If you’ve ever looked up how to generate passive income online without investing any money, you’ve probably come across these 7 ideas.
- Start a blog. You can create a free blog on platforms like WordPress or Blogger and monetize it with advertising. Building an audience and earning decent money may take time, but it requires very little upfront investment.
- Sell digital products. Create e-books, online courses, graphics, templates etc. that you can sell on sites like Etsy and Creative Market. Use free resources to create the products and only spend money when you start earning.
- Affiliate marketing. Become an affiliate for companies and earn commissions when you drive sales to them. You can build affiliate sites, promote affiliate links on social media, or do review blogs. No inventory or upfront costs.
- Rent out assets. Do you have extra space, equipment, cars etc. that you can rent out? List them on sites like Airbnb, RVShare and Turo to turn unused assets into cash flow.
- Invest in dividend stocks. Use a low-cost online broker and invest any amount you can spare into dividend-paying stocks or ETFs. Reinvest the dividends to grow your portfolio.
- Peer to peer lending. Provide loans to borrowers and earn interest through P2P lending platforms like LendingClub and Prosper. Can start with small amounts.
- Build an audience and monetize it. Create a YouTube channel, Instagram account or podcast and monetize it with ad revenue. Building an audience takes work, but it’s free to start.
Generating passive income requires an initial investment of time and effort, rather than solely relying on having available funds. When you start with limited funds or no emergency savings, you will need to actively invest upfront before your income can become passive.
The main idea is that many people don’t take action on their ideas because they believe they need a lot of upfront payment to be successful. However, the truth is that you can start small, use free platforms and tools, leverage your skills and existing assets, and reinvest profits to grow your passive income streams. With persistence and patience, you can gradually build up solid passive revenue.
Yes, it is true that you looked up ways to generate passive income without money. However, all passive income ideas do require some initial investment, although it may be relatively low in terms of money or resources that you already have. You’ll need these initial investments to get started. Here are a few things to consider:
The Truth About Starting Passive Income With Zero Funds
- Time and effort – This is the main thing you’ll invest rather than money when you have a very low budget. It takes time and sustained effort to create assets and systems that will generate passive revenue. For example, spending time creating YouTube videos or building a website.
- Existing resources – Leverage what you already have – space, skills, talent, knowledge, belongings etc. For example, monetizing extra room in your house as an Airbnb or creating an online course teaching your expertise.
- Low-cost tools – Take advantage of free or low-cost tools and platforms to create assets and get started. For example, starting a blog on free blogging sites or recording helpful videos with just your phone camera.
- Sweat equity – Put in efforts like providing services for free initially in exchange for experience, reviews, referrals, portfolio samples etc. that will help you earn later. Provide free content or help build an audience.
- Minimal starting inventory – For products like crafts, t-shirts etc. you can start with very small inventory purchased with savings or borrowed money. Use pre-orders or made-to-order instead of bulk stock.
- Recycle/upcycle – Turn unused items into crafty products you can sell. Old furniture, fabrics, containers etc. can all be made into low-cost items.
- Crowdfunding – Use sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds for creating products that backers prepay for.
All of these ideas take hard work and dedication. However, it’s not impossible. With the right ideas and effort, you can generate passive income on a small budget and start building long-term wealth.
But this often means working on it outside a full-time job, at least initially.
But once systems and products are in place, passive income can run with minimal time requirements, freeing up your time.
The key is identifying reliable sources of passive income aligned with your skills, and making a consistent investment of time to build them into steady sources of cash flow.
With diligent effort, the ideal balance can be achieved between time invested upfront and ongoing passive money generated.
Patience and perseverance are necessary to turn the time invested into fruitful returns over the long-term through passive income pursuits.
What is Passive Income?
Passive income is income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain. It’s called ‘passive’ because you earn money from things that don’t require active work once you set them up.
But I don’t believe that they “don’t require active work”. They do need it, but the amount of efforts is less than what we normally do for others.
