If you are successful in creating a viral model with very short cycle times, watch out for what can happen. Several companies that have been lucky enough to achieve this have been shocked by the enormous need to scale server capacity. Fortunately with cloud computing offerings such as Amazon EC2 and S3, it is easier than in the past to scale on demand.
Income-generating assets are another of many passive-income opportunities. A classic example is making money in real estate via owning rental properties. It can seem perfect: You buy an apartment building or house, rent it out, and then sit back and collect checks every month from your tenants. The reality isn't always so rosy, though. For one thing, you'll need to maintain and repair the property, as well as paying taxes on it and insuring it. It may not always be occupied, either. You may have trouble finding tenants, or finding tenants who pay their rent reliably. Some tenants may damage the property, and others may be hard to get rid of. You'll be the one they call in the middle of the night if the roof is leaking, and you'll have to clean and perhaps freshen up the property between tenants. You can outsource much of this to a property management company, but it will take a cut of your income, often about 10%.
Old Spice conquered this type of marketing in 2010 with their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign which included a series of humorous videos. This viral marketing example received 55M views, their YouTube channel grew exponentially, and sales grew 55% in the first three months after the campaign. The success of this campaign was mainly due to their humor which people everywhere could understand and found funny. Humor is not the only emotion that companies can rely on to turn their marketing campaign into a viral one. Love, unity and fear are just a few of the other emotions that viral marketing campaigns have relied on to get noticed.
On paper, it may seem easy to invest in real estate and earn the rent as passive income, but in a practical sense, it is often difficult to translate this investment into income. Identifying the source which will generate a stable passive income is probably the biggest challenge you might face. You may require external help. Most activities that generate passive income, like starting a blog or selling items on Craigslist or eBay, can end up taking so much time that they aren’t really “passive” activities anymore.
I’ve built several businesses since 2008 using one or more of these models. I’ve been featured in magazines and articles across the globe, and since I started my journey I’ve generated over $5M in earnings from these businesses. All of my income and expenses for those businesses dating back to October 2008 have been tracked publicly on SPI.com. You can see 10 years of income reports here.

This campaign is a great viral marketing example of where the benefits must outweigh the cost as those against Nike’s messaging started to post videos of them destroying their branded apparel and refusing to support the company again. If you are planning on taking a side within your viral marketing campaign make sure you measure the benefits and costs as it could involve you losing customers and ultimate money in the long run.
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
But you have to admire the virus. It has a way of living in secrecy until it is so numerous that it wins by sheer weight of numbers. It piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase its tribe. And in the right environment, it grows exponentially. A virus doesn’t even have to mate. It just replicates again and again, doubling with each iteration.
Another kind of dividend to collect is from real estate investment trusts, or REITs. They're companies that own real-estate-related assets, such as apartments, office buildings, shopping centers, medical buildings, storage units, and so on -- and they are required to pay out at least 90% of their earnings as dividends. They aim to keep their occupancy rates high, collect rents from tenants, and then reward shareholders with much of that income. If you're interested in real estate as a way to make money, check out these examples of REITs to consider as investments:
While you’re setting up your new income stream, keep in mind that there truly is no such thing as free money. You’ll feel even more satisfied with the reward knowing what it took to get there. While there’s no one magic trick to getting passive income to work for you, with so many different methods, there’s surely one option that will fit your situation and skill set. Set up your passive income stream today to start making money, free up time and set yourself up on the path to financial independence.
Buy vending machines and put them into areas that receive high levels of foot traffic. The investment cost is high, but from then on it is a matter of restocking the machines as needed. If you are able to find success with your first machine, there is nothing stopping you replicating it many times over. This business model is very passive, but the high start up cost and low potential for super profits holds it back in my opinion.

Diversify safely but DIVERSITY. You do not need to get the best and highest return all the time. If so, you are not earning passive income you are earning active income which is taxed differently (see IRS.GOV passive -vs- active income definitions). As an investor you do not need to be chasing ‘the almighty dollar’. This is a losing proposition. Make the dollar come to you.
Question: You mention receiving $200k of passive income a year, but your chart shows half of that coming from real estate holdings, and reading between the lines it appears that you hold mortgages against those holdings. Then you conclude that $200k/yr of passive income should be enough to live comfortably anywhere in the world. So are you subtracting your real estate expenses (taxes, insurance, mortgage payments, maintenance, remote property management company fees, etc.) when you report your passive income from those properties? Really I think it’s the net (after taxes and everything) that tells us what is left over to “spend” on living, right? When I set up my spreadsheet to retire early at age 47, I calculated the after-tax income I would need to live. Then I compared that to my income streams (estimating tax on the taxable income streams) to measure the surplus/shortfall. Also some good advice from GoCurryCracker: If you can minimize your taxes so you’re in the 15% tax bracket, you can possibly receive tax-free long term capital gains. I agree with your philosophy that time is more important than money as we age. I am not sure I agree with a philosophy that is fixated on needing such a large income, and would rather minimize taxes if it’s all the same on the happiness meter. Furthermore, having 20 plus income sources in the name of diversification adds stress and requires more management (TIME!). I think this is fine for those of us while young, as we have the energy to work hard. But as time becomes more important, the extra headache of managing, planning, and buying/selling our assets becomes a resented hindrance on par with the resentment we felt when working for an employer and fighting traffic each day to go to a job we hated. Every thing we own in actuality owns us, by virtue of its demands on our time and affections, and that includes investments. It also includes our home, and is a good reason for downsizing. As long as we have food on our table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our bodies, what more do we need? I think we need to consider freeing ourselves from the weight of the chains of managing too many ventures. Personally, I plan on investing in no more than 5 simultaneous ventures ever, with the exception of some IRAs that I just plan to let sit for the next 20 years (and therefore no thought or anxiety required).
Another way to wring income out of stocks, even if they don't pay dividends, is to buy stocks that you expect will appreciate in value over time and then, when you need income, sell some shares. If you have a fat portfolio of such stocks when you retire, you might sell some shares every year to create a cash stream for yourself. Studying and choosing the stocks that will perform very well for you is easier said than done, though, so if you don't have the interest, skills, or time to become your own stock analyst, consider simply investing in a low-fee broad-market index fund or two, such as one based on the S&P 500. Here's how much you might accumulate over several periods if your investments average 8% average annual growth:

