Passive Income Ideas from Business Insider

Here’s a post from Business Insider that contains some really great passive income ideas.  I decided to go through the list and provide insights into my personal experience with each stream.  There’s a few wholes and I would love to hear about your experience and it is in this post.

1. Try out index funds.

“Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market.”

I have a small amount of experience with index funds.  I have a TD Ameritrade account to  buy and sell indexes, stocks, and options.  I was really into energy indexes a few years back.  We really didn’t have the energy boom I was expecting, but energy is a still a strong long term buy.  You can start your portfolio at TD Ameritrade and receive some bonus cash in the process.  You should really think about the $250,000 deposit.:)


Grade of the stream: A

You can earn a solid 4 – 8% A.P.R. yield on your investment with index investing.  The great part of index fund investing is that you’re betting on the whole market or an industry and not just a single company.

2. Make YouTube videos.

“The keys will be to create compelling videos, to promote those videos on social media websites, and to create enough of them that your income will be coming from multiple sources.”

YouTube is one of my favorite platforms to make passive income.  I have a channel with over 200 subscribers and some of my content is in Google’s index.  Getting your content index is an extremely powerful tool for passive views.  Passive views is this case translates to dollars.  Here’s my a video from my channel that explains the economics.  Video CPMs are ridiculously high!

Grade of the stream: C

Your mileage will vary with YouTube.  I have received payouts from YouTube, but not enough to quit my day job.  However, I really enjoy it and met some really great people while doing it.  I receive a moderate amount of traffic and it’s a nice small stream.

YouTube can be a game changer for many people. I happen to know Eli the Computer Guy.  We both live in Baltimore. He’s an awesome guy and he has 647,000 subscribers for his YouTube channel.  His day job is YouTube.  No, I’m serious.  He’s just doing YouTube.

3. Try affiliate marketing and make sales.

“This is a passive income technique that is better suited to people who have blogs and active websites.”

This one is funny.  Ty is a best affiliate marketer in the house.  What kills me is that she doesn’t even try.  We both blog, but she her work really resonates with people.  We’ve had some success on one of the biggest affiliate platforms out there, Amazon.

Grade of the stream: C

If you have an established following of buyers, affiliate marketing is a great path to pursue.  Building and maintaining a following is tricky.  We are in the attention economy.  Once you stop being interesting or fall out of favor, driving sales will become difficult.  This can be a great stream but can require a lot of effort to maintain.


4. Put your photography to work on the web.

“Do you like photography? If you do, you may be able to convert it into a passive income source. Photography websites such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto can provide you with platforms to sell your photos.”

I don’t have any experience in this area.  What about you?  I would look to hear your story.

Grade of the stream: C (no experience)

A great picture of the Space Needle, Seattle, and Mount Rainer via Pexels.

5. Purchase high dividend stocks.

“By building a portfolio of high dividend stocks, you can create regular passive income at an annual rate that is much higher than what you get on bank investments.”

I own a few stocks in the category.  What’s helpful for me is that I have a long view on my position.  I don’t watch the stock price day by day.  This really remove the frustration and anxiety of being in the market.  I’m not a day trader, nor do I want to be.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know some day traders.  Some are great friends, but I don’t want that life.

Grade of the stream: B

I feel this passive stream has more risk than 1, but can offer similar returns.  Remember, you are betting on an individual company.

6. Write an ebook.

“This can be a lot of work upfront, but once the ebook is created and marketed it can provide you with a passive revenue stream for years.”

I wish I had some valuable nuggets of insight here.

7. Get cash-back rewards on credit cards.

“There are credit cards that provide cash-back rewards ranging anywhere from 1% to 5% of the amount purchased. You’re going to be out shopping and buying anyway, right?”

I love this stream.  I use to pay utility bills with my cash-back reward credit cards.  However, my bank caught on to this and offered me cash back percentage if I use my regular card.  However, these cards are good if you travel a lot.  Just remember to pay off your balance immediately.  Here’s some option for reward cards to look into.

Grade of the stream: B

You have to make purchases all of the time.  If you can do this through a credit cards with cash-back rewards, this can be a solid income stream.  This would be ideal business purchases.

8. Sell your own products on the internet.

“The possibilities here are endless — you can sell just about any product or service that you like.”

More information coming soon…

9. Invest in real estate.

“This probably falls more in the category of semi-passive income, since an investment in real estate is always at least a little bit of an active venture.”

My personal story coming soon…

Image via Red River

Grade of the stream: A-

I only gave this a A- because you need a lot of capital to properly invest in real estate.  This is a really passive venture.

