Whether you are a beginner or a long-time passive income earner, we have some great passive income ideas for you in 2024. The good news is there are a variety of ways to earn passive income, and we’ll be explaining how to generate passive income with little money to start.
The pandemic has jump started many of us into looking at alternative ways to generate a second income as so many people’s jobs and livelihoods have been affected. This is definitely a wise financial move.
Just as with anything in life, you don’t want to have all of your financial eggs in one basket. That means not only relying on one source of income, because as we have seen, anything is possible and we want you to be prepared for it. Passive income is a great way to earn money on the side to start saving for the inevitable next rainy day.
What is Passive Income?
Passive income, as the name suggests, is income that you can generate without active effort and time. In the past, most people generated passive income from things like real estate and investing in the stock market. However, thanks to the internet, earning passive income has become easier to do, and there is a way that will appeal to most everyone, no matter what your skills, investment ability, or desire may be.
The goal with passive income is to be able to invest in something, either with time or money initially, that will later earn you money even as you sleep. That’s right, making money while you sleep. It’s not a concept that only applies to the mega-rich, it is something that anyone can do, and in this article we’ll tell you how to build your passive income streams in Canada.
How to Start Building Passive Income Streams
As with many things in life, the hardest part is getting started. Because there are so many options for easy second income ideas, it can seem overwhelming at first. We recommend the following to help you get clear on what the best passive income strategy will be for you.
- Decide what it is you really want. Are you looking to save for an early retirement? Do you want extra money to spend on travel? Are you trying to find a way to pay down your debt or mortgage more quickly? Being crystal clear with your “why” is going to help point you in the right direction.
- Brainstorm a list of skills you have that you enjoy doing. Are you a talented writer? Do you enjoy teaching people a skill you use in your career or otherwise? Can you spot a great deal on an item and know you could make money reselling it? By employing skills that light you up, you can do something you actually like to earn passive income.
- Decide what you are willing to invest in the short term. Do you want to invest $0 or zero time? For most passive income ideas, you will need one or the other, and understanding what you are willing to give up will help you make the best decision for your personal goals.
Now that you are clear on what you do and do not want when it comes to choosing smart passive income ideas for your unique situation, it’s time to look at the options you can choose from to help you start building passive income streams.
Top 20 Passive Income Ideas in Canada
So, you’ve got the drive and determination to start earning passive income, and now you are ready to choose how to start putting extra cash in your pocket each month!
Here is our list of the best ways to earn passive income in Canada.
As our readers know, investing is a great way to generate income on an ongoing basis, and there are a few easy ways to do it in an extremely passive manner.
This option is best for those who would like to invest money instead of time, and thanks to apps such as Moka, a micro-investing app similar to the Acorns app in the US, Canadians can earn dividends using their pocket change.
DIY & Dividend Investing
DIY investing simply refers to managing your own portfolio rather than hiring a fund manager to do it for you. It’s never been easier to do so, with low-cost online brokers like Qtrade and Questrade making it so easy and inexpensive to trade stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs.
The beauty of this option is not only that it’s a low-cost way to invest, but also a great way to earn passive income. While not all stocks purchased in this way will earn dividends, they just may increase in value without any effort on your part, adding money to your bottom line. On some platforms, you can make regularly scheduled purchases without ever having to log on, making earning money on your investment nearly effortless.
If you want to double your potential to earn, you can focus on investing in dividend-earning stocks. Dividend investing refers to when someone purchases a stock in a company, and as a benefit they receive a payment from the company in the form of dividends.
Generally dividends are paid quarterly and there are some great options for Canadians to get in on the action. Check out our full article on the Best Canadian Dividend Stocks to learn more about our top picks.
With the help of AI financial technology, you can take a hands-off approach to investing with the help of a robo-advisor. After creating an account and helping your robo-advisor get to know about your investment goals on a platform such as Canada’s most popular robo-advisor, Wealthsimple, your robo-advisor will be on its way to selecting and managing low-cost ETFs for you.
You won’t need to worry about asset allocation, rebalancing your portfolio, and other potentially time consuming, as it will be done automatically, freeing you up for more passive income opportunities! Head over to Best Canadian Robo Advisors to find out more about our top picks for Canadian robo-advisors.
Real Estate Crowd-Fund Investing
You might be surprised to see real estate here, as being a landlord is notoriously time consuming. However, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you passively earn money in real estate.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) offer investors a way to receive the financial benefits of being a property owner with none of the hassles. Platforms such as NexusCrowd, similar to Fundrise in the US, allows users to invest in real estate projects that are already 50% funded by its developers, reducing your risk.
RealStarter is another option available to residents of some provinces in Canada, and the benefit of this option is that the maximum you can invest is $1,500 for any given project, which is low compared to the minimum $10,000 required for NexusCrowd. Dividend earnings from these platforms are not guaranteed, but according to their sites, there is potential to earn a solid dividend on your investment.
