15 Ways To Generate Passive Income (That’s Not Rental Property)

Find financial freedom with these passive income ideas that don't involve tenants.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Passive income, the holy grail of financial freedom, is the money that rolls in while you sleep, travel, or simply enjoy life. 

While rental properties are a popular avenue for passive income, there are numerous other creative and accessible ways to boost your bank account quickly.

Let’s explore 15 strategies to generate a passive income that don't involve managing tenants and rental properties.

Earn money online by taking surveys

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Try peer-to-peer lending

Donson/peopleimages.com/Adobe happy couple sorting out bills

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms like Prosper allow you to act as a lender, providing loans to individuals or small businesses. 

As borrowers repay their loans with interest, you earn steady passive income and lower your money stress. It's a way to put your money to work and earn a healthy return.

While there are risks involved, P2P lending platforms often provide tools to help you diversify your investments and mitigate potential losses. 

License your photography

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe male photographer smiling in studio

If you have a knack for photography, you can monetize your talent by selling your photos on stock photography websites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or Getty Images.

Once your images are uploaded and approved, they can be licensed by businesses, websites, and creatives worldwide. 

Over time, your collection can grow into a substantial source of passive income, with photos generating revenue from royalty fees while you pursue other interests.

Invest in dividend stocks

Dilok/Adobe businessman drawing digitals arrows on pennies

Investing in dividend stocks is a classic way to generate passive income. Companies share a portion of their profits with shareholders through regular dividend payments.

As you accumulate dividend-yielding stocks, your income grows, and you can choose to reinvest or receive cash dividends. It's a tried-and-true method that offers both potential for capital appreciation and consistent income.

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.

Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.

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Create an online course

Kateryna/Adobe african american freelancer on zoom meeting

If you possess expertise in a particular field or skill, consider turning that knowledge into a passive income stream by creating an online course.

Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and Coursera allow you to share your expertise with a global audience. Once your course is up and running, you can earn money whenever someone enrolls.

Write a book or e-book

BullRun/Adobe male student making notes using laptop

If you have a talent for storytelling or a wealth of knowledge to share, consider becoming an author. Writing a book or e-book can be a rewarding way to generate passive income.

Self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make it easier than ever to get your work out into the world, and you can earn money with every sale, all while you sleep.

Start a blog or YouTube channel

charnsitr/Adobe youtube website on screen

Creating a blog or YouTube channel about a topic you're passionate about can be a lucrative way to earn passive income. You can monetize your content through advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and selling digital products or merchandise as your content gains popularity.

While it takes time to build an audience, once established, your blog or channel can generate income 24/7, requiring only periodic updates.

Create an app

REDPIXEL/Adobe cooperative colleagues discussing codes at work

If you have coding skills or can hire a developer, creating a mobile app can be a fantastic source of passive income. Apps can generate revenue through advertisements, in-app purchases, or selling the app itself.

While developing an app requires an upfront investment of time and possibly money, a successful app can generate a steady stream of income long after its initial launch, making it a lucrative passive income source.

License your music

chika_milan/Adobe african american woman singing in bar

Don't limit your earnings to live performances or album sales if you're a musician. License your music for use in films, commercials, video games, or even YouTube videos.

Many content creators and businesses will pay for the right soundtrack to enhance their projects. 

Once your music is licensed, you'll receive royalties whenever it's used, creating a passive income stream that can continue for years as your music finds new audiences.

Buy vending machines

charmedlightph/Adobe couple choosing food at vending machine

Investing in vending machines can provide a steady stream of passive income. Choose strategic locations like offices, schools, or busy public areas, and stock your machines with popular snacks and drinks.

Maintenance and restocking are needed periodically, but you can hire services for these tasks. 

Modern vending machines can even accept digital payments, making this an attractive passive income option in our cashless society.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

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Start a business with automated dropshipping

insta_photos/Adobe woman preparing brown packages at warehouse

Dropshipping involves selling products through your online store without keeping them in stock. You partner with suppliers who handle inventory and shipping while you focus on marketing and sales.

To make it passive, automate as much as possible. Use dropshipping software to manage product listings, monitor stock levels, and update prices automatically. 

With the right tools and marketing strategies, you can create a hands-off dropshipping business that generates income while you sleep.

Rent out your car when you’re not using it

standret/Adobe woman in car holding car keys

Your car can be more than just a mode of transportation; it can be a source of passive income.

Services like Turo and Getaround allow you to rent out your vehicle when you're not using it. This not only covers maintenance costs but also generates extra cash. Before diving in, consider insurance coverage, rental policies, and the wear and tear on your car.

Open a high-yield savings account

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe black piggy bank card on banknotes

High-yield savings accounts offer significantly higher interest rates compared to traditional savings accounts. Your money grows over time just by sitting there.

Although the returns may not be massive, it's an effortless way to park your emergency fund or extra cash, allowing it to earn interest and work for you while remaining easily accessible. 

Online banks often offer the best rates, making it a smart choice for anyone looking to grow their money with minimal effort and risk.

Develop an online subscription service

Koray/Adobe woman enjoying popcorn while watching netflix

Creating a valuable subscription service can provide a steady stream of passive income. With the right concept and execution, this could turn into a lucrative income source over time.

Think about what knowledge or expertise you can share regularly. It could be anything from exclusive content to specialized software tools.

Platforms like Patreon or even building your website with subscription features can help. Just ensure you consistently deliver value to keep customers engaged and subscribed.

Invest in a business

Studio Romantic/Adobe couple consulting finance advisor at office

Investing in a business can yield substantial passive income for those with capital and a willingness to take calculated risks. You can either become a silent partner in an existing venture or invest in a startup.

Your involvement level can vary, with returns based on the business's performance. While this method can lead to lucrative passive income, you need to conduct thorough due diligence before committing your funds.

Create an affiliate marketing website

Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe woman publishing travel blog on trip

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services on your website and earning commissions for each sale made through your referral. 

By building a niche website that attracts a target audience, you can incorporate affiliate links strategically and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

The key is to select affiliate programs aligned with your site's theme and create engaging trustworthy content. 

This method requires time and effort to establish but can become a lucrative, semi-passive income stream once your site gains momentum.

Bottom line

ariya j/Adobe banknotes with blue extra income note

Diversifying your passive income streams can significantly grow your wealth and help you achieve your financial goals. 

Each of these strategies offers distinct advantages, and the key is to select the ones that align with your skills, resources, and long-term financial aspirations.

Passive income can pave the way to financial freedom, giving you more control over your time and improving your quality of life.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.