35 Passive Income Ideas You Can Start Today [2024]

Updated: July 24th, 2023

Are you interested in passive online business ideas but not sure which works best for you?

Whether as a side hustle or a full-time engagement, passive income is one of the greatest ways to build a secure financial future.

Passive business ideas do not require a lot of active engagement, as it allows you to earn money while doing other things.

We put together 35 of the best passive online business ideas you can start in today.

For each passive income business idea, we’ll show you real-world examples of other businesses to help you see what it really takes to start.

Here's the full list:

1. Start a website flipping business

Website flipping business helps people buy and sell online businesses. The website flipping business has a low barrier to entry and requires minimal investment. To start a website flipping business, make sure you have all the legal paperwork, buy a website, and improve and sell it for a profit.

How much you can make: $349,983 — $1,525,000/month

How long does it take to build: 180 days (?)

Empire Flippers: $20M/Year Helping People Buy And Sell Websites

Empire Flippers is a thought leader in brokering online business deals, having brokered over $50 million worth of deals and grown their pool of potential buyers by hundreds every month through a focus on content marketing and middle-of-funnel content.

Justin started Empire Flippers almost 12 years ago
Justin grew the business to $350K/month
Read by 9,601 founders

2. Start an affiliate marketing business

Are you looking for a side hustle to pay you a passive income? Affiliate marketing is one of those side hustles that will pay you well over the long term. It is a way to earn money online by promoting other companies' products and services. You will be paid a commission for each sale you make as an affiliate marketer.

To get started, learn how to find the right product and brand to partner with. For example, you may prefer becoming an affiliate marketer for an eCommerce store, partnering with a manufacturer, and marketing their products for a commission.

How much you can make: $500 — $773,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 55 days (?)

My Affiliate Marketing Business Earns $500K/Year Profit [No Employees]

This case study explores how Spencer Mecham founded Buildapreneur, an affiliate marketing business, and has made over half a million dollars in profit with no employees, relying solely on content marketing through platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.

Spencer started Buildapreneur over 6 years ago
Spencer grew the business to $80K/month
Read by 22,698 founders

3. Start a vacation rentals business

Vacation rentals host travelers for a short period. Often located in top vacation destinations, vacation rentals feature spacious rooms and a cozy lifestyle and are cheaper than booking a hotel.

Building or buying a vacation rental is a smart way of creating a passive income without much involvement in the business.

To make money through the vacation rental business, ensure a strategic location, often nearby attractions. Choose an area that is easily accessible and desirable all year round and create a beautiful space for your guests.

Stand out by optimizing the vacation rental listing online and featuring all available amenities.

How much you can make: $12,500 — $295,000/month

How long does it take to build: 280 days (?)

How We Started A $12K/Month Beachside Vacation Rental Business

This case study explores how a couple turned their childhood homes into vacation rentals, welcoming around 3k guests annually and generating an average revenue of $50k per year and property by focusing on a strong online presence and organic traffic.

Julio started Cardiff Vacations almost 13 years ago
Julio grew the business to $12.5K/month
It cost Julio $30000 to start the business
Read by 7,511 founders

4. Start a youtube channel

For anyone looking to start a successful YouTube channel, there are plenty of YouTube channel success stories that can be used as inspiration and encouragement. In addition, YouTube has an established monetization system and boasts incredible popularity, making it a potential platform for revenue generation.

In this article, we'll look at different approaches you can use to help promote your channel and grow your viewers. While there's no quick and easy way to success, you can take these tips to build your own YouTube Channel Success story. If you love content creation, you can capitalize on YouTube's popularity to earn extra income.

If you want to join the Youtube partner program to monetize your channel, you will need to reach a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months.

How much you can make: $800 — $4,500,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 48 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 5 hours/week

How This Couple Makes $5K/Month Generating Content About Ways To Make Money Online

Learn how this entrepreneurial couple made $5-7k a month by helping others find legitimate work from home jobs and creative ways to make money online through their blog and YouTube channel, as well as offering two flagship products designed to help beginner freelancers and new bloggers accelerate growth.

Chhavi started Mrs Daaku Studio almost 6 years ago
Chhavi grew the business to $5K/month
It cost Chhavi $500 to start the business
Read by 13,572 founders

5. Start a dog treat business course

How much you can make: $33,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 45 days (?)

