This post may contain affiliate links.
Residual Income Ideas

19 Best Passive Income Ideas That Are Actually Legitimate

Need A Quick & Easy $370+ Every Month For Free?


Are you tired of working long hours only to barely make ends meet? These ideas for building residual income may be exactly what you're looking for.

Residual Income


9-to-5 jobs may be the traditional way of earning an income, but let's face it – they come with a host of issues too. It's no secret that the federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour.

29 states (as well as the District of Columbia) have higher minimum wages, but these still average at around $9.88. Considering the estimation for a livable wage (pre-tax, 2018) is $16.07 an hour, that means in a typical family of four, two adults need to work twice as many hours in a day.

Fortunately, there is another option. Instead of burning yourself out working two jobs and clocking nearly 13 hours a day, you could make residual income.

What is Residual Income?

Simply put, residual income – also known as “passive income” – is money that continues to be earned after the job is done.

Some examples of residual income that you can expect to find in this guide include:

  • Money made renting out your property
  • Returns on investments
  • Creating an online business

As you can see, residual income isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. In some cases, it takes initial effort, and it's always going to require patience.

Why Should You Build Residual Income?

There are 3 major reasons why you should build residual income:

1. Freedom of Time

Residual income will free up more of your time by allowing you to spend fewer hours chasing a paycheck to make ends meet. That's time you can spend however you please.

2. Reduces Stress

When you're struggling to make ends meet, you're full of stress, anxiety, and fear for your financial future. Residual income helps to alleviate these worries, not only improving your mental health, but your productivity levels too.

3. Financial Stability

This ties in with the previous 2 points. In fact, you could say the financial stability that building residual income provides is exactly what leads to alleviating your stress levels and freeing up more time to pursue the things you want to do.

In a very big way, building residual income has a snowball effect. The more residual income you're earning, the more opportunities you have to research and invest in new ways, to build even more of it!

How Much Money Can You Make?

That depends on a few things:

  1. What residual income opportunities you use
  2. How many residual income opportunities you use
  3. How much time and effort you're willing to put into getting started
  4. How much time and effort you're willing to put into maintaining and expanding on some of these opportunities

It's certainly possible to make what would correspond to a livable wage with some of these ideas. In fact, some of them have the potential to build a lot more than that!

But you need to be smart about how you build residual income. Otherwise, you're not going to make very much of it.

Residual Income Ideas for 2019

Are you ready to get some residual income ideas?

Remember that building residual income isn't going to be a get-rich-quick scheme. These are all legitimate ways to earn some extra money, but as mentioned earlier, some of them require a little more effort than others.

We'd suggest going through our list of suggestions and choosing a few that appeal to you.

Some are going to be things you enjoy doing. Others you might enjoy a little less, but will earn more money.

And at the end of the day, they'll add up together.

Easy Residual Income

These 2 suggestions (and the 4 examples that go with them) are the very definition of easy money.

Still, bear in mind that they won't build a substantial residual income. In fact, you should think of these as ways to earn some of your spending money back, rather than making money from scratch.

1. Cash Back for Shopping

The first way you can do so is by earning a percentage of your shopping expenses back every time you shop online. Or, at least, very nearly every time!

Ebates is one of the best platforms for this. All you need to do is sign-up on their website and decide whether you want to download their app. Any time you want or need to do some online shopping, login to Ebates first. They have plenty of affiliate links to online retailers. When you use those links, you'll earn a certain percentage of your purchase price back.

Swagbucks may be better known as a paid surveys site, but you can also get cash backs using their links. It works exactly the same as Ebates does. If you sign up for both, you can find more opportunities to earn cash backs. You'll also be able to see which of the two platforms has the better deal, as these are constantly being updated.

2. Cash Back for Spending Money

Another way to earn cash back is by using rewards and points or cash back cards. These differ in the way they handle those cash backs.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is a rewards and points card that gives 4% on all dining and entertainment expenses, 2% of your grocery bills, and 1% for other purchases. You'll also get a $500 one-time bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months.

Discover it Cash Back is, as the name implies, a cash back card. Here, you'll get 5% of your cash back every 3 months, but you also have to activate the different bonus categories. On the plus side, you'll also get double your cash back total for your first year.

