One specific moment came when I was approached by the United States Green Building Council, the company that administers the exam that I was writing the guide for. I got a cease and desist letter saying, “Stop what you’re doing!” and I freaked out. I was like, This business thing — I can’t do it. I’m in way over my head. And then I went to a lawyer, and they were like, you just can’t use their trademark in your domain name. Everything else you’re doing is fine. But there was a good week or two where I didn’t know what was going on and I was truly ready to give it all up.
One specific moment came when I was approached by the United States Green Building Council, the company that administers the exam that I was writing the guide for. I got a cease and desist letter saying, “Stop what you’re doing!” and I freaked out. I was like, This business thing — I can’t do it. I’m in way over my head. And then I went to a lawyer, and they were like, you just can’t use their trademark in your domain name. Everything else you’re doing is fine. But there was a good week or two where I didn’t know what was going on and I was truly ready to give it all up.

Shane and Jocelyn Sams, who were teachers before. Shane listened to my podcast, and he was like, check out this guy Pat, and his wife was like, No, that sounds kind of scammy to me. But then they decided to give creating digital products a try, so Jocelyn created a website called Elementary Librarian where she was selling packages and worksheets to librarians to help them and that site is doing really well. And Shane is a football coach, so he created coachxo.com to sell defensive plays to coaches. Both of those are doing well over six figures a month now, and they’re doing it through pdf files, worksheets and tools that their audience can use to help them in a more convenient way.
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.

Real estate is the obvious choice if you are going to make money on your money. I personally am not at the point where I can do any of this in a meaningful way BUT my parents are and they now own a couple homes outright and are collecting income from them to power their retirement income. It makes a lot more sense for anyone that has a chunk of cash sitting in the bank and are planning on slowly drawing from it because you technically still have all that money in a property (or multiple properties) and can sell them if you really need the lump sum of cash but you’ll earn great interest payments until you do that.
I've run over two dozen blogs since 2004. I've successfully monetized new blogs across a variety of niches including writing, music, education, small business, marketing, PR, and technology. I still run several of those blogs (like AFW, NakedPR.com, and AudioXposure.com). Others I've monetized only to then flip them for a profit. Either way, I've found it's fairly easy to bring a variety of blogs to three or even four figure monthly incomes in a pretty short period of time -- no more than a couple of months (which is faster than writing the same amount for most 3rd party residual income sites).
Stock dividends: Some stocks, especially stocks from big corporate standouts, pay dividends to shareholders based on the number of shares they own, and the percentage of the stock price on the dividend date. For example, if a company pays out 3% on a stock that's trading at $100 per share, you'll earn $3 for every share of that stock you own. Add it up and that can be good take-home pay as a passive investment.

