35 Passive Income Ideas for 2021

March 12, 2021


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A new year means new goals, and many people have goals set to improve their financial standing. Maybe you want to make some extra money in addition to your day job, or maybe you’re searching for creative ways to get some coin. Passive income is a great way to add money to your life.

Passive income is income that takes little to no daily effort to make. What could be better than that? In this day and age, the Internet has opened up new worlds of opportunity for making money, but you can earn passive income in the physical world, too. Typically, you will need to put in some effort up front and maybe even make a financial investment, but once the foundation is set, you’ll be making money in your sleep!

The amount you earn can range from below $100 to, possibly, thousands of dollars every year, but that will largely depend on the industry your passive income source is in and the amount you are able to invest. Check out 35 of our favorite passive income ideas below!

1. Rent Property to Tenants

Start out by researching the area you want your property to be located. See what properties are currently available to get an idea of how much you can expect to spend, and also take a look at other rental properties in the area to get an estimate for how much you can plan to charge in rent.

Things like location, availability of public transportation and the quality of schools can factor into how much you charge tenants and also the appreciation of your property over time. To make this a more hands-off and truly passive source of income, you can look into hiring a property manager or other staff.

2. Invest in Dividend Stocks

Dividends are payments, or a share of profits, a company makes to shareholders at regular intervals. Investing in dividend stocks can provide a reliable source of income, but you will need to do some research to determine what company you want to invest in (note: not all companies pay dividends). Dividends are paid per share of stock, so the more shares of a company you own, the more money you will receive in dividends.

3. Build a CD Ladder

A CD ladder involves taking a sum of money and splitting it up into equal parts, then investing them in certificates of deposit (CDs) with different maturity dates. You won’t be able to withdraw your money for a period of time, but you will accrue interest as time goes on.

With a CD ladder, you will have sums of money that become available to you again in shorter amounts of time while also having sums that rack up the high interest rates of long-term CDs.

4. Invest in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

REITs are companies that own income-producing real estate. Shares of REITs can be bought on the stock market and they pay out dividends to their shareholders. Once you research which REIT(s) to invest in, you’ll start earning a share of their income.

5. Lend Money to Peers (P2P Lending)

Sometimes people need a loan but are unable to secure one through a bank, so they turn to P2P lending to get it. You can be a lender to an individual and earn income through interest as they pay you back. However, it’s important to note that you can get into trouble with P2P lending if your borrower defaults on their loan. There are companies that can help facilitate this type of loan.

6. Invest in the Stock Market

This is one of the most tried and true, and popular , sources of passive income. It’s important to do some thorough research before investing in anything, but this will be the only work you need to put in yourself. Once you’ve researched and decided which companies to invest in, you can purchase shares of their stock.

If you’re business-savvy and have good foresight, you may find a diamond in the rough and purchase shares of a company at a low price, then sell them for much higher if that company takes off. You can make some serious money through the stock market if you play your cards right.

7. Create an Online Course

Do you have knowledge on a specific skill or topic? Then consider creating a course to sell online! Sites like Udemy or Skillshare allow you to create your online course then list it for learners to purchase. You will receive payments based on how many people take your course. Use these Udemy and Skillshare coupons to save some extra cash.

8. Create an App

If you’re a tech whiz, then perhaps creating an app is the right move for you. You will have to put in some work to design and code your app, but then you can list it online for people to download and sit back as this becomes a passive source of income. You can make money through charging a fee to download the app or through in-app advertising.

9. Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with a company and promoting their products or services. This often includes linking to products or displaying ads on your website. Then, when someone purchases the product you’re promoting, you will earn a commission from the company you are partnered with. To get started in affiliate marketing you will most likely need to have a decent following online.

10. Start Network Marketing

If you’re a natural leader and motivator, you could make some serious cash through network marketing. Companies like Avon and Tupperware use network marketing to sell products directly to consumers. To make this a passive source of income, you will need to build a team of people who work under you selling products. Then, you will earn money when your team members make sales.

