Selling stuff you’re not even using on eBay or Amazon can be surprisingly profitable.  Not only do you get tax-free income, but you can spend less on housing and utilities because you don’t have to store all that stuff anymore.  Many people that start out selling on the internet just to get rid of their junk find it is so easy they open a side business doing it.
My returns are based on full cash purchase of the properties, as it is hard to compare the attractiveness of properties at different price ranges when only calculating down payment or properties that need very little rehab/updates. I did think about the scores assigned to each factor, but I believe tax deductions are a SIGNIFICANT factor when comparing passive income steams.
Secondly – and this is just quibbling – I’d change that risk score. The risk of private equity is incredibly high and should be considerably riskier than bonds! You are providing a typically very large amount of capital to one business that you agree to have no control over, and the success or failure of that business over a locked, predefined term determines your return. And in the few deals I’ve negotiated for clients, my experience has been that there are often management fees, performance fees, etc. that may cut into your potential gains, anyway. You’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket, and promising an omelet or two to the management no matter what. You really need to be confident that you found the next Uber before you take this giant risk!
Passive income is the holy grail of income generation, allowing you to earn money on autopilot, without sacrificing any additional time to produce those funds. And, time, as we all know, is life’s greatest equalizer. No human being on earth, no matter their race, gender, creed, color of their skin, religious beliefs, net worth, occupation or geographic location, has more time than the next human being. We all have the same amount of time in a day. 24 hours. That’s it.
Peerstreet – This residual income option is slightly different, helping you earn money using real estate backed loans instead of the property itself. By helping fund the loan, you’ll earn a percentage of the interest rate charged to the borrower. Most loans are short-term, generally lasting between 6 and 24 months. You can build your own portfolio by choosing the exact loans you’d like to fund, or Peerstreet will choose the loans for you. Again, you need to be an accredited investor, although the minimum investment here is just $1,000.
The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
If you’re into antiques, for example, you could check out garage sales for hidden deals then capitalize on your knowledge to turn a profit. Perhaps you’re into video games, specific brands of clothing, or something else. Whatever it is, with a little research, it’s possible to turn your knowledge into cash with an eBay store. Best of all, you can sell from the comfort of your own home.
I would throw in some caution here: if your spouse works at the same company, or in the same industry as you, you are not diversified, and should something happen, you could be in a world of hurt.  Companies do go out of business, companies do lay employees off.  There is nothing wrong with working together, but realize that you are not diversified and you should be trying to maximize other income streams as a result.
The circular flow diagram is an abstraction of the economy as a whole. The diagram suggests that the economy can reproduce itself. The idea is that as households spend money of goods and services from firms, the firms have the means to purchase labor from the households, which the households to then purchase goods and services. Suggesting that this process can and will continuously go on as a perpetual motion machine. However, according to the Laws of Thermodynamics perpetual motion machines do not exist.[18] The First Laws says matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, and the Second Laws says that matter and energy move from a low entropy, useful, state towards a less useful higher entropy state.[19] Thus, no system can continue without inputs of new energy that exit as high entropy waste. Just as no animal can live on its own waste, no economy can recycle the waste it produces without the input of new energy to reproduce itself. The economy therefore cannot be the whole. It must be a subsystem of the larger ecosystem.[18]
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
I also like the distinctions you make about the illusion of influence. I have control over most of my investments (real estate related) and have 10% in passive index funds. But I think as I continue to diversify, I like putting it into the two buckets of (1) I control (2) no control (stock market). I like that clarity. The illusion of control does add stress and hassle that detract from enjoying your life. Not worth extra returns to me.
Hey Sam, I always enjoy these updates. Your passive income portfolio is very inspiring. I’m 26 and still have a long ways to go to reach FI. We purchased 2 rentals in 2017 in order to start building our semi-passive income. In 2018 I believe we will focus on debt pay down and putting more into our after tax investment account. Were also saving up in a MM account for the next real estate purchase.