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 love how real this article is. I’m so exhausted at seeing headlines and articles that lead people to believe blogging is somehow passive income and that passive means your not working. It’s heartbreaking, but I’ve seen several friends dump their entire life savings (and lose it) to try and live off of a blog based on the reportedly easy and formula-like ways to earn six-figures overnight. One of my friends just lost his wife, child, and home because he tried to jump right into blogging for a living and didn’t front load the learning because so many misleading articles told him it would be easy. He worked off of infopreneur blogger to-do lists like “get a URL, “write lot’s of content,” and “promote on social media” to win millions of visitors in just three months. Thanks for keeping it real.
Needless to say, you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else, but if you can, the income can be relatively passive. Chances are, you’ll still have to deal with some questions and complaints from customers about other people’s products, which I’m guessing can be quite a headache, but you don’t have to deal with manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, or any of the other headaches of creating the product yourself.
So as you can see from the above example, using the concept of residual income, although Company X is reporting a profit on its income statement, once its cost of equity is included in relation to its return to shareholders, it is actually economically unprofitable based on the given level of risk. This finding is the primary driver behind the use of the residual income method. A scenario where a company is profitable on an accounting basis, it may still not be a profitable venture from a shareholder's perspective if it cannot generate residual income.
My advice for beginners – especially beginner bloggers with new sites – focus on your site content and traffic for a while, then add your Amazon links once you have a little traffic. So many beginners focus on making money from their links and sacrifice their content building in the process. Without good content and traffic you won’t make much anyways.
Yeah, entrepreneurship is definitely not a defined path that can be summed up in one book. I think it’s mostly about having the right mindset and determination/hustle. That’s why I love listening to and watching Gary Vaynerchuk. I think an easy one to start with is “Start Something That Matters.” The right mix of inspiration, motivation, and instruction. Plus I’m just a big fan of the shoes and company. Let me know what you think.
Obviously, these are much higher than you’re going to get with most other investments. What’s more is that you can choose a plan that matches your investment strategy, whether your goal is Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, or Long-term Growth. You can also look at different real estate projects and choose for yourself which ones to invest in.
#2. Offer discounts: Approach bloggers in your niche and send them a copy of your book. Most Instagrammers love to receive anything that’s going to make it easy for them to create fresh content. Be sure to send them a good quality image of your book cover. Offer discounts on your ebook. Writing about business or marketing? Using case studies, or other entrepreneurs as examples in your work give you the chance to reach out to those people.
In addition to the obvious — increasing your monthly income — many people develop specific investment plans for their monthly residuals. Popular strategies include allocating monthly residuals to a retirement account, a down payment on a home, education expenses and an emergency fund. Your strategy should include establishing a reserve for income taxes if you receive residuals in full, without withheld taxes. This prevents unwelcome surprises at tax time.
I know some people assume monetizing a blog is just easier for me. After all, I can use the "juice" of my existing sites to bring a new blog attention in the beginning. Others assume it's easier because I come from a marketing / PR background (although that's no excuse, since I teach you all about that here if you take the time to look). Still, I've decided it's project-time yet again (when is it not with me?).
Though it can take a while to build up enough cash to put a 20% down payment on an investment property (the typical lender minimum), they can snowball fairly quickly. The key here is to correctly project income and expenses in order to calculate cash flow (the free cash you can put in your pocket after all associated property expenses have been paid). However you have to be sure to include the cost of a property manager in your calculations unless you want to manage the property yourself. Even with a property manager, you may be required to make large repair decisions every now and then – so while this is not a 100% passive activity, you are not directly trading your time for money like traditional employment.
I would not have read this post now if I could’ve slept. I’m glad I read it though because I have heard how easy and fast you can make “passive” income and not have to work many times. I am not one to spend on a lot of programs but I am finally realizing how much work is involved in getting to a point where you only work a few hours a week and make a good living.
That opportunity was always there, but I didn’t realize it until after four or five people said, “Pat, your stuff is so good, I would pay you for it.” That’s when I finally took action. I began reading as much as I could about doing business online and listening to podcasts and reaching out to people doing it already. I connected with them and created an ebook study guide, a digital book that could help my visitors pass the LEED exam.
Passive income is hard to generate for one reason – the world is dynamic. Human beings, some who work with you, some who you compete against, are dynamic, and because of that, if you are to do business, you must be dynamic. The only way to respond to dynamism and succeed, is to be dynamic yourself, and therein lies the work – and the end of any chance for passive income.
If you read everything I said here and your response is, “Okay, that’s fair. I can give it four years,” then you’re already way ahead of most people. On the other hand, you might also say, “Jon, this is interesting, but I really don’t have that kind of time, so I’m going to bow out now.” In that case, congratulations, you just saved yourself a lot of wasted time.

