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Anyone made it thru residual income (royalties, ad revenue, etc.)?
Old 05-21-2015, 08:20 AM   #1
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Anyone made it thru residual income (royalties, ad revenue, etc.)?

Did anyone here retire thru passive income streams other than the mainstream rental/dividend/interest sources? I gather that most made their money through work, a business they founded, or rental properties. How many are able to retire off of residual income from things like books, music, apps, blogs, etc.? I guess if you're really able to pull it off, you wouldn't be frequenting boards like this and you definitely wouldn't be blabbing about it.

I do know that blogs like MMM are very profitable as are various apps by independent developers. Then of course there's that guy that gets an income stream by simply asking people to "send money here."

I'm curious how many made it thru non-traditional means. I'm guessing an extremely small subset.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:39 AM   #2
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I agree its likely a VERY small subset. I know someone who had a top 50 business blog who couldn't make ends meet (ie never made more than $70-100k and it required 50-70 hours a week of work) thus would NOT consider that "passive" income.


As for books, know lots of people who wrote books and made a small amount of money (maybe $50k total) so its a little something in your pocket, but not like a pension/sure stream of income. Most of the money made through books is due to speaking engagements or work opportunities spawned by being a popular author.


My honey writes for blogs ($25-$100) an article .. so some income but not without hours of work. His real money comes from white papers. Its been many years and he now gets free travel and conference fees waived to speak.. next step is to get actually paid to speak. For him, its nice perk to get everything reimbursed, travel for free, and get an expensive conference paid for so he can network and gather more knowledge. Its not an income stream yet, but certainly a nice perk of the business he is in.


From my experience, if there are people on here that made their money that way.. either their a huge name author or they likely make money through speaking engagements or found some really niche market to get advertisement on their blogs (which is what MMM says he made a good amount of money from credit card advertisement).


If this is the path you want, think of it as just another "stock dividend" .. ie not likely your only source of retirement income, but a piece of it.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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you mean like selling neruium or thrive or something like that?


seems like you would have to get in that pretty early on to make any $$$
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:40 AM   #4
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you mean like selling neruium or thrive or something like that?

seems like you would have to get in that pretty early on to make any $$$
Not sure what you're referring to? Skin cream? I'm not talking about pyramid schemes either if that's what you're talking about. Residuals from creative works, whether it's a book, blog, app, etc.

Anyway, Karen confirmed what I suspected. Except for an extraordinary few, most people won't be able to earn enough through residuals to sustain them indefinitely. And for things like books and blogs, it would take a lot of time to maintain them, so not really "passive" and any residuals would dry up quickly if not maintained well. Unless you outsource the work, which I think MMM is doing now.

And if that $70-100k for that business blog is per year, that's still pretty successful.

I didn't even thing of speaking engagements. Not much of an opportunity for "residuals" unless you're pitching a book or something as well.

I wonder how much folks like Nords and Fuego make for their books and blogs. They're already retired, so any extra income isn't necessary, but must be nice.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:37 AM   #5
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Songwriters of hit songs that make it onto compilations qualify for this. There are quite a few mostly one-shot songwriters out there who had their work recorded by someone else, yet they still get a pretty nice residual, especially if it is deemed a "safe" song for oldies radio, and ends up on hits compilations.

Depending on the initial success, we're talking high 6 figures (or more) initially, decaying to significant 5 figures even 25 or 30 years later.

But here's the thing: those kind of folks usually don't visit here. It isn't their personality type.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:46 AM   #6
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Not sure what you're referring to? Skin cream? I'm not talking about pyramid schemes either if that's what you're talking about. Residuals from creative works, whether it's a book, blog, app, etc.
neurium is skin cream - thrive is a supplement

yes I guess those are pyramids - they refer to the dividends as "residual" income
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:55 AM   #7
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You could also get residual income from a patent. With all the engineers around here, someone might still be getting royalties from a past invention.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:02 PM   #8
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You could also get residual income from a patent. With all the engineers around here, someone might still be getting royalties from a past invention.
Alas, if you work for a megacorp, when you join they make you sign over the rights to all patents obtained during your tenure, even for ones you create outside of work on your own time.