Let me explain it with a simple table.
|Passive Income Idea||Requires Active Effort?||Notes|
|Rental income||Yes||Need to find/manage tenants|
|Dividend stocks||No||Effort is just to initially buy stocks.|
|Interest income||No||Earn interest in lending money|
|Affiliate marketing||Yes||Need to promote affiliate links|
|Display ads on website/blog||Yes||Need to create content and grow traffic|
|Selling e-books or courses||Yes||Need to create and market products|
|Royalties||No||Earn royalties from intellectual property|
|Social media monetization||Yes||Need to grow following and create content|
As you can see, ideas like stocks, interest, and royalties require little to no effort once set up. Rentals, affiliate marketing, selling information products, and monetizing social media require more active effort to maintain income streams.
You got the idea, now check the following list and start with one of the passive income ideas today. I will keep things simple, so let me first group a few of my favourites with easy to start and hard to start grouping.
From No Money to Financial Freedom: Grouping Easy and Hard Passive Income Ideas to Start With
|Easy to Start||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure (Condensed)|
|Writing an EBook||Self-publish an eBook on a niche topic.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Write and format the eBook. 3. Publish on platforms like Amazon Kindle.|
|Affiliate Marketing||Promote products through affiliate links.||1. Join affiliate programs. 2. Share products on your blog or social media with affiliate links.|
|Rental Income||Rent out extra space through platforms like Airbnb.||1. List your space. 2. Set pricing and house rules. 3. Host guests and earn rental income.|
|Medium to Start||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure (Condensed)|
|Create a Blog||Start a blog and monetize it through various methods.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Set up a blog on a platform like WordPress. 3. Monetize through ads, affiliate marketing, or digital products.|
|Real Estate Crowdfunding||Invest in real estate through crowdfunding platforms.||1. Choose a crowdfunding platform. 2. Select a real estate project. 3. Invest and earn dividends or capital gains.|
|Create a Mobile App||Develop a mobile app and monetize it.||1. Idea and concept. 2. Develop the app. 3. Monetize through in-app purchases, ads, or one-time purchase fees.|
|Hard to Start||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure (Condensed)|
|Start a Podcast||Create a podcast and monetize it through sponsorships and ads.||1. Choose a niche or topic. 2. Record and edit episodes. 3. Monetize through sponsorships and advertising.|
|Invest in a REIT||Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).||1. Research and choose a REIT. 2. Invest in shares. 3. Receive dividends and potential capital gains.|
|Licence 3D Models||Create and sell 3D models or digital assets for various uses.||1. Design 3D models or digital assets. 2. List them on marketplaces. 3. Earn royalties from sales or licensing.|
With the above table, I believe, it’s now clear which one to start. If you need more, then here is an extensive list.
The Best Passive Income Paths for Every Budget
|Passive Income Idea||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure|
|Write an EBook||Self-publish an eBook on a niche topic.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Write and format the eBook. 3. Publish on platforms like Amazon Kindle.|
|Create YouTube Videos||Create a YouTube channel and monetize it.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Create high-quality videos. 3. Upload and optimize on YouTube. 4. Monetize through ads and sponsorships.|
|Affiliate Marketing||Promote products through affiliate links.||1. Join affiliate programs. 2. Promote products through your blog or social media with affiliate links.|
|Online Courses or Webinars||Share your expertise through online courses.||1. Identify your area of expertise. 2. Create course content. 3. Host courses on platforms like Udemy or Teachable.|
|Rental Income||Rent out extra space through platforms.||1. List your space. 2. Set pricing and house rules. 3. Host guests and earn rental income.|
|Dividend Stocks||Invest in dividend-paying stocks.||1. Open a brokerage account. 2. Invest in dividend stocks. 3. Reinvest or cash out dividends.|
|Peer-to-Peer Lending||Lend money to individuals or businesses.||1. Join a P2P lending platform like Prosper or LendingClub. 2. Lend money. 3. Earn interest on your loans.|
|Create a Blog||Start a blog and monetize it.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Set up a blog on a platform like WordPress. 3. Monetize through ads, affiliate marketing, or digital products.|
