With the economy the way it is, most people are trying to hold onto their jobs instead of thinking about taking risks starting new companies. But being bold and creative, doing new things, is the only way to dig ourselves out of the economic hole we dug doing things the traditional way.
Now is the time for you to start looking at what you are passionate about and turning it into a second income that will grow into a self-sustaining profitable enterprise. Building a truly passive income stream not only helps pay the bills, it also empowers you to make bigger, bolder decisions to get what you want out of life.
So whether you are looking for some extra cash to help pay the rent, or need money to start a new business, check out our ideas that show you how to build a residual income working right out of your own home.
Fair warning though; at least to begin with, you're going to have to work really hard, so be prepared.
1. Blog about your passion
To some extent the blogging industry is saturated. People have been setting up blogs for ages, and to be perfectly blunt, most fail.
But there is a difference between blogging for money and blogging about something you love. Focusing on something that you love makes it easy to stick with it long enough to build up a following. That, and the fact that your passion for the subject will shine through in the content and make the blog that much more likely to succeed.
It also means that whatever the topic of your blog - it could be gaming, weddings, gardening, baking, entrepreneurship, etc - is not really hard work for you since it's something you enjoy already.
Don't believe me?
Well, apart from my own blog, I have read plenty of good examples of how people converted their passions into a blog, which in turn generates sometimes stellar amounts of cold hard cash. The most recent being the story of a guy called Johnny Ward who earns upwards of $20 000 per month from his travel blog. You can read the whole store on Bored Panda at Man Who Quit 9-To-5 Job Makes $1 Million While Traveling The World.
Ok, so Johnny isn't working from home - but that's because his passion takes him outdoors. Want to get started on your own project? Learn more at how to start a blog.
2. Online subscription based service
The nice thing about subscriptions is that, provided you can offer something of ongoing value to customers, it is easy to setup a direct debit that brings in money each month using any number of online services (like PayPal).
Unfortunately, the problem is not how to set the service up, but what you can offer to customers to get them to sign up. It has to be something automated - otherwise, the income won't be passive, because you'll have to work on the service manually.
One of my companies does exactly that. It gathers freely available sales data from some of the big online retailers, chops it up and combines it using algorithms I developed, and spits out useful information for publishers, marketers and retailers.
People visit the site, register an account by setting up a recurring direct debit payment, and start consuming the data my system provides. Since everything is automatic, the only thing I need to do is answer the odd support query - taking up approx 30 minutes per week.
Not bad for a business that caters to nearly 6000 clients around the world.
3. Royalty based creative works
I'm not much of an artistic designer, but I know someone who is. And man are they good. So good, that I saw an opportunity for them to start their own website doing what they love - being super creative.
The artwork they produce is freely available on the site for anyone and everyone who wants to use it as a background for their PC, Mac, Tablet or smartphone. This makes it an awesome bit of soul-food and eye-candy that people can browse through over lunch.
But where does the money come from if all the creative works are available for free? Well, some people would like to print a valentine card, or decorate their living room with printed cushions, or office with canvas prints, coffee mugs, pens, glasses, t-shirts, or even sell a range of custom designs from their own stores.
In all of these instances, and many more that I haven't mentioned, it is possible to generate a small royalty or affiliate commission on the item being produced. So, if someone decides they love a picture, they can have it printed on a t-shirt and delivered to them for, say, $10 - of which $2 is commission.
Because the commissions are generated via the website and all of the production, warehousing and delivery costs are handled by a third party service, the income is essentially passive. This means that so long as people are visiting the site, commissions on sales and advertising will continue to roll in.
So those are my ideas for building a decent residual income online. As you've probably noticed, there is almost no such thing as truly residual income when it comes to businesses. There's always going to be a little bit of work - even if it is only an hour or two a week.
But, remember that there is nothing stopping you hiring someone and training them up to look after the day-to-day business operations to cut down on the amount of hours spent administering and running things.
What other ways are there to make money online, working from home, or out and about? Share your tips and ideas in the comments.