As a freelancer, it's always key to hedge your bets. So, although I don't have a lot of time for affiliate marketing, it's on my agenda for 2009 and I have seen some small profit on my own from what little time I spent with it in 2008.
Anyway, here's two passive income sources you might not have even thought of. And one really isn't passive income, but could be thought of it.
1. Tax deductions. Although you're not making money with tax deductions, you are writing off taxes that could be sucking away some of your precious money. So maximize these to their fullest. Of course I'd rather we be on the FairTax plan
(for those of you in the USA), but I'll settle for doing the tax deductions for now. Also, by listing yourself as an affiliate marketer rather than a web developer, you can justify more of your write-offs with the IRS. For instance, a trip to Disneyworld could be considered research for affordable vacations on your travel site you put up where you collect income from affiliate ad revenue. (My CPA is permitting me to write that one off this year, but only after careful scrutiny on how this is arranged.) Oh, and to be perfectly clear, we did do our research on that trip, and did find the cheapest way possible to make that trip happen, yet have a slight bit of luxury in the trip as well.
2. Farming. Yes, I said farming -- God's passive income opportunity for those with a little land. If done right, you plant it, outsource the harvesting, sell it, and don't spend too much time on it. I live on 21 acres that were given to me through my wife's inheritance. I am surrounded by well-seasoned farmers who have been doing this for many years. At least 15 of these acres here are ready for a farm. I don't know what kind of farm I'll start, and I'll be outsourcing some of the work and equipment use, but my father-in-law and I are going to contact some county and state departments on this, run the numbers, and make a decision here in a couple months on what to plant and how to make this profitable. I have never farmed before, but I have worked on tractors tilling soil, smoothing land with a box blade, and bush hogging brush. I was also the guy who hung doors, installed baseboards and window trim in my house, and so if I can do that, I think I can manage the difficulty of farming as well. I also learned that you never ever, under any circumstances, run a diesel tractor out of fuel or you'll spend half a day trying to fix it. I also learned that tractors get a tremendous amount of stress on them with vibration, and that metal on it will wiggle back and forth and just break right off -- so tractors require care and maintenance.
But again, if I can't make it profitable, or occupies too much of my precious time, I won't do it. So, I recommend you look into this carefully and make a sound decision about it.
Say, did you know that a guy in North Carolina sells special trees for truffles
, and that he can turn one acre of land into profit in just 3 years and yield $40,000 per acre? Unfortunately it takes 3 years to get started, and truffle farming requires specially trained dogs, but it does sound lucrative. It's probably not the right fit for me, but does get my mind in the right direction.
I've also thought about organic farming because I'm not too crazy about throwing down all these chemicals around my house and its well water system.