I’ve been a bit reluctant to write about this. I’ve already included a message on my news bar on the top as well as announced via Facebook, but still I am sure many don’t know. So here it is:
This blog has over 9,000 readers that are subscribed to it via RSS. If you are one of them and if you haven’t heard yet, Google Reader is SHUTTING DOWN on July 1st.
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The last option is the best as it ensures we can stay in touch no matter what happens to RSS readers that we have no control over.
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When I unsubscribed from several blogs that I used to read, this was exactly my attitude. Guess what? I have not been back to those blogs and years have gone by.
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As always, thank you for your ongoing support. This blog is steadily growing and nearing 10,000 RSS readers.
I couldn’t do any of this without you.
Today I want to talk about my top 5 passive income streams. Without getting head deep in defining what is passive income or if there’s even such a thing to begin with, I want to list my top 5 income earners in order since this is a question that I get quite a bit.
This list is in order of passive income streams that generate the most profits for me to the least. Note that I mentioned profits and not merely revenues. That is because some of these passive income models have a heavier cost structure, diminishing the bottom line profits.
I generate most of my passive income through web properties, specifically niche websites. What I like best about internet based businesses is that the barriers to entry are little to non-existent. Moreover, the start-up cost is bare minimal. In fact if you already have existing web properties (and thus hosting services), your start up cost is a mere $7-$10 spent for the domain name acquisition.
Currently I blog and manage several niche websites in my portfolio. What I like about this passive income model is that I can establish several streams of income within each web property. For example, I generate income from private and public advertising, affiliate commissions, lead generation, sale of my own digital products, etc.
I also like the fact that as each properties cash flow increases, I have the opportunity to sell the property as a passive income producing asset, resulting in significant cash infusion. I have sold a few niche websites in the past for a five figure gain on sale. My biggest success resulted from the six figure sale of my e-commerce website back in 2007.
Despite the number of web properties I maintain, of all my passive income streams, internet based income models take the least time and attention, and are the easiest to manage.
A healthy portion of my passive income comes from the investment of capital as well. I have retirement accounts, regular trading accounts, fixed deposits (CDs) and investments in small scale hedge funds that generate profits. Unlike profits from web properties however, I let the profits from stock market activity remain and compound within their accounts. Some accounts such as retirement accounts leave me with no option but to keep the funds in there until I retire.
Unlike web properties, stock market investing requires money to make money, and often comes with a much higher exposure to risk because I cannot personally control the outcome of companies I invest in. That said, stock market investing is still one of the more lucrative passive income streams for me, especially portfolios structured for aggressive growth and generating long term income.
Dividend investing however is something I am only now learning about in depth and plan on building a portfolio of dividend stocks on my own. Aside from the few speculative picks, all my portfolios are now professionally built and managed (not necessarily recommending this is the best route).
Investing in real property is one of my favorites because real property is something that is tangible which I can see, touch and feel. I also see it as a vehicle that provides real value to another human being. As a landlord, I feel that I am an important member of the community who provides quality housing to tenants in need. Real estate is also an excellent hedge against inflation over time.
In the stock market, one can trade on margin (debt/leverage) up to 50% of their portfolio value. In real estate, leverage can go much further, in some cases 100% or even more if you can draw a line of credit on the built in equity in an undervalued acquisition.
While I do not trade on margin in the stock market, I certainly acquire real estate on heavy leverage. I like this passive income stream because I feel I have more certainty and control over the outcome of my performance. There are also significantly more tax advantages involved in real estate investing compared to the stock market.
Real estate investing is relatively hands off for me as I have property managers who maintain my properties. But with all that said, my passive income profits from real estate investing are less than the profits from the stock market because there is a much bigger cost component to real estate such as mortgages, personal notes, taxes, association dues, assessments, property management fees, ongoing repairs, maintenance, etc.
I do enjoy the positive cash flow from my real estate portfolio each month, but more importantly the equity buy down, property appreciation and tax benefits. I have not evaluated real estate investment holistically versus investment in the stock market and it is an exercise I plan on taking on one of these days. It would be interesting to realize whether the stock market is truly more lucrative for me compared to real estate. I have a very strong feeling the results will be close.
Because I am a diversity freak, couple with the fact that I love my community, I decided to purchase a small brick and mortar business a few years ago. I bought an undervalued business with the hope of turning it around and selling it at a significantly higher value.
The business had its struggles initially, mostly due to my lack of diligence, but has since gotten on the fast track and is doing quite well for me. I was initially active in the business but it is now under competent management that allows me to wash my hands off it. Steve – thanks to you and team if you are reading this.
The reason this passive income stream is on the bottom of the list is similar to real estate investing, there is a relatively large cost component involved in running a brick and mortar business such as a massive rent amount, utilities, salaries, etc. Nonetheless, the business earns me a nice chunk of passive income on an ongoing basis.
