We’ve discussed how to get started building passive income for financial freedom in a previous post. Now I’d like to rank the various passive income streams based on risk, return, and feasibility. The rankings are somewhat subjective, but they are born from my own real life experiences attempting to generate multiple types of passive income sources over the past 16 years.

Vanguard: Vanguard has a minimum of $50,000 and a fee of 0.3%. Rebalancing is done automatically once every quarter and tax loss harvesting is done on a client-by-client basis. We included Vanguard because clients who invest between $50,000-$500,000 have access to a team of financial advisors. Those with accounts over $500,000 will have a dedicated advisor.

Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.
@moxie1956 Thanks for sharing your experience with CashCrate.com. That’s certainly disappointing to hear that you weren’t able to make the $50-$75 a month that I expect. Maybe they are just going through a seasonal downturn or something. Like I mention above though, the real money with Cash Crate comes in the referrals. Find a way to consistently refer a large amount of people to the site.

Every successful business has an automated sales funnel. Yet, so many businesses are completely unaware of the power of an effective funnel. Sales funnels provide automation in the sales process. They help you build a relationship with your audience and develop a bond with the consumer. There are plenty of tools you can use to build a sales funnel, but the world's most successful businesses often create custom-coded funnels.
Rent out a room on Airbnb. Living near a tourist area has its perks, including the prospect of renting out a room for a profit. With home sharing sites like Airbnb, you can rent out a room in your home – or even the entire place – for a day, a week, or longer. If you have extra space and might enjoy the company of travelers, renting out a room is great way to earn some extra money with little effort on your part. See our post, “How to Make Money as an AirBNB Host.”
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.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
eBay is, of course, the biggest and most popular auction and shopping site out there. You pay a small insertion fee to list your product (starting from 10 cents) and a small portion of the selling price (10%) if your item sells. Currently, insertion fees for your first 50 listings per calendar month are free. Also, if you are planning to sell on regular basis, you may want to consider setting up an Ebay store. Among other things, this will allow you to list your products at reduced rates.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
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).
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.
I recently stumbled on the Trim app and I have to say, this one is a game changer. It’s a simple app that acts as your own personal financial manager. Once you link your bank to the app, Trim analyzes your spending, finds subscriptions you need to cancel, negotiates your Comcast bill, finds you better car insurance, and more. And of course, the app is free! My bet is that it will only take a few days for Trim to put an extra $100 in your pocket. So easy!
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.

If this is the first time you are hearing about this, though, then we actually do not recommend trying it. The average skill level of players on the Internet has improved so much over the past few years that it’s virtually guaranteed that a new player will lose money over the medium to long-term. But hey, Ben made upwards of 6 figures playing online in poker in college, so we had to list it. 🙂
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