Passive Income & Alternative Investment Ideas

Good alternative investment opportunities are hard to come by. Our passive income ideas run the gamut. Some are interesting, unusual, and overlooked, while others are twists on the tried and true staples of retirement income. Browse around and see if any fit your own goals for passive income. If you haven’t yet, consider checking out our helpful list describing the different types of passive income which is a good place to start if you haven’t considered the subject before.

What are Alternative Investments?

Alternative Investment Definition:
An alternative investment is one not typically recognized as conventional; potentially with higher risk and lower liquidity than more common assets. It can be harder to sell alternative investments due to the difficulty in pricing them, a more limited number of buyers, and the fact that they can require extremely specialized knowledge.

For example, it’s harder to price and sell antiques, art, wine, gold and silver coins, IOUs, and intellectual property than regulated and or exchange based assets. There is also much more room for scams and fraud, so do research and be careful.

There are lots of ways to achieve an additional revenue stream from mostly passive investments. You can put your money in dividend growth stocks, emerging products, micro-loans, and lots of other slightly alternative investments that the average investor doesn’t focus on. Some of the ideas we’ve shared might not be on your radar, and others are way outside the normal definition of passive income, but might be a perfect fit. That’s for you to decide. While not traditionally seen as passive income by the definitions and types we’ve laid out on our Passive Income Sources Explained page, we’d argue that they could provide a good return and are quite passive in level of management required.

Notes / IOUs / Venture Funding

If you lend money to a person or business, you can often charge interest at a slightly higher rate in return for the risk you are assuming, and the ease of working with you instead of a traditional bank. Short term loans, or those with underlying assets, can be the most attractive. Don’t forget that getting a slice of the underlying business can be another way of someone paying you back. Your original investment can give you a return for much longer if the business stays profitable and you are a passive and/or silent partner.

Participate in Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms
Give a Business an Inventory Boost
Be the Cash Partner in a Buy and Sell Business
Provide Real Estate Lease Purchase Opportunities

Licensing Intellectual Property

When you create something of value that translates well across a demographic, industry, or client niche, it’s possible to license it to others. It’s a lot of work creating a course, writing training documents, developing tools like industry specific calculators, or spreadsheets, and other value-added content for providers of services. It is very common for people to license (rent or lease) that content from someone else and rebrand it as their own.

Allow White Labeling of Your Video or Written Training Series
Automate Data Aggregation for a Niche and Charge for Access or the Feed
Create an Online Tool, Spreadsheet, or Other Useful Hack for the Customers of Service Provider Category

Land Buying and Leasing

Buying land is tricky, but there are a few ways to make sure you are more likely to be successful. It should be accessible, have access to water, sewer, and electric, and if possible be in short supply in the area where it’s located. An important component will be that zoning meets the needs of your potential buyer or lessee.

Lease to a Farmer
Market Land as a Second Location to a Successful Agritourism or Other Land-Centric Operator
Buy Land and Harvest the Timber

Information Products

How-to guides, insider tip lists, educational videos, and other forms of information products can be a do once and reap the benefit for years kind of thing. It’s important that your topic is mostly timeless in nature, that you produce a high quality but easy to digest piece of material, and that you take the time to make it available in as many places as possible. After that a successful information product can bring in income for a long time with little owner interaction. Information products can be digital or printed; and are typically in the form of e-books, books, or videos.

Industry Specific Tips or Insights
Advice Videos
Checklists, Spreadsheets, and Other Tools

Evergreen Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing in general is described further on other pages, but this particular type is a bit different. Evergreen affiliate marketing is content built around solutions to a problem that is timeless and unlikely to change much. It’s  a real bonus if that problem is also universal; think dog training, teaching a child to read, hair loss, weight loss, etc. Don’t jump on these obvious topics though. Find a product that pays really well, build a solid three to five page website very specifically named around the topic and load it with the affiliate offer or offers you are trying to share. You can also grab the facebook and Pinterest names to match your site and use them to expand your possible organic reach.

Focus on One Potential Customer’s Needs
Consider Something You are Confronted with Daily
Share a Little Known Fix for a Common or Niche Problem

Shopping Rebates

This is so easy and obvious but not very many people are consistent in their use of rebates. We receive 8-10% per year in cash back from rebate programs without doing anything special or looking for traditional manufacturer rebates. You don’t want your rebate program to be time consuming like super couponing or rebate hunting. If you use the right sites rebates are easy and consistent across almost all categories of purchases. A super nice side income. Our method is a no brainer; each and every time we go online to buy something we first check Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and TopCashBack to see if the store is listed. If they are listed we visit the store via whichever of the two links offers the best deal. We keep it simple, both sites open, already logged in, when our browser opens as a gentle reminder to check before we buy. Every couple of months we get a couple of large checks in the mail and we can log in and see the status or ask for the money any time we like.

Rakutensign up HERE while you’re thinking about it!
TopCashBacksame here, do it and be done

Coins or Other Collector Items

There is so much information available about coin, stamp, art, rugs, and antique collecting that our small sharing on this topic would not make a dent or serve you well. Collecting is highly specialized, and highly subjective. If you have something you absolutely love finding, are willing to hold onto them for a long time, betting on a large future trade or sale, then there is a possible match for a passive income approach. Be creative, do something with potential future value but less current competition. Get creative, we are not collectors so our insights are potentially less valuable than your own research.

Rare Plants or Other Living Things
One of Every Kind of Something
Handwritten Items from a Still Living Genius or Revered Person

Unlock More Valuable Ideas in the Following Interesting Categories

Your Housing
Your Location
Peace of Mind
Cash from the Ground
Using and Reselling
Strategic Leasing
Critical Industries
Points Exchange

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