What is passive income?
Passive income is money that you earn WITHOUT exchanging your time to earn it. It is not tied to active work. Active income on the other hand is what you gain when you exchange your time for money in a job.
It has been reported that the average millionaire has 7, yes 7 sources of income. I don’t know where this comes from, but it definitely makes sense to me.
There are more streams of income that bringing in a salary.
Do you ever see a “busy” millionaire or billionaire? No. The busiest people generally are the ones earning the least.
“Passive” income is how the rich get richer. They know that true wealth is not linked to hours worked. It’s linked to leveraging their “active” income to create multiple “passive” income streams that can help an individual to become uncoupled from exchanging time for money.
Before you do anything
It sounds like a great way to help you financially, but it’s important to be aware that there technically isn’t anything that’s truly passive. There’s always work involved upfront and sometimes on a continuous basis. Whether that be due diligence, research, or putting work in to create something, it’s still going to take time, especially if you’re a busy person.
I currently run two jobs as a solopreneur and a GP. Some of my money coaching business is passive, some is active. None of my GP work is passive, but putting money into my pension will one day be a source of income for me, so you could technically say that is passive income when I come to use it.
I also invest in the cryptocurrency and the stock-market. Additionally, I have property and small-business crowdfunding investments. The important part to mention is that I am reinvesting all my gains to build my pots, and I know that I won’t be using any of this money for some time.
Creating passive income streams is not a get rich quick solution; it’s a slow burn. You might not see returns for a while and you must be prepared to invest your time and money for at least a couple of years, perhaps even 5 years or more which is certainly the case if you want to invest money.
So don’t take it lightly, do your research, but it will be worth it in the end.
And before you do anything, take a look at what you’re already doing with your finances. Do you have an emergency fund in place? What about insurances?
Pouring more money into a leaky bucket will only create more problems for yourself. So, look after the money you have now before you look at trying to make more.
How to Earn Passive Income Through Investments
There are a few investment options that you might want to look into, including fund investing, property, and crowdfunding, so let’s look at those.
Stock-Market Fund Investing
This type of investment carries a low barrier to entry. I have a freebie on this, which you can check out to get started. My choice is index-tracker investing, and it’s what I enjoy teaching. Index-tracker investing doesn’t require daily checking which is perfect for busy people.
With index tracker investing, it’s more a case of set and review regularly, perhaps every 6 – 12 months. There are a number of platforms out there that you can get started with. The important thing to know is that through fund investing, you are investing into several companies at once.
These might be technology or healthcare companies, the top 100 largest companies in a country or by a central theme like ethical investing. Your money is shared between them all, thereby reducing —not eliminating — your risk.
“Actively” managed funds have a fund manager who makes the decisions as to which companies get to be included, or you can look for “passive” funds that do not require a fund manager to run them and tend to be associated with cheaper fees.
Don’t expect to get rich quick from this method though. You’ll be building these funds for at least 10 years if not more before you start using this money. Ideally, it’ll also be in addition to your workplace pension, so make sure you have one of those set up too (this applies to employees and the self-employed).
This is where you investing in stocks that pay out little “rewards” known as dividends. When a company does well, they pay out some of the profits to their shareholders. If you pick wisely, and invest enough, dividends can form a nice passive income stream for you.
However, when companies don’t do well, they’ll pay out less, or nothing at all, so it’s not a guaranteed reliable income.
You have the choice of spending these pay-outs to fund your lifestyle, or reinvest them to build your pot of money. If you’re really early on in your passive income journey, reinvesting your dividends is a more sensible options, especially as any dividends you are paid out will be small at first to be worth spending.
Investing in Property
There are high and low barrier entry options when it comes to property, with each offering a few different ways to make a passive income.
Low Barrier Entry
REITs, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, are one option which provide low barrier entry into property investing. You don’t have to physically invest in the property, you just invest in the fund. You can read more about them here.
Another option is property crowdfunding. Crowdfunding gives you the opportunity to invest money into a property deal without having to do the deal yourself. After a set number of years, as determined by the deal you are involved with, you’ll receive your money back plus interest. This money can then be reinvested into another project, or withdrawn to spend.
High Barrier Entry
When it comes to investing in physical property, whether that be a buy-to-let, or HMO (house of multiple occupation) you’re going to need a decent amount of money behind you. Costs to consider will include things like your deposit, mortgage, and any renovations you may need to make on the property.
There are other methods you can get involved with that don’t require lots of money, like approaching a landlord with an existing rental property and turning into a holiday let. You pay the landlord for the rental, and with their permission, you would run the property as an Airbnb, pocketing the difference.
You would be responsible for the maintenance including keeping it clean between tenants and ensuring safety certificates are kept up to date. While the landlord is responsible for safety etc, it will also be your responsibility from a business perspective and make sure everything is fully compliant. This might not suit someone with a busy lifestyle though as it’s another job to manage. It’s passive income for the landlord, but active for you unless you hire an agency to help you run it.
