How to Make Passive Income: Ideas for Earning Money On the Side

How to Make Passive Income: Ideas for Earning Money On the Side

When it comes to financial freedom, there’s a golden goose that lays golden eggs, creating wealth without constant labor—we call this passive income. Now, before you protest, “But I’m already working around the clock!” let’s set the record straight.

True, setting up passive income streams requires some upfront investment, be it time, money, or both. But once these revenue channels are established, they can generate earnings with little to no ongoing effort on your part. Isn’t that enticing? In today’s article, we’ll explore various methods to cultivate these money-making seeds, so you too can sit back, relax, and watch your wealth grow.

What is Passive Income?

So, what exactly is passive income? Passive income is money derived from a venture in which a person is not actively involved. Unlike active income that requires trading time for money (think about your regular 9-to-5 job), passive income is all about setting up a system that can run virtually on autopilot, generating money in your sleep.

Investing some upfront cash can generate passive income since it would require a minimal effort as you observe the fluctuation in the value of your investment. Picture it as a robust vending machine that keeps working round the clock, dispensing cash irrespective of whether you are present or not. It’s about creating an asset that, once set up, requires minimal maintenance but continues to pay you over time.

This does not mean there is no initial work required. There’s often a substantial upfront investment of time, energy, and sometimes money. However, the payoff comes in the form of income that continues to flow long after the initial effort has been expended.

What are Examples of Passive Income?

From real estate investments to blogging, stock market investments, or even creating an online course, there’s a passive income avenue for everyone. Here, we’ll outline different passive income examples that you might consider creating.

Rental Properties

Rental properties signify one of the oldest and most reliable sources of income, often considered passive income. By investing in real estate and renting out your property, you can start earning rental income.

While there’s an upfront cost to acquiring the property and occasional expenses related to maintenance, regular rent checks act as a continuous income source. This passive income stream allows for financial benefits without the constant need for active involvement.

Moreover, properties tend to appreciate over time, contributing to the potential for significant wealth accumulation. The dual advantage of consistent rental income and property appreciation makes real estate a popular choice for those seeking long-term financial stability.

Peer to Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is another intriguing option for creating passive income. This method involves lending money to individuals or small businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers.  You’ll earn income in the form of interest paid back. Since P2P lending platforms operate entirely online, they can run with lower overhead, which can mean more rewards for you as the lender.

However, as enticing as it sounds, P2P lending is not without risks. It’s essential to diversify your loans to mitigate potential defaults and protect your investment. With careful research and prudent risk management, P2P lending can serve as a rewarding form of passive income.

Savings Account - How to Make Passive Income

Savings Accounts

Investing in a high-yield savings account is one of the most traditional ways to earn significant income. It’s a low-risk investment strategy where you stash your money in a bank account and earn interest over time. Nowadays, many online banks offer competitive interest rates that can make your savings grow faster than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

While the interest might not seem much initially, the magic of compound interest can make a significant difference over time. Additionally, your money is typically insured up to a certain limit, making it a safe option.

That said, it’s key to remember that these rates can fluctuate, and in times of low interest rates, returns may be minimal. But if you’re a risk-averse individual looking for a secure way to grow your money passively, a high-yield savings account is a great place to start.

Investing in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Investing in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) is one of the best passive income opportunities, particularly for those interested in real estate but aren’t keen on the hands-on aspects such as property management or dealing with tenants.

REITs are companies that own, operate or finance income-generating real estate. By investing in a REIT, you’re essentially buying shares of a company that owns real estate properties. This allows you to make money from real estate without having to buy or manage property yourself.

The benefits are twofold. First, the majority of REITs pay out dividends to their investors, which can serve as a consistent income stream. Second, as the properties owned by the REIT appreciate, so too does your investment. However, as with all investment vehicles, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research and understand the dynamics of the real estate market before diving in.

While REITs can provide a less labor-intensive way to gain exposure to the real estate market and generate passive income, they also come with their own set of risks and considerations.

