Passive income is the Holy Grail for online marketers. It's automatic. Effortless. But, not at first. In the beginning, it's grueling. I liken this to doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. However, over time, as your passive income begins to increase, your reliance on an active income plummets. That's when the real magic starts to happen.
At some point, you have problems with scale: you need to dive into advanced sysadmin skills to maintain your server up and running, or pay to have it done. Wordpress updates, OS updates, all of this is work, sometimes heavy works when your plugins start to misbehave. Let alone the occasional drill when your site is under a DDoS attack, or just stops responding for no effing reason.

Before you start working towards a passive income, you should have enough money saved up, that you can use for investments and costs. You’ll also need some money to fall back on. Residual income ideas sometimes don’t work, so you should keep spare money in case an idea doesn’t work out. You can eventually earn a passive income if you keep working hard at one or more ideas.
You can also resell digital products created by others. This is a good option if you don’t have the time to create an ebook or something but still want to earn passive money. Basically, you sign up for an affiliate account with someone who’s created a digital product (ebook, guide, online course, WordPress theme or plugin, etc) and build a site to promote that product. You can either sell it directly on your site or sell it via affiliate links to the primary seller’s site. If you make a sale, you’ll earn a commission.
In the blogging world it’s common to hear other bloggers talking about ways to make income. One of those ways is by using affiliate links. An affiliate link is a link with a tracking code; when a person clicks on that link and buys the product you get a commission on that purchase. Affiliate links are a great way to make passive income (see how much I make with affiliate income per month.)

 There are so many great resources today at our fingertips to learn about the world of investing, business, and finance such as blogs, podcasts, and online courses. However, I feel the most tried and true method is still by reading good ol’ fashioned books. I’ve collectively spent a few hundred dollars to purchase these books, but I can tell you that they have resulted in countless dollars in savings and millions in current and future earnings. There really is no better return on investment.

Personality -- Personality's great if your intention is to build a community around your blog. But newsflash: that's not the "right" way to blog (nothing is), nor is it the only option. My small business blog went from $0 - $2000 per month in just a few months, and it was pretty much devoid of personality. There aren't many comments there. I've never made an effort to change that. The posts are simple new and how-to posts. They're not opinions in most cases. There aren't many reviews. I never blogged there to build conversations. I blogged there to earn from my writing. And I have. On the other hand, my PR blog also monetizes rather well. That blog completely revolves around my no-bullshit personality when confronting PR and social media issues. On the other hand, AFW has personality injected, but is also more instructional than NakedPR is -- it falls somewhere in the middle. No method has really proved better than the others overall. It's all about knowing what the niche audience really wants (community vs news vs instructional content or some mix). Sometimes you'll guess wrong.
There are many people who get paid vast amounts of money to become the CEO of a company, play professional sports, or star in a movie. Earning a high active income is often a lot of hard work and requires a dedication beyond most of us. It’s also limited because no matter how much money you get paid you still need to show up to work to earn your money.

Residual income is money that is earned on a recurring basis, typically as the result of a single original action. Rather than earning an hourly wage, residual income is typically generated through an initial investment of time or money with the goal of earning continuous payments. Once the initial investment, product, or service is made, the ongoing income that is earned is generally passive in nature.
If you don’t have a mailing list, then build your list pre-launch. Create a way to capture email addresses on your site and social media accounts and promise that anyone signed up to the mailing list gets first dibs on the book or perhaps a special deal. It’s also important to collect email addresses, so that you can promote future books to existing readers.
Get your basic blog set up. This involves choosing a niche (use the Adwords keyword tool to find out if people are really searching for information in the niche first), registering a domain name, getting a hosting account, setting up your basic blog installation (I recommend WordPress.org), and choosing a theme (design). Rather than go through these steps in detail here, you can follow my instructions on getting WordPress set up over in our 30 day marketing bootcamp series for freelance writers over at QueryFreeFreelancer.com.

