Our most significant source of income is Mrs. RB40’s earned income, but that will change when she retires in a few years. Luckily, our expenses are at a reasonable level and we don’t need to replace her whole income to keep the same lifestyle. For 2015, our other sources of income just about covered our cost of living. The high-tech antitrust settlement gave us a shove to get over the finish line. That’s just a one off, though. I’m not too worried because there are other ways to generate some income to make up for Mrs. RB40’s paychecks. Here are some of them.
Use your base to build your audience, and when you’re starting out, take advantage of the fact that you don’t have a big following to give more personalized help to your first fans. “The people who are starting out — that’s their advantage,” says Flynn. “They have the opportunity to speak directly with those people few coming their way to find out what their problems are and give them the special treatment that bigger brands might not be able to do.”

In mid-2017, I sold my San Francisco rental property for 30X annual gross rent and reinvested $500,000 of the proceeds in real estate crowdfunding through RealtyShares. With the new tax policy in 2018 and beyond capping state income and property tax deductions to $10,000 and limiting interest deduction on mortgages of only $750,000 from $1,000,000, expensive coastal city real estate markets should soften at the expense of non-coastal city real estate.
San Francisco is an extreme example of a place in California with both a large population (829,072) and high per capita income ($49,986). In fact, it has the highest per capita income of all places in California with a population of over 100,000. Though Sunnyvale ($48,203), San Mateo ($46,782), Thousand Oaks ($46,231), and Carlsbad ($44,305) join San Francisco to make up the top five places in California with the highest per capita income in that population class, none of them have populations even close to San Francisco. The next place with a population similar to that of San Francisco that appears in the per capita income rankings is San Jose ($34,992), and at this point, the difference in per capita income with the entire state of California is only about $5,000.
Currently we have a duplex and a condo that we rent out. I manage the properties myself so it does take a little time. The rental properties are mostly passive, but I have to do some work occasionally. Recently, I had a tree trimming company out to trim the maple in the back and remove some dead arborvitaes along the fence. We decided to replace the arborvitaes with potted bamboos to help screen the property. So this past weekend, we split a pot of bamboo and planted some mint in the garden. That one sentence sounded easy, but it took us 3 hours to do. We carted an old pot of bamboo from our balcony and it was a struggle. That thing must have weighed 100 lbs. Anyway, we’re willing to put some work into the duplex because we plan to relocate there at some point. Also, the rental income shows up as negative income in our tax due to depreciation. That’s a nice side benefit to being a landlord.
If live-streaming isn’t your thing you can still create informative or entertaining videos and upload them to YouTube. There are YouTube channels dedicated to the weirdest topics. Ryan, a 5-year-old kid who reviews toys on his channel is one of the newest and youngest YouTube stars. With advertising revenue alone, his channel is estimated to make over $1 million a month.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy passive income streams is to buy stock in healthy and growing companies that pay dividends. Better still, look for dividends that have been increased regularly at a good clip (many companies often hike their payouts annually) and that have room for further growth, as evidenced by a dividend payout ratio of around 70% or less. The payout ratio is the amount of the annual dividend divided by the trailing 12 months' earnings per share. It reflects the portion of earnings being paid out in dividends. The lower the ratio, the more room for growth. A ratio above 100% means the company is paying out more than it earns, which isn't too sustainable. Here are some examples of stocks you might consider and research further:
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
Based on my initial experience of passive income, I feel real that real estate is best vehicle to build long-term investment. I live in Los Angeles and was able to cash flow my first rental property. What are you thoughts about starting out to build a passive income portfolio? I have utilized Lendingclub, online savings, and a small dividend/bond portfolio.
While it is important to find something that you love to do and turn it into a money making business, you do have to be cognizant of the return as you pointed out. There are many opportunities that I found and tried out that at the time seemed great. But when I took a step back, I realized that I was working a lot for very little income whereas other things I love doing brought in much more money.
Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 
Flynn, who blogs at Smart Passive Income and discusses his secrets at the Smart Passive Income podcast, defines passive income as “building online businesses that take advantage of systems of automations that allow transactions, cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence. We don’t have to trade our time for money one to one. Instead, we invest our time upfront, creating valuable products and experiences for people, and we reap the benefits of that time invested later,” he says, adding, “It’s not easy. I just want to make sure that’s clear.”
Good suggestions. I have many of these. One word about the “app” idea. I had a great idea related to personal taxes that I tried to get off the ground with my accountant as a partner. I would say it’s difficult to do this unless you have a coder on your team. Hiring someone is not really viable financially unless the app is simple. When we finally got the quote for a coder to write what we wanted (and after doing lots of mock ups ourselves and getting a demo for investors) the estimate was about 750k just to really get started.
If you have a blog or some other property that has visitors, you might profit passively via affiliate advertising. For example, imagine that you write a blog about movies. You might review some books about movies, and then link to them on Amazon so you get a cut of the purchase price when anyone buys books through the links. If you blog about hiking, you might promote some hiking gear you recommend on the blog, again generating passive income if anyone buys any of it.
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