20 Best Businesses that Run Themselves for Passive Income in 2023

You’re hustling hard, but what if you could earn while you sleep? Sounds dreamy, right? It’s possible with self-running businesses. They’re strategic, require minimal effort, and deliver maximum returns.

From affiliate marketing to rental properties, the opportunities are endless and lucrative.

So, let’s explore these avenues and how they operate. Ready to dive into the world of passive income? Let’s make your money work harder for you.

Welcome to the guide on the 20 best businesses that run themselves.

Blogging & Affiliate Marketing

If you’re looking for a passive income business that you can set up from the comfort of your home, starting a blog and getting involved in affiliate marketing could be the perfect fit for you. With a blog, you’ve got a platform to share your knowledge, experiences, or passions. But how do you monetize this? That’s where affiliate marketing comes in.

Affiliate marketing involves recommending products or services within your blog content. When your readers purchase these through your unique affiliate links, you earn a commission. It’s a win-win situation: your readers get value from your recommendations, and you get rewarded for your influence.

Strategically, it’s essential to choose a niche you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. This way, you can create engaging, valuable content that attracts and retains readers. Remember, the more traffic you generate, the higher your earning potential.

Next comes the crucial part – SEO. You need to optimize your blog to rank high in search engine results. This way, you’ll increase visibility and drive more traffic to your site. Tools and courses like Affiliate Lab can help you master this.

Lastly, be patient. It’s a game of persistence and consistency. But once you’re there, the returns can be significant.

Amazon FBA Business

Continuing on the theme of online businesses, you might consider launching an Amazon FBA business for a steady stream of passive income. Amazon FBA, or Fulfillment by Amazon, allows you to sell products online without worrying about storage, packaging, or shipping. You simply source your products, ship them to an Amazon warehouse, and Amazon takes care of the rest.

This business model has several significant benefits. You can leverage Amazon’s vast customer base, reducing the need for marketing. You also don’t need to worry about customer service, as Amazon handles any customer issues.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. Amazon charges fees for its services, and these can eat into your profits. You also need to choose your products carefully, as competition can be fierce.

Here’s a quick rundown in the table below:

Advantages Disadvantages
Access to Amazon’s customer base Amazon’s fees
No need for customer service High competition

With careful planning and strategic product selection, an Amazon FBA business could be a lucrative source of passive income.

Dropshipping Business Model

In your quest for passive income, you’ll find that dropshipping is a promising business model that can operate round-the-clock. Essentially, it’s an ecommerce business where you sell products online, but you don’t have to store any inventory. Instead, you source products from suppliers who fulfill orders on your behalf.

Look at it strategically. By not having to invest in inventory, you’re significantly reducing your startup costs. Your primary focus becomes marketing, customer service, and maintaining your online store. You’ll want to use platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, which have integrated dropshipping features and are user-friendly.

However, don’t underestimate the importance of selecting reliable suppliers. Supplier reliability directly impacts customer satisfaction, affecting your business’s reputation. Spend time researching, vetting, and establishing relationships with trustworthy suppliers.

Lastly, consider your product selection carefully. It’s advisable to choose products with a healthy profit margin and high demand. Keep an eye on market trends, and don’t be afraid to adjust your product offering as needed.

Self-Publishing Company

While dropshipping can be a great way to earn passive income, you might find self-publishing to be another lucrative opportunity if you have a passion for writing. Self-publishing allows you to write, publish, and sell your own books, without the need for a traditional publishing company. Thanks to platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, it’s easier than ever to get your work out there.

In the table below, you can see the steps you need to take to start your own self-publishing company:

Step Action Benefit
1. Write Put your ideas into words Creative control
2. Edit Polish your manuscript Quality Assurance
3. Design Create a compelling cover and layout Attracts Buyers
4. Publish Use platforms like Amazon Wide reach
5. Market Promote your book Increase Sales

The beauty of a self-publishing company is that once your book is written, edited, designed, and published, you can earn income from it indefinitely. With a strategic marketing plan, you can earn passive income while you sleep. So, if you’re a writer looking for a business that runs itself, self-publishing could be your answer.

