11 Best Side Hustles for a Passive Income

The modern day is a strange one. We have access to technology beyond comprehension, yet most of us are struggling with income disparity, lack of job satisfaction and opportunity, and a difficulty in finding a place for ourselves in life.

I know this feeling very well, I grew up in a small, rural town with a factory for employment next to a great forest, now that community has become a commuter town for the bustling city an hour or two away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is a lot more going on in that town now and most of it is good, but it has made it more expensive for all.

11 Best Side Hustles for a Passive Income

However, with this advent of incredible technological progress comes opportunity, even for the most humble of farmers, and the internet allows us to exploit this opportunity.

The online world is a bit like the wild west in that most things can be bought and sold, a lot of people have their eyes on things that pique their interest ever so slightly and this can be used to create a cashflow. Even now, I’m willing to bet there are some videos or comics by online creators that you have in a separate tab ready to watch or read after reading this.

So, there is money to be made, but how do I create that income? What’s the best way to do it? Today, we will explore that question and look at the best side hustles to create a passive income.

Rent Out Storage Space

People are really sentimental about their things, it reminds them of past achievements or emotional moments in their lives.

The problem is that humans live for an exceptionally long time – I know it doesn’t seem that way, but not many other animals can potentially reach 100 years old – and throughout our lives we keep accumulating stuff but have the same amount of space to keep it all in.

However, if you are a person with excess space, this can work to your advantage. Very much like storage companies that people pay to lock away valuable goods, you can rent out your extra storage to someone and be paid to keep it safe.

Neighbor is a website where people with extra storage space can advertise that space to rent and that space can be any size. A garage, a basement, an attic, storage boxes, people even look for driveways to rent if that house is in a city where parking is absurd.

You can place your space on Neighbor and the website will handle all the paperwork for you. The only things that you need to do are advertise, discuss pricing with the renter, and inform Neighbor.

Once this is done, Neighbor will handle all payments and automatically deposit the money into account every month. There is a service fee from Neighbor, but this also allows them to cover you for up to $1 million if something goes wrong. If you are interested, check Neighbor out and see how you feel.

Start A Blog

Blogs have been around since the start of the internet and have always been a place where passionate people can talk about anything they want, anonymously, through a persona, or as themselves. Blogs can be about anything from recipes covering specific cultural foods to how to dismantle a laptop, as long as it is not about sensitive information that could land you in trouble, you can pretty much write what you want.

The reason blogs can be so good for a passive income is that the information people can find in them is either deeply personal and so not presented well by other materials, or it is just unavailable elsewhere. A good example for me is when I found a wonderful out-of-the-way village on a trip to Malaysia, a village which was listed nowhere else but on one travel blog that was written years ago.

The problem is that you need to create traffic for your blog and to do that you need to create constant content, but as long as the topic you pick is broad but still fairly niche, then this shouldn’t be much of an issue. The main way to monetize your blog and the traffic from it is through the use of advertisements.

By running advertisements on your website, you get paid by simply displaying them, but you need a huge amount of traffic to earn any real money this way. Another method is to promote and sell products for a commission on your blog, this method can be hard to get off the ground as you have to show that your website generates a lot of traffic, however once you’ve got the commissions it can be very economically successful.

If you want to start a blog, but are struggling to create enough content, there are always freelancers or even companies willing to do the hard work for you. Once you’ve established a fee with these enterprises, it is easy to go back and keep using their services, making your passive income much less time-consuming.

Create a YouTube or Twitch Channel

YouTube has become synonymous with the term ‘internet video’, it is the largest video platform online, and it is basically its own video network. One thing this large website relies upon is constant free content created by its many account holders.

Since becoming a channel owner on YouTube is free, and it is very easy to upload videos, this is extremely lucrative and can be for the channel owners too. If you go down this path, you need to pick topics or genres that can be made into lots of content or something that you are genuinely interested in and have a lot of knowledge about.

Some channels talk about life experiences, teach classes, create cartoons, or just are a collection of short funny clips, pretty much any topic is up for grabs. Though YouTube has a bigger user base to work with than most other networks, this can also be a fickle base to keep invested.

If you want to make money this way, you need to keep a consistent output of content. However, once you have reached that point, you can monetize your channel. This is done by placing ads on videos, which will then generate money for the account holder when watched.

