Picture yourself earning money while sitting in an Adirondack chair, drinking a glass of chardonnay, and doing little else. That is a visual description of passive income. Passive income is best described as money an individual receives which is not affected by daily participation in the venture.

Passive income can offer an individual opportunities to earn money while participating in completely different activities, presumably ones they find to be enjoyable than work. Generating income in this manner literally provides an opportunity for a person to live a completely different lifestyle. However, if earning passive income were easy, everyone would be doing it, right? Establishing a passive income stream takes ingenuity, hard work, and dedication. Here are three ideas to consider investing your efforts in to start earning your own passive income today.

1. Get Creative

If you are a budding artist, artisan, craftsman, or writer, you can hone your skills, create products – songs, handcrafted items, and books – and sell them. With the proliferation of Internet markets it truly is a seller’s paradise these days.  Amazon, for example, makes it very easy for writers to self publish their own books. There are writers who use Amazon’s self-publishing system who are earning more than a comfortable living. Bands and songwriters are also having similar success selling their songs on platforms like iTunes. Establishing yourself as someone whose creations inspire others to open their wallets takes time, talent, and hard work. But if you lay a proper foundation, you can make a living selling things you love to create.

2. Rent Some Space

The most common example of passive income is the rental property. Renting a home, an apartment, or even subletting a room in an apartment you rent are examples of ways you can rent space and earn passive income in the process. Once again, the Internet has provided some new and innovative ways for people to earn rental income. Airbnb, for example, is an online service that makes it very easy to temporarily rent your house or apartment. Passive income through rentals takes little more than possessing the space to rent out in the first place. Costs like mortgages, utilities, and property taxes will have to be calculated to determine the rental price required to meet the passive income stream goal. Additionally, property owners will need to ensure that they protect themselves from deadbeat or malicious tenants as well.

3. Vend it

Vending machines can be another lucrative way to earn passive income. Purchasing one or more machines, securing agreements to place them in strategic locations, and then servicing the machines – restocking them and collecting the revenue – is the standard vending machine strategy, and practically a textbook definition of passive income.  The vending machine business is a lucrative one, too; nearly twenty percent of vending machine business report between one and five million dollars income annually. Like any other passive income business, getting established takes hard work and dedication, as well as a hefty initial investment. New vending machines often cost several thousand dollars, although bargains on used machines are common on eBay and Craigslist. Maintenance can be costly for the newer, high-tech machines, and some states require license fees as well. However, once established, a successful vending machine operation can be low maintenance and profitable.

Final Thoughts

Passive income offers people an opportunity to earn money while they are doing something completely different. With a little hard work up front and a willingness to invest, selling your own creations, renting property, or establishing a vending machine business can provide a lucrative means for individuals to establish a passive income stream. So don’t wait. Do some research, start saving, and when you are ready, get your money to start working for you.


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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