The Best Passive Income Ideas to Boost Your Income

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As we got serious about paying off our debt and budgeting, we also decided it was time to look into passive income ideas. There’s always overtime at work, or picking up side gigs, but as the kids (and I) get older, the less I want to work 60+ hours a week.

Call me nuts, right?

In my youth I was all about picking up as much work as possible, and rarely ever said no to freelance work. However, looking back, I couldn’t necessarily tell you where that money or time went.

Passive income ideas are all around us – and we’d be nuts not to pursue them for the sake of our relationships and our sanity.

So what exactly is passive income? And why do you need it? Here’s the rundown on how passive income ideas can change the way you live – and work:

Tired of working 60+ hours a week? Check out these passive income ideas to help you continue to earn without the weekly work! #passiveincome #debt #finance #income

What is Passive Income?

In order to understand passive income, you need to know what active income is. Active income is your 9-5 job, or any job where you work hours and receive a paycheck. You actively work for your paycheck, making it active income.

Passive income is income where you do the work up front, and then reap the benefits of income afterwards – hopefully for years to come. All the investment is on the front end, so that you passively reap the rewards later.

Think of teaching your kids how to do laundry. Sure, it might be a pain and you might end up with pink socks or bleach splatters at the start, but eventually they’ll get the hang of it and you, my friend, will be laundry free with any luck.

Can you picture it? Never doing laundry again…sounds amazing, right?


(Ok, sure, that’s an extremely example. I’m 100% sure kids doing all the laundry without your nagging will never happen, but I can dream.):

There are a ton of ways to make passive income, but no matter what you pick, you’ll need put something in to get it started. You’ll need to invest either:

  • Money
  • Time

If you have the money to invest, great! You can use it to make more money. Passive income examples that need money to get started are real estate, investments, and purchasing or starting a business that you hire someone else to run.

Passive income examples that need your time are creating a business that you run yourself, such as a blog or becoming a landlord. While these aren’t 100% hands free income ideas, you will hopefully still work much less than you would with active income. We’ll get into more examples further down this post.

Why Do I Need Passive Income?

Creating multiple streams of income are always a great idea. We’ve been in the position of both my husband and I losing our jobs (at different times, thankfully!). Without a form of passive income, it’s a quick way to get sucked into the cycle of living off of credit cards and stacking up debt while you need it least.

Luckily, we were able to make ends meet. But what if you are single? Or one of you is a stay at home spouse? Or chronically ill, and all the earnings for the family fall to the other?

Diversifying your income so that it comes from different pools only makes sense. If you’re not able to actively earn, having passive earning can help keep your boat afloat if anything were to happen.

Not to mention,, who doesn’t dream of quitting their 9-5 job and traveling the world? Surely it can’t just be me, right?

Passive income can help you achieve working less hours, while still bringing money in. Maybe partial retirement or part time work is in your plans for the future. If so, this can be a great way to achieve that goal as well.

Tax Benefits of Passive Income

Another reason to build passive income is that you can reinvest the income. In some cases, depending upon the gig, this will give you a tax cut on the income.

Why should you care?

As discussed in Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the more money you can make and reinvest pre-tax, the better. It means you pay less in taxes in the long run.

An example is buying real estate. If you purchase a structure for $100,000 and sell it for $150,000, you can then roll those earnings into your next real estate purchase. In doing so, you defer the taxes on those earnings.

You can learn more about how to use your earnings wisely and minimize your taxes with other, better examples in Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

Passive Income Ideas with Money

The passive income strategies you’ll use if you have money will differ much from the ones you’ll use if you don’t. These methods will involve a lot less time to set up, and involve some business aspects. Make sure that you thoroughly research any of the following methods before you dive in:


Investing is obvious but any easy way to make passive income. If you reinvest your earnings, it will compound and grow exponentially. There is some risk with investing, so make sure you have an understanding on how it works and what to invest in.

