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.
Investing your money is one of the oldest passive income strategies on the books. Investing in stocks (or funds of stocks) means that you are becoming a (very) partial owner in the company whose stock you own. When you purchase a stock, your expectation is that the value of the stock will either increase or decrease, and your goal is to buy low and sell high. (This is what everyone is shouting about on the floor of the NYSE in movies about the world of high finance).
Index funds provide you with a way to invest in the stock market that is completely passive. For example, if you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, you will be invested in the general market, without having to concern yourself with choosing investments, rebalancing your portfolio, or knowing when to sell or buy individual companies. All that will be handled by the fund which will base the fund portfolio on the makeup of the underlying index.
Beta Testing: Identify top influencers who can try your new product in beta and motivate them to review and talk about it before it goes to market. Their followers will be privy to ‘classified’ information that makes them feel great and they will want to know more about the product. Make sure that any bugs or confusion that are identified in this phase are solved before the product goes live. It could turn into a lessons learned blog!

The growth of social networks significantly contributed to the effectiveness of viral marketing.[30] As of 2009, two thirds of the world's Internet population visits a social networking service or blog site at least every week.[31] Facebook alone has over 1 billion active users.[32] In 2009, time spent visiting social media sites began to exceed time spent emailing.[33] A 2010 study found that 52% of people who view news online forward it on through social networks, email, or posts.[34]
Gives away valuable products or services. “Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Free email services, free information, free “cool” buttons, free software programs that perform powerful functions but not as much as you get in the “pro” version. “Cheap” or “inexpensive” may generate a wave of interest, but “free” will usually do it much faster.
Now, how do you do it? Building a passive income will require some work up front, but choosing a method that plays to your strengths will yield the most success, and it can even become a fun hobby! Have an aptitude for photography? License your photos to stock photography websites. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to invest? Learn how with a robo-advisor. No matter what your strengths are, we’ve gathered 35 ideas for different ways you can generate passive income and build your wealth.

YouTube brought in nearly $4 billion in estimated ad revenue in 2018. So you can earn a potentially large income by uploading videos to the platform and then watching those ad dollars roll in. You may need or want to upload videos regularly, which isn’t especially passive. But you don’t need to provide a specific product or service directly to customers.
While it is important to find something that you love to do and turn it into a money making business, you do have to be cognizant of the return as you pointed out. There are many opportunities that I found and tried out that at the time seemed great. But when I took a step back, I realized that I was working a lot for very little income whereas other things I love doing brought in much more money.
I enjoy how you lay out real numbers. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. While you admit that you are somewhat conservative, I think the $1M in CD’s is just too conservative. Assuming you don’t need the cash flow now (which you say you just save anyways) then all that could be invested for potentially higher returns. For example, what if you bought San Francisco real estate along the way instead of CD’s. Or, an SP500 Index fund. I bet your average return would have been higher than 3.75%. Sure you could lose it, but the point is if you don’t need the cash flow now, you should try to increase that nut as high as possible until the day you actually need it. Your nut could be $5M right now if you had invested in asset classes other than CD’s for the last 14 years. Don’t get me wrong, you have done far better than me, but I guess I would take a little more risk if you don’t rely on that cash flow.
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.