Running a YouTube Channel

Just as self-publishing allows writers to earn passive income, running a YouTube channel can give you a similar opportunity, especially if you’re passionate about video content creation. It’s not just about uploading videos; a successful YouTube channel requires a strategic approach.

Consider these key steps:

  1. Content Creation: Produce high-quality video content that captivates your target audience. Stick to a consistent schedule to keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.
  2. Monetization: Apply to the YouTube Partner Program to earn revenue from ads. You can also leverage affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and merchandise sales to boost your income.
  3. Audience Growth: Use search engine optimization techniques to make your videos easily discoverable. Engage with your viewers through the comments section and encourage them to subscribe.

But remember, building a successful YouTube channel won’t happen overnight. It requires time, effort, and patience. However, once you’ve established your channel and amassed a loyal following, it can become a significant source of passive income.

You’ll be earning money even while you sleep, with your videos continually garnering views and generating revenue.

Earning From Photography

If you’ve got a knack for taking captivating photos, you can turn your passion into a business that earns you money even when you’re not actively working. With the rise of digital platforms, there are several ways to monetize your photography skills.

For starters, sell your high-quality images to stock photo websites. Sites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock allow you to earn royalties each time someone downloads your photos. The more unique and high-quality your images are, the higher the demand and the more passive income you’ll generate.

Another lucrative option is to start a photography blog or website. You can display your portfolio, provide photography tips and tutorials, and earn through advertisements, paid partnerships, and affiliate marketing.

Moreover, you can create and sell photography courses online. Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare make it easy to share your expertise and earn passive income from course sales.

Lastly, consider offering your services as a freelance photographer. While this requires active work, you can still earn passive income by selling prints of your work or licensing your photos for commercial use. But remember, strategic marketing and consistently delivering high-quality work are key to succeeding in this business.

Creating Online Courses

Capitalizing on your expertise, you can create online courses, a lucrative avenue for passive income that leverages the power of knowledge. This business model transforms your skills and knowledge into a valuable product that can be sold repeatedly with minimal ongoing work.

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Identify Your Niche: Choose a subject you’re knowledgeable about and passionate enough to teach. Whether it’s photography, coding, cooking, or digital marketing, there’s likely an audience willing to learn.
  2. Create High-Quality Content: Your course needs to be informative, engaging, and well-structured. Invest time in creating video lectures, reading materials, quizzes, and exercises that deliver real value.
  3. Choose a Platform: Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Coursera can host your courses, handle payments, and provide you with a ready audience. However, these platforms take a percentage of your earnings.

Remember, your course’s success depends on your marketing efforts. Your course might be fantastic, but it won’t generate income if people don’t know about it. Use social media, content marketing, and email newsletters to promote your course.

In the long run, creating online courses can result in a significant stream of passive income.

Print-on-Demand Business

Another profitable avenue for passive income is starting a print-on-demand business, where you won’t have to worry about inventory or shipping. This business model lets you design and sell custom-made products like t-shirts, mugs, or posters, without having to store any inventory.

You’ll start by choosing a print-on-demand platform, such as Printful or Printify. These platforms handle the production and shipping of your products. Your role is primarily design and marketing. You’ll create unique, eye-catching designs that appeal to your target audience.

Next, you need to set up an online storefront on a platform like Etsy or Shopify. Once customers place an order, the print-on-demand company fulfills it. You don’t handle the products; instead, you earn a profit margin on each sale.

However, success in this business requires strategic marketing. You’ll need to promote your products effectively, using social media or paid advertising. Also, keep track of trends and tweak your designs accordingly.

Selling Digital Products

Just like a print-on-demand business, selling digital products can also provide you with a significant passive income stream. This method involves selling non-physical products that can be created once and sold repeatedly. From eBooks and online courses to software and music, the possibilities are endless. Plus, this strategy frees you from the hassles of inventory management.

To successfully sell digital products, three crucial steps must be followed:

  1. Product Creation: Develop a high-quality digital product that provides real value to your customers. This could be an eBook, a software program, or an online course.
  2. Platform Selection: Choose the right platform for selling your digital goods. Platforms like Gumroad, Etsy, or your own website can be used depending on the nature of your product.
  3. Marketing and Promotion: Implement effective marketing strategies to attract potential buyers. This could involve SEO, social media marketing, or email campaigns.

