11 Ideas For Creating Passive Income From Entrepreneurs Too Busy To Pursue Them

10/01/2016 11:31 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2016
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Passive income is all about creating systems that run on autopilot and automatically deposit recurring income into your bank account every month with relatively low effort once established. It sounds like a dream, but there are more viable ideas for building passive income than ever.

Most high-performing entrepreneurs have more ideas than they have time to pursue, so we asked these incredibly successful entrepreneurs what they would be doing to generate more passive income if they only had more time to build them. If you aren’t as busy, you can make one (or more) of these your own.

Danae Ringelmann
Danae Ringelmann

1. Marketing support to growing startups

For medical reasons, millions of people cannot (or prefer not to) fly. To travel between two points, they must find the flattest route by land and sea, not to exceed certain elevations. Fortunately, a relatively new site (flattestroute.com) helps people do exactly that. I didn’t build the site, but Zivi — the young woman who did — is brilliant and turning her website into a mobile app would make her helpful engineering accessible to even more travelers across the world. Google Maps has added elevation info into bicycle routes and it’s only a matter of time before they turn this functionality on for other forms of transport. Until then, perhaps an Indiegogo campaign to fund Zivi’s build out of this app is in store?

 — Danae Ringelmann, Founder and Chief Development Officer of Indiegogo
Kevin Harrington
Kevin Harrington

2. Upsell opportunities

In nearly every line of work, there are opportunities to create a passive (continuity) income stream. If you’re a dentist, you may only see patients once or twice a year but you can set up a teeth-whitening package to be paid and delivered monthly. A personal trainer’s income normally would come from meeting personally with clients, but they could create a passive income stream by selling a line of vitamin supplements that clients would purchase monthly. Assess your industry, and look for opportunities to create a continuous income flow.

— Kevin Harrington, Inventor of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen On TV” industry, and original Shark on Shark Tank
Com Mirza
Com Mirza

3. Build a capital pool and invest in real estate

Someone once approached me and said he had 10 friends who owned mortgages. If he got his friends to sell the mortgages, downgrade to rentals, take the equity out of the homes and pool the capital together to purchase cash-flowing real estate, the cash flow could pay the combined rents indefinitely. That means living for free, and they would save a fortune on interest payments. Anyone anywhere can put together a capital pool and invest into cash-flowing real estate and help people get out of mortgages.

— Com Mirza, CEO of Mirza Holdings and “The $500 Million Man”
John Crestani
John Crestani

4. Internet marketing software

A business factoring company that seamlessly integrates with a particular sales-tracking software and provides real-time distribution of commissions. You would need to find a factoring company or an investor who specializes in funding direct-response companies, a risk analyst to audit risk associated with each sale within a company, and a third-party payment verification service. Clients would be cash-flow poor, growth-oriented sales/marketing organizations. The benefits of this service would be: 1. Decreased cash-flow issues 2. Less bookkeeping problems between clients/vendors 3. Unlimited tiers of sales/marketing distributors.

— John Crestani, Founder and CEO of Nutryst
Jay Georgi
Jay Georgi

5. Turn failure into success

Create a manual on how to turn a company around from the brink of bankruptcy. It would include things like cash position, overhead, employees, legal, negative clients, how to increase sales, retain cash, and negotiate with vendors and clients. Companies don’t fail; people do. Create a document or a step-by-step system to deal with things that cause a company to fail. I would incorporate many graphs and make it extremely actionable, with enough details to make almost every business reinvigorate itself and flourish again.

— Jay Georgi, Founder of Nadvia and Operations / Management / Profits Retention Coach
James Swanwick
James Swanwick

6. Teach your expertise

As as a former celebrity journalist and ESPN SportsCenter anchor, I interviewed everyone from Al Gore to Brad Pitt to Kobe Bryant. So I’d package my knowledge and experience into 12 videos about becoming a world-class interviewer. I’d pay a small management fee to a pay-per-click company that would drive Facebook ads to a niche audience. Qualified leads would receive a free opt-in of tips and a one-time offer of accessing the extensive training for a fee. I’d also promote the product with podcast hosts and content creators around the world.

— James Swanwick, Founder and CEO of 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge
Craig Handley
Craig Handley

7. Do what you love

You don’t look to create a passive income, you look to create a passion project — something you’d do for free that you love, and you put a plan together to do it for some period of time every week. I love music and used to DJ at clubs, weddings, and business award shows. Today I’m CEO of a company that sells more than $200 million a year in products and has more than 1,000 employees. I love teaching sales, but I still DJ the company Christmas party for free, and I’m always somehow connected to music.

— Craig Handley, Co-founder and CEO of ListenTrust
Kevin Yamazaki
Kevin Yamazaki

8. Advertise Amazon products

Amazon’s affiliate program is amazing for building a passive income business. While it’s the world’s largest marketplace, Amazon is only able to curate and serve up products that may interest you in a handful of ways. You can build a product curation site focused on a particular lifestyle and create collections of specific products that fit an occasion or season, include Amazon affiliate links that take people to Amazon to buy the products and make a good percentage of any and all purchases within 24 hours. Throw in some good content and SEO, niche products, and quality information or reviews, and you’ll have a steady stream of passive income.

— Kevin Yamazaki, Founder and CEO of Sidebench
Calvin Coyles
Calvin Coyles

9. Maximize your exposure

One of the most effective ways to build additional income streams is to leverage IP through membership sites and online courses. Film once, and get paid ongoing. When we started our peak performance training, Self-Mastery, we filmed the event and then turned it into the #1 NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) course online. Take your content, have it professionally created and turn it into an online experience. It gives you passive income and global access to pools of new customers.

— Calvin Coyles, CEO of Young & Wildly Successful; 26-years-old and grew YWS to 7 figures in 10 months
Gary Nealon
Gary Nealon

10. Go beyond Amazon

I would target Amazon sellers who don’t have an off-Amazon presence. With all the changes going on with Amazon selling, there is a huge opportunity to help build out the systems for Amazon sellers to get off the platform and diversify their traffic sources (and capture the customer data). Most Amazon sellers are very good at sourcing product and optimizing their listings, but what they don’t have is experience with ecommerce or setting up their own websites, shopping cart solutions, and data feeds. There’s a huge opportunity to take Amazon sellers beyond Amazon.

 — Gary Nealon, President of Nealon Solutions and The Rox Group; five consecutive years on the Inc. 5000
Roy McDonald
Roy McDonald

11. Understand the formula

To create a passive income stream, you need to know the formula; the recipe. For example, if you’re working as a personal trainer, one on one, there is no leverage. You can create passive income by: Contracting other trainers to run your sessions; Going online with courses and trainings; Selling supplements; Engaging JV partners and strategic partners. Find the leverage.

— Roy McDonald, Founder and CEO of OneLife
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