4. Focus first on passive income streams that you create once but they continue to generate income. For example, writing a book is a passive income stream. You write it once and sell it over and over. The word passive is a little deceptive because you need to market the book. Nevertheless, compared to non-passive sources of income, which you need to do over and over to make money, such as providing a service, passive income streams require less time once they’re created. Other forms of passive income include other written works (i.e. courses), audio or video creations, affiliate marketing, licensing your idea, franchising, or continuity programs (i.e. memberships).
Not everyone is eager to do this, but consider renting out space in your home for extra income. You could take in a full-time boarder, for example, but you needn't be that extreme. Instead, consider renting out an extra room via a service such as airbnb.com or homewaway.com. If you do so for just 20 nights a year and charge $100 per night, that's $2,000 in pre-tax income! If your home is in a desirable spot, maybe you can rent out the whole house for just two weeks in the summer, charging $2,000 per week and collecting $4,000.
Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 
Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.

Article writing is one of those things that isn’t at all glamorous, and few people will get excited about it.  With that said, it’s one of the easiest ways to set up your passive income stream.  To give you some perspective, I wrote about 120 articles late last year and have hardly written any since then.  Since that time, my articles have earned me over $700.   I continue to earn $70-90/month without having to do any additional work, which is something I look forward to every month.
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Whether you take a “distribution” (aka free-cash-flow) in the form of a dividend, interest payment, capital gain, maturing ladder of a CD, etc, you are still taking the same amount of cash out of your portfolio. Don’t fall for the trap of sub optimizing your overall portfolio’s performance because your chasing some unimportant trait called “income”.
Speaking of selling stuff online, that's another mostly passive way to generate income. You could generate an income stream for a while by clearing out your basement or attic and selling items on eBay or elsewhere. This can be especially effective with collections. If you have lots of games or jigsaw puzzles that are taking up space and not being used, they can be great sources of income. You might reap a lot by selling new and used clothing you don't need.

Regardless, it took me around 18 months to start turning a profit online. It started with around $100 per month, then grew to $200 per month. Then it kept growing and growing until, eventually, the money I earned online surpassed what I earned in my regular, 9-5 job. That was last year, and my online income is still growing. Believe it or not, it all came from starting this simple, yet effective, blog.
I knew I didn't want to work 70 hours a week in finance forever. My body was breaking down, and I was constantly stressed. As a result, I started saving every other paycheck and 100% of my bonus since my first year out of college in 1999. By the time 2012 rolled around, I was earning enough passive income (about $78,000) to negotiate a severance and be free.
Reality One: We live in a competitive and fast changing world. Business has become highly specialized and niched because knowledge is growing exponentially, requiring specialized skills to employ it properly. Successfully competing in many widely varying fields is contradictory to the specialization and complexity required by our current business climate.
“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”

There are many success stories you’ll run into of what it takes to generate multiple streams of income. However, one of the most important tips is to take on multiple clients. One client being your income source is bad news. They could voluntarily or involuntarily leave you high and dry. For instance, their business may begin to suffer and they no longer have the funds to pay you. Well, that is your income stream; gone without warning.
Those who choose to focus on passive income will need either family money, funds from investors, or the nerve to borrow large sums by taking on debt to fund the purchase of assets. The easiest to understand is someone who takes out substantial bank loans to build an apartment building or buy rental houses. Although this can turn a very small amount of equity into a large cash flow stream, it is not without risk. When using borrowed money, the margin of safety is much smaller because you can’t absorb the same degree of setback before defaulting and finding your balance sheet obliterated.

“The biggest surprise is real estate being second to last on my Passive Income Ranking List because I’ve written that real estate is my favorite investment class to build wealth. Real estate doesn’t stack up well against the other passive income sources due to the lack of liquidity and constant maintenance of tenants and property. The returns can be huge due to rising rental income AND principal over time, much like dividend investing. If you are a “proactive passive income earner” like myself, then real estate is great.”


