Earn Money While Sleeping: 20 Business Ideas For Passive Income

With your steady job, you earn a regular income – and that’s a good thing. But deep down, you know that you’ve always wanted more. More money, freedom, and flexibility. And so you finally decide that it is time to act. This article shows 20 ideas for passive income that you can use to make passive money while keeping your full-time job. With luck, you can get more than you ever dreamed of.

What is residual income?

Passive income is money that you earn without having to do a lot of “active” work. The work is usually done in advance: If you create an online course, for example, with a little luck, you will still be able to generate income long after the launch.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “make money while you sleep.” And that is precisely the most significant incentive that leads people to build up passive income and thus secure financial freedom. One way could be to create something (a blog, course, e-book, video, or online store) that generates revenue even when you’re not working. You could also own an asset (real estate or shares) that you can use to build residual income and become financially independent at some point.

20 ideas for passive income

1. Passive income without seed capital – dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the most valuable sources of residual income you’ll find online. And since we specialize in drop shipping here at Oberlo, it’s a good entry into our list. If you rely on dropshipping, you can use Oberlo to find trend products that you can then sell online to customers around the world. You can sell products in a wide variety of niches, from fashion to home decor to beauty and more. The magic of dropshipping is that you can build your own business and control how much you charge for your products. Of all the passive income ideas on our list, dropshipping is the one where you have the most control over your earnings. You can still start with the dropshipping by you quickly and easily you by Shopify signing. You can find Oberlo in the Shopify App Store to discover great products to sell with just a few clicks.

2. Run a blog

Running a blog tends to be the most popular way people generate residual income with no start-up capital. Blogging has helped countless bloggers and entrepreneurs earn passive income through affiliate links, courses, sponsored posts, products, book releases, and more. However, it should also be mentioned that setting up a successful blog can require some preliminary work. However, it is one of the most sustainable ways to engage an audience through organic and social media traffic or by building an email list to develop. The most significant advantage of creating a blog is that you can turn this central platform into several different sources of income. This advantage makes blogging one of the easiest ways to generate residual income.

Desirae Odjik earns residual income

Desirae Odjick, the founder of Half Banked, explains: “I started my blog to make talking about personal finance easier. As part of it, I tell a lot of personal stories from my life. These stories often included mentions of the tools I used and found helpful. So it was a natural transition to the affiliate programs to join the provider and integrate relevant links into my content.” I have been dealing with personal finance on my blog for almost four years now. These links are now generating a four-digit sum every month as people discover my articles and begin to get their finances under control. I recommend these products because I use all of them myself without exception. So blogging is a great way to generate residual income, especially if you don’t (yet) have any passive products to sell.

3. Create an online course

Selling online courses is one of the best ideas for residual income. We continue to see massive revenue growth among online course authors. Whether you choose a path on your website or a platform like Udemy for sale – you will find customers who want to learn your insider tips and tricks. If you have successfully built up your audience (see point 2), you can control how much residual income you earn by selling your course on your website. However, you have to win the customers yourself. This will be a little easier if you sell on course platforms like Udemy. One disadvantage is that your course can be reduced significantly at certain times. This, in turn, affects how much residual income you will ultimately earn.

Sumit Bansal earns residual incomeSumit Bansal, founder of Trump Excel: “I started a blog about Excel spreadsheets in 2013. I learned a lot about worksheets at the time and thought that this could be a great way to share my knowledge with others. Within two years, my blog got more and more attention, which culminated in more than 100,000 page views per month. I then decided to create an online course and see if people would be interested. And they did. For a few months, I made a good living income and then decided to do the whole thing full time and create more courses. Since then, the blog has grown a lot, and I have been published on many well-known sites and publications such as Problogger, YourStory, GlassDoor, CEO Magazine, etc. ”

4. Build a passive income with Instagram

If Instagram is also your passion, you should turn your scrolling time into posting time. With a little luck, you can passively earn money and set the course for financial freedom. The best thing about Instagram is that you can create fan pages for all kinds of topics. Whether you like to travel, fashion, beauty, home decor, or something extraordinary like extreme dog care …

… you will find an interested audience for it. The key to many followers is to be very consistent in the type of content they publish. So make sure to stick to a niche. So your followers can be sure that you will continue to bring the content that they find so high in the future. You should also include your email address in your Instagram bio. As your presence grows and slowly gains awareness, the first requests for sponsored posts will also be received, which is ultimately the lever for making money with Instagram. The more Instagram likes, the more people will contact you. So make sure you create engaging content at all times.

