Complementing your wage with an extra source of income has become somewhat of a necessity. While you might choose to work a second job or dive into an active side hustle, there are only so many hours in a day. What if you could invest your limited time in one thing upfront and reap the benefits down the line? That’s what we like to call a passive income source.

There are many different passive income ideas you can try. You’ve probably heard of a few dozen of these but don’t know which ones are truly passive and profitable. That’s where we’ll help you out.

In this article, we’ll check out 30 of the most popular and profitable passive income ideas. Some, like digital products, require a particular skill set and will take up much of your time at the start, yet eventually become a way for you to run money with barely any ongoing effort. Others, like investments, are simpler yet require little starting capital.

For now, let’s understand what counts as passive income and how it differs from active earnings.

What is Passive Income?

Passive (or residual) income is all the earnings that require minimal or no effort to obtain. Nowadays, building a passive income source will require time and expertise at the start but will not require active involvement from the person once it’s up and running.

Some truly passive income sources can include safe investments, like bonds and high-yield savings accounts. Short-term rentals or renting out parking spaces can also be considered a truly passive way to earn extra money. 

For many, passive earnings are just a road to early retirement. To quote Warren Buffet, “If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” However, having passive income streams isn’t that simple.

In contrast to what “get rich quick” schemes would have you believe, a passive income source isn’t passive from the get-go unless you have tons of capital or assets to utilize. You’ll need to spend a lot of time and money to create, build, and sell something. The passive part comes after that when your responsibilities are only maintenance-related. Having said all this, the reward of having a passive income stream is absolutely worth the initial effort.

Active vs. Passive Income

Now, you’re probably wondering how income sources like this can be considered passive when you actively work on it at the start, often without making a dime. Well, when you’re comparing active and passive earnings, you need to remember their effect in the long term.

Active income sources are a direct exchange of your time, skills, and experience for an equivalent amount of money. Passive income is about effectively using your time, skills, knowledge, and money to earn a compound return over the years.

active vs passive

Check out the graph above. Your active income will obviously be higher initially, while your passive income will be close to zero. Passive earnings rise exponentially as time passes, while active income hits a plateau and eventually drops to zero when you retire. Your passive earnings are still growing even when you’re not actively working.

In turn, having a passive way to earn money is essential for everyone. So, let’s get straight into some of the best passive income ideas you can try out! We’ve specifically chosen these based on the time, money, and skills they require upfront, as well as how profitable and passive they can be down the line.

30 Passive Income Ideas: 10 Digital Products


We’re starting with a few digital products, which will require you to have some time and skills to create. However, they’re also one of the best moneymakers in the long run, and you’ll just need to spend a couple of hours maintaining them each day. You can even outsource most of the day-to-day processes and make them truly passive.

#1 Digital Tools

Digital tools are generally considered the best digital products to sell because of their versatility. For example, you can take something as simple as a calendar and turn it into a tool to schedule meetings (like Calendly).

Most digital tools require a significant upfront time investment, especially during the ideation stage. You’ll need to find a niche where you stand out and create something that solves a specific problem.

Once you’ve got the idea, it’s time for the creation stage, where your skills will be necessary. But, after that, all you’ll need to do is launch and market it. At that point, if the tool is a success, you can make it a truly passive income stream by outsourcing the maintenance and updating side of things. All you’ll have to do is provide the ideas and enjoy the cash flow.

#2 Ebooks

sell ebooks

Ebooks are similar to digital tools in that they’re versatile. Their main benefit is that you can self-publish them and keep all the royalties or choose a platform to sell them on, like Whop, where they’ll handle the distribution for a fee.

Again, writing ebooks will cost you some time, and it’s not really something you can do without lots of experience within a specific field or creativity. However, the key thing with ebooks is that you're selling your point of view and knowledge, so you won’t necessarily have to write about an ultra-niche topic. 

That’s why they’re great for passive income. You just have to write about what you already know and infuse it with your personality. And let’s not forget that ebooks are usually a one-and-done venture. As long as you market them consistently, the money will start flowing.

#3 Online Courses

sell courses

E-learning has become pretty big in the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. To be fair, an online course isn’t that different from an ebook when compared side-by-side. But courses are certainly a different beast to tame.