Then again, I'm not sure if that's universal or if I got suckered as a fresh-face college grad who didn't know any better.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:10 PM   #9
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Then again, I'm not sure if that's universal or if I got suckered as a fresh-face college grad who didn't know any better.
what recourse did you have?
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:16 PM   #10
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what recourse did you have?
Not take the job? Not knowing if it's industry standard doesn't help. Anyone here signed a similar form or am I the only dupe?
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:25 PM   #11
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Not take the job? Not knowing if it's industry standard doesn't help. Anyone here signed a similar form or am I the only dupe?

I'm in a different line of work


It's generally accepted in my business that part of accepting a job is to sign a noncompete that's good for a year or two after you quit or get terminated - that essentially means you can't poach clients or steal staff while it is in effect - everyone has to sign them
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:29 PM   #12
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Then you have the guy in the UK who wrote the app "Candy Crush".

He and his company were making upwards of $375 million a year on that one game.

Similar story with Angry Birds... but they are the outliers.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:46 PM   #13
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I'm working on that but in a way that guarantees nothing - writing a genre fiction novel. Just something I put aside for years and years and figure, if not now, then when. I know a few successful published fiction authors and they are just regular people but they did something I didn't do for all those years - put their butts in the chair and wrote.

So now my butt is free to sit in a chair and write, or sit on the beach and write, or a cabin in the woods and write, in a cafe in Paris and write - you get the picture.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:22 PM   #14
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My husband and I recorded ad CD in 1989. I think we made $0.39 in royalties to date. (Sigh).
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:33 PM   #15
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Look on flippa. Some of the sites for sale are scams, but sellers have to include monthly income in the sales offerings and there are some interesting legitimate sites on there. Also see this link:

AdSense Google Ads

A friend of a friend wrote a popular online game in the early Internet days and moved to Monaco (tax haven) he made so much money.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:36 PM   #16
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Alas, if you work for a megacorp, when you join they make you sign over the rights to all patents obtained during your tenure, even for ones you create outside of work on your own time.

Then again, I'm not sure if that's universal or if I got suckered as a fresh-face college grad who didn't know any better.
During one of the last mergers, our new corporate overlords tried to pull same maneuver on us, but about 50 of us (out of 400 in my division) crossed out this part of the new employment contract before signing it.
None of us lost jobs due to this.
We were not opposing signing over patents obtained on company clock, but did not want to give them everything, especially completely unrelated to the company business.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:42 PM   #17
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Not take the job? Not knowing if it's industry standard doesn't help. Anyone here signed a similar form or am I the only dupe?
I don't know of any engineering company that doesn't make you sign one.. after all its engineering, they want it ALL. However, you could go to them supposedly and if you could prove it had ZERO to do with their business and didn't use any knowledge you gained from them, then you could keep the rights. ie if your a song writer, you probably can keep your song if you work as a software engineer but if you write software for a game you came up with.. they will claim you learned to program, project manage, etc from working there so its theirs...its all theirs. Also when you sign it, there should have been a space to disclose anything you already had patents on or were in the process of as that would then be excluded.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #18
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Anyway, Karen confirmed what I suspected. Except for an extraordinary few, most people won't be able to earn enough through residuals to sustain them indefinitely. And for things like books and blogs, it would take a lot of time to maintain them, so not really "passive" and any residuals would dry up quickly if not maintained well. Unless you outsource the work, which I think MMM is doing now.

And if that $70-100k for that business blog is per year, that's still pretty successful.

I didn't even thing of speaking engagements. Not much of an opportunity for "residuals" unless you're pitching a book or something as well.

I wonder how much folks like Nords and Fuego make for their books and blogs. They're already retired, so any extra income isn't necessary, but must be nice.
Whoa whoa whoa, back up the truck here.

