The 7 Best Passive Income Ideas for Students

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Are you a student who is looking to earn some extra money on the side, but the idea of trading your precious time for money (working a job) doesn’t really appeal to you? You may very well be interested in our list of the best passive income ideas for students.

To be clear… some effort will be required on your behalf in order to create passive income streams. You do need some time or some money (or both) to get started. Without time or money invested, you will be hard-pressed to create any passive income whatsoever.

However, once you get your passive income machine rolling – you can do almost nothing and just watch the money come in each month. Warning: you won’t want to do nothing after you see it work. You’ll want to invest more time or money to increase your monthly passive income!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Explore the contents of this article and click on any heading to skip ahead…

How Much Does an Average Student Earn?

Annual earnings for student workers can vary quite a bit, depending on the type of student, the student’s age, and what type of employment the student has. A high-school student might work in fast food or retail for close to minimum wage and only part-time hours. A college undergraduate student could be employed for close to full-time hours, earning more than minimum wage. And a college graduate student might be employed full-time while finishing up their post-graduate education.

Given these vast differences, there is data to give us an idea of how much a student worker earns. At the time I am writing this, the average annual salary for a student worker in the United States is $27,695 per year, according to data reported and collected at This average can range from reported average low salaries of $20,226 per year to reported high salaries of $37,922 per year.

Note: click the link above for up-to-date stats and data on truck driver salaries in America from

Why Should a Student Have Passive Income?

It’s not easy for a student to be able to focus on earning a high income when their top focus should be their studies. If a student worker feels pressure to earn more money or is constantly hounded by their boss, it could affect their ability to study and get good grades.

Having passive income streams in place helps take away any added financial stress. It simply makes sense to have passive income rolling in each month, especially for a student.

What is Passive Income?

Passive Income can be defined as an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.

Admittedly, it’s not always easy to get passive income. It does require a good deal of effort in many cases to get those passive income streams started. But, once it starts working, the potentially bountiful cash flow can be extremely rewarding!

How Can a Student Make Passive Income?

Think of passive income as a money tree. If taken care of properly, the tree will continually produce fruit (money) for you. However, you must first acquire the tree and then nourish it so that it doesn’t die. To get your passive income money tree, you either need to purchase it or grow it from scratch.

The money tree example perfectly illustrates passive income and how to get and maintain it. If you have some money to start out with, you can purchase a money tree that is already producing, and then nurture it to produce even more. If you don’t have very much money but have time to invest instead, you can grow your money tree from scratch with the expectation that it will likely take time before it produces ample fruit.

It is very important to understand that you DO need to invest time or money (or both) to get your passive income money tree started.

Choose One Passive Income Strategy and Focus 100%

My top piece of advice for any student worker (or anybody else for that matter) who wants to create passive income is this… Choose just one passive income strategy and give it your full and complete focus – 100%.

FOCUS is an acronym – Follow One Course Until Success.

I’m going to list out 7 passive income ideas below that I believe are ideal for students. You can choose one of those or one of many other passive income ideas. But, I urge you to stick to just one strategy until you find success with it.

Consider Adding Additional Passive Income Sources

It will be tempting to try more than one passive income idea at a time when you first start out. Studies and data have proven that total focus on one thing will give you the very best chance at success.

However, it is possible that you max out a passive income strategy at which point you could (and should) consider adding additional passive income sources!

For example: if you rent out your car – it can only be rented out so much. It is highly possible that a limited passive income source like this could become maxed out and not require additional resources from you.

With this in mind – here are the 7 best passive income ideas for students, in my estimation…

The Best Passive Income Ideas for Students

My top consideration for determining which passive income ideas are best for students is the fact that students typically have more time available to invest than money. Many of these ideas require an investment of time and maybe just a little bit of money to get started. The beauty of these is that they have the potential to grow exponentially over time!

Sell Printables on Etsy

Many people think of Etsy as a place where people sell physical products, like crafts and other trinkets. But, Etsy is also a huge marketplace for digital products. The beauty of selling digital printables on Etsy is that it is truly passive once you have it set up. You create a digital design once, and then you can sell it unlimited times without having to deal with shipping physical items!

