Who doesn’t want to make money without putting out much effort? I sure do. In fact, I want to lounge on the beach and sip mojitos while my money triples every hour. Possible? Probably not. While I’m not living the dream on some faraway beach, I do know of a few simple (and completely legitimate) passive income streams that can add some instant weight to your wallet.
No, these are not pyramid schemes or get rich quick scams, and nothing is illegal. They’re proven strategies for making passive income without doing much of anything at all. Most of us are hardworking, entrepreneurs at heart who just haven’t found the right opportunity. If you’re tired of robbing Peter to pay Paul and you’re ready to explore something new, here’s how to maximize your income with 9 incredibly easy passive income streams that really work.
No. 1: Install Apps On Your Phone For Money
What’s easier than installing a few apps on your phone to make quick cash? Nothing, and that’s exactly why smart people are taking advantage of this incredibly easy passive income stream. Marketing companies are in the business of trying to understand consumer habits – daily television, digital and social media use. They pay you to help! Use your device (think smartphone) to make money by sharing information about your habits. But don’t worry, your identity is never exposed and these companies will never contact you personally. On the plus side, you can make up to $15 a month in passive income just for installing their app. Here are three of my favorites:
Media Insiders Panel: with an easy registration process, you make money instantly. They generously offer sign up bonus points, and the opportunity to make a few extra points if you’re willing to take a few surveys in your spare time. Before you know it, you’ll earn 2500 points, redeemable for $25, which is deposited directly into your PayPal account. Media Insiders Panel supports both iPhone and Android. Of course, you need to be a U.S. resident and over the age of 13.
Nielson Mobile Panel: another opportunity to earn cash just for using your phone, Neilson is the same group that tracks television viewing. It’s possible to earn up to $50 per year, but this passive income stream only works with iPhones. If you have one, log in, register and get started. By the way, Nielson makes it crystal clear that downloading their app will not drain your battery life or slow the speed of your device. However, you need to be over the age of 45 to participate.
Screenwise Panel: This one requires you to install a browser extension and a mobile app, but the payoff is close to $110 a year! It runs in the background, so it promises not to slow your device. When you sign up you receive $8, followed by $2 each week. However, instead of direct payments to your PayPal account, you redeem your cash through a gift card. But with tons of choices, like Walmart, Barnes & Noble and more, there’s something for everyone. Note: if Screenwise panel isn’t accepting new applications, try again in a week. They routinely fill up, but add new members all the time.
No. 2: Sell Your Photographs Online
For anyone with a smart phone, this passive income stream is almost too easy. If you’re like me, taking pictures is a rite of passage with a smartphone and it’s easy to take awesome shots. The best part about selling pictures online is that you don’t need to be a professional – in fact, just the opposite. As long as you can fill out a simple registration form, you can sell.
Where to start? Check out Shutterstock. It’s an easy platform to figure out and all that’s required is a valid email address and some nifty images. For the most part, you choose whether you want a flat fee per image or a percentage of each sale. Hint: pictures can be sold again and again, which is why if you opt for a percentage, you can make a pretty sweet residual income (think cute pet shots). As for the content, anything and everything is in demand. And with the growth of content marketing on the web, everyone needs fresh pictures. As a side note – unless you want your kids plastered all over the Internet, be careful what you offer to sell. Play it safe and avoid taking pictures of family members.
No. 3: Try Your Hand at YouTube Videos
Do you ever wonder why there isn’t a video tutorial on everything you need to do? How do you iron a shirt or tie a perfect Windsor knot? If you have a talent for something, why not give it a go and make a YouTube video. Video is hotter than hot, and people of all ages are searching for just about everything. Post your video online, create a Google Adsense account and get paid every time someone clicks on an ad! It really is that easy to make passive income on YouTube. Google pays monthly as long as your balance exceeds a certain level and funds are deposited directly into your bank account. Don’t want to make a tutorial? Maybe you can play the violin like a master or have an interesting take on a new movie. Any topic is acceptable as long as you keep it clean. The key is to make an engaging bit that people want to watch – the clicks will come, and so will the cash!
No. 4: Open a High Yield Checking or Savings Account
I love this one because it really is a no brainer. If you currently use a bank (which most of us do) then run, don’t walk down to your local branch and set this up immediately. By improving the interest rate on your savings, you can potentially earn hundreds of dollars a year. Typically, online banks generate higher interest rates than the traditional bank on the corner, but even credit unions can have pretty attractive offers when it comes to reward checking accounts. Be aware, sometimes there are limitations, like reduced number of debit card transactions. But if you can deal with it, you stand to earn more than 4 times the typical interest rate.
