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Resources for Generating Passive Income
What is Passive Income?
There's a lot of talk these days about making money online and earning passive income, but what exactly is that? What's the definition of passive income?
As I define it, passive income is income that you earn without being actively engaged in its generaton. A good example might be a guy who owns a vending machine. He has to occasionally load goods into the machine (and extract the money, of course), but the majority of the time he is generating money in a hands-off fashion. In short, the owner only has limited participation in the generation of revenue. This is slightly different from residual income, although many people - myself included - use the terms interchangeably.
With residual income, you are usually referring to some sort of work done up-front, but which keeps on producing income without any additional effort. An example might be music royalties. After you write a song, you will continue collecting royalties from it (as long as it produces) without any additional work on your part. Residual income, then, can be seen as a type of passive income.
Bearing this in mind, there are some great options out there with respect to residually and passively earning income.
Make Money Online with WebAnswers
For those who are unfamiliar with it, WebAnswers is a site where you can get paid for asking and answering questions. I am generally pretty high on WebAnswers because it's the place where I first started generating earnings online - just a week after signing up - and I still do fairly well there every month. (You can see how my earnings there rank up against those from HubPages at HubPages vs. WebAnswers: An Earnings Comparison.) The only knock against WebAnswers is that participation on the site does affect earnings; while you don't have to participate everyday, going too long without participation will cause your earnings to drop significantly. In that sense, it is not truly passive income. Still, I include it because it is a quick and easy way to get started earning, and - while you aren't likely to get rich from it - you can make respectable money from the site rather easily in my opinion.
Earning Passive Income with Articles, Hubs and Lenses
After WebAnswers, one of the easiest ways to produce passive income is via article writing. There are plenty of aticle submission sites where you can post your content and get paid. For instance, InfoBarrel.com is such a site. With an impressive 75% revenue-sharing, I sincerely believe that InfoBarrel is a great place to get started writing, although my personal success there has been limited. (You can observe my progress at Infobarrel on my hub Comparing Earnings from HubPages and InfoBarrel.)
Squidoo is a site where you build individual webpages known as "lenses," each of which focuses on a specific subject. This can be seen as an extension of article writing, although you are allowed to do a lot more, such as insert polls, quizzes, etc. Squidoo has 50% revenue-sharing via a program that includes, among other things, AdSense and Amazon.com. You can find out more by visiting Squidoo.com. (Actually, Squidoo is no more - R.I.P.)
Needless to say, HubPages is a great venue for earning passive and residual income. It's similar to Squidoo in that you build discrete web pages - "hubs" - on select topics. In fact, many people (myself included) are signed up with both HubPages and Squidoo. However, I have had far greater success with Hubpages. In fact, after WebAnswers, it is the site where I have been earning the most. If you haven't done so already, you can quickly and easily sign up at HubPages.com
Earn With Dividends
In another hub, I refer to dividends as the "Granddaddy of Passive Income Streams." This is because dividends - which have been called the original passive income investment - are essentially what this kind of income is all about. You do a little work upfront (in this instance, buying the stock), and then kick back and collect dividend checks from now until doomsday - or as long as you hang on to the stock.
As you can see by visiting Getting Rich With Dividends, investing for dividend income can be quite lucrative. (By way of example, $1000 invested in Wal Mart roughly 30 years ago would now be worth about $183,000 and would be paying you $4400 in dividend income every year.) Moreover, if you want to see some real-world examples of how ordinary people have done with this type of investing, visit Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Got Rich and You Can,Too. You'll be surprised at how much a little invested now can turn into.
Finally, if you can stand a wee bit of risk, you'll be shocked at how much you can earn Making Money With Stock Options on a monthly basis. In brief, the stock market offers some excellent opportunities to earn income.
Publishing Your Own Books
One of the purist forms of passive and residual income is book publishing. You do all the heavy lifting up front in terms of writing your book; afterwards, you merely collect the royalties as your work sells.
Moreover, self-publishing - whether in e-book or hard copy form - is shockingly cheap these days, and can be done with almost no out-of-pocket cost via services such as CreateSpace (Amazon's publishing arm), Lulu.com or Smashwords. Books are printed and shipped on demand, so you don't have to deal with any of the traditional headaches of self-publication, like keeping inventory on hand to fuill orders. So, if you've ever wanted to write the great American novel, now's your chance.
Use Social Bookmarking to Promote Your Content
An important resource to utilize for your passive income efforts is social bookmarking. This will help you to promote - as well as build traffic (and hopefully an audience) for - your content. There are numerous sites that can help in this regard.
RedGage is an absolutely wonderful site for several reasons. First of all, it lets you promote and backlink lots of content: blogs, pics, articles, and more. In addition, you also earn passive income based on views of your posts. Moreover, RedGage also offers other ways to earn, such as the Redgage Daily Contest. (I actually won $25 on two occasions in the Daily Contest, which put me up an additional $50 on top of everything else I was earning from the site.) In short, there are a lot of positives to be had from joining; you can find out more by visiting Redgage.com.
For sheer convenience, it's hard to do better than OnlyWire. This automatic bookmarking service lets you post to up to 48 social media sites (e.g., Twitter, Delicious and more) in one fell swoop, thereby saving you hours of time. You can find out more at OnlyWire.com.
You can find out more about these and other social bookmarking and backlinking services at How To Get Hundreds of Free Backlinks.
Other Resources to Help Earn Passive Income
While they won't actually make money themselves, there are lots of other resources you can utilize that will greatly assist your online income-producing efforts.
Dragon Naturally Speaking
I have mentioned Dragon Naturally Speaking in several of my other hubs (e.g., Gadgets and Devices That Will Save You Time and Great Gifts for High School and College Graduates.) That being the case, it's probably quite obvious that I think a lot of this technology, which is voice-recognition software that types as you speak, among other things. (See the video below.) This will undoubtedly save you immeasureable amounts of time in the generation of online income, and since they say that time is money - well, you can figure out the rest.
Summary and Some Practical Advice
As you can now see, there are plenty of resources avilable for you to use with respect to generating passive income. In fact, there are a lot more out there than what I've listed here (for instance, you can Earn Great Passive Income With A Vending Machine Business), and I doubt that any single list will contain them all. However, maybe that's a good thing.
The truth of the matter is that you aren't going to be able to take advantage of every option available to you when it comes to earning online. For instance, I noted a couple of sites related to article-writing, but there are probably hundreds of them - possibly even thousands. You can't write for all of them, though. Heck, you probably can't write for more than a handful before you're spread too thin, and not having much to show for your efforts. Basically, from my point of view, you need to pick 3 or 4 sites and work with those. That will give you diversification - you won't have all your eggs in one basket, so if one site goes down you're not starting back at zero - without spreading yourself so far and wide that you miss out on the synergies created by having a generous amount of content on a single site.
In short, you've got to find that balance between resources that work for you and allow you to optimize your talents for producing income.
(If you are interested in finding out more about what I am personally doing in this arena, please visit the Passive Pursuit of Income Blog.)