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.
1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
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.
When I started building my architecture-related business in 2008, I made my first dollar through advertising. I’d spent a lot of time and money building the site and getting traffic. Then one day I threw an ad on the site one day, and I made $1.18. Sure, I could find that much under my couch cushions—but that’s not the point! The point is that I was able to build something online, put an ad up, and make money without having to do anything. I learned it was possible, and it motivated me to move forward.
I live in NYC where I never thought buying rental property would be possible, but am looking into buying rental property in the Midwest where it cash flows and have someone manage it for me (turnkey real estate investing I guess some would call it). I agree with what Mike said about leverage and tax advantages, but I’m still a newbie to real estate investing so I can’t so how it will go. I have a very small amount in P2P…I’m at around 6.3% It’s okay but I don’t know how liquid it is and it still is relatively new…I’d prefer investing in the stock market.
I’ve never invested in real estate (except to live in), but am always intrigued by communities like FS who seem to have such a passion for it. My intrigue stems back to my earlier comments that the long term trends in appreciation in real estate are simply not very competitive versus equities, despite what Robert Kiyosaki had to say in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
The second form of residual income, passive income, is often a vital part of wealth creation. There are only so many hours in each day, and when a person trades hours for dollars, there is a maximum amount of income that person can earn. For instance, if a person earns a specific amount each hour, there is a limit to how many hours are available to work. Once they reach that maximum amount of time, they cannot earn more money.
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.

Do you know the importance of “Residual income”? Let this sink in for a moment or two; The average millionaire has at last three streams of income and I can guarantee one of them is residual income. But, what’s the big deal? Well, this is capitalism we are talking about. It only really matters if you’re perhaps an entrepreneur and pondering the thoughts of truly making it big. Even if you’re simply trying to make a few extra bucks online, monthly recurring (residual) income is definitely the way to go. Check it out!


This is perhaps one of the most talked about methods of earning a passive income. Essentially, you advertise for others through inserting a link in forums, through social media, and of course through your own site. There are several software packages available for purchase, including Google Adsense, Bing, and Yahoo.  These types of ads can be used to attract consumers of a particular gender, age, and individual interests.
What a great article . I have seen my mother and stepfather ride the roller coaster of MLM for 20 years and it was feast or famine even if you are one of the best salesmen in the world like my step father and con man Sherman Unkefer. One of the best examples is Xango that was a super huge juice craze that preached the residual income lie. Most all of the Xango heavy hitters in the day are long gone after the juice craze fizzled(no pun intended). I was privy to the Xango statements as a beneficiary of my moms trust and it was a continual nose dive in so called residual income . And another thing that they don’t tell you in MLM is that you have to constantly recruit recruit and recruit new members to keep the income flowing . Unkefer worked 80 plus hours a week to try and keep new suckers coming in. That is why the life long MLM hucksters are like Vampires, they constantly need new blood(victims) so they can keep living. These are some of the most evil sick people out there. Trust me I have seen it all.
We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.
When withdrawing money to live on, I don’t care how many stock shares I own or what the dividends are – I care about how much MONEY I’m able to safely withdraw from my total portfolio without running out before I die. A lot of academics have analyzed total market returns based on indices and done Monte Carlo simulations of portfolios with various asset allocations, and have come up with percentages that you can have reasonable statistical confidence of being safe.
This is perhaps one of the most talked about methods of earning a passive income. Essentially, you advertise for others through inserting a link in forums, through social media, and of course through your own site. There are several software packages available for purchase, including Google Adsense, Bing, and Yahoo.  These types of ads can be used to attract consumers of a particular gender, age, and individual interests.
Investing in rental properties is an effective way to earn passive income. But it often requires more work than people expect. If you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable venture, you could lose your investment and then some, says John H. Graves, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles area and author of “The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement.”
Well written piece, but I question the core premise. Why the fascination with maximizing “income” (passive or otherwise). Shouldn’t the goal simply be to maximize long-term after tax growth of your entire portfolio? If this takes the form of dividend paying stocks, so be it. But what if small caps are poised to outperform? What if you want to take Buffet’s or Bogle’s advice and just buy a broad market index like the S&P 500, (no matter what the dividend because you’ll just have it automatically reinvested to avoid the transaction fees).
Hello from the UK! Fundrise and Wealthfront are only available to US residents it seems :(. Any other readers from the UK here? The only thing I have managed to do from Sam’s list is getting a fixed rate bond (CBS is having a 5-year fixed rate at 2.01% – not great but the best I could find ). Don’t know if the FIRE movement will ever take off here but would love to trade tips/ideas on how to reach FI and have the freedom to consider alternative rythms to living.

