How to Earn a Passive Income With Zero Investment

Well, let’s all be honest with ourselves. We want to earn a passive income with zero investment. Who doesn’t like the sound of money with no effort? Or making money while you sleep?

It sounds far-fetched… the modern dream in this fast paced, digital arena.

There is so much stuff in today’s world, it’s hard to keep up. Anything you want is out there… with a catch.

I believe…

In life, there are things we need and things we think we needI also believe there are things that are a fundamental right of humans to have in order to live. Such as water, food, and air that are necessary to sustain the human body.

Yet, there’s a price on our survival. Bottled water, food, and yes even air has a cost. Society has taught us that the things we truly need to live have a cost. This thinking is unnatural.

I believe the natural order is everything should be available to everyone.

I have found over the past 10 years that these needs and most (if not all) wants are available to everyone, if you look hard enough.

It’s time to say ENOUGH! Now is the time for you to get your needs and wants for FREE!

My goal here at Free Stuff Life is to show you how it’s possible. I believe you can have everything you want for free.

I believe you have the power to make your life what you want at your fingertips. My objective is to show you and make you believe in your own abilities.

It is possible!

So, we are going to start at the beginning with the most fundamental need in today’s society; money.

Why don’t I start with food or water? Simple. I want you to get something out of reading this blog and have a reason to believe me by getting a benefit more than just a free item here or there.

This is a path that once you start walking will continue to benefit you.

It is possible to earn a passive income with no money from your own pocket. So won’t you join me down the rabbit hole?

Some word of warning

In this post, we will NOT be discussing any get-rich-quick schemes, overnight millionaire fantasies, or pyramid schemes.

We WILL be discussing activities that you can create a passive income stream that will pay off over and over again.

I will admit that I have not been able to find a passive income method that is 100% zero effort to earn… so if you have, please comment below and share the wealth!!

Keys to success

There are some key points when it comes to these passive income streams.

  1. These ideas do not have startup costs, but do have a time and effort investment.
  2. The more you put forth towards your passive income then the more fruit it will bear at the end.
  3. Patience, patience, patience.

Start Earning Today

Without further ado,  here are all the ways I have found to earn a completely passive income with little effort and zero investment needed:


Álvaro Serrano @alvaroserrano

Are you a writer? Great!

Kick start your passive income with publishing a book. And no, you do not need to submit manuscripts to a publisher.

I’m going to have future posts more in-depth for this topic; but if you already have an old crusty manuscript sitting on the shelf, then dust that bad boy off and convert it to a digital manuscript.

If you don’t have a word processor on your computer, then use Google Docs, a free browser-based version of Microsoft Word. If you are reading this website, you can use Docs. All you need is a Gmail account, which costs nothing as well.

After you have written out and formatted your book, save it as a PDF to your computer by going to File > Download as.. > PDF Document (.pdf).

Now upload that PDF to the many free online book publishing platforms, such as Amazon KDP or Smashwords, or you sell it on your own platform if readily available.

Books might not seem like a passive form of income, but once they are on the shelf they will sell with no effort on your part.

I currently have 3 books published (here and here and here) that bring in an average of $50 a month (through sales and KDP pages read). I haven’t published a new book in over 2 years or made changes to these books, and I also have not advertised for them in over a year. 🙂

To continue earning exponentially this way, then utilize advertising strategies, social media marketing, and even publish new books monthly. If you earn $10-$15 per month with one book, then 12 books could earn you $120-$180 a month!


Just like with writing a book, you can start a blog or even just vlog.

Both blogs and vlogs require an upfront time investment. Then you sit back and earn a profit.

The simplest way to earn a passive income with both is to add affiliate marketing links or Google Adsense.

Mikayla Mallek @mikaylamallek

Blogging is a little hard to make look professional with no out-of-pocket cost. However still completely possible. Once you find a nice theme or if you have knowledge with code, then create a sleek looking blog for readers to visit.

The only downside is your domain name will have at the end instead of just

If you’re okay with that, I guarantee others also won’t care. What’s in a name anyways? There are some really big bloggers out there earning cash from free blogs that are or so it is possible.

