Here are the 5 easiest ways to make passive income online.
Let me know what you think, ask me a question, or suggest something I cover in the future in the comments below!
- Amazon.com Associates: The web's most popular and successful Affiliate Program
- ThisIsWhyImBroke :: The Internet's Mall
- Google AdSense – Make Money Online through Website Monetization
- Acorns – Invest, Earn, Grow, Spend, Later | Acorns
- Invest, Save, and Learn with the Stash Investment App
- FeaturePoints – Code: E7KRRE for free points (Full review here)
- FeaturePoints: Get Rewarded – Apps on Google Play
- Get paid for your opinion – Slice the pie – Use code: U462C13E
1. Affiliate Marketing
When it comes to making passive income, one of the easiest ways to do this, especially without having to invest much money, is to earn commissions through affiliate marketing.
How it works
All you have to do is find products or services with an affiliate program, get qualified traffic to them, and collect a cut of the profit on each sale.
One of the best affiliate programs to start out with is Amazon Associates. Here, you can earn up to 10% commissions on just about any product on Amazon.
Sure, the commissions are kind of low, but you can get commissions on almost any product you can imagine!
For example, if you get a 10% commission on the sale of a TV that is over $1,000, that's around $100 that you made for just one sale!
Very little downside
What's also nice about affiliate marketing is the fact that you don't have to stress out about customer service, making your own products, employees, or any of the typical headaches that come with being an entrepreneur.
A great example to learn from
A great example of an affiliate site that gets lots of traffic and earns lots of money from affiliate sales is ThisIsWhyImBroke.com.
This site is basically just full of gift ideas, tech, and other crazy stuff you didn't know you could buy. When you click to check out the product, chances are they earn a commission if you buy it.
Doing some kind of gift ideas website is one the best ways to make money from affiliate marketing.
Another one of the easiest ways to make passive income online is to use Google Adsense.
Google Adsense is the program that allows YouTubers and bloggers to embed ads in their content and earn a portion of the revenue.
How it works
Google pays you about 50% of what advertisers bid on the ads your content contains if you have a verified Adsense account and meet qualifications.
For instance, on YouTube you must meet these requirements before becoming eligible to earn money from Adsense ads on your videos:
- Reside in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available
- Have more than 4,000 public watch hours in the past 12 months
- Have more than 1,000 subscribers
- Have a linked Google Adsense account
For a blog, you'll also need to show that you have unique, high quality content for a few months before you can hope to get approved for Adsense.
Don't have a blog? You can learn how to start a high quality one here for only $5 or less per month.
How to make money from Adsense
So, how do you make a lot of passive income from Adsense?
What you'll want to do is center your YouTube channel or blog around high CPM (Cost per thousand impressions).
The higher the CPM of the ads on your content, the more money you make.
Having a high CPM just means that your keywords are more competitive for advertisers to bid on, which drives up how much the pay.
The more advertisers pay for the types of ads on your content, the more you make. Which, if you remember from earlier in the post, is about 50% of the overall cost to the advertisers.
An example of Adsense earnings
For example, if you had a website centered around internet marketing and the average CPM for ads related to the keywords on your content is $20. You would earn about $10 per thousand views of your content.
What content does best for Adsense
To earn the most money per thousand views, you might want to do more content that attracts an audience that is in their mid 20s or older (because kids don't have money to spend), is looking to buy something, or is full of business owners.
This is the demographic that I've noticed attracts very high CPMs.
So, you might do more product reviews, comparisons, business tutorials, finance advice, etc.
Look at a channel like Marques Brownlee. It has millions of subscribers and talks about high-end tech, so you know it has a high CPM and earns A LOT of ad revenue.
3. Automated Investment Apps
Another great way to make passive income is through the tried-and-true method of investing.
Of course, just because investing is a tried-and-true way to make passive income, doesn't mean you have to make investments the old-fashioned way.
In fact, it has never been easier to invest on autopilot while also paying minimal fees.
With apps like Stash and Acorns, you can pay a fraction of the fees that regular managed funds would cost you while automating the whole process.
One thing Acorns is known for is their system of rounding up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. For example, if you bought a coffee for $3.50, it would round up the purchase to $4 and invest the extra $0.50.
Plus, to make it even simpler, they already have the investment types allocated into groups, so that you don't have to be an expert on what particular assets to invest in.
The asset groups are sorted into 5 levels based on how aggressive or safe you want to be.
If you're not sure how aggressive to be, read a book like Money Master The Game by Tony Robbins. In that book, many top investors recommend you invest more aggressively when you're young and more conservatively when you're older.
Now, to fully take advantage of Acorns, you might want to invest more than just your spare change. They also give you an option to automatically invest a certain amount into your portfolio every month to make it grow faster.
As far as fees, Acorns has a different approach than most companies.
They have flat-fee payment plans that either cost $1, $2, or $3 per month.
So, because they don't charge a percentage and instead charge a flat monthly fee, the less money you have in your Acorns account, the higher percentage you're paying and the less your portfolio can grow.
You may want to have around $3,000 or more in your account to compete with or even beat the low fees charged by Vanguard.
Another great option for automated investing with minimal fees is Stash.
First off, it's great for beginners because of the $0 account minimum as well as the automation and simplicity of the service.
