40 Passive Income Ideas for Students in 2024

Finding a passive income idea for students can be a great way to pay for your bills and tuition while balancing a school workload. I have to confess, no passive income stream is ever truly passive, but, many options can require less time and effort once they are established.

It’s estimated that 40% of all college students work while in school. Why not figure out how to make the most amount of money with the least amount of time?

There are countless stories of college students starting a business that end up scaling and becoming their full-time job once they graduate. Who knows where this could lead? 

I remember when I was in university and I was working three different jobs. It’s safe to say, sleep was minimal. I wish I had known way back then that there were better options.

Now, I will tell anyone who will listen– there are better options!

In this blog, we will cover: 

  • What is passive income?
  • 40 passive income ideas for students 
  • How you can make $1,000 a month in passive income
  • The best passive income stream for students 

What is Passive Income?

Passive income refers to earnings that require minimal ongoing effort and active involvement once the initial setup is complete. Unlike traditional active income, where you exchange your time and labor for money, passive income streams allow you to generate money in a more automated and sustainable manner. It’s an avenue towards achieving financial freedom, as it can supplement or replace traditional sources of income while affording you the flexibility to pursue other goals, such as school. 

One of the key features of passive income is that it continues to flow even when you’re not actively working. This doesn’t mean there’s no upfront effort; in fact, many passive income sources require significant work at the beginning. However, once the foundation is laid and systems are in place, you can enjoy a steady stream of income with relatively little ongoing involvement. 

Real estate is a classic example. After purchasing a property and setting up agreements with tenants, you can earn monthly rent payments without constant intervention. Sure, it will still require your attention from time to time, but most likely not 40 hours per week. Similarly, dividend stocks provide a consistent income stream as companies share their profits with shareholders. Online businesses, such as creating and selling digital products or running automated e-commerce stores, can also yield passive income. Even investing in bonds can generate regular interest payments. 

Below is a list of 40 potential passive income ideas for students and some frequently asked questions. A note of caution: some of the examples listed below come with risk. My advice? Do your research and know your risk preference before you settle on any one form of passive income. 

40 Passive Income Ideas for Students 

1. Peer-to-peer Lending

By investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms, you provide loans to individuals or small businesses. You can earn money through interest payments made by borrowers on the loans you’ve funded. 

2. Dividend Stocks

When you invest in dividend-paying stocks, you become a shareholder in companies that distribute a portion of their profit to shareholders as dividends, providing you with a regular stream of income.

We have a free live class every month that can tell you more about this. There will be a live Q&A, so bring all your money questions.   

3. Real Estate Crowdfunding

Invest in real estate projects through crowdfunding platforms. By participating in real estate crowdfunding, you contribute funds to real estate projects alongside other investors. You earn a share of the rental income or profits generated by the projects. 

4. Create an Online Course

Share your expertise on platforms like Udemy or TeachableStudents pay for access and you earn money each time a student enrolls. 

You  can also create a subscription option on YouTube and have regular subscription fees each month. 

5. Write an eBook

Did you know you can self-publish an eBook literally anytime? Publish your eBook on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publish or create your eBook on Canva and promote it on social media. 

6. Stock Photography

Sell your photos on stock photography websites, earning a commission each time someone purchases a license to use your images.

7. Create a YouTube Channel

Make money through ads displayed on your videos, sponsored content from brands, and by promoting affiliate products in your video descriptions. This can be a fun and relatively low “time-cost” way to make income as your videos can revolve around things you already do in your day-to-day.

Plus, there are multiple different ways for you to make income from ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. 

8. Affiliate marketing

Promote products and earn commissions for each sale. You promote products and generate sales through your unique affiliate link. For every purchase made using your unique link, you receive a portion of the profits. 

9. Automated Dropshipping

Set up an online store and partner with dropshipping suppliers who handle inventory and shipping. You earn the difference between the wholesale and the retail prices. 

10. Print on Demand

Design and sell custom merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, etc.). Create your custom designs for merchandise, and when customers order products with your designs, the printing company handles production and shipping while you earn a portion of the sale. It’s easy to promote your designs on Pinterest, Etsy, and other social media platforms, or spread the word around your college campus!

11. License Your Music

If you’re a musician, license your music for use in various projects. Allow your music to be used in commercials, films, videos, and other projects for a licensing fee. 

12. Create an App

Develop a mobile app and earn from app store downloads. You can also earn from in-app purchases and ads. 

13. Create a blog 

Generate income through ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content. 

14. Invest in a REIT

Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts for real estate income. REITs own and manage income-generating properties. You earn a share of the rental income and profits from property sales. 

15. Create an Audiobook

Narrate and sell audiobook versions of popular books. You can earn royalties each time the audiobook makes a sale. 

16. Create a Subscription Book

Curate and sell subscription boxes with niche products. Subscribers pay a recurring fee to receive your curated items. This can be anything from curated thrift clothing to small business items from your area. 

17. Invest in Index Funds

Invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks or bonds, and earn returns based on the overall performance of the market. ]

Free investing class here

18. License Your Artwork

Sell licenses for your artwork to be used in various projects. 

19. Create a Membership Site

Offer exclusive content to subscribers for a monthly or annual fee. 

20. Create a Mobile Game

Develop a game app and earn from in-app purchases, ads, or premium versions of the game. 

21. Create a Niche Website

Build a website around a specific niche, attract traffic, and earn income through ads and affiliate marketing. 

