The beginning of my passive/alternative income experience, (My Experience/Offering Advice)
I wanted to share my process with the subreddit because there are a lot of requests for how to get into passive income and where to start. I haven’t (apart from unrealized stock gains/ dividends/ house appreciation) yet seen any income. But I believe the process I am following is a good one. I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching passive income recently and am open to discussion in the comments. Hopefully some more experienced users will chime in with anything to add or criticize. To search for other passive income ideas first google it then look at the first five pages of this subreddit when sorted by ‘Top – All Time’. Also ‘hi’ to any IRL friends that may read this and immediately identify me.
Before fully exploring the world of alternative/passive income and while fresh out of college hating my first job I started a ‘list of good ideas’. With the hopes that someday one of them could be monetized. Most of these were inventions (many of which already existed) but it was something I continually added to for years. I believe this is a good practice and ultimately helped me with starting up. After working at a new job I didn’t hate for a few years and paying off our house with my wife I decided I wanted to mix it up and explore some passive income options. I first scoured the web to see the options best suited for us. The list I came up with is as follows:
Skills/Hobbies/Interests to take advantage of
Me – Scifi/Emerging Technology, Running, Gaming, STEM, Some programming experience (R, VBA, Arduino), AutoCAD, Environmental Engineering (Wastewater, Stormwater, Groundwater, etc), Music, laissez faire/libertarian theory.
Wife – Food Safety/R&D, Nutrition, Running, Science (Chemistry/ Biology/Food Science)
Passive/Alternative Income Options
**Book** – Some of my friends have done this, I have a few ideas from ‘my list’ that could be included here. Both my wife and I could start writing one, though they would be in different genres. Would like to use KDP or a friends small publishing company he made for his books.
**Blog** – My wife and I are both runners, She is also a food scientist. As a quicker female runner and having a big interest in food/nutrition I believe she could have a successful blog.
**Youtube** – I have been, and could be an avid gamer, there is an off chance I could have success with Twitch/YT. Also, in the future I plan on building a greenhouse (robust) and I could either include videos or do a blog with affiliates to monetize it, this would include the environmental controls system to the greenhouse.
**Stocks** – Through gains or dividends this is the truest to the term ‘passive income’. After some research I decided to shy away from purely dividend stocks which is associated a lot with passive income and decided on a broader plan.
**Real Estate** – Again I have a few friends who have gone this route. In a few years when we move to a bigger property we could rent out our paid off house. If we get a larger property we could rent out some area to farm as well. Until then I plan to invest some in a REIT through VNQ. A more aggressive approach would be to buy a property to rent out, possibly going in with a friend.
**Coaching** – My wife and I have enough knowledge and experience that we could both be running coaches either MS, HS, ‘masters’ or online. We know many people who are full time coaches which is an advantage.
**Garden** – We plan to have a large garden and greenhouse in the future, could set up a deal with a restaurant or sell from the house. This is something we will do regardless of whether we can make money with it.
**POD** – Also from ‘my list’ is some Tshirt design ideas, this seems like a fairly easy thing to get started with Merch by Amazon or Redbubble.
**Training Videos/Presentation** – At first I dismissed this idea since I do not have the depth of knowledge in a specific niche where I think it would be valuable. However I then realized that my wife does through food safety. After or during greenhouse construction I could possibly create a guide but that would be a few years down the line. It looks like Udemy, Teachable or Skillshare are good sources.
**Digital Products** – Running/Tri training logs, spreadsheet that does STEM related calculations, CAD drawings. I could probably find more avenues here.
**Tutor** – An option for both my wife and I but not passive. Could be in person or remote.
**Misc1** – I am not sure if there is a business for this but I have been complimented on my taste in music enough that I believe I could make playlists that people would enjoy.
**Misc2** – Things that I don’t plan on but could include advertisement on a car (150-400$/month), buy a small business, buy an ATM or vending machine (would need a business to put them in), sell blood/plasma, Credit Piggybacking
It seems like there are a lot of opportunities so I decided it was best just to choose a few and go for it. I started looking into stocks in March but the rest only in early July. Some details on how we pursued each,
**Stock** – The easiest was investing in stock, since we just paid off the house we had the ability to invest with a little more money. I first maxed out my Roth contribution for 2019 and 2020 then started a regular brokerage account, all through vanguard. I decided that ETFs were the best way to go for us and currently have 30% in VYM (high dividend yield), 50% in VTI(total stock market) and 20% in VB(Small businesses). Over the next few years I plan to work towards a distribution of 55% VTI/VXUS, 25% VYM/VYMI, and the remaining 20% in misc ETFs if good opportunities present themselves (VNQ, VB, VGT, etc).
**POD** – The next easiest was POD, I had a few good ideas and using AutoCAD and GIMP I currently have two shirts active with another two to three coming this weekend. Thus far I have chosen science and running shirts to focus on. I have about 10 running and 5 science ideas, the simplest two I put up immediately. The harder ones have been taking some time to draw on AutoCAD and I have had to learn GIMP to do some edits. I applied and got accepted to Merch by Amazon, I will plan on using Redbubble as well. Through light research those two seemed like the best options for POD but I might try to use another down the line. So far the more I work on my current designs the more other ideas I get.
**Book** – While I am working on POD my wife has completed the text for a children’s book. We have edited the text so the next and hardest step will be the drawings. I believe the trick for kid’s books is finding a certain angle/niche of which we have two separate and I believe potentially profitable niches to go into. I also made an outline for a science fiction book, I believe I have good ideas for a scifi book but I know that my writing ability is lacking, since I only started reading for fun out of college and typically am more STEM-wired I have always been lacking in this. Previous to the outline I happened to listen to a podcast with Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game author) where he explained his book writing process. After that I decided the best way to go was to create the world that the story will be told first then tell the story. I believe this approach is also useful for fantasy books, which I have no interest in writing. In either case it gives the possibility of setting other books in the same world. Specifically, with scifi I chose to do ‘hard’ science fiction, so I started by choosing what technologies exist in the future and the progression of technology to reach that point. I will shoot for a 40-50 page short book then either expand it or do similar stories in the same universe. Even if no book comes from it or I get 0$, I have enjoyed the process.
Passive Income, as I see it is doing some or a lot of work upfront and little to no upkeep work. Obviously having capital to work with will influence what options people have and the most hands-off passive income streams require capital (stocks, real estate).
In short: Find a passive income stream you can apply your background/interests to and commit yourself to producing a product, then reassess, take what you have learned and adjust.