10. Buy a blog.

“Thousands of blogs are created every year, and thousands are either completely abandoned by their owners sometime afterward.”

More information coming soon…

11. Pay off a credit card (or two or three).

“Reducing a fixed expense is the financial equivalent of creating passive income. This is certainly true when it comes to credit cards. Let’s say that you owe $10,000 on a credit card, on which there is a monthly payment equal to 2% of the balance, or $200 per month.”

I really like this one.  It focusing on cutting cost and opposing to opening a new stream.  Most people can do this, because most people reading this have one more cards with an outstanding balance.  Am I right?

Grade of the stream: A+

Image available via Early Retirement Ahead

Let me really drill in the math.  The scenario listed above has an A.P.R. of 24%.  Yes, you will give the lender 24% of the loan, because that’s why credit cards are… loans.  For $10,000 you are forking over $2,400 a year.  This should be one of the passive stream you should focus on.  You should not give away your future dollars.

12. Write a book and collect royalties.

“Much like writing an ebook, there’s a lot of work upfront. But once that’s done, and the book goes into the sales stage, it becomes a completely passive venture.”

More information coming soon…

13. Set up a website selling a product.

“If there is a product that you are particularly knowledgeable about, you may be able to sell it on a dedicated website.”

More information coming soon…

14. Invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs).

“In #10 we talked about investing in real estate. But let’s say that you want to invest in real estate, but do it in a truly passive way.”

More information coming soon…

15. Become a business silent partner.

“Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you instead take an equity position in the business.”

I wish I was I was a silent partner in a business.  The idea is like investing an index fund, dividend yielding stock, or REITs.  The returns can be collected on a shorter interval.  Some partnerships may payout monthly or sooner.

Grade of the stream: B+

Photo via Telegraph

16. Become a referral source.

“Every small business needs referral sources in order to maintain sales. Make a list of small business providers that you use on a regular basis and feel you can recommend to others without reservation.”

More information coming soon…

17. Rent out unused space with Airbnb.

“Airbnb is a concept that has only been around for a few years, but it has exploded around the globe. Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels.”

I have no experience with Airbnb on the buying or selling side.  I find the concept of the sharing economy interesting.  I think many people are successful with this.  Some people don’t like hotels.  I feel there will always be a market for short term housing rentals.  I don’t see Airbnb going away anytime soon.  This maybe a great place to invest your time.

Grade of the stream: C (no experience)

Photo via Huffington Post

18. Build an app.

“Apps can be an incredibly lucrative income source. Think about how many people today have smartphones. Come on, it’s just about everybody! People are downloading apps like crazy — and for good reason . . .”

I’ve built a few apps, and didn’t develop any income streams.  The truth is I didn’t design my apps as an income sources.  I built them mainly to learn.

Grade of the stream: C

There are tons that allow you to build a mobile app in five minutes.  This is definitely worth looking into if you would like to develop a product or service to use on a mobile device.

19. Create an online course.

“Everyone is an expert at something. Why not create an online course about your passion?”

Why not create course out of it indeed.  This questions makes me feel a little bad about this one.  I’m sure I could be successful on this one.

More information coming soon…

20. Make an online guide.

“If writing articles or creating videos isn’t your thing, and you want to make money online, try creating an online guide.”

More information coming soon…

21. Outsource most if not all of your business needs.

“If you’re spending too much of your time on an existing business running it yourself, why not outsource most if not all of your tasks?”

I don’t have any experiencing in the virtual assistant space.  Do you have any?

[Your experience can go here]


Grade of the stream: C (no experience)

22. Make money for tasks you’d do anyway.

“Yes, you can make some money doing some of the things you’re already doing.”

Remember how we talked about how we live in the attention economy.  You like to play games, great!  You like to watch videos, fine.  There are companies like Swagbucks and InboxDollars that would love for you to do those things on there platform.  For your activity on their sites, the will pay you.

I’ve used Swagbucks in the past, and it requires a lot of effort for payouts.  I’m sure it’s great for some people but I decided to do something else with my time.

Grade of the stream: D

You don’t really own the stream here, but you can still earn some nice pocket change.  The reason I rated it a D is because you have to constantly manage this stream.


Business Insider did a great job showcasing some great streams.  There’s a ton of potential things to do.  You may it this far.  You should sign up for my newsletter.  I will update this page with more content.  When it’s updated I will let you know.


Passive Income Ideas from Business Insider

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