Everybody’s looking for a steady stream of passive income these days — a business that almost runs itself while you carry on with your life. Some of those that might qualify would include a gift basket business, an Airbnb, dumpster rentals, and property management.
Keep in mind that these businesses will not start filling out your bankbook from Day One without you lifting a finger. You’ll need to do some real work setting up the business, putting out strong marketing and hiring reliable staffers before you’ll be able to step back.
Check out our list of perfect passive income business ideas to jumpstart your thinking.
1. Art & Craft Store
Do you have a creative hobby? If it involves some sort of craft, you might want to consider turning your favorite at-home pastime into a business, and potentially a major revenue stream. With people stuck at home for months on end looking for something creative to do or something interesting to buy, the arts and crafts industry has exploded since the start of the pandemic. In 2020 alone, the revenue of the leading online arts and crafts marketplace Etsy more than doubled, to $1.72 billion. That means right now is a great time to start your own craft business, provided people with wonderful products and ride this wave to prosperity.
You’ll be your own boss, working at home at times that are best for you. You’ll be able to embrace and express your creativity, producing goods that could be sold around the world. But you will need to decide which products to focus on. This could be anything from crocheted blankets and clay jewelry to embroidered handkerchiefs and knit hats. Whatever you choose, be sure to research what’s already out there and offer a unique twist on existing products. Building a strong brand will be key to the success of your craft business.
2. Notebook Manufacturing
Like many people, you probably still use a notebook to jot down ideas, brainstorm, and record your thoughts. If you love notebooks and writing, then consider starting a notebook business. You’ll be doing something you love while making money. Despite the proliferation of note-taking apps, the global paper notebook market is expected to expand nearly 10% annually through 2024, with the launch of new varieties and designs as the major growth driver.
Anyone can start a notebook business. Unless you manufacture the notebooks yourself, you won’t need a lot of investment. You will just have to curate the notebooks that you sell, find a reliable supplier and get creative with your marketing plan. You can start with notebooks initially and expand to snacks, stationery, and other goods as your business grows. Think of your company as a living entity that will help you move towards success.
3. Uber Driving
If you have a car and know your way around your city, you could easily start an Uber business. Uber is a popular and growing ride-sharing service that can be a great way to make money. It earned more than $17 billion in 2021 and has nearly 4 million drivers worldwide. The ride-sharing market is set to grow substantially in the coming years, as about one in four Americans uses a ride-sharing service at least once a month.
To set up your Uber business, the first thing to do is to register with Uber. Uber only allows drivers with their own cars, so you should get one if you don’t have one yet. You will be asked to submit the required documents, prepare for a background check, and download the app. For background check, Uber looks into an applicant’s driving record and criminal history, if any. Once you pass the screening, you’ll just wait for customers and start driving toward success.
4. Storage Business
One in 10 Americans spend an average of $90 a month on storage, according to the Self Storage Association. If you’re looking to start a business that’s low-maintenance but provides a steady source of income, consider storage.
There are many reasons people need to rent space — when they renovate their homes and have to move some stuff out of the way, when they relocate or move to a smaller space, or when they simply have to declutter their homes.
If you own or intend to rent an empty piece of land, you can turn it into a storage lot for boats, RVs, and other stuff. Another option is to build some self-storage units. You’ll know what’s best for you after you conduct your market research. It’s also a good idea to find out what existing storage businesses in the area are offering. With careful planning and an effective marketing campaign, your storage business can be very profitable.
5. Web Design
Do you know of any legit business that doesn’t have a website? That’s right — in today’s digital world, businesses need to have a decent website if they expect to be taken seriously. That’s why web design is a $40 billion industry that’s seeing steady growth as the number of new US businesses hits record highs. All those new companies need websites, which means right now is a great time to start your own web design business and design a bright future.
First, if you’re not already an established graphic designer, you will need a bit of training. But there are many helpful options out there, including online educational platforms that offer subscriptions that allow you to take as many classes as you want. Alternatively, many universities offer affordable website design certification courses. Once that’s sorted, the next crucial step will be building your own website, which has to be fantastic or nobody will trust your skills.