|Licence Your Art/Photos||Licence your artwork or photos.||1. Create a portfolio of your art or photos. 2. Licence your work on stock photo or art marketplaces. 3. Earn royalties.|
|Royalties from Music/Books||Earn royalties from your music or books.||1. Publish your music or books. 2. Register with royalty collection agencies. 3. Earn royalties from sales and usage.|
|Create a Mobile App||Develop a mobile app and monetize it.||1. Concept and development. 2. Monetize through in-app purchases, ads, or one-time purchase fees.|
|Sell Digital Products||Create and sell digital products.||1. Create digital products like printables or templates. 2. Sell on platforms like Etsy or Gumroad. 3. Promote your products.|
|Automated Dropshipping||Set up an automated online store.||1. Create an online store. 2. Find suppliers and products. 3. Automate order fulfillment. 4. Drive traffic to your store.|
|Rent Out Your Stuff||Rent out tools, equipment, or items.||1. List your items on platforms like Fat Llama. 2. Set pricing and terms. 3. Rent out your items to others.|
|High-Yield Savings/CD||Invest in high-yield savings accounts or CDs||1. Open an account. 2. Deposit funds. 3. Earn interest from savings or CDs.|
|Passive Income Idea||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure|
|Create a Podcast||Host a podcast on a niche topic, monetize through sponsorships and ads.||1. Choose a niche or topic. 2. Record and edit podcast episodes. 3. Monetize through sponsorships and advertising.|
|Design and Sell Print-on-Demand Products||Design and sell custom products like t-shirts and mugs through print-on-demand platforms.||1. Create designs. 2. List products on platforms like Redbubble or Teespring. 3. Earn from sales.|
|Blogging with SEO||Start a blog, optimize it for search engines (SEO), and monetize it through various means.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Create and publish SEO-optimized content. 3. Monetize through ads, affiliate marketing, or digital products.|
|Online Membership Community||Build a paid membership site or a private community with valuable content and subscription fees.||1. Develop exclusive content. 2. Set up a membership platform. 3. Attract subscribers and charge fees.|
|Video Licensing||Licence your video content for use in media, advertising, or on stock video websites.||1. Create high-quality video content. 2. List videos on stock video platforms. 3. Earn royalties from sales and usage.|
|Automated Drop-shipping Store||Establish an e-commerce store using drop-shipping and automate order processing.||1. Set up an online store. 2. Connect with drop-shipping suppliers. 3. Automate order fulfillment and drive traffic to your store.|
|Niche Website||Create a website focused on a specific niche and monetize it through ads, affiliate marketing, or sponsored content.||1. Choose a niche. 2. Develop content and optimize for search engines. 3. Monetize through various methods.|
|Real Estate Crowdfunding||Invest in real estate projects through crowdfunding platforms with lower initial investments.||1. Choose a real estate crowdfunding platform. 2. Select a project to invest in. 3. Invest and receive dividends or capital gains.|
|Licence Your Photography for Greeting Cards||Sell your photos to companies producing greeting cards.||1. Create a portfolio of quality photos. 2. Licence your photos to greeting card companies. 3. Earn royalties from sales.|
|Write a Mobile App Review Blog||Review and feature mobile apps on a blog or YouTube channel, earning money through app sponsorships and affiliate programs.||1. Review and analyse mobile apps. 2. Create content and feature apps. 3. Monetize through sponsorships and affiliate programs.|
|Passive Income Idea||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure|
|Online Surveys and Market Research||Participate in online surveys and market research studies for income.||1. Sign up for legitimate survey sites. 2. Complete surveys and participate in market research. 3. Earn rewards or cash.|
|Music Licensing for Videos||Compose and licence music for use in videos, commercials, or podcasts.||1. Create original music tracks. 2. Register with music licensing platforms. 3. Licence your music for use.|
|Resell Royalty-Free Music||Buy royalty-free music and resell it to content creators.||1. Purchase royalty-free music licences. 2. List music for resale on platforms like Pond5 or AudioJungle. 3. Earn from sales.|
|YouTube Channel for Product Reviews||products on YouTube, earning money through affiliate marketing and sponsorships.||1. Choose a niche for product reviews. 2. Test and review products. 3. Monetize through affiliate marketing and sponsorships.|
