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:


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 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.


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.

45+ Real Passive Income Ideas that Don’t Suck

Ok, here we go. This article is over 12,000 words long so you’ll probably want to add this to your bookmarks!

I’ve split the ideas into four main categories. If you want to skip through to a category, I’ve created a contents section below where you can click-through to your desired part of the article.

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!

Let’s get started!

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.

Related Content: What is Affiliate Marketing & How Does it Work?

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
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The Authority Blogger

the authority blogger

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.


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!

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Investing Passive Income Ideas

passive income ideas for investing

Smart investing is a sure-fire way to grow and diversify your income. But as discussed earlier, traditional investing generates ghastly returns. Let’s not waste time investing crazy amounts of money for measly monthly recurring revenue.

Instead, we should consider the following passive income ideas…

The Low-Risk High-Reward Investor

Almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

How can you invest low-risk and expect high rewards?!

I’ll explain:

My ramblings up until now on passive income ideas have been pretty critical of traditional investment strategies. And this critical nature is justified because most of these investments generate 2-4% annual returns, which just isn’t viable for most people.

Take dividend stocks as an example. Let’s say you decide to invest in Ford Motor Company.

They just happen to have a 5.15% dividend yield at the moment (which is very good for a div stock investment)

Here’s what you can expect to see for returns:

$85 bucks a month for a $20,00 dollar investment is hardly what you’d call substantial.

Granted, you can build up a respectable portfolio of investments through this strategy with reliable yearly payouts, BUT, you’re looking at decades before you really reap those returns.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna wait till 60 to become financially independent!

Looking for ways to invest large chunks of cash? Check out my best ways to invest 10000 post

How to invest like Warren Buffet (without putting billions on the table)

This form of investing involves putting your money into assets that have spiralled down in share price due to falling out of market favour.

But assets with solid foundations that suggest a rebound over the next few years.

It’s a strategy that’s based on situations where the market has heavily mispriced an asset with potential for huge 5-10x gains as it rebounds over the coming years.

The technical term for this is called “asymmetric investing”.

Now, I know it sounds super complex. And well, it really is. But I’m gonna break things down in jargon-free terms so you can wrap your head around these powerful strategies.

The best part?

I’ll show you exactly how you can leverage the best asymmetric investing opportunities, without spending ten years learning how to pull it off yourself.

So what the heck is asymmetric investing and how does it work?

Asymmetric investing get’s this name because of the typical rebounding trends of assets in terms of share price value over the course of a few years.

At any given time, you’ll find company shares priced up to 90% lower than previous highs.

This means the cost of entry is much lower, relative to what you can potentially earn back when you decide to sell in the future.

It’s asymmetric in nature.

Here’s an example of what an asymmetric investment looks like:

The first thing that naturally comes to mind is “there’s obviously a reason why something would be priced so low“. And you’re right in making that judgement.

But what’s important to note is that the market isn’t rational in the short term.

Identifying when this happens is the key to investing success.

In fact, it’s the exact strategy Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s business partner) uses himself, as he says:

“You’re looking for a mispriced gamble. That’s what investing is. And you have to know enough to know whether the gamble is mispriced.”

The important thing to note here is the ability to identify assets that are priced much lower than their average market value. Assets that are usually stable with strong foundations.

If we can find these assets, it’s possible to achieve those crazy 500% ROI’s.

But these type of opportunities aren’t for the faint of heart. It takes guts to invest in a stock that looks destined for doom.

And you can be sure that everyone around you will think you’re insane for investing your money into something that’s perceived as so risky.

What world-renowned investors think of this strategy

Warren Buffet is one of the most well-known (and successful) investors in the world. But more importantly, he’s an asymmetric investor. He invests in companies on a scale that most of us will never reach.

But that’s okay.

Because we don’t need $93.2 billion to live an incredible life.

What we can do is learn strategies from people like Warren Buffet and apply them on a smaller scale.

One of my favourite quotes from Warren is when he summarised successful investors beautifully:

“The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.”

And from Sir John Templeton, who was declared as “arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century” by Money Magazine:

“Invest at the point of maximum pessimism”

The points being made here relate to asymmetric investing because it involves putting your money down when everyone else thinks you’d be crazy to do so.

In essence, it relates to a saying that applies in so many areas of life for those that want to truly succeed…

Observe the masses and do the opposite.

You can only expect to see the incredible 5-10x returns if you invest when price is low and pessimism is high.

Check out one of Warren Buffet’s first substantial investments back in 1964…

This is the perfect example of a large-scale asymmetric investment — and one that catapulted Warren Buffet into new realms of wealth.

This was an investment Warren made with American Express shortly after something called the “salad oil scandal”.

You can read more about that here, if you’re interested.

How asymmetric investing can work for you

Asymmetric investing can be life-changing for the average joe because a small amount of money has the potential to go a very long way.

And the great thing is, you don’t need the asset to bounce back to it’s former glory to make a large sum of money. You just need things to get a little better.

A little better in most cases means doubling or tripling your money.

But there’s one major caveat to this entire form of investing…

Finding these opportunities is freaking tough.

Using Buffet’s American Express investment as an example. At the time, AMEX was in really bad shape thanks to the “salad oil scandal”. Their stock price had dropped by 40%. And the market hated them.

No-one in their right mind was buying American Express shares at the time. No-one, except Warren.

He knew the business would rebound soon enough because it had solid foundations.

So he invested almost half of his money to own a 5% share of AMEX — and we all know how that shaked out!

But how do you work out a solid asymmetric investment from a dud?

Being smart enough to outsmart the market and identify mispriced assets with asymmetrical risk to return potential is no easy feat.

And it also requires a seriously strong set of cajones. Imagine the amount of internal pressure when making one of these investments — especially if you’re doing it based on your own research.

The truth is that most people don’t have the emotional intelligence to pull something like this off.

It’s like Warren Buffet said in his quote… you need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.

And most of us tend to be heavily influenced by what the crowd is doing.

Even if you do know how to spot an asymmetric opportunity AND have the balls as well as emotional intelligence to pull it off…

It can be really tough to work out which specific options to go for.

And if you choose the wrong one, you can lose a lot of money.

So we’ve established that while the opportunity is huge, the execution is terribly tough.

But there’s always a solution — which brings me to my next point…

Investing like an expert — without spending years learning how

Don’t you just wish you had the investing expertise of people like Warren Buffet, Benjamin Graham or George Soros?