How I Created A $11K/Month Online Course About How To Start and Grow A Dog Treat Business

Kristin Larsen's Diva Dog Bakery program teaches students how to start their own successful dog treat bakery business that has consistently brought in five figures a month since launching in November 2020.

Kristin started Diva Dog Bakery over 3 years ago
Kristin grew the business to $33K/month
It cost Kristin $2500 to start the business
Read by 6,919 founders

6. Start a podcast

The podcast business involves creating and producing audio content that people can listen to online.

It’s a popular form of entertainment and information-sharing.

To start a podcast business on a budget, you'll need a few key steps.

First, choose a niche or topic that you're passionate about and that has an audience.

Next, get basic recording equipment like a microphone and headphones.

Then, find a free or affordable hosting platform to publish your episodes.

Finally, promote your podcast through social media, online communities, and word of mouth to build an audience and potentially attract sponsors or advertisers.

How much you can make: $400 — $1,020,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 2 hours/week

How I Started A Successful Podcast Production Company

A successful podcast production company that grew from one client making $15/hour to a team of 10 contractors producing over 30 shows per week with revenue of over $10k/mo, primarily through referrals and with a focus on providing high personal touch and being picky about working only with clients who are a good fit.

Jeremy started Counterweight Creative almost 8 years ago
Jeremy grew the business to $16K/month
Read by 17,642 founders

7. Start an ecommerce platform

Over the past decade, eCommerce has become an indispensable part of the global retail framework. According to statistics, over 2 billion people prefer shopping online.

While brick-and-mortar stores are still making more sales compared to online sales, the adoption of eCommerce is still rising, mainly because of the increased speed and convenience of online shopping.

Therefore, starting an eCommerce platform could set you on the right path to building a futuristic business.

How much you can make: $100 — $83,333,333/month

How long does it take to build: 110 days (?)

How We Started A $700K/Month Business Getting Targeted Traffic For Online Sellers

StoreYa co-founders Eyal Reich and Yariv Dror, along with CTO Pasha Zaft, created a suite of marketing and advertising apps that include Traffic Booster, which has generated an average of $700,000 MRR and helped the business win a 2018 Google Acquisition Performance award, as well as becoming a PayPal exclusive advertising partner.

Eyal started StoreYa over 11 years ago
Eyal grew the business to $2M/month
It cost Eyal $5000 to start the business
Read by 10,233 founders

8. Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products to customers without holding inventory.

Instead, when a customer makes a purchase, you buy the product from a third-party supplier, who then ships it directly to the customer.

To start a dropshipping business on a budget, choose a niche or category of products you want to sell.

Next, set up an online store using platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. Then, find reliable suppliers from platforms like AliExpress, list their products on your store, and focus on marketing and customer service to grow your business.

Remember to carefully manage your expenses and monitor your profit margins to ensure profitability.

How much you can make: $6,000 — $3,000,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $6,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 10 hours/week

How I Started A $100K/Month Business Mentoring Dropshipping Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Kamil Sattar has developed multiple six-figure drop shipping businesses, and his company, e-commerce mentoring, specializes in helping others create their own successful companies, with favorite platforms including using Shopify and apps such as Loox reviews and SMSBump.

Kamil started E-commerce Mentoring about 7 years ago
Kamil grew the business to $100K/month
It cost Kamil $1000 to start the business
Read by 24,254 founders

9. Start a mobile app development business

Mobile app development is the process of creating software applications that run on mobile devices. These apps can be used for a variety of purposes, including games, productivity, and social networking.

Starting a mobile app development business is a great way to enter the world of software development. This type of company is growing in popularity as businesses are looking for ways to reach their customers through mobile apps.

To start a mobile app development company, you need to have strong technical skills and be able to develop high-quality software. You should also have a good understanding of how to market and sell mobile apps

How much you can make: $7,500 — $2,333,333/month

How much does it cost to start: $7,500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 120 days (?)

How We Started A $82K/Month Custom iOS And Android Apps Development Agency

"We started a custom iOS and Android app development consultancy that now makes nearly seven-figures a year by landing clients like Great Clips and the USA CUP after building successful concept apps."

Rob started The Jed Mahonis Group about 12 years ago
Rob grew the business to $80K/month
It cost Rob $500 to start the business
Read by 10,203 founders

10. Start a blog

In recent years, blogging has become a highly sought-after & lucrative Business. This location-independent business is a creative outlet to reach a broader audience and even work at any time. According to Optinmonster’s list of blogging statistics and facts:

  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source of gathering online information.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs.
  • Each month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages.

