If you’re looking to seriously make passive income, here are some great ideas to get you started.

If you’re looking to increase your wealth without having to work another job, you’re not alone. There are many forms of passive income that can help you earn extra money – and some can be highly lucrative. 

When a stream of income is passive, it needs little to no ongoing maintenance to keep it flowing. Unlike traditional employment, you’re not directly trading your time for money – making it ‘passive’ rather than ‘active’.

Below you’ll find some of the best options for earning passive income today.

1. List your spare room on Airbnb

How To Achieve Your Passive Income Goals In 2020 - 1. List your spare room on Airbnb

Listing your room on Airbnb is an excellent way to start earning passive money. Since you already own the space that you’re renting out, this doesn’t require any money upfront. Better yet, you are in control of the process, so you can list your space for rent only when it’s convenient for you.

Plus, Airbnb is easy to sign-up with. Simply create an account as a host, and then fill in the details of how you want to host (you can set your prices, availability, and guest requirements). When your profile has been approved, it’s time to welcome your very first guest.

2. Sell digital files online

Selling digital files is a simple and easy way to make some online cash. Digital files are online documents (such as PDFs) that users purchase in order to download them. You don’t have to package or ship anything, and once you’ve created it and uploaded it to the right platform, your income is totally passive: customers simply pay and then download their file. 

The first and most important step is to make sure you have high-quality digital files to sell. Then, you can find the most appropriate place to upload. Etsy is great for wall art, graphics, as well as patterns for crafting. Meanwhile, Zazzle allows you to upload a design that can then be added by customers to t-shirts, mugs, and all sorts of merchandise, earning you a commission each time it’s used. 

3. Earn money by installing an app on your phone

If you have a smartphone, there’s a good chance you have a whole range of apps downloaded. But did you know that you can get all sorts of rewards and cash back just for downloading and using certain apps? For truly passive income, have a go at making money through installing apps on your smartphone.

For example, Swagbucks offers a number of ways you can earn extra cash. You can sign-up for free and earn points by answering surveys, watching videos, and shopping online. You can redeem your points for gift cards from over 100 retailers.

There’s also Capital One Shopping, which makes finding the best online deals incredibly easy. It’s a browser extension that automatically finds you coupon codes and rewards on your most common purchases. Capital One Shopping will also check to make sure you’re getting the best price on everything you buy, alerting you if there’s a lower price elsewhere.

Disclaimer - Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the browser extension using the links we provided.

4. Use your car for advertising

How To Achieve Your Passive Income Goals In 2020 - 4. Use your car for advertising 

Some companies are willing to pay to use your vehicle as a method of advertising – and some even offer upwards of $200 a month for your ad space. Once you’ve got yourself set up with this, you don’t need to do anything else – drive your car around as usual.

Several sites will match you up with companies looking for car advertising space – some based on location, and some based on the kind of car you have. The one that I’ve looked into is Carvertise. But have a look at the options available and see if you could make money by driving your car like you usually do.

5. Rent out your car to Uber drivers

Everyone’s heard of Uber: drive people around in return for money.  But, did you know that you can make money through Uber without having to do any of the driving yourself? By renting your car out to Uber drivers with Hyrecar, you can generate passive income.

Signing up with Hyrecar is easy, and they offer straightforward guidelines on how to list your car. There is some documentation that needs to be uploaded, and you’ll need to arrange handing over the keys once you’ve got a booking for your car. Other than that, you don’t need to do anything to start making money. Better yet, it’s free to create an account – so there are no upfront costs. 

6. Rent out storage space

According to Neighbor.com, 9.4% of all American households rent a storage unit. They pay an average of around $90 per month and rent for approximately 14 months. This creates a golden opportunity for some passive income. If you have the means, you can purchase a storage unit complex. But for most people, you can rent out space you currently have, or “sub-lease” a storage unit in an area where it’s hard to get one.

Neighbor.com is a site that allows you to list your space for “rent” and have others locate you and rent your available storage space. To get started, you simply enter your address and the type of storage area you have (i.e., closet, basement, driveway) and Neighbor will give you a ballpark figure of what you can expect to get.

From there, you list your space for free, vet people who are interested in renting your space, select someone, and start earning some passive income.

7. Invest in dividend stocks

How To Achieve Your Passive Income Goals In 2020 - 7. Invest in dividend stocks

Investing in dividend stocks requires plenty of research to make sure you find good stocks that will see large dividend checks as your return. You could amass an impressive residual income over time if you invest your money consistently into dividend stocks. I personally LOVE dividend stocks, as it fits perfectly into my value investing strategy.

Start by learning the basics and researching the best online brokerages – many will offer rewards for signing up with them. Ideally, you want to start investing in reputable companies that demonstrate reliable financial performance and strong dividend growth. The main cost of this revenue stream is your investment – and the more you invest, the higher your return.

TD Ameritrade is one of the best brokerages to look into when considering stock investing. For starters, you’ll pay no minimum investment to open an account, and you’ll get access to some of the most helpful tools available to young investors. For example, you can access real-time quotes, charts, and third-party analysis reports, all of which can help you make the best stock picks for your personal needs.

8. Invest in an online SaaS business

SaaS stands for Software as a Service, meaning that SaaS companies sell software that sits on their server while users access it remotely. Examples include Zendesk and Shopify. Becoming a silent partner in a SaaS business could be particularly lucrative.

If you’re willing to take a risk with your investment, becoming a silent partner in an online SaaS business could be the option for you. You don’t need a particular amount of money, as you could make small investments in lots of companies, or one large investment.  

9. Invest in peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is when you loan your own money to someone else. For you, it’s considered an investment, as you’ll earn interest when the borrower pays it back (though there’s a risk to this). For the borrower, it’s an opportunity to get a loan for something when they may not have been able to qualify elsewhere (like at a traditional bank). You do this through a credible platform (who acts like a “middle man”) and you can invest small amounts to multiple borrowers to diversify and mitigate any risk.

While you have to have money to get started, it’s usually not a lot. For example, one of my favorite peer-lending sites is Prosper, and the minimum investment is only $25.

You can check out MU30’s list of best peer-to-peer lending sites, pick one that you like, and fund an account to get started right away. The process of P2P lending is pretty straightforward.

10. Build a CD ladder

How To Achieve Your Passive Income Goals In 2020 - 10. Build a CD ladder 

A CD ladder is a strategy you can utilize by purchasing multiple CDs, all with different maturity dates. You do this by taking the total amount you have to invest and dividing it equally across multiple CDs. So, for example, if you had $10,000, you could invest $2,500 in each of them and it would look something like this:

  • One-Year CD – $2,500.
  • Two-Year CD – $2,500.
  • Three-Year CD – $2,500.
  • Four-Year CD – $2,500.

That would give you a four-year CD ladder. To get started, read MU30’s guide on how to build a CD ladder. After that, you need to find the best possible CD rates to complete your ladder. Note that your CDs don’t have to be at the same bank – in fact, you might find better deals by spreading them out. But they should be for the same amounts. 

CIT Bank can easily help you build a CD ladder. With CDs ranging in length from six months to five years, you’ll have plenty of options. You’ll need at least $1,000 to open many of CIT’s CDs, but you’ll earn an APY starting at 0.30%.


Passive income is a great way to earn some extra cash, and with a bit of time and organization could make you a lot of money. The key is to have your money making more money for you, exactly what you see with passive income sources. But once you start generating income, you can reinvest your cash flow into even more valuable assets or passive income streams.

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About the author

Chris Muller picture
Total Articles: 280
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.