyMogul Pros

  • Non-accredited investors can only invest in their REITs, MOGULREIT I, and MOGULREIT II.
  • You can see real-time information on their investment including distributions, milestones, and overall ROI.
  • No performance paid fees on the REITs, although they do have a 3% organizational and offer expense fee for setup. 

RealtyMogul Cons

  • Not liquid – They have a one-year lockup, withdrawing 1-2 years is a 2 percent fee, 2-3 years is 1 percent. A stand-alone project can be for as long as 5 years, each investment has different expected hold periods
  • Their minimum investment is higher than Fundrise.
  • Unpredictable – Two deals they handled lost money

How does RealtyMogul work?

The sign-on process for RealtyMogul is relatively straight-forward. You enter your email and confirm it via a code they send you.

After that, you’ll go through an on-boarding process that will ask about your net worth and earnings for the current year and the previous 2 years to determine what is best for you.

Once you create your account you’ll be able to see the current offerings available at your investment level. These are some other real estate crowdfunded sites for non-accredited investors

Roofstock

Launched in February of 2019, Roofstock allows everyday investors the ability to purchase Single-Family Rental (SFR) properties across the US.

As they say, “Our mission is to make ownership of investment real estate radically accessible, cost-effective, and simple.”

Roofstock provides a marketplace where you can browse and purchase investment properties that you rent in states across the US right within the platform. They analyze the property and neighborhood to evaluate its price and ability to generate income over time.

The idea is to let you purchase and manage a real estate property from the comfort of your home. They want to make it easy for you to purchase an investment property without actually seeing the property.

They maintain a marketplace with available properties, provide inspection services. You will own it and be responsible for maintenance.

They also partner with property managers that can help you find and deal with tenants and provide repairs.

Roofstock Pros

  • All properties listed on the marketplace go through the Rooftop Certification Process, which includes
    • A property inspection.
    • Analysis of property and local rental market, including an estimate for big repairs. A review and key lease terms, a tenant payment history, and a home disclosure report.
    • Preferred property managers.

  • You can get a refund on the property within 30 days, and they guarantee you’ll have an income-generating tenant within 45 days from purchase through their Lease-Up guarantee.

Roofstock Cons

  • No bankruptcy protection.
  • They’ve only been around since February of 2019, so it’s hard to know their long-term track record.

Getting started with Roofstock is simple you’ll be able to browse their marketplace after creating the account, you don’t need to deposit any money.

The marketplace allows you to search for properties for purchase throughout the US. 

Real estate investing through REITs

Another option for investing in real estate is investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) like those offered by Realty Mogul. REITs have been around for decades, however, they are becoming more and more accessible to average investors.

REITs pool money from many investors that are used in real estate investing. The investors provide the money, and REIT managers decide how to deploy it. To qualify for REIT designation, the company must make at least 75 of its income from real estate assets.

Different REITs are comprised of different asset types, commercial buildings, apartment complexes, even storage facilities, and any combination of them.

Some deal with mortgages only. Many REITs are publically traded just like stocks are. 

My top pick is building an M1 Finance pie that is solely focused on REITs. You can set contributions to this portfolio and forget it.

Before you know it, you’ll be compounding your dividends to build wealth. 

logo_image

M1 Finance
Price:

FREE


M1 Finance is an automated investing platform that I personally love and use everyday. You can set a certain allocation to your desired investments and automatically contribute to your account on auto-pilot. You’ll stay invested so you can go out and live your life. M1 Finance is completely free to use.
SIGN UP FOR FREE

 

Investing in REITs is a great alternative to using Fundrise to invest in real estate. 

Rental property

For those to whom the opportunity is available, buying your own real estate property might be the most lucrative investment overall. You can have the rental income pay for the mortgage and have money left over that goes right in your pocket.

If you have the cash it’s best long term. With the right tenant and no significant issues, it can be great. But it does carry significant risk.

The wrong tenant can make eviction a nightmare, with no rent coming in the whole time.

And one big repair could derail a year’s worth of profit. 

Use my free rental property calculator to ensure that your real estate investment will turn into a passive income no matter the situation. 

Live on your rental property

One variation on having a separate rental property is to buy a multi-family home, live in one apartment, and rent out the second. That way your tenant is paying some or even all of the mortgage.

You get to live for free or at a greatly reduced rate but are also growing your equity as you pay down the mortgage.

Pros of rental property

  • Real estate has traditionally been one of the best long-term investments
  • You can generate rental income at the same time that your property is appreciating in value

Cons of rental property

  • Illiquid – if you need money you’ll have to go through the process of selling the house. Even in good times, this can be a process, and if the market is in a difficult time you might have to sell at a substantial loss.
  • Time and money intensive
  • If your space is vacant you’ll be losing money from maintenance, utilities, taxes, etc.
  • With the wrong tenant can have a had time evicting
  • Maintenance issues could eat away at your annual returns

Find roommates

Another option to enjoy the benefits of a recurring tenant payment is to find a roommate to help offset some of your mortgage or rent. It’s a great way to earn passive income by renting things out you already own

There are tons of great websites to help you find roommates.

Short-term rental of a property or a spare room

Another variation on a rental property is short-term rentals of the property or extra room.