Selling digital printables on Etsy is a perfect side hustle for students because it takes very little (if any) money to get started, and you only need to invest some of your time to create designs and get them listed.

If the process of getting started with something like this seems daunting, there is a very good (and inexpensive) training course available. It’s called the E-Printables Course by Gold City Ventures. I’ve gone through this course myself, and I can vouch that it is excellent, and it details everything you possibly need to know to get started with selling printables on Etsy.

Print on Demand

Much like the “selling printables on Etsy” example above, a print-on-demand passive income stream will require a chunk of effort initially to get off the ground. But once you’ve done that, with a little ongoing time spent adding new designs and marketing, print-on-demand can deliver a solid passive income stream.

In case you’re not sure what it means, print on demand (POD) is essentially a way of getting your designs onto physical merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, towels, bags, and other things, and you make money by selling them online via your storefront.

Once you make a sale, the supplier then prints your design onto the item. It’s largely passive once the designs are made, as in addition to the printing, the order fulfillment and shipping are also handled by the supplier!

There are many print-on-demand platforms (websites) that you can choose from. I have an account with Chip that I’ve used to sell merchandise in the past. It’s been a few years since I’ve actively sold anything there. Another top platform (that I have not yet tried myself) is Printful. Do a Google search for “print-on-demand companies,” and you’ll find many more. Choose one that seems to suit your needs.

Warning: Anybody can create a design and get it up for sale pretty easily in less than an hour. But, just because it’s there doesn’t mean anybody is going to buy it. You need to bring traffic to your storefront somehow. That is the key to success with a print-on-demand business. Search Google or YouTube for tips and tricks for how to bring traffic to your print-on-demand storefront.

Start a Blog

If you love to write, like I do, then blogging just might be your thing to create monthly passive income. However, I must warn you that it’s not easy and it will likely take a very long time before you make any money at all.

But, if you’re in this thing for the long haul and you want to build a sustainable form of passive income, something that you can call your own, then starting a blog just might be your thing.

Just like with the print-on-demand business model, getting traffic to your blog is the key to earning money. Most bloggers utilize search engine optimization (SEO) as their main traffic source. If you can figure this out – then the sky is truly the limit with blogging!

Starting a blog is easy. If you’re up for it, I highly encourage you to buy a domain and start blogging ASAP! The hard part is actually sticking with it until you find success. You can get help with this by joining blogger groups on social media sites like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, or other places. Connecting with other bloggers is key to figuring out the whole “make money blogging,” thing.

There are many ways to make money from a blog once you start getting traffic. Display ads and affiliate marketing are two of the most common methods to earn money from a blog.

There are also countless ways to come up with ideas for what to write about and how to write for your blog. You might check out some essay writing tips for motivation, or simply find other bloggers in your niche and see what they are writing about.

Rent Your Car Out

If you own a car and it sits idle for days because you don’t need to drive it daily… why not put your car to work to earn some extra money?

There are sites (and apps) that make this process extremely easy. Two of the most popular are HyreCar and Turo.

Once you see how easy it is to make money by renting out your car, you might even consider finding ways to purchase more cars to add to your rental fleet and you’ll be well on your way to earning more than just a little bit of extra money!

Rent out Your Designer Clothes

If you happen to have some fancy dresses in the back of your closet or any other type of designer clothing, you just might be able to turn that otherwise dormant piece of clothing into some passive income.

According to studies, the average garment is only worn seven times before it’s replaced with something new.

But those old garments often stay in people’s wardrobes. So if you’re one of those people with a stash of classy clothing hidden in the closet, then why not rent them out…?

Items to consider include:

  • hats
  • shoes
  • coats
  • dresses
  • suits

If you’re looking at the contents of your wardrobe in a completely different way now and wondering if renting your designer clothes out is a trend you’d like to explore, then check out the options over at Rent My Wardrobe.