Another option where you don’t need money to get started is to be a property sourcing agent. Quite simply, you source a property and then approach an investor, acting as the “go-between” and charging a fee for this work. But, if you have a busy lifestyle, finding time to source the properties can be very challenging! I did it for 6 months during a career break, and that was hard enough. But when I went back to work, I couldn’t fit it around my GP work.
Whisky and Other Commodities
If you look at the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, you’ll see a list of all sorts of high value luxury goods to invest in. These types of investment are more medium – high level entry because you’ll need a higher minimum investment to get started.
You also need to be aware that commodities like whisky or artwork tend to have a smaller pool of buyers, where you can put money in, but you might not be able to get your money back out easily.
Additionally, your money is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). You need to be aware of forgery and do your due diligence; so, if you’re going to buy barrels of whisky, ensure you’re buying from a proper distillery with all the right paperwork etc.
Also be aware that any investment you make may not go up in value; things don’t always necessarily make money. It’s important to understand that you may lose money, too.
Crowdfunding Investing for Businesses
This is where you would put money into fledgling businesses who need capital to help them grow to the next level. For example, I invested in Plum many years ago when they were crowdfunding. I’ve also put money into small, innovative-tech healthcare companies, and I’ve invested in companies that create ethical, sustainable period products, who are also giving to charities that help women in period poverty.
It’s important to consider that not all companies will be successful, and that you may not get your investment back. Make sure the crowdfunding platform you use is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to avoid being caught up in a scam.
You may need to leave your money invested for 2-3 years before you can take it out again, so as with all investment types, don’t be tempted to invest what you don’t have or what you will need to spend in the immediate future.
This is a speculative type investment, because no one really knows what will happen in this space regardless of what the gurus like to say. Because it is still relatively new to many people, there is a high chance of losing money through lack of research and scammers. There have been instances of people making money with cryptocurrency, but before you start throwing money at it to jump on the bandwagon, how much do you really understand?
Look for a course online that can help you to understand this. You really don’t need to spend a lot if you don’t want to. Udemy has lots of affordable suggestions you could try.
Like with the other types of investments I’ve mentioned, you risk losing money as well as making it. This shouldn’t put you off, but proper consideration before investing in all of these options is needed so that you don’t increase your chances of losing your well-earned cash.
The Side Hustle
There is a lot of press around side hustles right now, with influencers stressing that everyone should have one to protect yourself financially. A lucrative side hustle can provide you with a source of income if you were to lose your job, but in a sense, it’s not really passive. For example, you could create passive products, but you still need to put the work in to market the product.
After all, in a crowded online space how will people know you have something for sale? I’ve added this here because I think a lot of people are interested in side hustles, but you need to have a realistic expectation of what’s possible.
Most absolute beginners aren’t going to make $30,000 a month in their first month. If someone you follow on social media is advertising that they have, they probably already had a few years’ experience in business behind them to build on. There is a lot of work involved and you do have to understand how to bring that money in.
Can a busy person carry out a side-hustle plan – yes, this is how I started, but don’t expect huge returns right at the start, and be prepared to put the work in around your job.
Side Hustle Ideas
Just to give you a handful of ideas, here are some side-hustle options you might want check out:
Stock images – If you’re into photography, you could sell your images online.
Templates – If you’re great with Microsoft Word, or Canva, you could create CV templates, or client onboarding templates for businesses. If you love creating, you could design and sell some social media marketing templates for online businesses.
Spreadsheets – perhaps you’re a whizz with MS Excel and could put together a complex spreadsheet for people to use to manage budgets or expenses.
Look on Fiverr for inspiration, though don’t necessarily use it as a selling platform, as earnings can be limiting. Whatever you decide to create, make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about, and remember that you still need to market yourself.
Books – Self-publish a fiction or non-fiction book with Amazon or Lulu.
Journals – Create a front cover and launch a journal with blank, lined pages and print at you would a self-published book.
Planners – I created The Healthy Money Planner as a passive income product, which is a budgeting planner that I sell on my website. I still have to market it and make people aware that it’s there, but I don’t have to physically print the book. This is done for me by a company at the point of purchase and they ship the planner directly for me.
Bricks and Mortar
There are number of businesses that you could get involved with that would pay a regular income. Launderettes, vending machines and storage units are just some examples of how you could invest in a working business that can earn you an income. There is some work involved though, but with the right systems in place and staff to do the day-to-day running, you could potentially earn passive income this way.
So that’s it, my thoughts on passive income ideas for busy people. As I’m sure you’re now aware, the idea of “passive” isn’t really true. You do need to put the work in upfront, but with the aim that one day, all your hard work will pay oof.
Share in the comments if you’d like to try any of these!
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