What is the difference between passive and residual income?

There is none.

It is the same thing.

Passive just sounds easier, but it is not. It is easier to rip people off by telling them they can sit back and make money in their sleep. They always forget to tell you the “work” part.

Unraveling the Mystery of Passive Income

“Passive income” is a hot topic in financial circles and entrepreneurial dialogues. But let’s get real: passive income isn’t as hands-off as it sounds. In essence, passive income refers to earnings flowing from an enterprise in which you’re not actively involved.

Sounds like money for nothing?

Not quite.

Dispelling the Myth Around Passive Income

A widespread misunderstanding about passive income is its supposed effortlessness – sit back and watch the dollars roll in. This notion couldn’t be more off-base.

Contrary to their name, passive incomes often require significant upfront work or investment before they begin churning out revenue autonomously. For example, crafting and publishing an eBook demands substantial initial time commitment but could potentially yield sales (and thus cash) over the years without further input on your part.

Lifting The Veil: Enter Residual Income

“Residual income,” now there’s a phrase that better captures this type of earning scenario.

Unlike its misleading cousin ‘passive,’ residual doesn’t shy away from acknowledging some up-front hustle required to set these streams flowing.

With residual incomes, we recognize profits left after factoring capital costs tied with generating those gains – think hours spent designing online courses or setting up rental properties.

Simply put, you are working for your dough; however, much of this grind happens at inception rather than being spread evenly across time.

Distinguishing Between These Two Concepts

    • Rental yields trickling in monthly due to savvy property investments? That’s residual since active involvement was necessary initially in buying properties and managing tenants, even if now benefits accrue with minimal daily engagement needed.
    • An annual dividend payout received because stocks were purchased earlier? Again – very much residual. While dividends may seem effortless, remember purchasing shares wasn’t free.
    • Royalties still coming through following a book published several years ago? Absolutely considered residuals, given the original sweat equity went into writing the book.

Key Takeaway: 

There is no such thing as “passive income.” It is just residual income with an easier-to-market title. Passive sounds like no work, and residual does.

Unraveling the Concept of Residual Income

Unraveling the Mystery of Passive Income

We’ve all heard about residual income, but what does it really mean? Let’s cut through the jargon and get to its core.

Residual income refers to earnings you receive over time from work done once. It’s like a never-ending present. But don’t be fooled; there is effort involved initially.

The Many Faces of Residual Income

You can earn residual income in various ways. One common method is real estate investment. After buying a property and securing tenants, landlords enjoy annual rental income as their residual revenue – talk about making your money work for you.

Beyond real estate, owning business shares also generates passive bucks. As long as the company stays profitable and periodically dishes out dividends among shareholders – voila. You have another stream of residuals flowing into your account.

Key Takeaway: 

Residual income is the gift that keeps on giving, earned from one-time efforts like real estate investments or business shares. It’s about making your money work for you. But remember, it requires initial effort and smart calculations of potential earnings based on realistic expectations and risk tolerance.

Benefits of Residual Income

The appeal of residual income is quite irresistible. It’s a golden ticket to numerous perks that can significantly enhance your financial status and lifestyle.

A Safety Net for Your Finances

Earning residual income provides an added layer of financial security, creating a safety net against unexpected expenses or economic downturns. This steady stream generated outside the confines of regular employment gives you peace of mind when dealing with life’s uncertainties.

Diversify Like A Pro

Residual income offers diversification benefits, too.

Generating multiple streams from various sources such as real estate investments, stocks, or online businesses, reduces the risks associated with relying on just one source.

Potential Earnings Skyrocketing

Your earning potential can soar above traditional jobs when you have well-established residual earnings like annual rental incomes. Successful entrepreneurs credit their wealth to strategic planning and execution around building these revenue streams.

Better Work-Life Balance? Yes Please.

If managed correctly, the initial active involvement required to create additional revenue could lead to more free time than traditional 9-5 jobs allow – contributing positively towards work-life balance while still achieving those key differences in bottom line residual income.

Key Takeaway: 

Residual income is more than just a financial safety net; it’s a personal growth and diversification launchpad. It can skyrocket your earnings, enhance work-life balance, and teach you new skills as you explore revenue streams like real estate or online businesses.