It gives you more flexibility than finding long-term tenants but still allows you to generate significant income. Learn how I rented my house without a real estate agent.

Pros of short term rentals

  • Less money-intensive
  • Allows you to ease into real estate investing
  • Shorter stays provide flexibility
  • Extra money can offset or even cover your rent or mortgage
  • You’ll be able to keep an eye on the property to make sure there’s no long-term damage being done, which is harder with a traditional rental

Cons of short term rentals

  • Will need to pay taxes if rent more than 14 days each week
  • Need to comply with local regulations in a legal grey area
  • Property maintenance and cleanup require time, money, or both. 

The two big players in this space are Airbnb and VRBO – read a comparison of VRBO vs Airbnb.

Rent your property for campers

An alternative to renting a home out is to rent your backyard to campers and RVs.

Pros of renting to campers

  • Less up-front cost than other forms of property rental.
  • Relatively easy way to monetize your property.

Cons of renting to campers

  • If you want to welcome anything but campers you’ll have to figure out a bathroom situation.
  • Only an option if you have the property to accommodate guests.

Looking to learn how to rent your property for campers and RVs? Hipcamp is the leader in helping you rent out your property to campers and RVs.

They offer a low fee and help protect you from any damage campers cause.

Other options include Tentrr.com and Campspace.

Invest in stocks and bonds

Traditional, buy and hold investing has been the definition of passive income. You find and research companies you think will be more valuable in the future than today, buy stock in them, and as the value of the company increases, so does the worth of your shares.

Up until recently, buying stock meant having to pay a fee to purchase the stock.

For those only buying a limited amount, that could limit how much you could gain in returns. Luckily, that is no longer the case. 

Robinhood was the first to offer no trade fees, but most of the industry has followed in their footsteps. They will even give you free shares of stock for signing up

Stock market investing pros

  • It’s easy to buy and trade
  • Almost no minimum investment
  • Liquid – selling your stocks is easy because they are publicly traded.

Stock market investing Cons

  • Difficult to consistently earn – The stock market is filled with some of the most sophisticated investors on the planet who determine the price of the stock.
  • Volatile – Stock prices are subject to market fluctuations that are often unrelated to the actual profitability of the company.

There are tons of options for trading stocks online but some of the most popular are Robinhood and M1 Finance

Invest in Dividend Stocks

Many investors turn to stocks that pay a regular dividend to provide a consistent return. Dividends are paid regularly by the company to investors holding its stock. 

If you want to research specific stocks that pay a dividend, Finbox.com offers investors research tools to find and compare different dividend-paying stocks.

Use these awesome dividend income trackers to monitor your passive income.

Another option to gain the benefits of regular dividend payments is through investing in Exchange Traded Funds that track stacks that pay dividends, including

  • ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats (NOBL)
  • SPDR S&P Global Dividend ETF (WDIV)
  • iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY)
  • iShares High Dividend ETF (HDV)

Read this guide to dividend growth investing if you want to learn how to earn passive income from dividends stocks. 

Index Funds

And if you are investing in the stock market, it’s become vogue now for financial professionals to encourage passive investors to invest through low-cost mutual funds instead of paying someone to actively manage their money.

There are hundreds if not thousands of index funds tracking criteria including the size of the company, the sector, location, and much more.

In man cases, these are the same mutual funds offered through retirement accounts like 401k and IRAs.

Some of the best know index funds are:

  • S&P 500
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average
  • Nasdaq Composite
  • Russell 2000
  • S&P SmallCap 600
  • MSCI EAFE,
  • MSCI Emerging Markets

Learn how I do index fund investing in my full tutorial of how to use M1 Finance.

Peer-to-peer lending

Another twist on traditional lending comes from the so-called peer-to-peer lending. Similar to crowd-funding, peer to peer lending flips the script on bank lending.

Instead of borrowers getting money from a bank, they explain the amount they want, and investors will lend part of all of the money to them, which is then repaid with interest over time. 

Individual loans are smaller than traditional loans and are often used to consolidate credit card or car loans.

Pros of P2P lending

  • Low investment minimum
  • Returns can be larger than other forms of investing
  • Outside the banking mainstream
  • Can help individuals get control of their finances
  • Helps to diversify an investment portfolio

Cons of P2P lending

  • Can be riskier than traditional investing, especially if you don’t diversify your loans
  • Requires due-diligence to review the loans and ensure your portfolio is diversified.

The two big players in the space are Lending Club and Prosper.

They are similar in their offering, with the big difference being Prosper’s lower minimum inventment amount. 

Invest in Bonds

Money Explosion (1)

Buying bonds is usually considered a more stable if less lucrative, way to invest. In the past, it’s been difficult for the less-affluent to perform the proper research to invest in bonds. 

One way to invest in bonds without having to purchase them is by buying shares in a mutual fund that tracks them like the AGG, which was formerly known as the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond.

Worthybonds.com – One online platform attempting to democratize earning interest from bonds is Worthy.

It allows you to invest as little as $10 and earn 5% interest. And they don’t charge any fees.

They take the money they collect from investors and primarily use it to make secured loans to small businesses.