Real Estate Crowdsourcing – After selling my SF rental house in mid-2017 for 30X annual gross rent, I  reinvested $550,000 of the proceeds ($810,000 total) in real estate crowdfunding, based in San Francisco. My goal is to take advantage of cheaper heartland real estate with much higher net rental yields (8% – 12% vs. 2% – 3.5% in SF) and diversify away from expensive coastal city real estate which is now under pressure due to new tax policy which limits SALT deduction to $10,000 and new mortgage interest deduction on mortgages of $750,000 from $1,000,000 for 2018 and beyond.
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%.
The sheer traffic that the android and iOS appstores host every day means that if you are able to make an app that is useful, there is probably a market out there for it. If you are able to make a hit, then the sky is the limit. Flappy bird is a great example of the success that one person can have in their spare time. The creator is generating $50,000 per day from ad revenue on his free game. 
But nowadays, there is so much opportunity if you search for brand-suitable domains and also keyword-rich or otherwise popular names on the myriad of new domain name extensions like .io, .at etc.  And I should know, because I’ve paid several domain squatters a king’s ransom to purchase these sorts of domain names in the last few years!  Continue reading >
Beta Testing: Identify top influencers who can try your new product in beta and motivate them to review and talk about it before it goes to market. Their followers will be privy to ‘classified’ information that makes them feel great and they will want to know more about the product. Make sure that any bugs or confusion that are identified in this phase are solved before the product goes live. It could turn into a lessons learned blog!
Viral marketing is often used in conjunction with other methods of marketing, such as in the case of the Blair Witch Project. The viral aspect of the campaign generated buzz about the story long before the release of commercials, trailers, posters, and other forms of traditional marketing. This caused many people to already talk about the movie before it was officially announced to the public.
Your income is your greatest wealth-building tool—a tool that typically requires your active participation in the form of a full-time job. You know what I’m talking about! Even if you love your job, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t mind earning some extra income without the blood, sweat, tears, and time commitment of another job. In fact, there are several benefits. Building a passive income:
In 2014, A.L.S. Ice Bucket Challenge was among the best viral marketing challenges examples in the social network. Millions of people on the social media started filming themselves, pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads and sharing the video with their friends. The challenge was created to give support for fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease. People finished the challenge and then nominated the next person they knew on the social media to take the same challenge. By following this trend, Ice Bucket Challenge became a 'fab' on social media with many online celebrities such as Tyler Oakley, Zoe Sugg and huge celebrities and entrepreneurs like Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates participating.[76] Until September 2014, over 2.4 million ice bucket-related videos had been posted on Facebook, and 28 million people had uploaded, commented on or liked ice bucket-related posts. And about 3.7 million videos had been uploaded on Instagram with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge.[77] The ALS association didn't invent the ice bucket challenge, but they sure received a huge amount of donation from this activity. It raised a reported $220 million worldwide for A.L.S. organisations, and this amount is thirteen times as much donation as what it had in the whole preceding year in just eight weeks.[78]
The main risk coming from the company is for it to target the wrong influencer or segment. Once the content is online, the sender won't be able to control it anymore.[63] It is therefore vital to aim at a particular segment when releasing the message. This is what happened to the company BlendTech which released videos showing the blender could blend anything, and encouraged users to share videos. This mainly caught the attention of teenage boys who thought it funny to blend and destroy anything they could;[64] even though the videos went viral, they did not target potential buyers of the product. This is considered to be one of the major factors that affects the success of the online promotion. It is critical and inevitable for the organisations to target the right audience. Another risk with internet is that a company's video could end up going viral on the other side of the planet where their products are not even for sale.[65]
If you have decent writing skills you can start a retainer writer business. Mastering your pitch will put you in a position where you can land awesome writing gigs. You can then complete the work yourself as you establish yourself in this space, and from there, the sky is the limit. Outsourcing is key to creating a passive income stream from this idea.
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:
When imparting your brand message, addressing your audience directly by using the second-person term “you” ensures a personal touch. By saying “You are more beautiful than you think,” Dove could connect to the audience and show that it cares for each of them. The impact of the campaign was that while buying Dove’s products, people thought they are supporting a social cause.

In 2017, I ended up deploying roughly $611,000 into stocks and $604,327 into municipal bonds. The stock allocation should boost dividend income by about $12,500 a year, and the municipal-bond portion should boost income by about $18,000 a year after tax ($26,000 pre-tax). Therefore, total passive income gets an about $38,500 lift, which recovers over half of my $60,000 loss from selling the house.

Writing an e-book is very popular among bloggers, as many have noted that “it's just a bunch of blog posts put together!” You will not only have to make an investment of time and energy to create the e-book, but market it correctly. However, if marketed correctly (through blogging affiliates in your niche, for example), you could have residual sales that last a very long time.
There’s a second downside to this model. Although I’ve done advertising and sponsorships in the past, and have made hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so, the truth is it takes a lot of time for this business model to start to generate income for you, because you need to build that audience first. In addition, what happens when you build your audience on a platform that ends up changing its algorithm, affecting how often you actually get seen by the audience you’ve built?
Apple maintains it’s viral appeal, with the iPhone X through their launch of the "Selfies on iPhone X" campaign. The secret to this example of viral marketing (which has clocked up over millions views both online and offline) is very simple: a product so great that it turns people into fans of the brand all on its own. People love themselves. If they have the possibility of spreading this love digitally through selfies, it’s almost a guaranteed win. The iPhone X’s brilliant selfie feature spread virally through various media forms before apple repurposed the viral content into one masterpiece, the iPhone X selfies film. As one of the YouTube comments says, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”… This viral marketing through video has allowed Apple to spread key features such as their Portrait Lighting effects and their TrueDepth camera.
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