Now, how do you do it? Building a passive income will require some work up front, but choosing a method that plays to your strengths will yield the most success, and it can even become a fun hobby! Have an aptitude for photography? License your photos to stock photography websites. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to invest? Learn how with a robo-advisor. No matter what your strengths are, we’ve gathered 35 ideas for different ways you can generate passive income and build your wealth.
The income generated from sale of goods or services, or any other use of capital or assets, associated with the main operations of an organization before any costs or expenses are deducted. Revenue is shown usually as the top item in an income (profit and loss) statement from which all charges, costs, and expenses are subtracted to arrive at net income. Also called sales, or (in the UK) turnover.
I’m still a big fan of InfoBarrel, Eric, even though I haven’t been able to write much. With what I am earning there, I’ve actually shifted to outsourcing quite a bit of content…call it a “respite” from writing, I had just needed a break. Even if one pays $5-$10 per article, IF the keywords are researched properly and effectively, one can easily turn that one article and earn several hundred off of it in it’s lifetime. Right now, one of my friends had written a single article that, already this month, has earned over $83 on InfoBarrel. Not too shabby at all…
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.

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:
Think about it.  If you are saving for retirement, you are trying to save enough in investing to generate enough income to replace your primary salary.  Let’s take my friend’s example above: $50,000 a year.  To generate $50,000, you would need to have almost $1,700,000 saved, and be able to generate a 3% cash flow on that money (which is reasonable if invested in dividend paying stocks).
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.
Building a smartphone or tablet app requires a fair amount of technical expertise, but it can pay off handsomely if successful. It doesn't have to be particularly complex or chock-full of features either; a simple one that solves a problem or is entertaining enough to attract users works fine. You never know what may suddenly become popular. For example, the minimalist game Flappy Bird was such a craze that at one point its developer was earning $50,000 dollars a day through in-app advertising. Of course, expecting a success like that is foolhardy, but one can always hope.
India's mineral resources are vast.[274] However, its mining industry has declined – contributing 2.3% of its GDP in 2010 compared to 3% in 2000, and employed 2.9 million people – a decreasing percentage of its total labour. India is a net importer of many minerals including coal. India's mining sector decline is because of complex permit, regulatory and administrative procedures, inadequate infrastructure, shortage of capital resources, and slow adoption of environmentally sustainable technologies.[270][275]
Rentals, just like stocks, throw off cash. With rentals we call that cash “rent”, and with stocks we call it dividends. A significant difference however is that the S&P 500 has appreciated at ~6% per year (above inflation) for the last 100 years…..Real Estate has had almost 0 growth above inflation. So are rents higher than dividends? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you got one heck of a deal, the delta in rent over dividends will have a very tough time making up for the 6% per year difference in appreciation.

eBay Store: It’s now easier than ever to run an online eBay store. You can, of course, acquire products to resell on eBay. But you can also create an online store to market products that others are selling on eBay and share in the commissions generated by the sales. Recently I interviewed a family friend who started her own eBay store and now makes five figures from home. Check out the interview here.
That strategy seems waaaayyyy less risky than actively picking stocks of supposedly “reliable” stocks that issue dividends, which could be cut at any time due to shifting industry trends and company performance. Dividend investing feels like an overly complex old-school way of investing that doesn’t have a very strong intellectual basis compared to index investing.
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Start an affiliate marketing website: This passive income model works for individuals who already own a bog or website. Here, your business goal is to contact companies and offer to tout their products and services, usually for a fee or a commission, based on the number of page views you get. Studies show that more people spend time online and less watching TV or reading the newspaper. Take advantage of that leverage and earn income from the tens of thousands of companies who want to reach an audience - maybe your audience. Either reach out to companies directly or go through a site like ClickBank, which offers affiliate marketing opportunities.
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.
There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6% in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income.

P2P lending started in San Francisco with Lending Club in mid-2000. The idea of peer-to-peer lending is to disintermediate banks and help denied borrowers get loans at potentially lower rates compared to the rates of larger financial institutions. What was once a very nascent industry has now grown into a multi-billion dollar business with full regulation.