Dividend Index Funds

Dividend index funds are yet another incredible way to build passive income. They are essentially mutual funds or ETFs that specifically invest in stocks of companies known for their strong dividend payouts. Dividend index funds track a particular dividend index, such as the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, which includes companies that have consistently increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.

This strategy provides investors with a steady income from dividends, which can be a great way to supplement your income. Importantly, companies that regularly distribute dividends are often financially stable and less volatile in unpredictable market scenarios, hence offering some level of protection for your investment.

Bear in mind, though, that investing in any type of stock or index fund involves some degree of risk, so it’s essential to understand the fund’s strategy before investing. But for those willing to do their homework and ride out market fluctuations, dividend index funds can be a rewarding passive income strategy.

Invention Royalties

For those blessed with a knack for innovation and creativity, earning passive income through invention royalties can be a viable and potentially lucrative path. Invention royalties refer to the income you receive from licensing your patented invention to a business entity for production and commercialization.

Typically, the licensee (the company manufacturing and selling your invention) pays you a percentage of the revenue or profits generated from your invention. This way, every time they make a sale, you earn money – all without lifting a finger after the initial work of developing and patenting the invention.

Some noteworthy examples of inventions earning substantial royalties include classic board games, innovative kitchen gadgets, and breakthrough medical devices. It’s important to note that this route demands a considerable initial investment of time and effort, as well as resources in research, prototype development, and securing a patent.

The process can be complex and there are no guarantees of success, but with a truly unique and marketable invention, the payoff can be well worth the effort.

15 Best Ways to Generate Passive Income - Brad Sugars

15 Best Ways to Generate Passive Income

In this section, we will explore 15 of the best passive income ideas to build wealth in your sleep. These tried-and-tested strategies, ranging from investment options to online ventures, are designed to help you earn consistent income without requiring your constant attention.

1. Invest in Crypto

Cryptocurrency has taken the investment world by storm, sparking a new wave of potential passive income sources. By purchasing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, you’re buying digital assets that may appreciate over time. “Staking” is also one of the passive activities that helps investors earn more money. This is a process where they hold their cryptocurrencies in a digital wallet to support the operations of a blockchain network; in return, they earn rewards.

Cryptocurrency can be volatile, so it’s essential to only invest money you can afford to lose. If you’re new to investing in cryptocurrencies, consider starting with a small amount you’re comfortable risking. It’s also wise to keep yourself updated with the latest market news and trends. Diversification – spreading your investments across multiple cryptocurrencies – can also be a good strategy to mitigate risk.

2. Create a Mobile App

If you possess the skill set or can hire a capable team, creating a mobile app can be a fantastic way to earn extra money. Mobile apps cover a wide spectrum of functionalities – from gaming and personal finance management to fitness tracking and language learning. The possibilities are virtually limitless. What’s more, once the initial development and marketing efforts are over, an app can generate income in several ways. These include in-app advertising, in-app purchases, subscription fees, or charging for the app itself.

3. Start an Online Course

In our digitally interconnected world, online learning has dramatically gained popularity. This creates a golden opportunity for subject matter experts to create and sell online courses, a fantastic way to earn passive income. By packaging your expertise in a well-structured course, you not only share valuable knowledge but also create a product that pays you every time someone enrolls.

The topics can range from coding and digital marketing to yoga and cooking. The beauty of online courses is that they require a one-time effort to create and package, after which they can be sold indefinitely. You can host your course on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, or Skillshare, or on your website to maintain more control and keep a larger share of the profits. With a high-quality course and a solid marketing strategy, online courses can become a significant source of steady passive income.

4. Write an e-Book

In the internet era, self-publishing has become a viable route for authors around the globe. If you have a knack for writing and an interesting story to tell or expert knowledge to share, writing an e-book can be a rewarding passive income business.

E-books cover a vast array of genres – be it fiction, self-help, academic, or cookbooks, the digital realm is your oyster. Once you’ve put in the initial effort to write and publish your e-book, it can continue to generate income with each sale, essentially earning while you sleep. Platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make it easy to publish your e-book and reach a global audience.

