Michael Ellsberg is the author of The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late, which is launching from Penguin/Portfolio in September. It’s a bootstrapper’s guide to investing in your own human capital at any age. Michael sends manifestos, recommendations, tips, and other exclusive content to his private email list, which you can join at www.ellsberg.com. Connect with him on Twitter @MichaelEllsberg and on Facebook.
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!

It's important to note that many policies use both an "own occupation" definition of disability and an "any occupation" definition. You may purchase a policy that provides own occupation coverage for a limited period, such as two years. When this period ends you must meet the narrower "any occupation" definition of disability to continue receiving benefits. Long-term disability policies are often designed this way.
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.)

Already have something you are ridiculously good at and you actually know how to transfer your knowledge and teach the topic? You, my friend, are halfway there to becoming a course writer for some very popular websites. Online courses have become a real hit and have taken off in sense of popularity lately, as people are starting to understand more and more that it’s not always about diplomas and which school you went to.

Fox’s book is a little outdated now, but the alternative passive income streams he mentions includes straight up blogging (with the advertising and affiliate marketing as the natural monetization strategy), but also podcasting (don’t agree with this so much as a direct revenue stream) and vlogging (video blogging / web TV, whatever you want to call it).
Residual benefits are typically calculated as a percentage of both the policyholder’s loss of earnings and the benefit that the policyholder would receive if he or she was unable to work. For example, say a worker who has a disability policy sustains an injury that prevents him from working full-time. The worker is physically able to be on the job part-time, and is able to earn 60% of the amount that he used to earn. The disability policy pays out $1,500 a month as normal benefits. The residual benefit is calculated by taking the amount of income loss (which is 40%) and multiplying it by the normal disability benefit of $1.500. The resulting residual benefit comes to $600 a month (40% x $1500).

There are many ways to earn an income both online and offline. The main goal for most people is to earn a large enough income so they can accomplish and live the life that they choose on their terms. The unfortunate fact is, most people don't have the ability to live their lives on their own terms. They are a slave to their debts and they cannot break the cycle of living pay check to pay check.

​Udemy is an online platform that lets its user take video courses on a wide array of subjects. Instead of being a consumer on Udemy you can instead be a producer, create your own video course, and allow users to purchase it. This is a fantastic option if you are highly knowledgeable in a specific subject matter. This can also be a great way to turn traditional tutoring into a passive income stream!
I was so excited I wanted to share how it all happened and what I had learned, so I created SmartPassiveIncome.com that same month. Then, as sales grew on the LEED stuff, I had more and more to talk about and I kept sharing how much I was earning and what I was leaning — things that went right, and stuff that didn’t go right. A year and a half later, I started to accumulate a large following and be known as a transparent leader in the space of online business education. I then started a YouTube Channel and my podcast. Then I wanted to experiment. I created new businesses outside of anything I was already doing, and sharing that along the way — that’s how SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, CreateaClickableMap.com, FoodTruckr.com and other sites came about. Recently, I started getting involved with public speaking. All the sites have kept growing and people have shared their success stories based off of my own experiments with me, and here I am today.

Depending on your policy, you may fall within the definition of both "total" and "residual" disability. If so, be wary of your insurer claiming you are residually disabled when you may actually be totally disabled. Fortunately, in most states, ambiguous insurance contract language is read in favor of the insured. Confused? You're not alone. Have an experienced disability attorney help you decide which steps to take.

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.)


I would consider it 50% passive because the portion that generates money from ads occurs at any time. I guess you could also view it as an upfront time investment, but now that you have a following, I’d imagine a lot of the passive portion of the earnings would still come through viewers even if you decided to take some time off blogging! Reading some of the comments here though (traffic dropoff), I guess it is less passive than 50%.


What if the manager of the Idaho investment center wants to invest $100,000 in new equipment that will generate a return of $16,000 per year? This would provide residual income of $4,000, which is the amount by which it exceeds the minimum 12% rate of return threshold. This would be acceptable to management, since the focus is on generating an incremental amount of cash.
While I don’t have any direct experience with it, I know it can be quite profitable, especially in niches where you have high profit margins and low shipping costs. Vitamins and cosmetics, for example, are two popular drop shipping industries. Anyone can theoretically start a “store” and have dozens or even hundreds of products to offer within a matter of days.
​If you pay your bills with a credit card make sure it offers cash back rewards. You can let your rewards accrue for a while and possibly put the easy money you earned toward another passive income venture! (Be sure that the card you select doesn’t have an annual fee or you might be cancelling out your rewards). Check out this list of the best Cashback Rewards Cards.
There are places online that can help you find developers, such as websites offering freelancing services similar to Upwork. These developers are willing to haggle for the costs of development, and creating a simple mobile app that generates minimal amounts of money doesn’t have to be too expensive. I’ve seen examples of apps that do the simplest measurement conversions (kg to lbs) or apps that show you the nearest parking spot generate thousands of dollars in just a few months.