The Internet has removed the "extraordinary few" qualifier. The barrier to success is so low (and so cheap) that you could trip over it. Your startup costs range from $75/year (cheap website hosting) to $500 (one-time tools and services).

I'm not sure what you think MMM is outsourcing. He has a tech admin maintaining the servers, but his biggest problem is buying enough bandwidth for the traffic. Day-to-day traffic is predictable, but when his posts or video interviews go viral then he has to upgrade to yet even more processors and gigabytes. He still handles all of his own advertising and affiliate sales, and he still writes his own posts. His spouse (also a programmer) does some of the website (not server) maintenance.

I report my royalty income every six months (right after the check arrives). You can read the latest report here:
"The Military Guide" Sales Update (The GSA Schedule Rocks!) - Military Guide
Keep in mind that I donate all my writing revenue (royalties and a little affiliate income) to military charities. (That $3000 total does not include eight months of blog advertising income from 2012-13.) Once or twice a year I also get $10 from Amazon for all those of you (thank you!) who've bookmarked my affiliate code for your purchases. If you generate money for The Military Guide, then you're all supporting Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House.

I'm not sure what you mean by "maintenance" for a book. In my case it's asking the publisher where the royalty numbers came from, and then waiting for the corrections. In a year or two (as the initial print run sells out) I'll update the examples with 2016 numbers and they'll send the second edition to the printers. That might cost me about 20-40 hours of research and editing.

Ellie Kay, Scott Berkun, and Mary Kelly will tell you that most books only augment a speaking career. One book may get on a NYT best-seller list or get lots of Amazon reviews and generate a huge spike of royalties, or you just keep writing and speaking until you've accumulated enough assets. In Ellie's case, 15 books over the last 15 years adds up. For others, their wealth comes from writing a book series with each volume priced at $1.99 and the first book given away for 99 cents. By the time you're four or five books into your formula, you have a core audience that doesn't mind spending the $1.99 every 6-12 months.

As for blog maintenance, that's "not a lot of time"-- just a few hours a week. Most of my new blog posts come from answering reader questions (through the blog and through e-mail), so when the book ad appears on the post that's the only marketing effort. I also enjoy doing podcasts and videos with other bloggers, but my contribution is showing up for 30 minutes to chat about military financial independence. In other words, all of my "maintenance" is done through typical coffee-shop conversations and my words get reformatted for a wider audience.

A weekly blog post takes me from 20 minutes to two hours to write (from a blank screen), and another 30 minutes to format for publication (including imagery and social media). I'm highly efficient after 500+ posts, so most of my time is closer to 20 minutes than two hours. I write for at least an hour a day, but I spend the rest of my writing time on my next book or on other frivolous topics... personal entertainment, not income. I'm considering dropping down to a blog post every 2-3 weeks but I enjoy switching topics. I also can't shut up stop writing, so I might as well generate blog posts and put book ads in front of reader's faces.

When I started Google AdSense on the blog in late 2012, my first month was $133. By the time I sold the blog it was up to $250/month. My biggest time-sink was about six hours of reading the Terms & Conditions and tweaking the plug-in to put the ads in the right places. After that I spent less than an hour per week on the advertising.

I sold the blog in late 2013, although I contribute content on a three-year earnout. The new owner invested about 200 man-hours of initial effort on boosting the blog's ads and affiliate income (like USAA products) but he also has a full-time job (courtesy of the U.S. Army). Today he spends maybe 1-2 hours on the blog per week, if that, and most of it is creating keyword-rich posts that generate a ridiculously high amount of traffic (like "The 2015 Military Pay Chart") and advertising income.

He shared some numbers with me about six months ago. He's not shopping for a Bentley, but the blog pays an income that would let him live nearly anywhere in the country just on its 1099-MISCs. He could live rich in Thailand or Latin America or Andalusia. When he retires from the military in a couple of years, he'll have more money than he needs. However he's also a serial entrepreneur who will probably spend the rest of his life building projects to generate 5-6 figures of annual income. His other blog subjects are all over the freakin' place like a hyperactive six-year-old. It's not magic-- it's just figuring out the process and then optimizing it for efficiency... and recreating it for each new site that you decide to build.

