30 Cool Ways to Make Money by Doing Virtually Nothing


Reviewed by Chris Leitch

A man making money doing nothing

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 still 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 30 cool ways to make money by doing (next to) nothing.

1. Become a bed tester

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 borrowers 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 photos online

If you have a knack for taking 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!

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 processing fee — but if you get a cashback of up to $300 a year, it’s worth it!

6. Take part in focus groups

Focus Group

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 through video conferencing.

7. Take online surveys

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 when you do things like complete surveys and watch videos, and will be able to redeem them for gift cards that can be used at your favorite stores.

8. Rent your parking space

Do you live near the city center and have a parking spot 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!

9. Rent out your property

Similar to renting out your parking space, you could rent out your property and enjoy some rental income.

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.

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. 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 program

If you have a blog or website with a large following, you could sign up to an affiliate marketing program and make money whenever someone buys something through your advertising link.

If you don’t have a website, though, don’t worry: Amazon has an associate program 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 favorite 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 pay and making a decent amount of money.

16. Sell your unwanted items

Online Store

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 marketplace like eBay and Etsy.

17. Create an online course

If you’re an expert in a certain field, you could create an online course that people can purchase and stream. Once the initial work has been put in, you can just cash in on your efforts.

For example, many career coaches create courses with steps to help working professionals land their dream job or boost 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 cosmetics or skincare brand. L’Oréal, for example, has a program where they’ll ship items to you, ask for your feedback and then send you a check!

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 play video games, such as Twitch. You can then use a video editor to edit your gameplay and share it on video hosting platforms like YouTube or TikTok. 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 center or mall.

Other than restocking the vending machine and making sure it is functioning properly, you’ll barely have to do anything else.

21. Become a figure drawing model


If you don’t mind people seeing you in your birthday suit and have no objection to staying still for long periods of time, you could try to find gigs as a figure drawing model.

All you’ll have to do is study various poses and see which ones you can hold without overly sacrificing your comfort or posture.

22. Download a walk-for-money app

You’re probably curious to learn how to make money while walking. “Why would anyone pay me to walk?” you might wonder.

The answer to that very valid question is that your daily movements can become monetizable by providing insights to the company that’s sponsoring your walks. The data you provide through an app like Sweatcoin can be used to verify locations, map routes and even give companies a glimpse into consumer trends and behaviors.

23. Work as a professional queuer

Yes — it is possible to make money by just standing around all day. Professional queuers are hired to go to places like the bank and the post office on behalf of other people.

Although not widely heard of, it’s still a service that’s sought after by many. So much so, in fact, that online marketplace Taskrabbit has a page dedicated to finding and hiring queuers!

24. Become a Netflix tagger

Did you know you could make money watching TV shows and films? That’s right: Netflix hires people to binge-watch, rate, annotate and tag their shows.

If you’re interested, the job title you’ll want to keep an eye out for when going through the platform’s job board is “Editorial Analyst”.

You know you’re always on the lookout for the next show to come and pull you out of the depths of your boredom. Might as well earn some cash while you’re at it!

25. Become a paid bridesmaid/groomsman

An opportunity to get paid for dressing up and looking good? Sign me up!

If you’re looking for a fun way to monetize your free time, consider becoming a bridesmaid or groomsman for hire. You’ll be there to provide support to someone who needs it on their big day (as well as during the lead-up to it), potentially making great new friends in the process.

26. Write book reviews

Book Reviewer

Here’s another easy way to make money online that’s bound to be popular with people who love to read.

Some websites, like Kirkus Reviews, pay readers to write book reviews of a predetermined length and within a specific timeframe. So, if you like to read anyway, have a way with words, and are able to get through books fast, this could be a great way to start earning on the side!

27. Work as a background actor

Background actors, also called extras, are widely needed for commercials, movies and TV shows.

Networking with actors and other professionals in the industry is a great way to find out about opportunities in your area, and so is signing up on an online casting platform — all you’ll need in most cases is a recent (professional) headshot!

28. Make a low-risk investment

Investing is one of the most popular ways to create passive income streams for yourself. However, it can require very careful planning and thorough research, as well as some savings up front.

Low-risk investment options will typically also require time to pay off; they’re not a good solution if you’re looking to start boosting your earnings right away.

29. Rent out your car

If you have a car (or can get your hands on an affordable one), you can easily use it to earn passive income.

Services like Getaround allow you to rent out your car legally, although you’ll have to carefully read the fine print as well as speak with your insurance provider to make sure that whoever’s driving your vehicle is covered.

30. Use your credit card

You might associate using your credit card with spending money, but there are actually many ways it can help you save money as well as earn it!

That’s how credit card issuers are able to stand out from the fierce competition and attract new customers: by offering signup bonuses, rewards, loyalty points and cashback schemes.

Final thoughts

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

Of course, some steps may be required before you can establish a steady stream of income, but the payout 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.

Got any other ideas? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on August 2, 2018. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.