Wouldn’t investing be soo much easier if you could download their knowledge into your brain?

Well I can’t promise you that! But I can show you the next best thing…

Investing alongside experts who live and breathe this stuff on a daily basis.

You see, even if you could invest alongside titans like Warren Buffett — you couldn’t, in reality.

Why? Because Warren invests billions buying entire companies out-right. Not something the majority of us are in a position to do.

Furthermore, investing in Warren’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway won’t yield outsized returns because of their massive capital base.

This is something that Warren has consistently warned Berkshire investors about.

Thankfully, there are a select few experts that you can follow for actionable advice on asymmetric investing. Well, I say a select few, I really only mean one from what I’ve discovered so far.

This person is a former investment banker and venture capitalist with decades of hands-on experience in asymmetric investments. He’s also been featured in publications like Market Watch, Business Insider and Real Vision.

His name is Chris Macintosh, and he’s a guy that can help you find some of the best investment opportunities on the planet.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get access to people like Chris, and typically, his investment ideas are reserved for his own companies.

In fact, until recently, unless you had a couple million to invest, you couldn’t get access to his ideas.

Talk about exclusive access!

But this all changed when Chris decided to launch his investment newsletter: INSIDER

Here’s how he explains the newsletter in his own words:

“The opportunities shared (in INSIDER) will allow you to get in on the same investments being taken by myself in my hedge fund and those on my Rolodex of friends, some of the world’s elite investors. Usually, opportunities like these are reserved for industry insiders. And it’s very unlikely that your broker has even heard of many of them, and he’s almost certainly got little idea why you’d be doing them.”

In the newsletter, Chris breaks down his investment ideas into specific, granular details and shows you exactly how to execute each trade from scratch.

So this not only appeals to people familiar with the investment space but total beginners too.

And most importantly, ALL his ideas are asymmetric. Which means you can expect decent returns with the potential of up to 10x ROI — If you don’t have much to invest, this can make all the difference.

The future is bright for the outliers

As people continue to rely on traditional investment strategies in a market that’s only becoming more volatile and unpredictable — the opportunities for creating wealth from asymmetric investing have never been so good.

And whilst the majority of investors are probably headed for some serious pain in the near future — the smart minority will be raking in fat stacks of cash by exploiting asymmetric market opportunities that come up!

As Chris says himself: “the repricing of assets promises to be truly breathtaking

Which (ironically) makes it a very good time to invest your capital.

So if you have some capital to invest and you’re looking for a fairly hands-off passive income opportunity, I strongly recommend checking out Chris’ INSIDER Newsletter.

One thing to keep in mind is that Chris personally invests millions of his own money into his investment ideas. So this isn’t some random guru trying to sell you a subscription.

Just remember, there’s no guarantee of results, ever. And anyone that tells you otherwise is talking donkey doodoo.

INSIDER Isn’t for everyone

In some case, you should think twice before investing in the newsletter subscription.

If you have less than $5000 to invest, you should probably wait till you have more. And in the meantime, you could start a passive income business for much less that’ll increase your cash flow and grow your capital.

Go here to check out the Capital Exploits INSIDER Newsletter.

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The Silent Local Business Partner

Investing your money in local businesses can be risky. But if you do your homework properly, it can produce a healthy stream of passive income.

The key here is to find business owners that have already created success with their existing setup and are looking to expand. Sometimes they just need that extra cash flow so they can grow.

In return, you’ll get equity in the business. The great thing about this strategy is that you get to negotiate the equity stake, so it’s possible for you to land spectacular deals.

When it comes to investing in businesses like this make sure they pay shareholders on at least a yearly basis (owner distributions). Some businesses like to keep their profits in the company, not what you want!

The bottom line

A successful investment as a “silent” shareholder in a local business will provide a nice yearly sum of passive cash. Investing in the right people is crucial. You must do your homework!

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The Real Estate Investor

real estate passive income

You can’t go too far wrong with real estate investing. It’s one of the safest places to put your money and is a “go to” investment strategy for many seasoned entrepreneurs.

I’m talking about buying rental property here. Again, this is one of the passive income ideas where you really need to know your stuff if you want to succeed. So much so that many investors prefer to put their money with people who do this for a living instead.

Most people don’t have time to dig deep into the real estate markets. So they put their money with people who have the financial education, skill sets and experience to invest in the best deals.

Successful rental investments involve mastering the following:

  • Finding the right properties – Understanding what makes a perfect investment opportunity is key to finding them.

  • Leveraging good debt – Knowing how to leverage money from the bank as well as other investors will help maximise your cash flow.

  • Finding great tenants – Bad tenants can be a nightmare. There are certain demographics you’ll want to avoid when renting out your properties.

  • Finding the right properties – Understanding what makes a perfect investment opportunity is key to finding them.

  • Leveraging good debt – Knowing how to leverage money from the bank as well as other investors will help maximise your cash flow.

  • Finding great tenants – Bad tenants can be a nightmare. There are certain demographics you’ll want to avoid when renting out your properties.

Leveraging the bank’s money is the best way to invest your own money.

Here’s an example: 

I have $200,000 to invest in rental property. I can use “good debt” from the bank to mortgage these properties with a 20% down payment.

Let’s say I find five properties for sale all around the $200,000 mark.

These properties rent at $1500 a month. I could either put the $200k down and pay for one house in cash, or purchase all five properties with a 20% down payment of $40,000 each.

On 5% interest, the loan repayment would be roughly $1100 a month.

So, that’s $400 in cash flow from each property every month, resulting in a total of $2000 a month. That’s $24,000 a year in passive income. 🙂

These numbers are all super simplified and there’s a lot more to take into account but it gives you a rough idea on the ROI you can expect from buy-to-let investments.

The bottom line

Executed in the right way, rental real estate can be a reliable form of long-term passive income. Doing your homework is crucial to success with this strategy as you could easily lose money without proper research and guidance.

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The Airport Parking Investor

airport parking passive income

You’d have never guessed this one! Investing in airport car parking is a safe way to put your money away as the aviation industry continues to grow thanks to the growth in international travellers (in the UK).

It produces a higher ROI than traditional investment strategies. Up to 12%, in some cases.

Airport parking is estimated to be worth $12.5 billion annually, with demand regularly outstripping supply in the majority of UK airports.

Investing in parking spaces is similar to investing in real estate. You fully own the parking space(s) when you make an investment.