Mike, I don’t consider the income from FS to be passive, as I’m spending time commenting to you right now. But since 75% of my traffic comes from search, the most traffic I would probably lose is 25% for probably a year. And then my search word rankings would probably slowly fade given frequency of posting new content is one of the search algo variables.
We are going to start with 1.5 years of all spending needs in cash. We will draw 1800 to 1900 per month. We will add to this from the index funds by taking a portion of the gains in good years to supplement. This is the total return portion of the equation. Obviously, if stocks decrease drastically over a 5 year period, then I would have to reload by selling some of the ETF holdings.

Residual Income equals net income minus opportunity cost. So in the stock trading example, your residual income is $4,000 minus $6,000 or negative $2,000. As you can see, an investment can produce negative residual income even if it helps your money grow . A negative residual income means that you could have done better by another, risk-free approach. Some analysts refer to residual value as Economic Value Added. If your residual value is negative, you are not truly adding value with what you are doing.

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This is an important concept in personal finance because banks typically use this calculation to measure the affordability of a loan. In other words, does Jim make enough money to pay his existing bills and an additional loan payment? If Jim’s RI is high, his loan application will have a greater chance of being approved. If his RI is low, he will probably get rejected for the loan immediately.

I actually spent a year and a half working as an affiliate marketer (mostly selling drumming related products – lessons, kits ect). 5 years on and one of my one page sites (which I’ve not touched) still nets me about $150 a month. I won’t be retiring off that but only really now appreciate the reverse pyramid approach to entrepreneurship (working for nothing initially but later being paid without effort!)

Investing in rental properties: Another form of real estate investment, rental investments (i.e. becoming a landlord) could steer you down the passive income path of steady monthly rent checks that you can use to pay off a mortgage loan on the rental property. After the mortgage is paid off, those monthly checks go right into your bank account -- potentially for years to come. 
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In many instances, a business project consumes far more resources than meets the eye. Assume you are running a dog grooming business from the first floor of your two-family house and that your daughter is helping you over the weekends. The business is making $50,000 per year and you want to know whether this represents a positive or negative residual value. In this case, you must deduct from $50,000 all opportunity costs which include the money you would make if you rented the first floor of your house to a business; how much you plus your daughter would earn if you invested the same amount of time and effort into a regular job; and how much the total assets owned by the business would return every year if they were sold off and the cash proceeds were held in a bank account.
One of the reasons starting a blog is such a draw for people these days is the ability to generate “hands off” money. We are all longing to get out of the rat race. We want to travel, volunteer at our kids’ school, have time to do the activities we truly love instead of sitting in traffic on the way to and from work. And blogging can help make that happen.
Track Your Wealth For Free: If you do nothing else, at the very least, sign up for Personal Capital’s free financial tools so you can track your net worth, analyze your investment portfolios for excessive fees, and run your financials through their fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator. Those who are on top of their finances build much greater wealth longer term than those who don’t. I’ve used Personal Capital since 2012. It’s the best free financial app out there to manage your money.
Plenty of online marketplaces exist to sell web design, writing, and other common skills. But one marketplace in particular, People Per Hour, allows you to sell a well defined service. For instance, if you studied interior design, you could set a fixed price to design someone’s studio apartment. The marketplace is great and allows you to be more creative with what you can offer based on your actual background.
I just can’t seem to get my head around creating my own online product. When you talk about it, you make it sound like its mostly just about putting in the time and plugging away at it. Problem is I can never seem to come up with any ideas for a site or product that seem remotely unique or compelling or that I have any special knowledge about. The stuff I do know about is pretty commodity type knowledge that can mostly be found on thousands of sites on the internet already. Any tips on discovering what your “unique angle” is? I mean, you have a pretty compelling and somewhat unique personal story of working on wall street and then walking away at a young age.
Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
Charge a monthly or annual fee to offer members access to exclusive advice or products. Sell your expertise through exclusive podcasts, offering live FAQ sessions through Skype, or forums. You may want to try selling a monthly subscription to allow users to sample new products, similar to a book club. Frequent interaction increases interest and helps build membership through word-of-mouth.
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I own several rental properties in the mid west and I live in CA. I have never even seen them in person. With good property management in place (not easy to find but possible) it is definitely possible to own cash flowing properties across the country. Not for everyone and not without it’s drawbacks, but it seems to be working for me so far. I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience with this type of investing.

