And, let’s face it; not everyone wants to sling body wraps or nutrition shakes to their family and friends. That’s why offering a service is often one of the best, and least uncomfortable, ways to earn side income doing something you love. Maybe you want to clean houses or rake leaves or help people file their taxes. It’s totally up to you, and that’s the beauty of this option.
For those of you who don’t want to come up with a $220,000 downpayment and a $900,000 mortgage to buy the median home in SF or NYC, who don’t want to deal with tenants or remodeling, and who wants to not do any work after the investment is made, check out RealtyShares. They are my favorite real estate crowdsourcing company based in San Francisco. I’ve met senior management multiple times as well as their chief risk officer and various members of their investment committee.
State and local tax refunds — You might have received a refund of your state or local income tax you claimed as an itemized deduction on your prior-year return. If so, usually a portion of your state or local income tax refund is taxable. However, even if you itemized, part of the refund could be tax-free. To learn more, see the State and Local Income Tax Refunds tax tip.
How do you do this?  Well, try to get the highest paying job you can!  Ask for a raise!  Utilize services, such as, to see how your salary competes with others in your same job.  Some companies really force employees to leave to get a raise, and then come back for another raise.   This industry jumping promotional strategy is very common and could work.
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.

Bonnie Breen, head booker at Bizzykidz Agency says there are some classic costly mistakes to avoid when it comes to working with agencies: "Don't pay subscription fees, yearly fees or joining fees. You will, with all agencies, be asked to cover the costs of your child's model cards or entry into their model book, but no agency should charge yearly fees to be represented by them."
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.
Invest the money to become a millionaire in 26 years. If you put the $1000 into a retirement account every month that earned 8% interest, you’d be a millionaire ($1,036,209 to be exact) in 26 years. That’s the power of compound interest. This also means you could fund your retirement solely with the money from your second income. If you do this, you’ll reach financial independence and early retirement quickly.
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.
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 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.
My reasons for diversifying income are simple: I want to be able to quit my day job eventually. But your reasons may be different, maybe your job isn’t that secure or your co-workers are starting to feel the pressure. It really doesn’t matter why you diversify your sources of income, what matters is that you do it. Making money won’t happen overnight with second sources of income so if you wait until it’s too late you’ll be screwed.
I’ve built several businesses since 2008 using one or more of these models. I’ve been featured in magazines and articles across the globe, and since I started my journey I’ve generated over $5M in earnings from these businesses. All of my income and expenses for those businesses dating back to October 2008 have been tracked publicly on You can see 10 years of income reports here.

Very enlightening. I like that you have a number of discreet passive income streams working for you. I”m not sure about such a large CD/ bank holding though, though it looks as though its giving you a fairly healthy income. How do you feel about a rising inflation rate on your effective real cash return? I’m looking to diversify beyond my current dividend passive income. Rental income is what I expect we’ll be harvesting next. P2P lending is a little too out of my comfort zone. I had a lot of exposure to consumer credit risk models at a prior role, and it scared me the heck away from consumer lending!

You can’t start charging right off the bat without your audience knowing anything about the value you offer (though you could still indirectly earn money from them with the right ads). “The best way to go in terms of a long-term passive income business [is] delivering value and information for free, and therefore establishing expertise, knowledge and trust with your audience,” says Flynn.
What I’m doing: My realistic goal is to have a blended annual return of 2x the risk free rate. With a current 5% hurdle, I am not paying down mortgages that cost less than 4%. Debt at 5% is a wash. My realistic blue sky scenario is a 3-4X rate of return over the risk free rate which can be achieved with property, stocks so far for the past five years, and certain private equity investments. Where I am dragging is my blended average CD interest rate of roughly 3% from an old CD coming due. I’ve rolled some money into a 12-month CD with CIT Bank at 2.5%. It’s the best rate I can find. 
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service categorizes income into three broad types, active income, passive income, and portfolio income.[1] It defines passive income as only coming from two sources: rental activity or "trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate."[2][3] Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing. Passive income is usually taxable.
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).

As long as it’s something I believe it and support, it’s a win – win. Companies I’ve been approached by in the last two years include John Hancock, Credit Karma, Discover, Capital One, MasterCard, and GM, just to name a few. It’s been so fun helping these awesome companies create their own marketing plans, whether through video or other online media.

Income from the performance of services directly related to the use of a vessel or aircraft is treated as derived entirely from sources in the United States if the use begins and ends in the United States. This income is subject to nonresident alien withholding if it is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. If the use of a vessel or aircraft either begins or ends in the United States, refer to Transportation Income in Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.