Residual Income from Real Estate

Real estate has long been recognized as a great way to build residual income over time. But a lot of people tend to shy away from the idea because they think they need to have a lot of money to do so.

The truth is, while you do need to start off with a bit of money, you won't need as much as you think you do. In fact, you can even do it with as little as $5!

Here are 3 suggestions (each with 2 examples) to help you get started.

3. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Investment trusts are just one popular way to earn residual income from real estate. It can also be the most cost-efficient means of doing so.

Fundrise only requires a minimum investment of $500. In return for a 1% account fee (which is 40% more cost-effective than most of their competition), you'll be able to choose from over 48 different real estate trusts.

Rich Uncles is another great opportunity for those with limited starting capital. Even though they recommend starting with at least $500, they offer a $5 Student REIT!

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding opportunities are another popular way to start earning residual income through real estate if you can't afford to open another mortgage.

RealtyShares is a good option, as they have very strict standards for the real estate options they accept and make available for their clients. Although, it's considerably more expensive than REITs: $10,000 is a typical minimum.

(Editorial Note: RealtyShares isn't currently accepting new investors, as they've been experiencing funding issues. They may reopen applications in the future, though.)

Peerstreet offers a slightly different model, as instead of investing the real estate itself, you're actually providing a partial loan for someone else to buy property. You can get started with a minimum of $1,000, but you'll need to be an accredited investor.

5. Rental Property

Investing your money in rental property can go one of two ways: you become a hands-on landlord and have to expend a lot of effort to earn your residual income… or you use a turnkey real estate marketplace.

Roofstock is pricier than taking the crowdfunding or REIT route, but they'll take care of everything for you. In fact, some of the homes listed on their site already have tenants – so you'll start earning immediately. There isn't an exact minimum, but you can expect to make a down payment in the region of $15k and up.

HomeUnion is one of Roofstock's biggest competitors. In the same way, HomeUnion's experts conduct in-person viewing, appraisal, and screening before making any property available to clients. There is, however, a 0.50% buyer's fee, and you can expect to spend upwards of $64,000.

Investment Residual Income

Investments are the number 1 way to build residual income.

A lot of young people tend to avoid the stock market, but we'll let you in on a little secret: there are at least 10 reasons you should be investing. And the only reason you shouldn't be is because of fear.

It's been said that you're better off putting 10% of your savings into an investment account and the other 90% into a checking account, as opposed to 10% in a checking account and 90% in a savings account. That's because investments tend to pay out an average of 7.14% in returns over time.

Most savings accounts, on the other hand, only boast interest rates of around 0.9%

6. Use Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors have taken the world of trading by storm ever since the investment model was pioneered in 2008.

Most of us aren't exactly experts at financial planning, but independent financial advisors are notoriously expensive. And that's just one of the reasons robo-advisors have become so popular – they offer professional investment advice for a fraction of the cost.

Instead of human advisors, investment accounts are managed by computer-generated algorithms that expertly analyze your assets, financial goals, and the market.

Betterment was the first robo-advisor to hit the market. There's no account minimum to join, unless you want to upgrade to Betterment Premium with a minimum of $100,000. For most of us though, Betterment Digital is an ideal solution, charging just 0.25% of your total assets value in management fees.

Wealthfront was actually the second robo-advisory pioneer, but has since developed a little differently to Betterment. Betterment Premium, for example, adds human advisors to their service, but Wealthfront remains 100% digital-only. Their management fees are also a low 0.25%, though they have an account minimum of $500.

7. Retirement

Whether you opt to stick with your employer-sponsored 401k or an individual retirement account (IRA), there's no doubt you need to invest toward your senior years. This is especially true considering Social Security benefits only made up 38% of retirees' incomes in 2018 – and that figure is expected to drop.

Blooom helps clients make the most out of their 401k by minimizing the level of confusion retirement plans often cause. The robo-advisor focuses on this service and will manage your 401k on your behalf for a flat-rate fee of just $10.

Another robo-advisor, FutureAdvisor, works a little differently. Rather than directly managing your account, they offer free recommendations on all types of retirement plans, including IRAs.

That being said, you will need to host your accounts with TD Ameritrade or Fidelity if you want FutureAdvisor to take over your account management, at which point they start charging you 0.50% of your assets.

8. Dividend Investing

When it comes to investing, dividends can be a lucrative option for generating residual income. It's a somewhat safer option than stock trading and can be especially ideal for those who want to dip their toes into investments without having to jump in.

