The first step is to think about what you can do that’s unusual or valuable to other people. Do you know a second language well enough to teach it to others, or have a skill like woodworking, crochet, or playing a musical instrument? People pay for all kinds of lessons. Just log onto the “services” section at Craigslist.org to start brainstorming what you could offer. If you’re not sure whether there’s a market for your skill, post an ad on Craigslist or on a local message board and see whether anyone contacts you about it.
​I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.
Great Article. If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense why every person in the WORLD doesn’t have multiple streams of income. Why is it the norm to have 1 source of income to pay for 15 expenses (mortgage, student loans, rent, food, phone, utilities, car note and etc). You have to do something different in order get a head and have some financial freedom or else you are going to stay in your situation at your J.O.B. (Just over broke). I applaud those who have found this site because they are taking the first step to change their life because like I always say, change your mind and your money will follow.
For those willing to take on the task of managing a property, real estate can be a powerful semi-passive income stream due to the combination of rental and principal value appreciation. But to generate passive income from real estate, you either have to rent out a room in your house, rent out your entire house and rent elsewhere (seems counterproductive), or buy a rental property. It’s important to realize that owning your primary residence means you are neutral the real estate market. Renting means you are short the real estate market, and only after buying two or more properties are you actually long real estate.
You can make money whichever way floats your boat. I got a lot of slack in this post for trading forex, but I live in one country, and need currency from three other countries where I own property and travel to often, so when one currency is cheap, I do take advantage of fluctuations. It may not be your thing, but the important part is that you have more than one source of income.

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Here's an option that's still unfamiliar to many people but that has been growing in popularity: Lending money on a peer-to-peer basis. A major website for this is lendingclub.com, where investors have earned returns in the neighborhood of 4% or more annually. You'll be lending money to fellow individuals who have had trouble borrowing money through other avenues, and you can spread your dollars across many such folks to reduce the risk.
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The creator of MochaManual.com, The Black Mom’s Guide to Life, became a consultant to companies that wanted to better understand the concerns and preferences of African American mothers. You can also become a paid consultant or speaker once you’ve developed your reputation as an expert. A local speaker’s association can help you find gigs and negotiate a rate for making presentations. You might even consider checking to see whether the local community college is interested in having you teach a course in your subject area. 
A lot of people don’t even know about my life insurance business, but it’s a huge part of my success. Like my other big projects, however, I started it to help people. Over the years, I’ve seen so many people who are uninsured or underinsured. For whatever reason, they don’t understand the importance of life insurance. Worse, they don’t understand how affordable it is for the average family.
I've now only got an SF rental condo and a Lake Tahoe vacation rental in my real-estate-rental portfolio. Although I miss my old house, I certainly don't miss paying $23,000 a year in property taxes and another mortgage, and dealing with leaks and managing terrible tenants. I drove by the other day and couldn't believe how much noisier and busier the street was than where I currently live. I wouldn't be comfortable raising my son there.

Right now, I’ve got my day job, some index funds, a small income from my blog (about a penny a day so far – ha!), and some knitting patterns I designed and have for sale at various sites around the internet (not surprisingly, that doesn’t bring in much either). Eventually I’d like to write an ebook, although I have no idea what the topic would be yet. I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully it’ll become clearer in the future!

Investing in real estate: Investing in real estate offers more passive income cash potential - but more risk - than investing in stocks or bonds. You'll need substantial amounts of cash to invest in buying a home -- it usually takes 20% down to land a good home mortgage loan. But history shows that home prices usually rise over time, so buying home a for $200,000 and selling it for $250,000 over a five-year time period, for example, is a reasonable expectation when investing in real estate.
I remember seeing a number of my co-workers get laid off in 2008 and many of them had only worked for the one company. They had mortgages to pay, colleges to pay and families to support and they were scared out of their minds for what they would do next. After watching that happen, I vowed that I wouldn’t suffer the same fate. It’s one of the main reasons I started my own company. I tell people now that instead of one boss (i.e. one company), I have hundreds of bosses and it makes me feel more secure about my longterm prospects.