The great thing about parking space investment is that you don’t need to fork out insane amounts of cash. Over here in the UK, a typical investment for one space would be around $30,000.

Parking spaces have huge projected capital growth, thanks to massive market demand. Great potential for further increasing your return on investment.

The bottom line

Car parking investment is a superior alternative to investing in traditional stocks and bonds. The aviation industry is booming and is only set to grow further. Demand for parking spaces is huge so this is a solid passive income investment with respectable returns.

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REIT stands for Real Estate Investments Trust. It’s a safe, reliable way to invest money and acquire ownership in houses, apartment complexes and commercial properties.

I’m not particularly fond of this one because the returns aren’t that great but it does offer a number of benefits compared to traditional investing.

There are two main types of REIT’s:

  • Equity REIT’s – Allow investors to own properties and generate revenue by renting them out.

  • Mortgage REIT’s – Allow investors to own mortgages, purchase them from lenders and loan money for mortgages. Profits received come from interest earned on mortgage loans.

  • Equity REIT’s – Allow investors to own properties and generate revenue by renting them out.

  • Mortgage REIT’s – Allow investors to own mortgages, purchase them from lenders and loan money for mortgages. Profits received come from interest earned on mortgage loans.

REIT’s are a great option for investors because:

  • Regular shareholder dividends – Required by law to maintain dividend payout ratios (amount paid to shareholders relative to company profit) of at least 90%.

  • Less tax – REIT’s pay zero tax on dividends paid to shareholders.

  • Less volatile – Great market track-record for long-term share appreciation and inflation protection.

  • Low capital requirement – You only need $500+ to start investing.

  • Regular shareholder dividends – Required by law to maintain dividend payout ratios (amount paid to shareholders relative to company profit) of at least 90%.

  • Less tax – REIT’s pay zero tax on dividends paid to shareholders.

  • Less volatile – Great market track-record for long-term share appreciation and inflation protection.

  • Low capital requirement – You only need $500+ to start investing.

Most REIT’s pay monthly dividends to shareholders. 4-7% is a typical return on investment. That’s $20 a month if you invest $5000 with a 5% ROI (see what I mean?). You need to invest big money to enjoy anything that comes close to respectable returns.

The bottom line 

REIT provides an easy-access passage to real estate investment. There’s almost zero work required compared to directly investing in property yourself. On the flip side, you won’t make anywhere near as much money.

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The Digital Business Investor

digital business investor

Want to run your own online business without going through the painfully slow startup phase?

Buying an existing business is your fast-track ticket. Why go through the torment of building a business from scratch when you can buy something that’s already generating moolah?

There are hundreds of passive income producing businesses for sale at any one time online. Flippa and Empire Flippers are the most popular platforms for people to buy and sell internet businesses.

Here’s an example:

This online cigar Dropshipping business was listed with no reserve price and sold for an astonishing $3000.


That’s $3000 for a business that generates an average of $2200 in profit, every month.

Again, this site was an exception to the rule in terms ofprice as the owner was getting married and had to sell the business at very short notice.

The previous owner came up with the idea for the site when visiting a cigar lounge. He was presented with a whopping great selection of cigars and had no idea what to pick. So he created this little website as a hobby that offers a personal cigar recommendation service.

For a few thousand dollars, you can snatch an online business that makes between one and five thousand a month in profit.

When you compare this to other ways of investing your money, this blows everything else out of the water.

Yes, you’ll need to do a heck of research so you don’t get tricked by an internet fraudster. And yes, you’ll need to learn the fundamentals of marketing so you can run and grow a business after you buy it.

But for your troubles, you can enjoy an ROI that’s impossible to achieve through traditional investment methods.

Flipping an online business

Online businesses can also be flipped! Think real estate flipping without all the stress, hassle and time consumption.

Many internet businesses can enjoy explosive growth by making just a few minor tweaks.

How? By implementing something called conversion rate optimisation. A fancy term for increasing the number of sales you make from existing traffic.

By implementing a few basic things like a squeeze page, an autoresponder and enticing lead magnets, a business can skyrocket their conversions.

Minor tweaks can produce major changes.

It’s not uncommon for an online business to double the monthly profit by optimising a few parts of the website.

That’s some sweet passive income production right there!

The bottom line

Investing in established online businesses is one of the fastest ways to diversify and grow your passive income streams. The average return on investment is higher than anything else I’ve come across before.

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Consulting Passive Income Ideas

residual income ideas

Consulting is a way of providing your expertise to a business or an individual consumer. As a consultant, your role is to help people get from their current situation to their desired situation. It really is as simple as that.

Consultants are hired for three main reasons:

  • Speed – Getting to the goal faster.

  • Lack of skill/knowledge – People/businesses don’t know how to get to their desired goal on their own.

  • Proven system – People want to follow a tested system that they know works.

  • Speed – Getting to the goal faster.

  • Lack of skill/knowledge – People/businesses don’t know how to get to their desired goal on their own.

  • Proven system – People want to follow a tested system that they know works.

(I’ve recently written a compact review on a popular consulting course by a guy called Sam Ovens — feel free to check it out!)

Let’s get started!

The Backseat Headhunter

I came across a post on Quora by an IT recruitment business owner and thought it could be an awesome idea for a passive income stream.

If you aren’t familiar with “headhunting”, these are the guys that find candidates for job vacancies. They usually focus on high-profile vacancies at the senior management level (they make more commission this way).

Speaking of commission, a headhunter can expect to make anywhere between 15-30% of a candidates annual salary for each one that lands a role. For an IT cyber security director on $150,000 a year that’s $20,000 at 15%. For one person!

Getting up and running

The expenses for this business are minimal. A laptop, phone, internet connection and a subscription to a LinkedIn Recruiter account is all you need to get started as a headhunter.

The process involves identifying suitable vacancies and finding matches for those vacancies through LinkedIn. You would then reach out to the prospects you’d find and go from there.

Having great soft skills is probably the most important part of this business. Building rapport and forging new connections is a regular requirement.

From a passive income perspective. You could incorporate a company and come up with a proven process for getting vacancy leads and landing deals with employers. By going through this yourself, you’ll establish what works, and what doesn’t.

If you can do this, you can employ and train other people to do it for you too.

The best way to hire recruitment consultants is to pay them a lower salary but offer them an attractive compensation package.

Incentivise the hustle!

You can find the original post with full details here (it’s the post by Nick Tsappis)

The bottom line

There’s great fortune to be made in recruitment. Headhunting is a low cost, high-profit business model with huge scope for outsourcing.

