Best Web Hosting Services

Over two decades ago, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates declared that “Content is King,” stating:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

Basically, if you can create content that is informative, entertaining, or is simply perceived as having value by some segment of the population, then you are well on your way to earning money from what you have created. However, as you become more adept at creating high-quality content with mass appeal, you will quickly realize that – in many instances – in order to fully monetize your content you will need your own website. That’s where web hosting comes in.

Simply put, “web hosting” refers to providing storage and access for your web files so that visitors to your site can actually see it on the internet.  Needless to say, there are lots of options to choose from when it comes to web hosting services. Here are a few of the most popular platforms (most of which are quite affordable):

 

Bluehost

Founded in 2003, Bluehost has grown into one of the most successful web hosting services around – and for good reason. With prices starting as low as $2.95 per month, free domains, and first-rate customer support (among other things), it offers an intriguing combination of services.  Moreover, it’s easy web-building platform is ideal for small businesses, individuals, and the like.

 

SiteGround

Web HostingSimilar to Bluehost, SiteGround is another web hosting service that has enjoyed tremendous growth and popularity. Like others in this category, Siteground provides a wide array of features as part of its hosting package, including unlimited email accounts, 24/7 tech support, and free daily backup.  With a user-friendly website builder and a price of $3.95 per month, it’s a deal that’s hard to beat.

 

DreamHost

DreamHostLike the others listed here, DreamHost offers tools to help you build a great-looking website or blog in no time.  Highly rated and well-regarded in the industry, DreamHost provides the usual complimentary features: free webites, email, etc.  At $7.95 per month, the price is a little higher that some other providers, but certainly within almost every budget. More to the point, those using their services seem very hppy with the company. (With 400,000 customers and 1.5 million websites hosted, they’re obviously doing something right.)

 

HostGator

With prices starting at an incredibly reasonable $3.95 per month, HostGator is clearly one of the best options around.  Its top drawer site-building tools allow you to create your website quickly and easily. Moreover, in addition to the usual features expected from one of the industry leaders (like free email), Hostgator also offers $100 in Google Adwords and Bing ad credits to help you start driving traffic to your site.

 

In retrospect, any of the web hosting services shown here will likely serve as an excellent place for housing your website.  The important thing, in my book, is to have it.  Simply put, having your own website means not just the ability to monetize your content, but – more importantly – having control over it.  (E.g., no one else can arbitrarily decide that your content is “bad” for some reason and remove it.) That’s the beauty of owning both the content and the site its on: you’re in the driver’s seat.  In short, content is king, but ownership is everything.

 

***For those who may be doubting the need to own your own website, he’s a short list of article-writing/revenue sharing sites which used to provide nice income (or had great potential) and are either no longer around or gasping their last few breaths:

  • Webanswers
  • Squidoo
  • InfoBarrel
  • Bukisa
  • Zujava
  • Bubblews

Needlss to say, this is not a complete or fully-exhaustive list.

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Resources for Generating Passive Income

What is Passive Income?

There’s a lot of talk these days about making money online and earning passive income, but what exactly is that? What’s the definition of passive income?

As I define it, passive income is income that you earn without being actively engaged in its generaton. A good example might be a guy who owns a vending machine. He has to occasionally load goods into the machine (and extract the money, of course), but the majority of the time he is generating money in a hands-off fashion. In short, the owner only has limited participation in the generation of revenue. This is slightly different from residual income, although many people – myself included – use the terms interchangeably.

With residual income, you are usually referring to some sort of work done up-front, but which keeps on producing income without any additional effort. An example might be music royalties. After you write a song, you will continue collecting royalties from it (as long as it produces) without any additional work on your part. Residual income, then, can be seen as a type of passive income.

Bearing this in mind, there are some great options out there with respect to residually and passively earning income.

 

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are pretty straight-forward: you earn a commission by promoting a company’s products or services.  Ergo, when someone you directed to the company makes a purchase (usually by going to the requiaite site through your referral link), you earn money.

The advent of the internet has caused a boom in affiliate programs over the past two decades.  It seems that almost every large company with an online presence has an affiliate program these days, and with good reason: a good affiliate can add a tremendous amount of revenue to the bottom line.  More importantly from your perspective, dear reader, affiliate programs can provide significant income. (Some affiliate marketers report earning well over six figures per year!)

Getting started as an affiliate is pretty easy. As I mentioned, lots of advertisers have affiliate programs, and in many cases you can sign up directly with the company, such as with Amazon (whose affiliate program is known as Amazon Associates).  Many, however, will require that you sign up through an advertising network, such as FlexOffers.  Needless to say, commissions will vary, but affiliate programs offer an opportunity to earn at least extra spending cash, if not a full-time salary.

