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If an investor puts $500,000 into a candy store with the agreement that the owners would pay the investor a percentage of earnings, that would be considered passive income as long as the investor does not participate in the operation of the business in any meaningful way other than placing the investment. The IRS states, however, that if the investor did help manage the company with the owners, the investor's income could be seen as active since the investor provided "material participation." 
Among the many passive-income opportunities that exist, interest is a very popular one, along with dividends. Unfortunately, we've been living in an environment of ultra-low interest rates for many years now, so even a savings account with $100,000 in it might only grow by $1,000 or $2,000 per year. Interest rates seem to be rising, though, so take heart -- and know that in many past years, bank accounts and CDs and bonds have paid rates of 5%, 8%, and even 10% or more.
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!
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.
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!
Those are the different sources of income for our household in 2015. It’s good to have a solid earned income, but you need investment income to become wealthy. The key is to save a significant percentage of your income and invest consistenly. This will create different streams of investment income which will compound over time. If you make a lot of earned income, but don’t have much investment income, then there might be a problem. This probably means you spend most of it and aren’t investing enough. That’s not good because earned income do not last. We all get old sometime and you can’t work forever.
I have two major dilemmas: (1) Should I wait to start investing (at least until the end of the year where I’ll hopefully have $5k+ in savings) in things like CDs? I ask because a little over $2k doesn’t seem significant enough yet to start putting my money to work (or maybe it is? that’s why I’m coming to you for your advice haha) and (2) I want to invest in things like P2P and stocks but I’m honestly a bit ignorant of how it trully works. I know the basics (high risk, returns can be volatile, returns are taxable). Do you have any advice on how I can best educate myself to start putting my savings to work?
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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.
Now that you’ve chosen your market, find a way to start sharing your message, whether it’s a blog or podcast or Youtube channel, or whatever platform makes the most sense for your target market. Flynn says this is where you’ll start to build a fan base — and collect subscriber emails. You don’t need to get the whole world to follow you to make this work out financially. Wired cofounder Kevin Kelly wrote an article about 1,000 True Fans, which basically says that if you have 1,000 people paying you $100 a year, that’s a $100,000 a year. “You don’t need to serve everybody,”  says Flynn.
I like the way you have listed the ways to earn extra income and was quite surprise that you did not make mention of network marketing, which is a way to make extra income without quitting your regular, though most people view mlm as a pyramid scheme but the real pyramid scheme is a regular 9 to 5, because you can only have one president of a company at any given time and network marketing business model to promote product that can be used is really cheap to join and can offer a substantial extra income or what do you think?

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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.
​Network marketing, or multi-level marketing, seems to be on the rise. Companies such as Young Living Oils, Avon, Pampered Chef, and AdvoCare are all multi-level marketing companies. You can earn passive income through network marketing by building a team underneath you (often referred to as a down line.) Once you have a large team you can earn commissions off of their sales without having to do much.
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.

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Finally, I imagine the biggest debate with my ranking is Creating Your Own Product as the #1 passive income source. If most people have never created their own product, then it’s easy to give it a thumbs down. There won’t be much complaint about Private Equity Investing being in last place because most people are not accredited investors. But given I believe that plenty of people can create their own product if they try, pushback is inevitable because a lot of people simply don’t try!
"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.
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.

Making money in addition to a regular income can have a big impact on your finances. An extra $500 per month could go a long way in paying down debt or raising your investment. Diversifying your income streams is important, especially as wage remain stagnant. You decide how you want to produce the income. Either you ‘do something’ to generate the income- this is active income such as providing a service; or the income is generated without you having to ‘do anything,’ – this is passive income such as hosting an Airbnb. Just make sure you do not place all your eggs in one basket.
"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.

I was just curious what your thought was on actively managing your properties vs. getting a property manager? I recently started using a property manager and it has been a wonderful experience. It’s like there is now complete radio silence from the property since everything goes through the manager. I used to spend tons of time driving to it and showing it to prospective renters, doing background checks, doing maintenance, etc. It was amazing how much of a drain it was just thinking about what might go wrong. Now with a property manager I just get a .pdf statement in my e-mail and the rent gets deposited in my account like magic! I’m a big fan of property managers and think they are worth twice what I pay them.
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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.

Venture debt ($12,240 a year): The first venture-debt fund has returned almost all my initial capital, so I decided to invest $200,000 in the second fund. I took a risk investing $150,000 in my friend's first fund, so I'm hoping there's less risk in the second fund, given he has four more years of experience on top of his 12-plus years of experience running a venture-debt portfolio for another company.


Leveraging the internet to create, connect, and sell is something every creative person should attempt to do. The only risk is lost time and a wounded ego. You can start a site like mine for as little as $2.95 a month with Bluehost and go from there. They give you a free domain name for a year. Forget all the add-ons. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for my site.
We’re currently at four and about to add a fifth. The more diverse the less risk. The less risk the lower the risk mitigation needs (ie insurance). We are high income but historically we’ve focused on the two w2 incomes and investment returns. At some early stages in your career focusing on your W-2 might yield better returns. Once you’ve got a certain level marginal gains from raises begins to decline. We’re at that stage where alternative income importance is increasing.
I really enjoyed how you listed all of the reasons to build passive income streams as well as the framework. You also made an interesting point about freelance writing on how the more skilled writers want to keep posts for their own website. Good insight because freelance writing is something I’ve been looking into for income recently. Also, it’s amazing what you’ve been able to accomplish with your blog over the past 6 years. It’s so motivational to see the success of Financial Samurai. I’m not in a place to afford any consulting, but, I wish I could pick your brain or get mentored by a successful blogger such as yourself…Not trying to blow smoke lol. It would just be so great to have someone who’s done it provide guidance around the direction of the blog, ways to earn, and on the general concept. Always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing :)
But then figure out your unique selling proposition, what advantage you can offer that the market currently lacks. “My advantage in the passive income marketing space is that I’m not afraid to share my failures or where my income comes from,” says Flynn, who details his impressive income every month. “Transparency is huge,” he says. Referring to the personal bio on his LEED exam site, he says, “You might think I’m not benefitting from putting my story on there, but it helps me establish a relationship with people there. I’m someone who went through the same experience people went through on the site.”
There are a ton of ways to diversify your investments, some of which can send real income your way. By opening a brokerage account and investing in ETFs or mutual funds, you can earn real returns you can use to supplement your income. Of course, the flip side can also happen – as in, you can lose money. So, make sure you understand the risks before you dive in.
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