Day-to-day life can be quite hectic, especially when you add in responsibilities like a day job. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to earn passive income or to create a low-maintenance business to diversify your income.
In fact, there are numerous business models and hustles that can largely be run on autopilot.
Check out these 12 different ways to create a business or income-generating asset that prints money without needing constant time and attention.
The Best Low-Maintenance Businesses
Below, you’ll find 12 different business ideas or hustles that can all begin generating income while remaining incredibly low maintenance.
Blogs are one of the most common low-maintenance businesses that have the potential to generate serious passive income. And once you build up a large enough audience, a blog becomes an easily-monetizable asset that is also quite hands-off.
Typically, blogs make money with a combination of strategies, including:
Display ads with companies like Google AdSense or Mediavine
Selling products and services
As a blog grows and generates revenue, you can outsource work like content writing, editing, and even overall website management. This is how a blog becomes a low-maintenance business, and many blog owners run networks of sites using this strategy.
You can start a blog for just a few dollars a month as well with an affordable hosting company like SiteGround.
2. Vending Machines
Most businesses and high-traffic areas have a snack or drink vending machine. And this is yet another example of a low-maintenance business idea you can use to earn money on autopilot.
According to Naturals2Go, the average vending machine earns over $75 per week and $300 per month. It’s also a high-margin business, especially for categories like soda, coffee, and snacks that you can buy in bulk.
A network of vending machines can turn into a serious business as well. Hiring employees to stock the machines and to collect cash and change is also how it becomes completely passive.
3. Print On Demand
Print on demand, or POD, is a business model that involves selling products through a manufacturing partner. All you have to do is create and upload designs to the products you want to sell. When you make a sale, the manufacturing partner creates and ships the product, so you never have to deal with manufacturing or logistics.
People often use print on demand providers like Printify since it lets you add your designs to over 100 products.
Printify offers products like shirts, stickers, hats, mugs, blankets, and plenty of other popular products. And its design tool makes it easy to add your unique designs to different products and launch your own online store.
Self-storage facilities are another perfect example of a low-maintenance business idea that can generate passive income around the clock.
The average self-storage unit costs $180 a month. This means even a small facility with several dozen units can turn over $5,000 to $10,000 a month as long as occupancy is high.
Self-storage units are relatively low maintenance as well since you don’t have to regularly pay for repairs. Land and infrastructure costs are the main upfront expenses, and then you have to pay for staffing.
If you want to start out smaller, you can also use gig apps like Neighbor. This is the Airbnb of self-storage, and it lets you rent out extra space in your home to people in your city.
5. Parking Lots
In busy cities, hourly parking can easily be $10 to $25 or more. This means a parking lot is a lucrative asset, especially if it’s near facilities like sports or concert stadiums that draw large crowds.
Purchasing a parking lot requires significant upfront cash. But this is one of the best autopilot businesses since you just need to hire a parking attendant or install parking meters to begin operating.
6. Cash Cow YouTube Channels
Making money on YouTube is another popular passive income hustle. And once a channel is established and has content that receives views every day, it’s a fairly consistent low-maintenance business as well.
People are also automating YouTube further by creating “cash cow channels” with the help of AI tools.
This involves using tools like InVideo to create faceless YouTube videos by using AI prompts. With enough viral shorts and videos, creators can monetize channels without ever having to film or record themselves.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves promoting products and services on behalf of other companies. When you generate a sale, you receive a portion of the sale or a flat fee in compensation.
Affiliate marketing is an incredibly popular way to earn money online. And it’s a low-maintenance business idea since, like blogging, it can easily be outsourced and maintained once it’s up and running.
There’s also numerous ways to begin affiliate marketing. Many marketers rely on blogs, YouTube channels, and email marketing to find customers. But you can also begin affiliate marketing through social media or with paid ads.
Like print on demand, dropshipping involves selling products directly from manufacturers to clients. This means you don’t have to worry about manufacturing or shipping and can focus on finding winning products and optimizing your ecommerce store.
Typically, dropshipping stores run on Shopify and focus on selling trendy products that can catch people’s attention on social media.
Shopify is a popular choice since it’s affordable and makes selling online to customers from around the world quite seamless. And it’s possible to scale a store and sales quickly through paid Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Google Ads.
9. Online Courses & eBooks
Selling online courses and eBooks is another low-maintenance business idea that’s popular amongst content creators. It also pairs well with businesses like blogs or YouTube channels since you can use these platforms to promote the courses and eBooks you’re selling.
This is a popular strategy sellers use to quickly bring books to market. And you can even publish low-content books like planners, agendas, and notebooks through Amazon KDP.
If you need a helping hand with designing cover artwork or graphics, you can use tools like Canva to do the heavy lifting for you.
10. Rental Units
Earning passive income with real estate is another popular strategy to earn money overnight. And real estate can also be a low-maintenance business idea if you outsource property management.
Many people do this through platforms like Airbnb. In touristy areas, a single rental can generate hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Check-ins with guests can be done via a lockbox, and you can outsource cleaning and property management to reduce maintenance time.
The main downside of this strategy is the upfront cost to purchasing a rental. However, you can always consider renting out a spare room of your current property to get started.
Like vending machines, ATMs can turn into a nice source of cash if you place one in a high-traffic area like a mall or shopping center.
Generally, ATMs charge customers a small fee of a few dollars for withdrawing cash. According to ATM Depot, the average machine has about 6 to 10 transactions per day, earning anywhere from $360 to $600 per month.
12. Car Wash Business
Did you know that the average automatic car wash business can turn over almost $90,000 in annual profits? Additionally, a full-service car wash that offers extras like waxing and detailing can reach $900,000 in profits or even more in high-traffic areas
In the right market, a car wash business can be an incredibly lucrative, cash-flowing business. And during the summer, revenue can grow even more.
The downside of starting a car wash business is high startup costs for land and infrastructure. But this business is easy to outsource with employees once it’s operational.
13. Digital Product Seller
Digital products are downloadable products people can purchase. They’re a very popular way to earn passive income on Etsy, Shopify, or on other online marketplaces. And unlike many businesses on this list, there’s almost no start-up costs.
Many people begin by selling digital downloads like artwork, stickers, planners, downloadable templates, and ebooks online. If you design the products yourself, you’re also looking at a 100% profit margin since you don’t need to spend anything on supplies or manufacturing.
Seasonal products can also sell quite well. Some sellers also create digital products based on current events, or even memes, trying to tap into a viral topic to get quick sales.
As with print on demand businesses, you can use tools like Printifyto easily create digital products for your new online business.
One final low-maintenance business you can consider is opening a laundromat.
In many towns and cities, people don’t have enough space in their homes for an in-unit washer and dryer. This means many people still visit laundromats every week for their washing needs.
According to Laundry Solutions, it costs between $200,000 and $500,000 to open a laundromat. But the business can then easily earn about $500 a day in mostly passive income. And this business can be fully outsourced if you hire employees to manage it during the day.
Final Thoughts: Best Options For Low-Maintenance Businesses
There are so many ways to make more money each month. And a lot of side hustles and businesses don’t require your full attention and can become completely passive.
You might need some startup capital or sweat equity to get many of these low-maintenance businesses off of the ground. But once they’re up and running, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy steady cash flow for years to come.
Want more money-making ideas? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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