45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas (2018)

  • passive income ideas

Do you know how lucky you are?

To live in a time where you can build businesses, travel the world and become financially independent. A time where technology has given us all access to the world. Access to people, places and platforms that give us a voice.

Thanks to technology, what you achieve is entirely up to you. We all have this incredible opportunity to create wildly profitable businesses and multiple streams of income today.

No longer are you required to work your way up the greasy corporate ladder to earn a decent income. No longer are you required to invest a multiple six-figure sum to build a business.

Things have really changed. And it’s my job to show you what’s possible for you in today’s digital world!

The journey to a life of freedom and flexibility starts with financial independence.

And passive income is a HUGE part of that.

Life is infinitely sweeter on the passive income side and this post will equip you with the passive income ideas that you can use to create reliable, long-term streams of income.

But first, let’s run over the basics…

What Is Passive Income?

what is passive income?

In the most simple terms, passive income is making money without being actively involved. It’s the holy grail of financial freedom. The ticket to living a life of freedom and flexibility.

But this doesn’t mean there’s zero work involved. In most cases, a passive income stream requires a colossal amount of work at the start, like writing a 30,000-word e-book or creating a video training course from scratch!

But once that work is complete, you can hunker down and watch the dollars roll in as people invest in your masterpiece.

The toughest part of creating a passive income stream is finding either the time or the money to invest. If you have the capital, you’ve got a head-start in this game.

If you don’t have the money, you’ll have to invest some good ol’ fashioned blood, sweat and tears at the beginning.

How to Make Passive Income

There are two main ways to make passive income:

Business

This is how the majority start out as most of us don’t have too much capital to mess around with. Starting a business is one of the most efficient ways to grow and expand your passive income streams.

Here’s why:

  • Systematisation – The ability to develop and perfect processes that create results.

  • Automation – Outsourcing and systematisation enable you to take a back-seat approach.

  • Scale and leverage – You can grow quickly after you establish a system and introduce automation into your business.

  • Income potential – No caps on income, unlike a traditional salaried job.

  • Systematisation – The ability to develop and perfect processes that create results.

  • Automation – Outsourcing and systematisation enable you to take a back-seat approach.

  • Scale and leverage – You can grow quickly after you establish a system and introduce automation into your business.

  • Income potential – No caps on income, unlike a traditional salaried job.

Investments

Investments are an equally fantastic way for you to establish and grow your streams of passive income.

Some obvious benefits include:

  • Compounding returns – Your return on investment can grow by the year as the value of your investment increases.

  • Minimal work – In many cases, the upfront work required is next to nothing.

  • High ROI – The possibility of incredible returns from small investments.

  • Compounding returns – Your return on investment can grow by the year as the value of your investment increases.

  • Minimal work – In many cases, the upfront work required is next to nothing.

  • High ROI – The possibility of incredible returns from small investments.

What this List Doesn’t Include

Plenty of posts out there list things like survey-filling, cash-back cards and savings accounts as passive income ideas.

That’s ridiculous.

You won’t find any of that nonsense on this list!

I hardly consider even conventional investing strategies to be passive income.

Here’s why:

A typical dividend stock investment yields a pitiful return of 2-4%. And those are the good ones!

So, if you invest $20,000 of your hard-earned cash, you can expect to see a yearly return of around $400.

That’s $33 a month.

Sheesh!

This type of investment only makes sense if you have hundreds of thousands to play with. And even then, there are far superior ways to invest your money.

Passive income ideas that can change your life

Yes it’s a bold claim, but i’ve spilt blood, sweat and tears researching these ideas for you. I’ve left no stone unturned. This is the only resource you need for creating a passive income stream.

This article was initially over 12,000 words long so I’ve chopped it up into separate bite-sized chunks based on various types of passive income ideas.

Categories include Affiliate Marketing, Investing, Consulting and Other. The Affiliate Marketing ideas are listed in this post with the rest hosted on separate pages.

Each passive income idea is finished off with three counter circle metrics. Cost of launch, difficulty level, and profit potential. Please note that for some of these metrics, I’ve had to apply a best guess estimate based on the research I’ve completed, so don’t take them as gospel!

You may want to bookmark this page!

Let’s begin.

Table of Contents

Affiliate Marketing Passive Income Ideas (this post)

Investing Passive Income Ideas With Exceptional ROI

Powerful Consulting Passive Income Ideas

24 Lucrative But Little-Known Passive Income Ideas

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a business model with passive income written all over it. The only model of business where you can truly be your own boss.

Other businesses involve taking on clients, providing customer support or working to strict project deadlines. But with affiliate marketing, you get paid for recommending products and services you believe in.