With some quality social media marketing, you should be able to rope in a client or two. Impress them and you’ll be on the road to design success.
6. Dog Walking
Would you believe that dog walking is a billion-dollar industry in the US? It’s true, and the pandemic deserves some of the credit, because so many people stuck at home for months on end needed company and decided to get themselves a dog. All those dogs, of course, need to be walked, which means demand for dog walking services is strong and on the rise.
If you love dogs, you could start walking dogs on evenings or weekends and help people care for their pets while making a good living, getting some exercise and enjoying yourself! It’s a win-win-win.
Of course, it’s not as easy as giving a dog a bone. You will most likely need to register with your local health department and get insurance, to help you in the event of any accidents or incidents. But beyond that, you’ll just need to offer your services on social media and online platforms like Rover.com and deliver excellent dog walking services to your first few clients. Once you establish a brand and start getting referrals, you might find yourself with too many dogs, and too little time!
7. Gift Basket
It’s hard to go wrong with a gift basket of wine, fruits, food, or flowers, whether given to family, friends, or colleagues. It’s an excellent choice if you don’t know what the recipient likes or if you’re sending to multiple people.
The versatility of gift baskets has kept demand high over the years, especially from the corporate sector. The US corporate gift market is set to cross $300 billion in revenue by 2024. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, why not grab this opportunity and start a gift basket business? It’s a great way to use your creativity to make people happy and make good money.
Before you get started, it’s to your advantage to choose a niche and craft a good marketing strategy. Having a strong online presence is crucial to success, so it’s a good idea to start developing your website and social media accounts as soon as you decide on your branding. Of course, it’s important to make your business legally compliant so you need to work on your regulatory requirements as well.
8. Graphic Design
Strong graphic design is a crucial element of nearly every business’s branding and marketing strategy, which is why it’s always in great demand. After years of steady growth, the US graphic design industry is worth nearly $14 billion and offers real opportunity for the bold entrepreneur. You could start your own part-time graphic design business from home, generating good money.
You will, however, need to have a strong creative streak and some skill and experience with graphic design software and tools. If you don’t have a related degree, you could brush up on your graphic design skills by taking courses at an online platform like Udemy. Next, it’s a good idea to research the market, see what sort of graphic design is trending lately, and keep an eye out for a market gap that might fit your skillset.
Understanding and clarifying what you will offer, which businesses you are targeting and how you’ll stand out from the competition will be crucial elements to your success.
9. Leggings Manufacturing
Are you looking to start your own business? Well, look no further! Starting a leggings business is a great way to become your own boss and make some money. Leggings have huge appeal because they’re convenient and comfortable — fine for working out, hanging out, traveling or running errands. The leggings market is poised for modest growth in the years ahead due to increased demand.
It is not easy to start a business, and there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, decide whether you’ll design and make your leggings yourself, or carry a variety of brands. If you’re coming up with your own line, one option is to outsource production and find an affordable supplier. Once you’re up and running, there’s no telling how successful your business can become.
10. Sewing Business
With so many ready to wear clothes on the market these days, you’d think a sewing business would no longer be viable. But the $2 billion US cut and sew apparel industry has seen steady growth in the last few years and is set to bounce back as consumer confidence improves further in the coming years.
When starting a sewing business, keep in mind that there are a lot of other services you can offer. You could provide alteration services, or hold sewing lessons. Besides the usual pieces of clothing, you can also make pet clothes and accessories, or some home decor. It’s important to register your business first and comply with all regulatory requirements. Once you’ve hurdled that, you should go online and harness your digital marketing skills to promote your business. With the right skills and hard work, you’ll be making good money from your sewing business.
More than 8,000 job openings for film and video editors and camera operators are projected in the US each year through 2030, making this one of the fastest-growing sectors. Globally, the massive film and video market is set to double by the end of this decade. If you have video production and editing skills, you might consider setting up a videography business. With the increasing use of videos in the digital marketing landscape, there will probably be no dearth of opportunities for you.