22. Automated Online Store

Set up a dropshipping or print-on-demand online store. Set up an online store using dropshipping, where suppliers handle inventory and shipping while you earn a profit on each sale. 

23. Create a Stock Video Library

Sell Stock videos on platforms like Shuttershock. 

24. Invest in Bonds

Bonds are a great way to reach your short-term financial goals. Purchase bonds and earn interest over time. 

Learn more in this free class

25. Rent Out Your Space

If you have extra space, consider renting it out on Airbnb or similar websites.

26. Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Rent out your car through platforms like Turo and earn money for each rental. 

27. Create an Alexa Skill or Chatbot

Develop voice skills or chatbots for virtual assistants. Earn money through usage or subscriptions. 

28. License Your Photos

Sell licenses for your photos to be used in commercial projects, such as advertisements or websites. 

29. Create a Podcast

Earn from sponsorships, ads, and listener donations as you share valuable content through your podcast. 

30. Create a Dropshipping Store

Set up an online store where suppliers handle the inventory and shipping, and you earn a profit on each sale. 

31. Create a Vlog

Share your life experiences and earn more from ads, sponsored content, or affiliate programs. 

32. Create a Printables Shop

Design and sell printable planners, worksheets, or other downloadable resources. 

33. Invest in Mutual Funds

Invest in professionally managed mutual funds. Mutual funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in various assets. 

Learn more about mutual funds in this free class

34. Automated YouTube Channel

Curate and upload automated content, such as compilations or animations, and earn money through ad revenue. 

35. License Your Software

Develop and license software solutions, earning money from licensing fees paid by users. 

36. Sell Digital Products

Create and sell digital products like templates, presets, or design assets. 

37. Create an Email Newsletter

Offer premium content and valuable insights through a subscription-based email newsletter. 

38. Buy a Vending Machine

Place vending machines in high-traffic areas and earn money from the sales of snacks and beverages. 

39. Rent Out Equipment 

Rent out specialized equipment you own when it’s not in use, generating income from each time the equipment is rented. 

40. Create an Online Marketplace

Build a platform where other sellers can list and sell their products, earning commission on each sale. 

How Can You Make $1,000 Per Month in Passive Income?

Once you’ve decided on the passive income stream that works best for you, it’s time to break out the calculator.

Did you decide to sell print-to-order t-shirts? Great, how many do you need to sell to make $1,000? If it costs you $20 to make a shirt, and you sell it for $30, that means you will need to sell 100 t-shirts to make $1,000. 

Outside of listing your shirts on social platforms, it could be helpful to have ads that run automatically. In my experience, this can help make acquiring new customers as close to hands-off as possible.

Ads might take some tweaking here and there, but once you get a few good ads in place, it can be “set it and forget it”.

Then, targeted customers will find your shirts and proceed to checkout while you are off living your best student life. 

The Best Passive Income Stream for Students

 

Investing

When I started taking wealth building seriously, I started to realize how important investing is. Investing plays a crucial role in securing your financial future by enabling your money to grow over time and outpace the effects of inflation.

While earning a steady paycheck is obviously necessary, relying solely on active income from your job may limit your long-term financial potential. Investing provides a means to generate passive income and accumulate wealth, granting you the freedom to achieve your goals and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

By putting your money to work through strategic investments, you can harness the power of compounding and make your hard-earned money work even harder for you. 

As a student, you might assume that investing is something you have to wait to do “down the road”. But you can start right now! You can start investing with $1, $5, or $1,000, and you will see compound interest do its thing.

If you are interested in learning how to get started with investing, I have a free live class that I teach you can sign up for here

A note on investing: It would give future you such a leg up if you were able to start investing while still in college.

However, this option won’t replace your current job. If you need something to pay your bills right now, consider some of the other options on the list above as well as investing. 

I cannot emphasize this enough– if you are in college and have the ability to invest even $25 a month right now, do it! Compound interest works with time, so the sooner you get your money in the market, the more time it has to accumulate wealth. 

Low Starting Fee Options for Passive Income

If you are a student looking to build passive income, I’m going to venture to say you want zero entrance fees. When you are looking to choose a passive income stream, there is a huge spectrum of how much it can cost to get started. For instance, if you dive right into flipping houses, you are looking at tens of thousands of dollars. I don’t know about you, but that was not the kind of disposable income I had when I was a college student. 

Some of the best options for low entrance fees are dividend stocks, print-on-demand businesses, affiliate marketing, creating a YouTube channel with subscription options or a blog, and selling digital products. Another benefit to these options is that they are all remote and flexible to the hours of a student. For instance, you can create YouTube videos anytime using just your phone! 

Final Thoughts

Getting started on a journey toward financial independence might seem distant, but the world of passive income streams offers a pathway to make your money work for you…starting now! By exploring the diverse options available to you, you can take the first steps toward building a stronger financial future. Remember, passive income doesn’t promise overnight riches, but it does promise the potential for a more secure and flexible life down the road. 

Continuing to grow in your financial literacy will also help you in your journey to financial freedom. Reading blogs and listening to podcasts (like the Money Bare Podcast, hint hint) will help you start to develop better financial habits and grow your passive income streams.

If you want more financial education sent straight to your inbox, check out this free guide

There are so many great options for passive income for students. From affiliate marketing to equipment rentals, there is definitely something for everyone!

Getting a passive stream of income started can often take time and effort, but once it’s on its feet, you can literally make money while you sleep. So, which option are you going to try?

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