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Thank you for sharing your article! You did a great job saving and putting your money to work for you. Like you, I share the same financial dream of having 150-200k in passive income and traveling the world stress-free! :) Right now I’m saving about 80-90% of my active income and put it toward ETF funds and value growth stocks because I’m seeking capital appreciation. And I can tolerate a lot of risks because I’m still in my early 20’s. By the time I reach 30 something I’ll start looking into blue chips stocks that pay dividends and REIT. So I want to be where you are by that time lol. Anyways, that the plan and I’m sticking to it. Good luck on achieving your financial dream!
I want to develop a passive income stream in the next 4 years, nothing grand, maybe an extra 500-1000 dollars a month, but I’m not sure how to go about it so I was wondering if you had any tips. I’m so-so as a writer, and am currently finishing up my second book (just write as a hobby), and in the past made about 30-50 dollars an hour as a free lance writer but that was a couple of years back, it was only for about 10-20 hours a month, and the gig just dried up. I just got particularly lucky with that. I’ve tried online poker as a means in the past, and which I learned A) was not passive income but hard work and B) I have an addictive personality which resulted in me losing the 4g I earned in 6 weeks over the span of 72 hours so that’s out of the picture. I also partook in some illegal selling of things when I was younger, but being a little older and wiser the risk-reward ratio for possibly ending up in Jail just doesn’t match up. I tried making three businesses (dog walking, house cleaning, and personal assistant) and while those all were succesful to varying degrees and earned me about 15-25 dollars an hour, they weren’t mobile and quiet honestly I don’t have the time to be a full time dog walker or run a house cleaning operation seeing as I’ll be in school, work, and athletics.
But, you don't need to go further than that. You can simply write it and publish it and collect the income. That's all. Send out a couple emails to your list (if you have one) or post it on social media, and there you have it. Passive income. Now, the amount of income you receive depends on the quality of the book you've written. How well did you craft the message? How targeted was the information to your audience? It counts.
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.
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.
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.

I actually can’t get fired unless I do something truly horrible (or the state legislature gets rid of tenure). But I also have a spouse who likes to work and depending on how things change, I may need to leave my job for his career. So there are different levels of security. I’m never worried about us not having an income, but I do worry about being trapped in a specific job (or one of us being trapped with no job).
Hi, in as much as the article in this blog appears to be a source for information for us folks who are perhaps a little older (and wiser) would it be possible to point a person who is extremely sceptical about earning extra income.. other than worked 9-5 for? ( that person of course is me). Who now in a few years should be retiring, problem is, no money there to retire on. So a second source of income/investing is critical to my wife and I.
Airbnb is a concept that has only been around for a few years, but it has exploded around the globe. Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. They do this by staying with participating Airbnb members who rent out part of their homes to travelers. By participating in Airbnb, you can use your residence to accommodate guests and earn extra money just for renting out space in your home.
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 website Fiverr.com lets people sell (and buy) all kinds of wacky services for just $5 a pop. Current services for sale include designing a visually-appealing signature, creating a customized sound effect, making a tough decision, and writing a personalized rap song. Just as with crafty projects, you don’t want to over commit to something that won’t earn you a big return, but if you have a skill that easily translates into a quick service, then this could be a good strategy for you.
How To Engineer Your Layoff – In 2012, it took me four months of absolute focus and two years of data to publish my first e-book about helping people negotiate a severance. The book went through over 30 revisions by four people. Then I updated the book for 2018 with 50 more pages (150 pages total) using more successful case studies and highlighting more strategies for those who want to break free with money in their pocket.
One thing I’ve realized is this: It’s FAR easier to work for an employer than it is to develop durable passive income streams for the average person. Why? Because working for an employer in a place that “needs” you means that it’s possible to show up and give a 50% effort. You can show up, put in your time, go home, have a beer, watch TV, and rinse and repeat all without REALLY having to put in the effort.
I think more and more people are recognizing the advantages of having multiple sources of income, thanks to the Great Recession. It was a real wake-up call to many good workers who lost jobs not because of poor performance but due to restructuring and cost-savings. They never considered themselves to be vulnerable and they were. We do have multiple streams of income and a fully-funded emergency fund, which has helped my family weather the ups and down life has brought us, including job loss.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS, "it does not matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
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.
As interest rates have been going down over the past 30 years, bond prices have continued to go up. With the 10-year yield (risk free rate) at roughly 2.55%, and the Fed Funds rate at 1.5% (two more 0.25% hikes are expected in 2018), it’s hard to see interest rates declining much further. That said, long term interest rates can stay low for a long time. Just look at Japanese interest rates, which are negative (inflation is higher than nominal interest rate).
1) If your property is not under rent control, you have the ability to raise rent to market prices with proper warning. In SF, I have to give tenants a one month warning for up to a 10% increase and a two month warning for up to 60%. Rent control limits to an inflation index, usually around 2% a year, which is why initial pricing and tenant turnover is important for better profitability.
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!