I spent about $45 on Facebook Ads targeting clicks to my book on Amazon. I paid around $0.30 CPC, and 155 clicks in total, but I couldn’t track how many sales were from Facebook, and I didn’t see ROI because I estimated 3–5 ad-driven book sales, which is at best $9 per additional sale. The other issue is that Amazon doesn’t tell you anything about who’s viewing your page or referral sources, so it’s hard to close the loop.
Thank you for sharing your advice on Amazon and affiliate marketing. I just recently joined Amazon and have been updating my blogs using your techniques. Hopefully it works for me like it has worked for you, granted I know now based on your experience that I probably won’t see any big income from it for awhile but it is really nice to know I am on the right track to some success in the future.
Blogging has a very steep learning curve, but if you jump in head first and take it one step at a time (I recommend tackling only one confusing thing per day) and do one new thing each day to work on your blog, you will eventually get to a place where none of it seems confusing! (If you try to tackle too many new things at once, you WILL get discouraged! I urge you not to do this.)
I say almost because in truth you still need to do something in order to keep sales coming through. That something is usually write new content to keep the blog active. Without activity, eventually the flow of traffic will cease. It might take a long long time, especially for blogs in a high authority position with firm rankings in the search engines, but eventually, a blog with no new content stream will die…at least I think it will (I often wonder whether a blog like Steve Pavlina’s would ever die given the eternal nature of his blog posts – I think the search engines and all those incoming links might continue to send him traffic for a long, long time).
There are many different methods to valuing a company or its stock. One could opt to use a relative valuation approach, comparing multiples and metrics of a firm in relation to other companies within its industry or sector. Another alternative would be value a firm based upon an absolute estimate, such as implementing discounted cash flow modeling or the dividend discount method, in an attempt to place an intrinsic value to said firm.
I highly recommend the following Passive Income book. This book uncovers most of the latest, important and useful techniques that a professional earner uses in his projects. It is a good reference because it shows you the techniques exactly. It's not the book with full of theories rather an instructive tutorial which involves you with the real thing.
All that being said, the residual income valuation approach is a viable and increasingly popular method of valuation and can be implemented rather easily by even novice investors. When used alongside the other popular valuation approaches, residual income valuation can give you a clearer estimate of what the true intrinsic value of a firm may be. (Don't be overwhelmed by the many valuation techniques out there - knowing a few characteristics about a company will help you pick the best one. See How To Choose The Best Stock Valuation Method.)
One word of advice, and something I intend to do once I have the money saved up, is to build or buy out property that can support apartments or townhomes. One tough mistake some people make is buying a pair of homes to rent out and they get a nice $2,000-$3,000 a month but that’s it. Buying a house is expensive and the rental prices keep lower income families from potentially coming to you with their money to rent. If you have an acre to work with (more or less is OK too) you should be talking to a contractor to build apartments or townhomes. You will make a little less per unit BUT your audience grows significantly because now you can have college students, single parents, older folks, etc. all able to afford your rental units AND instead of capturing one $1,000-$1,500 a month payments, you can probably charge $700 a month per unit (or more, depending on the market) and build maybe 3, 4, 5, 10 units for the price of a home or two and now you’re making something like $2,100-$10,000 a month. It all depends on what you have to invest but if you’ve got $250,000+ I’d highly suggest you talk to a bank/investor that can get you in touch with a good contractor to build on a property and get permits and take out a matching $250,000 loan (I’ve read that $500,000 is plenty to build a good amount of apartments to start) and you can fill up your apartments and make a killing every month. You’ll have more tenants to deal with but if you’re competitive with your pricing you won’t have a hard time keeping tenants or replacing them.
Java Metals is expecting an ROE of 15% over each of the next five years. Its current book value is $5.00 per share, it pays no dividends, and all earnings are reinvested. The required return on equity is 10%. Forecasted earnings in years 1 through 5 are equal to ROE times beginning book value. Calculate the intrinsic value of the company using a residual income model, assuming that after five years, continuing residual income falls to zero.

Thus, the residual income approach is better than the return on investment approach, since it accepts any investment proposal that exceeds the minimum required return on investment. Conversely, the return on investment approach tends to result in the rejection of any project whose projected return is less than the average rate of return of the profit center, even if the projected return is greater than the minimum required rate of return.
All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of AWM, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

