passive income ideas

31 Passive Income Ideas To Build Wealth in 2024

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You’ve got a steady paycheck from your 9-to-5 job, but deep down, you want more. More money. More freedom. More flexibility. It’s time to increase your current income.

One of the best ways to earn more with little effort is by building a passive income stream. This article breaks down 31 ideas for earning passive income while keeping your full-time gig, so you finally can make more than you’ve ever dreamed of.

What is passive income?

Passive income is earning money without the need for constant active work. You do the heavy lifting upfront, and then a bit more effort here and there keeps the income flowing. Take an online course, for example: once created, you just update it occasionally to maintain your earnings.

You might have heard the phrase “make money while you sleep.” That’s the big appeal of passive income. Whether it’s creating a blog, a course, an ebook, videos, or an online store, these ventures can generate income even when you’re not actively working on them.

Another way to earn passively is through investments. This includes putting money in real estate investment trusts (REITs) or mutual funds. These options can provide a steady income with minimal ongoing effort.

Active income vs. passive Income: Which is best for me? 

All income sources are important, but for financial freedom, passive income often wins over active income. Active income comes from your current job or business—it’s the pay you get for your ongoing work. If you stop working, this income stops too. Your time is directly tied to your earnings.

Passive income, however, doesn’t need your active involvement all the time. Once you set up passive income streams, they can keep earning for you for years. If you dream of financial independence, focusing on passive income might be a better choice.

Remember, creating passive income streams usually requires an upfront investment, either money or time. Building a passive income source that matches your active income takes significant effort at the start. This upfront commitment is crucial to the success of your passive income.

31 passive income ideas to help you make money

1. Start a dropshipping store

Dropshipping is one of the most profitable passive income sources. With dropshipping, you can find trending products on marketplaces like AliExpress to sell to customers around the globe. You can fill your online store with items from various dropshipping niches, such as fashion, home décor, or beauty.

The advantage of dropshipping is that you build your own business and decide how much you charge for your products. In fact, of all the passive income ideas on this list, dropshipping is the one where you have the most control over your margins. 

You can sign up for Shopify to start dropshipping today. Once you create an online store, install one of these dropshipping apps to find high-quality products to sell.

2. Build and monetize a blog

Another popular passive income stream originates from blogging. Blogging has helped countless entrepreneurs earn passively through affiliate links, courses, sponsored posts, products, book deals, etc. 

It can take quite a bit of upfront work to build a successful blog. However, it’s one of the most sustainable ways to generate an audience through organic and social traffic or by building an email list. The biggest perk of having a blog is that you can turn that one asset into several different streams of income

So, if you’re looking for an easy passive income idea, blogging might be the perfect option for you.

3. Create and sell online courses

If you’re an expert in some subject or field, selling online courses may be a great passive income idea for you. Whether you sell them through your own website or online learning platforms like Udemy, you’ll find plenty of individuals who are willing to pay to access your content. 

Selling on a platform like Udemy is easier, but your course may be heavily discounted during certain periods. This will affect how much passive income you earn. In contrast, selling through your own website gives you control over pricing, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice your margins just because others are selling at a discounted price.

4. Publish Instagram sponsored posts 

If you have followers on Instagram, you might want to try your hand at creating sponsored content. Instagram sponsored posts are content pieces that endorse a specific product or service (usually owned by the sponsoring party). Sponsors compensate publishers for creating and distributing content that promotes their business. 

The secret to getting sponsored is building up more Instagram followers. You’ll also want to be super consistent with the type of content you post so sponsors know what to expect. And be sure to focus on just one niche—brands prefer creators who can publish quality content around a specific topic.

5. Create a print-on-demand store

With ecommerce being one of the most popular ways to make passive income online, it only makes sense to give a shout-out to print on demand

Print on demand allows you to sell your custom graphics on products like t-shirts, clothing, mugs, canvases, phone cases, bags, and more. The best thing about this is that you can build your own branded products

The only downside is that you need to be savvy at graphic design, because the margins often are too thin to outsource the designs affordably. However, if you create that unique winning design, your sales will take off. Plus, it’s not a super competitive business, since other brands are unlikely to sell the same designs.

6. Create an app

By now, you’ve probably noticed a trend: creating stuff tends to lead to passive income. This is even more true in the world of mobile software. If you’re a developer or programmer, you might want to try creating apps as a passive income stream. 

You can monetize an app in a number of ways, including running in-app advertising, offering paywalled content, and charging for premium features. Just don’t do it too quickly—first, focus on attracting users by offering valuable free features and ensuring a seamless user experience.

