10 Passive Income Ideas: How to Earn Passive Income Online

Published 16 June, 2023 Updated 05 September, 2023

Do you have time and energy to run a side hustle online? Perhaps you are looking for an easier way to earn passive income? Here are 10 ideas that are bound to inspire you.

10 Passive Income Ideas: How to Earn Passive Income Online

The path to financial stability lies in boosting your earning potential. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean you must put in more hours at your current job or get a second one. If you have always wanted to improve your financial wellness without sacrificing time, you might be curious to learn which is the best way to earn passive income online. 

The world we live in is rife with opportunities to make money that is not dependent on your time. With passive income, you can earn extra money while still having time to pursue your interests, study, travel the world or take up new hobbies. But how exactly can you achieve all of this?

In this article, you can find a list of 10 passive income ideas that can help you kickstart your journey to financial stability. You can also learn what passive income actually is and how to secure it long-term. So, let’s get to it.

What is passive income?

Passive income refers to earnings from any business or financial investment that does not require your active involvement. Rental income from properties, royalties from books and dividends from stock investments are typical examples of passive income opportunities.

Unlike active income – which refers to money earned from an ongoing exchange of time and effort – passive income is not dependent on your time. If you work a 9-to-5 job, offer freelance services or run a business, your income is active. This means your earnings are subject to a halt if you stop working or experience downtimes. 

Passive income downsides

The prospect of generating residual income is alluring, but obstacles exist. Let’s look at a few issues you need to consider before further exploring passive income options.

  • Upfront investment: While less work is needed in the long run, the initial stages of setting up a passive venture can require significant time and money investments.
  • Continuous work: Although day-to-day input may not be required in all cases, a passive income source is not a set-it-and-forget-it venture. You may need to perform occasional maintenance and management to keep generating income. 
  • Market risks: Starting any business or investing involves risk, and passive income sources are no exception. Keep in mind that you may face market fluctuations and external factors beyond your control.

Passive income benefits

Sounds intimidating? Do not worry because generating passive income comes with benefits that can outweigh the potential downsides. 

  • Flexibility: You do not have to clock in at a set time, and you are not bound to any particular geographical location to generate passive income.
  • Time-independency: Passive income sources can generate income for you even when you are not actively working on them.
  • Supplementary earnings: Earnings from passive income can supplement more stable income sources, which can translate to a more stable financial position overall. 
  • Long-term cash flow: A well-established passive income business can continually generate revenue for years after you put in the initial work. 
  • Scalability: Whereas earning more from a 9-to-5 job usually entails taking on more responsibilities or working more hours, you can scale passive income sources without taking up more work or sacrificing time. 

How to earn money online

Are you looking to diversify your income sources? Here are 10 of the best passive income ideas to get you inspired.

1. Sell professional photos

One way to create passive income is to license your photos and earn a commission every time someone uses your work for their projects. 

Initially, you may need to invest in professional camera equipment and photo editing software to offer high-resolution images if you do not have this already. But once your photos are online, you can generate future income from hundreds and thousands of people looking for photo inspirations on stock image platforms.

Shutterstock.com and stock.adobe.com are a few of the most popular stock photo sites you can register on and start your photography business. Once you are approved, you can start uploading high-quality images and earning a percentage of the proceeds the platform makes. Of course, some professional photographers prefer selling images via their own websites exactly because of this.

2. Become a peer-to-peer lender

If you have some extra cash sitting idle in your bank account, you can lend it and earn monthly income from the interest payments. Peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper make lending money possible by mediating between you and the borrower. 

How does this work? When borrowers apply for loans, their creditworthiness is evaluated. Once approved, you can review each loan application and choose who to lend money to based on their risk rating, interest rate, loan size and other factors. 

Needless to say, to get into business ventures like this one, you need a monetary investment to make any significant income. You also have to evaluate the risk of borrowers defaulting on monthly payments. Even if you can mitigate this risk by doing due diligence on which loans you fund. 

3. Rent out real estate

Do you have real estate property that you do not want to sell? Perhaps you have enough money to actually buy property either yourself or by investing in mutual funds for something like real estate investment trusts? These are the kinds of passive income investments worth consideration.

Renting is among the oldest and most dependable forms of passive income. You can rent apartment buildings, storage spaces or parking spaces and lease them out to make passive income. You can even leverage your own home if you do not yet have the purchasing power to buy rental property. That said, whether you buy or rent out that extra room in your apartment, note that you will need to provide continuous maintenance, which costs money and takes up time. 

If you decide this is the option for you, it is easy to list your property on such online platforms as Airbnb and Vrbo and pocket the income. Although this is not a digital business per se, it is easy to manage online.

4. Invest in dividend stocks

The stock market is another way to earn passive revenue, and today, you can do it all online. Many publicly traded companies allow you to buy their stocks and become shareholders. In return, you are rewarded with a portion of their profits as dividends. 