Starting a videography business is not as easy as snapping a selfie. First, it’s important to develop your brand and come up with an attractive business name and logo. Next, invest in cutting edge equipment and keep yourself informed of the latest technologies. To promote your brand, you can set up social media accounts, make video samples and develop a website. Finally, tap into your creativity to propel your business to the top. Grab that opportunity to make a profit now!
12. Resume Writing
You might be surprised to hear it, considering the popularity of work-related social media platforms like LinkedIn, but resume writing is still big business. Countless college graduates and established professionals alike remain unable to create an appealing, strongly written resume and are willing to pay good money — up to $300 or more — for a quality CV. If you’re a perfectionist with strong writing skills, you could start your own part-time resume writing business and help people find the jobs of their dreams while helping yourself find some serious success.
You could start by reviewing some of the countless free online resume writing courses and brushing up your skills. Then you could reach out to a few friends and acquaintances and offer your resume writing services for free, or at a steep discount. Then, assuming you deliver quality work, they’ll provide you with testimonials and positive reviews and you’ll be on your way. Just be sure to keep your rates reasonable at the start, then you can increase as you build your brand, establish a reputation and add more and more skills.
13. Retail Store
Are you thinking of starting your own retail business? If so, you’re in good company. The retail industry is a huge part of the economy, and it’s only getting bigger. But starting a retail business isn’t easy. There are a lot of things to think about, from choosing the right location to setting up your payment system. And let’s not forget the most important step: deciding what to sell!
A good way to choose your product offerings is to first do some research — see what’s out there, and more importantly what’s not. You’re looking for what sells well, as well as a market gap to fill. Once you know your products, finding a great location for your store will be the next big step. However, you might want to initially run your retail business out of your home. This would significantly reduce your costs and give you time to build a brand and a reputation.
After a year or two, assuming your products are well received by the market, you’ll be in a much better position to find a great location and run a successful retail outlet.
14. Wash and Fold Service
Are you looking to cash in on Americans’ busy lifestyles? One way is to start a wash and fold business. The broader US laundry industry is growing and set to be worth more than $14 billion by 2028.
To be viable, you will need to make a business plan, make sure you have a steady supply of electricity and water, and find reliable suppliers of detergent, fabric softener and other laundry supplies. You will want to study the competition and adopt the latest technology to be able to get a share of the market.
Most laundry shops charge wash-dry-fold services per kilo. Some offer 24-hour drop-off and pick-up services through locker systems or automated kiosks, and even offer smartphone applications. You might provide delivery and value-added services like button or zipper replacement to differentiate your business and gain more customers.
Keep in mind that your location is important. Demand is usually high near universities, apartments and offices.
Does anybody ever WANT to do their laundry? That’s why laundromats are always in great demand.
A laundromat can be a profitable enterprise that provides much needed convenience to the local community. But there are two key hurdles. The first is finding a good location, one with no nearby competition, lots of foot traffic, and enough space for a couple dozen machines. The next hurdle is, you guessed it, coming up with the money for all those machines! Starting a laundromat tends to cost about $100,000 at the low end, and some startups spend much more than that.
But recent advancements in washing machines mean that they accept all kinds of payment and you can keep track of your business via mobile app. These days, a laundromat is largely hands off, so once it’s up and running there will be little for you to do besides count all that money rolling in.
16. Laundry Service
It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it! That’s why laundry is a billion-dollar industry in the US, because there will always be clothes that need cleaning and people who don’t want to deal with it. You can get in on the action by starting your own laundry business. Best of all, with the latest technologies, you can keep tabs on your machines via mobile app and keep your hands clean as you watch the money roll in.
Significant investment will be required, to buy at least a dozen machines and rent out a good-sized space in a high-traffic location. The next step will be to determine your services, whether you want to be a self-service-only laundry or offer drop-off services as well. You could also make an even larger investment and offer high-end dry cleaning. Whichever route you choose, your chances are good, as US laundromats have an impressive 95% success rate.
