16 Passive Income Ideas That Make You Money Even While You Sleep

Everyone dreams of being able to earn without working. We know that some of the richest people in the world do this, but can the regular entrepreneur or salaryman also venture into the world of passive income? Of course! The problem isn’t so much the possibility of a passive income stream as choosing the right one which suits your needs and abilities.

This list covers 16 potential sources of passive income. They range from the “sideline” type that will consume a decent portion of your free time, to the completely hands-off ones that require only a very basic set-up or initial effort.

Naturally, the earning potential increases the more time you invest in any endeavor, but different folks always require different strokes. While some may be content letting their money rest in a time deposit account or an index fund, others may prefer the more active approach of blogging or creating an online shop. Still, others may not have the initial capital for a side business, and will opt to earn from their unique talents instead.

Whatever your inclination, you will find something in this list to pique your interest:

1. Start a blog or a website

Are you good with words? Do you specialize in a specific topic? Are you able to capture audiences with your writing style? Then writing a blog might be for you!

Blogs are very easy to start and maintain, thanks to the countless blog-writing software platforms available out there. Websites like Blogger, Medium, and WordPress.com allow you to get started in just a few minutes with zero coding needed. If you want to dig deep into customization and unlock the full potential of having your own virtual space, then you can also host your own blog through the online platform like WordPress.org.

Blogs provide various ways of generating passive income. Many earn through advertisements embedded on the site, though mostly you have to be signed up for a self-hosted blog for this. Some earn through partnerships when they promote products and services on their blogs. There are many bloggers already earning $5000 and even $100000 a month. My blog so far is earning $400 a month from just advertising, but because it is only at the startup stage, the earning is not so huge, like other bloggers out there.

An income of $400 is a good starting point for me – I consider that income as passive. I will work from that to hit my first goal. If you want to start a blog or website, just visit this article: “How to Start a Blog or Website.


● Easy set-up
● Basic blogs don’t need any up-front investment
● Scales well

2. Start a YouTube channel

If you’re more into videos, you can start your very own YouTube channel instead. A YouTuber can tackle virtually any topic, from reviewing a myriad of things to simply documenting how you go about your daily life. Because YouTube has the tools you need and a vast audience that’s ready to consume your content, set-up is also very easy.

YouTube channels earn both through advertisements and partnerships, just like blogs. Videos can take more time to plan and shoot, so you need to invest in terms of time and equipment if you would like to get an edge.

Several famous vloggers have earned anything from $5,000 to $100,000 per month, including MoVlog, Casey Niestat, Logan Paul, and many more.


● Easy set-up
● Marketing tools easily available in-platform
● Scales well

3. Create an e-commerce store

This has one of the biggest earning opportunities in this list. Like blogs, you can scale an online store from a simple eBay or Amazon storefront to your very own website. You would need some time to figure out various settings and (when self-hosting) iron out the looks and features of your site. But if you can get your hands on sellable items — from food to handicrafts, to ebooks, to online courses — then this is a very lucrative option. Here is a sample of my e-commerce store on one of my blogs that is making me passive income. It is not huge, but it is still an additional income to my monthly paycheck.

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● High earning potential
● Can easily tap into niche markets
● Scales well

4. Create an ebook and sell on Amazon Kindle

Speaking of ebooks, an even more popular platform to sell them on is Amazon’s Kindle Store. Ebooks can be notoriously hard to sell when you can’t get through to your target audience, so why not go straight to where all the ebook aficionados are looking instead? Kindle takes a cut from your profits, but it can be a small price to pay for the exposure you are getting. You can train yourself by checking this course K-Money Mastery. I bought this course personally and I’ve learned a lot on how to create an ebook and sell it on kindle publishing on Amazon.

If you are a first-timer to making your own book or if you are a writer already, you can even check this online course: “How To Write A Book In Less Than 24 Hours.” It is a step-by-step guide on how to complete your book in just 24 hours.


● Easy set-up
● Better exposure for your ebooks
● Marketing tools also available in-platform

5. Invest in real-estate

This one is obviously for those with a significant chunk of money sitting around, but if you do this right then you can grow that amount several times over. Real-estate investment can take various forms. You may purchase fixer-uppers, renovate them, then “flip” them at a profit. You may also purchase prime spaces and rent them out for a continuous income stream. You would need a keen business acumen to pull this off, but there are several resources available for those willing to learn.

As of now, as an expat, you can invest your hard-earned money in real-estate like I did. Back in 2010, I bought a $20,000 plot of land, 1,200 square meters in size, and constructed a rental house over it. Although the project is ongoing, soon it will be finished. It will make passive income and it will add money to my pocket. The money that I invested in my real-estate was money saved from my job, using the discipline of saving I have previously taught on this blog.


● High earning potential
● Good real estate properties sell very easily
● You can delegate people to take care of the difficult parts for you

6. Invest in the stock market

While many people see the stock market as risky, this is only the case if you choose to play it as such. Depending on your “risk appetite”, you can either play an aggressive trader or a long-term investor. The main difference is how (and how frequently) you react to market movements. The stock market can be played in either a hands-on or hands-off manner, too, and in both cases, your choice of investments will determine your gains.


● High earning potential
● Different strategies to suit different people
● Easy to learn, thanks to several free resources and courses

7. Rent out your room and car

The popularity of Airbnb and Uber has generated an additional stream of income for those with an extra room, or a car that’s not being frequently used. While letting strangers own your stuff for a period of time comes with its own risks, this can be a decent source of passive income considering the demand for lodgings and transportation.