Investing in Vending Machines

In a similar vein to selling digital products, investing in vending machines can also be a lucrative source of passive income, offering you considerable returns with minimal daily management. Essentially, you acquire a vending machine, stock it with popular consumables, and place it in high-traffic locations.

The key to success in this business lies in strategic location selection. Places such as malls, offices, schools, and transport hubs are perfect as they’ve high foot traffic. Remember, your profits are directly tied to the number of people who see and use your vending machine.

Another critical factor is the product selection. You’ve got to stock your machine with items that are in high demand in your chosen location. This might require some market research, but it’s well worth the effort.

Finally, consider partnering with a vending machine franchise. They’ll provide you with the machines, products, and even help with location scouting, at a cost, of course. But this can simplify the process and increase your chances of success.

While vending machines require an upfront investment, the potential returns can make it a worthy venture for passive income.

Starting a Laundromat Business

Moving on from vending machines, you’ll find that owning a laundromat business can also be a substantial source of passive income. Known as a ‘cash cow,’ it’s an industry that thrives on the simple, unavoidable fact that people need clean clothes.

Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Location Selection: This is crucial. You want a place that’s easily accessible and positioned in a high-traffic area, ideally near residential zones where apartment-dwellers might lack in-home laundry facilities.
  2. Equipment Investment: Quality matters. Invest in energy-efficient, high-capacity washers and dryers. Remember, maintenance costs can eat into profits, so reliable machines are worth the investment.
  3. Business Operations: Most laundromats are coin-operated and self-service, reducing the need for on-site staff. Consider offering value-added services like dry-cleaning or alterations to boost profits.

While the initial investment might be hefty, the potential returns are promising. Plus, once set up, laundromats require minimal supervision. But don’t underestimate the importance of routine maintenance and exceptional customer service. They’re key to keeping your machines running and your customers returning.

With careful planning and strategic execution, your laundromat can wash your worries away while you sleep.

Running a Storage Facility

While you’re reaping the benefits of your laundromat business, you might consider investing in a self-storage facility, another venture that requires minimal hands-on management. Self-storage businesses offer an excellent source of passive income. All you need is a secure location and a strategy for attracting customers.

Here’s a quick look at some key aspects:

Aspect Detail Strategic Move
Location Secure, accessible Choose a location with high demand
Security CCTV, locks Invest in good security measures
Marketing Local SEO, Ads Use online and offline marketing
Maintenance Regular checks Hire staff or outsource
Pricing Competitive rates Research local market rates

Once you’ve set up your facility, it’s basically a hands-off operation. You can outsource maintenance and security, leaving you free to focus on other ventures. That’s the beauty of a self-storage business – it runs itself, day and night, earning you income while you sleep. So, why wait? Start planning your self-storage venture today and watch your passive income stream grow.

Self-Service Car Wash Business

Following the same low-maintenance business model as a self-storage facility, owning a self-service car wash can be another profitable venture that generates income round the clock. With the right location and marketing strategy, you can make significant profits while barely lifting a finger.

Initial Investment: To start, you’ll need to invest in purchasing or leasing a property and installing the necessary equipment. The costs can be substantial, but once you’re set up, the ongoing expenses are relatively low, mainly water, electricity, and maintenance.

Location: Your car wash’s success heavily depends on its location. High traffic areas near shopping centers or residential neighborhoods can bring in a steady stream of customers.

Marketing: Don’t underestimate the power of effective marketing. Offering promotions or loyalty programs can attract more customers and keep them coming back.

Outdoor Advertising Space Rental

Like the self-service car wash business, another hands-off venture you could consider is renting out outdoor advertising space. This business model thrives on high-traffic land where visibility is key. Well-placed billboards can become a steady source of revenue as they attract companies looking for advertising opportunities.

Your involvement is minimal once the billboards are in place. You’ll lease the space to advertisers who then manage the ad content. Your primary role is ensuring the structures are well-maintained and secure. It’s a business model that doesn’t require your constant attention, yet generates regular income.