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.

It’s been almost 10 years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good income stream online now. Financial Samurai has given me a purpose in early retirement. And, I’m having a ton of fun running this site as well! Here’s a real snapshot of a personal finance blogger who makes $150,000+ a year from his site and another $180,000 from various consulting opportunities due to his site.


Two months into my work hiatus and I’m doing well. I’ve made a little bit more than I’ve spent and I’ve worked about four hours a day on average. Ultimately, I’ll know I’m ready to make the permanent jump to a 4 day work hour when my passive income plus side incomes equal my day job income. Until then, I’m going to go back to my day job and keep grinding it out.
I enjoy how you lay out real numbers. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. While you admit that you are somewhat conservative, I think the $1M in CD’s is just too conservative. Assuming you don’t need the cash flow now (which you say you just save anyways) then all that could be invested for potentially higher returns. For example, what if you bought San Francisco real estate along the way instead of CD’s. Or, an SP500 Index fund. I bet your average return would have been higher than 3.75%. Sure you could lose it, but the point is if you don’t need the cash flow now, you should try to increase that nut as high as possible until the day you actually need it. Your nut could be $5M right now if you had invested in asset classes other than CD’s for the last 14 years. Don’t get me wrong, you have done far better than me, but I guess I would take a little more risk if you don’t rely on that cash flow.
Unfortunately, it took a while for the real lessons to sink in. I was probably 20 or 21 when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad the first time, which means I wasn’t exactly sure who I was yet. I knew I wanted to work hard and make money, but I wasn’t sure how. This made me a prime candidate for  multi-level marketing pitches, and the dream of “getting rich quick.”
"But for our jobs, for how we make money, I think many of us — most of us — have one way we make money. It can be very risky. I've really come to believe, and have done a lot of research over the years, that one of the best ways that we can create real, legitimate professional stability for ourselves is by choosing to cultivate multiple income streams.
Great post Jim. While it is convenient to lump the entire dividend income as one passive stream, in reality, it is several. If you have 30 companies across 10 major industry sectors, each paying you dividends, then you can consider having 30 streams or at least 10 passive streams, from each of the diverse industry sectors. I find this more diverse than relying on rental income from one investment property tied to one location and one good tenant. Your point about website is absolutely valid – will be great to have Ten Factorial Rocks worth 7 figures in less than 5 years as you have done!

If you can max out your 401k or max out your IRA and then save an additional 20%+ of your after-tax, after-retirement contribution, good things really start to happen. If one is looking for earlier financial independence, such as retiring in their 40s or early 50s, it may be a good idea to skew towards more after-tax savings and investments given one has to wait until 59.5 to withdraw from their 401k or IRA penalty-free.
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Your articles are so in-depth and helpful, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I am a 22-yr old finishing my last semester of college, studying Computer Science and Psychology. I’m in a really good place with my finances (2k savings, no student debt, only expenses essentially rent, groceries, and utilities) and I want to get ahead financially so I can pay my parents back and save up a lot.
People don’t realize how important this is. Recently an online marketing system, who had thousands of members who depended on it for their income, just shut down without notice. One morning all the members could no longer log in to their back office. Capture pages were gone, built in autoresponder gone, and their email list of subscribers were gone forever. Many were running solo ads and advertising. To make matters worse those who clicked on their links were redirected to the before-mentioned system creator’s new business and their own affiliate id’s. This means that any sale that was made went in their pocket off the backs of their now former members. Working from home is awesome but everyone who does it needs to be cautious and prepared. The best thing to do is earn multiple streams of income, just as this article talks about, and try to have control over your business. Don’t depend on all-ready-made systems. Make your own capture pages, have your own autoresponder, website, etc. This will go a long way to keeping your business alive and income flowing in.
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.
I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.

We encourage a more holistic, total return approach to your sustainable spending needs from investments.  An improved portfolio includes a wide range of income sources providing both cash flow and capital growth.  Your chosen blend should match your overall financial goals, considering your tolerance for risk, time frames, income and liquidity needs with a spending rate that sustains the investor’s wealth.
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