I’ve never invested in real estate (except to live in), but am always intrigued by communities like FS who seem to have such a passion for it. My intrigue stems back to my earlier comments that the long term trends in appreciation in real estate are simply not very competitive versus equities, despite what Robert Kiyosaki had to say in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
I was just curious what your thought was on actively managing your properties vs. getting a property manager? I recently started using a property manager and it has been a wonderful experience. It’s like there is now complete radio silence from the property since everything goes through the manager. I used to spend tons of time driving to it and showing it to prospective renters, doing background checks, doing maintenance, etc. It was amazing how much of a drain it was just thinking about what might go wrong. Now with a property manager I just get a .pdf statement in my e-mail and the rent gets deposited in my account like magic! I’m a big fan of property managers and think they are worth twice what I pay them.

Quick question. I’m 21 years old and currently working full time (50 hours a week averaging about 12 dollars an hour. I was working 35 making enough to get by and save a little, but I read your post on the notion of working more than 40 to get ahead and decided a third job was best while I’m getting residency to get lower- instate tuition at OSU. So props, you had a direct influence on my life.)

Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way towards paying down debt or increasing your investments. We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times.


My favorite type of semi-passive income was rental property because it was a tangible asset that provided reliable income. As I grew older, my interest in rental property waned because I no longer had the patience and time to deal with maintenance issues and tenants. Online real estate became more attractive, along with tax-free municipal-bond income once rates started to rise.
Quick question. I’m 21 years old and currently working full time (50 hours a week averaging about 12 dollars an hour. I was working 35 making enough to get by and save a little, but I read your post on the notion of working more than 40 to get ahead and decided a third job was best while I’m getting residency to get lower- instate tuition at OSU. So props, you had a direct influence on my life.)

If you answered " YES!", then you will profit from Robert G. Allen' s Multiple Streams of Income, Second Edition. In these pages, the bestselling author of the #1 megahits Nothing Down and Creating Wealth shows you how to create multiple streams of lifetime cash flow. You' ll learn ten revolutionary new methods for generating over $100,000 a year- - on a part-time basis, working from your home, using little or none of your own money.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.

This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at MoneySmartLife.com: How and Why I Became a Landlord.


What's crazy is that my book income is more than my SF condo-rental income. Yet I didn't have to come up with $1.2 million of capital (the minimum cost to buy my condo today) to create my book. All I needed to create my book was energy, effort, and creativity. I truly believe that developing your own online product is one of the best ways to make money.
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.
A good portion of my stock allocation is in growth stocks and structured notes that pay no dividends. The dividend income that comes from stocks is primarily from S&P 500 index exchange-traded funds. Although this is a passive-income report, as I'm still relatively young I'm more interested in building a large financial nut through principal appreciation rather than through dividend investing. As an entrepreneur, I can't help but have a growth mindset.
P.S. I also fail to understand your fascination with real estate. Granted we’ve had some impressive spikes along the way, especially with once in a life time bubble we just went through. But over the long term (see Case Shiller real estate chart for last 100 years ) real estate tends to just track inflation. Why would you sacrifice stock market returns for a vehicle that historically hasn’t shown a real return?
Great breakout of some common items that are (mostly) accessible to individuals. My biggest issue with p2p is the ordinary interest it generates and the ordinary tax that we have to pay. That really takes a bite out of the returns. Fortunately, I opened an IRA with one of the providers to juice the return with zero additional risk. 6-8% nominal returns over a long period of time will make me very happy. It should end up as 5-7% of the portfolio anyway, so nothing too significant.