5. Building a print-on-demand shop

E-commerce is one of the most popular ways to make a passive income these days. Therefore, the Print-on-Demand segment should not be missing from our list. Print-on-Demand enables you to apply your graphics to products such as T-shirts, mugs, canvases, cell phone cases, bags, and more and then sell them. The best part is that you can create your own branded products. The only downside is that you have to be familiar with graphic design. Because the margins here are often too thin to outsource the designs cost-effectively. However, if you design this unique and super-trendy winning design, your sales will skyrocket quickly.

Veronica Wong, the founder of Boba Love, tells how her love for bubble tea helped her to achieve a passive income without start-up capital: “I have been drinking bubble tea for a long time. So it seemed to fit me perfectly to combine my love for the drink, also called “Boba,” with my love for design. I started designing and selling apparel and accessories related to bubble tea last year – and the trip was incredible. With Printful, which takes care of production, fulfillment, and shipping, I can concentrate on marketing and building my brand. I have networked with Boba fans around the world and recently reached 25,000 followers on Instagram. I’m still at the beginning of my journey to more passive income. Shopify and Printful make it very easy for me, and I am optimistic! ”

6. Develop an app

Even if we only got to number 6 of our idea for passive income, you may have already noticed a trend: creating things tends to lead to passive income. If you’re a developer or programmer, apps could help you build a source of residual income. You can do this in two ways. First, you could charge a fee for people who want to buy your app. Second, you could offer your app for free and monetize it with ads. My fiancé implemented this a few years ago and is still earning an extra income from his app. He initially acquired code from Code Canyon. Then he used a tool called Eclipse and installed that android Development SDK to make code changes to create your unique app.

7. Passive income with shares

If you look at the wealthiest people in the world, you can almost certainly say that stocks have played a significant role in their financial success. Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day. However, these are not the novels on the current bestseller list. No. He reads company annual reports. By reading business reports every day, he understands better whether a company is performing well or not. And that ultimately helps him make better decisions about his equity investments.

So while the act of investing in stocks is pretty passive, research on it is pretty active. Still, investing in stocks can help you earn residual income that, with a little time and patience, can even exceed your regular income. If you do everything right, financial freedom can also stand at the end of your journey as a stock investor. So, consider this passive income idea if you’re interested in finance and you like reading about the performance of different companies. But also keep in mind that this is a rather long-term approach.

8. Buying property

What is the best passive income? Many swear by the purchase of real estate here. Depending on where and when you buy, real estate can be an excellent way to make passive money. In popular cities such as Munich, Hamburg, or Berlin, the property value has risen steadily and sometimes rapidly. By buying condos before construction, you may find cheaper properties that will add value until they are completed. In this case, you could sell the property for a profit immediately after completion. Of course, real estate, like all other investments, involves risk. So it’s best to get advice from a real estate agent before buying.

Shawn Breyer, the owner of Breyer Home Buyers, said: “My girlfriend, now wife, graduated from the law with a student loan of $ 173,000, with the duration of the loan set at 15 years. As a result, our monthly payments were $ 1,459 a month.

Our goal was to cover our monthly installments to the university with income from rental properties. Our first decision was to buy a two-family house and live on one side and rent the other. This alone saved us the $ 1,350 housing costs that we had to bear before the purchase. Instead of using this money to make additional payments on the loan debt, we saved it and bought another two-family house two years later. This purchase generated an additional $ 650 in monthly cash flow, which we then invested in a third property.

The three properties brought us an additional $ 2,500 a month to invest in paying off our loan. The great thing about this approach is that our tenants pay our debts to the university. If one day, we lose our jobs or have a medical emergency, we can only rely on the rental income to pay off the loan.”

9. Passive income via Airbnb

If you followed the strategy under point 8 eight, you could also rent your apartment or house on Airbnb. What’s interesting about this: You don’t have to buy a new property to generate passive income with Airbnb. You can also rent a room in your house or apartment. Airbnb has also recently launched the “Airbnb Experiences” service, which you can use to organize events, meetups, and tours in your city. You can also earn some money with it, even if it may not be a real residual income.

Martin Dasko, the founder of Studenomics, passively rents his apartment on Airbnb. He explains: “I chose Airbnb when I first booked on the platform when visiting New York. I was thrilled with the concept and wanted to participate. So I put my apartment up for rent and was surprised by the demand. I was able to charge $ 169 / night (downtown Toronto). The jackpot then came when a company contacted me about sending a couple of employees to Toronto. They booked the apartment for the entire month. I didn’t have to worry about finding new guests. The nice thing about Airbnb is that it can be switched on and off at will. So if you make more money on something you want, you can hire your apartment with Airbnb for short-term rentals. A guest room can also be rented out without any problems.”