Invest with a Robo-Advisor

Another of the newer developments in investing comes in the form of “robo-advisors” that uses technology to help find the optimal investment for you.

You give them some details on your age and risk tolerance and they will allocate your money across different investments, usually in the form of mutual funds, to meet your goals.

They will automatically rebalance your portfolio as needed and some also help take advantage of tax-loss harvesting, which involves selling assets that have lost value so that those losses can be used to offset your gains and lower your tax bill.

The leading robo-advisors are Wealthsimple and M1 Finance (a hybrid of invest on your own and automated). They have similar pricing structures and services. 

  • Blooom – Offers a  similar product but it is limited to retirement accounts lie a 401k.
  • Acorns – A smaller player in the robo-advisor space is Acorns, which aims its offering to a younger audience. It is a similar offering to Wealthsimple but with a twist. It is aimed at younger folks and helps them save by rounding up purchases on their debit and credit card and moving that money into your account. Another option is using 

It helps those without savings to get started and can be a painless but effective way to start an investment account.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificate of Deposits (CDs) are likely the safest way to grow your investment, although it’s also the least lucrative.

With a CD, you give your investment to a bank, who guarantees a rate of return. Because of the low current interest rate environment, right now CDs are not paying much in terms of interest.

But when compared to a savings account it can be more attractive, especially if you are sure you won’t need the money in the short-term.

CD investing Pros

  • More earnings than a savings account.
  • Secure and reliable

CD investing Cons

  • Lower returns
  • You have to keep your money invested for a set amount of time. The longer you lock up your money, the greater your return.

At Marcus by Goldman Sacks, you can get a 6 month CD for 0.25 % APY all the way to a 0.70% APY for six years.

CD ladder

If you want to take advantage of the predictable earnings of a CD but are worried about locking up your money long-term, one option is to build a “CD Ladder.”

You can read a detailed explanation of a CD ladder but it basically means buying several CDs with different expiration dates.

As the short-term CD expires you can use that money to buy a longer-term CD and over time, you’ll eventually have your entire investment earning passive income at the long-term rates.

But will continually have CDs expiring, providing you with the flexibility to re-invest in the CD or do whatever else you want to do.

High yield savings

While offering the lowest return, if you have money that you don’t want to invest because of risk or long-term hesitation, a high-yield savings account gives you a bigger return than a traditional savings account.

Many high-yield savings accounts for generating passive income online have sprung up in recent years. Because they are influenced by the Fed’s interest rate, they have a similar return.

Some of the most popular high yield savings are:

High yield savings are going to be a hard way to earn meaningful passive income but it’s better than not earning a return at all. High yield savings is probably the most liquid investment in the form of passive income.

Start an Online Business

Starting an online business has never been easier than it is today. By bringing your existing business online or starting a new one, not only can you earn profits from home, but you can also reach a worldwide audience. 

To start an online business, you’ll need to know the market’s ropes and choose from the multiple options available.

Life of an Online Entrepreneur

Here’s our list of ways to start an online business and start earning a passive income today. 

Buy a Cash Flow Generating Blog on Flippa

Blog flipping is gaining popularity rapidly in the online world. For people who don’t want to go through the trouble of creating their own sites and boosting them until they become monetizable, buying an established blog instead is a great idea. 

Flippa is an interesting platform where you can sell profitable sites after you acquire them from their owners. You can also buy cash-generating blogs or consider investing in domain names.

logo_image

Flippa
Offer:

Free


Flippa is the ultimate marketplace to buy and sell digital property. Their marketplace features a robust listing database of mobile apps, domain name, starter sites and established websites. Try now for free.
SELL OR INVEST

Mind you, buying an online business can be quite expensive, so you can buy only if you’re ready to invest a fair amount.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find cheaper blogs on Flippa. However, cheap blogs are not worth much and will not bring you the profits you’re after.

Unless, of course, you’re hoping to revamp a worn-out blog and monetize it until it makes good money. 

Still, if you’re planning to make a significant investment and have the funds at hand, you can easily buy a site that generates millions. Remember, the price of a running website is usually 20-50 times its monthly income.

So plan out your strategy according to the funds you have at hand. 

Read more about the site in our Flippa review

Here’s a list of benefits and downsides to keep in mind while buying a blog on Flippa. 

Pros of Flippa

  • High-quality sites available
  • Properly organized sections for domain names, sites, and apps
  • You can find a blog from the genre you prefer
  • A thorough scrutiny of seller accounts
  • Users can provide feedback of transactions for other users to see
  • Currently, 200000 websites have been bought and sold through Flippa.

Cons of Flippa

  • Websites can be expensive
  • Cheap websites are always low-value and provide little profit.
  • No affiliate programs
  • No live customer support

Create a Passive Income Blog

Why buy an expensive blogging website when you can build one yourself? We know creating a passive income blog isn’t an easy task, but it’s quite lucrative, especially today when people reach out to the internet for every piece of information they need. 

There are many reasons to create a blog to showcase your creativity or just for fun.

However, if you want to create an income stream through your blog, you’ll have to follow a few crucial steps. 

Choose a Niche

Most online business experts will tell you to follow your passion while choosing a niche for your blog. However, we think that if you’re starting a blog for money, go for a profitable niche. 

