If you are a non-accredited investor and want to find passive income ideas that can generate outsized returns, you are in the right place.
This article will cover 5 ways you can earn passive income while still working your day job. Just because you're not an accredited investor (which generally means you're not a millionaire or don't make more than $200,000 per year), doesn't mean you have to settle for mediocre investment options. Many of the passive income ideas I discuss can generate returns of more than 20% (some real-world examples are provided below). Of course, as with any investment that has the potential to yield strong returns, no returns are guaranteed and your results may vary.
We are not going to cover standard advice, like opening a high yield savings account, or investing in dividend-paying stocks. My strategies are more unconventional and will take a little more effort, but can yield far better results.
Let’s get into it!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
1. Buy a Blog
Blogs are probably my favorite high-yielding passive income investment. The strategy is simple:
Buy an existing money-making blog and collect checks.
You want to buy a blog that has all of the articles written and is producing steady cash flow. Doing this can be a perfect way to get passive income that produces a killer ROI. You can find a lot of blogs for sale on sites that specialize in this area, like Flippa, Empire Flippers, and FE International. You can also find some on bizbuysell and bizquest.
How good is the potential cash flow? Based on some real-life examples I pulled from blogs that were for sale on Empire Flippers, you are looking at an average cash flow rate of 28.3%. That’s pretty awesome for what will likely be an almost completely passive investment.
Of course, you can increase your returns even further if you finance the purchase of your blog. Flippa offers this option on their website.
Want to learn more about buying a blog, including some of the key risks you need to address? Check out my article here:
Starting a Blog Instead
If you don't have the money to buy a blog, you can start a blog. I would actually recommend this before you buy one because there are a million little things you learn when you start your own blog. Not only will you be able to better recognize a good blog vs. a bad blog, you will learn all about how google rankings work, how blog monetization works, and how to write great content.
To learn more about how to start a blog (including setting up the website, selecting your blog topic, getting traffic to your blog, and monetizing that traffic), check out my article on Passive Income Blogging.
2. Invest in Real Estate
Investing in real estate can be a great way to achieve outstanding profits, especially if you use debt to magnify your returns. I own nine rental properties and this strategy helped me grow my net worth substantially.
It is a tried and true path toward wealth.
Let’s take an example of how you can use real estate to make over a 20% ROI:
Sally has $15,000.
She buys a rental property worth $100,000. In today’s market, you can finance a rental property with just 15% down, so that’s what she does.
Note: you should have a bit of money set aside for repairs and such, but I want to keep this example simple.
If we assume she can get an interest rate of 3.5% on a 30 year mortgage (which was the market rate when I wrote this) and an annual appreciation rate of 3.7% (which is the appreciation rate of homes over the past 20 years), then after 10 years, we see the following results:
Property Value: $143,809
Loan Amount: $65,813
Equity: $77,996 (we began with $15,000 of equity due to down payment)
Annualized ROI: 17.9%
It gets better. That ROI does not take into account the “cash flow” that Sally has received during the year. “Cash flow” means rent minus expenses (such as mortgage, insurance, taxes, etc.). Cash flow varies, but my properties tend to cash flow between $100 and $200 per month.
Let’s take the average and say she makes $150 in cash flow per month. That equals $1,800 per year and $18,000 over 10 years.
If you add that $18,000 of cash flow to the mix, you get an annualized return of 20.4%.
That return would be even higher if she had invested that $18,000 in cash flow over the years, but I think you get the point.
What’s even better is that rental properties are generally very stable investments and can be semi-passive investments. For that reason, many people hold on to their rentals for decades. It’s a terrific way to generate high returns over the long term, without huge stress or massive effort.
If you want to learn more, check out my article on how to get started investing in rental properties.
Prefer the idea of a completely passive real estate investing strategy, like real estate crowdfunding? There are of course options available for the non-accredited investor in that space as well. From what I could find, the platform with one of the lowest minimum investments was DiversyFund. They only require a $500 minimum investment and they do not require their investors to be accredited.
