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The Simple Dollar

Build a passive income stream, keep the money flowing in

Some sources of income require little work beyond an initial investment.

By Guest blogger / March 16, 2011

Having more than one source of income can be beneficial, but finding the time to make the extra money can be tricky. With a passive income stream, money keeps trickling in without much effort.

Album/Rafael López-Monné/Newscom/File

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As time goes on, the value of having multiple income streams becomes more and more apparent to me. The more income streams you have, the less trouble your life will have if one of those income streams goes defunct or experiences a downturn. Thus, I’ve been thinking a great deal about developing more income streams for myself.

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So, let’s back up. An income stream just refers to any source of regular financial income in your life. Your job is one. Your pension is another. Rent from an apartment building you own is yet another.

Of course, I don’t have the regular time to invest in another job or another high-content website at this time, so, for me, the best route to look for new income streams is to evaluate passive income streams.

What’s a passive income stream? A passive income stream is one where, once you’ve done the initial investment, there’s little or no upkeep to that investment required to maintain the income stream. Writing a book is a passive income stream, for example – once that book is complete and on its way to the publisher, you just sit back and wait for the proceeds.

Most passive income streams require some sort of significant investment up front. Generally, that investment breaks down into two distinct groups: an investment of money or an investment of time.

I’m going to stick with discussing the types of passive income streams that I’m interested in developing.

Investing Time
Most time investment usually pairs with an investment of ideas and energy as well. Generally, you’re turning spare time into some sort of item that will provide a steady stream of income over time.

Books, electronic and otherwise I’ve already written two books – 365 Ways to Live Cheap and The Simple Dollar. Both are working for me as passive income streams, but the stream from each book is quite small. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, the passive income stream from writing books is not going to sustain you. The solution, of course, is to write several books so that the streams add up to something significant.

Another factor when it comes to writing books is that the options for self-publishing just get better and better. Self-publishing is a double-edged sword. When you self-publish, you tend to retain a much greater percentage of the proceeds for yourself, but your distribution tends to become more of a problem, as it’s hard to get your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. The growth of great self-publishing platforms and the rise of e-readers like the Kindle have mitigated these worries somewhat. If I write another book, I will most likely self-publish it.

Static websites Another approach is to simply develop a static website that provides information on a specific topic, then add some sort of revenue-generating mechanism to it – affiliate links to Amazon, a portal to buy a product of some kind, direct advertisements, or something else. Once that’s in place, spend some time developing links to it so that Google can find it. After that, you’ll keep generating a steady trickle of advertisement and referral revenue.

At some point, this is the route that The Simple Dollar will take if I ever choose not to keep writing it. I’ll turn off comments, make the site static, and go on with my life. It’ll still earn some revenue for a very long time.