11 Forms of Passive Income You Never Thought About

Passive income is something that everyone should cultivate, primarily because it allows you to keep earning money without having to put in work. Most, if not all, financial gurus will tell you that passive income is what makes it possible to become rich.

Typically, people think of passive income as a form of stock dividends, bonds, or CDs. Some even consider being a landlord as a form of passive income. However, those aren’t the only methods that people should consider if they want to get a little more passive about their earnings. Here are some new ways to make money without actually having to work for it:

1. Intellectual Property Rights

Are you creative? Then you might want to look into selling your intellectual property. Publishing a book on Amazon, inventing something new, or even writing a good song can make for a lot of passive income. By selling your invention repeatedly, you can end up earning quite a lot of money. Copyrights don’t expire for decades, which means that you can easily end up making tons of money this way if you play your cards right.

2. High-Yield Savings Accounts

So, you’ve socked away money in stocks, have plenty of dividends to enjoy. Good job! However, you might have forgotten that one of the oldest forms of passive income you can get is a high-yield savings account. These accounts allow you to "inflation-proof" your funds and also might give you a small chunk of change back.


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These accounts act just like your regular savings account but have a much higher interest rate. Overall, it’s not a bad look.

3. Crowdfunded Real Estate Investing

Most people have mulled over the idea of saving up, buying an apartment building, and acting as a landlord. Being a property owner as a business isn’t easy. It’s hard to find tenants that will always pay on time, and if you’re really unlucky, you could end up living a real-life landlord horror story or end up with a property that is underwater.


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A better option would be to leave it to the pros with an excellent track record in real estate. Offering to invest on a crowdfunding platform that’s geared towards real estate is a good way to do this. You get passive income from rent returns, "fix and flip" folks get the money they need, and all is well with the world.

If you’re not sure where to start, give Fundrise a try.

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Another good way to earn passive income would be to lend to individuals who want to get lower rates than what they’d receive from the bank. After all, banks make a lot of money back in interest by lending out cash. So, why shouldn’t you?

Crowdfunding platforms that offer peer-to-peer lending like LendingClub are a good way to make sure your investments are legit, that borrowers will pay you back, and even offer a way to spread out your lending across a variety of different loans.

Returns tend to have an average range of around 5% to 8%.

5. Dropship Stores

Okay, this one isn’t exactly a form of passive income, however, it still remains a good option. With this form of income, you create an online store that accepts orders for products that are being offered by a dropship company.
A bald man in uniform is carrying parcels next to a busy street in St. Lawrence Market.
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel / Unsplash

Once you get the order, the order’s details are sent to a dropship company. The company then does all the shipping work for you—effectively doing a lot of the hard part for you.

6. Online Courses

Almost everyone is really good at one skill or two that others would love to learn about. Online course communities like Udemy allow you to record courses that people can enjoy for a nominal fee. Every time someone takes the course, you get paid.

7. YouTube Videos

Though it’s not as lucrative as it once was, being a YouTube star still does offer some potential for a lot of passive income. Sure, you will need to put in some initial effort, but after that’s done, you will be able to make a nice chunk of change as long as people keep watching your goods.

8. Use Credit Cards for Cash Back

Say what you will about credit cards, but they can be a source of passive income just by letting you earn money for things you’d already be buying otherwise. If you have a cash back card, you can literally earn a small slice of money back every time you hit the grocery store, the gas station, or the mall.

A lock in front of an American Express Business credit card.
Photo by Ryan Born / Unsplash

We aren’t saying that using a credit card will get you rich (because it won’t), but what we are saying is that if used wisely, a credit card can help you earn a nice chunk of change. Every little bit helps, you know?

9. Silent Partner A Business

Being a business owner is usually hard work—but not if you let someone else run it for you. Assuming that you find a person with a track record of success, handing over the reigns to a fledgling business could be a good way to make a lot of money while also avoiding the tough work.

Another way to get the same kind of return is to act as a silent partner in a small business. As long as the business succeeds, you will do very well for yourself.

10. Buy A Blog

Every single year, there are literally thousands of bloggers who end up abandoning their blogs. If you buy one of their blogs, you can make money off the revenue and pay other bloggers to take on the lead. A built-in audience, plus a lot of potential ad revenue makes this a great option for most people.

11. Get A Vending Machine Business

Vending machines are simple to work with. You get goodies to stock them with, place them in areas of high traffic, and collect the cash you want from them. It’s that simple.