 

Start Your Own Website

Historically, the best way to become a millionaire was to start your own business.  These days, doing that is easier than ever – anyone with a computer and an internet connection is a potential entrepreneur. All you really need is a website.

Whether you offer do-it-yourself painting tips, advice on romance, product reviews, what have you, having your own website can help you generate passive income in a number of ways.  For instance, you can provide advertising space on your site, such as through Google Adsense. You can also use it to promote products or services as an affiliate marketer. Or you can use it to sell items that you yourself create.

In short, having your own website gives you the potential to generate significant revenue.  There are several excellent platforms (such as Bluehost) that you can use for building your own website, and most have pretty good support so that even someone with few technical skills – like me – can get a website up and running in no time.

 

Earning Passive Income with Articles

Several years ago, writing online articles – product reviews, how-to  items, etc. – were undoubtedly a good way to get your passive-income efforts going.  There were tons of places for you to publish on, and many of them had a respectable royalty-split.  These days, the article-writing landscape has changed to a large degree.  Many of the old sites have gone the way of the dodo (R.I.P. Squidoo), while others seem to be on life support (eg, InfoBarrel).

Part of this is Google’s doing, but I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. As the internet behemoth continues to refine its algorithms, this understandably has an effect on search results.  Long story short, sites that Google tend to identify as having a lot of spammy content and the like tend to get punished. (And let’s face it, a lot of article-writing sites fell into that category.)

That said, there are a number of article-based websites that still appear to be going strong – e.g., HubPages. For those who don’t know,  HubPages is a site where you build discrete web pages – “hubs” – on select topics.  Considering how so many similar sites have bit the dust, you might wonder why I’m still high on this as a method of passive income, but consider this:  I wrote dozens on articles on Hubpages years ago, and haven’t published anything new in ages (although I have updated some articles recently).  Moreover, I put almost zero effort into sending traffic to my articles.  Nevertheless, those articles that I wrote several years back have continued to produce income on a daily basis.  (It’s now down in the cents-per-day range instead of dollars, but it’s still moolah.)  That’s the power of passive income – the work I did years ago is still throwing off cash today (and if I had continued writing articles it could be significantly more than it is now).  Bearing that in mind, I still advocate article-writing as a way to start building passive income.  If you haven’t done so already, you can quickly and easily sign up at HubPages.com

 

Earn With Dividends

In another post, I refer to dividends as the “Granddaddy of Passive Income Streams.” This is because dividends – which have been called the original passive income investment – are essentially what this kind of income is all about. You do a little work upfront (in this instance, buying the stock), and then kick back and collect dividend checks from now until doomsday – or as long as you hang on to the stock. It’s practically a no-brainer.

As you can see by visiting Getting Rich With Dividends, investing for dividend income can be quite lucrative. (By way of example, $1000 invested in Wal Mart roughly 30 years ago would now be worth about $183,000 and would be paying you $4400 in dividend income every year.) Moreover, if you want to see some real-world examples of how ordinary people have done with this type of investing, visit Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Got Rich and You Can,Too. You’ll be surprised at how much a little invested now can turn into.

Finally, if you can stand a wee bit of risk, you’ll be shocked at how much you can earn Making Money With Stock Options on a monthly basis. In brief, the stock market offers some excellent opportunities to earn income.

 

Publishing Your Own Books

One of the purist forms of passive and residual income is book publishing. You do all the heavy lifting up front in terms of writing your book; afterwards, you merely collect the royalties as your work sells.  (As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, self-publishing has been incredibly lucrative for me.)

Moreover, self-publishing – whether in e-book or hard copy form – is shockingly cheap these days, and can be done with almost no out-of-pocket cost via services such as Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s publishing arm), Draft 2 Digital or Smashwords. Needless to say, providing ebooks to readers is almost effortless, but even when it comes to hard copies the process is practically worry-free:  books are printed and shipped on demand, so you don’t have to deal with any of the traditional headaches of self-publication, like keeping inventory on hand to fill orders. In short, if you’ve ever wanted to write the great American novel, now’s your chance.

 

Other Resources to Help Earn Passive Income

While they won’t actually make money themselves, there are lots of other resources you can utilize that will greatly assist your online income-producing efforts.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

I have mentioned Dragon Naturally Speaking in several of my other posts. That being the case, it’s probably quite obvious that I think a lot of this technology, which is voice-recognition software that types as you speak, among other things. (See the video below.) This will undoubtedly save you immeasureable amounts of time in the generation of online income, and since they say that time is money – well, you can figure out the rest.