Take a look at Pat Flynn's work on SmartPassiveIncome.com with SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com and FoodTruckr.com. He built both of those last two sites from scratch, and he didn't even have a topic in mind when he decided to start the project. He fully disclosed all of the tools & techniques that he used. (Those posts are still on his site.) He spent 100 man-hours or so of effort on each before they launched, but since then he's spent very little time on them. Today I doubt that he spends more than 1-2 hours per month gathering their traffic/revenue data for his monthly updates. He hasn't even published new content on some of his sites for years. All of his current labor goes into his new six-figure projects, but meanwhile the 2-3 blogs that he's created over the last six years are generating a living wage with almost no effort. Take a look at his income reports here: My Income Reports Yeah, he pulls down over $1M/year from his hard work, but focus your attention on his little sites that pull in $500-$2000/month.

As for Pat's $1M/year income, I personally know three other blogger/entrepreneurs in that range. They are very good at iterating on a successful process, and each project teaches them something new for the next project. They have also learned to delegate tasks to freelance staff, so when they earn that seven-figure income they also pay out at least 30% of it in expenses. Pat (and his buddy Chris Ducker) discuss those techniques all the time on their blogs and at their seminars. If I gave up the ten hours per week that I devote to surfing then I could easily double my annual income.

My cousin runs a foodie blog. She doesn't even know how to maintain a website, let alone build a mailing list or an auto-responder series or a sales funnel. She just likes to cook and take pictures of the food, and she writes like she's talking over drinks at a local bar. She's been at it for three years and she barely even posts twice a month. She earns all of her income from Google AdSense and Amazon Associates. Last year she had her first $1000 month. Someday she'll publish a cookbook (as an eBook) from her site's recipes and sell it through Amazon's CreateSpace. That will easily add $500/month to her earnings.

Literally hundreds of bloggers have read Pat's posts, copied his methods (for their own topics), and built their own income streams. The minimum required maintenance is 1-2 hours/week to generate a living wage, but most of the growth comes from your site's longevity. (Some of my posts outrank the Department of Defense's and the military services' websites for some keywords just because I wrote about it first.) Getting the income stream up to the "living wage" level takes about 18-24 months, and much of that timing is a function of the weekly networking/promotional effort. Everything after that is either passive income (1-2 hours per month) or building it to a higher level.

I've attended three FinCons, and I'm eagerly anticipating FinCon15 (Charlotte, NC, 17-20 Sep). 500 bloggers/entrepreneurs along with financial companies, publishers, and other media. The entrepreneurial spirit in the hallways is so thick that you could cut it with a chainsaw.
Should You Attend FinCon15? - Military Guide
We also do local meetups throughout the year, although Oahu has not held any yet. If you can't attend then spend the money on the virtual pass and watch the videos (another way that the FinCon owner generates a lot of passive income).

The other side of this gold-rush business is the thousands of blogs that are abandoned every day. People start with enthusiasm and high hopes, but they lose interest in the topic. They're not willing to put in the weekly effort or they're inefficient... or life happens and the blog is a low priority.

So you have to be interested in your topic, and you have to be willing to keep at it for about two years. The carrying costs are low and the information is everywhere. It helps to join a mastermind group and to do a lot of reading, but that follows directly from the "interested" part.

Let me summarize it this way: anyone who's watching an hour of TV every day instead of creating a blog is wasting $15K-$25K per year.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:54 PM   #19
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Let me summarize it this way: anyone who's watching an hour of TV every day instead of creating a blog is wasting $15K-$25K per year.
Maybe you meant to write this: anyone who's reading an hour of this forum every day instead of creating a blog is wasting $15K-$25K per year.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:59 PM   #20
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Maybe you meant to write this: anyone who's reading an hour of this forum every day instead of creating a blog is wasting $15K-$25K per year.
That could depend on which threads (and posters) you're reading...
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