I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.
How much you can earn: I personally earned over $650,000 last year from my blogs, but I do this full-time and have put in 5 years of work to build it up to that. If I remember right (it’s been a while!), I earned $35,000 my first full year. We teach people how to replace their full-time income within 24 months in our Project 24 program. We even outline how to do it in our free webinar that you can watch here.
Mow lawns or plow driveways. If you’re willing to mow yards or shovel or plow snow in the winter, you could easily start your own snow removal and lawn mowing business on the side. While you can usually find work by reaching out to your local community via word-of-mouth, flyers, or online message boards, the website Plowz & Mowz allows you to set up an online profile and reach more customers in your area.
The idea behind cashback is simple: you get rewarded for purchasing or using products you plan to buy anyway. Cashback sites pay you when you click through them, go to retailers, and spend. For example, check out eBates.com - There are over 2,000 stores to choose from including Walmart, Target, Sears, Calvin Klien, and others. You also get a $10 gift card after your first $25 purchase. Sign up is free. (If you encounter a cashback site where it’s not, avoid it.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
You can also market your ebook on your own website or blog, particularly if the site gets good traffic. Still another method is affiliate marketing. You can offer to pay sites related to your ebook a percentage of the sale price – say, anywhere between 20% and 50% – for them to post an ad or linked article for your book on their site. This could enable you to market your ebook on multiple platforms for greater market exposure.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
I personally have enjoyed working a direct sales/home based business on the side. I found a good, legitimate company with very low upfront costs/overhead. It has been a great experience. Just be sure that the company offers training and some sort of simple, step-by-step system and it helps if they are in the DSA Top 100– instantly proves their legitimacy!
I recently stumbled on the Trim app and I have to say, this one is a game changer. It’s a simple app that acts as your own personal financial manager. Once you link your bank to the app, Trim analyzes your spending, finds subscriptions you need to cancel, negotiates your Comcast bill, finds you better car insurance, and more. And of course, the app is free! My bet is that it will only take a few days for Trim to put an extra $100 in your pocket. So easy!
So many people dream of writing a book, but never go through with it. Yet no matter what, I’m sure you have experience and value you could give through writing a book. By packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that helps people learn a skill, advance their careers, or start a businesses, you can change someone’s life and even make good money online.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
Try Uber EATS or DoorDash. Uber EATS offers part-time work that’s similar to driving for Uber or Lyft. Instead of picking up passengers, however, you will pick up food orders and deliver them in your area. Pay works similarly, letting you earn a per-job rate plus tips. Door Dash works similarly, letting consumers order food from restaurants and connecting drivers to pick up and drop off their meals.
Some businesses may be interested in adding other types of paid content to your website. This could include videos, podcasts, or any other material that would work with your site and help a business market itself. Always make sure that paid content isn’t too promotional. It needs to add value to your audience first and foremost, and not just present as an advert.
In 2014, Caitlin Pyle made over $43,000 by working as a freelance proofreader…part time. When she wasn’t working, she even had time to go on several fun vacations. After she had a ton of success doing that, she decided she wanted to teach others how to do the same thing, so she started up Proofread Anywhere. Sign up for one of her free workshops to learn more about making money as a proofreader.
Salvage and resell. Do you love antiques or have a knack for finding valuables at flea markets or yard sales? If you do, it might be time to consider salvaging items for resale – or even scouting out antiques to sell for a profit. While you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time searching for prospects and spend some money buying upfront, you could easily turn a profit if you know what you’re doing.
There are so many investments that it’s tough to know what a safe and reliable on is. Personally, I recommend index funds for this. An index fund invests in many of the largest 500 companies in America. Over the last 100 years, and the last 20 years, and the last 10 years, you’re very likely to see a return of about 9 or 10% after fees. These are much safer investments than buying stock in an individual company.
I have been really disappointed with the survey gig. They underestimate the time they take to complete by like a third and often I find myself spending 10 minutes in what seems like a survey only to find out it’s a pre-survey qualifier, where it feels like I’m giving them so much personal information that I ought to be paid, but at the end of it I’m told I don’t qualify but the award like the equivalent of a penny or two to thank you for your time.
The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Physical real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.
I have not. While I am intrigued with the possibility of making online income, it seems to be less passive then how I want to spend my time. Regarding your blog / site, you have done quite well for yourself. However, you have to keep pumping out content or your site would eventually go out of business. That sounds like more of a commitment then I would want. Regarding your book sales, it is probably relatively passive now, but certainly was not when you were writing the book. Now if you love it, great. Just not for me.
Here on Making Sense of Cents, I discuss how to make extra income, side hustles, side income, and how to make money online a decent amount. I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life in a positive way. A person can stop living paycheck to paycheck, they can pay off their debt, and more all by earning extra money and learning how to make extra money.
If you hook up with a for-hire car parking service (the type hired out for fancy neighborhood parties) you can make some nice cash tips in just a few hours at night and on the weekend, when parties are held. The key here is to do a great job by showing hustle and being super friendly. This was one of the most enjoyable jobs I had during graduate school. Who doesn't like to drive nice cars?
If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
The Ibotta app gives you cash back on the groceries you already buy. Some deals are brand specific, while others give you cash just for purchasing a certain type of item, like a loaf of bread from any brand. Choose your deals before you check out, then submit a picture of your receipt and get paid via Venmo, PayPal, or gift cards. Sign up with Ibotta to claim your $10 welcome bonus.
Maybe such a business is owning a McDonald’s franchise or something. If one has the capital (Feasibility Score 2), then the returns might be good (Return Score 6). But the Risk Score is probably under a 5, b/c how many times have we seen franchise chains come and go? Like, what happened to Quiznos and Jamba Juice? A McDonald’s franchise was $500,000… probably much more now?
Run virtual errands. If you have a computer with Internet connection and are good at searching the Web and communicating with others, you can become a virtual personal assistant with Fancy Hands. The service hires assistants, who set their own hours, to help its users tackle tasks such as making calls to service providers, scheduling appointments, and finding the best prices for services and products. You get paid per task, starting at between $3 and $7.
It’s not just the little guys like me who are being squeezed by the constant updates. Even YouTube’s top creators have expressed frustration with changes to the YouTube monetization platform. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so you must be willing to adapt. Plus, it helps having a blog so you’re not relying on a single platform or your income.
It was easier recouping the lost $60,000 in rental-property income than I expected. For so long, my primary mindset for passive income was rental income. Having $815,000 less mortgage debt but still generating roughly the same amount of passive income with a much larger cash balance feels great. Further, my passive-income portfolio got even more passive, which is good as a stay-at-home dad to a newborn.
Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “Swagbucks” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
Lending Club went public in 2014 and is now worth about $1.7B. They advertise P2P lending returns of over 7% for well-diversified portfolios of over 100 notes. I’ve personally been able to achieve a 7.4% annual return over the past two years in a completely passive way by investing in A and AA notes. Others have achieved a 10% annual return through relatively minimum effort.
1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
Yes, companies will pay you to install apps (or place ads) on your cell phone and leave them there. These apps often run in the background and track your spending/purchasing habits but if you’re not one to really care who knows what groceries you’re buying that week then this is seriously the easiest way to make upwards of $300 per year for no reason.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).