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.”
The best time to start investing is when you are just starting out with modest savings. The reason for this is the magic of compound interest. Compound interest is when you earn money on a deposit (a percentage that varies depending on the type of account), and then you earn more interest on that interest from the initial deposit, and then this process keeps continuing for 10, 20 or 30 years until your money has greatly increased in value!
Index funds are a type of mutual funds that provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is based on the S&P 500 Index. This allows you to stay completely passive for generating income. Your money will be invested in the stock market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investment options, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy shares of individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
“I don’t believe the overnight success exists. There’s a lot of hard work and time involved beforehand,” say Flynn. Angry Birds may have seemed like an overnight success but it was the 52nd game that Rovio created. Flynn says it took him a year or year and a half to build audiences for his most successful sites. (Read these time management expert's tips on the work habits of successful people.)
One great way to generate a passive income is through affiliate marketing. Now, this does depend on the size of your list. Yes, size matters when it comes to your list. Especially if you're looking to make some serious money and do it on autopilot. But, list-building takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. And you need to add value to your list or you become obsolete.
Lending Club is a platform where you can lend your money to other people. You’re the bank. Each note is only $25, so you can invest $1,000 and lend money to 40 people. There are many grades of loan (from safest to riskiest) and investors earn, on average, between 5% and 7% annualized returns. For more information, check out Investing and Making Money with Lending Club Peer-to-Peer Lending and my real money Lending Club Portfolio.
Everyone already knows about Amazon and it's become one of the first places people visit if they need something though. No one needs to introduce you to Amazon and Amazon really doesn't need those YouTube links and what not to drive traffic to them. It would've made sense when it was just launching, but I see little reason for Amazon to be paying for an affiliate program when they're one of the largest (if not the largest) ecommerce sites out there.
In addition to an extra income stream, residual income allows you to diversify your revenue sources. Instead of relying on your standard paycheck, you’re earning money through the royalties of an eBook or the sales of an online course. Diversity of income gives your overall financial portfolio more security and depth. Similar to passive income, residual income gives you more financial stability, flexibility with your lifestyle, additional retirement savings, and a more robust financial standing.

Of course, it takes a long time to build up the business before it becomes a good source of passive income. However, this is not as difficult to be successful as an affiliate as you might think, since there are hundreds of companies in the world who want to sell their products through this effective channel. It is always best to select the product or services in the domain you are either very interested or is highly relevant to your blog / website.


Keeping an accurate record of expenses and income is important for any business owner. However, accounting is not a skill everyone has (or enjoys.) Bookkeepers can integrate affiliate links into their packages, or work with a company like Xero, that has a partner program. Thought the details of these partner programs vary, often a service provider receives credit when a client signs up for an account and grants access to the service provider. Greencloud Bookkeeping features buttons on their services page showcasing their partner programs. You can learn more about becoming a bookkeeper here.
Being able to generate passive income largely depends on your audience, and if they detect that you care more about making money than serving them, you won’t succeed. “Whenever I’ve seen people do something just for the money, they’ve failed because their intentions aren’t driving them in the right direction. It should always be about helping people and about the passion of making others feel better. The byproduct of doing that is generating money,” says Flynn.
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.
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.
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