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The Coaching Business

Dreamt of being a coach or consultant? Passionate about helping people overcome something? Although not entirely passive, many successful coaching businesses are run by just one or two people.

Here’s an example: 

Meet Brittany Brown. She owns a coaching business that helps people overcome binge eating. Brittany has very cleverly taken a personal trauma and transformed it into a viable business. No special qualifications or certificates required.

Brittany’s business operates a three step process: 

  1. Identifying the problem(s)
  2. Conducting a strategy session.
  3. Taking on clients for her transformation program.

Her site isn’t optimised for the search engines. Instead, she gets her traffic from Facebook advertising. Facebook ads are perfect for this type of business because the targeting features are very advanced.

Brittany’s business was featured in a popular consulting training testimonial. Through this training, she was able to grow her business from $14,000 a month, all the way up to $60k+, per month.

The bottom line

While not entirely passive, a coaching business is an awesome way to share your existing expertise with the world. And get paid really well for doing it!

Many of us don’t realise that the obstacles we have overcome are valuable lessons that other people need to overcome the same things! You don’t need formal qualifications to build a thriving business.

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The Local Business Marketer

Local businesses are struggling to keep up with the pace and expansion of the internet. They’re seeing fewer customers come through their doors as more people discover better deals online.

Businesses are willing to pay good money for someone to manage their social media presence.

For example, most don’t have the time or resources to create, manage and grow their social media presence.

You can offer your services as a consultant and charge a monthly retainer fee for creating and managing social media for these businesses. Then you can outsource the grunt work to a freelancer while you sit back and collect coin.

Type of work involved

The actual work involved in managing social media accounts isn’t much at all.

Tools like HootSuite and IFTTT let us schedule posts, monitor activity and respond to updates automatically. You can schedule an entire weeks worth of content in under an hour!

The bulk of the work will be initially reaching out to prospects and conducting consultations, but once you have a few clients on retainer, it can be pretty passive.

The scope for scale with this type of business is huge. One or two people can quite easily manage twenty clients if they outsource things efficiently. Twenty clients x $1500 a month = $30,000 a month.

The bottom line

Social media marketing is brimming with opportunities. Most small businesses have no clue how to generate leads or increase their digital presence. This type of consulting has huge scope for scale and plentiful passive income opportunity.

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The Digital Agency Specialist

digital agency specialist

Another one that comes under the lucrative consulting umbrella.

A digital agency is a business that provides digital marketing services to their clients. These agencies usually specialise in a chosen field (to establish their expertise and charge more money).

A typical digital marketing consulting business could be one that helps dentists and chiropractors get more clients through Google Pay-Per-Click. Or one that helps plumbers and carpenters get more clients through Facebook ads.

Specialising in a niche

Specialisation is important. It separates you from the generalist agencies that do everything and appeals to people in your target market way more.

Generalist agencies struggle to produce 10x results for their clients. But by becoming an expert and mastering your niche, you can charge double or even triple what standard agencies do and still 10x profit for your clients.

Expertise is key. And so is the focus on results. Your goal is to make your clients business thrive – to setup proven, reliable systems for acquiring customers.

Most businesses don’t have a predictable way of getting new customers. They just rely on word of mouth referrals. A massive pain point in most industries. Some businesses are even forced to close because they just don’t have the customers.

Offering a solution to this problem is pure gold.

The bottom line

Many businesses struggle to acquire new customers in a predictable fashion. They have no proven process in place.

By providing a predictable solution that works, you can charge thousands per month to each client and build a wildly profitable, scalable consulting business.

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Other Passive Income Ideas

other passive income ideas

You’ve reached my favourite part of the article! This section is filled with weird, wacky and wonderful passive income ideas that I’ve come across and learnt about over the years.

Some of these little-known businesses are raking in a fortune by exploiting gaps in the market. Most of them benefit from having low overheads and high-profit margins, the essence of online business!

Let’s go!

The Vacation Property Broker

I came across this business while checking out some of the domains for sale on Flippa. This is something I hadn’t come across before and it sparked my interest as I noticed the site was making an average of $5000 a month over the last three months.

So here’s the gist: 

Beachfrontwest.com sells villa bookings to holidaymakers in the Dominican Republic. They partner with hotel type organisations that manage villa’s in touristic communities, and list these properties on popular vacation rental sites like HomeAway.

Average profit per sold booking is $500-800.

A typical booking involves answering queries and confirming down payment details. Also, requesting pre-payment, and emailing reservation details to both hotel and customer.

Why don’t these hotels list on Airbnb type sites?

According to the owner, they do list on instant booking sites like Expedia and Booking.com but the hotels are too busy to deal with the general queries and questions they get from customers that book through platforms like Airbnb.

This is essentially operating on the affiliate marketing business model, but instead of going through an affiliate program, they’ve cleverly negotiated deals directly with hotel suppliers.

This is huge.

Why? Because a typical affiliate program in the travel niche pays around 3% for bookings like this. So you’d usually be making under $100 per booking instead of $500-800.

Day to day operations for this type of business could be easily outsourced to a virtual assistant. So, instead of spending time on the phone with customers, you can pour yourself a freaking Peroni because you’re making sweet passive income!

The bottom line

A perfect example of a business spawned from a gap in the market. Companies are willing to outsource the management of vacation rental bookings, and they’re willing to pay good commissions for someone to do it.

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The WordPress Theme/Plugin Designer

If you come from a development background, themes and plugins could be the one for you. Over 59% of websites are powered by the WordPress CMS. That’s millions of webmasters. And they all use themes and plugins!

It’s fair to say, the market is huge.

ThemeForest and CodeCanyon are the main places to buy and sell your themes and plugins.

19 out of the 8000 WordPress themes in ThemeForest crossed $1 million dollars in sales. The most popular theme is called Avada (it powers this site too!) generating $16 million in gross earnings and $10 million in profit since it was released.

Based on sales history, Avada is raking in around $220,000 a month.

Amazing right?

But what about all the other theme and plugin developers?

The truth is that many developers don’t make a dime with their creations. 76% of WordPress themes on ThemeForest earn less than $1000 a month. And less than 1% cross $10,000 monthly recurring revenue.

Part of the problem is that Envato (the owner of ThemeForest and CodeCanyon) take a 30-70% cut of your profit. You’re also limited by the marketplace rules.