I’ve had a chance to invest in a few start ups in the last few years in the capacity of a small scale “angel” (not through open market stock acquisition). I now consider this a passive income stream because these businesses started to generate some returns for me last year in the form of “dividends”.
My overall goal from these investments however is not so much cash flow as it is appreciation of capital from either company valuation or an acquisition. I might cover these topics in the future depending on how the investments shape up and whether the discussion fits the scope of this blog.
Well there you have it, my top 5 passive income streams. I do have some active income streams I selectively embark on such as consulting projects and corporate training.
Those gigs are far and few in between however. I prefer spending my time enhancing my existing businesses and contemplating additional passive income ideas.
I have several other passive income ideas that I have been contemplating, many of which fall under one of these buckets but other passive income models that are completely new to me. I will update you on my progress as I learn and implement some of these in the near future.
I like what I do because of the diversity I am able to create. In the example of internet based businesses, I am able to establish multiple streams of income within each existing stream.
Readers: What about you, what are your top passive income streams? Are you in the process of developing any? What is it that you’d like to experiment with more?
I apologize that this post is a few days late, but I had some last minute family trips come up.
I am also working on my first iPhone Application experiment which tied up some of my time last week. I will be talking more about that project as it unfolds (yet another opportunity to establish a passive income stream).
But here it is, the fortunate four winners of the previously announced contest have been selected. There were a total of four free giveaways:
As I mentioned before, this giveaway had been long due. I launched my blog just over 18 months ago and since then have hit several milestones way beyond my expectation. Thank you.
The success of this blog has been made possible by you, and I plan on hosting similar contests in the future as well. Please accept this gesture as my way of giving back to the Extra Money Blog readership.
I cannot emphasize my appreciation for your continued support and participation in all ways, shapes and forms, whether through comments, personal emails, Facebook Likes and Twitter Tweets. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for being part of this small community.
This is the only time I will be announcing the winners publicly on my blog. All future contests and winners will be announced via email. I hope you continue to stay subscribed and participate in future contests.
I also have big plans for my email list. Till now it has simply been another way to update you of new content on my blog. But stay tuned for some really cool developments that I am very excited about. I will be segregating my list based on your personal interests so you only get information that you are highly interested in.
I will then incorporate Feedburner’s “blog updates by email” feature so that you can subscribe to blog updates via RSS or email based upon your personal preference. By doing this, you will no longer have to be subscribed both via RSS and email, but still have the opportunity to be part of an email group for a very targeted subject matter.
Everyone on any one of my email lists will be notified of future contests and winners.
Why do this?
This blog is a blend of a variety of topics that discuss expedited wealth building through entrepreneurship and personal finance. And although the end goal is to speed up the wealth building process, preferably through passive and residual income streams, there are many paths of journey one can take.
Through some surveying I’ve conducted, the 6,500+ readers of this blog have varying interests. I don’t want to annoy everyone with everything. I’d rather provide you with information you are specifically interested in and are looking for. Make sense? What do you think of this approach?
At the end of the contest period, my VA compiled a spreadsheet of all the participants and the number of entries they accumulated. There were around 1,000 entries total.
Once I was provided with the spreadsheet, I randomly selected a handful of participants and counted their entries and matched it back to either their emails to me or the comments they left on the blog. I did this to reasonably ensure the accuracy of the spreadsheet.
Once comfortable, I went to Random.Org, a really cool program that randomly selects a number based on your inputs. I can think of so many uses for this program.
Anyway, I input the numbers and the program gave me the following results: 43, 672, 311, 19
I started with the fourth prize and worked my way up to the $1,500 cash prize. Each winner was re-entered for an opportunity to trade up. In other words, the winner of the Gift Card had the same opportunity to win the $1,500 cash later in the drawing.
I matched the numbers provided by the program to the rows on my spreadsheet, and selected the winner that was on that particular row. Here are the lucky winners:
A Big Congratulations to all the Winners! I will also get in touch with you via email to arrange the logistics.
I am disappointed that the initial winner I selected for the Apple iPad 2 was rejected for falsifying the number of entries they had earned. I am glad I audited each winner to ensure they really did what they said. This took some extra time, but it was worth it in an effort to be fair to all participants.
I am also disappointed because there were a few individuals I was really cheering for to win who didn’t. I really wanted these individuals to win because they have really gone out of their way to support the Extra Money Blog.
I couldn’t resist, so I will personally reach out to a handful of you with a surprise 🙂
Thank you for your extraordinary support. You know who you are.
As you likely already know, I make most of my income online through various projects outside of this blog. And although I spend most of my time working on this blog, it generates the least amount of profits for me.
But that said, it has already surpassed all of 2011’s profits in just the first 3 months of 2012. Again, thank you!
Here are some of the things cooking on my end this year:
Establishment of an SEO Firm – This is probably the biggest development going on with me. Over the years I have managed to get several websites, both my own and of others, on the first page (many on the first spot) of major search engines.
