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Believe it or not, there are ways you can get paid to do nothing.
You can do this by generating passive income, in which you earn money without putting in any hard work. It’s the “set it and forget it” technique for making money.
Keep reading to learn more about our 13 favorite ways to set up passive income streams and get paid to do nothing.
How to Make Money Without Doing Anything
- Collect a pension
- House sit
- Test mattresses
- Rent your Wi-Fi
- Sell your stuff
- Unlock your phone
- Rent your house
- Use a cashback site
- Set up affiliate links
- Rent your car with Turo
- Write a book
- Start your own business
One of my favorite ways to earn passive income is by making smart investments. Take my word for it: This is one of the best financial moves you can make in life.
When you invest, you put money into securities and other assets with the expectation that it will produce a solid return over time. Some types of investments require a lot of hands-on work, while others don’t.
Here are a few types of investments that require little-to-no maintenance.
Low-cost index funds
Investing in individual stocks typically requires your daily attention. After all, stocks can soar or sink overnight, and you have to be ready to take advantage of these swings.
But not everyone wants to be an active investor, and that’s perfectly okay. For long-term investing with less of a commitment, index funds are a great option.
An index fund is a portfolio of stocks and bonds that tracks a financial market index. When you invest in an index fund, you can receive a broad range of stocks that’ll produce slow and steady growth over time.
You can buy index funds through any leading broker like Schwab or Fidelity. You can also go directly to an investment company like Vanguard for top-performing funds at affordable prices.
Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
By investing in REITs, you can earn passive income from commercial properties while avoiding most of the headaches of being a landlord.
A REIT is a company that owns and operates commercial properties. By law, REITs have to pay 90% of taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends. Assuming the REIT doesn’t collapse, this means money in your pocket at regular intervals — without having to deal with the hassle of renters or banks.
Some REITs to look into include Broadmark Realty Capital ($BRK), Realty Income ($O), Digital Realty Trust ($DLR), Equity Residential ($EQR), and Omega Healthcare Investors ($OHI).
There are two ways to invest in digital currencies. You could quickly buy and sell coins for short-term gains (and pay hefty short-term capital gains taxes) or think long-term and hold crypto as an asset.
The other approach is to wait for a coin to drop to a reasonable price, scoop it up, and hold on for dear life (HODL). This requires a lot of patience, but it can work. Just look at Bitcoin, which exceeded 300% growth in 2020.
As a disclaimer, it’s a good idea to research cryptocurrency before pumping any capital into an exchange like Coinbase or Binance. Make sure you know how cryptocurrency works, and you’re aware of the risks. Cryptocurrency can help you make extra money, but it’s also very risky.
2. Collect a pension
If there’s one point I can’t stress enough, it’s to take care of your future self.
It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be old. And when you get to that point, you’re not going to want to work as hard as you are right now.
One way to collect money during retirement is through a pension. Basically, this is where the employer contributes money into a pool of funds and invests it on behalf of its workers.
Pensions are nowhere near as prevalent as they once were. But some companies still offer them — and they’re easy to find in the public sector. For example, teachers, nurses, state and local government workers, and military members all currently receive pensions.
The amount you make from a pension depends on the organization and the pension benefit they offer. Median benefits can range from around $10,788 annually (private pensions and annuities) to $22,662 (state and local government pensions).
For most, a pension won’t produce a ton of money in retirement. But it’s an excellent way to supplement retirement accounts, Social Security, and savings.
3. House sit
Investing and starting a business are both great options for long-term income, but they both require putting in a bit of upfront work.
This isn’t the case with housesitting. Working as a sitter can be the easiest job in the world. All you have to do is find someone who’s going out of town and needs someone to watch their place.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, two great sources for house-sitting gigs are Care.com and Nomador.
Here’s a pro tip: Once you land a house-sitting gig and sit down to watch videos, consider viewing through a survey site like Swagbucks to earn extra cash and free gift cards on the job.
In addition to paying users to watch videos, Swagbucks also lets people earn money by browsing the web with its search engine.
4. Test mattresses
Sleep research providers occasionally offer promotions and giveaways. You could potentially make money just for trying new mattresses and sleeping.
For example, EachNight is a leading sleep research and mattress review website. The company recently hired five nap reviewers to participate in sleep studies. Participants had the opportunity to receive $1,500 when the project was complete.
Fifteen hundred bucks just for going to sleep? Sign me up.
5. Rent your Wi-Fi
If you live in a community with other people nearby, you should look into setting up a hotspot and selling connectivity.
Simplify offers a service that basically lets you act like a mini internet service provider.
Basically, the service lets you sell unused Wi-Fi or mobile bandwidth for cash. It’s very easy to set up and deploy.
According to Simplify, selling 100 GB bandwidth can bring in about $100 per month — enough to at least pay your internet bill.
6. Sell your stuff
I know the aim is to do nothing here. But picking up your unwanted clutter and sending it to a company for cash isn’t exactly back-breaking labor — especially when the company pays for shipping and sends you a box.
Plus, you probably need to get rid of some stuff anyway.
Decluttr can help make this a reality. The company pays cold, hard cash for unwanted devices, games, and DVDs.
