20 Awesome Ways to Make Money by Doing Virtually Nothing

Are you looking for ways to earn a passive income while doing virtually nothing? We’ve got you covered.

A man making money doing nothing

This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn commission.

Making money without even lifting a finger seems like something that only happens in our sweetest dreams.

I mean, wouldn’t it be great if you could have a steady salary coming in at the end of each month, all while you’re sleeping or partying and simply enjoying life? It would certainly make a nice little change to being tied down to a desk for eight or nine hours a day, five days a week!

Unfortunately, there’s really no way you can make money by doing absolutely nothing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your dreams are crushed. There are ways you can make some pocket money — with minimal effort on your part.

So, before you start looking into side gig ideas, check out these 20 cool ways to make money by doing virtually nothing first!

1. Become a bed tester

Is your dream job sleeping and getting paid for it? Well, today’s your lucky day, because your dream can become a reality as a professional sleeper. Don’t get too excited, though: competition is fierce, and vacancies are rare, so be sure to check job boards for positions at mattress companies or hotels regularly.

2. Start a money-lending business

Do you have some spare cash lying about? If so, why not consider peer-to-peer lending? In essence, you’ll lend people money and receive a higher return. Make sure you always check that lenders can pay you back, otherwise you risk losing a lot of money — a good idea is to assess their lending history and only offer small loans at the beginning to make sure they can be trusted with larger sums.

3. Sell your photos online

If you have a knack for taking some pretty good snaps, you might want to consider uploading your images to stock photo sites like Shutterstock and iStock. Every time someone downloads your photo, you’ll get paid a percentage!

4. Get referral credit

Most websites and apps have referral schemes, where you get a certain amount of credit for recommending a friend. This could be $10 per referral, which means that you could have $100 in credit for just 10 friends! Say ‘hello’ to a few new wardrobe staples!

5. Get refunds on price drops

Don’t you just hate it when you buy something at full price, just to see it on sale the following week?! Apps like Earny and Capital One Shopping will track your accounts and work on your behalf to get the refund that you deserve! The downside is that they keep a 25% processing fee — but if you get a cashback of up to $300 a year, it’s worth it!

6. Take part in focus groups

If you’re a bit of a chatterbox, why not use your spare time to sign up to focus groups? You’ll get paid to share your opinion on a product or service of your interest, and you can sometimes even do this from the comfort of your own home over video conferencing tools.

7. Rent your parking space

Do you live near the city centre and have a parking space you don’t use? Why not rent it out to daily commuters looking to park their car close to their workplace? You could end up making up to $10 a day, which can turn into a heck of a lot by the end of the year. We’ll let you do the math!

8. Let out your property

Similar to renting out your parking space, you could let out your property. If you have a spare room or even an entire house or apartment, you can rent it out to holidaymakers on sites like Airbnb or perhaps even lease your flat to an individual renter on a yearly contract.

9. Surf the web

Some popular sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie want to see how people use the web, so they will pay you to install an add-on that tracks your browser history. You’ll earn points and will be able to redeem them for gift cards that can be used at your favourite stores.

10. Become a ghost shopper

Let’s face it: shopping isn’t a job for the true fashionistas. It’s a hobby, an outlet, an enjoyment! So, if you don’t mind walking around and visiting shops all day, you can get paid to grab things for hard-working professionals who are pressed for time.

11. Become someone’s friend

Are you up for meeting strangers? Great, because you can make a quick buck out of it on sites like Rent a Friend. Essentially, you can earn anywhere between $20 and $50 per hour by going to the cinema with clients, acting as their wingman or wingwoman, and even helping them find new friends.

12. Self-publish a book

The initial investment in your book will take time, but once you get there, you can sit back and make money off the royalties. You could even consider creating an eBook and selling it on Amazon.

13. Join an affiliate programme

If you have a blog or website with a large following, you could sign up to an affiliate programme and make money whenever someone clicks buys something through your advertising link. If you don’t have a website, though, don’t worry: Amazon has an associate programme where a buddy of yours and yourself can refer each other and gain cash depending on the other person’s spending habits and purchases.

14. Invest in a savings account

If you really want to make some money from your savings, you should look into opening a fixed deposit account. This means you can’t touch the money in there for an agreed amount of time, during which time it will accumulate a high interest. Make sure to pay close attention to the interest rate.

15. House sit

Do you love lying on the sofa and binge-watching your favourite show on Netflix? Well, you can earn money to do exactly that while house sitting for clients on holiday. And remember: the more reliable you are, the better able you’ll be at negotiating your worth and making a decent amount of pay.

16. Sell your unwanted items

If you’re a hoarder, it’s time to have a clear-out and sell your unwanted items. Although this does require you to lift a finger or two, you can snap a quick pic of your item and upload it to an online retailer like Amazon, eBay, Shpock and Etsy.

17. Create an online course

If you’re an expert in a certain field, you could create an online course that consumers can buy and download. Once the initial work has been put in, you can just cash in on your efforts. For example, many life coaches create courses with steps to help working professionals improve their confidence.

18. Become a test subject

If you want some free makeup and some extra cash, you can sign up to be a test subject for a cosmetic or skincare brand. L’Oréal, for example, has a programme where they’ll ship items to you, ask for your feedback and then send you a paycheque!

19. Stream video games

If you’re a serious gamer with a big social media following, you could start earning cash by live-streaming gameplay to an online audience. Before you can get started, you’ll need to equip yourself with a gaming device (if you don’t already have one), a headset, a webcam, a good internet connection and your games of choice.

There are multiple platforms that will pay you to broadcast your games, such as Twitch. You can also increase your earnings by sharing and promoting affiliate links with your followers.

20. Set up vending machines

While some maintenance work may be required, vending machines are a brilliant option for earning a passive income. The way to go about this is to first buy or lease a vending machine and then find a space to place it in, like a gym, entertainment centre and mall. Other than restocking the vending machine and making sure it is functioning properly, you’ll barely have to do anything else.


Final thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous ways to earn some money on the side with minimum effort.

Of course, some steps may be required before you can establish a steady stream of cash, but the pay-out will make your efforts worthwhile! So, if you’re working towards your financial goals, these strategic ways to increase your income will help you get there.

Join the discussion! Can you recommend any other ways to make some extra money by doing nothing? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article is an update of an earlier version published on 2 August 2018 and contains contributions by staff writer Melina Theodorou.