For one, creating a course requires you to be an expert in a specific skill and also be able to present that expertise to people who want to learn from you. You’ll have to put in tons of effort to make a worthwhile course for learners, especially now when one can learn any skill they want through Google and YouTube.

That being said, online courses are amongst the best moneymakers online. The more value you provide, the higher the price you can sell them. And, if you’re simply selling a course without any community attached to it, you’ll only need to spend a couple of hours a week once it’s up and running.

#4 Discord Membership

Now, let’s get into something different: Discord memberships. Let’s say you have a hobby or a side hustle you’re actively working on and want to leverage it further. But you don’t really want to create a course around it yet. So, why not sell a membership to an online community of like-minded folks with you at the top?

For example, on Whop, we have hundreds of sports picks communities, where expert cappers share the picks that they’re betting themselves every day. They’re already doing the work, so they decided to make money off of it.

In a sense, these aren’t traditionally passive, as you’ll still have to actively engage with your community. However, once you build up a following, you can get more experts onboard to help you out, at which point your Discord server becomes a passive money-making machine.

#5 Software


If you’re tech-savvy or work as a software engineer, you should consider creating software as a passive income idea. Software is very similar to digital tools, but it comes with a caveat: you’ll need a lot of experience before creating and selling your own projects, as you’ll have to be familiar with the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).

Most of your time will be spent finding the right niche for you. For instance, you might be into productivity, so you can create productivity software for a specific audience. The key here is to find your niche within a niche and use your expertise to create something nobody has thought of.

In the long term, software can bring in heaps of passive earnings. But you’ll need to keep it updated and potentially add new features regularly to keep your customers. That said, you can still outsource most of these processes without sacrificing much of the profits, so this is still one of the top passive income streams.

#6 Plugins


You might not want to create full-stack software. After all, you don’t want a second job; you want a way to make some passive income. In this case, you should consider creating plugins for popular platforms.

Ecommerce store plugins, for instance, are pretty much necessary. Most, if not all, WordPress ecommerce stores use the WooCommerce plugin. Every website uses some form of plugin to track metrics or rankings, so the market is definitely there.

The issue is that coming up with a unique plugin idea will be difficult. The creation stage will be easier, and plugins are definitely some of the most passive digital products you can sell. You’ll just need to update them occasionally.

#7 Print-on-Demand Designs

print on demand

Let’s explore some more creative passive income ideas, starting with Print-on-Demand (PoD) designs. Creating these has been a great side hustle for years now, but if done correctly, you can turn them into an incredible passive income stream.

The one setback with PoD is that it’s an oversaturated market, so standing out will be the most difficult part. You’ll need to spend a lot of time finding an untapped niche and creating attractive designs within it. 

But once you have a few designs in store, you don’t have to handle anything else. There is no inventory management or shipping; the only thing you’ll need to take care of is marketing and updating your designs occasionally.

#8 Stock Photos

If you enjoy taking photographs or have an expensive camera lying around, stock photos are the passive income stream for you. This idea can be truly passive if you just wander around, take photos of cool stuff, and upload them on a stock photo website.

But, to truly tap into this market, you’ll need to find a unique niche. There are thousands of photos of beautiful landscapes, so you must differentiate your style or images. That being said, if you’re already a photography fan, you won’t need to spend a dime on this idea, and you’ll practically make money off of what you’re already doing as a hobby.

Now, speaking of making money, things are a bit more complicated. Stock photos are truly passive once you upload them, but your earnings won’t be as high. Since you won’t have to input a lot of time or money into this, though, we still believe that the return is great, albeit smaller than other passive income streams.

#9 Digital Art

digital art

Selling digital art is basically the same as selling physical art. You create illustrations and designs and post them online with a price tag. By definition, this might not seem like a passive income idea, as it requires you to actively create art.

But digital art is a very long-term idea. You’ll have to consistently create new art and market it online to make sales. Thus, you’ll need to spend some time on this one and be a good artist.

That said, there’s no upfront cost for creating digital art. Plus, instead of selling individual art pieces, you can sell designs, similar to Print-on-Demand, to companies. You can then earn a commission on each sale without doing anything, making this a true passive income stream.