Decluttr either sells your stuff in its online merchandise or recycles it. The company even wipes data from your devices, saving you a big step — although this is something you’ll probably want to take care of anyway.
7. Unlock your phone
If you’re like most people, you’re on your phone all day, every day.
Have an Android? Use an app like Screenlift, and you can make money just for unlocking and using your phone. You can bring in around $20 per month — not bad for merely swiping or entering a PIN on your device.
Screenlift has a 3.7 rating on Google Play, which is pretty decent overall.
Right now, there don’t appear to be any functional apps on the market that pay you to unlock an iPhone. These companies come and go all the time.
That said, both Android and iPhone users can access Nielsen Mobile. You can make an easy $50 per year just by letting the firm access your phone for market research purposes.
8. Rent your house
If you own a house or rental property, consider putting it up on a site like Airbnb.
Airbnb lets you set your own rates and determine the specific time periods when your house is available.
Don’t want to manage this process? No problem. Hire a management company and you won’t even have to clean up after guests.
The site is safe and easy to use, and you can potentially bring in hundreds of dollars per month — or even more.
9. Use a cashback site
Saving money is as good as making money. And you can do this by using an app like Ibotta for cashback deals.
Ibotta provides rewards for everyday purchases like groceries, pet supplies, and gas — things you have to buy anyway for you and your family to survive. It works with in-store and online shopping. The app partners with leading providers like Lowe’s, Petco, Cabela’s, and Walmart, to name a few examples.
One nice feature about Ibotta is its “nearby offer alerts” feature. If you’re near a store that has a deal going on, you’ll get a notification — and a potential opportunity to save money or get a reward for making a purchase.
10. Set up affiliate links
An affiliate link is basically a special URL that connects customers with online retailers.
The trick is to set up a blog or a website and embed affiliate links into your content. You can receive a cut anytime someone clicks on a link or makes a purchase.
For example, you may write a cooking blog and rate the best frying pans on the market for 2021. In that piece, you may link to several different listings on Amazon. If someone clicks one of the links and then ultimately ends up buying something, you’ll earn a commission.
You can use affiliate links on free sites like WordPress or Medium. If you’re interested in this, look into the Amazon Affiliate program. According to one study, the top 10% of affiliate marketers earn over $71,000 each year.
11. Rent your car with Turo
With Turo, you can make money from your vehicle when it’s not in use. In my opinion, every car owner should use this app.
Turo lets you list your car in a marketplace and rent it to just about anyone in the area. The app offers insurance, and you can also use a tracking device to reduce the likelihood of theft or nefarious behavior.
Best of all, you don’t have to do anything. Simply leave the car in a designated area like a lot or garage during the day, and use a lockbox so the renter can pick up the vehicle.
Turo gives you control over pricing, so you can set your own rates. This is particularly a no-brainer if you have a car that you rarely use.
12. Write a book
Have an idea that’s worth sharing? It may be worth taking the time to write a book.
In the past, publishing a book required going through a traditional publisher and having a company accept your work for print. Today, you can self-publish on a site like Amazon Kindle Direct and market the book on social media. Amazon will even print hard copies on demand.
You’ll retain full ownership of your work through Kindle Direct and receive a royalty anytime someone downloads your material. You can also set your own prices.
In other words, it’s never been easier to become a published author. You just need dedication and determination.
As a tip, think about doing something related to your professional field. Focus less on creating a masterpiece and more on offering solid advice and presenting it in a way that’s clear, concise, and easy to digest.
This may take a few months or years of work. But the result can potentially yield steady passive income.
13. Start your own business
I won’t sugarcoat this: Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work, and there’s no guarantee that it will pan out. Many businesses fail within their first year.
But if you’re successful, you could potentially wind up in a position where you sit back and collect passive income while other people do all the grunt work.
If your goal is to create passive income, make sure you choose a business that has little overhead. For example, if you start an online business managing social media or creating digital products on Etsy and can work from home, this will be much easier than starting something like a restaurant. It also carries substantially less risk.
Thinking about making a move? LegalZoom is a great place to begin the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about getting paid to do nothing.
What’s passive income?
Passive income is money you earn without making an ongoing effort, as opposed to active income, which includes employment situations like showing up for work each day.
You typically have to make an upfront investment in the form of time or money. But after that, you can kick back as payments roll in.
Can you make a lot of money doing nothing?
It all depends on the opportunities that you set up.
If you form the right plan and have patience, you can make a fortune over time. For example, opportunities like investing and starting your own business tend to be much more lucrative than taking online surveys.
Either way, the trick is to set up multiple passive opportunities to maximize your revenue.
Should I quit my job and do nothing?
The short answer? Probably not.
Don’t quit your job until you have substantial savings to carry you for at least six months — and several passive income streams that produce steady cash flow.
There’s a lot of pressure today to quit your job and be an entrepreneur. But it takes careful planning and research.
Your paycheck is still one of your greatest financial assets. Don’t give it up until you know you can replace it and then some.
The Bottom Line
Money-making doesn’t always have to involve hard work and long hours. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to pad your bank account and supplement your full-time income without lifting a finger — but only if you take the right approach.
By setting up passive income opportunities now, you’ll fast-track your journey to financial freedom. In a few years or even a few months, who knows how close you’ll be to long-term financial independence?