REITs and REIT ETFs
If you want a way to invest in REITs in a more secure and low-cost way, you can consider REITS and REIT ETFs available to trade in the same way as stocks. There are many quality options available in Canada.
All you need is a bit of money to invest and an online brokerage account and you’ll be able to start investing and earning today. We’ve got a lot more information on these options for you in our full article Investing in Canadian REITs.
Traditional Real Estate Investing
Another way you can passively earn money on a real estate investment is by purchasing a property and hiring a management company to take care of everything including finding suitable tenants to making repairs, meaning money in your pocket each month without the headache.
Of course, this option isn’t for everyone as initially it consumes a lot of time, energy, and of course, the initial investment required is sizable. You can read our article comparing commercial and residential real estate to figure out which is the better investment option for you.
Ways to Make Passive Income Online
In the last decade, advances in technology have opened up a whole new world of ways to earn money online. In 2020 alone, e-commerce sales reached CAD $5.4 trillion globally, and that number is expected to grow by over CAD $1 trillion by 2022. This means that there are a number of ways to earn passive income online.
If you have an affinity for writing and a specific passion for a topic (like investing!), we recommend entering the world of blogging as a way to earn passive income. There are a few ways to make money with a blog, but it all begins with the first step – having a blog. You can do this by either starting your own blog, or purchasing an existing blog from a site like Flippa.
Once the blog has a certain amount of traffic you can begin to monetize it with ads, creating products to sell on your blog, starting a paid members only content section, or make money with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is essentially when you collaborate with another brand to promote products on your website. For example, Amazon makes it easy to become an affiliate when you post Amazon product links unique to your account on your site. When someone purchases the item, you receive a commission.
Another example would be when a company asks you to write about their company’s product or service on your blog, then when someone makes a purchase through the link on your blog, you’ll earn money.
The best thing about blogging is that it can be a very low-cost way to start earning passive income. The downside is it usually takes years of consistent work to build up enough traffic to start earning passive income from it. However, once you hit the tipping point, you’ll have multiple opportunities to earn passive income, so all the effort can definitely pay off in the long run.
Create an Online Course
If you consider yourself somewhat of an expert in something, then you should consider creating an online course. It’s not as difficult as it may seem at first, with platforms such as Udemy Teachable making it easy to upload content and create step-by-step modules and tasks for your students to easily access and complete.
The online course market is huge, and could reach $350 Billion by 2025. The pandemic definitely set fire to the popularity of online learning for all ages, with adults becoming more open to learning a new skill online while they were stuck at home.
You don’t have to have experience as an educator to create a great course. The most important thing is experience and passion. Don’t think you have a marketable skill to share? Think again. There are students out there looking for someone to teach them everything from learning how to write python, how to become a content creator, how to win at poker, or how to knit a scarf.
Once you have selected your niche, break it down into small chunks and provide students with ways to practice their new skills throughout the course. Once the content is ready, you can begin to sell your course and let the passive income collection begin!
Create an e-Commerce Store
Selling an online course is a type of e-commerce, but if you are not comfortable with teaching an online audience something, you can definitely still sell them something. There are many ways to create an e-commerce store and platforms such as Shopify make it easy to start making passive income as a beginner, as it takes zero specialized technical knowledge to do so.
Some of the things you can sell through a platform like Shopify and Etsy are printed t-shirts or canvases, handmade items like pottery or jewelry. If you don’t want the hassle of purchasing and managing inventory, you have the option to dropship.
Dropshipping is when you use a platform like Shopify to create an online shop, but have the manufacturer fill and ship the order directly. In 2024, some of the top selling items are likely to be those related to health and wellness, home decor and home improvement products, and arts and crafts items.
Sell an e-Book
Self publishing has never been easier, and once you hit publish, the hard work is over and the passive income begins.
Maybe you love writing fiction, or maybe you love writing about business management. Wherever your passion is, you can write about it and sell it online. If you are not sure where to get started in terms of choosing a topic, you can have a look on the bestseller lists to see what’s hot now.
Once you have chosen your topic, the next step is to write! Once you finish, have someone check it over, such as your English teacher friend, or hire someone to edit it for a low cost on a platform such as Upwork.
The next steps are crucial, as they determine how, and how much, passive income you will make money on your book. First, you need to choose a sales platform; one of the most popular is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. However, at least 1,670 new Kindle ebooks are published each day, which means you’ll be up against a lot of competition. Using your social media network is a great way to start selling your ebook, and if you already have a blog, you can promote it there as well.
License Your Creative Works
If you take stunning photos, love making original music, or have an affinity for creating eye-catching digital designs, you can earn passive income by selling your works through a creative design license. When you license your work to someone, you are giving them the rights to use it in exchange for payment.