Thanks for the great article…although I have to point out many of the items listed are not passive but active, such as selling bodily fluids, writing blogs or resumes, and collecting bottles and cans. To be truly passive, the income source must require no effort on your part (after initial setup). Real estate, dividends, P2P lending…these are truly passive income sources.
Quick story: Remember that $1.18 I found in the couch? Even when that increased to $30 to $50 a day, it still wasn’t enough to live on. So I looked for other options. In August 2008, after people started to know who I was and how I could help them pass the LEED certification exam through my blog, I wrote an ebook. It included all the information I knew about passing this exam, and I sold it on my blog for $19.95.
The challenge I’m facing and, I know it’s a good problem, is that the SF real estate has shot up about 35% in the last couple years. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing! So as the net worth is rising, the yield on the total portfolio is going down. Right now, it seems the only way to increase the passive income will be to raise the rent in December and to invest some of that cash in stocks, which I’m nervous to do in this market. Current allocation:
As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
Investing in rental properties is an effective way to earn passive income. But it often requires more work than people expect. If you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable venture, you could lose your investment and then some, says John H. Graves, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles area and author of “The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement.”
Author Bio: Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 to help people achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later. He spent 13 years working in investment banking, earned his MBA from UC Berkeley, and retired at age 34 in San Francisco. Everything Sam writes is based on first-hand experience because money is too important to be left up to pontification.
Making legitimate passive income isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some of the best passive income ideas might take a little time to set up but can start cash flowing within a couple of months and will provide a consistent monthly income for years or more. The most important point is just to get started. You make exactly $0 on the passive income sources you never start.
I just graduated college in May and was fortunate enough to secure an entry level consulting position that pays 55k/yr (a little less than ~35k after 401K, other benefits, and the lovely taxes that government bestows upon us). I started from “scratch” with my finances and have ~$2.3k in an online savings account. Since starting work a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had an aggressive savings plan (saving around ~40-50% of my monthly income). However, I’m going to become even more aggressive and live off 1 paycheck a month (and save the other paycheck) like you have suggested in many of your blog posts.
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.
Maybe such a business is owning a McDonald’s franchise or something. If one has the capital (Feasibility Score 2), then the returns might be good (Return Score 6). But the Risk Score is probably under a 5, b/c how many times have we seen franchise chains come and go? Like, what happened to Quiznos and Jamba Juice? A McDonald’s franchise was $500,000… probably much more now?
What I did:The first two years of work in NYC was brutal. I told myself there was no way I could work on Wall St for my entire career because I’d probably die from heart failure by age 40. Having an early death in my mind willed me to save 50%+ from the first year onward and devise a CD, real estate, and stock investment distribution system for my savings every year. I thought about starting this site for at least a year before I hired someone from Craigslist to give set me up and push me forward. Hiring someone to get started is totally worth it if you are a master procrastinator. You can now learn how to start your own site with my step-by-step guide to save yourself time and money. 
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AbigailP That’s a really valid point, and I totally understand that piling more work on top of your day job isn’t for everyone. Before I started freelancing, I relied only on my day job because I was too drained to focus on other things by the time I got home. I think I’m used to it now, but it’s not easy, especially with chronic fatigue. Having a network to fall back on, or having a Plan B, is still very valuable.
In expensive cities like San Francisco and New York City, net rental yields can fall as low as 2%. This is a sign that there is a lot of liquidity buying property for property appreciation, and not so much for income generation. This is a riskier proposition than buying property based on rental income. In inexpensive cities, such as those in the Midwest, net rental yields can easily be in the range of 8% – 12%, although appreciation may be slower.
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.”
Investing in a local business can be a risky proposition but one with good returns if you're able to do it successfully. Becoming a silent partner is great because you don't need to do any work – it can be less great if the business doesn't do well. Sometimes you can become a silent partner in a business because they need cash and are unable to get financing from the bank – this was common during the last recession. A perfectly good business with cash flow issues is the ideal target for this type of investment.
Good ranking FS, I’d have to agree with the rankings. And it looks like your portfolio covers five of the six! Some people consider real estate passive will others classify it as active. But every scenario is different, whether you are doing all the maintenance and managing yourself, or you are contracting out a lot of the work. Obviously it takes a lot more time and effort than purchasing a 36 month CD and “setting it and forgetting it.”
Interest accrues daily and is credited monthly. Minimum opening deposit was $300 or a monthly direct deposit of $25. No minimum balance is required to obtain the stated APY. All fees and rates are subject to change after account opening. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) effective as of August 12, 2015 at 21:53 PM CST and is subject to change without prior notice. Unless exception applies, a 10% IRS early distribution penalty if withdrawn prior to age 59½ will apply. Fees may reduce earnings on the account. If you close your account prior to the crediting of interest, you will not receive the accrued interest. See fee disclosure and account agreement for details.
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
5. Make sure you are properly diversified. Capital preservation is underrated. We saw a lost decade for tech stocks between 2000 and 2010 after the first dot-com bubble burst. It actually took 13 years for Nasdaq investors to get back to even. Investors in the Borsa Istanbul stock market index just gave up 10 years' worth of gains after they saw a plunge in their currency, partially due to increased tariffs by the US and a lack of confidence in the government. Your passive income needs to be properly diversified in order to take the hits.

