In 2016 I made a major shift – I decided that I no longer wanted to work 10-15 hour days, 7 days a week as a self-employed real estate agent. The challenge was, the income I was earning made it a difficult decision, and I had to get really creative if I was going to meet or exceed that income, and do it passively.
Equally as important was my desire to diversify my income, I didn’t want to have all of my eggs in one income stream that could soon go away.
My end goal was to create multiple passive income streams – where I didn’t have to work even part-time on them so that we could travel and be anywhere in the world and the income would come in.
It’s been three years in the making, and in this article, I will share all of my current income streams and the thought process behind building each one. My hope is that you may gain additional insight or ideas from what I’ve built and create an income stream or two for yourself!
#1 Monthly Passive(ish) Income From Investment Properties
No surprise here, this is a blog about how to build wealth through real estate investing.
At the time of writing this article, we currently have 27 streams of income under this income category coming in. Those 27 rent checks provide us with a six-figure annual net income, and the best part is we can be anywhere in the world and this income stream will still come in!
I currently spend about 2 hours per month working on this income stream, and a few hours a week looking for more investment opportunities to increase it. I’m also able to do everything remotely.
We recently put this income category to the test while traveling SE Asia for 10 weeks (we self manage) and it went without a hitch!
My focus for 2019 is to grow this income stream to over $250,000 in net income by building more small multi-family projects and going after larger apartment complexes.
How you can do this yourself: The first step is to access your goals and pick a strategy and a market based on those goals. You can also check out the Inner Circle, where we feature resources like my course, 5 Years to Freedom, to learn more about our process.
#2 Commission Income
My second largest income stream is commission income through my investment brokerage, Agents Invest. When I made the shift in 2016 to investing out of the area, I started putting investment teams together and documenting my journey in this blog. Investors started to reach out to me and inquire about who I was working with, and I was able to (for free) refer them over to my personal real estate agent in the different cities.
Since I maintain my real estate license I am able to legally collect a referral fee from another agent for an investor that I’ve sent them, and both the agent and investor benefit from the connection, it’s a win-win!
How can you do this yourself: While you have to have a real estate license to earn referral fees from agents, there are a lot of ways that any business owner or employee can duplicate this income stream for themselves.
Maybe it could look like a flat fee for connecting your friends with your CPA/attorney/bookkeeper etc. There are a lot of ways you could come up with if you consider how many people you refer to others and it’s worth asking to create a business relationship.
#3 Online Courses
Another income stream I enjoy is from my online course, 5 Years to Freedom. While it took me weeks to organize and record the content, once I was finished it turned into a passive income stream.
The benefit of having this course is that our team is able to pursue our passion for educating others about investing.
How you can do this for yourself: Is there something that you’re really good at, and you enjoy teaching others about? I’ve seen every course imaginable, from gardening to travel hacking, and starting a blog to minimalism.
There are a lot of different options for building and hosting your course, I prefer to use Teachable because I’m not super tech-savvy and I found their platform to be the most creator user-friendly.
#4 Meet Ups
In 2017 I started a local real estate investing meet up called Addicted To ROI. I had no plans to turn this into a business or income generator, I just wanted to get out and meet more people since I am often in front of my computer analyzing deals all day long.
As our little meet up grew from 8 to 20, and then 20 to 55 we started to have issues. The venues that we were using often allowed us to use their room for free but with a minimum food spend, and after one night of me paying $100 to the restaurant I realized I had to start charging to cover us in case we didn’t meet the food minimum.
Our other challenge was with RSVPs. For many of our meetups, we’d allow 50 attendees, and then we’d have a waitlist of 20-25 people. I was getting bombarded with emails asking if the waitlist people could still come, and on one particular event we had more people show up than we had chairs and the restaurant we were hosting at was not happy.
My only solution was to start charging $10 in order to RSVP, and now this solution produces a small monthly income for something I was already doing for free.
How you can do this for yourself: Meetups are growing in popularity, and meetup.com allows flexibility for hosts to charge and even have sponsors. Browsing meetup you’ll find just about every topic imaginable.
Better yet – if you start a course you could also start a meet up as a way to promote your course and vice versa!
#5 Private Money Loans
Loaning money to friends is a newer venture for me, but is turning out to be highly profitable. It started with one loan to an investor friend using my self-directed 401k, and all I had to do was sign an LLC document and submit a wire transfer and two months later an interest check for $616 arrived in my bank account. It was the easiest $616 I’ve ever made.