Again, you won't get rich off of dividend-paying stocks, but you can expect to earn decent returns. And the longer you invest, the more those returns can grow.

We have two great trading platforms where you can make the most out of the opportunity.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios are ideal for novice traders especially, as the company will look after your portfolio on your behalf. It's still advisable to keep close tabs on your account, of course, but you can rest assured that Ally Invest will make quality recommendations.

All you need to get started is a minimum investment of $2,500. Ally Invest also charges one of the lowest management fees, so their higher-than-average minimum will be well worth it. is another great platform that – as the name tells you right away – specializes in dividends investments. It's more corporate than what Ally Invest is, but they also offer a range of fantastic free resources that you can use.

If you decide to become a premium client, you'll get a host of comprehensive tools to boost your investment opportunities even further.

9. Try Peer to Peer Lending

A rather old method of investing in one's own community, peer to peer lending has recently been digitized – taking the world by storm once again.

It can be somewhat more lucrative than other trading options, but be warned that it comes at considerable risk too. You're investing in other regular people like yourself, providing them with money to do things like consolidating their debt.

The model is based on communal money pots, a practice still maintained in certain African communities. In fact, in South Africa, it remains so popular that it has its own name: a stokvel.

Lending Club adds a measure of reassurance and security to lenders by screening all borrowers against a strict standard. If interested parties don't meet these standards, they won't be able to borrow money through the platform.

And just in case, the company will also insure your investment against theft by a borrower who fails to repay their loan. Lending Club is able to do so because they facilitate the entire loaning process via WebBank, a registered FDIC member.

Lending Club doesn't offer the greatest returns, unfortunately: you could see a less than 10% interest (sometimes far less).

If you're after that higher-risk, higher-returns rush in building your residual income through peer to peer lending, Prosper will be the better bet for you. Similar to Lending Club, Prosper will facilitate all loans made on the platform through WebBank, which means your money will still be ensured.

The company also screens all borrowers, but the real mark of reliability is that 92% of their employees are listed as lenders. And as yet a further bonus, they'll even let you directly control which loan applications your investment will fund.

On top of that, Prosper will even show you what you can expect to earn from any given transaction. As an average, you can expect this figure to be between 6% and 12% annually.

10. Get a High Interest Savings Account

High-yield interest savings accounts are exactly as they sound: special savings accounts that offer more than double the interest rates of regular savings accounts.

In fact, you can expect to receive in the region of 2.45% in returns. Even if you only have a maximum of $100 to save in your first month and $50 for every subsequent month, that's already an extra $50+ in returns.

CIT Premier High-Yield Savings Account is undoubtedly the best, boasting that exact return rate of 2.45% – as much as 19 times more than what traditional banks offer. If need be, you'll still be able to access whatever funds you have in your account – which is FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Aspiration Summit Accounts isn't as majestic, as they only offer an annual percentage yield (APY) of 1%. And to achieve that maximum APY, you'll need to have an account minimum of $2,500. But to sweeten the deal, they'll give you $10 free when you join.

If you're not quite happy with that idea, we have one last suggestion: Discover Bank. There are no monthly charges whatsoever, nor is there a minimum deposit. But you'll enjoy the 2.10% APY.

Online Business Residual Income

Let's be honest – men, women, millennials, and younger families are moving away from the traditional 9-to-5 jobs. Instead, they're tending to favor freelance jobs.

Freelance jobs are essentially the backbone of online business opportunities to earn residual income. While you can certainly earn money online in other ways, these suggestions are your best bet for earning a sustainable residual income within a few years

11. Blogging

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a blog profitable.

Many people hear that you can make $80,000 a year as a blogger, or even a 6-figure income, and think it's going to be easy.

Well, it's possible to earn that kind of income, but it isn't going to fall in your lap.

BlueHost is one of the best web hosting services you'll find. For just $2.95/month, you can get a domain, WordPress installation, and web hosting support to start your blog! You'll also benefit from SSL encryption. It's definitely a bargain, and the upgrade process is very easy, should you ever need more server space.

Affiliate marketing can make up the bulk of blogging income: as much as $80,655-$119,720 a year. But you'll need to develop a trust relationship with your readers. You'll also need a platform for finding affiliate partners.

