There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
Renting out a space room on AirBNB is really easy and their site handles the advertising, payment and feedback system. The process of having your site advertised is quite passive, but having someone in your house has similar risks to real estate investing, that makes it quite hands on. It is worth considering if you are rattling around in a large house, or have a granny-flat that is vacant.
Where blogging requires frequent, less-lengthy content, a book can be something you work on for months at a time and publish it for sale. And it can become more than just passive income. In fact, UK author Mark Dawson makes close to half a million dollars a year from self-publishing his books. On a smaller scale, Joseph Hogue makes about $2,000 per month writing and self-publishing financial books. If these guys can do it, anyone can.
Even if each patron only contributes a very small amount each month, it can still be a huge source of income. Take a look at the Patreon page for Kinda Funny, an internet video company. They have over 6,209 patrons which means an average of just $3 a month would be a monthly income of almost $19,000 – plus they get cheerleaders that are always happy to spread the word on their brand.
In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.
What happens when you grow so fast that you start to saturate the population. This has happened to several Facebook app developers. They experience very rapid growth, and then suddenly the growth dies. Andrew Chen has written a great blog post about this: Facebook viral marketing: When and why do apps “jump the shark?”. (Side note: I don’t believe that the equation that Andrew puts forward for simple viral growth is correct, as it assumes that the entire population will continue sending out invitations at each viral cycle. However his work on saturation of the population is very relevant for highly successful viral apps.) In case you are interested in where the term “jump the shark” came from check this out: Wikipedia: Jumping the shark.