 

 

As you can now see, there are plenty of resources avilable for you to use with respect to generating passive income. In fact, there are a lot more out there than what I’ve listed here (for instance, you can Earn Great Passive Income With A Vending Machine Business), and I doubt that any single list will contain them all. However, maybe that’s a good thing.

The truth of the matter is that you aren’t going to be able to take advantage of every option available to you when it comes to earning online. For instance, I noted a couple of sites related to article-writing, but there are probably hundreds of them – possibly even thousands. You can’t write for all of them, though. Heck, you probably can’t write for more than a handful before you’re spread too thin, and not having much to show for your efforts. Basically, from my point of view, you need to pick 3 or 4 sites and work with those. That will give you diversification – you won’t have all your eggs in one basket, so if one site goes down you’re not starting back at zero – without spreading yourself so far and wide that you miss out on the synergies created by having a generous amount of content on a single site.

In short, you’ve got to find that balance between resources that work for you and allow you to optimize your talents for producing income.

(If you are interested in finding out more about what I am personally doing in this arena, please continue reading the Passive Pursuit of Income Blog.)

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Everyday Millionaires: Ordinary People Who Got Rich and How You Can, Too

Getting Rich Without an Inheritance or Winning the Lottery


So you want to be rich? Depending on how you define the word, it’s probably a goal that is well within reach. How can I say that? Because ordinary people – servants, secretaries, machine operators, etc. – are accumulating massive wealth every day, and you can do the same. Don’t believe me? Read on!

 

Oseola McCarty: The Wonderful Washerwoman

Like other women in her family, Oseola McCarty spent her entire working life as a washerwoman in Mississippi. Although she had once wanted to be a nurse, she dropped out of school in the sixth grade in order to help support her sickly aunt, mother and grandmother. She never went back, and spent the next 70 years washing and ironing other people’s clothes for a dollar or two at a time.

And yet somehow, despite her limited formal education and a lifetime of low wages, Ms. McCarty was able to accumulate a nest egg of $250,000. How? Through savings and investments. In a move that unintentionally brought her national acclaim and worldwide attention, she donated the bulk of her savings – $150,000 – to the Uiversity of Southern Mississippi to fund scholarships for students in 1995. (Allegedly, it was her example that inspired billionaire Ted Turner’s pledge to donate $1 billion to charity.)

The lesson here: Be thrifty and save. Even small amounts can add up.

You can read more about Oseola McCarty here: Oseola McCarty Biography.

 

Matel Dawson, Jr.: The Forklift Philanthropist

Matel Dawson, Jr. began working at a Ford manufacturing plant in Detroit in 1940. He was 19, years old at the time, and making a little over $1 per hour as a general laborer. In 1956, he began buying Ford stock through the employee stock purchase plan. Over the next 40 years, he steadily moved up the ranks at Ford and eventually became a forklift operator earning about $24 per hour by 1996. During this time, his Ford stock returned an estimated average of 13.7%. In other words, his investment portfolio grew substantially.

Beginning in the early 1990s, he began donating large portions of his wealth – primarily for educational purposes. This included a donation of $200,000 to Detroit’s Wayne State University and $100,000 to Louisiana State Universoty’s campus in Shreveport, LA, his hometown. By the time he died in 2002, his total charitable donations were estimated to be roughly $1.3 million. Not bad for a man with ony a 9th-grade education.

The Lesson here: Work hard and invest.

You can read more of Mr. Dawson’s story here: The Forklift Philanthropist.

 

Grace Groner: The Surprising Secretary

Grace Groner was born in a farming community in Illinois. Orphaned at the age of 12, she was fortunate enough to be taken in by a prominent family in the city of Lake Forest, IL, who also saw to it that she received a college education. After graduating from Lake Forest College in 1931, she went to work as a secretary at Abbot Laboratories, where she stayed for 43 years.

In 1935, she bought three special shares of Abbot stock for $60 each – a $180 investment in all. She never sold them and always reinvested her dividends. When she died in 2010, those three shares – which had split many times over the years – were worth a staggering $7 million! Yes, her original invest of $180 grew to $7 million, which she donated upon her death to her alma mater, Lake Forest College.

The Lesson: It doesn’t take much.

You can read more of Ms. Groner’s story here: Grace Groner: Millionaire Secretary .

 

Anne Scheiber: The Awesome Auditor

Anne Scheiber’s story is inspiring in a lot of ways. At a time when many women didn’t receive higher education, she not only graduated from college but went on to become a lawyer, putting herself through law school.

Although she passed the bar in 1926, Anee never worked as a lawyer. She began working for the Internal Revenue Service in 1920 as an auditorand retired in 1944. During that time she was never promoted, and never earned more than $3,150 in annual salary.