Although the payments are small at first, overtime more people watch and as such more money is generated. The other way to have a passive income is to place ads in the video content itself, instead of having the video stop for adverts.

This has become a preferred method for a lot of content creators, as it allows them to choose how the advert will be presented, rather than have an advertisement that may not be in keeping with the creator’s brand.

Start a Podcast

Podcasts are the natural evolution of radio and have risen in popularity continually since their inception. This is hardly surprising, as they allow the audience to not only listen to the show anywhere they go, but also give the listener incredibly detailed and informative content that is difficult to obtain elsewhere.

Podcasts can range from anything people want to talk about making them incredibly versatile, you can listen to one that talks about the decline of linguistic diversity around the world then move to another that lists the musicals to that host, while a third is lined up with just three comedians talking funny in a studio.

Podcasts have become particularly popular among those who work a 9 to 5 and who just need something to get them through the day.

In terms of audience retention, podcasts are much more relationship based with hosts often addressing and thanking their audience while taking requests for topics and merchandise from them.

While the overall revenue of podcasting isn’t amazing, thanks to the stable audience and a host’s good interactions with them, the income tends to be steady as well. The most common income method through podcasts is via sponsorships.

Once companies have recognized the popularity of your podcast, they will come to you and ask for you to advertise their product throughout the show. Another way to generate income is through merchandising sales.

Your podcast may be niche enough or large enough to have its own brand, and you can merchandise that brand through t-shirts or posters. However, this is less passive and requires much more active engagement, so it may only be for those who are invested in their podcast.

Self-publish through Amazon or Write an ebook

The one problem for many writers, especially for those considering fiction writing, is the cost of publication. Many writers in the past were either independently wealthy, had a patron, or had another job or income to finance their writing pursuits.

However, in the modern day it is easier than ever for someone to publish a novel and you no longer need traditional publishing houses to do it. There are a lot of popular platforms, like Amazon, that will let you self-publish your book as either an e-book or a print copy.

An e-book is a totally electronic form of book, read on your phone or tablet. This takes away a lot of the manufacturing and printing costs that are normally associated with books, allowing to reap the benefits of its sale with few negatives.

As for printed books, if you use Amazon as your publisher then the costs are also negated, as Amazon will print your book when it is ordered. This means that inventory, shipping, manufacturing, and printing are all accounted for without you having to worry about a thing.

The one problem with this method is that before you can get any monetary gain, you have to dedicate yourself to writing a book, which can take time and a lot of determination. However, the reward is possible monetary gain for years, as people keep purchasing your book time and again.

Create an Online Course

If you are an expert or even just competent in a certain subject, and you are looking to make a passive income, you should consider creating an online course. Online education has become increasingly useful and important to people’s natural development in recent years, with many people actively looking for an expansion of their own abilities.

This gap in the market has been filled by a variety of sites that offer online courses or lessons taught by experienced teachers. Some offer language lessons like Italki or more structured technological courses like SkillShare, but all offer competent training.

 If you are skilled and happen to have a camera, you can record a course of your choice and post it to one of these websites. There is no need for a recording studio, you only need the camera and a will to record it.

These websites tend to be subscription based, so you require only a few people to watch your course in order to make money. You can keep your course open for however long you want, and it will keep making money for you.

Alternatively, you can always post to a blog or YouTube channel. This way you will have a better understanding of what your audience wants, however, your monetary income may be slightly lower, and you may need to subsidize your video with advertisements.

Airbnb Listings

If you have a spare room or a second property, this is the perfect side hustle. It is, by far, one of the easiest ways to gain a passive income. This is because there is very little effort beforehand in order to make it viable for a passive income.

The only things that you need to worry about are the furnishings of your property and the cleaning of the property once the guests have vacated the premises. Most of the other work revolves around creating and managing the listing itself, as people will expect a host to be responsive and prompt messaging.

Once you have created the listing on websites, like Airbnb, you have to check the listing constantly for inquiries, reservations, cancellations, and any reviews that might be thrown your way. This is particularly important as people will rent your property based on prior reviews.

Other than that, there isn’t much to do but manage the property itself in between stays, making sure everything is clean and fixing problems. It is a pretty easy income to have, especially if the property is in a well-visited but expensive city.

