Flynn, who blogs at Smart Passive Income and discusses his secrets at the Smart Passive Income podcast, defines passive income as “building online businesses that take advantage of systems of automations that allow transactions, cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence. We don’t have to trade our time for money one to one. Instead, we invest our time upfront, creating valuable products and experiences for people, and we reap the benefits of that time invested later,” he says, adding, “It’s not easy. I just want to make sure that’s clear.”
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Real estate crowdsourcing allows you to surgically invest as little as $5,000 into a residential or commercial real estate project for potentially 8 – 15% annual returns based off historical data. Such returns are much better than the average private equity, CD, bond market, P2P lending, and dividend investing returns. With P2P lending, borrowers can sometimes default and leave you with nothing. At least with real estate crowdsource investing, there’s a physical asset that’s backing your investment.
I use a property manager to handle my rental properties. Most months, my only involvement is checking my bank account to verify I received my checks, then making a payment to the mortgage company. If you don’t have enough money to buy a rental property, you can get started investing in real estate by buying a REIT stock or investing through platforms that let you buy a partial interest in a building.

Finding an outstanding development team is critical for success. Don’t just go for the lowest and cheapest price. You need a balance of budget and quality. From personal experience, I’ve had the best luck with developers from Romania. That is my number one pick. When you post a job on Upwork.com, everyone will be promising you world. Do not fall for a development team that does not have good feedback and return clients. Return clients are one of the most important. This means their client was willing to return to them for more work after their job finished! That says something.
That strategy seems waaaayyyy less risky than actively picking stocks of supposedly “reliable” stocks that issue dividends, which could be cut at any time due to shifting industry trends and company performance. Dividend investing feels like an overly complex old-school way of investing that doesn’t have a very strong intellectual basis compared to index investing.

Passive income differs from active and portfolio income. However, despite its name, passive income doesn’t always mean you can sit back idly while you earn money. In fact, the IRS also includes in its definition of passive income as “net rental income” and sometimes self-charged interest. This means to begin earning passive income, you’ll need to invest some time and/or money at least at the start. Because the IRS still views it as income, that means passive income is subject to taxation.
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.
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.
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Lending Club went public in 2014 and is now worth about $1.7B. They advertise P2P lending returns of over 7% for well-diversified portfolios of over 100 notes. I’ve personally been able to achieve a 7.4% annual return over the past two years in a completely passive way by investing in A and AA notes. Others have achieved a 10% annual return through relatively minimum effort.

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.
Ebooks are one of my favorite sources of passive income. Now, you can do this the simple way and just publish it on Amazon's KDP. Or, you can go all out and build yourself a book funnel. Book funnels are powerful, but they won't be fully passive. For example, if you do a free-plus-shipping offer for your ebook (converting it into a physical book), you'll need to create some one-time offers (i.e. extra training) and up-sells (i.e. an audiobook). But, a book funnel can be very powerful.

If you’re looking for an investment that offers a seamless user experience, real estate crowdfunding is your tool. Companies like RealtyMogul.com connect investors to debt and equity investment opportunities online, without the hassle of dealing with large banks or financial institutions. The online functionality appeals to all skill levels, from first-timers to veteran investors. In just a few clicks, investors can access the best real estate deals.
From what he describes, creating passive income definitely does not sound easy. It requires a serious ramp-up -- often requires 80- to 100-hour workweeks in the beginning, says Flynn. But once up and running, and depending on the content, some sites take fairly minimal maintenance. Green Exam Academy, the LEED exam study site he launched in 2008, takes just him four to five hours a month to maintain but brings in $250,000 annually.