7. Invest in stocks

The stock market can be tricky to get the hang of, but it’s a solid choice for growing your wealth over time.

The key with stock investments is diversifying your portfolio to reduce risk. You can do this by putting your money in a variety of places, like mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and high-dividend stocks, which can all increase your wealth gradually.

To start investing, first, open a brokerage account with a reputable financial institution. It’s also wise to consult with a financial adviser. They can help you plan and execute a passive income strategy that aligns with your financial goals.

8. Become a social media influencer

To become an influencer—someone who influences others’ buying decisions—you need to build a community around shared interests.

If you’re passionate about travel, start a blog or YouTube channel. Share your adventures, tips, and insights. Engage with travel communities on social media to grow your audience.

With a social media following, you open doors to various passive income streams. You could partner with brands—both big and small—to introduce their products to your followers. Alternatively, you could create and sell your own merchandise to generate even more income,

Quick tip: Shopify Collabs simplifies the process of finding brands that suit your style. You can use it to build affiliate relationships, manage payments, and keep track of everything in one place.

9. Buy and sell properties

Depending on where and when you buy, real estate can be a good way to make passive income. In popular cities like Dubai, housing prices have been projected to rise by an impressive 12% to 20% compared to the average prices from the previous year.

By purchasing pre-constructed condos, you may land some lower-cost properties that will increase in value by the time it’s finally built, allowing you to sell the property for a profit once it’s complete.  

As with all investments, it can be risky, so it’s best to speak with a real estate agent if you’re new to the game to help you buy the right investment property.

10. Rent out your spare room

If you have an extra room, consider renting it out. Airbnb can connect you with people looking for a place to stay. Since Airbnbs usually are more affordable than hotels, you can earn decent rental income by listing your space there.

Starting as an Airbnb host requires some initial effort. You may need to update or furnish the room before putting it on the platform. For a hands-off approach, hiring a part-time property manager could be smart. They handle listings and property care but will take a fee, typically 8% to 10% of the monthly rent.

11. Park domains

Domain parking is a passive income method where you register or buy domain names that you believe others might want in the future. These domains typically are variations of popular websites, often misspelled versions, and they’re not immediately developed into fully functioning websites. Instead, they’re “parked.”

Once you own a parked domain, you monetize it primarily through advertising. When someone accidentally visits your domain, they see ads. If they click on these ads, you earn money. This process is simple and capitalizes on the natural web traffic your domain receives due to its similarity to a popular site.

12. Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing is one of the best passive income opportunities available today. Its upside is that almost every big brand has an affiliate program, so you can sell some pretty popular products and rake in the dough. 

The downside is that you only make a commission on the sale. Shopify’s affiliate program, for example, allows you to earn up to $58 per referral, which is a decent income. Other online companies only give a measly $5 to $10 in referral bonus. 

So you’ll want to make sure you do some research into the best affiliate marketing programs before you get started. Blogging tends to be the most cost-effective way to make recurring affiliate commissions without having to spend money on ads.

13. Sell your videos

If you always find yourself in the midst of drama and excitement, you might want to pull out your phone and hit Record. Doing that can help you make some passive income. The latest video marketing stats indicate that people are obsessed with video content, so you should be able to find an audience for your films.

Why? Because you can sell that video to a news site. And if the video takes off, you can make some recurring money for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. Of course, the easiest way to get in on the action is to be at public events such as protests, demonstrations, and festivals. 

Wherever there’s controversy, you’ll find opportunities for your content to be sold. And if you’re good at producing entertaining content, companies will pay you to create viral videos along with offering a share of overall earnings.

14. Buy and flip websites

Do you have experience of creating ecommerce websites? If so, you could make passive income building and selling them.

You’ll likely need to generate some revenue (to prove that your store has potential). But if you’ve got great design skills and can put up some content on your site, you could sell it to someone looking to purchase a pre-built ecommerce store.

If you’re looking for a place to sell your website, try out Flippa's website marketplace. You can sell your newly built online store or your advanced six- or seven-figure store. It’s the perfect platform for website flipping.

15. Buy company shares

If you work for a company, it’s worth exploring whether it offers employee share options or stock purchase plans.

These programs offer employees a chance to invest in their company’s shares at a discounted price. This means you can buy company stock for less than its market value.

If the company performs well and its stock price rises, your investment will grow over time, potentially earning you passive income. Additionally, some companies pay dividends to shareholders, adding to your overall earnings.