The Total Money Makeover – Great book on getting your debt under control. When the average American has nearly $10,000 in credit card debt, his message is extremely relevant. While I don’t agree with everything he says, it did make me way more conscious about the power of not having any debt. After reading this, I ended up buying my next car in all cash. Read my full review here.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – This is the book that launched thousands of real estate investing careers and is still one of the most famous real estate investing books of all time. There is lots of debate whether it’s a true story, but nevertheless, the concepts in it blew my mind when I first read it. It really speaks to the importance and value of not trading time for money. Here’s my full review.
Wouldn’t it be nice to earn money while not working? That money is called residual, or recurring, income. It's what can happen after you put a lot of time, effort and sometimes money into a job to continue to get paid for the work months or years after it's done. (Salary jobs are part of linear income. This income is directly related to the number of hours you work. If you work 40 hours, you get paid for 40 hours of work.) Once you set up your business to earn residual income, you continue to make money while doing other things – maybe even starting a new business to generate more residual income!
I don’t make all my blogging income through them. In fact, the residual income sites make up approximately 10% of my whole writing income but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. I don’t promote a lot of my content and I don’t use the sites as much as I used to do. I also have my private writing clients who make up a good 60% of my writing and blogging income.

Wow, great ideas! I never thought to link to a candle! My blog is about diabetes so I’ve never thought to link to common things I use daily but that’s genius! I love how she added the candle at the end as a side note almost. I guess I’ve never thought to look on Amazon for candles because I go to Bath and Body Works for those. I’m updating my best posts today! Plus I’m going to do some Pinterest posts for my affiliate number for your book which is a GREAT book!

After some long chats, I learned I need a schedule. So now I know when to work, and everyone else knows when it’s my time to work: It’s after the kids go to bed. Things will change everyone once in a while — if I have a big project coming up, for example, like during the recent launch of my podcast player, I was asking my wife, can you watch the kids longer?
For those who prefer a more do-it-yourself style but still want their investments to be managed automatically, a robo-advisor like Betterment may be better suited. After completing an initial questionnaire, this program will automatically invest your money based on things like your risk tolerance and time horizon. They’ll even rebalance your portfolio when necessary – all automatically, of course!
This was by far my biggest return on investment. It took about two weeks to figure out how to format my book for paperback and get setup for Createspace, but this is nearly 70% of my revenue. It’s ironic because my e-book is $4.99 and my paperback is $14.99. I priced the paperback higher because I wanted to drive readers to the ebook, where I could update it more easily. What I learned, however, is that many of the people buying my book are parents, not students, and they are more familiar with paperbacks. There is also an incorrect perception that you need a Kindle to read Kindle ebooks.
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All the hard work that I put in over the past 10 years online, and over the past 5 years on this blog in particular, is all worth it in hindsight. My blog can now easily earn a full-time income on its own without any further help from me except for monitoring the technical side of things (for which I have a tech person anyway). Of course, I don’t like leaving it alone and love setting new income goals for myself, but this is a really nice thing to have in case anything major happens in my life that takes me away from work.

Build a list in a particular niche and tell them stories. Create a bond. Build a relationship with them. It's important. Then, when you've created a bit of culture, start marketing affiliate products or services to them that you think they might like. Just be sure that you personally vet out whatever it is that you're selling to avoid complaints if the product or service falls short.
I’ve been writing about this since around 2006 or 2007 and I have a monthly article about “alternative income”, which is what I consider blogging. You could say it’s another term for “50% passive.” No one would confuse it with collecting dividends from a dividend ETF, but at the same time, you can take a week off and still earn a certain percentage or baseline of what you may earn if you wrote actively.
There are a couple of problems with direct investment in real estate though. It’s expensive to buy even a single property, a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars, and there’s no way most investors can build a portfolio of different property types and in different regions to protect from those risks when you have all your money in just one or two investments.
Investing in the stock market is a classic form of passive income. As you might know, with stock markets, there is some risk involved. But then again, virtually all residual income methods involve a level of risk, and you won’t find any idea that’s risk-free. In fact, stock marketing can be one of the least risky ways to earn money, if you invest smartly. The basic rules apply: Create a diverse portfolio, start with around $1,000, learn about the stock market, and create a back-up fund.

If you are a photographer looking to diversify your income stream, putting together styled stock photo packages can be lucrative. For example, a package of 15 wedding-themed stock photos for $10. You can then market this to any bloggers or businesses who are in the wedding business for their use (photos of different engagement rings styles are super popular). Through this method, it’s possible to make a continuous stream of income off of photos you’ve taken once (similar to a licensing deal).
Some other parts of the book echo advice found in other bestsellers, with the section on how to create a lean startup being reminiscent of Eric Ries’ advice in Lean Startup – this by the way is one of the biggest lessons I think people new to the world of passive income need to realize…you can get started this week, with just $50, and still be on a level playing field with people who have a ton of money behind them (well, almost).
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