I still don’t consider it an area of expertise. When I started Smart Passive Income, that was the month I launched my ebook for the architecture site. I didn’t consider myself an expert. It was just something no one had taught me about. People were talking about online business but not about how to automate the process, so I just wanted to create a platform to give it all away. I still don’t know everything about it, but through trial and error, I’ve learned about the process and recorded it.
All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of AWM, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.
The whole concept of passive income is kind of a load of hooey. Low maintenance income? Sure. I can get on board with that. But truly passive? Not so much. And I think promoting these kinds of online marketing businesses as anything different than your standard Internet-based companies is being a little bit dishonest to those who are hungry to make a better life for themselves.
Fundrise – With a minimum investment of just $500, investors of all types can make crowd-funded real estate investments through Fundrise. This means you get the benefits of being a landlord without actually having to deal with owning or managing the properties yourself. Even though we own 2 rental properties, we recently began investing in Fundrise ourselves. We love it because there is no “accredited investor” requirement, making it far more accessible for the average person than the other two options below. Follow the link above to learn more, or read our full review here.
Managing your own blog isn't as difficult as some people initially think. There's this misconception that you can't earn much money with your own blog, so you'd be better off going with content mills instead. Wrong! It's not difficult at all if you're willing to work for it. The only real excuse for choosing content mills over writing for yourself is that you don't want to be bothered with the work -- you just want to write. And frankly, that's lazy (and you know how I feel about lazy freelancers). If you're a hobby writer and you just want to write to get paid a few bucks, fine. Good for you. But don't call yourself a true freelance writer if you're not willing to work on the business end of your freelance career.
Every stage of my progress has been met with a lot of doubt and fear but every time I’ve conquered that fear, amazing things have happened on the other end. That’s been from the beginning with Green Exam Academy, to now where I’m getting paid to do keynote speeches. I just got back from Australia and was able to go there with my family but also do the keynote for the ProBlogger conference. If you’d asked me to do that five years ago, I would have immediately said no because I was definitely afraid of speaking. But now that I’ve crushed that fear, it’s been one of the best and most fulfilling things I’ve been able to do, so  if you have fear, it’s a sign that there’s something amazing on the other end.

Once again, though, it’s like starting any company. While you might not necessarily need to know how to code, you do need an entrepreneurial mindset, work ethic, and personality type, and you’ll probably struggle for years, going through a string of failures before you finally get it right. If you’re successful, though, the passive income potential is enormous.
As you may have noticed, the residual income valuation formula is very similar to a multistage dividend discount model, substituting future dividend payments for future residual earnings. Using the same basic principles as a dividend discount model to calculate future residual earnings, we can derive an intrinsic value for a firm's stock. In contrast to the DCF approach which uses the weighted average cost of capital for the discount rate, the appropriate rate for the residual income strategy is the cost of equity. (Learn the strengths and weaknesses of passive and active management when trying to uncover the overall market's worth. Check out Strategies For Determining The Market's True Worth.)
The only way to increase your income substantially, then, is to reach more people. The difference, put simply, is between writing an article and a book. If you write an article and sell it to the New York Times for $1 a word, you’ll never see more money from that piece again. On the other hand, if you were to create a collection of articles and sell it in a book, you may (depending on various factors, which we’ll get to) see money from this book over and over again until you keep it in circulation.
Finally, a straight forward, honest blog post about earning a “passive income” online. Your time frame is dead-on, Jon, as I have been working online for about 7 to 8 years and just now feel like I am getting a handle on most of the skills required. The real truth is that most online bloggers or marketers have to master many, many skills before he or she can claim true success. Of course, that all depends upon how to you rank your success. If you’re a person who enjoys tackling new challenges, learning new skills, and has a knack for writing, then the online world is definitely the place for you. Just remember it takes a personality who is willing to persevere and who isn’t discouraged easily. That being said, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
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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.
So as you can see from the above example, using the concept of residual income, although Company X is reporting a profit on its income statement, once its cost of equity is included in relation to its return to shareholders, it is actually economically unprofitable based on the given level of risk. This finding is the primary driver behind the use of the residual income method. A scenario where a company is profitable on an accounting basis, it may still not be a profitable venture from a shareholder's perspective if it cannot generate residual income.
Investing in real estate: Investing in real estate offers more passive income cash potential - but more risk - than investing in stocks or bonds. You'll need substantial amounts of cash to invest in buying a home -- it usually takes 20% down to land a good home mortgage loan. But history shows that home prices usually rise over time, so buying home a for $200,000 and selling it for $250,000 over a five-year time period, for example, is a reasonable expectation when investing in real estate.