The income from this venture depends largely on the location and visibility of your billboards. High-traffic areas command higher rental rates. Therefore, when scouting for land or billboards to purchase, consider the potential advertising exposure to maximize your return on investment.

You also need to be aware of the competition and pricing in your market. Conducting a thorough market research will help you set competitive rates that attract advertisers while still ensuring profitability. This strategic approach can set your outdoor advertising space rental business on the path to success.

Rental Property Business

In addition to outdoor advertising, you can also generate passive income from a rental property business. This venture allows you to earn a consistent income, largely hands-off, provided you’ve made strategic decisions in the beginning.

  1. Property Selection: The location and quality of your property greatly influence your rental income. Choose a property in a desirable area with good amenities, and ensure it’s in excellent condition to attract quality tenants.
  2. Rent Pricing: Set your rent price competitively. Too high, and you might struggle to find tenants; too low, and you’re leaving money on the table. Analyze local market rates and factor in your expenses to arrive at a fair price.
  3. Property Management: It’s crucial to maintain your property to keep tenants satisfied and reduce vacancies. For a more passive approach, consider hiring a property manager. They’ll handle tenant issues, maintenance, and rent collection, freeing up your time.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Harnessing the power of affiliate marketing strategies can transform your passive income dreams into a reality. It’s crucial you understand how it works. You promote a product or service through a unique link given by the affiliate program. When a purchase is made through your link, you earn a commission.

Your success in affiliate marketing lies in the choice of products or services you promote, the platform you use, and the strategies you deploy to drive traffic to your affiliate links. Pick products or services that match your audience’s interests and needs. You’re more likely to generate sales when your audience finds real value in your recommendations.

Content marketing is a powerful tool in affiliate marketing. High-quality, relevant content can attract and engage your audience, making them more likely to click on your affiliate links. SEO optimization of your content improves its visibility on search engines, driving more traffic to your site.

Email marketing can also boost your affiliate marketing efforts. By building an email list, you can send targeted promotional messages to people who are interested in your content, increasing the chances of conversions.

Always analyze and adjust your strategies for optimal results.

Amazon FBA Success Stories

You’ve probably heard about Amazon FBA, but let’s explore some real-life success stories that can inspire your own passive income journey.

Meet these self-made entrepreneurs who’ve turned Amazon FBA into a full-fledged business while they sleep.

  1. Channing Dyson: Once a 9-5 employee, Channing decided to dabble in Amazon FBA on the side. After thorough research, strategic product selection, and focused marketing, his side hustle exploded. Today, he earns six figures annually, enjoying the freedom it provides.
  2. Jessica Larrew: Jessica, a full-time mom, turned to Amazon FBA as a way to supplement her family’s income. Capitalizing on the retail arbitrage method, she managed to generate a stable income stream, proving that dedication and a strategic approach can lead to success.
  3. Adam Hudson: Adam, an Australian entrepreneur, created a multi-million dollar business by selling simple, everyday products on Amazon FBA. His success story underscores the importance of market research, product differentiation, and quality customer service.

Each of these entrepreneurs utilized Amazon’s vast customer base and logistics capabilities to their advantage. With the right strategies and commitment, you too can create a self-running business that earns while you sleep.

Your Amazon FBA success story could be next!

Dropshipping for Beginners

Building on the concept of leveraging online platforms for passive income, let’s dive into another promising business model: dropshipping.

Essentially, it’s a retail fulfillment method where you don’t keep the products you sell in stock. Instead, when you sell a product, you purchase it from a third party and have it shipped directly to the customer.

Sure, it sounds simple, but you need a strategic approach to make it work. First, you’ve got to identify a niche with low competition and high demand. Then, find reliable suppliers who can deliver quality products on time.

You’ll also need an e-commerce platform to sell your products. Shopify is a popular choice due to its user-friendly interface and seamless integration with dropshipping apps like Oberlo.

Lastly, invest time in marketing your store. Use SEO and social media marketing to drive traffic to your site. Keep customer service as a top priority too.