The dividend amount and frequency will vary based on the company’s performance, financial condition and other factors. To purchase dividend-paying stocks, you can open a brokerage account on platforms like Vanguard or Fidelity Investments and buy shares in the company of your choice. 

The work here is finding reliable companies to invest money in. So, you should always research a company’s background, invest an amount you’re comfortable with and approach financial investment from a long-term perspective.

5. Start and grow a YouTube channel

If you know how to create engaging video content around a topic you are knowledgeable about, starting a YouTube channel can help establish passive cash flow. First, you want to decide on a list of things you’d create video content around. The options are endless, from gaming to beauty to finance to productivity to recipe creation. 

Once you are ready to develop and publish video content on your channel, it will take time to grow it, and you will need to put in time and effort. However, with enough subscribers and views, you can slowly start earning passive income from advertising revenue and sponsorships. 

The YouTube Partner Program allows you to monetize your channel by displaying ads on your videos. The eligibility criteria for this program is to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months. You can also employ channel memberships and promote your own merchandise, products or services to earn additional revenue.

6. Sign up for affiliate programs

As an affiliate, you generate passive income through commissions from selling third-party products or services. However, note that successful affiliate marketing requires building an audience that trusts your recommendations. 

You can monetize your influence via affiliate partnerships with global companies like Amazon or eBay. Alternatively, you can join affiliate marketing networks like ClickBank or ShareASale, where you can find various digital products from multiple vendors. 

Affiliate partnerships can be time intensive in the initial stages as you need to create content that is engaging and educates your audience about the product you promote. And there is also the financial investment related to building a website. Fortunately, options exist. For example, with WAcademy free web design services, you can get a custom website at zero cost.

7. Create an online course

Creating educational content around a specific topic and selling access to it is another way to earn income passively. EdTech platforms like Udemy and Coursera allow you to publish and distribute video tutorials teaching a skill. 

Of course, you may need money upfront to set things up, the main initial investment being the time required for planning and producing the courses. Unfortunately, despite your efforts, the course may not take off, which is a huge risk.

One way to avoid this is to build a website and establish authority using free, valuable content to generate interest in your courses.

8. Start an ecommerce venture

Selling products online can be a great source of passive income. You do not even have to own the products you sell to profit from this income stream. How is that possible? Let us introduce you to dropshipping, one of the most popular passive income streams nowadays.

Dropshipping is an ecommerce model that allows you to sell products without physically stocking them or investing in inventory upfront. Once a customer orders from your online store, you purchase the item from a third-party supplier, who then ships the item directly to your customer. 

You can market products on your website, social media channels or use established ecommerce platforms like Amazon or eBay to drive sales. For many, this is too much ongoing effort, and, depending on your goals, this option may lean more towards active income rather than passive income.

9. Sell digital products

Digital products, such as e-books, software and templates, are excellent passive income sources as you can create and distribute them online. Plus, they do not require inventory management or shipping, so the selling process is simpler and more efficient. 

Whether or not you succeed with this passive income idea depends on the demand for what you decide to sell online. Your focus should be on creating products that solve a specific problem or provide a solution to a particular need. The upside of this is that once you create something that people value, you will not need to put much effort going forward.

10. Create and monetize a blog

In a world where information is power, blogging remains a viable source of passive income. The main task here is to create high-quality content around topics people are interested in and optimize for search engines to generate blog traffic. 

Blogging can be competitive, so consistency is required to see any substantial return on your efforts. If your content is engaging and SEO-optimized, slowly but surely, your blog will rank high on search engines and attract more customers. 

Once you take off, you can partner with Google AdSense and earn money from displaying targeted ads on your website. Other ways to monetize your blog are promoting affiliate products or your other additional passive income streams, like e-books, templates or courses.  

A screenshot of a blog with food photos.
Example of a personal blog: www.sofiaelhatri.com (designed by WAcademy)

How to secure a continuous passive income stream

Do you have a good passive income strategy? Turning an idea into a reliable source of income is not easy, but it can set you on a path to financial freedom. So be sure to remember the following tips as you get started on your passive income journey. 

  • Set clear goals: Be clear on what you want to achieve and plan steps that will help you stay focused and on track to success.
  • Do your research: Perform due diligence to see what your preferred passive income venture entails. Make sure your idea is realistic and achievable within your capacity.
  • Create a website: A website can help establish an online presence and reach a global audience. Leverage your website to build your brand, share information or resources, engage with followers, and support additional income ideas.
  • Analyze and optimize: Periodically assess data to generate insights for maximizing the effectiveness of your income source. 

If you want to leverage a website to build a passive income stream, we can help you. Creating a website can be expensive, which is why we offer a cost-effective alternative. With our 100% free web design services, you can get a professional website without paying for web builders or freelance web design services. 

Where’s the catch? We run an internship program, during which web design interns receive practical experience while working on real-life projects. While our interns gain skills, you gain a free website design. So, there is no catch.

Want to learn more? Contact us today at sales@wacademy.io or click the link below to explore what WAcademy has in store for small and medium businesses.