A profitable niche is the one that most people are looking out for. Simply, the more viewers you get, the more money you’ll earn.

Try to target an audience from the 18-30 age group, as they’re more likely to surf the internet for content and information. Here is a list of different niche topics to choose from.

Create a High-Quality Website

Let’s face it; even if you post the best content on a dull website, no one will be inclined to view it. That’s why, before you start pumping out your content, create a high-quality, engaging website. 

You can start by purchasing a good domain name that matches your blog image and is easy to remember. After that, you should work on its design and organization so that it is catchy enough to hold on to your visitors.

A good design also guides your audience to your content and encourages them to take action. You can start a blog with Bluehost in a matter of minutes and for a very low cost.

They will give you a free domain name when you sign up

logo_image

Bluehost
Price:

Only $2.95/month


Bluehost is the ultimate hosting platform that will allow you to start a blog or website in a matter of minutes. You’ll get a FREE domain name when you sign up with my link It’s never been easier to build a brand.
START A BLOG

 

Pump Out Good Content

This is the most important part of creating a passive income blog. Post content that attracts your visitors and keeps them coming. Organic traffic is the only way you can make a steady income from your blog. 

Without any viewers, your blog will become stagnant, and your monetization strategies won’t work.

You can boost your content by integrating proper SEO, analyzing your competitors, and creating guest posts on popular blogs. 

Learn how I used a proper content strategy to get 100,000 page views per month… in less than 6 months. 

If you want to learn how to build an audience, join my free audience building course where I’ll show you what takes to build an email list and grow a blog. 

Monetize Your Blog

Once your blog starts getting a good daily traffic flow, you should monetize it to earn money. There are many ways you can monetize your blog.

This includes placing ads from Google Adsense or joining affiliate programs.

These are some of the best advertising networks for bloggers.

You can also advertise products related to your niche or even create your own merch to sell on your blog. As long as your content is consistent, the possibilities are limitless. 

I like this passive income stream because you can turn your blog into a legitimate full-time profession.

How Do Bloggers Make Money Illustration

Check out these top courses about blogging to build your passive income stream.

See Related: 18 Best Online Jobs

Start a Forum or Q&A Site

Nowadays, most people turn to the internet for whatever query or problem they might have.

That is why starting a forum or a Q&A site is a profitable online business idea. You can either pair up your forum with your business site or blog, or you can operate it individually.

The first option is relatively easy and will help you maximize the profits you’re earning from an established online venture.

For example, if you have an online business that sells products or services, your forum can provide a platform for your customers and visitors to ask queries regarding the product. 

This will not only attract more customers towards your business but will also improve your brand image.

Similarly, if you’re running a blog, your forum can help you connect with your audience and provide answers to their questions, and create content on demand. 

However, creating an individual Q&A site means your platform solely offers visitors a place for their problems and to question and get answers and solutions from your community.

You, in turn, can monetize your site and earn profit from your visitors. 

See Related: Blog vs Website – What’s the Difference?

Create Software or a Digital Asset

If you’re an expert in software creation, web development, and graphic design, you can easily create a digital asset and earn money online

A digital asset can be anything, including a Word file, PowerPoint presentation, an image, or even a graphic illustration. It’s anything that another person can use online.

Many platforms let you create your digital assets and post them on their websites.

WordPress Plugins

If you’re familiar with how WordPress works, you probably know that it has lots of plugins visitors can use to enhance their website’s user experience.

Some plugins work to make your websites catchy and attractive, while some increase these platforms’ functional aspects. 

WordPress themes

You can create your WordPress plugins for people to use when they start their websites and blogs through the platform. It can be a theme or software; you can create one depending on your skills.

This way, you can earn revenue from WordPress whenever someone uses the plugin created by you. 

Shopify Apps

Shopify is an online marketplace where people can create their own online stores. Like WordPress, Shopify provides apps and programs through which users can enhance their online stores’ overall buying experience for their users.

You can create such Shopify apps as assets for yourself and earn a steady income. 

All you need to do is create your Shopify Partner Account and start developing software in your favorite programming language.

You can use the app you create for your own store and even share it with other Shopify store owners for some extra money

Sell Digital Products Or Courses

Believe it or not, you might have a skill or two that others might be willing to pay for. For example, if you’re working as a teacher, you can create an online course mapping out an introductory training session for beginners in your field and earn some extra money online. 

You can either sell your courses on your own blog or list them on a popular website like Udemy or Coursera. Mind you, to attract buyers; you’ll have to provide quality content that provides value to your buyers.

If the first digital asset you create fails, you won’t attract many buyers in the future. 

What makes a course different from the usual content is that it provides application-based information so the buyer can acquire a specific skill. If your course doesn’t do that, it’s of no use to the visitor. 

To make sure people buy your courses, you’ll need to form an image for yourself in your niche.

You can do this by posting guest posts on popular sites and providing a link to your course in the end. 

Consider some of these other free traffic sources out there to promote your product. 

Create Media Assets

You don’t need to be a professional content marketer to know how the media impacts people today.

No matter what information you want to deliver to your audience, using visuals, illustrations, and animations is the most effective way to create an understanding of your concepts. 