Given the growth in the sharing economy, your junk can start to pay for itself. For example, if you have some awesome vintage furniture inherited from your grandmother sitting in a storage unit, you can rent this out to photographers for their “styled shoots” which are becoming all the rage. If your furniture is more modern but you still can’t bear to get rid of it – perhaps a home stager will be interested.


I've run over two dozen blogs since 2004. I've successfully monetized new blogs across a variety of niches including writing, music, education, small business, marketing, PR, and technology. I still run several of those blogs (like AFW, NakedPR.com, and AudioXposure.com). Others I've monetized only to then flip them for a profit. Either way, I've found it's fairly easy to bring a variety of blogs to three or even four figure monthly incomes in a pretty short period of time -- no more than a couple of months (which is faster than writing the same amount for most 3rd party residual income sites).
I have posted a few times about the idea of passive income. Real estate investing is a much applauded form of ‘passive income’ in the modern sense. If you own properties, and rent them out, you will get rent checks coming in month after month, right? Right, but you still have to go out and locate the tenants, take care of utility issues and upgrades, etc. The idea of passive income is not that you have to completely do NO work, but the idea that when you set up a certain system, most of the day-to-day tasks are on auto-pilot. If you post everyday for 3 years straight, you will still get traffic in from the search engines, Yaro. As long as the ads are still on your site you will receive the passive income. This is your ‘system’. The idea of passive income is that so which you have the freedom to do something when you want to do it and you don’t have to give up working hours to go do that thing AND the money will still keep coming in. This can only happen if you set up your system.
This is another way to earn passive money from a website: sell affiliate products. Affiliate marketing is convenient and effective, because you don’t have to create or retail any products; you just need to get people to buy a product through your link, and you automatically earn a (small) share of the revenue. The most popular affiliate programs are Amazon Associates and Clickbank.
Residual income is calculated as net income less a charge for the cost of capital. The charge is known as the equity charge and is calculated as the value of equity capital multiplied by the cost of equity or the required rate of return on equity. Given the opportunity cost of equity, a company can have positive net income but negative residual income.
Jon, you always keep it real and I LOVE that about you and your writing! You are so right! There’s always an amount of work that goes into creating “passive income” or becoming a blogger who monetizing with services and courses. Thanks for being honest about how long it can take to truly master the required skills. Frankly, I’ve done my 4+ years of undergrad and grad school and what I’ve been learning in the last 2-3 years as I’ve dug deeper into improving my copywriting and blogging skills by taking classes with yourself and other trustworthy mentors is giving me the best foundation to help me build my freelancing business and ultimately step away from my 9-5. For me, it’s all about who I work for, under what conditions, when, and for how much, rather than a “no-work-at-all” lifestyle. That’s totally unrealistic. And I appreciate you, as a well respected “Guru” yourself, for saying so!
For example, say you watch the interview they did with The Minimalists a while back, you straight away start getting all these thoughts about whether minimalism is a good subject to create an info product around, or whether it could work as an affiliate site that links out to all the products on minimalism (and trust me there are literally 100+ minimalism ebooks out there that you could affiliate sell, oh the irony).

Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
Buy side Control premium Demerger Divestment Drag-along right Management due diligence Managerial entrenchment Minority discount Pitch book Pre-emption right Proxy fight Post-merger integration Sell side Shareholder rights plan Special-purpose entity Special situation Squeeze-out Staggered board of directors Stock swap Super-majority amendment Tag-along right Takeover Reverse Tender offer
Great article, Joe! I’ve thought about this a lot…whether blogging is passive or not. By definition, it probably isn’t (since the income goes away if you stop), but it FEELS passive. “feels”. Ew. Feelings. Blegh. Anyhoo…even if it isn’t passive, I can’t stop doing it because I love it so much. So if you like writing and interaction with readers, it seems passive, but to anyone else, they’ll have to put in a lot of work for very little gain, so it seems VERY active.
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.
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