When someone buys something through your recommendation, you receive a commission from the sale of the product, at no extra cost to the buyer.

If anything, affiliates can save consumers money by offering special discounts that aren’t available directly through merchants.

The Niche Affiliate Website

A niche affiliate website is a site that solves a very specific problem. The very definition of niche is relating to products, services or interests that appeal to a small, specialised part of the population.

The basic gist is creating and ranking a website that targets a specific set of low-competition keywords. These keywords need to have a problem that can be solved with a product or service that you can recommend.

The website should have great content that answers all the questions people have on your topic. You can then refer people from your site to relevant products and services.

If anyone makes a purchase on the merchant website, you make a commission.

Here’s an example:

niche affiliate website

Herpes Secrets is an affiliate website in the health niche that was recently sold on the popular entrepreneur marketplace, Flippa for $7500. Herpes is sadly a widespread health problem that attracts a lot of searches.

On the plus side, this niche website provides helpful tips and promotes natural herbal remedies that help minimise the effects of the virus. Content quality is average, nothing too crazy going on here.

This website generates a respectable $1-3k in profit every month. And grossed over $50,000 dollars in profit last year.

It’s worth noting that the sale price for this site is exceptionally low. Websites are usually sold for between 12-36 times their average monthly recurring revenue.

But in some cases, you’ll find sites (like the one above) that go for a much lower price, for various reasons.

You might think someone must be crazy to sell something that makes $2k a month for $7.5k but many of these business owners already have multiple streams of income and don’t have the time to manage everything.

The cost of running a site like this is minimal. If you choose to invest in an established site (which is the easiest option) you really won’t have to do much upfront work at all.

That said, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re new to marketing and online business, you’ll want to get educated first before investing in anything!

If you’re building a niche affiliate website from scratch, your biggest expense will be time as it’ll take you a while to learn about things like content marketing, list building and SEO.

The bottom line

It’s no secret that niche affiliate sites have huge earning potential. Small niche sites typically make between one to five thousand a month. It’s not uncommon for affiliates to have multiple niche sites on the go, all generating a respectable income.

Just focusing on building these types of websites can explode your level of passive income.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Authority Blogger

blogging passive income

Everyone talks about how blogging is a saturated market these days. And it is. But most people don’t finish what they started when they launch a blog. They get stuck in technical trenches or distracted by the dizzying array of marketing strategies for getting traffic.

And you know what? I don’t blame them. It’s a battle I’ve been fighting myself and it’s extremely tough at times, but the potential rewards make it oh so worth it.

What separates an authority blog from a niche affiliate website?

An authority blog has more focus on branding, influence and quality.

These blogs also usually have a key differentiator. This could be creating truly epic content, approaching a topic from a fresh angle or bringing something entirely new to the table.

Authority blogs also generally target broader topics because they can land powerful links from other industry influencers that will help them rank for super competitive keyword terms.

Niche affiliate websites tend to target more specific niche’s and focus on content that will directly convert visitors into buyers.

Buyer guides and product reviews are commonplace with niche sites — they usually have less focus on branding, influence and content quality because they target keywords that are easier to rank for, requiring fewer links.

Becoming an authority blogger

Becoming an authority blogger is tough. First off, you need to hone your writing skills, figure out email marketing, social media, SEO, landing pages, conversion optimisation and more.

No wonder most people don’t make it to the top.

But as I just mentioned, the rewards can be astronomical.

Reaching the top end of the blogosphere can result in a site that produces hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

Yes, from a blog!

Blogger income falls into two main categories. Promoting affiliate offers and creating training courses and other paid materials. Some do both.

The bottom line

Authority blogging isn’t rocket science. While there’s a pretty steep learning curve to get to an elite blogging level, taking the time to master the fundamental skill sets will slingshot you over to the sweeter side of blogger life.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Lead Generation Website

These sites are very similar to niche affiliate websites, but with a unique twist.

Instead of driving sales for businesses, you send them leads instead. This can be done in all types of industries. From dentistry to accountancy and plumbing.

One example of a lead generation site is What Storage — a self-storage directory that generates leads for storage companies.

Getting paid for leads is even easier than driving sales. Why? Because the “lead” only needs to register their interest for you to get paid!

Think content-rich affiliate site with a high-converting inquiry form.

The leads that turn into customers can be worth thousands in lifetime value for local businesses so they won’t hesitate to pay you well for your referrals.

Once you have a website like this ranking in Google for targeted search terms and you’ve set up your conversion funnel, it’s practically fully automated.

Hello, residual income!