This is what makes media assets profitable. Apart from monotonous written matter, you can add media assets to your content to reach a wider audience. 

You can also create media assets and sell them to other content creators to help them enhance their viewer base and earn a passive income yourself.

Here are a few examples of profitable media assets you can go for. 

Start a Podcast

A podcast is a content marketing technique, just like blogging or social media posting. Believe it or not, almost 1 in 5 of all US citizens listen to podcasts every day. If you want to earn money by posting content online, you can consider starting your podcast. 

We know what you’re thinking. You’re apprehensive about putting your voice out there, wondering how it will sound.

Also, in the case of a podcast, you have to design your content in a whole different way that makes people understand and connect without any visuals.

Here are a few podcasting essentials you’ll need to start your podcast. 

Get Proper Recording Equipment

Along with high-quality content, you’ll need to round up proper equipment to record your podcast to make sure your visitors keep listening. Let’s face it; no one likes the sound of their voice. That’s why you’ll need a good quality microphone to enhance it. 

You see, in a podcast, your voice is all there is.

Each and every high and low will work to engage your listeners. A microphone will make your audio sharper and more clear to make your voice comprehensive. 

Learn Effective Formatting

Just like you would arrange the content in your blog under headings and subheadings, your podcast needs proper formatting to attract users.

For example, you should start by introducing yourself and a reason why they should listen to you. You can also add some relevant background music or an introductory jingle to help users connect with your style. 

Furthermore, you’ll have to edit your podcast for any interruptions and errors when you’re done recording. Also, you can use multiple apps to tune out your audio and increase its quality. 

Publish Your Podcast

Most bloggers pair their podcasts up with their blogging content. This means they provide embedded audio with their posted content so that users have an option to listen to the audio when they prefer. 

Along with that, you can post your podcast on many websites, most prominently iTunes. This way, you’ll get paid whenever a user purchases and downloads your podcast. 

See Related: How to Become a Content Creator

Sell Photography or Image Editing “Presets”

If you’re a photographer or an image editor, then selling Lightroom presets is one of the best passive income options for you.

These presets help photo editors like you save their time while editing their photos. 

Besides that, these presets offer brands and digital marketing companies an opportunity to style their visuals easily in any way they like. 

You can simply create a preset on Adobe and save it as your own. After that, you can sell these presets in the online marketplace.

Here are some steps you can follow to create profitable image presets.

Personalize Your Style

If you want to create presets that sell like hotcakes, you should create a unique identity and style for yourself. This concept is also known as artistic handwriting. For example, are your presets soft and subtle or dark and muted?

Your style will attract interested customers to you. 

Create Presets That Others Might Need

You want to create a demand for your presets in the market. For that, you’ll have to make sure you’ll be solving problems for amateur photographers through your product. Look for places where beginner photographers struggle with. 

This includes editing under or over-exposed images. Make sure your presets make it easy to edit photos shot in problematic situations.

By doing this, you can easily find buyers for your product. 

Name Your Presets

When photographers buy presets, they look for a certain vibe. Name your presets in a way that imparts those vibes effectively. This way, your customers will immediately know what they’re going to get before making the purchase. 

Market Your Presets

This is the most important part. You can advertise your presets on your blog or website if you own one as a photographer.

If you don’t, you can post your presets on seller sites like Sellfy that connect preset buyers and sellers on one platform. 

Overall, selling your digital assets from traveling makes for a great way to make money while exploring the world

Build a Kindle Direct Publishing Portfolio

If you’re passionate about writing and want to start your own online business, you can do so by publishing directly on Kindle. The process is quite simple; you have to begin by writing a book.

It can be from any niche that you like or you think people would like to read. 

After you’ve completed writing your book, the next step is to upload it on Kindle using the KDP platform. Remember, before you do so, get an attractive cover made for your book so that your readers can judge it accordingly. 

Now, whenever a user clicks on your book, Amazon will deliver a digital copy to them in a few days, and you’ll get paid for your book

The payment process on Kindle works in two different structures, depending on your demographic location.

One pays about 35% royalty to the writers, while the other one pays about 70%. This is a great deal considering that mainstream publishing houses only give their writers 18-20% from their book profits.

See Related: 9 Ways to Get Paid to Write Slogans

Take Online Surveys

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that taking online surveys is one of the most lucrative ways to generate a passive income online. There are a plethora of websites you can choose from and get paid for answering a few questions

Most of these sites are affiliated with brands and retailers who conduct market research through these surveys. By taking these surveys, you can get cash and various rewards, including discounts and gift cards from partner brands.

logo_image

Survey Junkie
Offer:

Up to $50 Per Survey


Survey Junkie is one of the leading survey sites. The site offers surveys paying up to $50 each survey. The site has over 10 million members. You can cash your earnings via gift card or PayPal. It’s very easy to join and start making money.
SIGN UP NOW

The long list of platforms available makes it a little tricky to choose which ones to go for.

Here we’ve listed some legit and popular ways to earn money online by taking surveys. 

Sign up for Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie is one of the pioneering platforms when it comes to paid surveys. Founded back in 2005, the platform has more than six million members today.