● Little to no upfront costs (only needed to spruce up your room or car)
● Easy to set up (simply sign up for the relevant service)
● Unlimited learning potential, so long as you have the room or car

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8. Rent your car and building for ad space

If you have many cars, you can earn passive income from them by putting ads on a particular area of your car such as thepassiveincomeideas top load, the doors, the rear side of the car etc.

You can checkout the Wrapify app. Download the app from their website wrapifydotcom. Once there is an available offer in your area, Wrapify will contact you to wrap your car in advertisements.

Likewise, if you have a building, regardless of how tall the building, is you can rent out some of the external space. When I was driving along the streets of Dubai, I saw some ads either on the side of the building or on the top roof. If you have your own building, you can start earning passive income in just ad space.


• Monetize your car easily
• Lucrative passive income
• Very easy to do

9. Time deposits and high-yield savings accounts

If you’re looking for a legitimate way to earn without doing anything, then this is it. Simply put some extra money in a time deposit account or a high-yield savings account, and you will receive your money plus interest after a certain period of time! Granted, the gains are relatively small (a percentage of your investment). But for the effort you put in, which is almost nothing, this is a good deal. If you don’t want the long-term commitment of a time deposit account, you can try government bonds or Treasury bills instead. They offer the same guaranteed payment in a shorter time frame (of course, this also reduces the returns).


● Hands-off way of earning
● Guaranteed returns
● You can keep your money invested for even longer periods for larger gains

10. Multi-level Marketing (Networking)

This has had a bad rap among non-networkers, but there are still a lot of legitimate networking companies you can join. Several huge brands also operate under the MLM strategy, like Tupperware. The hardest part is finding a good company, but once you find one with reliable products then it becomes much easier to sell to people and ultimately invite them. The trick is to look at the products the company offers. Are they to your liking? Is there an existing market, and if not would people be interested enough in them to start one? Are they perennial products that can be sold to your market regardless of the season? If you can answer “yes” to all of these, then you’re ready to start.


● A good income stream for those looking for more traditional methods
● Multiple ways of earning
● Networking companies usually make marketing resources readily available

11. Selling online courses

We have already mentioned online courses earlier, but it’s worth saying that they are a class on their own. There are different strategies you can play with. You can expand and revise them, sell them at a premium, or accept only a limited number of enrollees at once. You can also make them time-limited, or you can tie them to a sort of “master class” online community. Courses can take different forms, from a simple collection of slideshows and recordings to a complete classroom-like experience.


● Scales well
● Can be hands-on or hands-off
● Unlimited learning potential, as long as the courses stay current

12. Affiliate Marketing

This is a subset of blogging or creating a YouTube channel, but it’s significant enough to warrant its own entry. In simple terms, being an affiliate means you send over traffic to a different site, and the company behind that site pays you for it. This is usually done by reviews, interviews, and other forms of promotion. Affiliate marketing is largely the realm of social media influencers, so it’s not just restricted to blogs and YouTube channels. If you can churn out content that would convinces your audience to check out various products or services, then this is a good source of passive income.

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Checkout Affilorama. There you will learn how to make money online through affiliate marketing. Many bloggers are already earning 5 to 6 figures a month income from affiliate marketing.  Affilorama gives a free account and you can get started.


● Scales well
● Leverages the identity of a prominent company
● Other perks are usually available to affiliates, aside from monetary compensation

13. Drop Shipping

Many companies produce their own goods but are not able to sell these products themselves. This is an opportunity addressed by drop shipping. The setup is simple: you start an online shop, but you don’t keep inventory. Instead, every purchase on your site gets passed on to the producer, and they take care of shipping the item to your customer. It takes a lot of pain away from keeping your own stock, which means almost anyone has an easy entry. Services like Shopify even have their own drop shipping platform available as a free service.


● Scales well
● Hands-off earning opportunity
● Set your own profit margin depending on your market

14. Merch by Amazon

Are you good at T-shirt design? You might just make your fortune here. Merch by Amazon allows you to simply upload your T-shirt design, and sell shirts online! Amazon will take care of everything, from the manufacturing to the distribution, so all you have to do is be creative (and beat the competition).


● Hands-off earning opportunity
● Amazon offers tremendous product exposure
● Easy set-up allows you to get up and selling in minutes

15. Sell Products through Amazon FBA

FBA stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon,” and like Merch, it allows for hassle-free deliveries to your customers. It works by having you send your products to Amazon, who then take care of sending them out to customers (and handling all customer service concerns along the way). This reduces the hustle of getting deliveries through to customers, making online selling much easier.


● Scales well
● Highly reduced up-front work needed, compared to traditional online store setups
● Easy set-up thanks to Amazon’s tools

16.  Rent out your construction equipment

If you are a contractor or a person who just want to earn passive income by renting out construction equipment this idea is the best one to start. I had an experience of this when constructing my two-story apartment building. I rented construction equipment such as compactor, drilling machine, one buggy mixer, scaffolding, etc. If you have such equipment it can also be a source of permanent income. So why not try it?


● Good profit
● High volume of market
● Easy to do

Many of these passive income strategies come with tried-and-true templates that you can use to your advantage. There are many expert reviews and opinions, along with stories from people who have failed and succeeded in each. Over time the best practices for each have become apparent. Take a few minutes to research the income stream you are interested in, to get a better feel before jumping in.

Remember, though that the advice you read doesn’t mean you can’t break out of the mold and follow your own muse instead. Passive income generation, like many other areas in life, works best when you fine-tune it according to your needs and preferences. This article has given you the basics of each passive income strategy — it’s now up to you to make it work!

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What passive income idea do you want to start? Do you have some passive income ideas that you can share?

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