I’m a writer, instructor, and entrepreneur based out of Houston, Texas. I am the founder of Millennial Nextdoor where I teach millennials life hacks for easy millennial living like being money smart, investing in yourself, and automating your life. When I’m not working, you can catch me binge-watching baking reality TV shows or listening to my favorite podcasts about business, money, and life.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
If you’re curious about how to make money doing nothing, consider setting up passive income streams. This involves laying a foundation to help you work (or invest resources) now to make residual income later.
So, you might do some work to get things set up but then you can sit back and enjoy the passive income stream you created for yourself.
When I set out to become an entrepreneur years ago, I had one thing in mind: stable income. Entrepreneurship can be a rollercoaster. Although I had enjoyed mostly stable income while balancing my side hustle with a full-time job, I was nervous about it continuing.
To cope with these fears I decided to create multiple income streams for myself. That means, in addition to running my business, I make additional income on the side for little to no work.
How to Make Money Doing Nothing at All
This is how I make money today without lifting a finger: I created e-courses through Udemy.
Becoming a Udemy course creator is one of the many routes you can take to get paid to do nothing. I started by evaluating my skills, thought long and hard about what I could teach others, topics I was passionate about, my expertise, knowledge, and background.
From here, I ended up crafting three courses. Within a month, over 2,000 students enrolled in them! Today, almost 4 years later, I literally do nothing with those courses and I’m still earning money any time a new student enrolls.
Making money doing nothing may sound like a dream but it’s a reality for many people.
And, you can be one of them.
You don’t have to create courses like I did to make money doing nothing. There are plenty of other ideas that are simple and profitable.
Install Passive Income Apps
The easiest way to make money passively is to install some of the best apps that pay real money. Each app can help you build an income for doing the things you normally would like shopping, browsing the web, or playing games.
1. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
Nielsen is a trusted player in the data collection field. For more than 90 years, the company has conducted surveys and used the information to improve products, services, and various processes. As a member of Nielsen’s Computer & Mobile Panel, you can help the improvements while earning money passively.
Nielsen rewards members who download and install their free app and computer software. The software collects anonymous data based on your online browsing and shopping habits. Plus there are other opportunties to earn cash prizes and more rewards from installing the app on other devices.
Acorns is an investing app that lets you invest your spare change and earn passive income in interest. The nice thing about Acorns is that it helps you invest money without drawing more than $.99 from your account at a time.
The way Acorns works is by connecting your debit or credit cards. When you make a purchase for say $24.50 at the store, Acorns rounds up your payment to $25 and invests $.50 on your behalf. It’s an extremely easy way to start an investment account without dipping into your savings or committing to monthly payments you may not be able to afford.
Sign up with Acorns and start investing to earn money for doing nothing!
Rakuten is one of the best passive income apps to have on your smartphone (and laptop too!). When you download the app, you’ll have the opportunity to earn cash back on many of the purchases you make online and in-store.
Before you place your order online, just hop on the app, search for the store you plan to shop at, and click on the “shop now” link. You’ll be redirected to the store, where you can shop as normal. Once you complete the order, you’ll receive cash back for your purchases (percentages vary by store).
To receive cash back from an in-store purchase, just navigate to the in-store category and link your payment method to the store you plan to shop at. Every time you make a purchase in person, you’ll receive the cash in your Rakuten account. You can read more about how it works in my Rakuten review.
For a limited time, sign up for free and get a $10 bonus after you make your first $25 purchase using Rakuten.
Trunow is one of the only apps that lets you earn cash back on your gasoline purchases. If you drive a vehicle and pay for your own gas, then Trunow is an app worth having. Just download the app, enter the promo code 117KNN (to get $2.50 for free) and then upload your future gas receipts. You’ll also get suggestions for the cheapest gas nearby which helps you save more money in the long run.
The app is simple to use and worth it since otherwise you wouldn’t earn cash back on your gas receipts. But one of the common complaints about the app is that you can only cash out via PayPal if you forfeit 50% of your earnings. You can keep 100% if you apply your earnings toward future rewards like free gas or in-store purchases.
Sign up for a free Trunow account and use promo code 117KNN to start earning.
Subcontracting is when you outsource your work to another professional. People also refer to it as drop servicing.
