5 Passive Income Examples You Can Start Tomorrow

5 Passive Income Examples You Can Start Tomorrow

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There are dozens of different ways to make side income but the one type that reigns supreme is passive income. Passive income is a hard concept for most people to get their heads wrapped around as they believe it is only for the rich. I’m here to tell you that just isn’t true. Luckily for us, there are plenty of passive income examples you can start tomorrow.

5 passive income examples you can start tomorrow are:

1) Invest for retirement
2) Sell something online
3) Airbnb
4) Affiliate marketing
5) Lend money to friends

Passive income is the holy grail. Waking up to an email saying you got a Paypal payment or hearing your phone go off when a Venmo comes through feels amazing. My girlfriend would tell you that I like those notifications even more than getting a text from her (that’s true). A common misconception people have is that many things that they think are passive income aren’t. Finding something that is true, 100%, passive income is extremely rare, but still possible.

Probably the most popular and recognizable way is through real estate. As a landlord myself, I can say that turning this into a stream of passive income is hard and expensive. It is possible to hire a property manager and be totally hands off but you’ll pay for it. I didn’t include real estate in this list because I want to give you ideas of things you can start tomorrow. Items that are relatively easy, don’t have a high cost of entry, and don’t take a ton of work upfront.

I have multiple sources of income, one of which is my full-time job, another that is true passive income, and the rest are scattered somewhere in between. Because it is so difficult to get something 100% passive, I’ve included things in this article that are close but may take some initial work upfront.

Invest For Retirement

Did you know that investing is a form of passive income? While it’s often called portfolio income, it’s really the same thing. Most people take advantage of this stream of passive income usually through a work sponsored retirement program. If you don’t have one, no worries. You can open up an investing account today.

It’s no secret that I harp on the idea of investing early as a young adult in low cost index funds. Doing this will give you a huge nest egg in the future. This isn’t a retirement article though. If you want to learn more about that, go to my post, Index Funds – Your #1 Option For Your Retirement Account.

Anyway, back to business. How much does investing pay you? Well at first, not a whole lot but we’re playing the long-term game here. If you invested $3,000 a year, with an 8% annual interest rate starting at the age of 20 and did that until you were 65, you would have over $1.2 million dollars. The interest you earn off this investing is the passive income. Due to the compounding effect, this will grow exponentially.

In the first year, you will only make $240 in passive income but when you’re 65 you’ll earn over $92,000. That’s a lot of money! And a lot of reasons to start today!

Sell Something Online

Selling something online is going to fall into the category of not really being passive income at first but it can get there eventually. And it will certainly become easier and easier as you go. Like we discussed in the beginning, truly passive income is a difficult goal. Our goal today will be to do as little work as possible and still make some cash.

If you’re like me, you have a lot of stuff. Nothing in particular; just things you’ve acquired over the years that you no longer use anymore. If all it’s doing is taking up space in your closet, then why not sell it? Signing up for a site like eBay or Poshmark takes 5 minutes and you can have a whole closet posted in under an hour. My friend Marie did just this. She currently has almost 50 items listed that at a quick glance add up to over $500. For inspiration look at Marie Brummett’s Closet. Do you have $500 worth of things just sitting in your home? Possibly even more. Skip the garage sale and list them online.

If you get really good at this, you can take it to the next level and look into drop-shipping and using a Shopify store. Again, this will take time to set up but could pay off huge down the road. Getting into this would take a whole series of articles but just know there are people making great money by building online stores that never even touch a physical product. If this sounds interesting and attainable for you, close this article, research Poshmark start-ups, and start cleaning out the closet today.


This is my favorite idea on the list, probably because I’ve done it and made some serious cash. The best part is my roommate/Airbnb partner and I invested less than $100 in order to make it all work.

Being an Airbnb host falls into the same category as selling things online. It takes some work up front, but after that it can basically run it self (almost).

When I lived in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, my roommate came up with the idea to Airbnb out a spot in our living room. I was extremely skeptical at first but went with it anyways. He bought an air mattress off Amazon, I added some hotel shampoo to my bathroom, and we listed it.

For $45-$70 a night you could sleep on an air mattress in our living room. The one pictured below to be exact. Also, I folded the towels into swans for the 5-star rating.

I can feel you laughing through your computer screen so let me break down some numbers for you. We would be booked most of the month, probably two-thirds of it on average. If we made $50 per night and were booked 20 nights out of the month, then we would gross $1000 a month. Our rent for the two bedroom apartment was around $1500 a month so this extra income knocks our rent down to $250 a piece. Not bad for a cheap air mattress.