Originally blogging started as an online journal, but today it is a highly profitable career option. Many people are choosing blogging as their full-time career and are earning their bread and butter from this profession.

If you want to start blogging as a side hustle or as a full-time profession, choose a niche you will enjoy writing about and have a content strategy ready. Then, create a mailing list, and decide on a good blog posting routine to keep your audience engaged.

How much you can make: $200 — $160,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 37 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 5 hours/week

How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $20K/Month Running A Blog

Learn how one couple created a successful personal finance blog, The Savvy Couple, that now makes over $20,000 per month and has sold thousands of digital workbooks and courses, by focusing on purposeful content and optimizing their ROI with efficient time management.

Kelan started The Savvy Couple over 7 years ago
Kelan grew the business to $20K/month
It cost Kelan $500 to start the business
Read by 27,282 founders

11. Start an amazon FBA business

Amazon is ripe with opportunity, which is making it possible for people to make a lot of money with little investment or effort.

Amazon has over 2.3B visitors per month, With this huge audience, Amazon is an amazing opportunity to start your own business. In fact, you can sell products with very low competition.

How much you can make: $2,300 — $1,175,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

Starting A $3K/Month Stoic Wisdom Inspired Arts Etsy Store While Digital Nomading In Bali

Jeff started Stoic Muse, a creative side project selling 100-150 t-shirts per month ($3K revenue) on Etsy, without any upfront costs for prototyping or manufacturing, by learning graphic design and using Print on Demand to fulfill the merch.

Jeff started Stoic Muse about 4 years ago
Jeff grew the business to $10K/month
Read by 7,756 founders

12. Start an online art prints business

The art print is a fast-growing segment. Although there is a lot of competition in the fine art marketplace, selling original art prints online can be profitable.

You do not have to rely on original artwork sales alone for financial stability in your artistic career. Selling copies and digital art from different artists is a simpler way of starting your online art print business.

How much you can make: $6,600 — $110,000/month

$80,000 in Etsy Sales: How to Grow from Here? [Side Hustle Coaching]

This Etsy seller increased sales from $10k to $80k in just one year by selling 4000 customized garments.

They started Goober Prints about 5 years ago
They grew the business to $6.6K/month
Read by 789 founders

13. Start a price comparison website business

How much you can make: $40,000 — $500,000/month

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

How I Grew My 'Dumb Blog' To A Portfolio That Generates $70K Profit/Month

Learn how the founder of Fin vs Fin turned a "dumb side project" into a profitable media business generating $70k in profit per month, by committing to creating a "dumb blog" and consistently experimenting with strategies to attract and retain customers.

Alex started Fin vs Fin over 5 years ago
Alex grew the business to $40K/month
Read by 6,836 founders

14. Start a laundromat

The first laundromat opened in the United States in 1887. It was invented by the entrepreneur Josephine Cochrane, who was frustrated with having to wash her family’s laundry by hand.

The laundromat is a self-service facility that provides washing and drying machines for personal use. There are many different types of machines available, including coin-operated ones and those that require a card. They also provide various types of detergents and fabric softeners for use with the machines.

A laundromat can make a lot of money if it is in the right location and has the right prices.

How much you can make: $9,300 — $83,333/month

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

How I Bought A Laundromat & Doubled Revenue in 12 Months

A digital marketer purchased Nina's Laundromat in Northcote, Australia in July 2021, investing in its digital presence and upgrading the machines to create a new brand. Within 12 months, the revenue doubled and the store added a commercial laundry service, bringing an additional AUD24K per year.

Jono started Nina's Laundrette almost 3 years ago
Jono grew the business to $9.3K/month
It cost Jono $13300 to start the business
Read by 5,548 founders

15. Start a co-working space rental business

The co-working spaces are becoming essential in the post-pandemic world. Experts estimate five million people will occupy coworking spaces in the next few years. The projections are based not only on the growth the coworking industry has experienced over the past few years but also on the sharp increase in the number of startups coming up each year.

Therefore, creating your coworking space business will become a lucrative opportunity. To create a coworking space, do proper market research to ensure you have the demand for a co-work space in your target area.

Then, focus on finding an ideal location to attract the maximum number of customers.