11. Open a Car Wash

A coin-operated or self-service car wash is a great way to make money without having to actually be at the car wash at all! You will first need to purchase or rent a location and then procure all the necessary machinery and supplies, such as cleaning chemicals and payment machines. You’ll also need to occasionally refill the cleaning supplies, but overall, this is a great source of passive income.

12. Rent Out Your Home on Airbnb

If you’ll be out of town for a period of time, consider listing your home on Airbnb. Travelers who need a place to stay can rent it out, and you’ll earn some money in the process. You can also take this a step further and buy an entire property just to rent out on Airbnb, rather than screening and renting to tenants in a traditional lease. (Try out these Airbnb coupons to save even more!)

13. Own a Vending Machine

Have you ever thought about who owns vending machines? Probably not, but even if you have, you may not have realized that they can be a good source of extra income. To get started, you’ll need to make the initial investment of the vending machine itself. Then, you’ll need to find a high-traffic location to place it (keeping in mind any local requirements or regulations) and stock it with products.

The only time you’ll have to really get involved with the vending machine is when your products need to be restocked.

14. Open a Laundromat

This will take some time and a financial investment up front, but once your laundromat is off the ground, you can earn money from home. You will first need to rent a space, purchase the washing machines and dryers, and handle any other utilities. But once your facility is up and running, you won’t need to be on the premises to make some cash.

15. Flip Retail Products

If you’re the type who always finds great items at thrift stores or gets the lowest prices on products, consider flipping them for a profit. The trick is to buy at a low price and sell at a higher one, then pocket the difference. Wholesale websites or garage sales are great places to purchase items at low prices. Then you can resell them online for higher prices. Even purchasing an item for $10 and selling it for $20 is a great return on your money!

16. Advertise on Your Car

If you’re searching for a way to make money while going about your normal routine, then maybe advertising on your car is the right move for you. Find a company that wants to “rent” space to advertise on your vehicle, then make money just by driving around town and showing off their ad. This is typically done through wrap ads.

17. Open a Dropshipping Store

To get started with dropshipping, you’ll first need to set up an online store through a platform like Shopify. Then, you’ll need to research some products to sell that are in relatively high demand. Dropshipping does not require you to have the items you sell on-hand — instead, you will ship them directly from wholesale websites to the buyer.

This is a great way to manage an online store without having to use up space in your home for inventory. Depending on how much time you dedicate to your store, it’s possible to earn around $1,000 per month through dropshipping.

18. Start a Blog

Blogging is a great way to earn passive income, but it will take some time and effort in the beginning to bring in money. Set up your blog on a platform like WordPress, then get to posting! Blogs are a perfect way to express your creativity and participate in a community of like-minded people, but you’ll need to be consistent about posting content. Once you build a following, you can earn money through advertising and affiliate links.

19. Buy a Blog

If starting a blog from scratch isn’t for you, then try purchasing a blog that’s already established. After the initial investment of purchasing the blog, you can capitalize on the following it already has and make money from advertising and affiliate links. To make this a more passive source of income, you can also hire writers and digital assistants.

20. Do Sponsored Social Media Posts

Similar to blogging, this will take some effort in the beginning before becoming a passive source of income. Choose a social media platform, like Instagram or Facebook, and be consistent about posting. Over time you will establish a following, and interested businesses may ask you to take part in sponsored posts. Then you’ll earn money from those businesses just by posting to your account!

21. Print on Demand

If you have a knack for graphic design or photography, then you could make some cash by selling your artwork on sites like Redbubble. You can offer customers the option to purchase your work on anything from T-shirts to mousepads to wall hangings. Similar to dropshipping, you will not need to have any inventory on-hand. To save even more, try these Redbubble coupons .

22. Create YouTube Videos

YouTube has really taken off as a way for creators to earn income, and some people are even able to quit their day jobs and pursue YouTube as a full-time career. (Logan Paul began his channel in 2015 and made $14.5 million in 2018 !)

This is another source of income that will require you to be consistent in content creation and patient as you build a larger following, and then it will be more passive in nature. However, once you have a solid audience, you can make money through ad revenue and sponsored content.

