During my first year as a financial advisor, I got a small base salary. After that, it was up to me to figure out how to find and retain new clients. Fortunately, I quickly learned how to market myself, meet new people, and set myself up for success. And over time, I made the connections I needed to grow my base of clients, earn a real income, and produce the type of results my clients wanted.
Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. With his wife Holly, Greg co-owns two websites – Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. The couple has also co-authored a book, Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @ClubThrifty.
I also noticed that in your passive income chart at the bottom that you don’t include your internet income other than sales from your book. Is there a reason for that? Do you not consider is passive because you are actively blogging all the time to create it? Or do you just not want readers to know how much money you generate from blogging activities?
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.

What spurred this blog post was an idea put forth by my friend at ESI Money in which he talks about how the first million is the hardest. ESI shares how his net worth growth has accelerated. The first million took 19 years of work (the clock starts when he started working, not at birth!) but the 2nd million took just 4 years and 9 months. J Money took this same idea and started at $100k, which took him 7yrs 11mos. Each of the next $100k milestones took close to 18 months each to reach.

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One of the easiest ways to get exposure to dividend stocks is to buy ETFs like DVY, VYM, and NOBL or index funds. You can also pay an algorithmic advisor like Wealthfront to automatically invest your money for you at a low fee. In the long run, it is very hard to outperform any index, therefore, the key is to pay the lowest fees possible while being invested in the market. Wealthfront charges $0 in fees for the first $15,000 and only 0.25% for any money over $10,000. Invest your idle money cheaply, instead of letting it lose purchasing power due to inflation. The key is to invest regularly.
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.
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I found this to be a fascinating and most helpful book. It was so motivating I'm already working on three new streams of income, and about to start a fourth. Forget net worth! Cash flow is much more important, particularly if you're retired. Only one slight criticism of the book. It's a bit dated, but those few parts make little difference to its overall value. If you're currently struggling with how you're going to survive after you retire, try Allen's approach. It will open your eyes.
Passive income differs from earned income and portfolio income in a variety of ways. Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income. Examples of passive income include rental income and any business activities in which the earner does not materially participate during the year.
Thanks for the great article…although I have to point out many of the items listed are not passive but active, such as selling bodily fluids, writing blogs or resumes, and collecting bottles and cans. To be truly passive, the income source must require no effort on your part (after initial setup). Real estate, dividends, P2P lending…these are truly passive income sources.
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.
The underlying idea is that investors require a rate of return from their resources – i.e. equity – under the control of the firm's management, compensating them for their opportunity cost and accounting for the level of risk resulting. This rate of return is the cost of equity, and a formal equity cost must be subtracted from net income. Consequently, to create shareholder value, management must generate returns at least as great as this cost. Thus, although a company may report a profit on its income statement, it may actually be economically unprofitable; see Economic profit. It is thus possible that a value deemed positive using a traditional discounted cash flow (DCF) approach may be negative here. RI-based valuation is therefore a valuable complement to more traditional techniques.
It is interesting to note that these models, like EVA and MVA, usually apply the concept of residual income to the measurement of managerial effectiveness and executive compensation. However, for the exam we're most interested in the equity valuation applications of residual income models. Residual income models have also been proposed as a method to measure goodwill impairment.
The appeal of these passive income sources is that you can diversify across many small investments, rather than in a handful of large ones. When you invest directly in real estate, you have to commit a lot of capital to individual projects. When you invest in these crowdfunded investments, you can spread your money across many uncorrelated real estate ventures so individual investments don't cause significant issues.
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 most underrated thing and the BEST part to me is; that hard earned traffic is given to you for FREE, people already know about Amazon, but people don't know about your website/blog/etc. There's easier ways to get more exposure with your product. You can rank your product on page 1 pretty easy and doing so will make your product viewed by hundreds of thousands of purchase ready customers. I started with little experience and I'm pulling it off, I'm sure you can do this too. If your interested I can show you how to start an Amazon business, and what I personally do to grow it. https://youtu.be/YVmbeyGObAk
Varolo is an advertising campaign that allows major corporations (like Coca Cola, Lysol, and others) to reach their target audiences with a high return on investment. Major corporations are desperately trying to find new ways to advertise to people as the newspaper continues to decline in demand and in an age of DVR. Varolo is the newest opportunity that actually pays you, the one being advertised to, to watch their advertisements. You can join the campaign and earn a little extra spending money by viewing and rating commercials and even trailers for major motion pictures. While the trick is to devote 5 to 10 minutes of each day rating what you see, you should also be motivated to invite others along through Facebook, Twitter and other social media so that you can increase what you profit each week.
Depending on how hard you work to recruit others, you can earn a little or a lot. But you must put in the effort before you can reap the reward. Use the following link to watch a short introductory video and sign up. You will be given an option to either click “User” or “Advertiser” when you follow the link below. Most people will choose “User”. Good luck!
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
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.