Unlike other survey websites, Survey Junkie aims to provide relevant information to its partner brands while giving out profitable rewards to its users.

survey junkie logo

That’s why you’ll only be able to access the surveys that match your profile on their site. The surveys are split into seven categories, including topics like travel, health, tech, and household. Once you complete your profile, you will be assigned to one of these categories. 

After that, the website will notify you whenever there are surveys available for you to take. Each survey pays about 20-50 points on Survey Junkie. They also offer high-paying surveys you should look out for. These surveys can pay you more than 100 points. 

You will get about $1 for every 100 points you earn on the platform. You can choose to redeem your rewards in the form of gift cards or cash.

The site gives you your first hundred points just for signing up, completing your profile, and taking a virtual tour. 

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
$1 – $50 PayPal & Gift Cards $10 Read Full Review

Pros of Survey Junkie

  • Bonus for signing up and profile completion
  • Easy to use website
  • Multiple points redeeming options
  • No spam emails 

Cons of Survey Junkie

  • High-paying surveys are hard to come by
  • You can quickly get disqualified for surveys.
  • High cashout threshold

Use LifePoints

LifePoints is another reliable survey site that came into existence when MySurvey and Lightspeed joined hands in 2019. Like other survey sites, LifePoints collects valuable information for market researchers from its users and shares the commission with survey-takers like you. 

LifePoints Logo

Unlike long, daunting surveys by other sites, LifePoints lets you take mini-polls worth one or two points. These polls will take you no time to complete so you can earn money while you’re in the elevator or waiting for your order at a restaurant. 

However, they have long half-hour surveys that pay about 100 points, but they usually require qualification. The surveys revolve around topics such as politics, health, travel, and entertainment. 

Besides that, you can earn money on the platform by filling out dairy entries. This helps them keep track of your experiences and behaviors regarding different brands and products. Also, you can earn points by testing products from their partner brands. 

At LifePoints, you can redeem your rewards in cash or through gift cards. 

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
$0.6 – $1 Lifepoints pays in PayPal $20 Read Full Review

Pros of LifePoints

  • Many surveys available
  • Surveys are not time-taking
  • Multiple options for redeeming points
  • No geographical limitations

Cons of LifePoints

  • No live customer service
  • Accounts are subject to cancellation
  • Points can expire

Take High-Paying Surveys With Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research is a legit platform where you can take surveys to generate an extra income online. The sign-up process takes no time to complete, after which the platform will invite you to take surveys. 

Pinecone Research Logo

Unlike other platforms that offer other micro-tasks as well, Pinecone Research is a dedicated survey site. This means you can find all the surveys you want to take and maximize your earnings. For every survey you take, you will be rewarded in points.

Later, you can use these points to get cash or gift cards from various partner brands. Read our full Pinecone Research review if you’d like to know more.

Pros of Pinecone Research

  • High pay rates
  • Surveys take less time to complete
  • High monthly income compared to other sites
  • No minimum payout threshold

Cons of Pinecone Research

  • The website interface is not attractive
  • Sometimes, the website stops taking new members for specific periods

TRY NOW FOR FREE

Take Easy Surveys With Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost is a well-known survey site with more than 350,000 working members on board. Just like other survey sites, it gives you points in return for answering a few questions online.

opinion outpost logo

On the platform, each survey’s rewards depend on the length of the survey and the amount of information it requires. Simply speaking, you will get paid according to the time your spend and the information you provide. 

The sign-up process takes only a few minutes to complete, after which you can browse through survey options from your dashboard. The best part is, there are many ways you can redeem your points.

These include cash, gift cards, mileage points, and gaming points as well. 

Read more in our full Opinion Outpost review if you’d like to learn more. 

Pros of Opinion Outpost

  • Low minimum cashout threshold
  • Many payment options
  • Approximate time for each survey specified
  • User-friendly website

Cons of Opinion Outpost

  • Accounts can be blocked
  • No points if you are screened out of the survey
  • No mobile app
  • Points expire if not redeemed for a year

Get Paid to Browse the Web

It may sound surprising, but you can get paid on the internet just by browsing the internet. Yes, you can get paid to search for certain items, download specific apps, and even for keeping your computer running. 

You see, many companies pair up with online platforms to conduct mobile activity research. Once you sign-up for these apps and keep them running in your browser, they track your usual activities, including what you search for and what websites you visit.

In turn, they sell this information to brands and companies and share the commission with you. The best part is, you can earn through these sites without doing much work.

Here’s a list of ways you can get paid to browse the web. 

Use Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel

Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel is a platform that conducts consumer research for its partner brands. The app tracks how you use your internet-connected devices. These include your smartphones, tablets, TVs, and computers. 

Nielsen logo

Download the app on your devices and keep it running in the background. The app will collect the information it needs and reward you in return.

If you’re worried about your information security, there is no need to. The app mixes up your information with other users and filters out personally-identifiable data as well. 

It also doesn’t drain out your battery or slow down your browser speed, so you won’t even know it’s working in the background. 

Pros

  • No extra effort required
  • Get rewards while doing nothing
  • Contribute towards valuable research
  • Easy sign-up
  • User-friendly interface

Cons

  • One only earning opportunity
  • Not available worldwide

Sign up for Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the most popular micro-task sites on the internet. Once you sign-up on the platform, you can take up all sorts of tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and playing games.