#10 Online Guides

Our final digital product is online guides. And, no, we’re not talking about online courses where you discuss your expertise. We’re focusing on guides about your experience and knowledge.

These can be about pretty much anything. The key is to find a general topic and create a guide targeting a particular audience. For example, you can sell a guide on repairing one’s car using gaming terms and slang. You can also create a guide about your city that targets solo travelers.

As you can imagine, these can bring in a lot of money. They ultimately require you to share your knowledge in a creative and personable way. Plus, they’re truly passive, as you only have to market them after you create them.

5 Passive Income Investment Ideas


Investments are your best bet if you’re looking for a safer option. Most safe investments, like ETFs, only require your money and a bit of your time. Remember that contacting a financial advisor is necessary to find specific investments that will lead to residual income down the line.

#11 Index Funds

To start, we have the king of all investments: index funds. These track a set number of stocks and increase or decrease in value based on how all companies perform collectively. One great example is the S&P 500, which tracks the largest US companies and has been consistently rising in the long term.

Simply put, when you buy one share of an index fund, you invest in multiple companies. This way, if some of them aren’t performing that well, you’ll still get a significant return on your investment.

This type of investment is widely considered safe and profitable while being 100% passive. You simply sign up on a stock trading platform and set the amount of money you want to invest automatically every month. For an even safer investment, invest in a total market index fund tracking the entire US market, which has historically been on the rise in the long run.

#12 Dividend ETFs


Now, if you’d like a somewhat similar investment to index funds with similar yields, check out dividend stocks. These are shares within established companies that pay out a percentage of the profits to all shareholders at the end of each year.

Dividend ETFs are generally considered a good alternative to index funds if you want a more short-term investment as you approach retirement. They’re typically less volatile than index funds but very dependent on the current economy.

Investing in these is as simple as it is with index funds. You only have to create an account on an online broker, select the dividend ETF you want to invest in and set a monthly payment.  Remember to consult a financial advisor to find out which ETF or index fund will best fit you.

#13 REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Another great, safe, and truly passive investment is investing in REITs. If you don’t own any properties, you don’t have to get a mortgage to make money from renting or selling real estate.

REITs are companies that own lots of income-producing real estate. When you invest in REITs, you’re getting a return in the form of a dividend based on the rent generated from these properties. 

As with similar investments, REITs trade on stock markets. Thus, you won’t need anything else besides a brokerage account and some starting capital to get residual income from these.

You’re probably wondering which of these 3 investments is the best: index funds, ETFs, or REITs. In reality, it’s best to invest some money in all of these. Diversifying your portfolio makes you more likely to get better compound interest. If the stock market crashes but properties are booming or vice versa, you’re still making a profit when you’ve equally invested in both.

#14 High-Yield Savings Accounts

So, let’s step away from the stock market and get into savings accounts. While you can always put some money in a regular savings account and earn residual income, the yields are usually low.

That’s why you should consider high-yield savings accounts. These have higher yields, hence their name, and are generally as safe as regular savings bank accounts. They do come with some requirements, though, like a high minimum investment.

Besides that, high-yield savings accounts are 100% passive. You just have to lock in your money once and get the returns when the lock-in period ends.

#15 Alternative Investments


If you’re looking for a riskier passive income idea, consider alternative investments. These can be anything, from investing in crypto to trading cards and hedge funds. Since cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and trading card investments require tons of research, let’s talk about hedge funds.

You’ve probably heard companies selling “shares” to fine art or extremely expensive wines. These companies basically pool investors’ money and use it to make a profit by buying and selling art pieces, bottles of wine, etc.

Now, let’s get one thing straight. These are still really volatile investments. However, they have higher yields than all the other investments mentioned above and are also truly passive. 

So, you can invest an insignificant percentage of your capital in these and potentially get high returns. However, contact an alternative investment analyst before you invest significant amounts of money in any of these.

5 Renting Ideas for Passive Income

Renting out your assets has always been one of the easiest and truly passive ways to earn extra cash. You’ll usually not need any special skills to rent out your property or equipment, but you’ll have to consider how much time you’ll have to spend maintaining them. 

