Passive income is defined by Wikipedia as “income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it”. And while the ‘no effort’ part of the definition is very enticing, the truth is that generating passive income requires a massive amount of effort. And this effort needs to be exerted up front and then sustained for months, and maybe even years, until your venture starts returning profits. And even then, you'll have to monitor your income streams to make sure it’s all going smoothly. It's certainly not an easy endeavour, no matter what most people may tell you, and it requires an investment of something far more valuable than money: time. But if you are up for it, then here are 14 ideas that you can use to start earning passive income.
It seems like common sense but it’s so easy to rely on your day job income to pay for everything. I used to get paid a lot of money to go into work and sit at my desk for 8 hours a day and then go home. No manual labor required, no staying late hours(in my case at least) and a pretty low stress environment. I loved my job and without fail, every two weeks on the dot, a nice fat paycheck would show up in my bank account. All I had to do was show up at work every day and I was pretty much guaranteed to get paid.
Acorns: Acorns is a great way to start investing and building wealth. As it turns out, Acorns will pay you $5 to start investing with them for as little as $1. That’s a 500% return, plus it’s probably time you started investing for your future. They even have features like round-up and found money that allows you to get free money from places you already shop at.
The bottom line is, it’s smart to have multiple income streams no matter who you are. Why? Because the more ways you can earn money without compromising your integrity, the better off you’ll be. And if you’re self-employed, having multiple income streams is almost essential. Not only will you enjoy a higher income, but you won’t go broke if one stream ends out of the blue.
What I did: I first identified my favorite places in the world to live: San Francisco, Honolulu, Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, and Lake Tahoe. I then looked up the median rent and housing prices for each city. Then I factored in private education costs for two kids to be conservative given I may not have two kids and public schools are often good enough. After calculating all vital costs, I then did a self-assessment of how happy I was making $50,000, $100,000, $150,000, $200,000, $250,000, $350,000, $500,000, and $750,000. I decided working 20 hours a week making $200,000 a year is the best income balance for maximum happiness.
Varolo is an advertising campaign that allows major corporations (like Coca Cola, Lysol, and others) to reach their target audiences with a high return on investment. Major corporations are desperately trying to find new ways to advertise to people as the newspaper continues to decline in demand and in an age of DVR. Varolo is the newest opportunity that actually pays you, the one being advertised to, to watch their advertisements. You can join the campaign and earn a little extra spending money by viewing and rating commercials and even trailers for major motion pictures. While the trick is to devote 5 to 10 minutes of each day rating what you see, you should also be motivated to invite others along through Facebook, Twitter and other social media so that you can increase what you profit each week.
Leveraging the internet to create, connect, and sell is something every creative person should attempt to do. The only risk is lost time and a wounded ego. You can start a site like mine for as little as $2.95 a month with Bluehost and go from there. They give you a free domain name for a year. Forget all the add-ons. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for my site.
The other point is that it is pretty easy to get started. You don’t need to be super rich, and you don’t need a lot of time to get started. To say it requires no time would be a lie, but you don’t need to make anything listed above your life. You can work at your job, invest your excess income, save to buy a rental property or rent out a room in your current house, and you start a side job online without breaking a sweat.
If you happen to own a home, apartment, or office space, you have a great source for generating passive income at your fingertips. Peer-to-peer property rental site Airbnb has made it extremely easy for real estate owners to make extra money by renting out their homes to guests for short durations. If you're uncomfortable with such a model, you can also use sites like NestAway to find tenants for your property without having to deal with brokers.
Hannah UnplannedFinance That’s a good way of putting it, Hannah. I would say it’s better to get into the investing game before an emergency comes up, of course, so that your investment income is a bit more stable (hopefully). They’re good parts to include in your whole plan, which should be a balanced one. I was coming at this from more of a “how to prepare” perspective.
However, I think for those who are willing to do what it takes, the sky is the absolute limit. As an example, I’m trying to take a page out of FinancialSamauri’s book and create an online personal finance and investing blog. It is an enormous undertaking, and as a new blogger, there is a seemingly endless amount of work to be done. That said, I hope that one day I can not only generate some passive income from the hours of work I have put and will put into the project, but I hope to be able to help OTHERS reach their financial goals.
Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.
There are a ton of ways to diversify your investments, some of which can send real income your way. By opening a brokerage account and investing in ETFs or mutual funds, you can earn real returns you can use to supplement your income. Of course, the flip side can also happen – as in, you can lose money. So, make sure you understand the risks before you dive in.