I’ve now expanded my lending business and have done six other hard money loans to investors I know. To get started, I called a local attorney (it was outside my area) who drew up all of the documents and sent them over the next day. All I had to do was send the loan documents to escrow for signing and wire the funds.
I required a 20% down payment, and I covered 80% of the purchase price.
For this first position loan, I’ll earn 2% in origination fees and 12% in interest-only payments. Not a bad deal for the time and effort.
My goal for this income stream is to do more loans and continue to recycle the same money. For this strategy, I’m hoping to bring in several thousand each month.
How can you do this yourself: First things first, you need to really know and trust who you’re loaning to. You’ll want to evaluate the property and the borrower’s personal financials to make sure they can pay the loan. You’ll want to look at their track record and business plan for any property you’re loaning on and have them put a good amount of money down to minimize your risk.
#6 Syndication/Fund Investing
Another passive income stream is my syndication investments. I am a passive investor in a 192-unit apartment complex in San Antonio, and I have investments in a note fund that pays monthly dividends.
While I prefer not to invest in online syndication funds, there are a lot of options for investors to invest passively in commercial properties with experienced operators.
Right now, this income stream isn’t that much at several thousand each year but it’s very passive.
How you can do this for yourself: Attend conferences, join meet up groups and get to know investors who are syndicating commercial properties. Ask for references and be sure to interview them to make sure you like what they offer and understand their business plan.
#7 Profit Share From Keller Williams Realty
From 2009 – 2018 I was a licensed realtor with Keller Williams, and one of the many benefits of joining Keller Williams Realty is that every associate has the ability to earn profit share for sponsoring agents to join Keller Williams. While the profit share calculation is a bit complicated, there are some who have built their entire business around sponsoring agents and earning profit share.
Sponsoring agents was never a main focus for me, and I’ve only sponsored a few agents but still enjoy the profit share I receive from Keller Williams.
How you can do this for yourself: You do not have to be a licensed agent to receive profit share from sponsoring agents to Keller Williams, you just have to be added to their system and pay an annual fee of $20 to receive profit share on sponsored agents.
#8 Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest forms of passive income, and something anyone can do. If there’s a product, service or company that you know and love that you find yourself telling everyone about, why not earn a small income for making that recommendation.
Some of the companies I earn affiliate income from is Udemy, Hemlane, Stessa, and a loan signing system.
How can you do this yourself: If you have an existing platform (blog, YouTube, Social following) already, it’s pretty easy to earn affiliate commissions for sharing products that you use and love. You can also check out this awesome list of high payout affiliate programs.
In 2018 I started hosting weekend investing trips where I invited investors to come on a weekend trip to a particular city that I have an investing team in where we went to look at properties, met the local team and listened to speakers who are having success in that particular market.
Since these events are not very passive, and I have goals to spend more time traveling, I’ve added local one-day investing workshops to the events category.
How you can do this for yourself: Similar to creating online courses and hosting meetups, if you find that you have a particular skill set and enjoy teaching, hosting paid workshops are a great way to scale your expertise and earn an additional income stream.
#10 Cash Back Sites
I am always looking for ways to be more efficient with my finances, and in my post How I Achieve A High ROI On Everyday Purchases I outline all of the ways I earn cash or miles for everyday spending.
I consider this an income stream because these points and miles allow us to save hundreds if not thousands on travel expenses, all by using a shopping portal link.
How you can do this for yourself: Look at what you’re already spending money on and start using shopping portals for cashback or mileage programs.
#11 Ad Revenue
Last but not least is ad revenue I receive from content I put online. This income stream has been the least prioritized, and yet it still produces a small amount of passive income every month.
This is the income stream that I forget about until a check comes in, and for now, I’m completely fine with not focusing in this area since it doesn’t excite me. I would much rather focus my time and effort in other places than selling ad space on websites and in YouTube videos.
However, I know a lot of people who are killing it in monthly ad revenue and have really optimized their website and content creation strategy.
How you can do this for yourself: You’ll need either a website, social media accounts or YouTube to deliver content. Then you’ll need to drive traffic to that website, and set up accounts with companies that will pay you to advertise on your website (think Google Adsense).
I hope my list of passive income streams have you thinking outside the box for ways to produce additional income streams for yourself. Here’s another amazing list of ideas to help get you started!
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