|Social Media Posting Automation||Use scheduling tools to automate social media posts for affiliate products, digital products, or your content.||1. Choose social media platforms. 2. Schedule and automate posts using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. 3. Promote and earn.|
|Affiliate Programs for Online Courses||Promote online courses through affiliate programs in your niche.||1. Join affiliate programs offered by online course platforms. 2. Promote courses to your audience with affiliate links. 3. Earn commissions for referrals.|
|Car Rental||Rent out your car through platforms like Turo or Get around.||1. List your car on a car-sharing platform. 2. Set pricing and availability. 3. Earn rental income from users.|
|Web Novel Writing||Monetize web novels with ads, donations, or premium content for subscribers.||1. Develop a compelling web novel. 2. Publish it on platforms like Webnovel or Patreon. 3. Monetize through ads, donations, or premium content.|
|Create and Licence 3D Models||Design and sell 3D models, digital illustrations, or assets for use in video games or graphic design.||1. Create high-quality 3D models or digital assets. 2. List them on platforms like Sketchfab or CGTrader. 3. Earn royalties from sales or licensing.|
|Invest in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust)||Invest in REITs, which require less capital compared to direct real estate investment.||1. Research and choose a suitable REIT. 2. Invest in shares or units. 3. Receive dividends and potential capital gains.|
|Passive Income Idea||Description||Step-by-Step Procedure|
|Write and Publish a Web Novel||Write a web novel and monetize it through ads, donations, or premium content for subscribers.||1. Develop an engaging web novel. 2. Publish it on platforms like Wattpad or Patreon. 3. Monetize through ads, donations, or premium content.|
|Create an Online Course||Share your knowledge by creating and selling online courses on platforms like Udemy or Skillshare.||1. Identify your area of expertise. 2. Develop course content and materials. 3. Publish and market your course.|
|Licence Your Designs for Merchandise||Licence your graphic designs, logos, or artwork for use on merchandise like t-shirts and posters.||1. Create and format designs. 2. Licence them on platforms like Merch by Amazon or Redbubble. 3. Earn royalties from sales.|
|Develop a Mobile Game||Create a mobile game and monetize it through in-app purchases, ads, or premium versions.||1. Design and develop a mobile game. 2. Publish it on app stores like Google Play or the App Store. 3. Monetize through in-app purchases or advertising.|
|YouTube Channel for Education||Create a YouTube channel dedicated to educational content and earn money from ads, sponsorships, and courses.||1. Select an educational niche. 2. Produce informative videos. 3. Monetize through ads, sponsorships, and offering premium courses.|
|Resell Domain Names||Purchase and hold valuable domain names, then sell them to interested buyers at a profit.||1. Research and identify potentially valuable domain names. 2. Purchase domains. 3. List them for sale on domain marketplaces. 4. Negotiate and sell for profit.|
|Create and Licence Stock Footage||Shoot and licence stock footage or videos for use in media production, advertising, or content creation.||1. Film high-quality stock footage. 2. List your footage on stock video platforms. 3. Earn royalties from sales and licensing.|
|Become a Brand Ambassador||Partner with companies and promote their products or services on your social media channels, earning a commission.||1. Build a strong online presence. 2. Establish partnerships with brands. 3. Promote products or services and earn commissions.|
|Rental Income from Equipment||Rent out specialized equipment like camera gear, power tools, or electronics to others for a fee.||1. List your equipment on rental platforms. 2. Set rental terms and pricing. 3. Rent out your equipment and collect fees.|
|Participate in Affiliate Programs for Subscription Boxes||Promote subscription box services and earn commissions for every subscriber you refer.||1. Join affiliate programs for subscription box services. 2. Promote subscription boxes to your audience. 3. Earn commissions for referrals.|
|Invest in a Dividend ETF||Invest in dividend-focused Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) to receive dividends from a diversified portfolio of stocks.||1. Open a brokerage account. 2. Invest in a dividend ETF. 3. Receive dividends from the ETF holdings.|
If you have read up to this part, then I guess you now have some idea where to start.