Nice update. It’s great to see a FIRE blogger that actually uses risk management and true diversification in his portfolio, as opposed to the bogelhead 3 and boilerplate bla bla bla. It’s also nice to see someone who doesn’t have to make “all the money” as opposed to enough money. The point of buying stocks bonds debt real estate (and yes commodities) is to buy the security they provide and understand the security they provide. Security is defined as “freedom from danger”. You buy security with money but you become secure by controlling risk. Maybe at some point you could write something from the point of view of risk management as opposed to overpaying for alpha with undue risk as the currency.
For those willing to take on the task of managing a property, real estate can be a powerful semi-passive income stream due to the combination of rental and principal value appreciation. But to generate passive income from real estate, you either have to rent out a room in your house, rent out your entire house and rent elsewhere (seems counterproductive), or buy a rental property. It’s important to realize that owning your primary residence means you are neutral the real estate market. Renting means you are short the real estate market, and only after buying two or more properties are you actually long real estate.
I truly believe generating $10,000 a year online can be done by anybody who is willing to dedicate at least two years to their online endeavors. Here is a snapshot of what a real blogger makes through his website and because of his website. Roughly $150,000 a year is semi-passive income followed by another $186,000 a year in active income found through his site. Check out my guide on how to start your own blog here.
With either of these sites, along with numerous others that exist and might exist in the future, you’ll also receive things like promotional tools and the ability to ship products worldwide without ever actually having to physically make or store a product ever. This is definitely a low-cost way to generate some passive income without all the hassles of running an online store.
BUT this is long-term. For example, it took me 2 years + to get 1000+ subs on Youtube, but I never tried to monetize Youtube. I also started Patreon (Adam Fayed is creating Videos and podcasts about financial freedom and passive income | Patreon) a number of weeks ago and that will also take me time to build up. But prepared to put in the hard miles.
Hey Alison! thanks for taking the time to check out the post! I specifically outlined the post so it would follow a specific structure. This is so readers know what to expect and it helps with the flow of the piece. I’ve actually just finished up a (shortened) PDF version of the post that includes a bonus idea not mentioned here. I’ll be adding this to the post shortly! You’re right on the ebook suggestion — could easily have been made into one. I noticed that you linked to it from the millionaire blog post, thank you so much. Kimberly and I really appreciate the mention.
Or you could do joint ventures/strategic alliances for your business or for other businesses and make residual cash flow for $0 investment.. that’s what I do lol. No money, no risk, little time, 20+ years working from home. Just connect companies and take a %, use the Internet to do it locally or globally, be the intermediary & connect companies…. ;-)
Betterment – Betterment was the first robo-advisor to launch, almost ten years ago. They’ve automated the entire investing process, so all you have to do is watch your portfolio of assets grow (over the long run, of course). They do charge a .25% annual fee of your account total, so if you’ve got $100,000 that’s being managed by Betterment, you’ll pay just over $20 per month.

Build a list in a particular niche and tell them stories. Create a bond. Build a relationship with them. It's important. Then, when you've created a bit of culture, start marketing affiliate products or services to them that you think they might like. Just be sure that you personally vet out whatever it is that you're selling to avoid complaints if the product or service falls short.
I’ve obviously been experimenting with this one.  While this blog may not be exactly breaking records for income, it does bring in money, and hopefully, more as time goes by.  There are plenty of full-time bloggers out there supporting families on nothing but website advertising income.  I know several bloggers making $1000-3000 a month from their blog.

I’m feeling inspired! I’ve been a PT for 19 years and I feel I have so much experience to offer but have been so intimated by starting a blog. I also subscribed to Michelle’s website but wasn’t sure it was for real. Is it for real? After reading this I feel like it’s time to take the plunge, I need to start a blog, I have so many ideas and even course ideas. I want to get away from the paperwork that plagues our healthcare system but not leave the field so the blog just might be the answer. I’ve been a landlord for 15 years now, great investment for sure, renters paid for the down payment of our house and should hopefully help pay for our kids college. I’d love to have one more! Thank you for the inspiration, wish me luck with my blogging!
I have not. While I am intrigued with the possibility of making online income, it seems to be less passive then how I want to spend my time. Regarding your blog / site, you have done quite well for yourself. However, you have to keep pumping out content or your site would eventually go out of business. That sounds like more of a commitment then I would want. Regarding your book sales, it is probably relatively passive now, but certainly was not when you were writing the book. Now if you love it, great. Just not for me.
As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short-term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.

Blogging is still going to take work starting out. That path to $5,000 a month didn’t happen overnight but just like real estate development, it build up an asset that now creates constant cash flow whether I work or not. I get over 30,000 visitors a month from Google search rankings, rankings that will continue to send traffic even if I take a little time off.