10. Your website

The build your website or brand can be a reliable source of passive income. Some people set up marketing agencies and outsource much of their work to freelancers. Others, like some of the entrepreneurs on this list, create online courses to share their knowledge and inform others. You can also sell digital or physical products. Having your website gives you more control over what you sell and how much money you make.

Software developer and owner of Flipped Coding Milecia McGregor earns residual income by helping people become web developers. She reports: “I have an online course that people pay for every month. This will teach you all the front-end development languages, with the addition of new material every month. My greatest success with this course was when one of my students got his first job as a web developer. When he contacted me and thanked me.

Sincerely, it gave me a feeling of happiness that I had never experienced before. This year I want to attract 200 students to my course and help them all get the first paid gig.”

11. Passive income with affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to generate residual income. The advantage of this is that almost every major brand has an affiliate partner program. This allows you to sell some pretty popular products that can make good money. The only real downside is that you only get a commission on the sale. However, some programs like the Shopify affiliate program allow you to earn up to $ 2,000 per recommendation, which is astronomical. Some online retailers, on the other hand, only distribute a measly recommendation bonus of 10%. Therefore, you should make sure that you research the best affiliate programs before you start. To blog is usually the cheapest way to earn recurring affiliate commissions without spending money on advertising.

Sireesha Narumanchi, the founder of Crowdworknews.com, says: “I started blogging just over two years ago, which has been an incredible journey. As a content marketer, most of my income comes from affiliate programs and is completely passive. It was not easy to balance my job and my business, but it was worth it. I invest a lot of time in researching, designing, and working on business strategies. But as soon as my content is ready, it always generates residual income. The great joy of helping people and showing them that you can work from home and earn a decent income is my reward at the end of the day.”

12. Passive income with videos

We live in an age when people are obsessed with content. If you’re always in the midst of drama and excitement, you may want to pull out your phone and press record. This can also be used to earn money passively. How is that supposed to work? For example, you can sell your videos to a news site. And when the video takes off, you can passively make money for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. The easiest way to capture exciting pictures is to take part in public events such as protests, demonstrations, and festivals. Wherever there is controversy, there are opportunities to sell your content.

Peter Kock, owner of Seller at Heart, explains how he achieved residual income without seed capital by uploading videos to popular websites: “I uploaded a few videos to Newsflare and Rumble. When my content is purchased, 50% of all earnings are transferred to my account. My videos have been shown on MSN, AOL, Yahoo, Daily Mail, The Guardian, etc. With Newsflare, I’ve made over $ 4,000 so far and still get license fees for videos I uploaded a few years ago.”

13. Selling websites

Do you like building websites and online shops? If so, you could generate a passive income by selling them. You will likely need to make some initial sales to prove that your shop works. However, if you have excellent design skills and build the content on your website, you can find people who are interested in buying your shop. One place to sell your website is Shopify’s Exchange Marketplace. On the platform, you can offer your newly built online shop or an established shop with six or seven-digit sales. It is the perfect platform for online shops of all sizes.

14. Company shares as capital gains

Yes, your regular job can also become a source of residual income. Of course, this is not about your daily working hours. However, large companies often offer stock savings plans or other asset-based benefits that can generate substantial residual income over time. I made the down payment for my apartment with this method for passive income. And it only took two years. Of course, you will have to invest some of your own money. But what makes the difference is the share that your employer contributes. So when you start a new job, you should ask for a company share program as part of your hiring package. You can then thank me later;).

15. Build a residual income with YouTube videos

From sponsored videos to advertising revenue – YouTube can be expanded in various ways as a source of passive and recurring income. The secret of a successful YouTube channel is to create consistent content over a long period. That’s it. If you stick to it in the long run, you will eventually earn the laurels in the form of residual income.

Matthew Ross, owner and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard, started his journey to passive income on YouTube: “As early as 2013, my business partner and I were very interested in wearable technologies (Garmin watches, Fitbit trackers, etc.). We then decided to launch a YouTube channel where these types of products should be rated. We enjoyed trying the watches and thought that we could also earn a little advertising money with them. In total, we invested about $ 5,000 in building the channel and buying the products to be rated.