Disadvantages of Residual Income

Dialing up the risk

Many people aspire to gain residual income, but it is difficult. There are some downsides to consider.

The Initial Investment Can Be Hefty

To kickstart your journey toward earning residual income, you’ll often need to make an initial investment.

This could be monetary – like dividend investing or opening a restaurant. Or perhaps it is time-consuming – such as writing that best-selling novel or creating an online course that people will clamor over.

Risk: The Uninvited Guest

Residual income isn’t without its risks either.

If dividend-paying stocks are your thing, market volatility can play havoc with investment returns. And if rental properties form part of your plan? You might face periods when tenants aren’t around, or unexpected maintenance costs crop up – both scenarios nibbling away at the bottom line of residual income.

While appealing in theory, residual income does come with potential pitfalls.

No Immediate Gratification Here.

This may not be your best option if you’re after quick results.

Building sources of residual income takes patience and perseverance. It has taken me years. From nurturing a blog to attract advertisers to investing in property appreciation and hoping for annual rental incomes, these strategies require time before they start paying off big-time.

Strategies for Generating Residual Income

What is income? Strategies for different sources of residual income.

Generating residual income may appear intimidating, but it’s pretty achievable. Let’s explore some strategies to help you build your residual income stream.

1. Real Estate Investments

The real estate market is ripe with opportunities to generate passive income through rental properties and property appreciation. Here are our latest Lever Rankings for real-estate businesses:

  • Description:

    Using your real estate for vacation rentals can be very profitable and a great way to make more money from a property you own.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Great Way to Increase Returns
    • Many Vacation Rental Platforms
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Significant Capital to Start
    • Increased Maintenance Costs
    • Requires a Lot of Work
    • Exposure to Risk
    • Requires Staffing to Scale
    • It is a Job
  • Description:

    Being a landlord and collecting rent as a residential property owner is probably one of the oldest and most stable forms of business income.

    Just don't overpay for your properties.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Consistent Demand
    • Mature Business Model
    • Favorable Tax Treatment
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Significant Capital Required
    • Concentrated Capital Risk
    • Legal Risks
    • Tenant Risks
    • Repairs and Maintenance
  • Description:

    A triple net lease (commonly referred to as NNN or “triple net”) is a rental agreement (typically commercial) in which the tenant is responsible for property taxes, insurance premiums, and structural maintenance and repairs to the property (in addition to rent).

    A triple net lease removes most of the risk of being a landlord because the tenant is now responsible for everything – the landlord receives the rent check.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Tenant Responsible for All Expenses
    • Favorable Tax Treatment
    • Long-Term Leases
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Significant Capital Required
    • Concentrated Capital Risk
    • Tenant Credit Quality
    • Re-Leasing Risk
    • Illiquid
Top Pick
  • Description:

    What is digital real estate? In the online world, a piece of digital real estate is known as a “domain name.”

    Also known as "Domain Name Investing," Digital Real Estate is a very attractive business model requiring very little time to set up and start.


  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • High-Profit Potential
    • Online Business
    • Cheap to Get Started
    • Several Ways to Monetize Domain Names
    • Many Available Sales Platforms
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Highly Competitive
    • Volatile Markets
    • Takes Time to Sell inventory
Our Favorite
  • Description:

    Real estate has always been a popular investment vehicle for growth and income.

    Historically, real estate investors were limited to directly buying real estate, managing properties, and collecting rental income.

    REITs take all management issues away and give REIT real estate investors liquidity.

    This is our favorite way to invest in real estate.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Requires Little Capital
    • Liquidity
    • Diversification
    • Professional Management
    • Better Returns than Direct Investment
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
    • No Depreciation Deductions
    • Typically Non-Qualified Dividends
Description:

Using your real estate for vacation rentals can be very profitable and a great way to make more money from a property you own.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Great Way to Increase Returns
  • Many Vacation Rental Platforms
Cons:
Cons:
  • Significant Capital to Start
  • Increased Maintenance Costs
  • Requires a Lot of Work
  • Exposure to Risk
  • Requires Staffing to Scale
  • It is a Job
Description:

Being a landlord and collecting rent as a residential property owner is probably one of the oldest and most stable forms of business income.