No. 5: Peer-to-Peer Lending
This one takes a little bit of upfront capital to really make it work, but if you’re willing and you want to give it a whirl, it’s a worthwhile venture. Peer-to-peer lending sites are all the rage today, and folks are always looking for opportunities to borrow. To make passive income, you become one of the investors willing to throw your money out there for prospective borrowers. But here’s the key: you don’t need to put up all the money someone wishes to borrow. In fact, you really only loan increments of $25 or less – but to hundreds of borrowers at the same time. Here’s why it works: the return on your investment is much higher than a traditional savings or money market account, and at 6-10 percent on average, you can make some serious dough over the long term. However, there is a drawback. The risk is high, and success is often attributed to the reliability of individual borrowers.
No. 6: Ebates! Similar to cash back rewards on credit cards, Ebates is a super simple way to make money from the money you spend. With double cash back days, it’s possible to make some decent change. So what’s the catch? Nothing really, but it takes a long time to make serious money, and you have to stay disciplined. Translation? Only buy what your truly would buy otherwise and shop sales, always.
No. 7: Use Cash Back Credit Cards
Credit cards are rarely a smart solution for saving money, but if you use them anyway, why not make money off the money you spend? With a little research, it’s easy to find cards that will reward you with a few passive dollars in your pocket. Some of the best credit cards pay 1-5 percent back, while offering a significant sign up bonus. Which ones should you look at? My favorites are:
- Chase Freedom: This card offers a pretty hefty 5 percent rotating bonus on some of the things you probably already use like groceries and gas. Plus, there’s a $150 sign up bonus.
- Citi Bank Double Cash: Citi Bank offers 1 percent cash back on purchases with an additional 1 percent back as you pay for those purchases.
- Capital One Quicksilver: Capital One offers 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases every day. However, there is an annual fee of $35.
No. 8: iPoll
Before rolling your eyes, know that this survey-based app is a little different than the traditional survey for money opportunity. Surveys are legitimate, but in many cases, they’re tedious and not worth the $.05 you earn. iPoll is not exactly passive income, but it’s too good to miss. The app is different because rather than bombarding you with longwinded surveys, they offer a series of “missions” – small tasks that can be completed in just a few minutes based on where you are. For example, if you’re in the airport, iPoll may ask you to answer a few questions about a specific terminal. If you’re grocery shopping, one mission may require you to snap a picture of a particular brand of coffee displayed on a shelf.
iPoll is worth a look for sure, but the big money comes from successfully completing missions when you are in a specific place at the right time. One mission netted $15 from the cereal aisle of Target! As a bonus, iPoll does something pretty unique, and tells you approximately how long it should take you to perform the mission before you accept the task – extremely helpful information if you only have a few minutes. Be sure to activate location services on your phone and you’ll get email alerts when new missions are available in your area.
No. 9: Affiliate Marketing
Finally, if you have a blog or a website, affiliate marketing is a smart, hands free way to earn some extra cash. Basically, you promote a third party product (with a link) on your webpage for a commission. Commissions for sales can be as high as 25 percent, but vary based on how popular a product is and how easy it is to sell. Here’s the catch: if you don’t generate any traffic to your site, you won’t sell any product, and you won’t get paid. However, if you have a decent following, making money through affiliate sales is as easy as adding a link to your site.
Some of the most successful affiliate marketers recommend starting affiliate relationships with only those products you actually use and enjoy. On the other hand, affiliate marketing can be extremely lucrative if you have a steady stream of traffic to your blog. Write a few compelling words and provide links to your customers. Sit back, relax and watch the commission roll in.
Earning passive income is an easy way to get ahead financially, and anyone can do it. The trick is to find a couple of ideas that work for your lifestyle and keep with it. Whether you’re a busy mom looking for extra spending money, a full time professional trying to pay down debt or a retiree with extra time on your hands, there are opportunities to do exactly what you’re doing right now for money. Sound fun? Give a few of these a try. After all, there really isn’t much to lose, but there sure is a lot to gain – and you can take that to the bank!
Wishing you happy earning and oodles of luck in your new ventures!