The bottom line

Local businesses, in particular, tend to struggle with digital marketing. Creating a website that generates leads for these businesses will have them fighting over your referrals and paying you well for your efforts.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Content Curator

content curator

Content curation is collating and organising information. We love places where we can find the best content on any given topic, all in one place. Part of the beauty lies in the simplicity of this strategy.

Curators don’t need to create tons of new content. They’re rewarded for researching, carefully collecting and organising data for people.

Curating content also adds value for the reader by presenting information in a new, powerful way that makes it easier and more enjoyable to consume.

This isn’t a passive income strategy on its own, but it’s an awfully useful tool that you can use to publish content that people will love, without having to be an expert in something.

Here are some examples of great content curation pieces: 

The bottom line

Content curation is a powerful strategy that businesses in all industries use to create content that people can’t help but bookmark and share. A strategy that can be used to grow a loyal audience without having expert knowledge.

The Price Comparison Website

Unless you’ve been living in a cave until now, you will have used a price comparison website at some point!

We use these sites when comparing flights, hotels, insurance, credit cards, loans and more. The websites we usually come across are the giants of the price comparison world, but what if we take that idea and apply it on a smaller scale?

Let’s say we find a niche that’s full of products with confusing features and benefits. Take the PC niche, for example. Most of us have no idea what all the performance specs actually mean!

You could create a niche site with detailed reviews on specific types of PC’s, breaking down the benefits of each spec.

It’ll have a beautiful design, super clean interface and be aimed at novice PC users. You would also populate the site with other helpful content like tips and tutorials. Oh, and a handy-dandy comparison table so readers can compare the pro’s and con’s of each product accurately!

Of course, you’ll monetise the site by referring readers through Amazon affiliate links for them to go ahead and make a purchase.

Anytime someone makes a purchase through your referral, you make a commission.

Check out these amazing low-competition keywords I found:

The green colour at the end signifies that the keyword competition is fairly low, which means it shouldn’t require too many links for you to rank on the first page for that keyword.

These traffic numbers are only based on US searches alone. Plenty of opportunities here for building a thriving review site in the PC niche.

The bottom line

Observing the market and finding out what works on a large scale can be replicated on a smaller scale without too much effort.

Niche price comparison sites can be a great way to drive traffic from low-competition keywords and generate passive income from your product reviews, tips and tutorials.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Coupon Website

Who doesn’t love a bargain? Ever come across a coupon website and wondered how they actually make money? Maybe it’s just me!

Anyway, the coupon code industry is the strongest influencer of consumer purchase decisions in the United States…

Who knew?!

Most of us don’t spend much time on coupon websites. We grab the code we need and we’re off! These sites make money through affiliate marketing.

After clicking “unlock” to grab your code, a cookie is placed in your browser. This cookie allows the merchant to see if you were referred by an affiliate, in this case, the coupon site! So the coupon site is paid a commission when you buy something.

There are some big players in this game but still plenty of gaps in niche markets. Coupon sites are great because they provide direct value to the consumer in the form of product discounts.

They’re also really profitable.

Why? Because people searching for coupons are usually just about to buy something.

Coupon websites don’t need a ton of written content so if you’re not into writing, this could be a thing for you!

The toughest part of building a successful coupon site is search engine optimisation. Most sites have crap links built to them because people don’t really link to discount sites.

Coming up with creative angles for link-building will give you edge over your competition.

The bottom line

Coupon websites offer great value to consumers and can make a killing if ranking well for a variety of search terms. Oh, and once established it’s 100% passive income. There may be a very small amount of ongoing tasks (like emailing your list with deals) but nothing that can’t be outsourced!

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The X Calculator

A really simple one. Picture the number of times you’ve searched for a word followed by “calculator”. Have you ever noticed that some of the sites that come up are niche affiliate websites?

I noticed this recently when searching for “US mortgage calculator”.

Here’s the first result that came up:

An exact-match domain with a mortgage calculator and not much else. The calculator itself works really well. The bottom of the form has two buttons that refer you to a loan broker called Lending Tree.

After doing some digging, I discovered that Lending tree has a Pay-Per-Lead affiliate program that pays up to $35 per qualified form submission.

Oh, and check out the terms this little website is ranking for…

The popular link analysis tool, Ahrefs says this site attracts almost 200,000 visitors a month! Let’s say they convert a measly 1% of their traffic into leads and get paid $10 per lead.

That’s $10,000 a month.

They could be converting 10%+ of their traffic into leads which would mean this site produces over $100,000 a month in completely passive income.

Incredible!

This is why I’m crazy about the affiliate marketing business model. You don’t have to come up with something revolutionary to hit it big.