Rental Properties Investment

Over time, investing in rental properties can provide you with a steady stream of passive income, allowing your business to practically run itself while you’re off catching those well-deserved Z’s. The key is in strategically selecting properties and effectively managing them.

  1. Property Selection: Start by conducting a thorough market analysis. Look for properties in areas with strong rental demand, low vacancy rates, and potential for appreciation. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, quality of local schools, and crime rates.
  2. Finance Management: Understand your numbers. Calculate potential rental income, operating expenses, cash flow, and return on investment. Make sure the rent covers your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.
  3. Property Management: Efficient property management is crucial. You can choose to manage properties yourself or hire a property management company. Having a reliable property manager can make your rental business truly passive. They’ll handle tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance, and legal issues.

Dividend Stocks for Passive Income

Regularly investing in dividend stocks can provide you with a steady stream of income, essentially letting your money work for you while you sleep. These stocks, representing companies that distribute a portion of their earnings to shareholders, are an excellent way to generate passive income.

However, it’s not just about buying any dividend stock. You’ll need to conduct thorough research to identify companies with a strong track record of dividend payouts. Diversification is also crucial to mitigate risk and ensure a steady flow of dividends regardless of market fluctuations.

Here’s a quick guide on how to get started:

Task Description Importance
Research Understand company’s financial health and dividend history Crucial to identify reliable dividend-payers
Invest Regularly invest in chosen dividend stocks Builds your portfolio and potential income
Diversify Spread your investments across different sectors Protects against market volatility
Reinvest Use dividends to buy more stocks Accelerates growth via compounding

Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms

Another great business that can generate passive income while you sleep is a peer-to-peer lending platform. It’s an innovative financial model that connects borrowers and investors directly, bypassing traditional banks. You, as an investor, can lend money to individuals or small businesses in need and earn interest on your loans.

Here’s how you can strategically employ this model for passive income:

  1. Diversify your loan portfolio: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your investments across multiple loans to mitigate risk.
  2. Research borrower creditworthiness: Platforms provide information on borrowers’ credit ratings and loan purposes. Analyze this data to make informed decisions.
  3. Automate your investments: Many platforms have auto-investment tools that align with your risk tolerance and investment goals. This ensures your money is continuously working for you, even while you sleep.

This isn’t a risk-free venture; borrowers can default. But by being strategic, detail-oriented, and analytical in your approach, you can manage the risks and potentially enjoy a solid return on your investments.

Peer-to-Peer lending platforms can indeed be a viable addition to your passive income stream.

Making Money From Digital Products

Branching out from peer-to-peer lending, you can also consider selling digital products as another viable source of passive income. It’s an appealing option due to its scalability, low overhead costs, and the ability to generate sales 24/7.

Digital products encompass a wide range of items such as eBooks, online courses, music, software, or design templates. The key to success here lies in your ability to create a unique, high-quality product that fills a certain market need or solves a particular problem.

Platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Udemy, or Shopify can help you distribute your digital products to a broad audience. Remember to strategically price your product for profitability while still offering value to your customers.

Marketing plays a vital role in this venture. You’ll need to employ effective digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to your product. This could involve SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, or even paid ads.

Lastly, remember that while selling digital products can generate passive income, it does require an initial time investment to create the product and set up the sales and marketing systems. But once these are in place, you’re all set for money to roll in while you sleep.

Stock Photography Business

Capturing high-quality, in-demand images and selling them on stock photography platforms like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock can be a lucrative way to earn passive income while you sleep. This business model requires minimal supervision, freeing you to focus on other aspects of life while maintaining a steady revenue stream.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Identify Popular Trends: Understanding what types of images are in demand can increase your chances of making sales. Monitor popular categories and keywords on stock photo platforms to gauge market trends.
  2. Invest in Quality Equipment: High-resolution images are more likely to sell. Investing in a good camera and learning how to use it effectively can significantly enhance your image quality.
  3. Consistent Uploads: The more images you have on stock platforms, the more potential income you can generate. Aim to upload new images regularly to keep your portfolio fresh and appealing.