As far as pricing, they, like Acorns, have a flat fee per month that you pay for your account instead of a percentage.
Because of the flat fee per month, you'll be paying a higher percentage in fees for your portfolio the less money you have invested. So, it's like paying less fees as your portfolio grows.
Stash is also known for being very helpful with teaching you how to be a better investor.
For instance, it will ask you questions to get an idea of what investments would be best for your situation, but if it notices mistakes like a lack of diversification, the app's Stash Coach feature will let you know and show you some educational content with tips on why you might need to make some changes.
Another really cool feature of Stash is the ability to invest in fractional shares. Fractional shares are when you can invest in a company without buying a full share. In other words, you could own a piece of a share in a company.
Stash has also added a purchase round-up feature that is very similar to what Acorns has built their reputation on.
4. Free Referral Programs
Yet another great way to make some passive income pretty easily is with referral programs.
Now, you may be wondering how this is any different from affiliate marketing…
Really, the only difference is that a lot of times, referral programs don't require people to buy anything for referrers to get paid.
With affiliate marketing, you don't get paid at all until someone buys something, because your payment is just a percentage of the total purchase.
How is this passive income?
To make this income passive, of course you'll want to get traffic like you do with affiliate marketing.
You'll want to focus on ranking YouTube videos, blog posts, and other content that can attract referrals to these sites.
For example, you could do a detailed review of each site, comparisons, top 10 lists, etc.
For instance, FeaturePoints is a great example of a referral program that can pay you pretty well.
FeaturePoints is an app/website that pays you for a lot of different things, but probably the best way to make money from it is through their referral program.
The way it works is, you earn 50% of whatever your referrals earn for life. So, if you just refer a few power users to FeaturePoints, you can be raking in passive income for a long time without doing much.
How do people make money with FeaturePoints besides referrals?
You can also earn money by:
- Downloading and trying out free apps.
- Watching videos.
- Taking surveys.
- Shopping online and earning cash back.
Plus, FeaturePoints pays you very quickly when you request a payment.
Usually they'll pay you via PayPal within a few hours.
There are also other options for cashing out other than PayPal as well.
You can choose to get paid via Bitcoin, gift cards, Google Play credit, etc.
To get 50 free points when you sign up for FeaturePoints, use this code: E7KRRE.
The app is also available for both iOS and Android devices.
Slice the Pie
You could also try a referral program like Slice the Pie's.
With Slice the Pie, you can earn 10% of whatever your referrals earn from the site.
So, other than referring people to the site, you can also make money reviewing songs and fashion.
For songs, you listen to them for at least 90 seconds and then give a multi-sentence review on what you did or did not like about the song. Then, you give the song a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 and submit it.
Rating fashion is very similar. You just look at pictures and information on the product, give your thoughts and then a 1 out of 10 rating.
You can rate products and songs on your computer or mobile device and payment is made via PayPal once you hit at least $10 in your account.
If you want a referral code to get started use: U462C13E.
5. Data Collection and Lockscreen Apps
Luckily for us, referral and investing apps aren't the only apps that allow you to make passive income.
In fact, there are two other types: data collection and lockscreen apps.
Data Collection Apps
There's no telling how many different apps and services are collecting our data these days, whether we realize we've agreed to it or not.
The thing is, our data is one of the most valuable commodities in existence, yet, we don't really get paid for sharing it or have much control over what is done with it.
But, at least there are a few apps that WILL pay your for this data passively just by having their apps installed on your phone.
When it comes to data collection apps, MobileXpression has been one of the more well-known ones for a while.
MobileXpression pays you for letting them track your usage of the internet for market research purposes. They also have surveys you can take.
As a member of MobileXpression, you also can earn rewards through weekly sweepstakes as long as you have the app installed and running.
Also, if you're in the U.S., you're also supposed to be eligible for a free $5 Amazon gift card when you sign up.
As far as requirements for the app, you can use it for both Apple and Android devices if you're at least 18 years old.
It won't pay you much, but you at least get something. And, you can have many apps similar to this one all paying a little bit of money each.
If you have an Android phone, you can get lockscreen reward apps that will pay you passive income.
The way these work is you install the apps on your phone, make sure they're enabled and they'll add a second lockscreen to your phone that includes an ad in the middle.
Then, you get paid over time to see those ads on your lockscreen when you unlock your phone.
Pretty easy money!
If you want to try this for yourself, one of the most well-known lockscreen apps is Slidejoy.
With Slidejoy, you can make an extra $10 or so per month from installing the free app on your Android device and allowing it to put an ad on your phone's lockscreen.
It doesn't really replace your current lockscreen, it just ads another one in front of it that contains the time, date, an ad, etc. It looks like this:
The only thing that changes, as far as unlocking your phone, is you swipe an extra time to go from the Slidejoy lockscreen to your original lockscreen.
In other words, you would just swipe twice to unlock your phone instead of once.
There is also a referral program you can take advantage of with Slidejoy that pays you 20% of your friends' earnings for the first month.
Make sure you cash out at least once per month or so, because your earnings can expire.
You'll only need a minimum of $1 to collect your money and you can cash out via PayPal or gift cards.
Also, Slidejoy can be combined with other Lockscreen apps like it to increase your earnings.
Here are some more passive income apps you can check out:
*This blog post was originally published on January 1, 2019 and has since been updated.