4 High Paying Passive Income Ideas for Beginners

Making more and working less is a hugely attractive idea, but finding the right sorts of passive income ideas for beginners can be tough. Not because it’s hard to get started or find good ideas when you’re a beginner…but because there’s just so many ideas for making more money out there!

  • Should you invest or influence?
  • Trade up or rent out?
  • Do you really have what it’ll take to start making money while you sleep? 

To answer the last question first, yes, you absolutely have what it takes! No matter what your experience, your income, or your confidence, there’s a way for you to make money passively.

Real quick, let’s get together on the difference between passive and active types of income.

Active income is what you earn by working for it. How much time, energy, and focus you invest is how much you get out of it, whether that’s a job or your own business.

Passive income, on the other hand, is money you earn without the need for constant effort. Initially, it will likely take some time, effort, and perhaps some upfront capital to set up your passive income stream. However, once you set it up, it’s something that makes money long-term. It produces income while you sleep, eat, and work your day job.

And not just for rich people with business degrees, either.

All of the passive income ideas I’ll share in this article have been tested by ordinary people with typical jobs to make anywhere from five to seven extra figures per year in their spare time.

How to Identify Goldilocks Passive Income Ideas for Beginners

Not all passive income ideas are created equal. Some of the more advanced ideas are not only overwhelming, they often feel a lot like gambling:

  • stock trading (which risks your money)
  • social media advertising (which risks your time)

And while the promised rewards are huge, they’re far from guaranteed.

Other passive income ideas are simple, requiring very little of your time or money. These opportunities often have very small, if predictable, returns-on-investment. However, the worst part is the years – maybe even decades – they take to really pay off.  

When trying to decide between the best passive income ideas for beginners, you’re looking for a “Goldilocks” opportunity.

Like Goldilocks in the home of the three bears, you don’t want something that’s:

  • Too hot…
  • Too cold…
  • Too big…
  • Too small…

…They’re just right! Goldilocks passive income ideas for beginners do ask for some investment in money and time; and the rewards can be high and relatively certain.  

Passive Income Idea 1: Create and Sell Information Online

This is arguably the easiest passive income idea for a beginner. You already know something, and even if it feels obvious to you, odds are someone out there also wants to know how to do it.

As a Goldilocks passive income idea this is perfect for a beginner.

You get to decide how much to invest in either your time or money, and with a little bit of luck, the rewards are potentially huge, with some people earning six-figures a year or more.

 Create an Online Course

Online courses were popular before the pandemic…now they’re something of a pop culture phenomenon.

Miss Excel,” is one example of a unbelievably successful influencer who brilliantly combined a knowledge of Microsoft Excel with bite-sized videos on TikTok. Without ever needing a staff, big-business investment, and little setup, she quickly gained a following of a million people.

Monetizing her efforts on TikTok has enabled her to build a full online course, and she’s now making six-figures a day! 

And you can do it too! Anything people want to know, you can monetize. Do you know how to:

  • Handcraft canoes? 
  • Get in shape?
  • Fall in love?

Write and Self-Publish an E-Book

Self-publishing might be daunting, but it’s a great option or even add-on to creating a full course.

Publishing isn’t the great quest to Mount Everest that it used to be. E-books as short as 30 pages created using low-cost self-publishing platforms like Smashwords are digitally downloaded every day…

…Funneling profit back to the authors.

Just ask Bob Bly – whose day job is being one of the most successful marketing consultants in the country. He’s written over 90 books, all of which contribute to his constant stream of passive income stream of around $10,000 a month.

Passive Income Idea 2: Rent Your Property

If you own a piece of property that’s just sitting there, gathering dust instead of money, one of the easiest long-term passive income ideas for beginners is to rent it out. And the more creative you can get with these “house hacking” ideas, the better:

  • Own a couple of acres in the country? Someone might want to graze their livestock on it.
  • Have a house you’re not at all the time? Try Airbnb.
  • Maybe you’d like to make $100-$600 a month renting out your garage to a neighbor who needs more parking space.
  • How about a swimming pool? One middle-aged couple uses a site called “Swimply” to rent their pool out by the hour, making $177,000 in one year!

Passive Income Idea 3: Create a Money-Making Website

Somewhere in the world someone wants to know if there are any health benefits to drinking coffee. They type “coffee health benefits” into the Google search engine, and right below the ad sites, they find a promising article.  