Seth Doyle @sethdoylee

Now with vlogging, all you need is a camera (webcam or even just your smartphone). Then film and upload. YouTube is the most obvious, but there are others out there as well depending on the content of the video you create (future blog posts to come about this as this is my highest passive income stream).

It’s best to choose a topic you are very knowledgeable and passionate about. Then you create a short video series focused on that topic. Add the monetization option to all of your videos to earn with every view. Most importantly, make sure to follow the TOS and do not include copyrighted music or videos otherwise you run the risk of the monetization being forfeit.

Now sit back and let the videos bring you in a passive income. It’s not necessary to advertise, but you can if you want. The Penny Hoarder did just that and earns about $25 a month for a small video series that had no updates in 2 years.

With both blogging and vlogging, use relevant keywords, hashtags, a creative headline, and other tricks to gain readers/viewers.

Once you start earning a passive income here, consider investing it back in for better equipment and more earnings. Buy your own hosting and domain for a professional looking blog like we talked about earlier. Buy a Logitech C920 for better quality vlogs. Use your passive income to get you more.


Are you a professional in a field? Have you earned a degree? Is there something you feel you can write or talk about that will benefit others?

Do it.

Create an online course and sell it online for a passive income stream.

Break down your lessons into bits longer than 15 minutes but no more than 1 hour, and sell it in chunks. Or offer the small parts at full price, but the entire set with a discount.

Set it up to automatically distribute your course 24/7.

If you have a blog, advertise your new content there, make the first part of it available for free when readers subscribe to your email list, or any number of advertising models.

Sites like Moodle and Totara, which are free open source learning platforms, can have eCommerce plugins enabled to allow for selling of your materials.


Now this one might not seem passive, but hear me out.

Do you have an extra room? A garage you don’t use? Or is your garage filled with tons of tools that people are constantly asking to borrow?

Well, rent it all out.

The work is in the setup and should not be skimmed over, I mean, this is your space or things we are talking about. Then depending on the length of the rental contract you will have a passive income for that room, space, or item being used by someone else instead of just collecting dust.

I recommend getting security deposits, photo identification, and proof of addresses if you are renting out anything expensive. Perhaps even some referrals of family/friends to call if you are renting out a room in your own home.

This is up to your comfort level, but plan smart so you can easily earn that passive income. Let your things work for you.


If you aren’t willing to rent out a space to a stranger, then why not sell it’s surface.

Advertising space is still huge today and brands want all the exposure they can get.

Businesses like Wrapify and Carvertise will pay you to place an advertisement on the side of your car.

If you already have a website or business, then sell space on it to another business. The Million Dollar Homepage was the most extreme way of doing this, but it worked so well in his favor that it’s historic now.

Do you have a large building, fence, or yard with a busy traveled road nearby that can see it? Sell that blank canvas to the highest bidder.

Be creative and open-minded. The advertisers are out there.


Since we already go shopping, why not get paid for it?

There’s some programs that will pay you to be a secret shopper, but that’s not very passive in my opinion since you often have to go out of your way to shop at a certain place and time and sometimes for particular items.

No, there’s a better way.

Whatever businesses you already visit and support will have an app or website sign-up. Go find it, sign up, and use it for rewards.

The new WalMart app has a feature called Savings Catcher. Whenever you shop at WalMart, scan the receipt into the app from your mobile and add it to the Savings Catcher. (FYI: This must be done within a week or two of the purchase date. I learned my lesson the hard way here.) Then it’s system will get to work looking for cheaper prices of the items you bought at other local stores. If it finds one, then it will give you the difference back which can be used directly from the WalMart Pay feature of the app or exported into a WalMart giftcard.

Yes, this can be done on your own by scouring local store ads, bringing the ad to the customer service desk with your receipt, and getting the difference back (stores like Target also do this). But why do it yourself when the app can work for you? Pretty much everyone I know is using this app.

Or if you are shopping online, sign up for Ebates which will give you cash back for shopping through their website at participating stores. Ebates earns a commission from your purchase and then passes on part of it to you.

Both of these will basically be putting money back in your pocket, but since you are already shopping and spending… doesn’t it make sense to spend less of your own money?

