10 unconventional ideas to make passive income

7 min read
Shweta Saxena

Passive income is a dream for many people.

What if I tell you anyone can achieve that?

There are many ways to earn passive income that don't require a lot of money or time investment.

If you're interested in earning more money while doing a little work (and who isn't?) this article will introduce you to some passive income ideas that do just that.

1. Make an app

If you have a great idea for a mobile app and the skills to create one, then this is an option for you.

The good news is that apps can be relatively simple, as long as they have a use case.

For example, you might create an app that:

  • Helps mobile users perform some hard-to-do function
  • Is a game-based app that makes people pay for new content

The more downloads your app gets, the more profit you can make from it — and once you’re making money from one app (or if you’re creating multiple apps), it becomes easier to launch future projects and make even more cash.

Interested in becoming an appreneur? Read this.

2. Start a blog and monetize it

If you enjoy writing, it is a great way to make passive income.

You can set up a free blog on platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger.

To start a blog and monetize it, here's what you need to do:

Choose a broad category

Decide what topic or subject matter you want to write about. Make sure it’s something you won’t tire of quickly. You can use Google Trends or look at the search results page for any topic you’re considering.

This will show the popular topics and volume of traffic blogs in this category attract daily.

You’ll want to choose a category that appeals to a big group (aka total addressable market) — for example, vegan cooks around the world.

Niche down

Look for an existing niche within this broad category of interest (e.g. there are many blogs with recipes, but few devoted solely to vegan cooking). Check out blogs that are already offering this content and start publishing high-quality blogs to attract and build an audience.

You can read more about how to set up your blog here and how to make money from it in this post.

Related: How to earn money from a podcast

3. Rent out your property

Large yellow house with shaded veranda
Photo: vj on Unsplash

Rental income is one of the best passive income ideas. If you have a spare property or room in your home, you can rent it out and use the money for other things.

Renting out your property will give you cash flow every month and help generate extra funds for your other expenses. One of the best ways to rent out your property is on Airbnb.

Here's a list of things you must consider before becoming an Airbnb host.

4. Invest in mutual funds (MFs) and equities

Investing in MFs and equities is one of the most popular ways that people can earn passive income.

In fact, investing in equity is such a great way to make money that many Indians prefer it over any other form of investment.

​​Investors are attracted to these assets because they offer higher returns than other assets at lower risk levels. A lot of investors can get returns as high as 15% per annum on their investments, while managing risks well enough so that they're not losing money every year.

5. Buy stocks

A stock market is a powerful tool for building wealth. It can be intimidating at first, but the basics are fairly easy to understand. There are three parts to buying stocks:

  • First, open an account through a brokerage firm such as ICICIdirect or Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
  • Once that's done, choose the stocks you want to buy and make sure they're priced within your budget range — you don't want to invest too much money at once.
  • Once you've gotten used to trading on exchanges like the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) or National Stock Exchange (NSE), feel free to mix things up by buying other types of assets such as derivatives or mutual funds instead of simply stock certificates themselves.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting started with stock market investing.

6. Earn from dividend income

Dividend income is money you receive when you own shares in a company.

This is a passive income idea that’s not guaranteed.

Your returns depend on the performance of the company and how much profit it makes.

In addition, dividend payments are taxed as ordinary income by the government, rather than as capital gains (which would typically be lower).

Here’s a detailed tutorial on making money from dividends to help you get started.

7. Learn affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you promote products or services in exchange for a commission.

These commissions are paid out by the company that offers the product/service, so there's no risk on your part!

In fact, there are hundreds of companies that offer affiliate programs — it's just a matter of finding them.

The most well-known affiliate partner is Amazon, but there are other companies that work in the same way – eBay, Awin, and ShareaSale are among the larger names.

And Instagram and TikTok have become huge platforms for those looking to grow a following and promote products.

8. Sell your photos

Photos clipped to a line strung across a room
Photo: Raj Rana on Unsplash

Photos are a great way to make passive income.

The easiest way is to sell your photos online.

You can do this by uploading them on stock photo sites like Shutterstock and iStockphoto where you get paid a small fee each time someone buys your image.

If you have active social media accounts, you can sell prints directly through platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Instagram direct message.

Another option that's gaining popularity is creating merchandise such as mugs and t-shirts with designs based on popular images posted on Instagram. You then sell these items via Etsy stores.

9. Start online teaching or tutoring

Online teaching or tutoring is a great way to make money. You can teach just about anything, either individually or in a group setting.   You could:

  • Offer one-on-one tutoring sessions through Skype or Google Hangouts
  • Create a course on Udemy and sell your lessons there
  • Teach a group of students via video conferencing software like Zoom (which also offers free accounts)

If you have something you know well and are passionate about, this could be an excellent way to earn money while helping others learn what they want to know.

The best part? You can do it from your home.

Related: How to make money on YouTube

10. Sell merchandise

You can also make money online by selling merchandise. It's another great way to generate passive income, although it does take some effort.

Chumbak website

Sell t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, etc. Make sure your designs are unique and have something that sets them apart from others on the market.

If you’re not good at creating designs yourself, hire someone who is.

Create a brand identity for yourself and make sure that everything you produce has the same look and feel, so people know they’re buying something from “you.” A perfect example of this case is Chumbak.

Create an online store where people can buy these items or sell them directly on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook (or both).

Related: How to sell things on your social media

The idea of passive income streams is not new

Warren Buffett has been practicing this for decades by investing in companies with stable cash flows and high-profit margins.

There’s no one way of doing this, and there’s no single best passive income ideas.

There are many passive income ideas you can choose from. And the best part? You don’t need a lot of money to start. So if you have the skills or knowledge to make some extra cash on the side, go ahead and give it a try!