E-commerce Store Management

Just like with stock photography, managing an e-commerce store can offer you a passive income stream, especially when you automate most of the processes. Thanks to platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, creating an online store has never been easier. But remember, your success largely depends on your ability to source high-quality products, market them effectively, and provide stellar customer service.

Consider automating tasks like inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer service inquiries. This way, your business can effectively run itself while you sleep. However, it’s essential to monitor these automated processes regularly to ensure they’re functioning correctly.

Here’s a brief outlook on what you need to manage an e-commerce store:

Task Description
Product Sourcing Find high-quality goods that meet customer needs and preferences.
Marketing Utilize social media, SEO, and paid advertising to reach your target market.
Customer Service Provide timely and effective customer support to build trust and loyalty.
Automation Implement tools and software to automate tasks like order fulfillment.
Monitoring Regularly check automated processes to ensure they’re running smoothly.

Earning Royalties From Intellectual Property

Another way to earn passive income, similar to an e-commerce store, is by cashing in on your intellectual property through royalties. This strategy involves creating something unique – a book, a song, an invention, or even a brand – and then earning money every time someone else uses it.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Creation: You invent a product, write a book, compose a song, or develop a brand. This becomes your intellectual property.
  2. Protection: You patent your invention, copyright your book or song, or trademark your brand. This legal protection prevents others from using your intellectual property without your permission.
  3. Monetization: You license your intellectual property to others. Every time they use it – to produce a product, publish your book, play your song, or use your brand – you earn a royalty.

This strategy can be very profitable, but it’s not guaranteed. It requires creativity, legal savvy, and marketing skills. But if you’re successful, you can earn money while you sleep, just like an e-commerce store. And unlike a store, you don’t have to worry about inventory or shipping. It’s all about leveraging your ideas and creativity for passive income.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind When Starting a Self-Service Car Wash Business?”

When starting a self-service car wash business, you’ll need to handle several legal considerations. Firstly, ensure you have the correct business permits and licenses.

You’ll also need zoning approval for your chosen location.

You must comply with environmental regulations, as wastewater disposal can be a concern.

Consider liability insurance to protect against potential damages or accidents.

Always consult with a legal advisor to ensure you’re covering all bases.

How Can One Manage Customer Service Effectively in a Dropshipping Business Without a Physical Presence?”

Managing customer service in a dropshipping business without a physical presence can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to set up effective communication channels, like email or live chat.

Respond quickly to queries and resolve issues promptly. Use a CRM system to track customer interactions.

Be transparent about shipping times and any delays. Remember, good customer service can set you apart from competitors, even in the virtual world.

What Are the Tax Implications for Earning Passive Income From Different Business Models Like Rental Properties, Dividend Stocks, and Affiliate Marketing?”

Tax implications vary by business model. Rental income is taxable, but you can deduct expenses like repairs and depreciation.

Dividend income may qualify for lower tax rates, but it depends on your holding period and the type of stock.

Affiliate marketing income is typically taxed as self-employment income, meaning you’re responsible for both the employer and employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Always consult with a tax professional to optimize your tax strategy.

Are There Any Specific Insurance Requirements for Running a Storage Facility or a Laundromat Business?”

Yes, insurance is crucial when running a storage facility or laundromat. For storage facilities, you’ll need property insurance for damage or theft, liability insurance for accidents, and possibly even business interruption insurance.

Laundromats typically need similar coverage, plus equipment breakdown insurance. It’s best to consult with an insurance agent to ensure you’re fully covered. Remember, insurance isn’t just a legal requirement – it’s a smart business move.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights When Selling Digital Products or Earning Royalties?”

To protect your intellectual property when selling digital products or earning royalties, you’ll need to register your work.

Copyright registration for books, music, and software can be done online through the U.S. Copyright Office.

For inventions, apply for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

You should also consider using digital rights management (DRM) tools to control access to your products.

Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation.


So, there you have it. With these self-running businesses, you can earn passive income while you sleep.

It’s all about finding the right fit for you. Whether it’s blogging, dropshipping, or managing an e-commerce store, each option has its unique benefits.

Remember, it’s not just about making money, but making your money work for you.

Start exploring these avenues today and take a step closer to financial freedom.

It’s time to put your money to work!