3. Purchase a Passive Income Business
Another great way to generate 20% ROI or better is by buying a passive income business. Here are some options you can explore:
Laundromats can yield cash flow rates that easily clear 20%. On top of that, they can be operated in a mostly passive way.
After all, the machines are doing the hard work of washing and drying the clothes (with your customers doing the work of loading and unloading the clothes).
The process is mostly automated, but not completely. There are things you will need to do to successfully run this business as an absentee owner. If you want to learn how to do this, check out my article about starting a laundromat in six easy steps.
So what type of ROI can you get from laundromats? According to my sampling of 10 laundromat businesses on bizbuysell.com, you can generate average cash flow rates of 29.6%.
As with other examples I provide, you can go to bizbuysell.com and confirm for yourself the general range of returns for laundromats. Just eyeballing the listings should give you a pretty good sense of what type of returns laundromats can offer.
Did you know that you could buy a FedEx delivery route?
It can be a highly profitable business and, if you structure it right, it can generate passive income that can exceed a 20% ROI. The business is very simple. You get a bunch of packages from FedEx each morning. Your job is to deliver those packages to locations within your territory.
The great thing is that your discrete little piece of the FedEx delivery process is easily outsourced.
In fact, most owners do this. They usually own many routes, so they are not driving a truck and making deliveries. They hire drivers and put in place managers that oversee the deliveries. Once you have good managers and reliable drivers in place, the day-to-day operations of this business can be run without your involvement.
If you want to learn more about this business, check out my beginner’s guide to owning FedEx routes for passive income.
So how good are the returns of a FedEx delivery business?
I took a sample of ten FedEx routes for sale in bizbuysell.com (one of the leading online sites for buying and selling businesses) and found an average cash flow rate of 26.1%.
What I love about this option is that you get to partner with a massive company like FedEx and get all of the benefits of their branding, marketing, and infrastructure.
You don’t need to worry about getting customers, staving off competition, or really anything else that most business owners stress over. All you need to do is make sure the deliveries get done on time everyday.
Franchises are awesome. You get to be a part of an established brand and can operate under a proven business model. What’s even better is that some franchises can be structured to generate passive income.
How is this done?
In most cases, all you need to do is put in place a management team that oversees day-to-day operations. And because you are part of a franchise, your managers can take full advantage of all of the support and detailed operational processes that have been developed by the franchisor. In most cases, the manual's already written – they just need to follow it.
But not every franchise is well-suited for generating passive income. I have written an article discussing 7 great passive income franchises. It covers what you need to look for in a franchise to see if it can be operated passively and provides links to 7 actual franchises that can be operated passively.
Other Passive Income Business Ideas
To keep this article to a manageable length, I focused on only three types of passive income businesses, but there are many others.
If you want more ideas, I have written in-depth articles on the following:
Self Storage Businesses: Start a Passive Self Storage Business in 7 Easy Steps
Automatic Car Washes: Beginner’s Guide to Passive Income Automatic Car Washes
Bounce Houses: How to Start a Bounce House Business in 4 Easy Steps
4. Buy High Cash Flowing Assets
If you don’t have the money to buy an entire business, you can piecemeal it.
What I mean is that you can start buying income-producing assets that can eventually turn into a real passive income business. I am talking about things like vending machines and ATM machines.
You can start by buying one of these items, making a little money from it, using that money to buy more assets, and continuing until you have built an empire.
What’s great is that the ROI for even a single item is well over 20%. Let check it out!
Owning a vending machine can be a great source of passive income.
You just place it in a high-traffic location and make money every time someone buys something from your machine. The cost to get started varies, with a simple gumball machine costing only around $200 to a more expensive vending machine running between $3,000 to $5,000.
Still, that’s far less expensive than buying an entire business and it’s a terrific way to start generating some stellar returns.
The only part of this that requires some work is restocking and collecting money from the machine, but you can easily outsource this function.
For more details on this business, check out my beginner’s guide on how to start a vending machine route for passive income.