Residual income is the best model for money generation. Once you master and build up one avenue, you can devote your time and money into another avenue. Eventually you start reaping the benefits of multiple residual income avenues. Enabling you to have complete financial and time freedom. I recommend to all people to build these types of asset models as they can greatly improve their life.

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.

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.
Then, at the end of three months from the date of the domain registration, I'll let you know how much the blog is currently earning. I'll share traffic stats (you'd be surprised how little traffic you really need in order to earn a decent start-up income). I'll share specific revenue stats (as much as I'll be allowed to based on the ad networks' policies). I'll tell you exactly what I did to get there. My goal is to show you that you can at least hit a three figure income in three months. Obviously I'm not aiming for $100 to just call it a day. I will do the best I can using as little as I can in a model that anyone can follow. Some general updates will be posted here just to let you know the project is still under way. I hope that teaching by example will help to alleviate some of the fears some freelance writers have about blogging for residual income. Will you be along for the ride?
Private equity funds: This is a collective investment fund that pools the money of many investors to invest in real estate, and real estate experts who have very stringent underwriting standards often run them. Keep in mind that these funds traditionally carry high investment minimums but can generate up to 20 percent of any profits earned (depending on the fund).
I wonder what the avg number of hours/week (over a year) would be for something to be considered “passive income”. To me, it’d be under an hour a week. If I was able to earn money from something with that time investment, the hour a week would be mostly a time investment in checking on things that it’s still working and setting the course back on track.
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.
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.
Residual benefits are typically calculated as a percentage of both the policyholder’s loss of earnings and the benefit that the policyholder would receive if he or she was unable to work. For example, say a worker who has a disability policy sustains an injury that prevents him from working full-time. The worker is physically able to be on the job part-time, and is able to earn 60% of the amount that he used to earn. The disability policy pays out $1,500 a month as normal benefits. The residual benefit is calculated by taking the amount of income loss (which is 40%) and multiplying it by the normal disability benefit of $1.500. The resulting residual benefit comes to $600 a month (40% x $1500).
I won't announce the blog here (I won't use an existing domain name I have so you'll be able to verify when it was registered through the WHOIS records after the experiment ends to make sure it wasn't a longer-running site). I don't want to use this blog to push traffic to the new one (or any of my other blogs). Marketing will all be things you can easily do yourself. I'll use my networking environments like forums and social media sites. I'll follow simple PR and marketing principles to build some exposure, traffic, links, and income.
I’m not saying it’s a bad life. If you can make it through the learning phase (which I’ll talk about at length later), it’s still a hell of a lot better than having a regular day job, but I don’t know anyone getting paid tons of money to do absolutely nothing. While it’s theoretically possible, I don’t think it’s a realistic objective for most people.
However, this comes back to the old discussion of pain versus pleasure. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. When our backs are against the wall, we act. When they're not, we relax. The truth is that the pain-versus-pleasure paradigm only operates in the short term. We'll only avoid pain in the here and now. Often not in the long term.
Private equity funds: This is a collective investment fund that pools the money of many investors to invest in real estate, and real estate experts who have very stringent underwriting standards often run them. Keep in mind that these funds traditionally carry high investment minimums but can generate up to 20 percent of any profits earned (depending on the fund).
In all reality, any business that involves selling a product is passive in some way. I mean, once the product is developed and created, you’re not actively creating it anymore; rather, you stand back and watch as people buy it and your bank account grows. But when you hear people talk about online passive income, they’re referring to a specific kind of business and specific kinds of products.
Blogging income is no more passive income than a writer who writes books for a living. You might get money rolling in during times that you’re not working, from income generated from the work that you already did… but you have to work to make the money. Nobody pays you during the 20-30 hours per week spent writing/researching. The money comes after the work is published. It’s definitely not passive.

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.

“Let me remind you again that when you put a book out there, you are a published author in a space where you are an expert. Your book becomes the ultimate business card, not to mention a source of ongoing revenue. Did someone say “ongoing revenue?”. Who does not need to make some extra money on a regular basis? Realize that this book will take some work to complete once, but thereafter it exists forever – working to bring you royalty checks five, ten, twenty years from now. Money will be consistently flowing into your bank account. If you write a good book that provides real value, then you realistically have a revenue stream which will bring income for decades to come.”
×