Here’s an example: You find a job as a social media manager. Your client is a local restaurant and they need help creating social awareness and increasing traffic to their store.
So, you subcontract the work, meaning you hire a freelance social media manager to do the work for you and you keep the difference as your profit.
If you’re hired for $1,000/month, you can find a contractor to work the job for you at $400/month, keeping the difference ($600) as your profit.
This works great in a variety of industries and it’s a nice way to make money doing nothing. You want to make sure that you hire reliable freelancers that can do quality work and you only pay a subcontractor after you’ve secured payment from your client/customer.
Subcontracting is flexible and you can do this kind of work for online or local services.
Online Service Examples:
- Freelance Writing
Local Service Examples:
- Yard work/Gardening
- Car Detailing
- Consigning Stuff Online
Subcontracting allows you to get paid to do nothing while trusted freelancers handle the work. Take a closer look at the examples shared above:
Proofreading is reviewing written material for errors. This involves reviewing documents for grammar and spelling errors, and revising them as needed. Proofreaders are in demand by people who produce written work that needs to be error-checked, like writers, editors, authors, etc.
You don’t need a college degree to land lucrative proofreading jobs, but you can learn more about it to see if it’s the right service for you to subcontract. It’s important that you (and especially your subcontractors) know how to deliver the service you offer well.
Caitlin Pyle is a professional proofreader and instructor. She started proofreading documents and earned over $40,000 per year working part time before crafting an online course on the topic. You can learn more about proofreading in her free 76-minute webinar.
With transcription jobs, you type what you hear from audio files. Clients that need transcriptionists have audio files that need to be repurposed into a written format. Podcasters, attorneys, teachers, and more require this service.
Transcribing takes listening and typing skills and attention to detail. Janet Shaughnessy made a decent living as a transcriptionist until she realized that subcontracting the service was even more lucrative. You can get some great incite on using a transcription service to make money doing nothing in her free online mini-course.
7. Freelance Writing
As a freelance writer, you’ll get paid to write copy, which can include different types of content like blog posts, articles, white papers, resumes, website content, and more.
Even a great writer needs direction on how to get started offering freelance services. After you’ve established a good rapport with clients, you can start subcontracting the work. Just make sure to submit quality work every single time.
Holly Johnson is the freelance writing guru. She manages to earn over $225,000 per year as a freelance writer. She offers a ton of value in her free online workshop, including ideas to pitch clients for jobs.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and the person tasked with this job helps clients get found on search engines like Google. This is important because companies that appear in the search results on the first page of Google will get traffic to their business, which is the end goal.
SEO clients will be businesses that want to improve their Google rankings for the purposes of traffic generation, which leads to increased revenue and brand awareness.
The first requirement for working as an SEO is to learn how to do SEO like a professional. At the very basis of SEO is keyword research. Finding and researching the right keywords that will help clients rank on Google is both tedious and rewarding. Consider investing in the eBook Get Your Keywords Together to learn how to do keyword research using only free SEO tools.
9. Yard Work/Gardening
Yard work, gardening, and landscaping are about beautifying the yards of homeowners and renters. This can include lawn mowing, hedging, pulling weeds, trimming bushes, planting flower beds, etc. Hire a team of workers or subcontract entire projects to make money for doing nothing yourself.
10. Consigning Stuff Online
Consigning your stuff online means you’ll be taking things, like clothes, toys, home goods, and other items and selling them online for resale. When an item sells, you split the money with your consignee.
All of these service business ideas offer the opportunity to make money from doing nothing, other than securing your client. Outsourcing the work makes this mostly hands-off and can help you build a reliable stream of income.
Leverage Real Estate
Real estate is an awesome opportunity and one of the most profitable businesses to help you make money for doing nothing.
If you’re familiar with the hit TV show Shark Tank, one of the sharks Barbara Corcoran used real estate to achieve success, saying “owning made me rich.” Real estate is still considered the best investment you can make today.
Leveraging real estate is a very real example of how to get rich doing nothing.
Residential and commercial properties can generate income year-round. And, with AirBNB and other short term rental companies growing year over year, it’s becoming easier for people to break into the real estate market to make passive income.