#16 Property

rent home

Renting out your properties is one of the best ways to earn some passive income. If you own a house and an apartment, you can rent either of these to get some cash flowing in every month. Or, if you have a holiday home, consider posting it on short-term rental marketplaces like Airbnb.

Both short-term and long-term rentals won’t require too much effort to maintain on your side. And you don’t really need any unique skills to rent out your property. But you must have a lot of starting capital to buy said properties unless you already own them.

That being said, the only other cost these have are maintenance fees. For short-term rentals, you’ll have to get a cleaning crew after each stay and inspect the house yourself for any damages. Besides that, this idea definitely has the potential to be one of the best passive income streams for you.

#17 Room

Now, renting out entire properties might not be viable. If you don’t mind having people around, you should consider renting a room in your house. Think of them as your roommates. 

These “room stays” have started to show up a lot more recently, as they are a more feasible way for everyone to earn some passive income. And while you, understandably, won’t earn as much as renting your entire house, room rentals are still a great way to earn some good passive income.

That said, you’ll still have to be a bit active in maintaining these rooms, as you’ll have to keep them clean and in good condition. But, considering that you’re living in the same house, you’d still spend time maintaining these, hence why this is effectively a passive way to make some good money.

#18 Equipment

rent equipment

If you don’t want anything to do with property rentals, you still have plenty of renting options. For example, you can lease your unused equipment. If you have this nifty new lawnmower you use once a week, why not rent it out to your neighbors throughout the remaining 6 days?

You can basically rent out any equipment you have, including cameras, tools, music equipment, workout equipment, etc. And, besides some back-and-forth with the renters, you’ll not have to spend any extra time on this idea!

There’s one caveat with equipment rental, though. If you do this on the side without formal agreements, your tools (or other product) might get stolen or accidentally broken. So, this isn’t a really long-term passive income stream (compared to investments, for example). But, if everything goes well in the short term, you’ll have made a bunch of cash without spending anything extra and with little time investment.

#19 Parking Space

Let’s say you own a business with a couple of parking spaces that you don’t use, or you have an extra space in your garage. Why not rent these spots out? You can even start a whole business by buying and renting parking spaces!

The great thing about renting out your parking space is that you don’t really have to worry about anyone breaking anything. With equipment or properties, your passive income must also cover maintenance fees and the like.

Obviously, while renting parking spaces is truly passive and can be pretty profitable in that regard, don’t expect to make heaps of money. That said, it’s certainly a long-term passive income stream when you consider how hard it might be to find cheap parking in big cities.

#20 Ad Space

Our last renting idea is definitely unique and very flexible. Regardless of what you own, be that your car, a billboard, or a website on the internet, companies will pay lots of money to fill up your ad space. So, why not make a business out of it?

You can wrap your car with advertisements for companies that approach you in your city. In doing so, you’ll earn passive income while commuting or by driving around. The same goes for your billboards. Better yet, you can invest in billboards and have them bring in cash by renting out your ad space on them. 

Now, this is one of the more accessible passive income ideas, so it’s not a big money maker, and there’s a lot of competition. But you don’t need to invest too much time into it; you can even do it practically for free.

5 Personal Projects

Now, we get into the not-so-passive income ideas. Personal projects will require a lot of time upfront, and you’ll have to monetize one of your skills. However, once these are up and running, they usually require less maintenance than digital products and can bring in lots of passive earnings.

#21 Blog


If you have a unique skill or lead an exciting life, blogging might just be the best idea for you. You can document your travels, create online guides, and write about your life or interests, all within your own domain.

To succeed in blogging, you’ll need a couple of extra skills. You’ll have to provide value to your readers so that they become regulars on the site, so your writing chops must be great. Considering that most of the income from blogging comes from sponsored posts and ads, you’ll need some sales skills to secure good deals.

That said, the potential of a blog as a passive income stream is pretty big. It’s your chance to build a following, which you can then leverage into other ideas, like creating an online course, while earning money from the blog.

#22 YouTube Channel


What should you do if writing isn’t your forte but you still want a creative outlet to discuss your life and build a following? A YouTube channel is your next best bet. 

Running a YT channel is more difficult than blogging, as you’ll need additional skills, like videography, video editing, and so on. However, one of the great things about YouTube now is that you can become viral out of the blue.