There’s also member rewards that are free to sign up. The major coffee company in my area, Dunkin Donuts, has DD Perks, where members can get free drinks. The other big coffee house, Starbucks, has their own rewards program with stars per $ spent and free in-store refills. Now fast food places like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have coupons available on their apps (that can be used quickly and easily at their drive-thru’s).

It’s pretty much endless. Where do you currently shop? Download their free mobile app today.

Even if you don’t want to earn a passive income with zero investment, this is a necessity.


I bet you didn’t know that you can create a mobile app with little to no knowledge of coding and earn money to top it off.

I haven’t done this one myself, but have been looking into it for some time now.

Sites like AppShed and AppyPie will allow you to create mobile app designs and upload them to the iStore and Google Play for users to download.

To reel in users, it’s best to create a free and a paid version of your app so they can test drive the free version. Even the free version can include affiliate marketing and other ads to help bring in a revenue stream.

I say that there’s an app for everything, but if you can find something that hasn’t been done, do it. Or perhaps you have an idea to make something better. Bring your vision to the world.


ian dooley @nativemello

Do you have an eye for design? Then show it off.

Or even better, do you have an artistic talent?

Websites like Zazzle and Redbubble provide you the ability to upload your designs to be sold and you will earn a commission of the sales.

And guess what? You don’t order the products, stock them, ship them out on your own either. Nope. These sites do all that background support for you.

You create a design and upload it to the site. Customers will find your designs (or be directed there through your marketing efforts) and will choose the product they want your design on. They sell t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc with your designs. The company will print the product and ship it out. Then you will receive a commission for the sale.


It’s your creative imagination for sale.


How is that passive? Yes, but again… hear me out.

This is a valid way to earn a passive income with zero investment.

You sleep in a house every night, right? Perhaps you even have time just hanging out at home.

Well if that’s the case, then start post an ad on Craigslist and find some regular clients.

I know someone that cares for 4-5 dogs everyday and house sits when the owners take a vacation. That’s her full-time job! Think about it. She plays with dogs all day for a job.

Now if you aren’t an animal lover, the house sitting is also valid. Talk about making money while you sleep. Home owners are out of town and prefer to have a house sitter for many reasons. All you do is stay there and get paid.

Sounds like a win to me.


Fabian Blank @blankerwahnsinn

What’s better than your money earning more money?

If you have any amount of cash sitting around, put it into a high yield savings account so while it sits there it can earn you interest.

This is a smarter than putting it in a safety deposit box or piggy bank on your dresser. If it is not doing anything, then why not have it earning you a passive income?

If you earn a regular paycheck, start skimming a few bucks off of it through direct deposit direct into this high-yield savings account, too. $5-$10 a paycheck plus earned interest will really add up in the long run and you will barely notice it missing (trust me).


Selling things online is possible in so many ways today. I’ve barely skimmed the surface through this entire post. And thank you so much for sticking with me this far!

Here’s a few last ones I wanted to leave you with:

  • Sell your photos with Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Zenfolio, or hundreds of others. If you’re a graphic designer, many of these sites also allow you to sell digital creations, such as icons, brushes, vectors, and more.
  • Are you good with Excel? Create a kick ass spreadsheet and sell it on Saavy Spreadsheets.
  • Are you a teacher or used to be one? Create lesson plans and sell them on Teachers Pay Teachers.
  • Sell a typeface or font with MyFonts.
It’s time to earn a passive income with zero investment today!

Put the wallet away. There is no reason to take from your pockets with the prospect of putting more in later.

Let’s keep your hard earned money where it belongs and bring more money in to join it.

What are you passionate about? What are you starting today?

Share with us below your newest passive income venture.

Did you hit a snag in the road? Let me know. I want to work through this with you. I believe that everyone can be successful with these ideas.

Do you already earn a free passive income from another method? PLEASE share your tricks in the comments below! I want to hear about more ways I’ve missed.

And of course, don’t forget to tell me what you’d like to see in future posts as I get going in this blog. Subscribe to keep up with all the new free stuff I will be posting.

Author: Melissa

Melissa’s passion for all things free has cultivated a frugal habit of cheating the “Man” out of millions. Her blog,, is geared to inspire others to do the same.

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