5. Sell Stock Photos

In the era of visual communication, high-quality images are in high demand. If you have a knack for photography and an eye for capturing stunning visuals, selling stock photos can earn you passive income. Stock photos span a wide array of categories – from nature and cityscapes to people and abstract themes.

Various platforms like Shutterstock, Getty Images, or Adobe Stock allow photographers to upload and sell their images to individuals and businesses worldwide. Once your photos are accepted and up on the site, you earn a commission every time someone downloads your image. Since the stock photo market is competitive, it’s crucial to capture unique, high-quality images that stand out. It’s also important to understand what kind of photos sell – typically, images that convey a concept or tell a story are more in demand.

Furthermore, learning about keywords and SEO can help your photos appear in search results, increasing your chances of making sales. With persistence, creativity, and a good understanding of the market, selling stock photos can help you make more money.

6. Start a YouTube Channel

Starting a YouTube Channel is yet another potential source of passive income in today’s digital age. If you are passionate about a particular subject, be it travel, technology, cooking, or even life advice, you can share your knowledge and experiences with the world via video content. The key to a successful YouTube channel lies in creating engaging, high-quality videos that resonate with your target audience.

Once you’ve built up a substantial following, you can earn money through YouTube’s Partner Program, which pays creators a share of the advertising revenue generated by their videos. It’s important to note that building a successful YouTube channel takes time and dedication. Consistency in posting videos, interactive communication with your audience, and staying abreast of trends can help you grow your channel. Additionally, SEO is crucial to ensure your videos get discovered.

7. Become a Social Media Influencer

Becoming a social media influencer can help you make a lot of money. Social media platforms have birthed a new era of internet celebrities who have built their reputation around a specific niche. Whether it be fashion, fitness, food, or any other subject you’re passionate about, you can carve out a space for yourself in the digital world.

The key to being a successful influencer lies in creating authentic and engaging content that resonates with your followers. Your influence on your followers is what makes you valuable to brands, and they will pay to get their product or service in front of your audience. This can take the form of sponsored posts, partnerships, or affiliate marketing, where you earn a commission for every purchase made through your unique link.

8. Build and Sell Spreadsheets

For those skilled in spreadsheet creation and manipulation, building and selling spreadsheets can serve as a lucrative source of passive income with no money invested. Whether it’s an intricate budget tracker, a project planning tool, an invoicing system, or an inventory management sheet, businesses and individuals alike seek out well-crafted spreadsheets that can help them manage their daily operations more efficiently.

You can design these digital products and sell them on platforms like Etsy, or directly from your website. Once you’ve built the spreadsheet, it can be sold to numerous customers without any additional effort on your part – epitomizing passive income.

9. Use Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a potent tool for generating passive income. This method involves you promoting a product or service provided by a third party, and earning a commission every time someone purchases through your unique affiliate link. This strategy is particularly effective if you already have a blog, website, or robust social media presence, where you can share these links with your followers.

Companies across various industries offer affiliate marketing programs, so you can choose products or services that align with your niche and audience’s interests. To be successful in affiliate marketing, it’s crucial to promote products that you genuinely believe in and that provide value to your audience. This not only increases the chances of successful conversions but also helps in maintaining your credibility and trust with your followers.

Invest in Income Stocks - How to Make Passive Income

10. Invest in Income Stocks

Investing in income stocks is another tried-and-true method of generating passive income. Income stocks are shares in companies that regularly pay dividends to their shareholders. These dividends, which are typically distributed quarterly, represent a portion of the company’s earnings. Investing in these types of stocks can provide a steady stream of income, even if market prices fluctuate.

Look for established companies with a history of reliable dividend payments and strong financial health. Sectors such as utilities, consumer goods, and real estate are often rich in income stocks. It’s important to note that investing in stocks requires a level of knowledge and understanding of the stock market. Make sure you thoroughly research any potential investments or consider consulting with a financial advisor.

