The first thing to do is figure out what you are good at and more importantly, what you enjoy doing. You may be able to type extremely fast. Maybe you have excellent negotiation skills. You may be great walking dogs and enjoy the needed exercise. Maybe you have a knack for growing gardens that homeowners in your neighbourhood covet. Tons of people are out there who do not possess the skills you have. You may have a needed skill that can generate a lucrative income in your spare time.
Once your audience has grown and you have validation that you’re offering them value, there are many ways to create passive income. You could sell digital products like ebooks or courses, take up affiliate marketing in which you promote other company’s products and earn a commission when you sell that item to your audience, build a community and charge people to be a part of it, create software and sell that, among other avenues. Ask your audience directly what would serve them best, or look at what they’re saying on Twitter, Facebook or other websites, to find out what problems they have and how you could help solve them.
If you’re considering real estate for your portfolio, let me give you some advice: Don’t jump in without a ton of research. It’s not as easy as they make it look on shows like Flip or Flop. There’s a lot that goes into becoming a successful landlord or flipping houses for a profit. Plus, a lot can go wrong and your mistakes can eat up your profits quickly.
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.
For example, you might take photos and have them available for a fee at sites such as shutterstock.com or istockphoto.com. Similarly, you can create and upload designs at sites such as zazzle.com and cafepress.com, where people can buy them imprinted on shirts, mugs, and so on. Similarly, if you write an e-book (which can be as short as 6,000 or so words), you might find that people are interested in buying it, perhaps via Amazon.com's direct publishing service.
Investing in coins and collectibles: Buffalo nickels and Spiderman comic books are good examples of coins and collectibles that can rise in value, and thus offer opportunity for passive income investors. You'll need to get up to speed on the value of any coin or collectible under consideration, but once you do so, you're on the way to price appreciation on a commodity you'll be paying a lower price to buy, and will garner a higher price when you sell.
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?
Andrew Rafal, Founder and President of Bayntree Wealth Advisors in Arizona, recently told me about his push to get clients to diversify their income streams. The Great Recession feels like an eternity ago now that the economy is looking up, he says. The job market is strong and consumer confidence is through the roof. As a result, it’s possible people are getting a little too comfortable.