A detailed look at some of my passive income streams

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I know people like seeing my income reports, and I value transparency. So for those of you who’ve asked in the past and for anyone else who’s interested, I thought I’d open up about my passive income streams.

Passive income is awesome. It’s the kind of money you can earn while you sleep.

Over the years, I’ve tried a number of strategies. Some have worked better than others and some I’m still doing today.

For anyone who’s curious, I wanted to share the strategies I still use and the kinds of results I typically see.

Below, I go over eight of my passive income sources and talk about…

  • How much money I earn from each source
  • Just how passive each source really is (i.e. how much work I need to do to keep money coming in)
  • How easy/difficult it is to get started

I don’t want to be misleading, though, so please remember that some of the strategies I talk about are passive for me because I’ve hired outsourcers (who I pay for). The numbers I share are mostly gross revenue numbers and I’ll tell you where I outsource.

That said, let’s take a look at some of my sources for earning passive income.

1. Selling on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay (Low Hanging System

How much I earn: The money I earn selling items on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay varies month to month. But it usually totals around $500K a year.

How passive it is: To maintain my shops, there’s ongoing, daily customer service work and I like to add new designs from time to time. Of course, you don’t have to add new designs, but you will definitely prosper a lot more if you do.

Customer service isn’t optional, but you can outsource that work, which is what I do and it saves me a lot of time.

There are some weeks when I don’t spend much time at all maintaining my shops. But other weeks, I’ll put in a couple of hours to add new designs or run some promotions.

Again, it depends on you and what you want to get out of the experience. But if you want to maximize your results, I do recommend you or an outsourcer continuously adding new designs and making sure the listing titles are keyword optimized.

Getting started: It’s pretty easy to start selling on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. You can learn more about the process by watching the Low Hanging System replay.

If you’re looking to set up a passive income stream for yourself, this is the technique I recommend the most. 

Selling items on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay is the easiest strategy on this list.

Unlike with investing in stocks and rental properties (which you’ll learn more about below), you don’t need any money upfront to get started.

Plus, this strategy has much higher earning potential and requires far less work on the front-end than the other techniques, like writing books and creating membership sites and courses.

You also don’t need to have a mailing list or to do a ton of promotional work to make sales. Here’s the link again to learn more about getting started.

2. Investing in stock dividends

How much I earn: I earn about $1500 a year with my stock dividends and there is absolutely zero maintenance work that needs to be done.

How passive it is: In the past, I’ve done a lot with stocks. I’ve tried options. I’ve bought stocks and waited for the price to rise. I definitely think stock dividends are the safest, easiest path for passive investing. They’ve given me the least amount of headaches (unlike options!). And after getting started, the money you earn is entirely passive.

Getting started: Investing in stock dividends is pretty easy, although it does take some time upfront to figure out which stocks have the best dividend returns.

I personally use Robinhood to buy the stocks and collect the dividend payments. Signing up is easy (and if you sign up using http://rachelrofe.com/robinhood we both get a free stock), but you do obviously need to have some money to invest in the first place in order to earn dividends.

Two of the stocks I own that pay out dividends are TGT and VZ, but I recommend you do your own research.

3. Owning rental properties (3)

How much I earn: I have three rental properties and in total, they earn about $1309.33 a month after expenses. The real play, though, is the asset appreciation I get from them.

Since purchasing the properties, the appreciation has gone up over $81K (at the time of this writing – it’s gone as high as $96k).

How passive it is: I’ve never even seen these houses in person. A realtor found them for me and I hired property managers to handle the rest. The mortgages on all three properties are covered. I might spend 5 minutes a month answering questions or approving work orders, but that’s it. This is very passive.

Getting started: I bought two of the properties in 2017 (one in July, the other in December) and I got the third property in February 2018. I worked with a realtor to find the properties based on a set of specific criteria.

4. Writing books – Kindle, audiobooks, paperback

How much I earn: I earn a little under $5K a year from book sales, which includes my Kindle books, audiobooks, and paperback books.

The books under my name (versus the 40+ plus under pen names) are fulfilling because I worked hard writing them and they express things I feel strongly about, but they definitely aren’t big money-makers.

How passive it is: I used to earn good money selling books, but I pretty much stopped doing anything promotion-wise. If I did more advertising, though, my books would probably earn more.

This just isn’t an area I’m choosing to focus on right now.

Getting started: Writing books takes a significant amount of time and energy upfront, and writing isn’t everyone’s thing. Plus, you need to spend time promoting them and that can be an ongoing process. But if you’d like some resources on this, this blog post is pretty thorough. There’s also this course.

5. Maintaining membership sites (SpotNiches, Design Club)

How much I earn: I haven’t done much to promote my membership sites either, and I earn low four-figures a month from them.

How passive it is: The money I earn from my membership sites is mostly passive – for me. But the sites do require customer support. I have someone who helps with this, though, and she spends around 10-20 hours a month working on the sites.

Getting started: Membership sites aren’t easy to get started with. There’s a lot of work up front and you have to find people who want to sign up. But if you can figure them out and provide great content and value, membership sites are great because the income you earn is consistent.  

6. Affiliate income

How much I earn: I probably earn around $5000 a year or so with my passive affiliate income.

How passive it is: Most of the affiliate income I make is not passive, but I do include some recommended resources in the Low Hanging System. Plus, some of the follow-up emails in my sequences mention products. So anytime one of those products is purchased, the money I earn is totally passive.

Getting started: It’s pretty easy to get started earning affiliate income. But you do need some kind of platform on which to sell or promote affiliate offers. This could be a website, an email list, a social media account, or something else.

7. Using photo-sharing websites

How much I earn: Selling photos on photo-sharing websites is another small source of passive income that has earned me a couple hundred dollars to date.

How passive it is: Even though this hasn’t been a big money-maker, after the initial setup, earning money from photo-sharing websites has been a 100% passive source of income. I haven’t added a single new photo to any of the websites.

Of course, the more photos you upload, the more chances you have of making sales. So if you are going to try this strategy yourself, I’d recommend continuing to upload new photos.

Getting started: If you do the Low Hanging System and already have a bunch of design images, this is an easy way to supplement the passive income you earn through LHS.

I wrote a blog post last May about how to get started selling images on photo-sharing websites. You can check it out here.

8. Course sales (like Low Hanging System)

How much I earn: The income I earn with my courses varies depending on the course. I have several courses at this point, and lots of ways that people find me. In total all of my information products earn low 7 figures per year.

How passive it is: I promote some of my courses more actively than others by trying to get affiliate partners, posting about them on my blog, or sending out emails. That’s not very passive.

However, I also have podcast interviews that bring in sales, affiliates who put my course in their follow up sequences, and lots of referrals from happy customers. There are blog posts that get found years after I wrote them, emails people look at weeks later, and so on.

With all of that going on, it’s hard to say exactly how much of the income I earn with my courses is passive and how much occurs from affiliates or through my promotions.

Some of the sales are definitely earned passively.

Getting started: Creating courses isn’t easy. There’s a lot of work upfront and then you need to run promotions. But as with membership sites, if you make a great course and get an audience for it, the passive income can be wonderful.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my sources of passive income! If you have any comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below. Also, if you liked this post, please share it via social media. 

Also, what about YOU? What are your passive income streams? I’d love to hear!

Check out my passive income streams

BONUS! Find this helpful? To download this post as a PDF, click here!

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