After employment, I think that most individuals gain income diversification through investing.  It is important to look at why we invest: because at some point we plan on using this money for something.  For most, it is saving for retirement, and the investing is done through vehicles, such as a 401(k) or IRA.  But investing is not just about stashing money away for a rainy day – that is what an emergency fund is for.  Investing is about having enough capital to generate income.
Quick story: Remember that $1.18 I found in the couch? Even when that increased to $30 to $50 a day, it still wasn’t enough to live on. So I looked for other options. In August 2008, after people started to know who I was and how I could help them pass the LEED certification exam through my blog, I wrote an ebook. It included all the information I knew about passing this exam, and I sold it on my blog for $19.95.
I hope I can reread this and maybe may have to do it again but when I do I then I have questions- I would love for someone to be able to work with me who’s at rock bottom with extreme poor financial choices and still continues to go through a terrible vicious cycle. Currently I do have a secure full time job with many benefits however been on medical leave this year and falling behind – Christmas is around the corner and I can’t even handle back school! I have two savings accounts that I can’t save in and a checking account overdrawn – desperate need of help – you think come out of this hole and by next year and 1/2 can save that $80,000 – but I am in despair – pride to side – please consider charity case till money starts coming back in
First: I understand why you would say that such investments are restricted to only accredited investors, because generally, that’s true. There are means, under federal securities regulations and Blue Sky laws in each state, to sell interests to non-accredited investors – but usually those means are so heavily regulated and involve disclosures so similar to cumbersome registration requirements that it is not worth it for the seller to offer to non-accredited investors.
Do you know of a successful business that needs capital for expansion? If so, you can become something of a small-time angel investor and provide that needed capital. But rather than offering a loan to a business owner, you instead take an equity position in the business. In this way, the business owner will handle the day-to-day operations, while you will act as a silent partner who also participates in the profits of the business.

Agree with primary residence. I have done the spreadsheets for renting, owning, stocks versus real estate, and it always comes out in favour of real estate by a huge margin, especially home because of leverage and tax free capital gains (but it will depend on the city). I am 100% in stocks in my portfolio, which provides cash flow for travel and is still growing. If we have a big crash I am okay with my rental and pensions and selling stocks for travel until the market recovers.
The best resource for publishing your ebook would be through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. Clearly, Amazon is the leader when it comes to digital book sales. However, be sure that you do the proper research before trying to publish an ebook and ensure that your topic has a big audience, but that it’s not too big. You don’t want to get lost in the fray.
If you’re curious about my own streams of income, I encourage you to check out my income report for an in-depth look. For now, though, I will tell you that I’m currently at twelve streams, beginning with my day job as an anesthesiologist, and ranging from crowdfunding to owning an apartment building, and to this very blog. Ultimately, having these multiple streams of income has proven to be invaluable to me–not only because of monetary value but because they allow me to live the life I want, and I feel I have a hedge against whatever the future might throw at me.
When I purchase an existing online business, I look for cash flow over the past year and where the money comes from. I want the sources to be more passive so that it does not take a lot of my time. Also, typically I will make an offer that is 18 – 24 months of profit so that I know that I will get my money back within the next two years. I hope that helps!

There is also an idea that we should work to build a passive income asset and then sit on the beach relaxing for the rest of our lives. The truth is that most people would get extremely bored with this scenario and will be eager to find something to do. That’s why the world’s billionaires continue to work… they love what they do and it stopped being about the money a long time ago.
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