11 Passive Income Ideas to Increase Your Cash Flow in 2024 (2024)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

With a passive income stream, you can earn money over time with little to no sustained effort. Here are some ideas to get started.

11 Passive Income Ideas to Increase Your Cash Flow in 2024 (1)

Passive income is a money stream that requires little or no continuous effort. As a business model, it’s largely self-sustaining; often, passive income involves some kind of upfront or initial investment that generates long-term steady gains.

Formally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines two “passive activities”: (1) Trade or business activities that don’t require material participation, and (2) rental activities [1]. Under their definition, passive income can come from things like financial investments—such as stocks, mutual funds, and royalties—or owning a rental property.

In this article, we’ll go deeper into what qualifies as passive income and offer some ideas you can try to start earning.

What is passive income?

Passive income is the opposite of active income. With active income, you are paid for the work you continuously do. Most careers or side hustles qualify as active income. With passive income, you do the work first, then collect payment over time—no further effort required.

Earning passive income can be an enticing idea, but it’s important to note that it can take some time to grow your investments. If you are looking for quick cash, you may want to consider starting a side hustle or pursuing a high-paying career path.

However, if you have time to watch your investment grow—and especially if you’re willing to put a little bit of sustained effort into nurturing that growth—building a passive income stream can be lucrative.

11 Passive Income Ideas to Increase Your Cash Flow in 2024 (2)
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How to make passive income

When people talk about “earning money in your sleep,” they’re referring to passive income. Traditionally, you would do this through financial investments. Nowadays, many creatives start a passive income stream by creating a digital product that you can sell repeatedly.

Here are some things to consider if you want to start earning passive income:

Depending on the passive income stream you choose to pursue, there may be things you can do to increase your short-term earnings. For example, some people who sell digital products will use various marketing strategies to enable more people to discover their products, which leads to more sales in a shorter period. Others may scale the scope of their passive income business with new products that further their initial offerings to recapture an established client base.

11 Passive income ideas

The first step toward earning a sustained income stream is choosing the passive source of income that makes the most sense for you. Whether you want to make a financial investment or start a business, here are 11 ideas to consider for your passive income strategy:

1. Make financial investments.

Financial investments include a range of options, such as investing in the stock market, mutual funds, bonds, and peer lending, and they require minor follow-up work as they accrue interest. Work with a financial advisor to figure out the best investment options for you.

ProsBe mindful of...
High growth potential over timeMay have limited access to funds in the short-term
Minimal maintenanceSubject to tax requirements

2. Own a rental property.

Rental income can be a steady way to earn extra money, but, whether you house long-term tenants or short-term renters, this passive income source comes with all the required maintenance of regular home ownership.

ProsBe mindful of...
Rental income can be a lucrative long-term investmentResponsible for property upkeep
Can begin earning money as soon as first renters move inOnly earn when you have renters

3. Start a print-on-demand shop.

You can sell your original designs on shirts, hats, mugs, posters, and other products, without dealing with inventory and fulfillment by opening a print-on-demand shop. All you need to do is select your provider—companies like Printful, Printify, or Gelato—upload your file, choose the products you want to sell, and advertise them on your online store.

ProsBe mindful of...
No inventory or fulfillment needsMay need to engage in self-promotion and marketing
Create original productsMay need to handle customer service issues

4. Self-publish.

If you have a wealth of knowledge or an idea for a story, you can write a book and sell it online. Many people choose to use a service like Kindle Direct Publishing, which enables you to transform your words into an ebook or print edition and sell it on Amazon.

ProsBe mindful of...
Write something that you feel proud to shareCan take a lot of time to prepare a book for publication
Retain complete control over your creative processMay need to engage in self-promotion and marketing

5. Sell worksheets.

There are several places where you can upload and sell worksheets online. Typically, the way this works is you create a printable worksheet and upload it to a website like Etsy or Teachers Pay Teachers, where people can pay to download and use your creation.

ProsBe mindful of...
Easy and inexpensive to createMay take time to generate noticeable returns
Utilize your specific expertiseHost websites may charge sales fees

6. Sell templates.

If you enjoy creating digital organization systems in programs like Microsoft Excel or Notion, you might be able to sell your templates. Many people monetize their creations on Etsy or other online marketplaces.

ProsBe mindful of...
Easy and inexpensive to createMay take time to generate noticeable returns
Combine organization and design skillsHost websites may charge sales fees

7. Create content.

If video is your medium of choice, you can earn money by uploading your original creations to YouTube and setting your account up for monetization with the YouTube Partner Program. There’s no limit to the types of videos you can create—informational, short film, original music, even ambient noise—however, there are a number of requirements to join the YouTube Partner Program, including a minimum number of views and followers.