GiddyUp will bring you as close as possible to “easy money” by giving you a position to do exactly that.

12. Create an Online Store

Blogging can very easily become a full-time job, and while lucrative… unless you're hiring other people to write content for you (which you can do through sites like UpWork), it's not necessarily going to be very passive.

Luckily, there's another option: creating an online store.

Shopify is one of the best platforms to host an online store. The professional site builder only costs $29 a month for the basic package and will give you everything you need. That includes domain name, SSL, and a dropshipping course.

Dropshipping is the practice of acting as a middle-man between supplier and customer. You simply advertise products in your online store on behalf of a retailer and relay orders to them to ship – all for a price of your choosing, of course.

AliExpress is a reliable marketplace, where you can find retailers familiar with the dropshipping model.

13. Start a YouTube Channel

With nearly 2 billion monthly active users, there's no doubt that YouTube is one of the best platforms to have an online presence if you want to build residual income. All you really need to do is build a following, consistently create and upload quality content, and start cashing in using a few smart tactics.

First, build your way up to qualifying as a YouTube partner and apply. This will open up opportunities for you to be able to link a Google AdSense account. If you want to make money through YouTube directly, adverts will pay about $2 per 1,000 impressions.

That isn't your only option, though. You can also use your position as a content creator to act as a purchasing influencer. There are companies out there that will happily pay good money for product placement and endorsement in your YouTube videos – and Grapevine Logic is the way you'll find them.

14. Be An Author

Many authors these days recommend self-publishing. Although it does require some more work than going through a traditional publisher, there are undeniable benefits to the approach. For example, the measure of control you'll have over the publishing process is ideal – and then there's the higher percentage of income you'll earn.

Although it can be difficult to reach that point, if you have a few ebooks published through Amazon's self-publisher platform, you can possibly earn an extra $1,000+. It's usually recommended that you have multiple titles available, preferably as a series. On sales between $2.99 and $9.99, you'll earn as much as 70% royalties.

Being a writer can be a lonely career path though. Despite thousands of sites vying for your attention with advice, no one can guide you better than fellow authors – especially those who are already published. The Dragon Writers is a Facebook group full of like-minded people happy to lend a hand – provided you ask nicely, of course.

15. Teach People What You Know

Education is one of the most important factors in building success as an adult. And of course, in the modern age, education is no longer limited to the traditional classroom.

In fact, you could easily build residual income by teaching people about a subject or topic that you know well. All you need to do is get onto Teachable, which costs $39 a month (plus 5% of your transaction fees). The platform won't only host your course, but will also provide the framework for building it.

Udemy is another very popular platform for online courses. Although it's free to host an online course on the site, they do charge a commission on your sales. All-told, though, you could make as much as $300,000 a year using either site, making their fees well-worth the cost. Just be sure to market your courses properly!

Make Residual Income With Your “Things”

Have you ever looked around and realized that you have a lot of things that you're not really using?

And sometimes those belonging aren't things that you'd be willing to let go of permanently. In some cases, it may even be something that you use fairly often, but not often enough to warrant the amount of money you paid for it – or are still paying for it.

Thankfully, there's a way to earn residual income with these belongings, without having to sell them.

All you need to do is rent them out.

16. Rent Out Your House or Room

Wasted space is almost as bad as cluttered space. Arguably, one leads to the other – and vice versa.

If you've got a second property and are struggling to find permanent tenants, it can be more lucrative to rent it out temporarily. Alternatively, if you have a tendency to spend weekends visiting your parents or going away with friends, you can rent your own home out for those few days.

Airbnb is the obvious platform for doing so. It's free of charge to list your property (complete with full details and your asking price, which the company can help you decide on), though Airbnb does charge 3% to 5% commission. They do offer property damage insurance, and will release payment within 24 hours of your guests checking in.

If you've taken a look at Airbnb but don't like the platform, or simply want to increase the chances of finding guests, then you should also take a look at Rent Like A Champion. This is especially true if you live near a major sports venue, such as famous golf courses, stadiums, or even Ivy League colleges.

The average homeowner making their property available (especially during major sporting events) can earn $1,100 a weekend through Rent Like A Champion. And just in case you're worried about your home, rest assured: the company will provide up to $1 million in insurance against any damage incurred during a guest's stay.