Just don't overpay for your properties.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Consistent Demand
  • Mature Business Model
  • Favorable Tax Treatment
Cons:
Cons:
  • Significant Capital Required
  • Concentrated Capital Risk
  • Legal Risks
  • Tenant Risks
  • Repairs and Maintenance
Description:

A triple net lease (commonly referred to as NNN or “triple net”) is a rental agreement (typically commercial) in which the tenant is responsible for property taxes, insurance premiums, and structural maintenance and repairs to the property (in addition to rent).

A triple net lease removes most of the risk of being a landlord because the tenant is now responsible for everything – the landlord receives the rent check.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Tenant Responsible for All Expenses
  • Favorable Tax Treatment
  • Long-Term Leases
Cons:
Cons:
  • Significant Capital Required
  • Concentrated Capital Risk
  • Tenant Credit Quality
  • Re-Leasing Risk
  • Illiquid
Top Pick
Description:

What is digital real estate? In the online world, a piece of digital real estate is known as a “domain name.”

Also known as "Domain Name Investing," Digital Real Estate is a very attractive business model requiring very little time to set up and start.


Pros:
Pros:
  • High-Profit Potential
  • Online Business
  • Cheap to Get Started
  • Several Ways to Monetize Domain Names
  • Many Available Sales Platforms
Cons:
Cons:
  • Highly Competitive
  • Volatile Markets
  • Takes Time to Sell inventory
Our Favorite
Description:

Real estate has always been a popular investment vehicle for growth and income.

Historically, real estate investors were limited to directly buying real estate, managing properties, and collecting rental income.

REITs take all management issues away and give REIT real estate investors liquidity.

This is our favorite way to invest in real estate.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Requires Little Capital
  • Liquidity
  • Diversification
  • Professional Management
  • Better Returns than Direct Investment
Cons:
Cons:
  • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
  • No Depreciation Deductions
  • Typically Non-Qualified Dividends

2. Create Digital Products

Digital products such as eBooks or online courses are another great way to earn passive income once created and marketed correctly. It might require effort initially, but the long-term rewards make this strategy worthwhile. Here are our latest Lever Rankings for online businesses:

  • Description:

    Day trading is buying and selling a security within a single trading day.

    You can make a lot of money trading the financial markets, BUT it is a full-time job. Your work is not leveraged, and there is no compounding effect.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Potential to Make a lot of Money
    • Leverage (Magnifies Gains)
    • Many Resources Available
    • Easy Access to Markets
    • Online Business
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Potential to Lose a Lot of Money
    • Leverage (Magnifies Losses)
    • High Risk
    • High Failure Rate
    • Very High Learning Curve
    • Lack of Transparency in Some Markets
    • No Compounding Effect
    • Essentially a Profession
  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Very Profitable
    • Incredible Demand
    • Very Inexpensive to Start
    • Inexpensive to Learn
    • A Lot of Productivity Tools
    • Strong Outsourcing Market
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Incredible Amount of Competition
    • No Moat
    • Very Time Consuming
    • Client Perception
    • Clients
  • Description:

    Cryptocurrency mining is a business model using computers to add transactions to the cryptocurrency’s blockchain by solving the complicated mathematical problems associated with that specific cryptocurrency’s algorithm.

    In return for this computer’s “work,” the business receives a small fee for verifying that transaction block.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Can Start Using Just 1 Computer
    • Easy to Automate
    • A Lot of Choices of What Coins To Mine
    • Many Online Resources
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Volatile Market
    • High Risk
    • Fast Decline Curve on Hardware
    • Technical Skill Needed
    • Electrical Costs
    • Infrastructure Required
    • Rife with Scammers and Hackers
  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Online Business
    • Low Touch Source of Residual Income
    • Inexpensive to Start
    • Turn-key Hosting Available
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Coin Quality
    • High Risk of Loss
    • Very Complex if Setting Up Yourself
    • Cryptocurrency is Volatile
    • Industry Rife with Scams/ Hackers
Top Pick
  • Description:

    What is digital real estate? In the online world, a piece of digital real estate is known as a “domain name.”

    Also known as "Domain Name Investing," Digital Real Estate is a very attractive business model requiring very little time to set up and start.