17. Rental Property
Are you interested in real estate? If so, you’re probably aware that the pandemic, even as it cratered other industries, spurred record-setting growth in the US real estate market, with prices and sales totals as high as they’ve been this century. The market has cooled down slightly, but it’s still a great time to get in on the action — and one good way to do so is by starting your own rental property business.
The concept is easy. You simply buy a multi-unit property or larger residential complex and start making a steady income from renters, in addition to property appreciation and tax benefits. Of course you’ll need a significant investment to get started, but you also need to break some eggs to make an omelet.
But you will of course need to decide what type of rental property you want to invest in. Are you interested in buying and managing properties yourself, or would you prefer to invest in a property management company? Next, research the market and find out the price range for the area where you’re looking to buy. Be sure not to overspend early on. Get started, get a feel for the industry in your area, and then start thinking about making bigger bets.
18. Real Estate
The US real estate market has been booming in recent years, and is now worth nearly $400 billion and expected to see further growth in the years ahead. As an entrepreneur, you’re probably always on the look-out for new opportunities. Right now, with sales totals and home prices at record highs, real estate ranks among the largest and most promising markets. And best of all, you’ll be helping families settle down and build homes and communities.
Of course, starting a real estate business isn’t as easy as getting out of bed. You’ll need to educate yourself about the market and obtain a real estate agent’s license. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the relevant online tools and information to keep you updated on market trends, and find a local broker to partner with. Finally, you’ll need to set up a website and market your home buying and selling abilities in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
All that done, you’ll be ready to start building your real estate empire.
19. Dumpster Rental
Trash may not be the most glamorous line of work, but the US dumpster industry has expanded more than 40% in the past decade and is poised for more growth in the years ahead. The smart entrepreneur knows to always choose opportunity and profit over glamor, and now is a great time to start your own dumpster rental business and get in on the action.
Getting started will require a significant investment, as dumpsters and the required truck won’t come cheap. Just be sure to get all the necessary licenses and permits and make sure the waste ends up in the right place, whether that’s the landfill, the recycling facility, or the processing plant. Once you’ve found a few great locations for your dumpsters, you’ll soon start seeing a sweet stream of mostly passive income — and be well on your way to success.
20. ATM Business
You probably don’t think about it when you’re getting cash, but the global ATM market is worth a massive $20 billion. Even better than that, the industry expects to see strong and steady growth through 2028, which means now is a great time to start your own ATM business, help people get the money they need when they need it, and grab a slice of this expanding market.
It’s relatively easy to get started. The main hurdle is getting that first ATM machine, which will cost from $3,000 to $10,000. Next, you’ll need to secure a high-traffic location, such as on a main shopping street or in a busy nightlife area. Once you’ve installed that first machine, you’ll soon see a steady stream of passive income. Save all that up, and soon enough you’ll be able to buy a second machine, then a third, and before you know it you’ll be running an ATM empire!
21. Airbnb Rental
If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb, you know that it’s like having a home away from home! This is why the homestay segment of the hotel and lodgings market has seen explosive growth in recent years, with Airbnb leading the way. Renting out your home as an Airbnb is an easy and flexible way to earn income, whether you’re looking for a little extra money or hoping to build a serious business.
The crucial first step is to make sure your home or apartment can be rented out for short-term stays. In many areas today, there are laws either banning Airbnb rentals or limiting them to a certain share of units. If your place clears that hurdle, and is in an area with some tourist appeal, you’re already halfway there. If your home or apartment fails to meet one of these requirements, you might want to look into purchasing a place in an appealing destination, which you could then develop into a popular Airbnb.
Whichever route you choose, the most important step is delivering fantastic service to your guests. If you can achieve Superhost status, you’ll be well on your way!