How to make money as a theme developer

ThemeForest charge high commissions because they have access to buyers. But you can move past this by striking out on your own. Build your own website, create a blog and master how to market and promote your offer.

This way you’re not competing on price with thousands of other themes. You can offer multi-site licenses, subscription plans and keep all the delicious pie to yourself!

The kicker is learning how to drive, nurture and convert traffic effectively. Oh, and you need to offer some kind of support for your themes/plugins too!

The bottom line

Creating a full-time income from themes and plugins isn’t easy but with the right skills and attitude, it’s definitely doable. Personally, I would avoid this unless I had a developer background and was crazy keen on themes/plugins. This is definitely one of the harder businesses to succeed with.

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The Dropshipping Store

dropshipping passive income streams

Ahh, Dropshipping. A revolution in physical product sales. A product fulfilment method where the “dropshipper” doesn’t hold stock of any items. Products are only purchased when the customer puts an order through. The supplier then ships the product directly to the customer!

Some of the benefits include:

  • No shipping or returns handling – Suppliers manage shipping, returns, inventory and stock levels.

  • Less risky – You don’t need to purchase stock in bulk that might not sell.

  • Low startup cost – You don’t need to invest in inventory up front.

  • Location independence – A Dropshipping business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection.

  • No shipping or returns handling – Suppliers manage shipping, returns, inventory and stock levels.

  • Less risky – You don’t need to purchase stock in bulk that might not sell.

  • Low startup cost – You don’t need to invest in inventory up front.

  • Location independence – A Dropshipping business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection.

Here’s an example:

Fourth World Problems is a Dropshipping clothing store that sells women’s swimwear.

The original owner came up with the idea after working in a surf shop and seeing how much girls were willing to pay for bikinis… lol!

The site regularly makes around $10,000 a month in profit after all expenses, and most traffic comes from Facebook ads. They work with around twelve suppliers on Aliexpress so don’t hold any product inventory.

They use Shopify to power their site, (which is the most popular e-commerce website solution).

Running this business takes roughly between one to three hours per day (fulfilling orders, marketing, maintenance, support). All of this stuff can be outsourced!

How do I know all this? The business was for sale at the time of writing this article!

The bottom line

Dropshipping is a fantastic business model that takes most of the risk and frustration out of selling physical products. Finding great suppliers, competitive products and effective marketing are the crucial cogs to a concrete Dropshipping business.

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The Outsourced Local Business

outsourced local business

This is one of the more creative passive income ideas I recently thought about…

Build a website based on iPhone repairs. Get it to the top of Google for various related search terms. Keywords like “iPhone 6 repair” get thousands of searches every month. Many of these keywords have super low competition.

Make the website beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous! Aim for a design that invokes the same feeling of quality that the official Apple website has (but don’t steal).

Offer an exquisite service

Offer a concierge-like service for the broken devices. You could send out special padded boxes for people’s phones with free fully insured shipping or offer a super fast turnaround time.

By doing this, in combination with a clean, user-friendly website, you’re able to charge more for your services.

You want the sales process to be sublime. Fluid. No questions asked from the customers because you’ve covered everything.

Once you’ve taken payment, redirect your customer to a page that tells them where to send their phone (along with any other details they need).

Answer every question so there’s no requirement for customer support. The iPhone repair business receives the phone, fixes it all up and sends it back to the owner.

This entire process can be fully automated. The only thing you’ll need to do is settle your costs with the device repair business once a month. Oh, and you can hire a VA to handle any admin/customer support/payments if required.

The bottom line

Many brick and mortar businesses have barely scratched the surface when it comes to driving online sales. Outsourced online services will help them bridge this gap and earn you a hefty dose of residual income in the process.

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The Job Board with a Twist

Create a website dedicated to helping candidates improve CV’s, land more interviews and get better jobs. This will be a lot of work at the start but keeps the level of risk down as you won’t be paying a developer thousands to design a bespoke job board site for you.

Once your site starts gaining traction (i.e starts ranking for relevant keywords and getting traffic), introduce a job listings section. Now you can easily convince recruiters to post jobs on your site as your website is already full of potential candidates!

Most job boards charge hundreds of dollars for a single job listing. You can start low and steadily increase prices relative to the site’s popularity.

The bottom line

Apart from a few main big players, there aren’t many sites dedicated to helping candidates land better jobs. Especially not in specific niches. Using content marketing to grow the site from scratch lets you test out this idea on a shoestring budget.

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The Stock Photographer

Stock photo websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images and Stocksy will pay commissions when you make sales of your photos. Stocksy pays one of the highest commissions, up to 50% per photo.

You need to create a professional portfolio of images if you want to make any real income from this idea. Your photos also need to be approved before they’re published. Each stock photo site has different conditions that need to be met for successful photo submissions.

The good news is the work only needs to be done once! When your pictures go live they can be bought, again and again, netting you a tidy little commission each time.

The bottom line

If you’re a photographer, this can be a nice little way for you to earn a few extra bucks a month. Don’t expect to make a living from this strategy though as there isn’t a lot of money in this.

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The Foreign Language Business

Speak more than one language? Any of these passive income ideas listed so far can quite easily be replicated in a foreign language. When it comes to search engine rankings, foreign language’s tend to have WAY less competition compared to English.

If you speak another language, and you’re planning on starting a business that involves search engine rankings, I would compare keyword competition for both languages before making a decision.

This is assuming you’ve got an idea of the type of keywords you want to target.

If you can put in less work and get the same results, it’s a no-brainer, right?

The bottom line

Starting a business in a foreign language can be a super smart move if you’re looking to rank a website in the major search engines. English keywords have (by far) the highest competition for rankings out of any language.

The Digital Course and Membership Site

digital course website

One for the more seasoned digital entrepreneur. This is tough to pull off. It’ll take a while to setup. And you might cry with the amount of content you need to get this one going.

But it’s massively passive once the work is complete!

I say it’s worth busting your balls creating a video course and tons of written content if it’s going to be one of the best of its kind. And your customers will thank you for it by paying you $1000+ without asking for a refund, basically ever.

If you’re an expert in any specific niche, you can’t go wrong creating a comprehensive course.

Some essential steps for finding a profitable niche include:

  • Identifying a market with enough demand.

  • Testing your product in the marketplace before you create it.

  • Identifying a market with enough demand.

  • Testing your product in the marketplace before you create it.

For any type of keyword research, I use Mangools. Don’t bother doing this if you aren’t going to do proper research first. Most course topics are saturated with content already so doing your homework is essential.