  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • High-Profit Potential
    • Online Business
    • Cheap to Get Started
    • Several Ways to Monetize Domain Names
    • Many Available Sales Platforms
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Highly Competitive
    • Volatile Markets
    • Takes Time to Sell inventory
Our Favorite
  • Description:

    Real estate has always been a popular investment vehicle for growth and income.

    Historically, real estate investors were limited to directly buying real estate, managing properties, and collecting rental income.

    REITs take all management issues away and give REIT real estate investors liquidity.

    This is our favorite way to invest in real estate.

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Requires Little Capital
    • Liquidity
    • Diversification
    • Professional Management
    • Better Returns than Direct Investment
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
    • No Depreciation Deductions
    • Typically Non-Qualified Dividends
Top Pick
  • Description:

    Dividend stock investing is one of my favorite forms of “Levered Income.”

    There are several different approaches to dividend stock investing. Still, the primary dividend stock investment strategy is to create enough dividend stock income that you do not need to deplete your capital in retirement.

    In a sentence, the best dividend stock investment strategy is to build a dividend portfolio to pay you more yearly (after taxes) than you spend. 

  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Requires Little Capital to Get Started
    • Liquidity
    • Diversification
    • Professional Management
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
    • Requires a Lot of Capital to Achieve Financial independence
    • "Sucker Yields"
Top Pick
  • Pros:
  • Pros:
    • Online Business
    • Unlimited Residual Income Potential
    • Inexpensive to Start
    • Inexpensive to Operate
    • Plenty of Tools to Leverage Work Units
  • Cons:
  • Cons:
    • Intense Initial Effort
    • Learning Curve
    • Time to Earning Ramp
Description:

Day trading is buying and selling a security within a single trading day.

You can make a lot of money trading the financial markets, BUT it is a full-time job. Your work is not leveraged, and there is no compounding effect.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Potential to Make a lot of Money
  • Leverage (Magnifies Gains)
  • Many Resources Available
  • Easy Access to Markets
  • Online Business
Cons:
Cons:
  • Potential to Lose a Lot of Money
  • Leverage (Magnifies Losses)
  • High Risk
  • High Failure Rate
  • Very High Learning Curve
  • Lack of Transparency in Some Markets
  • No Compounding Effect
  • Essentially a Profession
Description:

Digital Marketing (also known as online marketing) raises awareness of a business or brand via online channels.

It is a very much in-demand service and can be very profitable.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Very Profitable
  • Incredible Demand
  • Very Inexpensive to Start
  • Inexpensive to Learn
  • A Lot of Productivity Tools
  • Strong Outsourcing Market
Cons:
Cons:
  • Incredible Amount of Competition
  • No Moat
  • Very Time Consuming
  • Client Perception
  • Clients
Description:

Cryptocurrency mining is a business model using computers to add transactions to the cryptocurrency’s blockchain by solving the complicated mathematical problems associated with that specific cryptocurrency’s algorithm.

In return for this computer’s “work,” the business receives a small fee for verifying that transaction block.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Can Start Using Just 1 Computer
  • Easy to Automate
  • A Lot of Choices of What Coins To Mine
  • Many Online Resources
Cons:
Cons:
  • Volatile Market
  • High Risk
  • Fast Decline Curve on Hardware
  • Technical Skill Needed
  • Electrical Costs
  • Infrastructure Required
  • Rife with Scammers and Hackers
Description:

Masternodes are part of the technical infrastructure that supports specific cryptocurrencies like FiroEnergiPIVX, or Dash, and verify blocks on the blockchain.

Operating masternodes via cloud hosting is another way to participate in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Online Business
  • Low Touch Source of Residual Income
  • Inexpensive to Start
  • Turn-key Hosting Available
Cons:
Cons:
  • Coin Quality
  • High Risk of Loss
  • Very Complex if Setting Up Yourself
  • Cryptocurrency is Volatile
  • Industry Rife with Scams/ Hackers
Top Pick
Description:

What is digital real estate? In the online world, a piece of digital real estate is known as a “domain name.”

Also known as "Domain Name Investing," Digital Real Estate is a very attractive business model requiring very little time to set up and start.