While reading the article, ads pop up in the sidebar, and probably in the middle too. Or maybe the site itself recommends a certain type of coffee that’s beneficial to your health.


You’ve just been on a very successful, six-figure earning money-making website called “Coffee Detective.”

Countless sites cover every conceivable angle of every topic imaginable – food, clothing, politics, homeschooling – and use monetizing strategies like:

  • affiliate marketing
  • Google ads
  • merchandizing
  • product shipping

Every time a visitor takes an action on one of these sites, the owner makes money. Depending on the strategy it might be a few pennies, or a couple hundred dollars.  

While creating a website can be a great passive income idea for beginners, it is one of the Goldilocks ideas that can be more costly in time. Unlike renting you can’t just set it up and forget it. You’ve got to update it frequently, at least several times a month.

Passive Income Ideas for Beginners in Blogging

If you’re not crazy about building out a whole site for a six-figure income, you might try downsizing to the more lightweight blogging – even video blogging – model. From real estate moguls to budgeting experts, people around the world use a simple blogging format to rake in big bucks.

One such budgeting expert went from making a measly $38K per year to building a million dollar blog called “Making Sense of Cents.”

Passive Income Idea 4: Investing for Beginners

Investing can be a scary word, but careful, long-term investment strategies are among the cheapest passive income ideas for beginners over time.

These three investing ideas aren’t as exciting as the traditional stock market, but they fit the Goldilocks model. Once you find an investment that has a reasonable return, and is insured by the FDIC for safety, you can forget it.

You’ll earn anywhere from 2% to 4% (sometimes more) in interest rates, and never really have to fool with it again. 

Highest Paying Investing Idea for Beginners: Inflation Bonds

The United States Treasury actually offers bonds, commonly called I-Bonds, to help you protect your savings from inflation. Unlike traditional investments, I-Bond interest rates go up right along with the inflation rate.  Which means that as of publication, I-Bonds are offering almost unheard of 9.62% returns.

I-Bond returns are paid every six months, but the principle is locked in for a year, and you’ll pay a penalty if you withdraw the principle before five years.

Easy Investing Idea for Beginners: High-Yield CDs

A certificate of deposit – commonly known as a CD – is a type of account where you’re balancing the risk versus the level of a guaranteed return. Unlike stock investments – which have the potential of a higher return – CDs are very unlikely to ever lose any, let alone all, of your money; making it a safe place to park excess cash.

As of the publishing of this article, you can expect an interest rate of 2% – 2.5% on a safe high-yield CD. One downside is that you may only be able to withdraw your money once every year.  

Safest Investing Idea for Beginners: High-Yield Online Savings Accounts

Online banking provides an interesting opportunity for investors. Because the banks don’t have brick-and-mortar costs to consider, the interest rates are typically much higher than what your local bank will offer you.

Rates are influenced by the standards of the Federal Reserve Bank, so interest rates will fluctuate. Currently (time of publication) rates are at an average of 2%, but withdrawals and transfers are much more convenient that I-Bonds or CDs, and there’s no early liquidation penalty.

Choose One of the Best Passive Income Ideas for Beginners

As Warren Buffet famously said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

Passive income is one of the greatest ways to achieve a life of financial freedom.

Using the Goldilocks model, you can choose a passive income idea for beginners that should give you a nice return for a reasonable investment.

  • If you’ve got knowledge to share, you could create courses and e-books.
  • If you’re rich in property, renting can be the perfect idea.
  • If you’ve got lots of time, create a money-making website.
  • And if you’ve got money but no time, cautious and safe long-term investing can be the best option.

Any way you choose to go, these Goldilocks passive income ideas for beginners can set you free from the hand-to-mouth worries of people who only know how to make money actively.

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This is a portfolio sample of writing by Suzanna “The Challenge Queen” Fitzgerald. The topic / keyword was “passive income ideas for beginners.” The challenge was to create a unique article that would stand out in terms of:

  • usefulness
  • interesting subject matter
  • relatability
  • and authoritativeness
Suzanna "The Challenge Queen" Fitzgerald

…Among a literal ocean of other articles on passive income ideas for beginners and even advanced practitioners! (Personally, I think I met the challenge!) What do you think?

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