How to Monetize: Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog. For our fish tank blog, we would link to all the things you need to buy for an aquarium and then when people click on that link and buy that item (and other items they purchase with it with some exceptions) you get a percentage of the purchase. Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact Radius, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank and Rakuten too.
Sell Digital Files on Etsy – I’ve been into home décor lately and I had to turn to Etsy to find exactly what I wanted. I ended up purchasing digital files of the artwork I wanted printed out! The seller had made a bunch of wall art, digitized, and listed it on Etsy for instant download. There are other popular digital files on Etsy as well such as monthly planners. If you’re into graphic design this could be an amazing passive income idea for you.
My wife and I have been working with Todd over the past few months, and I can tell you that he is the kind of financial health care professional that sugar coats nothing, challenges everything, and forces his clients to face reality and get serious about making better choices for financial health. He does not offer pills or quick fixes. No get rich quick schemes here, because there is no such thing. What he provides is hard but effective real world education based in experience and reality – l…
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wish there was a product that did this,” then invent it! Create a product, medical or otherwise, and sell it as a company or get royalties for it. It’s not impossible to figure out, I have many friends who have taken a concept to market. Don’t overlook an invention as a fantastic means of attaining passive income.
After employment, I think that most individuals gain income diversification through investing.  It is important to look at why we invest: because at some point we plan on using this money for something.  For most, it is saving for retirement, and the investing is done through vehicles, such as a 401(k) or IRA.  But investing is not just about stashing money away for a rainy day – that is what an emergency fund is for.  Investing is about having enough capital to generate income.
What I did:The first two years of work in NYC was brutal. I told myself there was no way I could work on Wall St for my entire career because I’d probably die from heart failure by age 40. Having an early death in my mind willed me to save 50%+ from the first year onward and devise a CD, real estate, and stock investment distribution system for my savings every year. I thought about starting this site for at least a year before I hired someone from Craigslist to give set me up and push me forward. Hiring someone to get started is totally worth it if you are a master procrastinator. You can now learn how to start your own site with my step-by-step guide to save yourself time and money. 
If you’re into antiques, for example, you could check out garage sales for hidden deals then capitalize on your knowledge to turn a profit. Perhaps you’re into video games, specific brands of clothing, or something else. Whatever it is, with a little research, it’s possible to turn your knowledge into cash with an eBay store. Best of all, you can sell from the comfort of your own home.
Which all goes back to my point – since companies change in a lot of unpredictable ways, it makes more sense for passive income to just ride the market by investing in a Total Domestic Stock Market, Total Bond Market, and Total International index funds, with allocations that depend on your goals and time horizon. For income, withdraw 4% or less, depending on what research you believe, and you’ve got a pretty low risk strategy.
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).

