The idea of "working smarter, not harder" came from an industrial engineer in the 1930s. It's a genius concept, but almost a hundred years later, most of us are still showing up for a 40-hour work week. Can you really invest less time, and less effort, for bigger gains? Is "passive income" just a fantasy? Passive income means a regular flow of money that requires little ongoing time and effort to earn. It's not money from an employer, it may need some work upfront, but ultimately you get paid automatically. These options involve either making money from your money, or renting or selling something you own. If you're investing your money, check your appetite for risk - an investment that brings you high returns but sleepless nights probably doesn't count as passive income. It's worth investigating: ETFs Exchange Traded Funds are like a bucket of different kinds of investments, which can include stocks, bonds and others. They're a popular way to get into the share market because they're more diversified and are generally considered lower risk than stocks. Similar to stocks, ETFs can be bought and traded at any time. Drive down debts Debts can often end up costing you more time, energy and money than you ever intended. The sooner you free yourself from costly ongoing credit or loan repayments, the sooner you can redirect your money towards other more exciting, income-generating opportunities. Rent out your stuff Your spare room, your car, your parking space, your wedding outfits, your tent, your garage, your surfboard, your tools, your vacuum cleaner, your scuba gear, your cricket kit, your office space and your laptop are all rentable. There are people online who will pay to rent your backyard, and your mower. So get renting. Sell your stuff This one's even more satisfying than renting, because somebody comes and picks up the thing you don't use anyway, and pays for the privilege. Clothing, jewelry, furniture, kitchen utensils, that awkward mirror, outdoor settings, board games and books. Price it to sell and you won't look back. So curiosity, research and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit will take you a long way for a passive income.