I first discovered the power of passive income when I was a senior in high school. I started a mobile billboard business where I would rent a small piece of land from someone who had land along a busy highway. Then I would place one of my billboard trailers on the land and rent out the ad space on the billboard. I would usually charge about $300 per month for the ad space, meanwhile I was only paying $50 per month to the landowner for the ground rent. I got to the point to where I had 9 billboard faces and was making quite a substantial income for someone in high school. I really learned how passive income could free up my life… this business is what lead me into investing in real estate.
Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
"Create your own products and services," financial blogger and life coach Michael Tamez tells Bustle. "Any company you could ever work for can replace you at any time. However, your individuality can never be replaced! I encourage you to explore your creative talents and abilities more. What are you good at? How can you monetize that talent and perhaps even build a business out of it? Have you experienced something extraordinary in your life, and because of it, have tons of knowledge and wisdom to share? ... Creating your own products and services can create steady streams of residual income, which pays you continuously, even when you're not working. Essentially, you bust your ass once and get paid for the rest of your life — even when you're sitting on the beach, sipping coconut rum. Just remember this: When you invest in your creative abilities, you become irreplaceable!"

Ethiopia’s development has been held back by a large infrastructure gap—it has one of the lowest road densities in Africa. IDA has invested over $2 billion since 1991 to address that, partly through the Road Sector Development Program (RSDP).  IDA helped build capacity and establish a dedicated road fund for financing maintenance. Working in partnership with other donors, including the European Commission, Germany, Japan, Nordic countries and the United Kingdom, IDA helped increase both the size and quality of Ethiopia’s road network from under 20,000 km in 1991 to over 100,000 km in 2015. Under the CPF, the World Bank continues supporting improvements in transport infrastructure and road connectivity to reduce travel times and improve connectivity between markets and secondary cities.
The Lake Tahoe property continues to be 100% managed by a property-management company. It feels amazing not to have to do anything. I can't wait to bring up my boy this coming winter to play in the snow! I could go up this winter, but I want him to be able to walk and run comfortably before he goes. I've been dreaming of this moment for over 10 years now. The income from the property is highly dependent on how much it snows. Summer income is always very strong.

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This can be a little easier said than done, but if you have a large social media following, you can definitely earn money promoting a product or advertising for a company. You can even combine this with different marketing campaigns if you are an influencer and have your own blog (advertisement + affiliate income). This is how many bloggers make money! Again, it is not 100% passive but once set up correctly and then scaled, can be surprisingly lucrative.

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.
Or, there is another theory for your primary salary – generate enough to have a little excess cash flow, but do it at a place that you can work stress free and have time to dabble in other projects.  A good friend of mine has this setup – he works 10-5 and makes $50,000 a year.  This allows him to easily cover all of his expenses, but the shorter hours and flexibility in his job allows him to pursue his secondary income generating ideas!
3) Create A Plan. Mark Spitz once said, “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” You must create a system where you are saving X amount of money every month, investing Y amount every month, and working on Z project until completion. Things will be slow going at first, but once you save a little bit of money you will start to build momentum. Eventually you will find synergies between your work, your hobbies, and your skills which will translate into viable income streams.
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.
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.
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Hey Mike! Love this article. Recently, I paid off my student loans and am crazy focused on creating multiple passive income streams. Currently, all my passive income comes from real estate and because of your great articles on the subject I called to check out refinance options! I had no clue about CD laddering, dividend investing or P2P lending until two weeks ago when I started doing my research on where to put my hard earned money. I had been just saving it but when I looked at the terrible 0.01% return I said forget it! 2 % for me is a great way to start. It is better than what I have been getting outside of my real estate. Also, creating products is a must! I’m working on this type of royalty too. I find it so exciting to learn how to use your money to make money. Thanks and I will be sure to link to you when I start my blog!
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.
6) Always Remember That Everything Is Relative. The best way to determine worthwhile passive income streams is by comparing the likely return (IRR) with the current risk-free rate of return. If I round up, the 10 year bond yield is at 3%. Any new venture should thoroughly beat 3% otherwise you are wasting your efforts since you can earn 3% doing nothing.
The coolest part for me is a little part called Taxbot. It’s a cloud on the site that tracks all of my business expenses and you can download that to your phone, take a picture of your receipt and toss it. It also will track your mileage via GPS for you, when you need to. This has saved me so much time, and I feel so much more organized. You wouldn’t believe what I deal with during the Tax Season. Boxes and boxes of receipts, trying to piece it all together.
Second Chance Companions has rescued thousands of animals over the last 20 years. Through our Spay & Neuter program, we have altered thousands of pets. Since we added our AniMeals program several years ago, we have helped low income seniors feed their pets thousands of pounds of pet food. Over the years, our volunteers have donated thousands of hours of their time to care for unwanted animals.
The key thing to note in those various streams is how few of them rely on my active participation on a daily basis and how they are fueled from savings. My active participation is in the blogs and $5 Meal Plan. Everything is passive, outside of routine maintenance like updating my net worth record, and none of them would be possible if I didn't have the savings to invest it.
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