Passive income is an additional source of cash that you can earn with minimal ongoing effort. While making money this way requires some upfront setup (and sometimes, monetary investment), once you’ve established a side business or source, you can bring in monthly fixed money.
There are many ways to earn passive income. You can earn it by investing, lease multiple properties to others, take advantage of promotional opportunities or just monetize the knowledge and skills you already have. Even sharing photos of your favorite trips can be a way to earn extra money if you do it right.
5 ways to earn passive income
Having a passive income source can help support you in retirement, providing money for pay or save for a long-term goal, or in some cases, even support you outright.
Julie Murphy, a certified financial planner at JMC Wealth in Chicago, has seen many successful clients with passive income streams. The key to their success? “You have to be in a place that suits you personally,” she said. “It’s all about supporting the life you want to create and live for yourself.”
If you’re interested in earning passive income, here are some unique avenues to explore.
1. Sell your photos to stock photo sites
Taking pictures and selling them to photo hosting sites like Shutterstock, Alamy, Getty Images and iStock Photo is a simple way to earn passive income.
You take pictures, make sure they meet the site’s specifications (size, dimensions, etc.), upload them, and add related keywords to help them appear in search results. Whenever a user licenses one of your photos, you get a cut of the revenue. For example, Alamy offers between 17% and 60% of the royalty price of the images per sale.
Kevin Mercier, a longtime travel enthusiast, started selling archival photos in 2015, after a photo-filled trip to Singapore left him feeling inspired. His photo blog currently averages around 100,000 page views per month, and he earns an average of $75 per image license purchased. The money allows him to travel more and gives him a flexible work schedule.
“The only downside I can think of is the amount of money I have to spend on my camera and gear,” says Mercier. “A good camera won’t define your photography skills but can certainly enhance them.”
If you’re new to photography, Mercier recommends using YouTube and other free online resources to hone your skills. “This helps me create more creative, engaging and remarkable photos,” says Mercier. “Now I can sell almost any photo online—from street photography to food and animal photos.”
How much are you likely to earn: Various incomes; 20 image license downloads per month on Alamy will bring in about $500.
- Easily start taking and selling photos
- Each photo offers long-term residual income potential
- Can be done from anywhere
- Requires some advanced photography skills
- Preparing images and adding keywords can be time consuming
- Additional equipment may be required
2. Rent your car (to people or advertisers)
If you own a car, there are several ways you can turn it into a viable source of passive income. One option is to wrap it in advertising. Wrapify, Nickelytics, and Carvertise are the three companies that offer these services (though the latter two are only for ride-hailing and delivery drivers).
With Wrapify, you download apps, create profiles, and match ad campaigns based on where you go and when you travel. After you choose a campaign, your car will be wrapped with the right company’s ads and you can start earning.
Another option is car sharing. It works like Airbnb does for real estate: You post your car on Turo, including photos and details about its interior, gas mileage, and amenities, and users can You can sign up to borrow it for a daily fee.
How much are you likely to earn: Difference; $264 to $452 on Wrapify; $876 on Turo
- No additional equipment needed (as long as you own a car)
- Can produce enough to cover your car or insurance payments
- You can choose who borrows your car and which ad campaigns you place on it
- Your advertising campaigns and car demand are not guaranteed
- May increase wear and tear on your vehicle
- May increase the likelihood of accidents and damage
3. Invest in dividend stocks
Some publicly traded companies pay dividends – essentially a portion of their profits – to shareholders on a regular basis. These dividends are usually just a small amount per share, but as you invest more (or the company becomes more profitable), that income will increase. You can also choose to reinvest your dividendsincrease your shares in the company and possibly your dividends further.
“The most successful route to generating and increasing passive income among my clients is by investing in stocks that don’t just pay dividends,” says Tommy Thompson Jr., a certified financial planner. but also has a record of increasing dividends. Creative Financial Group in Atlanta.
The biggest advantage to dividend investment “It lacks maintenance,” says Thompson. As long as you choose stocks of companies with steady returns, you should see income on your investments on a regular basis. Most companies pay dividends once a quarter.
To get started, you can open a brokerage account through companies like Schwab, Fidelity or eTrade, and then buy the dividend stocks you want to invest in. Some companies allow you to buy stock directly from them.
How much are you likely to earn: Very different depending on the stock you choose and how much you own; Eg, a share of 3M offers about $6 per share annually in dividends
- Consistent payments, usually quarterly
- May allow you to grow your dividends even more if you choose to reinvest them
- The payouts fluctuate based on the performance of the companies you have invested in
- It can be difficult to choose an investment if you are not familiar with the stock market
- Investments can lose value over time
4. Rent out parts of your property
Listing on Airbnb, VRBO, or another platform isn’t the only way to earn passive income from your home. Some companies also allow you to monetize other parts of your assets.
For example, if you have a pool, swimming allows you to rent it for an hourly fee. With Neighboryou can rent out unused storage space, such as your garage, attic, basement or even your closet, while Pavement do the same for extra parking. You can even turn your yard into a play area for dogs using sniffing point.
Monetization varies depending on your location and the needs in your area, but the setup process is fairly straightforward on all four platforms. You’ll create your listing, set a price, and start accepting bookings. With Neighbors, you also need to schedule a move-in date.
- The registration process only takes a few minutes
- No upfront costs
- No extra equipment needed
- Income potential can vary widely
- May increase the chance of damage to your property
- Requires regular maintenance of your pool, storage space, driveway or yard
5. Share your expertise
If you have specialized knowledge or training in a certain field, you can turn it into a source of passive income. One option is to create a YouTube channel to educate others.
That’s what graphic designer Nick Saporito did when he started his YouTube channels, Nick’s logo and Simple disignback in 2015 and 2017. Saporito now has nearly 600,000 followers on both, and his videos on how to make GIFs, remove photo backgrounds, and various design strategies have racked up millions of views.
“I now make a living entirely from the passive income I built on my skill set,” says Saporito. Saporito’s YouTube channel didn’t support him in the first place. Before you can monetize your videos with ads, you need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 total watch hours.
“In terms of wages, it varies by industry,” says Saporito. “Some industries have really good advertising rates, while others pay low wages. For graphic design tutorials, my average ad rate is about $6 per 1,000 views. So a channel that gets 100,000 views per month will make around $600 per month. If you upload well-researched videos twice per week, you can get there within a year or two.”
If YouTubing isn’t a strategy you’re interested in, sharing your expertise in an e-book, online course, or by answering online quizzes is another option. In Just reply, for example, you can earn an average of $2,000 to $7,000 per month answering questions about your area of expertise. Examples of professionals available on the site include attorneys, veterinarians, and mechanics.
How much are you likely to earn: YouTube varies based on views and industry; JustAnswer says professionals can earn between $2,000 and $7,000 on average.
- Allows you to monetize the expertise you already have
- Every video or e-book offers long-term residual income potential
- No upfront costs
- It may take a while to qualify for YouTube monetization
- Requires some level of expertise
There are many ways to generate passive income. But whether you’re monetizing skills or assets you already have or expanding into a new niche, people who’ve been there say it’s all in the works.
Get ready to do the work in advance—in capturing a great listing photo, choosing a smart wrap campaign, or uploading multiple videos that will resonate for years to come. If you can do that, passive income is a real possibility.
“The biggest piece of advice I can give to people looking to get into this field is to be consistent and have reasonable expectations,” says Saporito. “Generating passive income is more like a long-term investment that requires patience than a gig for quick money.”