To make sure people are willing to pay for your product, you can set aside a budget of $250 and setup a fake sales page.

You can create one in a few minutes and split test different price points to see what works best.

(If you’re looking for great landing page software, check out the case study post I published on two of the most popular tools — Clickfunnels VS Leadpages.)

The bottom line

Creating a course and membership site is time-consuming and painful at first. But once you’ve created the content you can enjoy a reliable stream of residual income for years to come.

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The Viral Content Sharing Website

These sites seem to spring up out of nowhere, don’t they?

This is one of the passive income ideas that doesn’t require too much work in terms of content.

I’ve seen many of these sites on Facebook. The articles they share usually have some click-bait type headline making it oh-so tempting to click.

It’s not uncommon for a site like this to get millions of hits a month through sharing content that is already going viral.

It’s easy to assume these businesses produce no original content, but this isn’t true. The big players in this game often create ultra shareable content that ends up going viral.

Viral sharing sites add value by curating interesting content, presenting things from a fresh, new perspective. They’re great case studies for content curation done well!

Here’s an example:

Upworthy is a well-known content sharing site that actually produces a tonne of their own stuff.

I just finished reading the above article and learnt how a juice company helped a national park grow and thrive after dumping orange peels onto the land! It looked incredible!

How do they get paid?

Usually through native advertising and traditional banner ads. You know those ads that look like articles? The ones that are normally at the bottom of articles? Those are native ads.

Many content sharing sites will also have articles on their site but you’ll see “promoted by” another company at the top. Another form of native advertising.

Upworthy cleverly integrates their ads into some pages…

The entire top of the page is encouraging people to volunteer. As you scroll down you find more sidebars from State Farm and the usual Upworthy articles in the middle.

Creating a site like this would be soo not passive at the start!! The most important thing is to have an eye for shareable content.

The bottom line

Sharing interesting content gets you likes, followers and subscribers. A viral content sharing site is essentially a curator of content from around the web. The key is to find interesting stories that you can curate into something super compelling.

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The Serial Organiser

In this internet age, we no longer suffer from lack of information. It’s more a lack of organised information. Bringing information together is similar to curating content. There’s money in collecting useful info and packaging it into a product for people.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say I’m an investment banker graduate looking for my first job. It would be crazy helpful to have access to a document with all the banking firms in my local city. Sure, this information is available on the interwebs, but it’s all over the place!

I could package this into an e-book and sell it through Facebook ads, Youtube or through a niche blog.

You’ll want to hire a VA to do that actual data collection part as this will be mind-numbingly boring.

The bottom line

A simple concept of collecting information can generate passive income if packaged in the right way. Do some research, find gaps in the market and I’m sure you’ll discover some golden opportunities.

The Retainer Writer

retainer writer

Start a writing business without doing any writing.

Wait, what?

Ever heard of ghostwriting?

Many writers outsource their client work and have it “ghostwritten” by a cheap freelancer. This is a “white-label” service where a writer can put their name on something they haven’t written themselves.

Launching this business would involve negotiating writing retainer contracts with businesses. This can all be done remotely. You can find gigs for writers on sites such as Problogger, Contena and Blogging Pro.

Is it lucrative?

Some businesses pay hundreds of dollars per article.

Once you land contracts with businesses you can outsource the work to a ghostwriter. After you’ve secured a few retainer contracts, and found some reliable ghostwriters, you can sit back and watch the residual income flow into your bank account!

The hardest part will be finding a ghostwriter with similar writing skills to you (they will want to see samples of your writing before hiring you).

Alternatively, you can provide examples from your ghostwriter but I don’t know if this will work as the content usually has the author’s name at the bottom.

I mean, you could say you ghostwrote it, but that would be lying 😉

Joking aside, the best way to do this is to start a freelance writing business, take on clients and complete the work yourself. If you’re successful, you can start taking on staff and provide services for clients as a writing agency.

The bottom line

If you have decent writing skills you can start a retainer writer business. Mastering your pitch will put you in a position where you can land awesome writing gigs. You can then complete the work yourself as you establish yourself in this space, and from there, the sky is the limit.

Related Content: How to Secure Epic Remote Writing Jobs Using Contena

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The Backseat Translator

Another one for the multi-lingual readers! If you’re able to read and write fluently in another language, you’ve got a valuable asset that can be put to good use.

Translation services are in high demand right now as more content is being produced in languages other than English.

You can start off by providing your own translation services to people as a freelancer.

Getting your hands dirty will help you understand the business from the ground up. Once you’ve figured out a process that works, you can document it and start thinking about outsourcing.

After you’ve established a proven process for acquiring clients, I would start thinking about outsourcing your work to other translators so you can take more of a backseat approach.

I would test a few translators at the start and pick out the best ones from there. You could even build an authority website and create content on translation services to generate leads from organic search. Branching out in this way will help you establish your brand and charge for premium services.

Did some really quick keyword research and stumbled onto a goldmine of translation keywords with crazy buyer intent and low competition…

That’s an average of $9.71 cost-per-click. This means advertisers are willing to pay nine dollars for a single click to their website from people looking for translation services.

The bottom line

Translation services of all types are in high demand. And judging by the competition, this demand isn’t being met! This is a business that can be started, grown and outsourced relatively quickly. Oh, hello passive income stream!

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The Problem Solver

problem solver

When it comes to earning residual income, a little creativity goes a long way. And the ideas I’ve shown you so far have hopefully got you excited, pumped and fired up to get started.

Being a problem solver, in general, are the stem cells of successful business. It’s a logical way of thinking. An approach that you take to obstacles. A mindset, if you will.

This may seem a little off-topic, but I assure you it isn’t!

Businesses provide solutions to problems faced by people as well as other businesses. The best way to build a business is to develop a product that serves a hungry market. How do you find a hungry market?

By finding out what problems exist in the marketplace. 

What problems do people have? What obstacles are businesses struggling with?

If you can effectively identify these things, you’ve got an unlimited, untapped pool of business ideas with a high chance of success.

The bottom line

The birth of a business idea should come as a direct response to a need in the market.

You can identify a market need by researching problems. Building a successful business isn’t some mystical formula based on pure luck. It’s a perfect half-way meet between market demand and your product/service that provides a solution.


Another interesting little idea I came across on one of my late-night Quora binges!

SRDS stands for Standard Rate and Data Service. They own direct mailing list information that people can use to identify large groups of people sharing a common interest.