If you’re worried about launching a new product, and think you might need some feedback to make it really good, Flynn recommends “pre-selling” an idea — for instance, offering a limited number of spots or seats into, say, a course you create and giving the test group specialized attention so you can see how to improve the content. Once it’s revised (or, if it’s software, once all the bugs are removed), you could open it up to your whole audience.
Truebill is an app that helps you save money by identifying recurring subscriptions and other bills and helping you cut costs by negotiating better rates and fees. One of their partnerships is with Acradia Power, which has the potential to save you up to 30% on your electric bill. It searches for better power rates in areas where competition is allowed, and it locks in the better prices for you.
For purposes of item (1), above, an item of deduction arises in the taxable year in which the item would be allowable as a deduction under the taxpayer's method of accounting if taxable income for all taxable years were determined without regard to the passive activity rules and without regard to the basis, excess farm loss, and at-risk limits. See Coordination with other limitations on deductions that apply before the passive activity rules , later.
After these tenants move out, I'm thinking of just keeping the rental empty with furniture. It sounds stupid to give up $4,200 a month, but I really hate dealing with the homeowner association, move-in/move-out rules, and maintenance issues. Given that the condo doesn't have a mortgage and I have to pay taxes on some of the rental income, I'm not giving up that much. The condo can be a place for my sister, parents, or in-laws to crash when they want to stay in SF for longer than a week or two.
Self-publishing belongs firmly at the top of any passive income ideas list. Amazon, with Kindle Direct Publishing (electronic version) and CreateSpace (print on demand version) dominates the self-publishing world. It’s both good and bad. Good in that they’re quite generous with their commission rates (usually 70%). Bad in that they can change their policies at any time to be less favourable for authors and there is nowhere else for us to go. That’s not entirely true. There are a few other options, but none of them are as good as Amazon!
There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 
Sharon, you missed my point completely. If you feel you need $8000/month to live the life you want, and you get that $8000/month through passive income, you may feel financially free for a few months. However, next year, you’re not going to be wanting $8000/month + 3% inflation; you’re going to be wanting $16,000/month. This is greed 101. It’s normal. It’s natural.
Friends and family like to ask me, “I have an app idea. Do you have any advice on the best approach?”. There are a number of ways to get from point A to point B. I’ve had a few rough experiences going through the growing pains of developing my first app. Those experiences saved me a lot of time and money in the future. I’m here to share with you my top 5 tips to successfully make app passive income.
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Sharon, you missed my point completely. If you feel you need $8000/month to live the life you want, and you get that $8000/month through passive income, you may feel financially free for a few months. However, next year, you’re not going to be wanting $8000/month + 3% inflation; you’re going to be wanting $16,000/month. This is greed 101. It’s normal. It’s natural.
What about getting hit with AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) in cases your passive income / capital gains are too high? I’m not that familiar with the details of AMT, but I got hit with AMT one time due to an “exercise and hold” of ISOs (stock options). My CPA explained it’s another method of calculating my tax liability, and in cases I gain too much capital gains, the IRS may treat and tax them as ordinary income.
This one may seem simple, but that’s only because it is. If you were to move your savings from a traditional, brick-and-mortar bank with a low-interest rate and into a high-yield savings account online, over time you can make a surprising amount of extra cash. Online banks are FDIC-insured just like the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, so your money is just as safe.
Most credit card companies offer sign-up bonuses to entice you to open a credit account with them. As long as you don’t spend money just to hit the minimum balance and always pay your balance on time, this can have a minimal impact on your credit score while earning you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars a year. Some of the best travel credit cards offer 100,000 points to new accounts when you meet reasonable spending requirements.
For tax years beginning after January 24, 2010, the following disclosure requirements for groupings apply. You’re required to report certain changes to your groupings that occur during the tax year to the IRS. If you fail to report these changes, each trade or business activity or rental activity will be treated as a separate activity. You will be considered to have made a timely disclosure if you filed all affected income tax returns consistent with the claimed grouping and make the required disclosure on the income tax return for the year in which you first discovered the failure to disclose. If the IRS discovered the failure to disclose, you must have reasonable cause for not making the required disclosure.
Finance was concerned that notwithstanding protective provisions in the law to safe guard against this tax deferral, professionals and other groups were using corporations exclusively for the purposes of gaining this benefit. This platform of concern for politically correct fairness and equity however did not address the fact that the after-tax profits of a corporation distributed to the individual are subject to a second layer of tax when the individual is paid a dividend from the company. As such, when Ms. Shareholder ultimately receives a dividend from the CCPC of its retained earnings, she will have paid a combined corporate and personal tax of approximately 56%, which is about 3 points higher than the top marginal rate applicable to individuals. The objective of the second layer of tax is to achieve what historically was called the principle of integration.

This passive income tax benefit is to account for the perceived loss in value associated with aging assets. If for nothing else, homes depreciate in value everyday in the eyes of the IRS. This is a way for homeowners to make up for allegedly lost capital. However, and this is the real kicker, while homes may depreciate in value in the eyes of the IRS, properties actually appreciate more often than they depreciate. More often than not, the loss never actually occurs. Homeowners are therefore able to take advantage of deductions without their asset depreciating. It’s almost too good to be true.
While reading a very interesting book recently about the conquest of the Northwestern Territory (it’s Ohio, not Oregon for those of you who aren’t history buffs) I realized that the founding fathers of the US were all unabashed capitalists. Washington, Hamilton etc all held title to huge tracts of land West of the Appalachians that they had been speculating in for decades. Forming the US Army (a standing army was a big deal to a people who at the time equated a standing army with tyranny) and conquering the Iroquois was, in at least some respects, about profiting on their investments. While WCI readers probably don’t have any plans to conquer other nations, the real point of all this financial stuff we talk about on this blog is to turn yourself into a capitalist as quickly as possible. While capitalism has its issues, it’s still the best economic system we’ve found yet.
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.
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