That said, this particular example has some crazy powerful backlinks built to it. Which explains why it ranks for these high competition keywords. Setting up a site like this can be done in a matter of hours but ranking it for those terms could take months.

The bottom line

A calculator ranking for some high competition keywords generates more monthly profit than most small businesses do. This demonstrates the versatility of the affiliate marketing business model.

The possibilities are endless!

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

Conclusion

So there you have it! More passive income ideas than you know what to do with.

You’ve got no excuses not to get started now. All that’s left for you to do is to execute. The world is yours for the taking and I truly hope you take action after you read this post.

Every business idea has pros and cons. You’re never going to find something that’s purely positive, and even then, positive and negative are subjective things.

There will never be a perfect time to get started. Perfect is now.

Now get out there and make some passive income!

By | 2018-09-23T15:17:47+00:00 August 28th, 2017|
  • Jane Cheshire

    A Fabulous Post, I was really interested in the different types of blogs you mentioned, it makes things a bit clearer

    • Thanks Jane! Yeah for sure, It’s really interesting to understand how different types of websites generate an income.

  • Vartika ‘Angel’ Gupta

    Just read the introduction…and I already love the honesty! Will comment once I finish reading it 😀

    • By your lack of additional comment I can only assume you didn’t make it to the end, which doesn’t surprise me as it a heck of a long post haha!

  • Sandra Parsons

    Awesome post! Some of the more tech-oriented ideas are a bit over my head, but you’ve given me lots of inspiration. Thanks 🙂

  • Awesome information and the key I would relate to is learn one and master it before moving forward to another. Thanks

    • Thanks for checking out the post James! Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to dabble in lots of stuff with the number of opportunities out there but the key is to stick to one until it works out then move on.

  • Berit

    Oh my gosh! I am dizzy!
    But with the insane amount of passive income ideas here, now, how do I even start picking ONE? 😉
    Thank you so much, there are lots of things here I didn’t even know of.

    • Hahaha that’s the hard part — pick one and only one if you don’t want to be labelled a dabbler 😉

  • Josey mras

    This is one of the cornerstone articles i’ve read in 2018 so far.
    When Kimberly reached out to me about it i thought i was going to read the “common staff” but as you said it in your opening paragraphs, this was going to be a very different article.

    Thanks so much for putting this resource together and i am for sure going to link back to it.
    I run sophlix.com so we kind-of in the same field, but i must give credit where it’s due.

    Kudos.

    • Josey,

      Your feedback makes the blood sweat and tears all worth it. I know this is going to help a lot of people and I’m so happy you enjoyed this resource. Thanks for taking the time to comment too!

      • Josey mras

        You are much welcome.

  • Kim,
    I have given your blog post a cursory read through to see all the content. You and Ahmad have come up with a tremendous number of passive income ideas. I was familiar with some. Others were completely new ideas to me.

    I like the way each section has a template or pattern of a heading with a consistent combination of text and images. It does give some order to the huge of information you offer. But I was actually wondering why you did not make this an eBook instead of a blog post? Or create an outline the way Jim Wang of WalletHacks does at the beginning of his blog posts? I think it holds the reader’s attention especially when there is so much information to review and perhaps absorb.

    I will certainly add this to my resources. I am not sure where to link it. Where do you think it would go best?
    As a resource on the blog post, Are We Traditional Millionaires?
    https://alisondgilbert.com/2018/01/are-we-traditional-millionaires/
    or on one of my facebook groups or pages related to money and savings?
    Such as Financial Foraging, https://www.facebook.com/groups/107963729891150/
    or Savvy Saving Survivalist, https://www.facebook.com/SavvySavingSurvivalist/
    or all of them?

    BTW, would love a comment from on my Millionaire blog post.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Alison! thanks for taking the time to check out the post! I specifically outlined the post so it would follow a specific structure. This is so readers know what to expect and it helps with the flow of the piece. I’ve actually just finished up a (shortened) PDF version of the post that includes a bonus idea not mentioned here. I’ll be adding this to the post shortly! You’re right on the ebook suggestion — could easily have been made into one. I noticed that you linked to it from the millionaire blog post, thank you so much. Kimberly and I really appreciate the mention.

  • Daniela

    This is such a fabulous piece. Thank you for your amazing efforts here. I was wondering -any initial thoughts on what one would charge an employer to post a job (for the idea about creating a site to help people with their resumes, etc)? I need to research for sure but was curious if anyone has any ideas on this. I have a background in the corporate world in management and recruiting and have been tossing this idea around for a while but am stuck. Thank you!