The idea involves the following: 

  1. Identify a “hot market” by finding people that share a common interest as well as purchase history. (For example, Golfers. Passionate about the sport and lots of money to spend!)
  2. Devour 10 books on the market you’ve chosen (sounds a lot but should only take 3-4 hours each to skim read).
  3. Extract golden nuggets of information from books and refine into exceptional content that you can use to create an incredible info-product (could be e-book, training manual, even a training course).
  4. Write an awesome sales letter that highlights the secret info you’ve learnt. It’s gotta be really good. if you don’t get this right, you won’t convert.
  5. Contact a list broker (check reviews to find a good one), tell them about the list you found on SRDS and say you want to rent 5000 contacts.
  6. Mail your physical sales letter to 2000 people as a test to gauge interest. If you get a decent response (make quite a few sales), rent the entire list and send your sales letter to everyone.

Get ready to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, this may sound crazy far-fetched but people have been doing this with huge success for a while now. And just think, how many people still use physical letters? People’s email inboxes are flooded but drop boxes are empty!

The downside is that your postage will cost quite a lot, and you’ll have to hire someone people to write out the addresses for you (unless you want to lose your mind).

You can read the full post on Quora here.

The bottom line

A clever idea that utilises the now under-used direct mail strategy. This won’t produce passive income but has the potential to generate an enormous sum of cold, hard cash in a short space of time.

The SAAS Company

saas passive income

The rise of the internet has given birth to the SAAS company.

SAAS (Software as a Service) is a subscription powered business model where the consumer pays a monthly fee in return for a service.

Building a SAAS company is definitely one of the toughest passive income ideas on this list. It requires some start-up capital and months/years of dedication. But it beats putting your money into a company as an angel investor in exchange for a measly 1% stake in a business.

SAAS companies come in all shapes and sizes in different industries.

Here’s an example:

ConvertKit is a SAAS company that specialises in email marketing for bloggers. They provide a platform for bloggers to create and manage their email marketing campaigns.

The software helps bloggers grow their business by implementing effective autoresponder and automation sequences. It’s one of the most user-friendly platforms out there. And it’s the email marketing software that we use here on Bengu!

They have payment plans based on the number of subscribers you have, starting from $29 all the way up to $79+ a month.

Just 1000 customers paying $29 will already bring you up to $29,000 a month in MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue).

In October 2017 Convertkit grossed over $864,000! 

Don’t believe me? You can check out the metrics for yourself here:


You’d be surprised to know that Convertkit was a failing SAAS startup no less than three years ago. Back in October 2014, Convertkit was grossing $1337 a month in revenue.

You can read more about the Convertkit story on Nathan Barry’s blog (the Founder).

The Juicy Details

The costs of building a SAAS company are down to the degree of outsourcing required to build your MVP (Most Valued Product). Bootstrapping is a popular term used to describe people who fund the start-up of their own SAAS companies.

This works if you have a background in programming/software development. If you can actually design the product yourself, it’ll cost you WAY less money. That said, many successful SAAS companies outsourced their entire technical design process.

Two ways of financing your SAAS:

  • A guy by the name Ryan Shank outlines how he built his SAAS business for under $40k in just a few months in this article.

  • Another guy by the name of Dave Mytton describers how he built his SAAS company for under $3k in this article.

  • A guy by the name Ryan Shank outlines how he built his SAAS business for under $40k in just a few months in this article.

  • Another guy by the name of Dave Mytton describers how he built his SAAS company for under $3k in this article.

Quite a contrast right?!

The bottom line

A SAAS company is a superior alternative to investing your money in other start-ups. While you do need to dedicate a few months/years of your life to this, the passive income rewards can be huge if you create a service that sells really well.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Hacked SAAS

Similar to a normal SAAS company but with a unique twist that brings affiliate marketing into the mix. These software companies use other business models to maximise their earnings.

Here’s an example:

Domcop is a useful tool that groups together expired domains with good SEO metrics. They aren’t a domain registrar (like Godaddy), they just have powerful search features that help people find the expired domains they’re looking for (a perfect example of “the serial organiser” implemented well).

Like any other SAAS, they charge a monthly subscription fee to use their service. But they also use affiliate marketing to generate additional revenue.

When searching through Domcop, you have buttons that take you to the domain registrars to bid on or purchase the domain. Each one of these buttons is an affiliate link!

A clever way you can combine strategies from business models to maximise revenue.

The bottom line

Passive income ideas aren’t limited to one thing at a time. While it’s important to focus on one thing when building your business, you can still use strategies from other business models to maximise your revenue.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

 The Online Marketplace

Did you know you can create an online marketplace website in a matter of hours?

Think Airbnb for “niche”.

Most people assume this takes weeks/months and requires an entire team of developers to pull off but it can be done in a seriously short space of time. These types of sites allow people or businesses to list their services.

Here’s an example: 

Studiotime.io is a marketplace where people rent out their music studio’s on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Bet you didn’t know a site like this even existed!

A great example of a marketplace website from a creative angle.

It was created by a guy by the name of Mike Williams. He took this thing from idea to draft product in the best part of a day!

After finishing the website design in a just a few hours, Mike set out to get his first few sign ups. He used Craigslist, Twitter and Product Hunt to generate spectacular buzz for the official launch of this marketplace.

Studiotime makes money by charging a monthly subscription fee to music studios.

Hello, passive income!

Fancy building your very own marketplace site in just a few hours?

This video I found on Youtube walks you through the process from start to finish:

The bottom line

Airbnb sparked a revolution in the way we book accommodation. The same concept has yet to be applied to various niches. Online marketplaces serve a huge need for people with specific shared interest from all over the world.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Remote English Tutor

Love teaching language?

Remote tutors are in high demand as more people switch to the convenience of learning via digital classroom!

6500+ people are searching for terms similar to “online English tutor” every month.

If you’ve got a background in teaching or you just love language, you can earn good money teaching English to people remotely. In fact, anyone can do this. More importantly, anyone can outsource this!

Turning this into a residual income operation involves a similar process to “The Retainer Writer” business idea.

The three steps to outsourcing a remote tutor business include: 

  • Establishing a proven process for generating leads.

  • Converting leads into customers.

  • Hiring freelancers/employees to tutor the customers.

  • Establishing a proven process for generating leads.

  • Converting leads into customers.

  • Hiring freelancers/employees to tutor the customers.