17. Let Someone Borrow Your Car

It's a lot easier to let people borrow your car (and get paid for it) than to sign up as an Uber or Lyft driver. While both of these companies are decent to work for, considering their flexible hours (you get to choose when you're available), they both require constant activity.

As such, neither of them could be considered a source of residual income.

But that doesn't mean you can't still earn money off of your car while paying it off.

GetAround is one of the best sites for renting out your car whenever you're not using it. Depending on the make, model, and year, you could easily make an extra $500+ every weekend. If you tend to take public transport or carpool with colleagues, that means you can easily rent your car out more often – and, of course, earn more residual income.

If the idea of having other people driving your car doesn't sound appealing, we totally understand. Instead, you can use the vehicle yourself and generate a residual income through advertising.

All you'd need to do is check Wrapify out. If you let them place advertising on your car and then spend an average of 100 minutes on the road every day. That's less than two hours – we bet you sit in traffic for at least that long every day anyway while traveling to and from work! In exchange, if you have the full wrap advertising, you could earn nearly $500 a month.

18. Let People Borrow Your Belongings

Remember how we mentioned having a lot of things lying around that's really just taking up space?

Well, if you're certain you don't want to sell them (or you're still thinking about doing so), then you could always rent them out to other people who could make use of them – especially if they're willing to pay.

Fat Llama is a great way to do so. You can put just about anything on the platform as available for temporary loan: books, instruments, electronics vehicles… You name it, you can probably list it! All you need to do is sign up, add your listing (with a few photos), and publish it. As part of the process, you'll be able to set your asking price.

Interested parties will then contact you by sending a rental request. You can negotiate a meeting place and time for them to pick it up (or you to deliver the item, of course). Fat Llama will then make sure you're paid in full within 3 days.

If Fat Llama isn't working out for you, or you simply want to increase the chances of finding people wanting to rent your belongings, you can also take a look at Omni Rentals.

The platform is especially great if you were planning on putting the items in storage in any case, as that's Omni's primary business model. You simply let the company know what you want to store and they'll come pick it up for you, so they can take photos for your record purposes. If you choose, you can also ask them to make the items available for rental.

Other clients in the area can then pay to borrow the items that you're not using at all!

19. Rent Out Your RV

Do you own an RV that you hardly ever get to use anymore? Or perhaps your cousin talked you into buying one (he swore he knew a guy who knew a guy who would be willing to buy it from you…)

Well, there's no need to let your RV sit, gathering dust in your driveway or rented parking space. RVs are becoming increasingly popular once more. Between the experience-craving Millennials and the retiring Baby Boomers wanting to do everything they've never done before, there are plenty of people on the market for renting an RV.

So if you do own one, you can capitalize on that growing market.

Outdoorsy is simply one of the best platforms to do so through. In fact, as their website claims, they're the “largest and most trusted RV rental marketplace on the planet.”

That works in favor of clients as well as owners. The company offers industry-leading insurance protection, conducts a DMV check on all drivers, provides 24/7 roadside assistance, and a dedicated support team that can be reached in case of emergency.

And with listings ranging from $39 a night to $300 a night, you can be sure to earn a decent residual income through them.

On the other hand, it's always great to have options. So if you're not quite happy with what Outdoorsy is offering for your RV (or you feel you could benefit from a second platform to increase your chances), take a look at Goboony too.

Over 2 million people around the world use Goboony, so you know you're in safe hands. They enforce a down payment of 25% to ensure that you earn money for bookings even if the renters don't pitch, and will insure your RV for you. Goboony also offers personal customer support during office hours and will list your RV at competitive prices.


It's very clear that not all of us have jobs that will provide us with a decent income, let alone the opportunity to consider ourselves “rich.” But one of the major secrets that set many wealthy personalities apart for everyone else is their pursuit of residual income.

As you've seen, there are a plethora of ways you can earn such an income yourself. In a world where technology is rapidly advancing, we may even see residual income become the dominant source of finances for many households.

Do you really want to be on the wrong side of history if that does happen?

The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll be earning a very decent residual income. And who knows – perhaps you'll even be able to retire early!

Just remember our advice regarding the suggestions you follow. Don't put money into anything you don't understand, be patient, and most importantly: don't put all your eggs into one basket.

Related:  Donate Blood For Money: How Much Can You Make?

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top