How much you can make: $4,000 — $300,000/month

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

I Created An Airbnb For Startups In NYC & Make $3.6M/Year

The founder of The Farm Soho, one of the earliest New York City co-working spaces, shares how he built his affordable workspace model for solopreneurs and startups, as well as discussing his tips for attracting and retaining customers while navigating the challenges of running a business.

Lucas started The Farm Soho almost 10 years ago
Lucas grew the business to $300K/month
Read by 3,868 founders

16. Start an online tutors business

Online tutoring is a growing business idea that provides academic assistance and support to students through the internet. This can be done through one-on-one sessions, group classes, or pre-recorded video lessons. Online tutors can specialize in a specific subject or offer tutoring services for various subjects.

To start an online tutoring business, you must have a strong background in the subject or subjects you want to tutor. You will also need good communication skills and be comfortable using technology, as you will interact with students through video conferencing platforms or messaging apps.

To succeed in this business, you will need to be able to provide high-quality tutoring services that help students understand and retain the material. This may involve creating personalized lesson plans and materials, providing feedback and support, and being available to answer questions and provide guidance. You will also need to be able to market your services effectively to attract potential clients.

There are a few key steps to starting an online tutoring business:

  • Determine your areas of expertise and the subjects you are comfortable tutoring.
  • Develop a website or online platform to showcase your services and allow students to schedule sessions or access materials.
  • Set up a payment system and establish your rates.
  • Promote your services through social media, online classifieds, or networking with schools and educational institutions.
  • Provide high-quality tutoring services that meet the needs of your students and help them succeed academically.

To succeed in this business, you will need to be organized, reliable, and able to adapt to the needs of your students. You will also need to be able to communicate effectively and use technology to your advantage. With hard work and dedication, an online tutoring business can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice.

How much you can make: $12,000 — $166,667/month

How much does it cost to start: $70 (?)

How I Went From Part-Time Tutor To Making $120K/Year Selling Online Courses

Teacher Jade's online academy and consulting services, which teach youth and adults how to offer online classes, resulted in a five-figure monthly income with increased enrollment through Outschool, leading to the creation of a second business and a plan to expand course offerings and salaries for her teachers.

Jade started Teacher Jade over 4 years ago
Jade grew the business to $12K/month
It cost Jade $500 to start the business
Read by 3,516 founders

17. Sell e-books

An e-book business involves selling digital books online.

To start such a business, you would need to have a website or an online platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Smashwords, where you can list and sell your e-books.

To sell e-books, you need to decide on the type of content and set up your listings. This involves creating a cover, writing a description, and selecting categories and keywords.

Promoting your e-books is another important aspect of running an e-book business. You can use social media and online marketing strategies to reach your target audience.

Offering promotions and discounts can also help you encourage sales and attract new customers.

How much you can make: $15,000/month

How long does it take to build: 180 days (?)

How We Created A $15K/Month Book Discovery Platform

AllAuthor is a book promotion platform that helps self-published authors to market their books, offering a cost-effective subscription model with free and paid membership options, generating $20,000 in revenue with a retention rate of 80-85% amongst its 13,500 authors from developed countries.

Naveen started AllAuthor over 7 years ago
Naveen grew the business to $15K/month
It cost Naveen $20000 to start the business
Read by 4,307 founders

18. Become an Airbnb host

If you are interested in becoming an Airbnb host, the first step is to create a listing for your property or a portion of it on the Airbnb platform.

This will allow travelers from all over the world to rent your space and enjoy a personalized and unique accommodation experience.

By creating a welcoming atmosphere and providing excellent service to your guests, you can enhance your profile and attract even more visitors to your property.

With the potential to earn a steady stream of passive income, becoming an Airbnb host can be an excellent way to monetize your property.

How much you can make: $1,333 — $270,000/month

How long does it take to build: 215 days (?)

How I Bootstrapped An Airbnb Management Service To $35K/Month

HostButlers is Ireland's first professional property concierge service for short-term rentals on Airbnb, boasting over 200,000 hosted guests and profitability from month 5.

Gary started Host Butlers over 8 years ago
Gary grew the business to $35K/month
Read by 22,039 founders

19. Sell stock photos

Stock photography is the supply of licensed photographs for specific uses. If you have a camera and love traveling or taking photos, you can start your own stock photo business.

Create a stock photography website and upload the best shots to start your stock photography business. To ensure professional images, you can hire freelance photographers and photo editors. Alternatively, you can invest in a professional camera and learn the art of photography before launching your business.