Domain Name Flipping

This is one of those really interesting passive income ideas. If you have a good grasp on what makes a great domain name, then you could land yourself a bumper payday.

There are a number of different ways you can make passive income from domain names. The simplest is to think of a business niche and then come up with as many ideas as possible for a business name.

The key thing is to make it brandable, as these domains tend to sell for more. Ideally a one or two-word .com domain (i.e. which reportedly sold for a cool $1.8 million – yup, you read that right.)

Let’s pretend that you have a love for disc golf. Head over to a domain name registrar (like namecheap) and type in

It will come as no surprise to find that this domain is already taken. So now you need to think of alternative, marketable domain names that would fit that industry. Keep typing them in until you find one.

You can often purchase a new domain for under $20. There are various ways to sell the domain afterwards, the simplest being at an auction site like GoDaddy.

Cashback Sites or Apps

If you don’t already use cashback sites when making purchases online then sign up for one right now. It’s so easy to do and you can earn passive income on lots of your online buys.

Often these sites come with plug-ins for browsers like Chrome, so you get a notification if you visit a website that has a cashback offer through the site you’ve registered with.

This makes it super easy to make some passive income while you shop, without needing to remember to go to the cashback site first.

Some great cashback sites include:

Similar to cashback sites, cashback apps sit on your smartphone and allow you to earn a percentage back on your spending.

The amount you receive varies depending on the retailer. Usually, you have to have accrued a specific amount ($5 is generally the minimum) before you can cash in, at which point you can request your passive income earnings to be transferred to you via PayPal.

The easiest kinds to use are those that only require you to download the app and then link a spending card to it. Your cashback is automatically tracked, meaning you need to do very little once you’re all set up, other than claim your money when you have enough.

Great cashback apps include:

Passive Income Starts with Your Money Mindset

Passive income can be achieved by following specific plans and implementing specific strategies. But, doing so is nearly impossible without the right money mindset. In other words, the best passive income ideas are worthless if your outlook on money isn’t in the right place.

One of the best ways that I’ve found to be able to adjust your mindset is to educate yourself by reading books (or listening to Audiobooks).

Some of my favorite books of all time are included in my list of money mindset books for passive income. If you haven’t done so already – I highly recommend that you start by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

Here are two of the most popular money mindset books of all time!

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We have answers. Here are some common questions about the ‘best passive income ideas for students’

What Now FAQ

What is the best passive income for students?

The best passive income for students is the kind that takes time (rather than money) to get started. Things like starting a money-making blog, selling digital products on Etsy, or creating designs to sell on print-on-demand products.

What is the easiest passive income for college students?

The easiest passive income for college students is using cashback sites or apps to earn extra money on money they are spending anyway. A close second is renting out things that you already own, such as your car or your designer clothing.

How do I create a passive income with no money?

To create passive income without spending any money, you have to devote a great deal of time to create an asset (or assets) that will earn passive income for you. Things like a blog that will be read over and over again, or a digital product that can be created once and sold in an unlimited fashion.

How can a beginner earn passive income?

A beginner can get started with passive income by educating themselves. This can be done very inexpensively (or free) by reading books, reading blogs, searching Google, watching YouTube and taking specialized training courses online.

Why is passive income important for students?

Learning how to create and maintain passive income is especially important for students because it teaches them how to not stay stuck in the scripted path of going to school and then working a job from graduation until retirement, making somebody else rich.

What are the most popular passive income ideas?

The most popular passive income ideas are the ones with the biggest income potential. Things like starting a blog, or selling digital products online. These are popular because the reach is unlimited, and so is the income potential.

Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He's probably not the only trucker who calls himself a dumbass. But, he is the only known trucker who is blogging about passive income."Might be crazy, but I ain't dumb!" ~ Crazy Cooter (also Matt's CB handle) 
Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He's probably not the only trucker who calls himself a dumbass. But, he is the only known trucker who is blogging about passive income."Might be crazy, but I ain't dumb!" ~ Crazy Cooter (also Matt's CB handle) 

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