If you’re interested in learning more about investing, I suggest using a robo investor such as Vangard or Betterment. If you sign up for Betterment through this link, you can get 3 months free.

Real Estate

Investing in real estate can be a great way to build earnings. Investing in rentals, office buildings, or even flip houses can earn you big cash when you do your research. If you choose to flip houses, find trustworthy folks to do the work while you front the cash.

Purchasing real estate does involve research in finding the right buildings at the right price. You’ll need to research the area and the market to make sure it’s a solid investment. This passive income stream does involve more knowledge and research time up front, but the earnings can also be greater if you know what you’re doing.

Buy or Invest in a Business

If you have the money, buying a business can be an excellent way to create passive income. Many business owners tend to own multiple businesses and hire others to run them.

In this case, you’re the investor and/or owner, but you have someone else doing the day-to-day tasks. Some examples of businesses you can start or purchase include:

  • Vending Machine Business
  • Landlord
  • Private investor in someone else’s startup
  • Laundry Mat
  • Game Machines
  • Coffee Services

My parents have owned a vending machine business and rentals. Both are very time consuming, but by hiring a manager to run either of them, you can turn them into passive business opportunities.

Peer Lending

Peer lending is an alternative to investing. You can choose what notes to invest in, and earn a return as they’re paid back. Peer lending provides the opportunity for both borrowers and investors to bypass banks and big companies for consumer credit. Again, there’s risk as with any investment, but it can be a lucrative way to create passive income.

How to Create Passive Income with No Money

Assuming you’re like most of us (me included), you’ll want to know how to create passive income with no money to put down up front. That means we have to put in the time to create something that will bring earnings.

Without further ado, here’s the best passive income ideas for those of us without money to invest:

Write a book.

Thanks to self publishing, you can create an ebook and sell it on your own website or Amazon. Pick something you’re an expert in, or use those creative writing skills to whip up the next Harry Potter series.

Sell stock photos.

Love to take photos? Sell your stock photos to stock photography websites and earn extra income. Stock photography sites handle all the sales for you, you just provide the beautiful photos. Check out or Adobe Stock photos for more information on getting started.

Sell feet pictures.

Believe it or not, there’s a hot market for feet photos. The best part is that you’re creating a digital product once, and can sell it multiple times. You can earn anywhere from $5 – $100+ depending upon the buyer, the platform you’re selling on, and if it’s a custom request. Learn more about selling feet pictures online here.

AirBnB your house or rent a room.

If you have a spare room or are out of town a lot, consider signing up for AirBnB or renting out your spare room. It’s a great way to earn income by using something you already own.

Rent out your possessions.

Any equipment that you own that is expensive and in demand can be rented out. Think cameras, power tools, and speciality items. Make sure to have the right legal and insurance coverage set up so that any damages will be covered by the renter.

Wrap your car in advertising.

Similar to wraps seen on local transit, you can get paid for wrapping your car in advertising. Assuming you’re not shy and are ok with putting a wrap on your car, you can check out your options at

Earn referrals.

Think of all the small businesses you frequent every year. From your accountant to your lawn service, you can ask if they’ll give you a discount or money for referring them. You can also get referrals for websites and apps that you use, such as Ibotta or Ebates.

Don’t forget your work. Talk to HR and see if you can receive a referral fee for finding new talent or clients. Most large companies have guidelines in place, but if you work someplace smaller, don’t be shy about asking for a referral bonus.

Earning Passive Income Online

Thanks to the internet, we have a whole new way to earn passive income. Any skills that you use at work, or hobbies that you have can be used to create passive income online. Here are a few ways to get your feet wet:

Start a blog.

Blogs earn income in multiple ways, including: ads, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, and products that you create and sell, just to name a few. The beauty of a blog is that you get to choose what methods you want to pursue to earn income. Plus, there’s nothing like earning money while you sleep, and waking up to new sales in the morning!

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my blogger resources page to see what courses, products and groups I recommend to get started.

Buy a website.

