One of the day dreams of many people, especially internet marketers has been the four hour work week, where one just spends their time managing their business or method of income overall and then watches the money flow in to their bank account. Then all one does the rest of the time is spend time with family or girlfriends, go on a vacation around the world or just spend time lazily in the living room, guzzling tea. At the same time there are also skeptics who brush away such thoughts and will ask you to stop day-dreaming and instead focus on your day job, getting promoted and get the pay-check at the beginning of every month. A day job is certainly good to have but it does not mean that one should not take risks. Remember the gold entrepreneur quote: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”. Coming back to the main topic of discussion in this article; I decided to come up with a list of passive income streams that I could think of or aware of. The next step would be to analyze how to make them possible in your life. The list give below is not exhaustive and also not in any particular order.
Huge Bank Balance;
If one is lucky to inherit wealth like a huge bank balance, jewels and land, then it makes for a passive income stream. Very few people are lucky to inherit such an amount that they need not work anytime during their life time. For example, a huge amount in your bank fixed deposit will ensure that you get compound interest which can also help beat inflation and thus prevent your net purchasing power from eroding due to the increase in the cost of living over a period of time.
If one had managed to build a house or buy a flat (or a couple of them) using money earned from their day job or their business, then they can earn without doing work by just letting them out on rent. All one needs to do is walk up to the rented property on the first week of every month, collect the rent and deposit in their bank account. In the shorter duration the amount of rent paid can fluctuate and go down but in the longer run it will keep increasing. Thus money earned from rental income is a truly passive form of income.
Website or blog advertising revenue;
One can toil hard to create a website or blog having substantial content so that it can be deemed as an authority source of information for that particular topic. Then one needs to get it to rank in search engines or let it happen automatically. Once this is done, all one needs to do is put up advertising using programs like AdSense and earn money from it. One can also promote affiliate programs and build opt-in lists but that would require more active work. If one is clever to build such a website which can earn a lot by just showing ADs, then it will quality for a passive income stream. A little but of work will be still required; one needs to add more content to keep the website fresh and up to date. But the way to go about this will be to have other experts write the content by paying them a good amount of money from the overall income that you receive. I am pretty much sure that there are many who have made their fortunes by doing this.
Online eCommerce store selling digital goods;
E-Books, software, info products etc. are all types of digital goods. They can provide passive income because once you create them and set up an online store for selling them, you can be assured of passive income (provided they sell). Order processing, customer support is minimal because unlike physical products which needs to be delivered offline, digital products can be delivered immediately after the payment is made, as a download. One still needs to spend some time creating newer versions of the product (software) and advertising but this would qualify for a passive means of making money because very less day to day work is required.
If you are an artist, author or inventor and have the rights for intellectual property or copyrighted material, then you can get royalties whenever one uses them or buys them. For example, if you are an author who has written a popular book, you can get paid by the publishing company for every purchase made. It also stands good for pop artists (songs), movie producers, inventors etc.
If you are running a web forum on a popular topic, it would make for a more passive income than a blog because newer content would be created by members themselves. However it is hard to create the initial content required for the forum to get kick started. One needs to invest a lot of time & honest effort to coax people to become regular visitors, register and start posting. After it begins to pick up, you will need to find good moderators who can delete spam or useless posts. This can take as much as two or more years. However once your forum reaches a state where it can run on its own, all you need to do is have an overall eye on the administration of the forum and pay the hosting space bill. One can earn using advertising, membership sections and also sticky links.
Owning shares or other forms of investment;
Shares, mutual funds that have been bought when they are before IPO but go on to become multi-baggers and evergreen stocks can give passive returns on your investment. Though this is riskier than the other streams mentioned above, there are some people who have become millionaires because of their investment at an early stage in companies, especially on Fortune 500 company shares before they became one. The dividend amount received would itself give multi-fold returns because the company had grown since then and the amount of dividend can even be many times the price for the share that you paid originally.