Practical Tips On How To Actually Start
Here are some practical tips for someone new to start taking action on passive income ideas:
- Start small and simple – Don’t try to create multiple income streams at once. Focus on just one idea you find interesting and create a basic, minimal viable version of it.
- Learn from free resources – Take advantage of the wealth of free information online to learn about your chosen passive income path. YouTube, blogs, podcasts, and online courses can teach you what you need to know.
- Leverage existing platforms – Use tools like Shopify for ecommerce, Teachable for courses, Etsy for crafts etc. These make it easier to set up your offering as a beginner.
- Replicate existing models – Follow proven business models when starting out. For example, create an affiliate marketing website in a niche using established affiliate programs.
- Use your current skills and knowledge – Monetize what you already know rather than starting from scratch. Teach your expertise through a blog, videos or courses.
- Don’t overinvest upfront – Use low-cost MVP strategies to validate your idea before spending too much time and money on it. Only invest more once you see it works.
- Be patient and persistent – Passive income takes time to build. Be consistent with your efforts and don’t expect overnight results. As your assets grow, so will your income.
- Form partnerships – Team up with complementary businesses to expand reach. For example, guest post on relevant blogs to grow your audience.
- Reinvest to scale – Put any profits back into growing your passive income stream. Use income from one stream to fund another one.
Start with the easiest and most practical idea that matches your skills and interests. This way, you can begin with something small but still take consistent action. Grow and build on your initial efforts over time.
If you are like me who loves tabular forms of information, then the following table is just for you.
|1. Education and Research||– Learn about passive income. – Explore different passive income ideas. – Understand their benefits and requirements.|
|2. Set Clear Goals||– Define specific financial goals. – Determine your desired passive income level and time frame.|
|3. Choose a Passive Income Idea||– Select an idea that aligns with your interests and expertise.|
|4. Create a Plan||– Develop a detailed plan for your chosen idea. – Outline the steps required for implementation.|
|5. Take Action||– Start taking action based on your chosen idea. – Follow the specific steps for that passive income stream.|
|6. Invest Time and Effort||– Understand that creating passive income may require initial effort. – Dedicate time and energy to the chosen idea.|
|7. Marketing and Promotion||– If applicable, market and promote products or services to a relevant audience. – Build your online presence.|
|8. Continuous Learning||– Stay updated and informed about your chosen income stream. – Adapt to changes in the passive income landscape.|
|9. Monitor and Optimize||– Regularly review your progress and income. – Optimize strategies based on performance.|
|10. Diversify||– Over time, consider diversifying your passive income sources. – Spread risk and increase income potential.|
|11. Seek Professional Advice||– Depending on complexity, consult financial or legal experts for guidance.|
|12. Stay Patient and Persistent||– Building passive income takes time. – Be patient, persistent, and adaptable in the face of challenges.|
Generating passive income without any upfront money can be challenging. However, there are strategies available to start earning extra cash and building additional income.
Rental properties provide a hands-off source of income once tenants are in place, though initial real estate investing is required.
The stock market opens up passive income opportunities through dividend stocks and mutual funds without needing to pick individual stocks. Though it takes research and involves financial investment, dividend stocks can provide monthly income.
Becoming an affiliate marketer allows you to earn from promoting products without inventory.
Monetizing a parking space, blog or online videos can create passive income with minimal active effort.
Generating multiple passive income streams and reinvesting the profits can boost your monthly earnings and ultimately lead to long-term financial freedom.
You can generate extra money by persistently using creative, passive income strategies that align with your skills and interests.