16. Start a YouTube channel

YouTube is the passive income stream that just keeps on giving. From sponsored videos to ad revenue, you’ll find that you can make recurring income from your YouTube channel. 

The secret to creating a successful YouTube channel is creating content on a consistent and ongoing schedule. Make sure every video you upload is well made and something people want. If you stick with it for the long haul, you’ll eventually start reaping the passive income rewards.

Already have a YouTube channel? Check out our article How to Make Money on YouTube for ideas on how to monetize your video content.

17. Sell your photography

While being a photographer may seem like an active income business, it’s actually not. Photographers don’t make money only from taking photographs. They make money from selling them too. Stock image sites, magazines, and canvas printing for your clients are some of the ways you can make big bucks in the photography space. 

All you need to get started is a great camera. But these days, you can even use your smartphone to capture amazing images. Consider taking high-quality photos and listing them on stock photography sites to earn income in the form of royalties.

18. Help businesses bring in clients

Are you a savvy marketer or salesperson? If so, there are tons of businesses that will pay you referral fees for bringing more clients to them. 

For example, DJs, photographers, and other solopreneurs are always looking to grow their customer base. If you manage to find clients that sign a long-term contract, they’ll happily pay you a referral bonus.

So if you are good at networking, you can start building a passive income through your connections. All it takes to get this business started is a couple of emails or messages.

19. Write an ebook

Ebooks are a hugely popular content medium. Anyone with expert knowledge in a particular subject can write an ebook to share their thoughts with the world..

You’ll need to publish your manuscript through Amazon Kindle to make it available to your audience. Some marketing is also required to get the word out to as many people as possible. 

Once you break into the ebook space, it’s possible to create passive income through page reads and Kindle sales, which is how most ebook writers make money.

20. Sell your unwanted stuff

Looking to follow Marie Kondo’s advice and start decluttering your home? Well, you might want to turn that clutter into cold, hard cash. 

We all have those piles of boxes filled with stuff we haven’t thought about in years. You can either hold onto them for a chance to end up on an episode of Hoarders or you can sell your unwanted stuff online to help you make passive income. You might have to dig deep, but you may find you have some items that are worth serious cash. 

21. Create and sell digital products

Digital products (like audiobooks, PDFs, and templates) are items you can’t physically touch but can sell online. These products are great for a passive income business because they don’t need storage or carry inventory costs. Create it once, sell it many times over—there’s no cap on how many you can sell.

Setting up a Shopify store lets you sell these digital items online. This setup is a prime example of earning passive income. Why? Because Shopify can automate the whole process, offering instant downloads to your customers.

22. Use passive income apps

Passive income apps work exactly as they sound—you install them on your smartphone and perform a few actions to earn money. These actions can range from doing everyday activities, such as watching videos to turning a small financial investment into a passive income stream. There are plenty of apps to start putting your mobile device and time to better use. Here are a few good ones: 

  • Fundrise. Fundrise lets you invest in real estate projects with an initial minimum investment of $1,000. It comes with the option to take quarterly dividends, which serve as your passive income.
  • InboxDollars. InboxDollars offers cashback for doing activities that you’re likely to do anyway, such as shopping, watching TV, and searching the web. The cashback and the $5 bonus for signing up are your passive income. 
  • Dosh. Dosh gives you the option to link your debit and credit cards to its system. When you pay for something using these cards, you earn passive income in the form of cashback. 

23. Create and license audio tracks

If you have some audio skills, why not put them to work? Making audio tracks for other people’s use is a great way to earn extra cash, as people are constantly looking to brand themselves with the right sound. 

You can license your tracks out on platforms like SoundCloud and Audiosocket if you want to create full songs and earn some passive income via royalties. All you need to do is research your audience and find out what kind of content is trending. From there, you can quickly start building your portfolio of tunes. You never know—it might transform into something bigger.

24. Try peer-to-peer lending

If you have extra cash sitting idle, you might want to lend money through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as a way to earn passive income. This approach lets you lend money directly to individuals or small businesses in need of financing.

Platforms like LendingClub and Prosper facilitate this by connecting you with borrowers. They present loan requests with interest rates that depend on the borrower’s credit history. Generally, you can see returns of about 5% to 6% from the money you lend. The more you lend money, the greater your potential cash flow becomes.

25. Create a job board

A job board is a website used by employers to promote job vacancies to people. People can apply for vacant roles remotely with a few clicks. You can charge companies to post on your board, and upsell features like unlimited access to your talent pool to increase your earnings.