In that sense, it can generate lots of passive income really quickly and with little long-term maintenance. The key thing to remember is to find something you’re truly passionate about and present that on YouTube with your own twist and personality. This will maximize your chances of creating an additional passive income stream.

#23 Mobile App


Going into skill-centric ideas, you should create a mobile app if you have a knack for mobile app development. This might sound obvious, but here’s the kicker. You have to build a mobile app that effectively solves a problem lots of people face.

This will be just like creating software, as we mentioned above. You’ll need to spend time finding a good idea, making an app around it, and then hoping that it starts trending. The main difference is your approach, in that, you’ll need to create a mobile app that you actually use.

In doing so, you’ll have an application that helps you out in your work or life, as well as a potential passive moneymaker. The potential here is immense, but you’ll have to be pretty hands-on throughout the app’s lifecycle. However, you can always outsource most of that work, making this truly passive in the long run.

#24 Music

Let’s say you’re a music producer, a DJ, or someone who loves music. Whether you’re already earning income from creating music or not, you should branch out and make your own music.

Here’s the deal: this sounds so obvious to anyone in the music industry. But, very few try building their personal brands, instead focusing on commission work. 

In this case, you’ll have to think of it this way. Why not create and post your own music, market it on social media, and make money through your own brand? It’s not going to be easy, but if you already have the skills, you only need to put them to the test, with the potential to get one more passive income source down the line.

#25 Social Media Influencing

social media

Now, if you don’t have any concrete practical skills but want to build your personal brand, social influencing is where you’ll excel. This is one of the most difficult ideas for passive income, as you’re facing tons of competition. That said, if you are successful, you can passively make all the money you’ll need in your lifetime.

Influencing is all about finding your niche and your audience, similar to creating a digital product. You’ll have to be really active at first, regardless of your influencing idea. If you plan to dive into the productivity niche, you’ll need to consistently upload TikToks, create IG posts, and start conversations on X.

But, as an influencer, you can pivot into tons of different passive income ideas. Once you have a loyal following, you can create an online community, a digital product, or anything related to your niche. Thus, in the long run, this can be an excellent way for some passive cash.

5 Passive Income Business Ideas

If you’re ready to put heaps of time, money, and experience into a business idea, it can be one of your best passive moneymakers in a few years. The business ideas we’ve covered below are the ones that become truly passive down the line.

#26 Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is a broad term and can be found in every medium. Sponsored YT videos, IG posts, blog posts, etc, are all part of an affiliate marketing strategy. So, as you can understand, this is a passive income business idea with lots of potential.

Now, it goes without saying that you’ll need to be really active at the start of this venture. You’ll need to build a community, make deals with companies for affiliate accounts, and create affiliate marketing content. So, having some experience in any of these fields will be necessary.

But, once that’s all done, each piece of content you’ve uploaded can basically make you money as long as it’s up online. You won’t even need to “maintain” these in the long run, making affiliate marketing an incredible, truly passive moneymaker.

#27 Job Board

whop job board

Since companies started hiring remotely, job boards have almost become an online commodity. Just like any other website or project, you’ll need to build your own job board from the ground up.

But it’s somewhat straightforward. All you need to do is find a niche you know much about with lots of remote workers who don’t have a dedicated job board on the internet. You can then create this, market it to said workers, and start presenting it to hiring companies.

This isn’t as hands-on as other business ideas. Most of the maintenance can be outsourced, while job postings from companies can be automated within the job board. Thus, this can be a good way to get some extra cash without having to actively spend any of your time. 

#28 Dropshipping Store


You’re probably surprised to find dropshipping stores this far down the list. After all, haven’t these shops been the ultimate idea to make money for a few years? Well, the deal with dropshipping is that it’s not as passive as it used to be.

For starters, you’ll have to build a website to sell your products, and then you’ll need to spend lots of cash on marketing to get eyeballs on them. And while you don’t have inventory to worry about, you’ll still need to ensure the products reach your customers.

This can all be automated with the help of ecommerce fulfillment services, even though it’ll come at a cost. So, while dropshipping is still an incredible way to make passive income, it will cost you at the start, and you’ll have to be pretty active from the get-go.

