The original version of Barbara Winter’s book, Making a Living Without a Job, came out in 1993, and in it, she recommended creating multiple "profit centers," as opposed to building a single income stream. Over ten years later,  Robert Allen, the real estate entrepreneur, also wrote a couple books promoting the idea of multiple streams of income. Back then, building more than one source of income was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Fortunately, things have changed today. The Internet has made it easier, faster, and more affordable to generate multiple income streams.

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.