You can either create a job board from scratch or buy a premade theme and start there. The bulk of your effort should be devoted to creating awareness for your job board. You can write a press release, post on social media, and run paid ads to get traction early.

Once you build a solid clientele of regular, trustworthy customers, you can expect a large part of your income to be passive. Check out sites like Dribbble or Problogger for inspiration.

26. Get a high-yield savings account

Opening a high-yield savings account is a straightforward way to earn passive income. These accounts pay more interest than regular ones. Just put your money in and it starts earning more interest over time, sometimes more than 4% annual percentage yield (APY).

This way, you’re getting “free money” as your savings increase. While the returns might not be as high as other investment options, high-yield savings accounts are a secure, low-risk choice for those new to earning extra income or looking to build their wealth safely.

27. Invest in rental properties

If you have the means, consider buying rental properties like apartment buildings and leasing them to tenants for rental income.

While being a landlord often involves active management, you can mitigate this by hiring property managers. These professionals take charge of tenant interactions, property upkeep, and rent collection, making the investment more passive for you.

An added advantage is the appreciation of property value. As the real estate market improves, so does the potential value of your investments. This increase could lead to higher profits if you decide to sell in the future.

2. License your art or designs

If you have a talent for creating art or designs, you can earn money through licensing. This means you let companies use your artwork on their products. Each time they sell something with your design, you get paid a fee. It’s like renting out your artwork. You do the creative work once, but you keep earning from it over time.

To start, create unique art or designs. Then, look for companies that need artwork for their products. This could be anything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Reach out to them or use platforms that connect artists with businesses.

Once a company likes your work, you agree on how they can use it and how much they’ll pay you. After that, you get paid regularly, as long as they keep selling products with your design.

29. Earn royalties by inventing

A less discussed method of generating passive income is inventing. This means you come up with an idea that no one else has thought of yet. It could be as simple as a tool that makes gardening easier or an app that helps people manage their time better.

To start, check if your idea is new. Look it up on the US patent website. If it’s not there, you might be onto something. Then, think about making a prototype or finding a way to show how your idea works in real life.

30. Create and sell spreadsheets

For those skilled with spreadsheets, there’s a chance to earn passive income. People often need spreadsheets for budgeting, profit predictions, and tracking habits. You can create and sell these types of spreadsheets.

Start by setting up a store on Shopify. Then, use the Digital Downloads app to sell your spreadsheets online. You canuse social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to showcase your products. Post about how your spreadsheets can help in everyday tasks or business operations to attract potential customers.

31. Invest in vending machines

Have you ever thought about who keeps those vending machines full of snacks and drinks? The person who owns those machines makes money every time you buy something. It’s a kind of passive income, but it does need some initial effort and money to start.

If you’re thinking about earning through vending machines, you’ll have to spend some money at first. Look on sites like Craigslist, eBay, and BizBuySell. They’ll show you how much it costs to buy your first few machines and how many you can afford. After buying them, you need to find places to put them.

Once you’ve set them up, a vending machine route can bring in a good flow of money with not much work needed after that.

Strengthen your financial future with these passive income ideas

Rising living costs make it hard to get by on a regular salary, and extra work is tough to fit in with limited time. This is where a passive income strategy helps. It boosts your earnings without needing much extra time.

Consider setting up a dropshipping store, launching your own agency, or creating content. These ventures can work well alongside a 9-to-5, offering additional income with less effort.

Passive income FAQ

How can I generate passive income?

You can generate passive income ideas in myriad ways. For instance, you could write down all the things that interest you and research how other people build businesses around them. Another idea is to brainstorm how to solve a common problem you have and build it into a passive income idea. 

What passive income ideas can I start with little money?

There are many passive income ideas you can start with little money. These include dropshipping, affiliate marketing, print on demand, and selling your unused things.

How much passive income can I earn? 

You can make as much or as little passive income as you want. However, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll need to put in some hours, effort, and capital initially to create a passive income source. The good news is that nailing these things early allows you to sit back and enjoy the financial rewards for years to come. 

You may invest as little as $100 in the beginning, then reinvest your profits until your passive income grows to a sustainable figure. With a high-recurring income, you can make enough money to live a happy, healthy life.

What are the best passive income ideas for 2024?

  1. Start a dropshipping store
  2. Sell courses online
  3. Monetize a blog
  4. Create a job board
  5. Invest in the stock market
  6. Create a print-on-demand store
  7. Sell stock photos online
  8. Become an affiliate marketer
  9. Flip websites for a profit
  10. Own a rental property