If you don’t want to start a blog or website from scratch, you can use to buy one. It’s an easy way to bypass all of the upfront work that goes into creating a site, and you know that the site is already successful. provides the earning and traffic details of the website, so you know it’s already successful.

Design and sell t-shirts, mugs and signs.

We all love those super cute t-shirt, mugs and signs that say things like, “Laundry today, or naked tomorrow”. You can create the designs on sites like or for free. When someone orders one, they print and ship the shirt, and you get paid.

Sounds like a no brainer, right? These sites remove the work of having to create the product yourself, making it even easier to make passive income. All you have to supply are the witty phrases and designs!

Make printables.

Using Adobe Photoshop, Canva, or PicMonkey, you can create printables that you can sell on sites like Etsy in a PDF format. No worries about figuring out where to get your designs printed, or where to keep them until you sell them.

There are a ton of great printable ideas – everything from calendars to checklists to everything in between. Just think about what types of documents you tend to use on a daily basis. Some printable ideas are:

  • Calendars
  • Grocery lists
  • Travel checklists
  • Weekly cleaning checklists
  • Schedules for the school week
  • In case of emergency paperwork
  • Monthly Budget
  • Spring cleaning checklist
  • Holiday shopping lists
  • Birthday party planning
  • And tons more!

Dropship on Amazon.

Dropshipping is a great way to run a shop without having to stock products. This can be done by setting up a Shopify site or an Amazon seller account. When someone orders from you, the supplier fills the order and ships it to the buyer. No stock to worry about, no storage, and no figuring out how to get rid of excess products.

Create a course.

Use your skills from work or favorite hobby to create an online course. Courses can be PDF documents, videos, or a mix. There are a ton of great teaching platforms, including Teachable, Skillshare, and, to name a few.

By recording your content, it’s evergreen and you only have to present it once. Then, you can sell it over and over, making it a great passive income idea!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to sell products without having to create them. If your favorite blogger creates a printable that you love, you can market it for a percentage of the sale.

You don’t have to have a website to participate in affiliate marketing. You can use an email list, Pinterest, or other social media to promote the products you want to sell. I love it because I can make sales without having to create a product myself, since I don’t have the time to.

If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, check out Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. She pulls in over $100,000 a month and has created an amazing step-by-step guide on the ins and outs of affiliate marketing.

Create a youtube channel and earn ad money.

We all have a zillion videos on our phones of our kids, spouses or friends doing funny or crazy things. Or, do a video of a skill that you use for work or on a hobby that you’d be doing anyway. Then, turn that video into money by uploading them to YouTube.

Once you hit enough subscribers and views, you can start to run ads on the videos. You get paid for views of the ads as well as clicks.

Don’t let the idea of passive income intimidate you. It doesn’t all have to be technical and scary money savvy methods, like investing or purchasing real estate. Be creative and use your skillset to create passive income options with stuff you already know.

Interested in other ways to make money?

Have you started working on a passive income idea? If so, is it one of these or something else? Let me know in the comments below!

Tired of working 60+ hours a week? Check out these passive income ideas to help you continue to earn without the weekly work! #passiveincome #debt #finance #income

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A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More

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  1. Levi on October 3, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Thank you for your blog post Tana. To answer your questions – Yes I did start working on my passive income. Out of the provided list above I am so what successful in some of them. For me, it’s all started from the book you are recommending above – Rich Dad Poor Dad. I am trying to create boost in my passive income in 2 main ways: online and offline. Offline being real estate investing and online – well online through affiliate marketing. My motto is Learn – Earn – Share. This is why I’ve created a website where I share my knowledge and experience in this amazing journey of creating Passive Income in my life.

    • Tana on October 10, 2018 at 1:30 am

      Levi, I like the idea of splitting the passive income streams between online and offline, it very much feels like making sure not all your eggs are in one basket. And I love your motto as well. Congrats on your site, I hope you have much success with it as well as your real estate investments!

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