When you buy property versus rent it, you are investing in something that can appreciate over time. Other benefits of investing in real estate include:
- Tax breaks
- Passive income opportunity
- Financial security
- Mortgage payments made by renters
If you think about it, people will always need a place to live.
You can invest in property without tying up your cash and you can grow your wealth while doing nothing.
11. Rent Out Space on Airbnb
Becoming an AirBNB host is one of the easiest ways to start earning income from your property.
To do this, join the AirBNB website and list your property for rent. It’s free for hosts to join.
Next, get your space ready for short-term renters, which can include:
- Stocking bathrooms with toiletries
- Ensuring your space is furnished
- Making sure you have linens, towels, etc.
- Clean and disinfect your space
Then, welcome your first guest!
AirBNB hosting is one of the most profitable ways to leverage real estate.
12. Real Estate Investment Apps
Real estate investment apps offer an easy way to invest in real estate, with far less of an investment than buying a property on your own.
Fundrise lets you get in on a real estate investing for as little as $500. They help you get better returns on your money, managing the entire project on your behalf.
They’ll pool your investment with other investors so you can gain access to private real estate deals. This is a cool way to diversify your investments and make money for doing nothing.
13. Buy an Apartment Building
This next opportunity is a smart way to live rent-free AND make a profit!
One of my friends did this a few years back.
He bought a 4-plex apartment building. While he lived in one of the units, he rented out the other three spaces to renters.
The rent he collected from his three tenants was enough to pay rent for the entire building plus additional profit on top of that.
14. Flip Old Houses
House flipping can be very lucrative. You start by buying a property, undervalued or at a great deal. Then, hire a handyman to do the work to fix it up. Lastly, flip the house for a profit.
You can use this free house flipping spreadsheet to estimate your expenses and profit.
Sell Digital Products
Selling digital products can help you get paid for doing nothing, after your initial setup.
You can create a digital product and sell it online. It will then live on the internet forever, helping you make money passively in the future.
Your initial setup will require some work, doing things like brainstorming a product idea, drafting, creating, and designing the product, among other tasks.
To skip the initial setup, you can always hire someone to create your product for you. Places to find creators include Upwork, social media, your personal network, and other places.
Examples of digital products you can sell include:
- Photography/Digital artwork
Creating an e-course is about teaching your audience about a skill. You are solving a problem for them through your instruction in the course. Some examples of popular course topics include computer programming, learning piano online, french baking, transcription, and proofreading.
An eBook lets you write a book for people to consume online. They can read it on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Examples of eBook topics are meditation, organization, and productivity. Read my tutorial to learn how to make money writing ebooks.
A digital planner is an organizational planner in a digital format. A digital planner is helpful for those who use electronic devices often like a tablet or smartphone.
A printable is a printout resource to solve a consumer problem. This can include a recipe printable, organization printable, or checklist, to name a few examples.
Software can include a computer program or app created. You spend time and effort to create the software, monetize it, then enjoy making money doing nothing.
For photographers, you can spend time indulging in your passion then place your work for sale, earning money for no additional work!
21. Digital Artwork
Digital artwork is a digital print that can be printed at home or at a print shop. You can find digital art in marketplaces like Etsy and examples include motivational phrases, quotes, and drawings that people love to frame and hang in their homes.
Places to Sell Digital Products
There are plenty of places where you can sell digital products. Take a look at these three places to get you started.
If you run your own blog, it’s the perfect place to sell your stuff. You can market your products right to your audience.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that you can use to sell digital products online. Sarah Titus tried this and made over $50,000 selling digital products in her first month.
Etsy is an online marketplace full of tons of sellers that sell their stuff. It’s a good place to sell printables, planners, and digital art or photography.
To Make Money Doing Nothing Requires Time or Money
The bottom line is that you can get paid doing nothing with passive income streams. You will have to do work in the beginning but you can outsource it to make the project totally hands off.
It’s all about what’s more valuable to you, time or money.
You can spend your time doing the setup, saving money or you can spend money for someone else to do your setup, saving time.
Remember, the more money you’re willing to put out, the less work you have to do to make money.
It’s simple to make money doing nothing by subcontracting work, leveraging real estate, or selling digital products. Not only will you create passive income but you can diversify your income streams, too.
Ready to get paid doing for nothing?