It’s important to be aware that all investments carry some level of risk. However, with a well-diversified portfolio and a long-term approach, investing in income stocks can be a viable avenue for generating passive income.

11. Earn While Shopping Online

Earning while shopping online might sound too good to be true, but it’s a completely viable and increasingly popular method of generating passive income. Cashback websites and apps like Rakuten, Swagbucks, and Honey offer a percentage of your purchase price back on the items you buy online.

The process is simple: you sign up, find your favorite online retailers through their platform, and shop as usual. The cashback percentage varies, but even small percentages can add up over time, particularly for frequent online shoppers.

To maximize your earnings, consider using a rewards credit card for additional cashback or points. The key here is to buy items that you would normally purchase, not spend more just to earn cashback. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that’s important to keep in mind. Used wisely, cashback websites and apps can turn your regular shopping into a source of passive income.

12. Sell Goods Online

Selling goods online has become increasingly popular and is a fantastic way to generate passive income. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including creating your products, selling vintage or second-hand items, or even dropshipping.

If you’re crafty, platforms like Etsy can provide a marketplace for your handmade goods. For those with a knack for finding vintage treasures, online auction sites or apps like eBay and Depop can turn your hobby into a revenue stream. Dropshipping, on the other hand, involves selling products that are stored and shipped by a third party, so you don’t have to maintain an inventory or handle shipping logistics.

The key to successful online selling lies in understanding your customer base and offering them quality products that meet their needs and wants. It’s essential to invest time in product selection, presentation, and customer service. Building a reputable online store requires upfront effort and dedication, but once established, it can generate a steady stream of income with minimal ongoing maintenance.

13. Become a Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant can be a brilliant way to earn a steady stream of passive income. As a virtual assistant, you can offer your skills and services to businesses and individuals remotely. From administrative tasks such as managing emails and scheduling appointments to more skill-specific tasks like graphic design or content creation, the scope is broad and varied.

To start, identify your strengths and how they could serve potential clients. Then, establish your presence online – this could be via a professional website, social media, or platforms dedicated to connecting freelancers with clients such as Upwork or Fiverr. Be proactive in setting clear expectations, like your availability and the services you offer, to ensure a smooth working relationship with your clients.

14. Take Online Surveys

Taking online surveys is another method to earn income passively. Various market research companies, such as Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and Vindale Research, pay individuals for their opinions on various products and services. The process is simple: sign up for a survey platform, fill out your profile, and start taking surveys that match your demographics and interests.

Payments for these surveys vary, and while they’re unlikely to replace a full-time income, they can provide a steady stream of additional income for minimal effort. The key is to sign up for multiple platforms to increase the number of survey opportunities available to you. It’s important to be honest and consistent in your responses, as these companies value accurate data above all else.

This method of generating passive income requires little more than your time and attention, making it an appealing option for those looking to supplement their income with flexible work they can do from home or in their spare time.

15. Offer Transcribing Services

Offering transcribing services is another viable method to generate passive income. Transcribing involves converting audio content into written form, and these services are in high demand in various industries like law, healthcare, and entertainment. Websites like Rev, TranscribeMe, and GoTranscript connect transcribers with clients in need of these services.

Earnings vary based on the length and complexity of the audio content, but skilled transcribers can earn a decent income. Keep in mind that this will require a good grasp of the language, attention to detail, and the ability to type quickly and accurately.

The Different Types of Passive Income - Brad Sugars

The Different Types of Passive Income

As we delve deeper into the realm of passive income, it’s crucial to understand the diverse categories of income available. This section provides a comprehensive guide to the many income streams you can explore. From real estate investments to peer-to-peer lending, each presents unique advantages and challenges. It’s about finding the one that best aligns with your skills, interests, and financial goals. Let’s dive in and help you discover the best passive source of income for you.

Self-Charged Interest

Self-charged interest income is an intriguing concept that, when utilized correctly, can significantly contribute to a good passive income stream. Essentially, it involves lending money to your own business and charging interest on that loan. The interest you collect becomes your passive income, representing a unique way in which income is earned.