If you make catchy music, you may license your jingle using a platform such as Musicbed to a company who will use it for marketing and advertising. If you take professional-level photos, you can sell them on iStock or Shutterfly so someone can use them on their website. If you create unique visual designs, you can license the use of your design to others using Etsy so they can use it to manufacture home furnishings.
Other Ways to Earn Passive Income in Canada
Open a High-Interest Savings Account
While this is not one of the most exciting ways to earn passive income, it is definitely one of the easiest! All you need is a bit of cash and a bank account and you’re all set.
Although savings accounts are not really known for their interest-earning abilities, there are a few decent ones out there that will at the very least give you some protection against inflation. IF a High Interest Savings Account offers a 1.55% annual rate, it means if you have $5,000 in your account, you’ll get a $75 return in the first year.
Earn Cash Back With Credit Card Rewards
While we definitely don’t recommend racking up debt on a credit card, we definitely do recommend making purchases with your credit card in order to earn rewards, which, with the right card could mean hundreds of dollars back in your pocket (as long as you pay it off in full each month of course).
Many credit card companies offer rewards in the form of airline points, gift cards, and other incentives, we recommend going for those that offer cashback on purchases. Some even offer cashback rewards with no annual fee. It really doesn’t get better than that. If this appeals to you, read our full article on The Best No-Fee Cashback Credit Cards in Canada.
Currently, the best rewards card on the market is the Neo Financial credit card – and for a limited time they also offer a free $25 gift voucher to anyone who signs up for a new account.
Use Cash Back Apps
Similar to cashback rewards for credit cards, there are a number of cash back reward apps in Canada that will help you earn passive income on everyday purchases. Apps like KOHO and Rakuten make it easy for you to track your online or in-store purchases, which in turn gives you cash back rebates.
With KOHO, all you have to do is load money onto their Visa debit card or app, and purchases made with that card or app will automatically add a 0.50% reward to your account. You can read more about that in our guide for the best prepaid credit cards in Canada.
With Rakuten, when you make online purchases through their app or browser extension, you’ll automatically get cash back on qualified purchases.
Rent Out Part of Your Home or Property
If you have extra space in your home, whether it be a neglected finished basement or a lonely bedroom, you can consider renting it out for some easy passive income. Perhaps you don’t have space in your home, but perhaps you have an empty detached garage you could rent out to someone looking for a workshop or storage space.
With the recent rise in demand for unique places to stay on sites like Airbnb, many people have created highly sought after rentals on their properties. Tree houses, glamping under the Canadian skies, and off-grid cabins are some of the most popular Airbnb experiences that have the potential to earn you quite a bit of cash.
If you have been a longtime follower of Million Dollar Journey, you surely know that’s how FT (the site’s owner) started out as well. You can read through his net worth updates here, or see his summary post about completing the million dollar journey. In any case, renting out a part of his house in the early years to generate additional, passive income had a huge part in that.
Invest in a Small Business
Small businesses account for a whopping 97.9% of Canada’s total economy, and by investing in one of them, you stand to earn passive income while supporting the backbone of Canada’s economy. Perhaps you frequent a coffee shop you notice is always bursting at the seams with customers, or that your local specialty shop is always out of stock of your favorite products due to high demand.
These could be perfect investment opportunities, and you could earn passive income by investing as a shareholder who receives a certain percentage of profits, or you could earn interest on debt if you offer the business a loan.
Of course, this can be a very risky way to earn passive income, but as with most riskier investment options, the reward could be substantial. Always do your due diligence when considering any investment, and make sure to have a lawyer on your side making sure you’ll be protected in any event.
Peer-to-Peer lending is another way to help individuals or small businesses by providing money for a loan, which you will then earn interest in as it is paid off. Again, it is a riskier option, but an option to earn passive income nonetheless.
In recent years, platforms such as Lending Loop and goPeer have made it easier, and safer, to engage in peer-to-peer lending. Lending Loop specializes in connecting lenders with business owners for loans ranging from $1,000-$500,000, with interest rates ranging from 4.96%-23.93%, while goPeer specializes in personal loans ranging from $1,000-$25,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.5%-31.5%.
If your risk tolerance is a bit higher, this could be a great way to earn passive income. Find out the complete details on these two platforms in our Guide to Peer-to-Peer Lending in Canada.
Passive Income Ideas in Canada – FAQ
Making passive income in Canada is an option available to anyone with a willingness to put a bit of time, effort, or money into a project or investment that will earn them money in their sleep.
While some might take longer than others, they all have the potential to make you money and ultimately help you complete your own million dollar journey.
I've Completed My Million Dollar Journey. Let Me Guide You Through Yours!
Sign up below to get a copy of our free eBook: Can I Retire Yet?