I could not find a lot of great data to analyze the ROI of a single vending machine. But I did find some solid data on vending machines businesses.
How strong is the cash flow for vending machine businesses? Based on my sampling of ten vending machine businesses on bizbuysell.com, I found the average cash flow rate to be 49.2%!
Now, you should temper your expectations here because most of these businesses probably have the owners running the routes. If you want a more passive operation, you will need to hire employees to run the routes for you and that will eat into the ROI.
Another interesting option is to buy an ice vending machine. The great thing about this option is that there is no inventory to manage and restock (you are selling ice and there are machines that make it automatically as long as it's connected to a water source). Check out my article on how to get started with an ice vending machine business if you want to learn more.
Like vending machines, this type of business involves placing ATMs in high traffic areas and receiving a fee every time someone makes a withdrawal.
You can get started on a pretty small budget, though. The average new ATM costs between $2,300 to $3,000.
What’s great about ATMs is that they are even simpler to operate than a vending machine route. You don’t have to worry about buying 17 different types of snacks and drinks and lugging them around in your van. There is only one type of inventory you need: cash.
Fortunately, there are services that can restock your ATMs with cash for a fee.
Interested in finding out more? Check out my beginner’s guide to ATMs for Passive Income.
Unlike vending machines, it’s pretty easy to figure out the ROI on a single ATM Machine because there’s some good data to work with.
Average Cost: $3,000
Average ATM Surcharge: $3.00 per transaction
Average Number of Transactions/Month: 180
Monthly Gross Revenue: $540/month (multiply ATM surcharge by number of monthly transactions)
Annual Gross Revenue: $6,480/year (monthly gross revenue of $540 times 12)
So, if you take the annual gross revenue of $6,480 and divide it by the cost of the ATM ($3,000), you get an ROI of over 216%!
Now there will be additional costs you have to deduct from your gross revenue, including possible revenue sharing with the owner of the location where you placed the ATM, but those costs will be far less than 50% of your gross revenue. So if you cut your ROI in half, that still gives you over a 100% ROI.
This is type of ROI is supported by information from companies in the ATM industry. According to Liebermann Companies, you may be able to make your money back on an ATM within 6 months of buying, which equals a 200% ROI.
5. Rent Out Stuff You Already Have
There are a ton of ways to generate passive income from stuff you already own. What I like about this strategy is that you don’t need any money to get started and you can keep it as low-key as you want.
Rent out Your Extra Rooms through Airbnb
This one’s pretty obvious, right? Everyone knows you can rent out extra rooms through Airbnb and collect some cash on the side.
But you should be careful to make sure your activities are permitted by your local municipalities, your HOA (if you have one), your landlord (if you are renting out your place), etc.
Rent Out Your Extra Storage Space
If you’ve got a spare bedroom or closet, or some extra space in your basement or garage, you can rent it out to people who need th4 extra storage space and generate passive income each month.
Check out Neighbor, who is a leader in this space. I have used them myself – their platform is easy to use and you can get up and running in minutes. I participate in their “refer a friend” program, so if you sign up using this link, you (and I) will get a $50 Amazon gift card when you list your space.
If you want to learn more about this strategy, check out my article on the topic here.
Rent Our Your Cars Through Turo
You can also rent out your car when you aren't using it on Turo. According to Turo, you can make hundreds of dollars a month doing this. Check out their Carculator to get a sense of how much you could make renting out your car through this platform.
If you want to learn more about this passive income strategy check out my article on the topic here.
So there you have it: 5 powerful strategies for generating passive income for non-accredited investors. You don't need to be a multi-millionaire to start getting some terrific passive income and these options can be just as attractive as the exotic investments offered exclusively to accredited investors.
Now if actually are interested in some of these exotic investments, I have written an article on 3 ways to invest in private equity for non-accredited investors.
If you are short on cash and time, but still want to generate passive income (I am talking really passive, like no upfront work involved, no ongoing work, etc.), check out my article on 15 ways to make truly passive income with no money.