My roommate took this even further and bought a condo strictly for Airbnb. While he did put in some initial work, he outsourced all of the cleaning to a maid company. This allowed him to manage the whole business strictly from his phone. Thus staying within our rule of working less and making more.

Airbnb is a great option but you need to understand your market before you jump in as a host. We were in a prime location being downtown in the 11th largest metropolitan area in the US. An air mattress in a living room will probably be a little more difficult to rent out in rural Kansas.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have any sort of audience, you can take advantage of affiliate marketing. I know that for most, this term means nothing to you. What’s most important to know about affiliate marketing is that there are people just like me and you making hundreds of thousands of dollars a MONTH doing it.

The short and sweet of affiliate marketing is when you promote a product for another business and someone then buys with your code or link, you get a small cut. There are a ton of different ways to get into affiliate marketing but the most popular is far and away, Amazon Associates.

Affiliate marketing is a true form of passive income. Imagine that you’re making a piece of content like a product review. Within that product review, you attach an affiliated link so as your readers learn more from your personal testimony, they can go straight to buying the product. When a person buys the product through your link, you get a kick-back. Consider it the payment for your marketing.

To be successful, you need to make sure the product fits your brand as well as your morals. I can go out and get a link for a crappy credit card, promote it, and probably make some money. Eventually people will see through this and know that I’m just trying to make some cash. Make sure you actually use and enjoy the product.

A word of caution though, don’t just start building links and spamming your family and friends. You are going to be annoying and not make any money. Moreover, it’s important you understand the terms of service from these sites. For example, you can’t send Amazon links out in emails, and you legally have to tell people you are getting a cut from them.

On the side of every post where I use links, I put a disclosure at the top as well as my legal information on the side. My article: 20 Gifts Under $20 To Keep You In Budget This Holiday Season shows how I do this.

If you want more information on affiliate marketing, let me know by reaching out. It’s a huge opportunity for people who want to make money online and is a form of true passive income.

Lend Money To Friends

I’m extremely hesitant to put this form of passive income you can start tomorrow on this list but in reality, it works and it works well. Lending money to friends is extremely risky and can make for some awkward situations. I’ve done this probably a dozen times now and each time it makes me nervous, for good reason. If you’ve considered the situation, and the friend, it’s a risk that can pay off.

If you’re going to lend money to people, then EVERYTHING must be in writing. It doesn’t matter how small the detail is or how much you trust someone (trust no one when it comes to money), put it in writing. If you want to be truly safe, a lawyer should draw up a contract to protect yourself but it is possible to do it yourself. Here are the basics you need to line out:

  1. Who the loan is between
  2. The amount of the loan
  3. What it is for
  4. What the interest rate and payment amount is
  5. The term (length) of the loan
  6. Start and end date
  7. How payments should be sent
  8. Late payment penalty fee

If you’re going to lend money to someone, you need to be getting paid a premium for the risk you’re taking on. I usually shoot for a 15% return at minimum because I know I could find a return close to that number by investing in something much safer like a work 401k that I mentioned above.

The last thing I’m going to mention is something that I cannot stress enough:

Don’t lend money to people that you don’t have yourself.

If you’re putting yourself in a tough situation by giving up your cash to make a small return, then you’re doing it all wrong. Lending money to people makes sense when you are using excess cash, not your emergency fund.

Related Questions

1) Can I make passive income with no money?

This list is meant to get your mind working to think of even better ideas. It’s possible to make passive income with no money and the example of affiliate marketing above is one of those. Things like real estate and investing will take more capital.

2) How old do I have to be to make passive income?

Saying that passive income is only for the wealthy is a myth. No matter the age, you can start building streams of passive income now. I won’t deny that the older and more money you have, the more opportunities you will have but this is where you must be creative.

3) What are the best books on passive income?

I’ve read quite a few books on passive income but the two that always come to mind is The Four Hour Work Week and Rich Dad’ Guide To Investing. Yes, those are affiliate marketing links but they are books that I actually love and I think they could teach you a ton as well.

The Bottom Line

Making truly passive income is extremely difficult and for most, you won’t have that opportunity, yet. That doesn’t mean you can’t start working towards building them now though. If you haven’t already, go back and read the article titled: How To Build Multiple Streams Of Income In Your 20’s.

This article covers all types of income but at the core what it takes to build these different avenues to make money is the same;

Be patient, stay creative, and work hard and you’ll find a way.

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