Mobile apps are made to help make lives and tasks easier, to develop skills, or to entertain. There are all kinds of apps catering to different user profiles. With almost every individual owning a smartphone or an android gadget, you can make a lot of money by developing and selling your own mobile app. As this article shares, “If you can come up with something unique, you can make quite a bit of money. Simple – yet unique – apps can be pretty passive.”


Investing in a business: Another good way to generate passive income is to invest in a business --even a small one -- in return for a percentage of the profits - just like Shark Tank, only smaller. Lending $10,000 to a local business that, for example, is working on a mobile app for Apple phones could lead to a passive income-generated share of the profits when that mobile app starts selling like hot cakes.
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.
P2P lending is the practice of loaning money to borrowers who typically don’t qualify for traditional loans. As the lender you have the ability to choose the borrowers and are able to spread your investment amount out to mitigate your risk. The most popular peer to peer lending platform is Lending Club. You can read our full lending club review here: Lending Club Review.
Anthony, nice setup! To your question about the rental mortgages, you haven’t said what interest rate you are paying. As a start, if you are paying more than the risk free rate (Treasury bills) which you probably are, then a true apples to apples comparison would be yes, pay off the mortgage. But, if you are comfortable taking more risk, you have other options to invest in which you *hope* will yield you more over the coming years. You also didn’t say whether the rentals generate net income and if so, how much? What is the implied rate of return on the equity you have invested in them? If you pay the mortgages off, you’ll have even more equity tied up, will the extra net income make that worthwhile? Maybe you should use the money to buy more rentals instead, if purchase opportunities still exist in your town. … this is less of an answer than a framework to analyze the decision, hope it is helpful.
“There is no such thing as 100% passive income,” says Flynn. “Even with real estate you still have to manage your properties, or even with the stock market, which is potentially passive income, you still have to manage your portfolio. With online business, there is no such thing as 100% passive income — and this is coming from a guy with a blog called SmartPassiveIncome.com. The definition of passive income is ‘building these businesses of automation,’ but in order to keep them automated and keep that trust going with your audience on top of that, you do have to keep it up every once in a while — so a lot of time upfront and a little time after. But there is alway time involved.”

My esteemed marketing colleagues initially balked at the idea of creating products that generate royalties, so I can understand how creating something from nothing might be daunting for those who aren’t even in creative roles. However, realize there is this enormous world out there of photographers, bloggers, artists, and podcasters who are making a passive income thanks to the Internet.
Dividend investing is right up there for sure. You don’t have to charge $48. You can charge <$10 to boost sales. The internet has enabled so many creatives to publish their works at a low cost. People will surprise themselves if they try to create like when they were in school. The other reason why I have Creating Products edging out dividends is because of the much higher POTENTIAL to make a lot more money. For example, $20,000 a year in book sales requires $570,000 in dividend investments to replicate the same amount. Plus, there is capital risk. With book sales, there is a correlation with EFFORT, and you are not beholden to the whims of the markets.

What I find most interesting is the fact that I had never considered options like LendingTree or realityshares for other income sources. Investing in property has been too much of bad luck for people that I know personally, so I am interesting in getting involved in a situation where I would have to be dealing with maintenance issues or tenants. There are services for you to do that, but I had not come across any that didn’t eat most if not all of the earnings. Then again, I live in the NY area. Investing in the midwest would not be reasonably possible for me, directly, but reading about realityshares is something I am going to look into further. That might be a real possibility.
“[T]he stream of continuing payments that are earned by Brad and/or Karen from the commissions (current and future) earned by the brokers within a book of business. Residual income arises from all sources of income relating to or derived from an identified book of business, including commissions earned by the brokers within that identified book of business from any source whatsoever.”
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