Passive Income for Beginners: 15 Simple Ways To Generate Money

Unlock the secrets of financial freedom with these beginner-friendly passive income ideas.
Updated April 14, 2024
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Although nine-to-five jobs are relatively stable, relying on one source of income can be risky. It may be prudent to have other incoming revenue in case you ever lose your job.

In addition to financial security, the extra money can help boost your bank account, cover unexpected expenses, and increase your discretionary funds for travel or hobbies.

Here are 15 easy ways to earn a passive income with little risk and no startup costs or ongoing maintenance. 

Earn money online by taking surveys

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Start a blog

bnenin/Adobe hands typing on laptop keyboard

Starting a blog has low startup costs, and you can monetize it through affiliate marketing, advertising, or selling digital products.

Choose a niche you’re passionate about or have expertise in. Then, create high-quality content and attract traffic via social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). 

The more visitors you have, the higher the chance you'll earn extra income.

Invest in CDs

Andrii/Adobe certificate of deposit document on table

A certificate of deposit (CD) is an account that you deposit money in and leave for a set time while earning interest.

Interest rates are often higher on CDs than other accounts because there are typically penalties for withdrawing early.

You can use CD laddering to stagger multiple CDs with varying maturity dates. This way, you receive regular interest income as you cash them out.

Rent out your garage

anystock/Adobe home garage interior

If you don't use your garage often, you may want to consider renting it out to someone who needs extra storage space or a place to park their vehicle.

It requires minimal effort compared to other passive income sources, such as rental properties. Once you find a reliable tenant, you won't need to worry about daily management, repairs, or renovations.

Stop overpaying when you shop online

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

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Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!1

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Rent out a parking space

oppdowngalon/Adobe parking lot with foliage wall

With increased population and limited parking in urban areas, you can earn a steady income by renting out a parking space. It's a relatively low-maintenance passive income stream.

According to SpotHero, a parking space in New York City can cost anywhere between $400 to $800 per month.

Create an online course

Urupong/Adobe young woman with learning language during online courses using netbook

Creating an online course can allow you to share your expertise and knowledge about a particular subject. You can sell the course on your blog, YouTube channel, or a platform like SkillShare or Udemy.

Your course can generate passive income indefinitely as long as it remains relevant and valuable to people.

Write and publish an ebook

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe woman using tablet

Writing and publishing an ebook requires minimal upfront costs compared to traditional publishing methods. There are various self-publishing platforms available, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Smashwords.

You don't need to worry about printing physical copies or distribution logistics, which makes it an easy, cost-effective way to generate passive income.

Start a YouTube channel

EmmaStock/Adobe upload video to youtube

With a YouTube channel, you can build an audience by sharing engaging videos and then monetize your channel through ads, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.

Although it often requires more upfront work, once your videos are uploaded, they can provide you with passive income in perpetuity.

Depending on the type of channel you start, it requires a low investment to get started and has a high earning potential.

License your photographs

Yon/Adobe printed pictures of holidays

If you have a talent for photography, try uploading your images to stock photography websites for people to purchase and use on their websites, blogs, or advertisements.

This strategy allows you to repurpose and monetize your existing work rather than just leaving it in your archives.

Once your photographs are licensed, they continue to generate income, so you can earn money while working on new photography projects.

Create an app

fizkes/Adobe man using online virtual app

As smartphone popularity grows, there is an increasing demand for mobile apps. You can create an app within a reasonable budget with the right skills or by hiring developers.

There are various monetization options for mobile apps, including advertisements, subscriptions, charging for additional features, and selling virtual items. 

By implementing one or more of these strategies, you can generate revenue from your app without much ongoing effort.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Create an online store

Gorodenkoff/Adobe online fashion store

Creating an online store allows you to tap into a global customer base, unlike a physical store that's limited to its local customers.

You can sell products you make, like clothing, accessories, and handmade crafts, on Etsy or Shopify.

Another strategy is to find reduced-priced retail products and sell them on Amazon or eBay for more money than you paid.

Sell digital products online

peerapong/Adobe mobile phone and notebook

You can also sell digital products, like graphics, templates, or music, online through platforms like Sellfy or Shopify. There's no need for physical inventory, so startup costs will likely be low.

Once you create and establish your digital store, it can provide passive income and the freedom to work on your own terms.

Affiliate marketing

Stanisic Vladimir/Adobe affiliate marketing links for promotion

Affiliate marketing can be an easy, low-cost way to earn passive income. You can get commissions by promoting products and services through affiliate links on your social media accounts or blog.

Unlike creating and selling your own products, affiliate marketing doesn't require specialized knowledge. You can earn money from anywhere with an internet connection, whether from home or while traveling.

Rent out household items

Алексей Ковалев/Adobe concrete cutter machinery

If you have household items you don't use often, consider renting them out as a passive source of income. Some examples may be power washers, chainsaws, or leaf blowers.

Set competitive prices compared to equipment rental businesses in your area. Market through social media platforms, word-of-mouth referrals, and collaborations with businesses or professionals who might need the equipment.

Peer-to-peer lending

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe peer to peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P lending) is a direct method of borrowing and lending between individuals without using traditional financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions.

Many P2P lending platforms allow you to lend to various borrowers with different risk profiles. These platforms often handle borrower verification, loan disbursement, and collection of repayments, allowing you to earn income without actively managing the investments.

Open a high-yield savings account

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe high yield savings account

The average interest rate for a savings account is 0.46%, according to February data from the FDIC. A high-yield savings account (HYSA) offers much higher rates than the national average, currently around 4.50%.

You can often find HYSAs at online banks; they don't have the expenses of a physical location, so they often offer more competitive rates and lower fees than brick-and-mortar banks.

Bottom line

New Africa/Adobe man using laptop at table

Learning how to earn passive income is a smart strategy to ensure financial security if you ever lose your job. It can also help you get ahead financially and save for emergencies or larger purchases.

The extra money you earn can also help you contribute more to retirement savings to support the lifestyle you want after you stop working.

Even if you’re intimidated by stocks and real estate, there are many ways to earn passive income with low startup costs and maintenance needs. As you learn more, you can try for something bigger and explore ways to turn $10,000 into a steady passive income.

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Author Details

Carley Clark Carley Clark is a personal finance writer from Michigan. She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a bachelor's degree in business. After graduation, she worked in finance as a revenue auditor at a casino. Carley strives to write informative content that will help readers meet their financial goals.

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