Whoah – I haven’t read an entire post this long in awhile. That’s how hooked I was. It took me 5 income streams before I became a Millionaire. I now have 11 and it’s fascinating to see which ones are now generating the highest ROI 5 years in. My side digital marketing business is by far my most profitable, but also requires the most of my time. I have finally started automating 4 of these streams (websites I bought) and it feels great to make money not doing anything – well I do have to make sure that my credit card doesn’t expire on my hosting account! I really like your blog – just found it on the Rockstar Forum. I’ve added it to my regular readers. Looks like your crushing Pinterest – where do you make your images?
I have only dabbled in drop-shipping before when I had an eCommerce platform 6 years ago or so. I think it is something that you could do on the side, but you would want to do in depth research on the industry you want to get into before setting up shop. It may be a little less passive up front, but over time you could take your hands off the wheel.
The thing is, I’m not talking about buying brick-and-mortar buildings. I tried that many years ago with my father-in-law, and with devastating results. We tried to buy a duplex once, and the deal fell apart after we realized we weren’t really prepared for the purchase. I secretly wanted to become a landlord, but at the same time, I knew it wasn’t for me.
Let’s use Jim from our personal finance example. Jim’s furniture manufacturer builds tables and has several large pieces of equipment in the sawmill used to re-saw logs and boards down to the finished dimensions. The sawmill has net operating revenues of $100,000 for year. The saws in the mill cost Jim a total of $500,000 and he is currently earning a return of 10% in his wholesale table business. Thus, he sets a minimum required return of 10 percent.
My personal finance blogs were started with $100, but you can start a blog with $20 if you buy hosting on a monthly basis. That’s 4 Starbucks coffees or 4 packs of cigarettes many paycheck to paycheck people do find a way to buy. After six months of HARD work, my first site started generating $2,000 a month, and today, those three sites generate over $5,000 a month, while all I have put in was hosting for $100-ish every year each, and a website redesign for under $1,000 after three years. Freelance writing and translation jobs are also a sizable part of my income that did not require any upfront investment. Investing $10 a month in index funds is also a realistic way for many to build yet another income stream.
Ebooks, which can be published through sites like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, are an increasingly popular option. Because these books are self-published, the process is quicker, allowing you to build residual income faster than the traditional publishing route. Whether it’s a romance novel or a how-to book on fly fishing, you can create a book and have it available for purchase in a matter of weeks.
Passive income is the gap in my financial plans at the moment. I started investing nearly 2 years ago but I’m so close to the beginning of that journey that I don’t quite see it as making income yet. I’ve been better with employer pensions and they’ve grown a really good amount over the last 12 months, but I won’t get my hands on them for a long time yet.
This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at Money Smart Life - Money Tips for a Better Life: How and Why I Became a Landlord.
Consider the example of a business owner whose desk had a useful life of seven years. How much the desk is worth at the end of seven years (its fair market value as determined by agreement or appraisal) is its residual value, also known as salvage value. To manage asset-value risk, companies that have numerous expensive fixed assets, such as machine tools, vehicles, or medical equipment, may purchase residual value insurance to guarantee the value of properly maintained assets at the end of their useful lives.
Hey Alison! thanks for taking the time to check out the post! I specifically outlined the post so it would follow a specific structure. This is so readers know what to expect and it helps with the flow of the piece. I’ve actually just finished up a (shortened) PDF version of the post that includes a bonus idea not mentioned here. I’ll be adding this to the post shortly! You’re right on the ebook suggestion — could easily have been made into one. I noticed that you linked to it from the millionaire blog post, thank you so much. Kimberly and I really appreciate the mention.
We pitched to an angel investor group. They were very excited about the idea but wanted to know who amongst us (doctor, accountant, salesman) was doing the coding. When they heard we were outsourcing it, the wind went out of their sails immediately. They did want to meet with us again once we brought a coder on board but that person proved elusive to find. Coders in our area are looking for the steady paycheck, not willing to gamble on a startup.
The more residual income you can build, the better off you’ll be. In fact, it’s said that the average millionaire has 7 different streams of income. By creating passive income streams that generate money while you sleep, you’ll build wealth faster and diversify the ways you’re able to make money – which helps protect you from the loss of any one individual income stream.
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