For instance, if you own an LLC or a partnership and it requires additional funding, you can lend money to it and charge interest on this loan, which is then paid back to you. This strategy not only allows you to earn passive income but can also provide potential tax benefits, further enhancing its financial appeal.

Rental Income

High on our list of passive income options is rental income. This is, in fact, one of the oldest and most common forms of passive income. It involves renting out a property you own, such as a house, apartment, or commercial space, to tenants who pay you rent. The revenue generated from these rentals can be substantial, particularly if the property is located in a high-demand area.

To successfully generate a passive income stream from rentals, you must first invest in a property with good potential for rental income. This requires careful research and understanding of the property market. Once you own the property, you also need to manage it effectively, which includes regular maintenance, dealing with tenants, and ensuring the property stays rented for the maximum time possible.

While this may require some effort, particularly in the early stages, the long-term benefits can be considerable. You also have the option of hiring a property management company to handle these tasks for you, further increasing the passivity of this income stream.

‘No Material Participation’ in a Business

‘No Material Participation’ in a business is a term used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States to refer to a situation where an individual has involvement in an enterprise but does not actively participate in its daily operations or management. In other words, they are not materially involved with the functioning of the business.

This lack of active involvement can be considered a passive income opportunity when you invest in a business as a silent partner or a limited partner. As a silent partner, you provide capital to the business without having a hand in its day-to-day operations. Your income from this business venture is considered passive income and comes from the profits the business makes, offering a substantial income stream if the business is successful.

This form of earning can be particularly appealing to individuals who want to diversify their income sources without the commitment of time or resources to managing a new venture. The consideration of this income as passive underscores the appeal for those seeking alternative investment opportunities with less hands-on involvement.

Taxes On Passive Income

Understanding how taxes apply to income generated passively is vital to maximizing your returns, particularly when it comes to gross income. Generally, passive income, like any other type of income, is taxable. As of 2023, the tax rate for ordinary passive income ranges from 10% to 37%, impacting your overall gross income.

However, these rates vary based on the specific type of passive income you earn. For instance, rental income is typically taxed at your regular income tax rate. Still, you can deduct certain expenses related to rental activities, such as maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, which can lower your taxable gross income.

Interest income from strategies like self-charged interest is usually taxed at ordinary income tax rates as well. However, it’s essential to note that depending on the legal formation of your business, the interest income might be treated differently for tax purposes. Always consult with a tax professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

Income from businesses in which you do not materially participate, such as income from silent or limited partnerships, is also treated as passive income for tax purposes. This income could be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax, in addition to regular income tax, impacting your overall gross income.


What is another name for passive income?

Passive income is also commonly referred to as “residual income.” This term underscores the nature of passive income as earnings that continue to accrue after the initial work or investment has been completed. Other terms that can be synonymous with passive income include “unearned income” or “income from idle assets.”

How can I make $1000 a month passively?

Achieving a goal of $1000 a month in passive income requires a combination of strategies. You might invest in rental properties. While this requires upfront capital, the ongoing rental income can be a steady source of passive income. Alternatively, you might work as a silent partner in a business, contributing capital but not involved in daily operations. Or you might consider investing in dividend-paying stocks or bonds that can generate regular income.

Can passive income make you a millionaire?

Yes, passive income may potentially make you a millionaire. The key is to start as early as possible, with patient investing, and consistent strategy. Investments in rental properties, for instance, can build significant wealth over time as property values increase and mortgage loans decrease. Similarly, a well-run business where you’re a silent partner can generate substantial profits over the years.

Another approach is to invest in dividend-paying stocks or bonds, which compound over time. All these strategies require comprehensive planning, an understanding of the market, and professional advice. It’s also crucial to maintain a diversified portfolio to spread the risk. Keep in mind that there are no guarantees in any investment, but with diligence and patience, passive income can be a powerful wealth-building tool.

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