If you know anything well, a place, how to fix something, how to make something, how to do something, you can write a guide for it. You can sell your guide as an e-book, offer it as a download for a fee on your site or reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask if they will offer it as a paid download on their website (for a price of course).


Crowdfunding, the process of pooling dollars from a large population of people to fund a larger project, has significantly increased in volume over the past several years. According to Statista, $34.4 billion was raised in the United States through crowdfunding in 2015. In 2012, this number was $2.7 billion. That number continues to trend upward as new crowdfunding options become available.

Let’s say that you sell motorcycle parts. You may find that your customers like videos showing motorcycles in action on Instagram and Facebook, part review videos on YouTube, articles about the latest technology on Twitter, and GIFs made from your Instagram and Facebook videos for Imgur and Reddit.  In short, you’ll need to make some videos to get your products embedded into viral content.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Selena Maranjian owns shares of Amazon, Costco Wholesale, National Grid, Realty Income, and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, eBay, National Grid, and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale, Lowe's, The TJX Companies, and Welltower. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Companies may also be able to use a viral video that they did not create for marketing purposes. A notable example is the viral video "The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments" created by Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of EepyBird. After the initial success of the video, Mentos was quick to offer its support. They shipped EepyBird thousands of mints for their experiments. Coke was slower to get involved.[75]
When money is lent to a partnership or S-corporation acting as a pass-through entity (essentially a business that is designed to reduce the effects of double taxation) by that entity’s owner, the interest income on that loan to the portfolio income can qualify as passive income. As the IRS language reads: "Certain self-charged interest income or deductions may be treated as passive activity gross income or passive activity deductions if the loan proceeds are used in a passive activity."
But first, let’s about talk passive income! What is passive income? There are many different definitions out there, but mine goes something like this: Passive income is all about building online businesses that can work for you, that allow you to generate income, and grow and scale, without a real-time presence. In other words, you don’t trade time for money. You build something up front that can continue to work for you over time.
I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂
I really enjoyed how you listed all of the reasons to build passive income streams as well as the framework. You also made an interesting point about freelance writing on how the more skilled writers want to keep posts for their own website. Good insight because freelance writing is something I’ve been looking into for income recently. Also, it’s amazing what you’ve been able to accomplish with your blog over the past 6 years. It’s so motivational to see the success of Financial Samurai. I’m not in a place to afford any consulting, but, I wish I could pick your brain or get mentored by a successful blogger such as yourself…Not trying to blow smoke lol. It would just be so great to have someone who’s done it provide guidance around the direction of the blog, ways to earn, and on the general concept. Always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing :)
A good portion of my stock allocation is in growth stocks and structured notes that pay no dividends. The dividend income that comes from stocks is primarily from S&P 500 index exchange-traded funds. Although this is a passive-income report, as I'm still relatively young I'm more interested in building a large financial nut through principal appreciation rather than through dividend investing. As an entrepreneur, I can't help but have a growth mindset.
Viral marketing is a customer-focused approach, so the first step is to identify the target demographic for a product and what they value the most in products, requiring marketers to research and analyze demographic data. During the Blair Witch campaign, the filmmakers and main marketing agents for the movie were accomplished film students. They examined what made horror movies compelling for the demographic of teens to young adults they were targeting, as well as explored how that demographic shared information. They used this information to focus on their product's mystery, and they concentrated their early efforts on the Internet where they knew they would have the best chance of reaching a younger audience. (See also Youth Marketing)
Procter & Gamble did not offer any discounts or ask buyers to buy Old Spice, it just gave a suggestion and managed to catch the attention of consumers through the ad. Buyers might buy the Old Spice body wash without consciously realizing why they did so! The lesson is to be creative. Use social media channel to foster brand loyalty in an altogether new way.  

You can do anything – mow lawns, walk dogs, shovel snow, babysit, code online, tutor, make deliveries, drive people, flip on eBay, sell a product on Amazon, participate in focus groups, blog, or an infinite number of things. But not all side hustles are created equal since some can make you a lot more money than others. Fundrise. You can invest in real estate for only $500.
The introduction of social media has caused a change how viral marketing is used and the speed at which information is spread and users interact.[35] This has prompted many companies to use social media as a way to market themselves and their products, with Elsamari Botha and Mignon Reyneke stating that viral messages are "playing an increasingly important role in influencing and shifting public opinion on corporate reputations, brands, and products as well as political parties and public personalities to name but a few."[35]
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