At that time, the niche of portable technology exploded, and we started making more money than we ever imagined. In the meantime, my side job has developed into a full-fledged business. We increased sales to over $ 2.5 million, moved ten full-time employees, and recently moved the company’s headquarters to a new, state-of-the-art 650 square meter office in Nevada. Today, our websites and YouTube channels collectively attract over four million monthly visitors.”

16. Selling your photos

Even though photography may seem like an active business model, it is not. Photographers don’t just make their money by taking pictures. You sell them too. Stock photo websites, magazines, and canvas prints for clients are some of the ways you can make good money with your photography. All you need now is an excellent camera. But nowadays you can even take good photos with your phone.

Jacob Hakobyan earns residual income from his Shotlife studio photography business. He says: “After a sound business education and what some consider to be very secure office jobs, we saw the potential to do more. Not financially, but rather spiritually. We founded Shotlife Studio as a trio of brother-sister and husband. We all shared a passion for photography and starting our own business gave us an extra thrill. With our commercial expertise, we have been able to develop a clear strategy for the growth of the company and have managed to double our profit from year to year and to generate a five-figure extra income.”

17. Acquisition for companies

Are you an experienced marketer or seller? There are tons of companies that pay you a commission when you bring them, new customers. For example, real estate agents are always looking for people who want to find a new home. Freelancers, DJs, photographers, and other solopreneurs are often willing to pay a referral bonus for new customers. So if you like to help others make money, you can generate a passive income yourself through your connections.

18. Write an e-book

E-books exploded in 2009 and 2010 and are still a viral medium. Even if they became popular a few years ago, numerous authors still earn a steady income from their works. Granted, it’s a very competitive market. But if you have excellent writing skills, you can secure an attractive salary. By writing instructions in e-book format in popular niches or engaging novels, you could build a fan base of loyal readers.

Allie McCormick is a successful author who has built a substantial residual income with her e-books. She explains: “In 2016, when I was pregnant with my son, I started a little part-time job writing for Amazon Kindle. My goal was to earn $ 500 a month until birth, so I wouldn’t have to go back to my office job. Even if I didn’t stop working immediately, I had a six-figure residual income 18 months later, which made it easy for me to quit. My greatest success? To date, this business mainly runs on Auto-Pilot. I work 1-2 hours a week and take 3-4 weeks off now and then while still making perfect money.”

19. Sell your things

Have you always thought of finally clearing out your apartment? If so, you might be able to turn your old things into cash. We all have these boxes full of stuff we haven’t thought about in years. You can either keep them to appear as a messie at some point in a reality show, or you can sell them to earn some residual income. You may have to search for something, but you probably have some things that are worth good money. So if you don’t know where to start with passive income, your closet or basement could be your first port of call.

Nicholas Christensen, the founder of Lottery Critic, tells how he passively makes money selling old things from his family members. “I’m the eBay whisperer. It all started when I volunteered to clear out my older aunt’s house. Stuff from 60 years had to be sorted, disposed of, donated, or sold. Then I found a box with a huge doll in it. It turned out to be an antique Shirley Temple doll in perfect condition (as I found out through Google). I did research, sold the doll on eBay, and shared the proceeds with my cousin. Word got around to other family members, and I already had a nice part-time job. It’s still working, but the extra money is more than a nice side effect.”

20. Sale of digital products

Would you rather sell your products than someone else’s? Then maybe you should look at digital products. With Shopify, you can quickly sell your digital products online. Digital products can include anything from e-books, online courses, PDFs, custom graphic designs, stock photos, or other digital media. Selling these products is the epitome of passive income as the entire process can be automated with instant downloads to Shopify.

Kelan and Brittany Kline, the duo behind The Savvy Couple, said: “Last month we opened a Shopify shop with some digital products to sell to our readers. Specifically, we developed The Budgeting Binder to help people organize their finances and encourage them to save. Since launch, our shop has brought us over $ 1,500 in sales and continues to grow every week. Since all of our products are digital, this income is completely passive. As long as we keep to guide and convert readers into our shop, we will generate sales. ”


Passive income can help increase your revenue and close the financial gaps that your full-time job alone cannot cover. If you want to replace your regular income and then quit your job, the passive income ideas presented here can help you along the way. If you like your full-time job and don’t want to give it up, that’s not a problem either. The work that goes into generating passive income is usually manageable. Accordingly, both can be reconciled well. Whether you want to open a dropshipping shop, start your agency, or create useful content – you will find that it can make money in all of these areas gives. All you have to do is get started.

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