The best way to figure out how to set this up is to see what other people are doing in this space. I found out there are only really one or two competitors ranking organically for the main search terms. So, it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a website that can compete with the competition.

The bottom line

Learning language is big business. More people than ever are looking to learn languages online through private tutoring. This type of business can be grown quite easily into a solid stream of passive income.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Kindle Publisher

the kindle publisher

Kindle publishing has been around for a few years now. But did you know people have been raking in thousands of dollars in passive income every month by publishing Kindle e-books?

This chart shows the growth in e-reader ownership from 2010-2014 in the US:

Those numbers have probably waned off a little now but there’s still huge demand for books on Kindle.

Kindle is clearly the market leader in this space. Making money with this involves self-publishing books on the Kindle marketplace. These books don’t have to be that long as most only sell for two to five dollars.

Doesn’t sound like much, right?

Would you believe that people outsource the writing of these e-books and have created six-figure incomes from publishing and selling these books on Kindle?

It blew me away too. Especially considering how low these books sell for in the Kindle marketplace.

This passive income idea will require a couple of months to master the basics and build your foundation. But once the work is done, you can reap the rewards for months, if not years to come.

I came across some great resources while researching this idea, including an entire “how to” guide on building a thriving Kindle publishing business on Reddit:

I will say that a lot of the information is quite old out there though so I’m really not sure how effective this strategy is at the moment. Still definitely worth a look though!

The bottom line

Kindle e-book publishing is a quirky idea for creating a passive income business. While much of the content on this topic is a few years old, there’s no denying the tremendous amount of people that still buy and read e-books on their Kindles.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Short-Term Let

Got some guest rooms that are always empty? Maybe you’ve got a holiday home that you don’t use for most of the year.

Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO allow you to list your properties to rent for as long or as little as you want.

Renting out your space on a short-term basis makes more money than a traditional lease. This experiment by Paula Pant runs through the pros and cons of renting your space on Airbnb.

While a lot of this stuff can be systematised, there’s always a risk of cleaners not showing up or even people throwing orgies at your place of dwelling. We’ve all heard the horror stories!

Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimise risk. You’ll also want to check your local laws as it’s actually illegal to offer short-term lettings in some places.

Overall, renting out your space can provide a healthy sum of semi-passive income.

The bottom line

Renting a place you own never comes without risk, but with proper due diligence, you can enjoy a steady stream of semi-passive income from your property investment.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Car Rental

the car rental

Does your car spend most of its time sitting on the driveway?

You can make hundreds of dollars a month by renting out your car to people by the hour, day or week. Sites like Turo and Hiya Car are marketplaces where you can list your car and find customers.

I found a Maserati GranTurismo on Turo for $128 a day! FUN!

Personally, I wouldn’t rent my car out if it had low mileage as I wouldn’t want to rack up the miles, but each to their own!

While the income is pretty passive, you’ll have to communicate with customers and do hand-overs. Hiyacar actually offers a keyless solution which allows for a more “hands-off” experience.

The bottom line

Renting out your ride is an easy way to make extra cash on the side. Just don’t expect to make thousands of dollars a month from it!

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Storage Space Rental

stowit passive income

Did you know you can rent out your garage space?

Think AirBNB for your car.

A Colorado-based company called STOW IT is changing the face of vehicle storage by connecting people that have space, with people that need it!

Their service enables you to rent all types of storage space from single car parking to double garages and entire warehouses!

Unlike traditional storage companies, STOW IT doesn’t lock anyone into contract agreements and listing your space takes only a few minutes on their website.

The bottom line

If you’ve got some free space you could be making an extra few hundred dollars a month by renting it out to someone.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The Web Hosting Company

Did you know you can start a web hosting company without any infrastructure?

You can instead, leverage computing power from the largest hosting companies in the world through becoming an official reseller.

This method allows you to offer fully-featured hosting services under your brand name while eliminating any financial risk you’d have to take if you purchased your own infrastructure.

The web hosting industry has been expanding quite rapidly for the past ten years and is showing no sign of slowing down. There are clear gaps in the market for niche hosting services.

If you’re in the web design business and you aren’t reselling hosting, you’re throwing money down the toilet. Many web designers recommend hosting solutions to clients but they aren’t getting paid for it!

Offering web hosting as a reseller is 100% monthly recurring passive income. It requires no extra work on your end apart from setting up the customer with their account in the first instance.

The bottom line

Website hosting reselling is THE perfect passive income idea if you’re in the web design/development space. The web hosting industry is consistently growing which means more opportunities for you to make money!

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential

The App

Apple no longer owns the largest app store. Google Play has 400,000 more apps compared to the Apple app store in 2017. It surprised me too! But in terms of making money, Google play isn’t as lucrative.

Why? Because their ad networks pay very little, making it more difficult to make good money with an app. That said, with the right app, there’s still plenty of money to be made through both app stores.

The cost of an app depends on a variety of factors including: 

  • Who you hire to design your app (offshore developers/well-established native agency)

  • The features of the app (design, ratings system, API requirements and more)

  • The type of app you’re creating.

  • Who you hire to design your app (offshore developers/well-established native agency)

  • The features of the app (design, ratings system, API requirements and more)

  • The type of app you’re creating.

An app can cost anywhere from just a few thousand bucks all the way into the millions of dollars. There are way too many variables to give you any solid numbers. The easiest way to get a ball park figure is to use the following methodology:

The cheapest way by far for development is going offshore but you’ve really gotta watch out for unqualified developers.

I came across a really neat site called Code Mentor X. These guys specialise in connecting people to the top 2% of freelance developers, helping to ensure you don’t pick the wrong person for the job! All developers they recommend go through a strict vetting process before being approved.

You also maintain the cost-saving benefits of using freelance developers instead of big brand agencies.

Being on a tight budget means you can’t have it all: 


The best way to go navigate your idea process is to find out what’s worked for other businesses.

Researching the most popular apps will give you invaluable insight and perspective into what works, and what doesn’t. After establishing what works, create something similar with a unique twist. You’ve really gotta nail the key differentiators here!

If you’re interested in finding out more accurate costs for apps, check out this handy app calculator.

The bottom line

Building an app is always going to be a gamble. The journey can be painful and expensive. But the passive income rewards can be massive! Reaching success with an app can mean millions in monthly recurring revenue. Big league passive income potential.

Cost of Launch
Difficulty Level
Profit Potential


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 | 2018-04-18T11:45:13+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.


    • 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?
    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.


    • 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!