The most accessible way to earn money on Swagbucks without doing anything is by browsing the internet. 

Swagbucks Logo

To earn on Swagbucks by browsing the internet, all you have to do is direct all your search questions through the platform. This means you’ll have to make Swagbucks your default search engine. 

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Just download the Swagbucks browser extension and let it run on your default browser in the background.

Whenever you type a search query on your search engine, click on the Swagbucks icon and view your results through the app. 

By doing this, you can earn about 25 SBs for every web search. 

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
$0.4 – $2 PayPal or Gift Cards $3 Read Full Review

Pros

  • Free sign-up
  • Many ways to earn points
  • Easy-to-use website
  • Earn income without doing anything

Cons

  • You won’t earn a lot in your first month.
  • You’ll have to avoid other search engines.
  • Not available worldwide

Use Honeygain to Earn Money

Honeygain is another exciting platform where you can earn passive income without making any extra effort. It’s a platform that uses your computer data to facilitate search results for their clients.

best passive income apps

The platform has users from various locations, which give their clients access to multiple IPs and devices. This way, they can get all the internet data they need while Honeygain will reward you. 

You just have to download their app on all your devices and keep it running in the background.

Remember, unlike other market research companies, they are not tracking your data. Honeygain simply uses your internet data and lends it to its partners. 

After that, the platform will pay you according to the internet it sucks up from your devices. They’ll pay you $1 for every 10 GB they use. 

Read this full Honeygain review to see if it’s right for you.

Pros of Honeygain

  • Easy to use
  • User-friendly interface
  • Prompt customer service
  • Speedy payouts
  • No security issues

Cons of Honeygain

  • Eats up your data plan
  • Reduces your battery life

If you have an Android, here are some other ways to make money from your lockscreen.

Get Cashback On Autopilot

Getting cashback is one of the easiest ways to earn passive income online. You’ll get paid every time you make your purchases through certain apps and websites. It’s free money

Many apps offer cashback opportunities, and you may get confused about choosing the best one for yourself.

Here’s a list of apps and ways you can get online cashback for free. 

Sign-Up for Rakuten

Previously known as Ebates, Rakuten is one of the pioneering platforms in the online cashback genre. You can quickly join for free if you’re 18 years or older and get cashback whenever you shop through their partner brand. 

Rakuten app

The best part is Rakuten has more than 2,500 partner brands. This means you can get discounts and cashback on almost every item of your purchase. Their partner brands range from luxury brands to grocery stores and utility brands as well. 

You can get anywhere from 1%-50% cashback, depending on the brand you shop from. Also, the platform brings lots of discount offers for you to avail of and save money while shopping.

With a $10 bonus, you’ll be on your way to earning an easy free $20 of passive income.

Cashback Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
Up to 40% PayPal or Gift Cards $5 Read Full Review

Pros of Rakuten Rewards

  • Easy-to-use
  • Free sign-up
  • Lots of stores to shop from
  • Cashback offers on in-store shopping
  • Lucrative referral program

Cons of Rakuten Rewards

  • Quarterly payouts
  • Product exemptions
  • All accounts are subject to uninformed deactivation

CLAIM BONUS

Use Drop For Automatic Cashback

Drop is a shopping app that rewards you every time you shop from one of its partner brands. It’s a great alternative to Rakuten or complementary to Rakuten to help you double or triple stack your cashback.

Unlike Rakuten that offers a percentage of the amount you spend as cashback, Drop awards points for every dollar you spend. 

Drop App Logo

Simply, you will get points every time you shop at a partner store. And when you’ve accumulated enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards from your favorite brands. Also, the number of points you earn varies from store to store. 

For example, you might earn 10 points for every dollar spent at Walmart, while only 5 points for a dollar spent at Trader Joe’s.

Check how lucrative each store is before you set out shopping with Drop. 

Pros of Drop

  • User-friendly interface
  • Free sign-up
  • Consistent point values
  • Can be used alongside other cashback apps

Cons of Drop

  • No cash rewards
  • Relatively fewer partner brands

TRY NOW FOR FREE

Try Dosh for Easy Savings

Dosh is one of the best hassle-free apps when it comes to generating passive income through cashback.

If you’ve been through other cashback apps, you probably know that some require you to scan receipts, while others offer coupons as rewards. 

Dosh

With the Dosh app, that’s not the case. Here, you’ll get your cashback amount directly transferred to your account. All you have to do is put in your credit card details when you sign-up.

After that, you will receive cashback every time you swipe your card at a partner store. 

What we love about this is that you can earn money whether you’re shopping online or in-person. Apart from retail stores and luxury brands, Dosh also partners with hotels and airlines. So, you can get cashback while traveling and vacationing as well. 

Pros of Dosh

  • Lots of partner brands
  • Cashout your earnings anytime
  • Bonus for linking a credit card

Cons of Dosh

  • Only for US citizens
  • You cannot link your card if you’re already using it on another site

TRY NOW FOR FREE

Buy and Sell Gift Cards Online

Since there are so many ways to earn gift cards from various brands through online rewards sites, you can easily make a passive income by flipping gift cards.