Running a stock photo website allows you to create unlimited earning potential. Besides, stock photographers enjoy flexible working hours and have the potential for passive income.

How much you can make: $10,000/month

How long does it take to build: 3 days (?)

How This Solo Founder Built A $120K/Year Stock Photographs Website

Picjumbo is a free stock photo site created by solo founder Viktor Hanacek that has amassed 150,000 monthly visitors, 5,000 free photos, over 10,000 premium photos, and brings in over $10,000/month in revenue through advertising and premium membership.

Viktor started picjumbo over 10 years ago
Viktor grew the business to $10K/month
Read by 3,996 founders

20. Start a stock investing business

How much you can make: $4,000 — $30,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,250 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

I Launched A $54K/Year Newsletter That Finds Trending Stocks

Ticker Nerd is a monthly subscription service for investors that surfaces and analyzes trending stocks before the hype train arrives, and now has $4.5k in monthly recurring revenue from its newsletter without spending a single dollar on advertising, having validated the business via subreddits and organic Product Hunt launch strategy.

Luciano started Ticker Nerd over 3 years ago
Luciano grew the business to $4K/month
It cost Luciano $100 to start the business
Read by 21,734 founders

21. Start a freelancer platform

Freelancer platform is a place where people come with skills and services to offer and people come who need those skills and services. So we can say freelancer platforms are a marketplace for sellers and buyers of services and skills.

The freelancing industry is growing rapidly and it's becoming a popular career option for people who are "non-traditional" employees. The global Freelance Platforms market size is expected to reach $6.7B by the year 2025. While working on a full-time job, freelancers simultaneously work on a freelance career. The platforms available online help them to increase their business by attracting new clients.

With all of the businesses looking for help on their websites, it would be a good idea to start a freelancer platform. Freelance platforms do well because people have jobs that need to be done and businesses have the resources to pay for the job at hand.

How much you can make: $3,000 — $5,000,000/month

How long does it take to build: 80 days (?)

We Bootstrapped A Tech Talent Platform To $1.2M Sales In Our First Year

CloudDevs, a tech talent platform that sources and vets freelance tech talent and matches them with companies, has achieved $1 million in GMV in its first year, plans to achieve 100% growth year on year, and focuses on customer loyalty through its Net Promoter Score metric.

Rifzan started CloudDevs about 4 years ago
Rifzan grew the business to $100K/month
It cost Rifzan $2500 to start the business
Read by 16,327 founders

22. Start an amusement arcade

23. Start an audiobooks business

24. Start a kindle book sales business

25. Start a dividend investing business

26. Start a peer to peer lending business

27. Start a mutual fund investing business

28. Start a film set rental business

29. Start an ebay reseller business

The basic idea of eBay reselling is to buy a discounted product, sell it on eBay, and ship it out for a profit.

Buying and reselling on eBay can be a profitable business. You can pick something at a lower price during its off-peak selling season and resell it individually when its demand is high.

To start an eBay reselling business, you should register as a business seller.

How much you can make: $4,000/month

How long does it take to build: 1 days (?)

Starting Up A Reselling Business And Pulling In $4K/Month Revenue

Reselling business that has grown into a full-time venture, generating around $4,000/month, by cross-listing products on multiple platforms, primarily focusing on fashion but also including hard goods and furniture, while also offering downsizing services and planning to launch a website about the work-from-home lifestyle.

Shelby started Rooted Drawers about 7 years ago
Shelby grew the business to $4K/month
Read by 940 founders

30. Start a crowdfunded real estate business

31. Renting out a parking space

Time commitment per week: Min. 4 hours/week

32. Start a real estate investment trust

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a type of investment that allows individuals to invest in income-generating real estate properties without the need to purchase and manage them directly.

Think of it as a company that owns, operates, or finances income-producing real estate, such as apartment buildings, shopping centers, or office spaces.

By investing in a REIT, you become a shareholder in the trust, and in return, you receive a portion of the rental income and profits generated by the properties.

REITs are attractive for those interested in real estate because they offer a way to diversify their investment portfolio, receive regular dividends, and potentially benefit from property value appreciation.

Starting a REIT business involves understanding the real estate market, selecting suitable properties, and managing the financial aspects of the investment to provide returns for shareholders.

33. Become a bond ladder

34. Open a high-yield savings account

35. Start an advertising on your car

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.