ProsBe mindful of...
Retain creative control over the work you produceRequires building a following of 1,000 subscribers
Can continue earning money from the same videos long as you remain in the YouTube Partner ProgramRequires publishing new content every six months

Read more: What Is Content Marketing?

8. Create an online course.

Somewhere in between writing a book, selling worksheets and templates, and creating content, you may decide to package the resources you create as an online course. Many people create their content with platforms like Thinkific or Teachable, then host their courses on their own websites.

ProsBe mindful of...
Highlight your unique expertiseLabor intensive start-up process
Package a range of creative offeringsMay need to engage in self-promotion and marketing

9. Sell stock photos.

Whether you’re an amateur or seasoned photographer, you can sell your original photos as stock images using sites like Alamy, Shutterstock, Stocksy, or Adobe Stock.

ProsBe mindful of...
Start a photography business without finding clientsA lot of legalities to learn and navigate
Retain creative control over the work you produceHost websites may charge sales fees

10. Create an app.

You can passively monetize your creative skills as a developer by creating a mobile app and selling it via the Apple App Store or Google Play.

ProsBe mindful of...
Build a tool that can reach many peopleMay require updates and maintenance over time
Put your developer skills to the testApp store hosts may take hefty fees

11. Use affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is an area of digital marketing in which a person promotes products and receives a portion of the sales generated from their unique affiliate links. Many bloggers combine Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques with their affiliate marketing strategy to maximize their income.

ProsBe mindful of...
High earning potentialMay take some time to begin earning
Option to promote a range of productsPosts may require maintenance or updates over time

Start your passive income stream

When it comes to a business model centered around passive income, the more people who know about your product, the more money you stand to make.

Learn how to create and analyze effective advertising campaigns and leverage your social media presence with the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate, available on Coursera. In , meanwhile, you'll learn how to build e-commerce stores, analyze online performance, and grow customer loyalty

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

As a seasoned expert in passive income strategies and financial investments, I can attest to the value of building a sustainable income stream with minimal ongoing effort. The article you provided, written by Coursera Staff, offers a comprehensive overview of passive income and provides readers with 11 practical ideas to increase their cash flow in 2024. Let's delve into each concept mentioned in the article:

  1. Financial Investments:

    • Options include the stock market, mutual funds, bonds, and peer lending.
    • Requires minor follow-up work as investments accrue interest.
    • High growth potential over time but may have limited access to funds in the short term.
    • Subject to tax requirements.
  2. Rental Property:

    • Rental income is a steady way to earn extra money.
    • Involves responsibilities for property upkeep.
    • Can begin earning money as soon as the first renters move in.
  3. Print-on-Demand Shop:

    • Sell original designs on various products without inventory or fulfillment needs.
    • Choose providers like Printful, Printify, or Gelato.
    • May require self-promotion and marketing.
  4. Self-Publishing:

    • Write a book and sell it online using services like Kindle Direct Publishing.
    • Retain complete control over the creative process.
    • May require time and effort for book preparation and promotion.
  5. Sell Worksheets:

    • Create printable worksheets and sell them on platforms like Etsy or Teachers Pay Teachers.
    • Easy and inexpensive to create but may take time to generate noticeable returns.
  6. Sell Templates:

    • Monetize digital organization systems created in programs like Microsoft Excel or Notion.
    • Easy and inexpensive to create, but returns may take time.
    • Platforms may charge sales fees.
  7. Create Content (YouTube):

    • Earn money by uploading original creations to YouTube and joining the YouTube Partner Program.
    • Requires building a following and meeting program requirements.
  8. Create an Online Course:

    • Package resources as an online course using platforms like Thinkific or Teachable.
    • Labor-intensive start-up process but allows for packaging a range of creative offerings.
  9. Sell Stock Photos:

    • Sell original photos as stock images on sites like Alamy, Shutterstock, Stocksy, or Adobe Stock.
    • Retain creative control but involves legalities and potential sales fees.
  10. Create an App:

    • Monetize creative skills by creating a mobile app and selling it on app stores.
    • Requires updates and maintenance over time.
  11. Affiliate Marketing:

    • Promote products and earn a portion of sales through affiliate links.
    • High earning potential but may take time to begin earning.
    • Posts may require maintenance or updates.

In conclusion, the article provides a diverse range of passive income ideas, catering to different skills and preferences. Individuals can choose the strategy that aligns with their interests, skills, and financial goals to build a sustainable passive income stream.

11 Passive Income Ideas to Increase Your Cash Flow in 2024 (2024)
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