22 Ways to Get Paid to Do Nothing: Ideas to Make Money in Your Sleep


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Can you really get paid to do nothing?

The dream of lounging on the couch or relaxing on the beach while the cash flows in is certainly appealing, but is it realistic?

The good news is, it can be, but earning passive income usually requires an upfront investment of either time or money.

For example, there are lots of days where I’m not working, but still getting paid thanks to the investments I made months or years earlier.

Still, here are some ideas to start making money with relatively little effort, and some that can turn into time-leveraged income streams down the road.

1. Pose for Art Classes

If you’re an expert at holding still, maybe a side hustle posing for art classes would be a fit. According to Indeed, art models earn an average of $25 an hour.

2. Test Mattresses

The ultimate side hustle has to be getting paid to sleep, right?

Occasionally I see ads pop up seeking paid mattress testers — sometimes as high as $3000. These gigs often involve writing detailed product evaluations, so there is some work involved after you catch some zzzs, but still might be worth a look.

Another option would be keeping your eye out for clinical trials or sleep studies.

3. Wait in Line

Robert Samuel started SameOleLineDudes.com in New York City when the iPhone 5s was coming out.

Sensing there would be a lot of demand for the new device, he posted an ad on Craigslist and offered to wait in line for someone’s phone.

According to EliteDaily, he once made $14k in one day waiting for iPhones, and now manages a team of 20-30 who help him wait in line for his clients! The typical rate is $45 for the first 2 hours, then $10 for every additional half hour.

Robert said that most of his customers are tourists who’d rather spend their time seeing the city they came to visit than waiting in line. Makes sense to me!

Could you start a similar service in your area?

4. Watch People Sign Papers

“Work” is often in the eye of the beholder, but as far as labor is concerned, becoming a mobile notary loan signing agent probably isn’t going to break a sweat.

loan signing agent side hustle

In this gig — after you earn your notary commission — you walk new borrowers through their stack of mortgage documents. In exchange, you typically earn $75-150 for each appointment.

It makes a great side hustle because many of signings take place evenings and weekends. Several Side Hustle Nation members report earning anywhere from $1,000-$8,000 a month “watching people sign papers.”

5. Earn More Interest

If you have excess cash lying around, make sure you’re earning interest on it. For example, I’ve been earning over 4% interest on my Betterment Cash Reserve savings. (Rates subject to change.)

With Betterment, your money is liquid within a couple days — meaning you can transfer it back to your bank account.

6. Buy Commercial Real Estate

With as little as $10, you can own a slice of commercial real estate through Fundrise. I’ve been a Fundrise investor since 2015 and have continually added to my account as a way to invest in real estate without having to deal with “tenants and toilets” myself.

Disclosure: When you sign up through my referral link, I receive compensation. Opinions are my own.

fundrise commercial real estate

They allocate your investment across a portfolio of different properties and pay quarterly dividends.

Best for Passive Income
Fundrise
4.0

Fundrise is one of the best and largest crowdfunded real estate investment platforms, with $7B under management. The company makes institutional quality investments available to everyone, starting at just $10.

Pros:
  • Start with just $10
  • Quarterly cash flow
  • Instant diversification
  • Healthy historical performance
  • Lower volatility
Cons:
  • Liquidity
  • Not as diversified as public REITs
  • Limited operational track record
  • Weaker upside
I've been a Fundrise investor since 2015. When you join through my referral link, I earn a commission. Opinions are my own.

7. Collect Dividends

Dividends — quarterly payments from the earnings of publicly-traded companies — are probably the closest thing I have to truly getting money for doing nothing. These income-producing assets be my most passive form of income.

I’ve been slowly building what I call my “cash flow portfolio” over the last few years, buying shares primarily in name-brand companies that have a long history of paying (and increasing) dividends.

I do this through Fidelity, but you can set up an account with Robinhood, M1 Finance, or the brokerage of your choice.

8. Take Online Surveys

I get that these aren’t totally doing nothing, but they don’t take much effort or physical exertion. (Many Side Hustle Nation members report using these apps from their couch in the evenings.)

Here are some of our top picks.

  • Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
  • Survey Junkie – Take 3 surveys a day and earn up to $100 a month.
  • KashKick – Get paid to answer surveys, test games, and try new products.
  • InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
  • American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
  • Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.

9. Get a New Credit Card

If banks want to give me free money for stuff I was going to buy anyway, I’m not going to complain!

How it works is banks love to spend money getting new customers, so they give away big sign-up bonuses when you open a new account.

You just have to be smart about — don’t buy crap you don’t need with money you don’t have.

Credit cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offer a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months — with no annual fee. That's up to 40% cash back!

capital one quicksilver

Learn more here.

