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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Greetings, enthusiasts of passive income and financial autonomy! As someone deeply immersed in the realm of financial strategies and income diversification, I understand the importance of staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of generating wealth. My wealth of knowledge in this field is not just theoretical; it's backed by a proven track record and a genuine passion for helping others achieve financial success.

Now, let's delve into the concepts presented in the article "11 Passive Income Ideas to Increase Your Cash Flow in 2024" published on Coursera, dated December 11, 2023. This article offers a comprehensive guide on passive income, elucidating its definition, the IRS's perspective, and actionable ideas to kickstart your passive income journey.

1. Passive Income Definition: Passive income, as per the article, is a revenue stream requiring minimal ongoing effort. It's characterized by an upfront or initial investment that generates consistent, long-term gains. The IRS classifies two types of passive activities: trade or business activities not demanding material participation and rental activities, encompassing financial investments like stocks, mutual funds, royalties, and ownership of rental properties.

2. Active vs. Passive Income: The article distinguishes active income, earned through continuous effort, from passive income, where work is done upfront, and earnings accrue over time with no further effort.

3. Considerations for Starting: The article guides readers on contemplating upfront investments, skills, and knowledge to identify potential passive income streams. It emphasizes the importance of automating the sharing process.

4. 11 Passive Income Ideas: The article provides a curated list of 11 passive income ideas, exploring each with pros and cons.

a. Financial Investments: Options include the stock market, mutual funds, bonds, and peer lending.

b. Rental Property: Owning property for rental income, with considerations for property upkeep.

c. Print-on-Demand Shop: Selling original designs on various products without inventory concerns.

d. Self-Publishing: Creating and selling books online through platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing.

e. Sell Worksheets and Templates: Offering printable worksheets or digital organization templates for sale.

f. Create Content: Monetizing original creations on platforms like YouTube, requiring a following and adherence to program requirements.

g. Online Courses: Packaging expertise into courses on platforms like Thinkific or Teachable.

h. Sell Stock Photos: Monetizing photography skills by selling original photos on stock image platforms.

i. Create an App: Developing and selling mobile apps through app stores.

j. Use Affiliate Marketing: Promoting products with affiliate links, combining SEO techniques for income maximization.

5. Tips for Success: The article underscores the importance of effective advertising campaigns, social media leverage, and acquiring essential skills through courses like the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate, available on Coursera.

In conclusion, this article serves as an invaluable resource for those seeking to embark on the journey of passive income in 2024, offering not only a comprehensive understanding of the concept but also actionable ideas and guidance for success. Now, armed with this knowledge, take the plunge into the world of passive income and watch your cash flow grow over time.

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