Amazing that you saved between 50% to 75% living in NYC…I think that is one thing holding me back…the cost of living here. I’d like to invest in real estate, but I can barely afford to buy a place to live. I don’t need a large income to be happy, but I probably do need an income to support living in NYC as we don’t plan on leaving. The only thing I’m doing at the moment is saving in my 401K, IRA and a I dabble in stocks and P2P lending.


The WBG has worked to promote economic growth and address systemic poverty challenges across many sectors. IDA’s support for the education sector—including through the General Education Quality Improvement Program and the Enhancing Shared Prosperity through Equitable Services program—has helped Ethiopia expand access to quality primary education over the last nine years. Primary net enrollment rate increased from 79.1% in 2006 to 99.3% 2016. There has also been a considerable reduction of the gender gap for schooling. The ratio of girls to boys for grades 1–8 increased from 0.84 in 2006 to 0.92 in 2016. The gross enrollment rate for secondary school (grades 9–10) increased from 37.1% in 2007 to 44.8% in 2016. Through the CPF, the WBG is working to improve the quality of and equitable access to education to address issues including high dropout rates and low learning outcomes, especially for girls.
If you have a blog or some other property that has visitors, you might profit passively via affiliate advertising. For example, imagine that you write a blog about movies. You might review some books about movies, and then link to them on Amazon so you get a cut of the purchase price when anyone buys books through the links. If you blog about hiking, you might promote some hiking gear you recommend on the blog, again generating passive income if anyone buys any of it.
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.
One thing I’ve realized is this: It’s FAR easier to work for an employer than it is to develop durable passive income streams for the average person. Why? Because working for an employer in a place that “needs” you means that it’s possible to show up and give a 50% effort. You can show up, put in your time, go home, have a beer, watch TV, and rinse and repeat all without REALLY having to put in the effort.
I own several rental properties in the mid west and I live in CA. I have never even seen them in person. With good property management in place (not easy to find but possible) it is definitely possible to own cash flowing properties across the country. Not for everyone and not without it’s drawbacks, but it seems to be working for me so far. I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience with this type of investing.
Once I started blogging and connecting with other bloggers in the personal finance space, I saw how much potential was out there. And honestly, how much money some bloggers were making really shocked me. I distinctly remember one blogger telling me his website was making $30,000 per month….and this was 2009! To say this blew my mind is an understatement of epic proportions.
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What spurred this blog post was an idea put forth by my friend at ESI Money in which he talks about how the first million is the hardest. ESI shares how his net worth growth has accelerated. The first million took 19 years of work (the clock starts when he started working, not at birth!) but the 2nd million took just 4 years and 9 months. J Money took this same idea and started at $100k, which took him 7yrs 11mos. Each of the next $100k milestones took close to 18 months each to reach.
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