If you know you’re gonna spend $500 in the next 3 months, that’s #freemoney. This card also gives you one of the highest cash back rates, with unlimited 1.5% back on every dollar you spend.

10. Stop Overpaying for Insurance

Saving money is almost like getting paid to do nothing since it takes a small one-time effort and you can reap the benefit for months or years.

For example, if you haven’t shopped for car insurance in the last couple years, you’re paying too much. Why? Your car is probably worth less than it was two years ago, so it shouldn’t cost as much to insure!

Check out Insurify to compare quotes from different providers and save an average of $489 per year!

insurify

11. Use Cash Back Apps

I’m always testing new cash back apps, which promise to pay you a percentage of your regular purchases back. Here are some worth checking out:

  • Fetch Rewards – Scan a quick picture of your receipts with Fetch to earn rewards and cash in for free Amazon gift cards (or other stores).
  • Ibotta – Check your grocery receipts for special cash back offers. I’ve gotten as much as $5 back on single items so it pays to check!
  • DoshEarn automatic cash back at participating restaurants and merchants after you link your credit card.
  • Upside – Upside offers savings in the form of cash back for filling your tank at partnered gas stations and up to 35% back on grocery purchases at participating stores. Get a 25¢/gallon bonus on your first fill-up with promo code SHN25.

12. Share Your Data

Did you know that several companies will pay you for your data? These are low-maintenance, low-overhead ways to pretty much get paid do nothing.

Among our favorites are …

Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

Nielsen now rewards you for sharing Internet usage behaviors by downloading their app to all of your devices. (Yes, this is the same Nielsen that’s been reporting TV ratings data for decades.)

get free amazon gift cards with nielsen panel

As they track your usage, you earn points — up to $50 worth per year. Users can redeem points for gift cards or cash out via PayPal.

MobileXpression

Similarly, the MobileXpression app records your smartphone usage habits. In exchange for sharing this anonymized data, you’ll earn weekly credits redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers.

make extra money with mobilexpression

Get a free $5 Amazon gift card after your first week (if you’re in the US).

Pogo (iOS)

The free Pogo app tracks your location and credit card transaction data. In exchange, the app gives you points that you can cash out to PayPal or Venmo.

pogo app screenshots

You’ll start to receive location-based rewards as you drive around town, and other points for your credit card spending. Based on my results so far, I expect Pogo to be worth around $5-20 a year. 

Check out my full Pogo app review to learn more.

Caden (iOS)

Caden is one of my newest finds.

And where I’ve been earning around $0.41 a month with Pogo, I’m closer to $10 a month with Caden — sharing a similar set of data.

caden app

The app itself is a little slow and buggy, but may be worth those small headaches for dramatically better earning power.

At press time, it was iOS only. Check out our full Caden app review to learn more.

SavvyConnect

Using “safe, cutting-edge technology to collect data as you surf the web,” the SavvyConnect VIP program pays you up to $5 a month per device.

savvyconnect

That means when you connect your smartphone, tablet, and desktop/laptop — and remain active in the SavvyConnect community — you can earn $15 a month or $180 a year.

13. Sell Printables

Another business model where you can create something once and get paid over and over again is printables. These are digital downloadable files — like meal planners, chore charts, budget binders, intake forms, etc. — that customers can buy and print on their own.

etsy printables

When I spoke to Rachel Jones, she reported earning up to $10,000 a month from her growing portfolio of printables on Etsy.

14. Create an Online Course

A similar time-leveraged strategy is to create an online course that you either sell through your own platform or through a marketplace like Udemy.

I’ve earned over $20,000 since 2014 from a Udemy course that requires very little upkeep or maintenance. Sure, it took a lot of time to create, but every month when they send me my earnings, it feels like getting paid to do nothing.

15. Build an Informational Website

Finally, if you like the idea of creating digital assets, you might consider building out an informational website like this one. As you write helpful content that answers peoples’ questions, you can monetize your traffic with advertising or affiliate links.

It’s true that I spend a lot of time maintaining the site and making sure it’s up-to-date, but it still earns money on the days I don’t work on it at all.

(If the idea of building from scratch doesn’t appeal to you, you may be able to find a profitable site that already has traffic on a marketplace like Flippa.)

16. Get Free Stock

The popular Robinhood app gives new users a free share of stock when you sign up. Most of the time, the value isn’t much ($3-10), but could be worth up to $225 if you get lucky.

robinhood app free stock

17. Store Other People’s Stuff

If you have extra space around your house, Neighbor wants to help you fill it — and get paid. The “Airbnb for storage” platform matches homeowners with garages, side yards, driveways, and attics, with people who need a place to store their stuff.

