Business Ideas

25 Passive Business Ideas

May 23, 2023

I'm Amy! I'm a small business educator who got hooked on entrepreneurship after starting a cleaning business in college. Since my Clorox days, I've built many businesses. I've sold businesses. And I've helped small business owners do the same.


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What Is A Passive Business Model?

In this article, I am going to walk you through my top 25 passive business model ideas. A passive business model is a business model that is set up to earn income without needing to necessarily trade time.

Income is built to flow into the business automatically without performing continuous tasks. This may sound too good to be true. However, there is work involved just like any business model.

This article is going to walk you through why entrepreneurs are choosing to pursue passive business models. Plus I am giving you my ultimate list of 25 passive business model ideas. If you’re ready to create a passive business, download my free 25-page Business Plan Template right here. This download will help you create the structure of a profitable, life-giving business.

Earning Income In An Easier Way

A passive business model allows entrepreneurs to earn income in an easier way. Although there may be some upfront work at the beginning of creating your business, a passive business is built for income to automatically flow in.

Today more entrepreneurs are choosing to pursue a passive business model as supplementary income or full-time careers.

Each passive business model is different. Some require little to no upfront cost and some may require large investments to get started. Additionally, some passive business models may generate smaller income and other businesses can generate income on a larger scale.

When reading through each passive business idea, consider what it is you need from entrepreneurship. Listen to episode 14 of Side Checks: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Any Side Hustle. This episode will help you choose a business venture by examining your current needs and desires from business.

Passive Income Ideas:

If you are interested in a passive business model, the ideas below are some of the best to explore for yourself. You can pursue each idea as a side hustle or as a full-time income.

These ideas will help you begin to consider how you can earn income without trading time. Through a passive business, you can begin to earn more revenue and gain more flexibility. Which is exactly what entrepreneurs are looking for!

25 Passive Business Ideas:

  1. Selling Canva Templates
  2. Automated Carwashes
  3. Vending Machines
  4. Laundromats
  5. Teachers Pay Teachers
  6. Creative Market Shop
  7. Air BnB’s
  8. Long Term Rental Property
  9. Wedding Decor Rentals
  10. Party Rentals
  11. Affiliate Marketing
  12. Create an Online Course
  13. Sell Digital Products
  14. Sell Paint Palettes
  15. Turn Your Photography Into Printable Art
  16. Create Stock Photos
  17. Dropshipping
  18. Invest In Storage Units
  19. Investing
  20. Create A Blog
  21. Rent Out Your Car
  22. Rent Out A Parking Space
  23. Purchase An Existing Business
  24. Invest In An Existing Business
  25. Sell Audio Files Online

01. Selling Canva Templates

When it comes to passive business ideas, Canva is a great place to start! Creating digital resources inside Canva can be a great way to earn passive income without needing to invest a lot of money. You can create customizable templates and digital downloads for a specific niche.

You can create a resource once and then sell it time and time again. This creates digital passive income. Sign up for a free Canva account right here.

02. Automated Carwashes

Automated car washes are another great passive business idea. Although this business will require significant investment at the beginning. An automated carwash can generate passive income just by maintaining maintenance and upkeep of the machines.

According to LinkedIn, an automated car wash can earn an average of $100,000 – $250,000 per year.

03. Vending Machines

Vending machines are another great investment for passive income. This business will require an upfront investment. However, you can see an ROI (or return on investment) within the first few months. A typical vending machine will cost around $2,000 and can generate an average of $300 per month and $150 in profit.

Vending machines work best in high-traffic areas. You can also optimize your income by owning more than one vending machine. Be sure to establish a contract between yourself and a location. Click here to create any type of business contract today.

04. Laundromats

Passive business ideas that require larger investments can usually see larger revenue. And that’s the case with a laundromat. Investing in a laundromat can be a great way to start earning passive income without operating an asset full-time.

Laundromats are typically open 24/7 and self run.