Pros:
Pros:
  • High-Profit Potential
  • Online Business
  • Cheap to Get Started
  • Several Ways to Monetize Domain Names
  • Many Available Sales Platforms
Cons:
Cons:
  • Highly Competitive
  • Volatile Markets
  • Takes Time to Sell inventory
Our Favorite
Description:

Real estate has always been a popular investment vehicle for growth and income.

Historically, real estate investors were limited to directly buying real estate, managing properties, and collecting rental income.

REITs take all management issues away and give REIT real estate investors liquidity.

This is our favorite way to invest in real estate.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Requires Little Capital
  • Liquidity
  • Diversification
  • Professional Management
  • Better Returns than Direct Investment
Cons:
Cons:
  • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
  • No Depreciation Deductions
  • Typically Non-Qualified Dividends
Top Pick
Description:

Dividend stock investing is one of my favorite forms of “Levered Income.”

There are several different approaches to dividend stock investing. Still, the primary dividend stock investment strategy is to create enough dividend stock income that you do not need to deplete your capital in retirement.

In a sentence, the best dividend stock investment strategy is to build a dividend portfolio to pay you more yearly (after taxes) than you spend. 

Pros:
Pros:
  • Requires Little Capital to Get Started
  • Liquidity
  • Diversification
  • Professional Management
Cons:
Cons:
  • Price of Investment Moves with Stock Market
  • Requires a Lot of Capital to Achieve Financial independence
  • "Sucker Yields"
Top Pick
Description:

Affiliate marketing is a potent business model to leverage to earn consistent, growing residual income and is one of our favorite business models on Levered Income.

Pros:
Pros:
  • Online Business
  • Unlimited Residual Income Potential
  • Inexpensive to Start
  • Inexpensive to Operate
  • Plenty of Tools to Leverage Work Units
Cons:
Cons:
  • Intense Initial Effort
  • Learning Curve
  • Time to Earning Ramp

3. Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other companies’ products on your platform (like a blog) and earning a commission from sales via your referral links. We give affiliate marketing a very high Lever Rank.

Top Pick
Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a potent business model to leverage to earn consistent, growing residual income and is one of our favorite business models on Levered Income.

Pros:
  • Online Business
  • Unlimited Residual Income Potential
  • Inexpensive to Start
  • Inexpensive to Operate
  • Plenty of Tools to Leverage Work Units
Cons:
  • Intense Initial Effort
  • Learning Curve
  • Time to Earning Ramp
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4. Licensing Intellectual Property Rights

If you have intellectual property rights – for software code, music tracks, or patent rights – licensing them out could provide steady streams of royalty payments, thereby creating personal residual incomes. I have done this, but it took me years and was extremely difficult.

Remember: Building substantial sources of residual income takes time, so be patient. The benefits will certainly outweigh the initial efforts over time.

Tools for Generating Residual Income

Tools of the Trade - Making Money Marketing Online - Levered Income

In the quest to generate residual income, several tools can be leveraged. These span across various sectors and platforms, each offering unique opportunities.

Digital Marketing Tools: The Cornerstone of Online Success

The digital landscape is vast and complex. You need robust digital marketing tools like HubSpot or MailChimp to navigate it successfully.

This boosts your business’ visibility and enhances its revenue generation potential.

Affiliate Marketing Platforms: A Profitable Partnership?

Earning passive income through affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Amazon Associates Program and Rakuten Advertising, among others, allow bloggers or website owners to earn commissions on product sales generated from their referrals.

Wealthy Affiliate is a great platform to get you up and running quickly – even if you are not tech-savvy. You can join and get started for free.

80 Lever Rank
Wealthy Affiliate - The Home of Affiliate Marketing

Wealthy Affiliate is the top affiliate marketing platform and provides courses, hosting, domains, and support all in one place. Join for free today!

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E-commerce Platforms

If creating physical goods aligns more with your interests, e-commerce could be an excellent tool for generating additional streams. Platforms like Shopify (which I use) and Etsy simplify setting up an online store where you can sell handmade crafts, digital products, vintage items, etc., thereby creating another source of income.

What is the Difference Between Passive and Residual Income? Final Thoughts

So, what is the difference between passive and residual income?

Just the name.

So, we’ve journeyed through the world of income generation. Unraveled the myth of passive income and discovered it’s residual income in disguise.

The work upfront pays off over time, making an income stream residual.

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