Some 8 years ago I was attending a business seminar and suddenly I pricked up my ears. What? What was he saying? The topic was Income and a passive income stream was mentioned as one of the possibilities.
Until then, I had never heard of the phrase and for a while, I kept wondering “What is a passive income stream?”
It was a solid business seminar and the question was answered thoroughly that day. Ever since I was intrigued and have tried several possibilities. I love learning new stuff and this was new to me. Although… not completely new, because unaware of the terminology I had been making a couple of passive income streams. 🙂
Table of contents
Do we need money?
Unless you buy pure gold with it, money is nothing more than an agreement. I used to say money didn’t matter to me and the world would be better off without money. Yet it has its perks.
If I would only exchange goods I would be very limited in my choices. Let’s say I have a lot of spring onions and I want pumpkins in the autumn. That would be a problem, wouldn’t it? But if I sell my spring onions I can buy the pumpkins in autumn.
Yes, I know, pumpkins are also available in spring. In present-day society, goods get shipped around the world all year round.
First things first: work on your money mindset
The chance is very real that I won’t keep any money in my hands if I say money doesn’t matter to me. Yet if I want to support organic farmers and pay them a fair price for their goods, it’s better when I have the currency to do so.
It’s still difficult for me to value money the right way. I am raised in a blue-collar family and my father’s favorite saying was “If you are born a dime, you’ll never turn into a quarter”.
Some of my decisions in the past have been good because I appreciated being different from my family. Some have been less productive because I lacked the proper tools.
Discovering a secret
For most of my life, I was a self-employed graphic designer. If I was sick I had no income. Logical, is it not? No work, no income.
Can you imagine how amazed and impressed I was when I discovered that some people could be ill or have a holiday and still have an income? A discovery I made during that business seminar.
So, what is a passive income stream?
Equally important is the question: is passive income just for business people or can seniors have a passive income stream as well? I wrote an article – 20 Simple Ideas on How to Make Money after Retirement – with some examples that can produce a passive income.
Personally, I think the terminology is wrong. Passive implies you don’t have to be active. I prefer the term residual income. It’s extra money. But you’ll hear more about passive income than about residual income, so I’ll stick to that as well.
Probably the simplest explanation is, “It is income that is no longer directly related to the original effort”.
Is a pension a passive income stream?
Yes, a pension is a good example, because you get money for work you have done years earlier. This is one of the things I unknowingly did pretty well as an entrepreneur: I put away large sums of money when my business was thriving. This pays me part of my pension nowadays.
Other examples of passive income are:
- Royalties. You get royalties for instance for books, music, pictures, graphic design. When you let people use your work on which you have the copyright you get a fee;
- Investing in the stock exchange. Be aware that investing also brings risks;
- Dividend on stocks;
- Rent for a property you own. This can be a house, but also for instance a field or a car;
- Being an affiliate. An affiliate promotes a product or business and gets a fee for that. As an example: I am an affiliate of Wealthy Affiliate;
- Investing in a business;
- Digital products you sell;
- Flip products. If you find deals on products, you can sell them through online platforms like Amazon or eBay;
- Sell products printed with artwork. Through websites like Etsy or Zazzle you can sell your photographs or designs, printed on all kinds of products;
- Lending money. A relatively new product is crowdfunding mortgages.
You have to invest first
Yet, this kind of income is not completely passive. You have to invest first. Either in money or in time. You have to buy the house before you can rent it out. You have to make the digital product to be able to sell it.
But once a good functioning system is in place, the money will flow consistently in your pocket. This is what we call: get rich while sleeping! 🙂
What strategy can you follow if you have no money?
There have been times I hardly had any money. The life of a solo entrepreneur is difficult at times. The biggest problem is the panic that grows from worrying because it clouds clear thinking. (Rutger Bregman explains it well in this article: Poverty isn’t a lack of character. It’s a lack of cash.)
Maybe you know the feeling. You might even think you not only lack money but you ran out of time as well. And to eventually get a passive income you have to invest either money or time.
The best advice I can give you is to start with one small step. You’ll easily get overwhelmed once you start and overwhelm is a bad advisor. So make sure you come up with a small step. What small step do you want to take?
Do you need help?
Although this article is about money and income, not everything costs money. If you would love to talk to someone to reflect on your ideas or to brainstorm for possibilities then make an appointment with me for a 15-minute chat. No charge of course.
And I am curious: what other ideas can we use to generate a passive income stream? Tell us in the comment box.