05. Teachers Pay Teachers

If you are a retired or current teacher, a Teachers Pay Teachers (or TPT) shop can be a great passive business idea! You can create digital resources for teachers to use inside their classrooms and sell them digitally through To learn more, listen to episode 21 of Side Checks Podcast. In this episode, my friend Sasha Mitten discusses how she turned her Teachers Pay Teachers side hustle into a full-time passive income. 

06. Creative Market Shop

Creative Market is an online shopping experience for digital products. If you enjoy designing Canva Templates, Website Templates, graphics, fonts, stock imagery, or anything creative; Creative Market can be a great start!

With Creative Market you can create resources once to sell digitally over and over. You can also sell these at a higher dollar amount if the buyer wants to resell them as a product themselves.

07. Air BnB’s

Renting out a room or a home on can also be a great way to earn passive income. With AirBnB individuals can book your space, pay through the app, leave reviews to help your business grow, and supplement your income.

AirBnB renters do see an overhead with cleaning and minor supplies replenishment. However, you can also choose to clean your space yourself in between guests to save money. Or run your business completely passively and hire someone to clean it for you, for a portion of your cleaning fee.

08. Long Term Rental Property

A long-term rental property can be an apartment or house that you rent for a year at a time. This passive business model can yield significant income, covering your monthly mortgage cost plus extra. However, it does require you to own a second home.

If you are considering a long-term rental as a first-time home buyer, consider a home like a duplex. This will allow you to purchase one home but rent out a private half of the house to earn income while building a home as well.

09. Wedding Decor Rentals

When thinking about passive business ideas, consider low cost income generating assets. Wedding decor rentals is a great example of this. You can purchase and rent out things such as tables, chairs, tablecloths, alters, and more.

A business model like this will require logistics and upfront investment. However, you can hire individuals to handle logistics to earn truly passive income. Or depending on what you are renting, you can operate the logistics yourself. If you operate the logistics yourself, you can still earn great income just by picking up and dropping off assets.

10. Party Rentals

Similar to wedding decor, you can also consider income generating assets used for parties. Party rentals such as cotton candy machines, donut walls, bouncy houses, etc can be a great way to begin earning passive income.

With party rentals, you can invest in an asset once and continue to earn income by renting it over and over.

11. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the act of getting paid to promote a product or service that you trust. A lot of times when you sign up for a monthly subscription, the company will have an affiliate program that you can join. When you suggest this service or product to someone who signs up with a unique link you give them, you earn a commission. 

This is a fantastic option for passive income ideas. Begin by applying to a program for a product you use very often. Remember to stay within a niche and never recommend products you have not used. 

12. Create an Online Course

An online course is another great way to start earning passive income. If you have a specific skill and others look to you for that skill, consider creating an online course. Courses work best if you can provide knowledge around a specific subject and lead someone to a result.

Start by outlining your course, consider how to pack value into your course, and utilize platforms such as Thrivecart or Kajabi to launch it!

13. Sell Digital Products

Additional passive business ideas can be found by selling digital products. You can create and sell digital products such as cookbooks, e-books, guides, tutorial videos, print-on-demand books, courses, templates, and more. There are so many platforms that you can create digital products with such as Canva.

Passive digital income like this may take time to build. However, it can have great return on investment over time.

14. Sell Paint Palettes

Paint palettes are another creative passive income idea you can explore. Create paint palette combinations for interior rooms and home exteriors. You can include the paint code, the name of the paint color, and what paint to use where (main wall, ascent, ceiling, trim, etc).

Plus you can include decor options for each packet. And if you affiliate link pairing decor, this can add to your passive digital income.

15. Turn Your Photography Into Printable Art

If you are a photographer, consider creating art and selling it digitally online. A lot of times someone will purchase a digital file online and have it printed instead of finding a piece of art inside a department store.

You can shoot beautiful landscape and nature images in extremely high resolution and create smart mockups of what the photos will look like inside someone’s home.