Quick story: Remember that $1.18 I found in the couch? Even when that increased to $30 to $50 a day, it still wasn’t enough to live on. So I looked for other options. In August 2008, after people started to know who I was and how I could help them pass the LEED certification exam through my blog, I wrote an ebook. It included all the information I knew about passing this exam, and I sold it on my blog for $19.95.

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – This one might not seem like a source of income but ever since I discovered how lucrative churning credit cards can be I consider it part of my income. Just last year alone, I made over $10,000 tax free in travel, cash and gift cards from various sign-ups. It’s not as simple as just signing up for a card though, it requires a lot of research and some maintenance every couple weeks.
Within six months of selling, however, I had reinvested the proceeds from the home sale and brought total passive income for 2018 back up to an estimated $203,724. I'm not sure I would have sold the house without a clear plan for reinvesting the proceeds, since I'm bullish on the SF housing market long term. However, because I did have a plan, and the challenges of raising a newborn and dealing with rowdy tenants left me feeling a bit stretched, I decided to simplify and sell.
If you’re curious about my own streams of income, I encourage you to check out my income report for an in-depth look. For now, though, I will tell you that I’m currently at twelve streams, beginning with my day job as an anesthesiologist, and ranging from crowdfunding to owning an apartment building, and to this very blog. Ultimately, having these multiple streams of income has proven to be invaluable to me–not only because of monetary value but because they allow me to live the life I want, and I feel I have a hedge against whatever the future might throw at me.
Sam…just read this article and I want to say that this is the best posting on passive income I have ever read…in a blog, article, or book. Thanks for making a difference and being an inspiration as to how it can all be accomplished. One of the great benefits of the internet is that people are willing to share their stories and experiences with each other online. If we had this when I was working professionally (20-40 years ago), it would have saved me from making some rather poor financial decisions that affected my retirement income. In a way, the internet is making up for the loss of financial security in the loss of The Defined Benefit Plan for retirement. Bravo!
“Where a lot of people mess up is they try to build a business or create a product that serves everybody, and by trying to serve everybody, you serve nobody. You have to specialize and niche down and find a market with a pain point that you, based on your experience, based on your education and based on your passion, can help,” he says. Your earnings will directly reflect how well you serve that particular audience, and the more your message resonates with them, the more opportunities you’ll have to sell to them.

To save time and effort, a person can group two or more of their passive activities into one larger activity, provided they form an "appropriate economic unit." When a taxpayer does this, instead of having to provide material participation in multiple activities, they only have to provide it for the activity as a whole. In addition, if a person includes multiple activities into one group and has to dispose of one of those activities, they’ve only done away with part of a larger activity as opposed to all of a smaller one. 


Among the many passive-income opportunities that exist, interest is a very popular one, along with dividends. Unfortunately, we've been living in an environment of ultra-low interest rates for many years now, so even a savings account with $100,000 in it might only grow by $1,000 or $2,000 per year. Interest rates seem to be rising, though, so take heart -- and know that in many past years, bank accounts and CDs and bonds have paid rates of 5%, 8%, and even 10% or more.
Love your articles. I think everyone is very different as far as how much passive income they need to meet their goals. I’ve read a lot of your articles and really enjoy your thoughts. I have a masters in finance and understand the math of keeping the debt but my emotions are such that I need to try to finish off paying off my last debt (mortgage) in the next two years. At 34 and only worth 525k I’m doing better than a lot of folks my age but it will be difficult for me to catch up in the passive income game without leverage. That is the main reason I recently created a website to try to bring passive income opportunities in my area to me.
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That's odd, because lot of these questions are actually pretty easy to answer. The IRS is good about publishing the data. Given that – and given the recent interest in personal income inequality, I decided to write a little bit about the different kinds of income people report on their tax returns. A longer paper – Sources of Personal Income – is here, but for a brief overview, you might want to check out the top ten sources of income:
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