#29 Vending Machine

Let’s step outside the internet and take a glimpse at a pretty cool “real-world” idea: vending machines. Many folks have gone viral with their posts about the heaps of money they earn from their vending machines without spending more than a couple of hours and resupply costs each week.

And, frankly, they’re right! Vending machines don’t require any particular skills or experience. But you’ll need to spot a great location, sign a contract with the property owner, and have significant starting capital to get the machines and stock and maintain them in the long run.

Besides that, you won’t have to spend too much time weekly maintaining it, and you can always outsource it to someone else for a cut of the profits. This is definitely one of the more unusual passive income streams, but it works!

#30 Domain Flipping

Now, this one is a bit complicated. Domain flipping works just like flipping (or reselling) products and collectibles; instead, you’re reselling domains. Flipping domains can be very profitable, especially if you juggle between several of these at once.

But, it can be risky if you don’t have any knowledge of it. So, before you even start reselling domains, you’ll have to learn how you can increase their value and any legal complications you might face (mostly tax-related).

In general, domain flipping follows the idea of buying low and selling high. For example, most .ai domains skyrocketed at the start of 2023, so anyone who bought them before that made a nice profit without doing anything. Domain flipping might also work, just like flipping houses. You buy a domain low, revamp it, get some traffic on it, and then sell it for a higher price. 

Thus, it’s obvious that this can be a truly passive income idea and a profitable one at that. Just make sure to learn as much as you can about buying, managing, and selling domains!

Which Passive Income Source is Best?

Digital products are generally considered the best passive income source if you’re willing to put in some time and effort at the start. The best passive income streams that are truly passive are safe investments, like REITs or index fund investments, however, you need to invest a lot to make a lot.

Generally speaking, the way to make passive money depends on your skill set, how much time you want to put into the idea, and how much money you can invest from the get-go. 

If you have lots of starting capital but don’t want to bother creating a product or offering a service, consider buying and renting properties or investing in ETFs, index funds, REITs, or even bonds and high-yield savings accounts. Keep in mind that these will pay out serious money in the long run because of compound interest, but the returns are meager in the first few years.

If you want a more hands-on passive income idea with low start-up costs, consider creating a digital product or starting a personal project. These can make you some money from early on, which usually rises exponentially as time goes on. Plus, the landscape for digital products is booming, so cash in on this trend while you can.

Earning Passive Income with Whop


There are tons of different passive income ideas out there, and these are only a few that we think are the best right now. If you have an innovative digital product ready, consider selling it right here, on Whop.

Thousands of folks just like you have trusted our marketplace, and they’ve found success selling online memberships and a myriad of digital products to millions of users. This is thanks to Whop's industry-leading fees, intuitive seller dashboard, unparalleled customer service, and incredible marketplace that has facilitated over $250,000,000 in sales for Whop sellers.

Plus, with Whop, you don't have to choose just one passive income stream - why not create a community, sell digital downloads to accompany it, and add a course as an extra add-on option? Instead of just having one passive income stream, with Whop, you can create many - all from within the same platform.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up with Whop in mere minutes and start earning passive income on one of the biggest digital marketplaces!

Passive Income Ideas FAQs

How can I make passive income?

To make passive income, you’ll need to be ready to invest some time and effort upfront. If you have a unique skill, you can create a digital product around it or even make a personal project utilizing your skill set. If you want a safer passive income stream, consider investing in the stock market or renting out your assets.

What are some low-cost passive income ideas?

Low-cost passive income ideas can include creating your own projects, like a blog, YouTube channel, or mobile app. You can also make digital products that are generally cheap. However, all of these will require lots of time and effort to turn a profit.

Do you pay taxes on passive income?

Yes, most passive income streams are taxable business ventures, just like your active income. A few exceptions exist, like IRA investments, where your yields are tax-free.

What is the average passive income?

There is no definitive average passive income. However, if you make more than $1000 in passive income every month, it is colloquially considered above average or “enough”. Thus, the range between $500 and $1000 can be considered average passive income.

What is the most profitable passive income idea?

The most profitable passive income idea differs from person to person. To find the one that’s most profitable for you, you’ll have to consider your skill and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into the idea. Generally speaking, personal projects and digital products have the highest growth potential, so they can be considered the most profitable.