Dropshipping is an increasingly popular business model in which online stores sell products without carrying inventory. Instead, when the shop owner receives an order, she simply contacts the supplier and relays the product order, which is then shipped directly to the customer.
Already, dropshipping apps like Oberlo have begun to gain ground, enabling business owners to offer products from several different suppliers. The market is worth $130 billion and expects 30% annual growth through 2026. That’s lightning-fast expansion, and you could ride this wave by starting your own dropshipping business on Amazon.
The market is growing fast and offers great opportunity for the bold entrepreneur. Yet because a dropshipping business is relatively easy and inexpensive to launch and operate, the competition is getting intense. In order to stand out, your dropshipping business will need to offer either uniquely appealing products or, more likely, a one-of-a-kind customer service experience, from order placement through delivery.
It’s not easy becoming the next Jeff Bezos, but right now is a great time to give it your best shot.
23. Vending Machine
Vending machines are everywhere, from hospitals to train stations, and from schools to offices, special events and more. But have you ever wondered how much money there is in vending machines? A lot. It’s a $9 billion industry that’s expected to see strong growth in the coming years. So you could start your vending machine business right now and grab a share of that market while giving yourself a steady stream of nearly passive income.
It requires a sizable investment to buy that first machine or two and get started, but it’s a fairly low-risk venture. As long as you’re able to put your machines in locations with steady foot traffic, you should do decent business. A key decision will be the products you choose to offer; you could focus on candy and chips, soft drinks, or healthier options like trail mix and granola bars. Once that’s done, you’ll basically be able to sit back and watch your vending machine empire grow.
24. App Development
Did you ever think about how often you use mobile apps? Probably many times a day, which is why apps are among the world’s fastest growing industries. The global app market is worth more than $465 billion and expected to expand nearly 40% by 2026. If you have some tech skills, you could start your own app business and ride that growth to great success.
Getting there, however, will not be as easy as unlocking your phone. First, you’ll need a great idea for your first app. If you’ve already got that, you’ll need to do the build out and coding, then have the app vetted and approved by major app outlets, like Apple and Google. And that’s when the real work begins — convincing smartphone owners that your app is more appealing and valuable than the millions of other apps competing for their attention.
You might think that’s the easy part, but many entrepreneurs make that same mistake. Even the most brilliant apps need a well-executed marketing strategy to take off. Any fool can make an app. The hard part is getting people to use it, and keep coming back for more.
25. Affiliate Marketing
Barely 15 years old, affiliate marketing is one of the hottest segments of the sector and used by 80% of leading businesses. The affiliate marketing industry is worth more than $6 billion and still seeing strong growth, so the opportunity is there to enter the market with a new business and do well.
So what, exactly, is affiliate marketing? Basically, an affiliate marketer earns a commission for successfully promoting another company’s product or services. For instance, if you were an affiliate marketer for Amazon, you might post your own personalized link to an Amazon book on social media. You would then receive a small portion of any purchases made by customers who clicked that link.
Starting an affiliate marketing business is relatively easy. You can do it from home, and work when you wish. You could commit to it full-time or keep it as a side hustle revenue stream while developing your own startup. Either way, be sure to track the results of your marketing efforts so you can see how your click rates and success increase over time.
If you’re an entrepreneur, or would like to become one, it’s important to be on the lookout for the next big thing. Lately, that thing has been cryptocurrency, the digital currencies that use cryptography and the blockchain to secure transactions and create new units. The market has dipped a bit lately, but by 2028 it’s expected to be worth more than $32 billion, which means it’s set for annual expansion of 58%.
Assuming you’re not going to create your own cryptocurrency, which requires programming expertise, you’ll need to decide whether you want to start a wallet, which is an application that helps users store and spend cryptocurrencies, or an exchange, which enables cryptocurrency trade. Another option is to become a cryptocurrency investor and broker, which will require considerable expertise regarding the fast-evolving field of cryptocurrency.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to do your research before committing too much of your, or other people’s, hard-earned funds. If you do find a niche, this is an industry that could deliver massive returns.