During this time I have established several relationships with “experts” in their specific skill sets, as well as have trained several individuals (full time and part time virtual assistants) on specific on page and off page SEO methods that have and continue to work very well.
I have also declined several offers from professionals and businesses over the years who have approached me to help them with their online presence.
Thanks to the launch of my blog, 2011 was a very opportunistic year for me. The blog became a mechanism through which several individuals with similar experiences as I got in touch with me, and after several months of discussion and “scoping”, we have collectively agreed to establish an SEO agency, a small Web 2.0 firm that will help other businesses establish and strengthen their online presence.
There will be a total of three partners in the firm, all US based, and we will pool our existing resources (roughly 22 individuals based in the US, Philippines, Russia, India and Indonesia) who have complimentary skill sets that together complete the SEO firm’s capabilities.
My vision is to establish a business model that can eventually become relatively hands off for the partners and at the same time be able to help professionals and businesses on a much larger scale than each one of us can do individually.
I enjoy the “client interaction” aspect of business, and I don’t mind it at all. I want to set it up so that the partners focus on business development, while our back-end team focuses on the execution. Each client will get monthly status reports with key indicators that they are interested in monitoring (i.e. rank change over time, traffic, conversions, etc).
That said, there will be quite a bit of work involved up front establishing the foundation. I am looking forward to upcoming the travels and training opportunities.
Another example of how taking action can lead to opportunities. Although the blog itself is not a highly profitable entity, it can (and in this case did) lead to all sorts of other opportunities.
What do you think of this initiative? Is there appetite for this offering in your opinion? At what price point will YOU be willing to outsource your SEO and ongoing link building work?
iPhone Application Development – A random idea came to mind while working out at the gym. It stemmed from discussions around me when I realized that I always hear the same type of stuff being asked and discussed. And because everyone seems to have a smart phone at the gym they use to listen to music, I thought why not develop an application that addresses those questions on the spot using a smart phone?
This is my first time getting involved in application development, and I am looking forward to all the “fun” in the process. Similar to what I have done with eBooks over the years, application development can also be a similar opportunity to establish multiple passive income streams over time.
I will talk more about this as the app evolves.
Publishing More eBooks – I met two “experts” in their respective fields between last year and earlier this year and have persuaded them to write eBooks for me on their specialties. They have agreed to a one-time payment in exchange for full rights to the eBook. I plan on launching these in the summer.
eBooks are one of my personal favorite methods of building passive income streams. You can read more about the entire eBook creation to distribution process here. This initiative is consistent with my goal of establishing at least three additional income streams each year.
Sale of My Niche Sites – I have been approached to sell a couple of my niche sites, one of which I have previously declined multiple times. Both offers are in the five figure range. I am contemplating the offers, but so far it does not look like I will be accepting either.
I plan to discuss the offer to purchase my site in detail in a future post.
Speaking of more niche sites, I established three new niche sites just over a year ago. Yesterday when looking at the Adsense account I had set up for these, I will be getting a check of over $5,000 in April from these three sites (I tend to lump three niche sites into each account/legal entity/company). This will be the highest earning month for these three.
Development of 2 More Niche Sites – When Google announced where the Adsense revenue to be made is, I started exploring some targeted areas and found two pretty good niches where the Adsense payout potential is tremendous. These niches have a relatively healthy search demand and mediocre competition.
I really think I can carve out my space in these niches, but time will tell as you don’t really know how successful a niche site can be (in spite of the numbers) until you launch it. Given my approach to niche websites, this initiative is also consistent with my goal of establishing incremental passive income streams each year.
I plan to discuss these in more detail in upcoming posts.
I Accepted a Large Consulting Engagement – Last year I was invited to speak at an entrepreneurship meeting at a top ten university. A marketing exec of a small company approached me after the meeting to discuss internet business and we stayed in touch since. The company has big plans and hopes to go public next year.
They have engaged me for a consulting project starting this fall. I will be working with their marketing and soon to be formed e-commerce department to define, design and implement a web business strategy, where the focus will be on establishing a solid web presence and leveraging the various internet marketing platforms with the overall goal of establishing a solid and long lasting organic presence online.
But this is not passive income? I understand and I usually decline more consulting offers than I agree to. However this is one of those engagements that has far more long term benefits (both monetary and more so non monetary), thus although I will be paid good money for my time, my motive is far more than just money.
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All kinds of cool stuff planned for 2012, but now that I’ve documented it I feel like I may have taken on too much 🙂
My wife and I are traveling to London and Paris this spring, followed by several weddings in Michigan, Toronto and New York. I also have week long trips scheduled for Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. At the end of the year, we will likely be in India and Dubai. Good luck Sunil!
Again, congratulations to all the winners, and to everyone, thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to hosting more giveaways in the future.
Your thoughts, comments, suggestions are most welcome?