According to the site, top hosts are earning $10,000 a year.

18. Earn Royalties on Amazon

Thanks to self-publishing, it’s never been easier to become a professional author. This one does require some upfront work, but a book can earn you passive royalties for years.

I have a handful of titles on Amazon and they pay me every month. Sometimes it’s not a lot, but it’s never nothing. In fact, my books have earned over $75,000 in lifetime royalties!

self-publishing side hustle income

To learn more about self-publishing, check out this free on-demand training I did on how to quickly go “from blank page to published author.”

Don’t know what to write about? Consider the “low content” publishing model of journals, notebooks, and diaries.

19. Amazon Influencer Program

One of the newest ways to make money on Amazon is as an Amazon Influencer. This is an offshoot of the Associates program designed for content creators with a following on social media.

amazon-influencer-program

Once your Influencer account is approved, you’ll be able to upload short product review videos.

In turn, Amazon displays those on the relevant product pages, and rewards you a commission when someone makes a purchase after watching your video.

I made a little over $100 doing this in my first month, with very little effort! Those videos have continued to earn commissions on autopilot every month since.

20. Earn Miles From Your Phone

The new Miles app gives you “frequent flyer miles” for all the travel you do, whether walking, biking, driving, riding, or flying.

By letting the app track your location, you’ll earn free points that can be redeemed for gift cards. This one may be best for heavy commuters though — it takes 2,000 miles to earn a $1 Amazon gift card.

To learn more, check out our full Miles app review.

21. YouTube Ad Income

I have no aspirations to be a full-time YouTuber, but I’m still pretty thrilled to get my advertising income from YouTube every month. Lately, it’s been in the $500/month range — whether or not I publish any new content.

Before you can monetize your channel, you need to hit certain metrics, but it’s similar to self-publishing in that videos can have a long shelf life and earning power.

What could you make videos about? Pretty much any problem you solve or any question you answer is a great candidate. If you figured it out, you could help other people and earn ad revenue at the same time.

22. Design Print on Demand Products

With platforms like Merch by Amazon and Redbubble, you can upload creative designs and earn passive royalties whenever they sell.

This isn’t a huge money-maker for us, but it’s relatively simple to set up. And when a design my wife and I uploaded years ago makes a sale, it totally feels like free money.

Your Turn: Find What Excites You

Getting paid to do nothing sounds great at first, but I imagine it ultimately isn’t very satisfying. After all, I could probably only sit around for a few days before I felt like I needed to do something proactive.

Tony Robbins called “progress” the 1-word secret to happiness. We all need something we look forward to doing.

So while I like the option of not working all the time, I think a better long-term solution is to find a way to spend your days on something that’s exciting and fulfilling for you.

Serious About Making Extra Money?

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

5 thoughts on “22 Ways to Get Paid to Do Nothing: Ideas to Make Money in Your Sleep”

  1. Nope. NOT a spammer.
    ;-)
    So I just wanna thank you for this uber-groovy list of swell hustlin’ ideas. It definitely got my brain thinking in new and cool ways. I dig when that happens.

    Reply
  2. Hi,

    Great post! I knew about the test mattresses one, and I have always been intrigued by the idea. Being paid to sleep and then writing reviews about it seems like a great job. I will be considering it as a viable career option if I take a break from marketing. Surf also sounds amazing, being paid to surf the internet sounds like something many people would be interested in. Thanks for creating this great list. I really enjoyed reading it a lot.

    Reply
  3. Thank You Very Much For You’re Great Advice And, Side Hustle Idea’s. The One I’m Most Interested In Would Be Testing Out Mattresses To Get Paid. And, The Most Smartest Side Hustle Idea Would Be To Invest My Money. And, Watch My Bank Account Grow. The “TRICK” Is “NOT” Touching That “MONEY”. Just Pretend It’s “NOT” There. And, I Will Become The Next Female “JEFF BEZOS”. Thank You Again, For You’re GREAT ADVICE!!!

    Reply
  4. Hey Nick Loper,

    Aadarsh this side. Astonishing post with excellent money making ideas. Am glad and a bit surprise to see that a person can generate good income even just by doing nothing. I really love your ideas that you have provided. Your each ideas are amazing but an idea of waiting in line, pose for art classes, taking online surveys, watching people sign papers, using cash back apps, storing other people’s stuff, designing print on demand products, creating informative website and selling printable will be the favorite of mine.

    After going through this complete guide i got ideas and am sure that this post is definitely going to help lots of people, readers and especially those who are willing for income.

    Truly engaging post and keep sharing more similar post.

    Thanks,
    -Aadarsh

    Reply

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