One thing to remember with this side hustle is that you shouldn’t keep any valuable or sentimental possessions in your listing. You may have a respectable property for your guests, but they may not be respectful to your property.

Invest in Real Estate

Unlike others on this list, this side hustle may be a bit of a gamble. It has the real potential to make a lot of money but mismanage or do it wrong, and you could lose some also.

Yet, that doesn’t stop real estate investment from being one of the most popular side hustles around. Much like Airbnb, if you own a property, you could simply use that to gain an income, the difference is that your property would be rented to real tenants, and you will have to manage their property.

If you wish to avoid this, you can have the property managed by a third party company that takes care of the property for you for a fee, or you can use real-estate investment apps. These apps allow you to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs), which own income-producing property.

These properties are often commercial in nature and constantly generate an income. The REITs are less expensive to invest in than purchasing an actual property, and they distribute the profits these properties make to their investors.

Thanks to the nature of these properties, it takes very little time to see the results, and you should start gaining from this passive income immediately. One of the best real estate apps is Fundrise, as it has different levels depending on the amount of investment you want to put into real estate, with the lowest being $10+ and the highest being $100,000+.

Rent Out Your Car

Have an old car in good condition, but you just have no use for it? Well, there is always a person in need of a motor for a few hours or even days. Renting out your car is the perfect way to earn a little bit of cash on the side and, though it may not be the most consistent gig, it is certainly a good way to make some quick cash.

There are plenty of platforms online that allow you to rent things – we’ve already discussed Neighbor, Airbnb, and Fundrise – and there is no exception for cars.

Turo is an app that allows you to rent out your car for monetary compensation. It is easy to set up, free to join, and the only thing you need to have before starting an account is a car in good condition. It does not have to be the prettiest car in the world, it just needs to be clean and run relatively well.

Since the only thing you need is the car, you don’t have to worry about investing more money or time into this endeavor. This app becomes especially useful around difficult travel times of year, like the holidays or the winter season, and it allows you to earn an income with little to no effort. The only things you have to do are set up your account and manage your own car.

Sell Stock Photos

Before you commit to this side hustle, there are two things that are needed: 1) Do you have a good camera? 2) Do you have good photography skills? If both are true, then you can easily turn a profit with some of the most easily recognizable but most scrolled past photos on the internet.

Stock photos are a constant source of entertainment for meme creators, however they do have their place and are in continuous demand by many businesses and websites to the point where the profession has become a lucrative business in and of itself. On every stock photo used or downloaded, a commission is paid to the owner, be they the photographer or the company that commissioned the photo.

If you can create the right images for a specific brand or a more varied audience, people will be clamoring to buy your photos.

You could sell them to stock photography trading platforms, who will pay commissions for your work when they are bought, or you could set up your own website, which has a smaller reach but more of the commission fees go to you.

Although you will have to build your portfolio and work at it for a year or two, once you have the portfolio going and a good network of buyers, the business will begin running itself. Maybe once in a while you will have to update the photos or commission costs, but that will be about it.

Sell Printables

You’ve seen printables though you may not have known it at the time. They are pieces of digitally made artwork about anything you can imagine.

Cartoon characters, landscapes, banana jelly, eggs with legs, anything can be made into a printable work of art and that means that printables can be created for a lot of different situations, like birthday decorations or fun puzzle games for kids. This makes selling them a good way to garner a little cash on the side.

The two things you need are a willingness to practice your art skills and software that allows you to create digital art. Both seem hard at first, but there are digital programs like Adobe or Canva that can be downloaded easily, and practice makes perfect, especially for art.

All you really need to do is create a few pieces, as they will be saved digitally, so you don’t have to keep making the same product over and over. Then you can set up an account on an online marketplace, like Etsy, and sell your product.

Printables are not overly time-consuming like traditional pieces of art, and they do not have the packaging or shipping costs of regular products, due to being an online entity, as such you only need to update your selection of products every so often and that’s about as much work as your store needs.


The traditional view of a 9 to 5 job is disappearing, and many more people in the modern world work varying hours and shifts. People are also looking for ways to increase their income without sacrificing their free time too much, and for that, side hustles are perfect.

Even more perfect is the way the internet makes it so easy for us now to create profitable businesses without the burden of high costs or payments. If you are looking for a side hustle, then I suggest looking through our list, it may be easier than you think to start your own little business.

Deborah White