16. Create Stock Photos

Another way you can transform photography into passive income is through stock photos. Creating stock photos for websites such as Creative Market, Alamy, and SmugMug can allow you to upload your photography for others to purchase over and over. Thus, supplying you with passive income.

With stock photography, evenly-lit, high-resolution photos work best.

17. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model that’s order fulfillment process doesn’t include the business owner stocking materials themselves. Materials are bought and supplied through a third party after an order is placed. Therefore, this business model can be very passive as it doesn’t always require upfront cost of goods.

Dropshipping is flexible, easy to start, requires less capital, and offers a wide range of opportunity.

18. Invest In Storage Units

Storage units are another great passive income idea. This idea does require upfront capital and is an investment. However, monthly revenue from this business can become significant. Storage unit facilities that can store cars, boats, and storage can earn up to $500,000 per year depending on total units, location, and size.

19. Investing

Passive business ideas can also include investments. Investing in the stock market or an interest-earning investment account can become a way to earn passive income without trading time. If you are interested in investing, do your research for local or virtual financial advisors. Be sure to interview a handful of advisers before hiring the one best for you.

20. Create A Blog

Creating a blog can be a great way to earn passive income. You can monetize a blog through ads, affiliate marketing, and promoting products and services of your own. And if you’re pursing a fully passive income stream, you will want to consider promoting digital passive products.

Creating a blog requires slow growth. However, with consistency, your blog can become a wonderful income-generating asset with no salary cap. Download my free Blogging Content Cheatsheet to start.

21. Rent Out Your Car

Consider renting your car for hours or days at a time. Although this does put wear and tear on your car, you can earn income by utilizing an asset of yours instead of spending time fulfilling a project.

Explore websites such as Turo or HyreCar to become a host and list your car for rent.

22. Rent Out A Parking Space

You can also rent out parking spaces. This passive business idea works best if you own space in a high-traffic area. However, it is also commonly used in residential areas as well. You can rent out your garage space, driveway space, or any covered alternative space to someone looking to for a parking spot.

Websites such as SpotHero and JustPark allow you to become a host and begin renting out your parking spot. You can rent a parking spot for hours at a time or days. This business is completely passive and can be operated through the app of your choosing.

23. Purchase An Existing Business

Passive business ideas can also include investing and purchasing pre-existing companies. You can choose to purchase a passive business (such as a website or blog) that is already earning passive income. And if you have a marketing or management background, you can scale that business to grow even further.

And to maintain completely passive, you can continue to invest by hiring a staff to operate the business while you collect partial profits (that stay passive). Explore websites such as to learn more about purchasing a profitable business.

24. Invest In An Existing Business

If you like the idea of turning your business attention to an already profitable business but you’re not looking to purchase a business, consider investing in a small business instead. When you invest in a small business you can lend money to a business of your choice for more return over time.

If this sounds like something you want to know more about, make a list of companies you love and trust. Reach out to each one and inquire about investment opportunities.

25. Sell Audio Files Online

Similar to digital products, you can create audio files to sell online over and over. A lot of times, podcasts, e-books, and other entrepreneurs will purchase sound effects and audio files to place into their content. Websites such as is a great place to get started as a seller.

You can create can sell jingles, melodies, audio files, sound affects, phrases, and more. And the best part, you can sell these files over and over to create a passive income stream.

Getting Started Today

Passive business ideas can introduce more freedom and flexibility into your life. These business models can supplement pre-existing streams of entrepreneurship, introduce yourself to entrepreneurship or (if large enough) become your full-time income.

If you are ready to create your passive business, download my Free Business Plan Template here to get started. This 25-page template will walk you through the pillars of creating a business built for profit.

Do you have a passive business idea you’re excited about? I would love to talk with you about it! Explore my A La Carte Business Coaching Calls here. These fast-paced coaching calls are designed to deep dive into your latest business milestone or project.

I'm Amy Schmidt

Hi there!

I'm a small business cheerleader, strategist, and course creator who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000.


I'm Amy Schmidt, your new business strategist!

I'm a small business development and sales strategist who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000

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