The business model is relatively straightforward; you acquire gift cards for less than what they’re worth and sell them again for a profit. 

For example, you buy a gift card worth $50 and sell it to someone for $40. Now, once you own the card worth $50, you can sell it again at $45 to someone else.

This way, you’ve earned $5 by simply flipping a gift card from one seller to another buyer. 

The question is, where can you acquire gift cards to sell? Here are a few places you can check out. 

Cashback Sites

We’ve mentioned a few cashback sites above, and almost all of them offer gift cards as rewards for shopping from their partner brands.

You can sell the gift cards you win for a higher price to people who want them online. 

Go Through Your Holiday Gifts

How many times have you received a gift you’re not likely to use? Go through your belongings, and you’re sure to find gift cards from brands you never shop from.

Try to sell them online for a profit to people who might like them. Check out these other epic ways to earn quick cash during the holidays

See Related: 19 Ways to Get Free Christmas Money

Cash Your Credit Card Rewards

Some banks offer credit card rewards in the form of gift cards. You can easily earn points, get gift cards from these offers, and sell them for a profit.  

Alternatively, if you can’t sell your gift cards use them for things you’d normally use. If you are a gamer, you can use gift cards to get free V-bucks or free Steam wallet codes.

See Related: Apps Like MobileXpression

Get Paid to Play Games

We’re sure it sounds unbelievable, but you can generate a steady income online while playing games. You won’t earn a fortune clicking away on your computer or mobile screen, but it is still better than wasting days at stretch playing games for nothing. 

We know you’re wondering why anyone would pay you to have fun. You see, there are lots of games being created and released every day.

That’s why gaming companies need people like you to try them out or even find out glitches and errors in the game.

This helps them improve their program, and they pay you some commission for the task

Many sites let you play games for money.

Here are some popular options you can try out and start making a passive income online. 

Claim Your InboxDollars Bonus

Like Swagbucks, InboxDollars is one of the first sites to offer rewards in return for completing microtasks. Founded back in 2000, the company has given out more than $50 million in rewards to its members. 

Their most attractive feature is that they give you $5 immediately after you sign-up.

That’s quite a lot, considering it might take you anywhere from a week to a month to earn $5 on other micro-task sites. 

Apart from taking surveys, receiving paid emails and watching videos, you can also play games to earn rewards on InboxDollars. They provide links to popular games from Arcade and Game Show Network so you can have fun while earning redeemable points. 

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
Up to $5 Cash & Gift Cards $30 Read Full Review

Pros of InboxDollars

  • Cash rewards
  • High sign-up bonus
  • User-friendly website
  • Prompt payment through cheque

Cons of InboxDollars

  • Processing fee charged for each cashout under $40
  • No payments through PayPal or direct deposit

Use the Mistplay App

Another way to earn money while playing games online is by signing-up for Mistplay.

Unlike InboxDollars and Swagbucks that offer playing games as a money-making option, Mistplay is a dedicated online games rewards site. 

Mistplay

Founded back in 2017, the platform has a wide array of games to choose from and get paid online. It works with mobile application platforms who want to test their games for user perception before releasing them officially. 

Mistplay gets commission from these apps for providing user-based feedback for their applications. Then, the app pays you for trying out the applications initially. Everybody wins. 

Besides that, Mistplay pays you for passing levels and reaching in-game targets as well. So, if you play consistently, you can quickly generate a passive income. 

Like what you hear? Read more in this full Mistplay review.

Pros of Mistplay

  • Easy-to-use app
  • Earn money through recreation
  • Discover new games to play

Cons of Mistplay

  • The app has access to your personal information
  • Limited earnings if not used regularly
  • Points can be redeemed for gift cards only

Stream Your Video Games Activity

If you call yourself a gamer, there are probably one or two games that you play exceptionally well.

What if we tell you that you can cash your expertise online and make some passive income for yourself? 

Many people would like to ace the game you love and know all its tricks and techniques. You can turn these people into your viewers and followers by recording your gameplay and posting it online. 

You can create your gaming blog, or you can post your gaming videos on social media. Moreover, you can create a dedicated YouTube channel for your gameplay videos and earn ad revenue by monetizing them.

However, to start making money as a gameplay streamer, you’ll need to create an organic viewer base. 

You can do this by sharpening your skills at a popular game that everyone loves so that you get more visitors. Additionally, you can personalize your gameplay videos by adding a touch of humor or playing challenging games or levels that are hard to find. 

Besides that, you can sign-up for Twitch, a legit gameplay site that connects professional players with their viewers. After you reach a hundred subscribers on Twitch, the site will pay you $5 for every subscriber on your channel.

That’s good money you can use to unlock further levels and purchase new games to stream on your channel. By planning out your strategy carefully and posting high-quality content with consistency, you might even be able to make this your primary income source. 

If you are looking to generate passive income there is no shortage of investment options for passive income streams. You’ll have to balance the desire for return with the risk and your liquidity needs to find what is best for you.

The best passive income ideas create portfolios that are diversified across different asset classes. Review our ideas for passive income and find the right mix for you.

What are your favorite passive income ideas?

Product Reviews

Related Resources

  • Share