23. Sell Photography

If you’re an avid photographer, then perhaps you should look into selling your photos as stock photography on websites like Shutterstock. After you’ve taken the time to snap some beautiful photos, then this will become a very hands-off source of income. You likely won’t make thousands of dollars this way, but it will bring in some extra cash. Get extra savings when you use these Shutterstock coupons !

24. Write and Publish an eBook

This is a great option for natural wordsmiths, but it will take a significant time investment to get you started. You will first need to write an eBook, so bring out your best ideas and get to creating! Thanks to the convenience of the Internet, there is no need to find a publisher — you can self-publish your book online. Platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing are great for publishing your work.

25. Sell Items Online

This is a great way to not only make some extra money, but also get rid of any old items you no longer need. There is a market for just about anything, so go through your home, a friend’s home or a relative’s and gather everything that can be parted with. Then you can list them online and sit back as people purchase them!

26. Sell Digital Downloads

Another great option for those who are creative, design digital files, such as cards or coloring pages, and sell them as downloadables on sites like Etsy. After the initial effort of creating and designing the files, this is an easy way to make money while you go about your usual routine.

27. Buy and Sell Domain Names

Domains are the real estate of the Internet. If you’re relatively business-minded, this could turn into a lucrative venture for you. You will need to purchase available domain names that you think may be in high demand at a low price. Then you’ll sell them at a higher price and make a profit.

28. Get Rewarded While Online Shopping

Most people enjoy shopping online every now and then, but did you know you can get rewarded while doing it? All you’ll have to do is shop with a browser extension, like Capital One Shopping , and you can earn credits while purchasing the items you want. Then, you can redeem those credits for gift cards.

29. Open a High Yield Savings Account

This is a great way to earn extra income while sitting back and doing basically nothing! Place some money in a high yield savings account at a bank, then rack up extra income through high interest rates. These types of accounts usually pay 20 to 25 times the national average of a standard savings account in interest. The longer you are able to keep your money in that account, the more you’ll earn.

30. Participate in a Sleep Study

This is a truly passive source of income. You’ll need to find a paid sleep study near you (colleges and universities are good places to look), and then get to dreaming! You won’t become rich overnight this way, but you can expect to earn between $25 and $100 per study . That amount can increase if you find a more comprehensive study that lasts longer.

31. Store Other People’s Items

Do you have some extra space at home or in your garage? Are you renting a storage locker that you’re not using very much? Then consider charging people to store their extra items. You can sublease a locker that you’re already renting or charge a fee for people to store their items at your home.

32. Rent Your Parking Space

If you have a parking space that you’re not using for a day or a longer period of time, try renting it out and making some money. This is very easy to do thanks to sites like SpotHero .

33. Start an Etsy Store

Do you have a knack for making handmade goods? Sell them on Etsy ! This will require an initial investment of your time to create enough items to stock your store, but once your products are listed, this is a relatively hands-off source of income. You’ll just have to put in some more time every now and then to replenish your inventory.

34. House Sit

Find a house sitting job online or advertise that you’re looking for a house sitting gig, then make some extra cash just by looking after someone’s home while they’re away. You can easily make $30 to $50 per day , but this can range depending on the location you’re house sitting in. This is not a fully passive source of income since you’ll need to handle your responsibilities of looking after and maintaining the home.

35. Sublease to Roommates

If you have a spare room, you may want to consider subleasing your extra space to a roommate. You should first make sure your landlord is fine with this (if you are renting), and then be sure to screen anyone you are considering bringing into your home. Then you’ll be making money just by living at home!

Check out this infographic on passive income ideas you can start in 2021.


The average millionaire has seven streams of income . You don’t need to match (or beat) that number, but maybe trying out a new gig or two can help you live more comfortably. With these ideas, you’ll soon be making money without even lifting a finger! To help get yourself started, purchase some supplies with these Amazon coupons .

Sources: Gallup | Shopify | Forbes | Investopedia | The Penny Hoarder | Rover | Medium

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