Anne first dabbled in the stock market in 1933, entrusting her life savings to her youngest brother, a stock brother. By 1934, she had lost her entire investment. While she remained resentful towards her brother, she started all over again, saving everything she could until her retirement from the IRS in 1944. At that time, she again put her entire life savings – a grand total of $5000 – into the stock market. This time, however, she picked her own stocks: Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and several other well-known brands.

Over the next 51 years, Anne was a classic buy-and-hold investor: she never sold,any of her holdings – even during bad times and market crashes – and she always reinvested her dividends. By the time she died in 1995, Anne’s investments were worth a whopping $22 million, and her dividend income was almost $1 million per year. Anne. left her vast estate to yeshiva University to fund scholarhsips for women.

The Lesson: Give it time, and hang on to your investments. (And if you can afford to do so, reinvest your dividends.)

You can read more about Anne Scheiber’s story here: Anne Scheiber’s Story.

 

Summary

In the examples above, the individuals involved were ordinary, everyday people. They didn’t come from wealthy families. They didn’t have experience in investing. They didn’t have high-paying jobs for the most part (although Matel Dawson did occasionally earn more than $100,000 per year because of overtime).

However, they all worked hard (despite starting out small). They saved. They invested. And they made time their friend and ally, giving their money decades to grow and start to work for them. There’s nothing that says you can’t do the same. (And if you want proof or need more inspiration, visit my articles on Getting Rich with Dividends and Making Money with Stock Options and Option Trading.) However, the sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

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Passive Income Business Ideas

Want to Build a Passive Income Business?

What is passive income? If you want a simple definition, passive income refers to revenue or earnings generated in a self-perpetuating manner, with little or no effort required to maintain its production. By way of example, writing a song can be a form of passive income. The songwriter can continue getting revenue from the song he’s written, long after it was first produced or recorded.

Needless to say, everyone is always on the lookout for new ways to earn passive income – online, in most instances. Whether it be writing online articles, working as an affiliate marketer or publishing e-books, we all want to earn as much as possible passively. (For those interested, you can find a few online methods at Resources for Generating Passive Income.)

That said, it pays to remember that there are also numerous ways to earn passive income offline. There are lots of old-school, brick-and-mortar business concepts that can be absolutely great for producing passive income. You can find a few of them below.

 

Get Passive Income from a Laundromat

Laundromats can be a very good source of passive income. Moreover, it’s a cash business and fairly recession-proof, since people generally wash their clothes no matter how the economy is doing. (You aren’t likely to get that new job if you show up in dirty, smelly clothes.)

Source: wikipedia.org; Author: CatherineMunro

However, in addition to costs associated with obtaining a location and equipment, you must also consider maintenance and upkeep.

You will also have to decide whether you will personally take on some of the tasks associated with the business (e.g., collecting the money) or if you will hire someone to do it.

In short, this is a business that can be as passive as you want it to be; you have to decide how much you want to do yourself and how much you want to farm out. Regardless, there is undoubtedly an opportunity to earn passive income, although the degree of your success may depend on various factors, such as your location, the amount of traffic you get, etc.

 

Passive Income with Vending Machines

As I previously noted in my post on Earning Passive Income With a Vending Machine Business, vending machines can be a great source of income.

The start-up costs can be fairly minimal – as low as a few hundred dollars to purchase a machine (or less than $60, in the case of the gumball machine pictured) – and can result in steady, long-term earnings. There is, of course, some work involved (for example, vending machines have to be monitored and refilled on occasion), but the payoff can make it all worthwhile.

On average, vending machines earn an estimated $10 – $15 per day, but that amount can vary based, on product selection, location, etc. One of the keys, then, is probably volume. (In other words, you will probably want to have more than just one vending machine out there working for you.

 

Car Wash Business

A car wash business is another opportunity to earn passive income.

Again, it is an all-cash business that will allow you to be as hands-off as you want (i.e., you can hire someone to do almost everything if you don’t want to do it yourself).

Needless to say, location will be a prime factor in your success.

 

 

Earn Passive Income with an ATM Business

ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) represent another opportunity to earn passive income.

When you own or lease an ATM, you earn money by virtue of a surcharge for each transaction. (You set the amount of the surcharge, although it is usually $1 – $4.)

Leasing an ATM can usually costs $70 – $100 per month. Buying one will run you anywhere from hundreds of dollars for a used machine to thousands of dollars for a new one.

Depending on various factors – including the surcharge and location – ATMs generally earn between $200 – $2000 per month. You can find more information at Earning Passive Income With an ATM Business.


Needless to say, there are lots of passive income business ideas you could choose from. There are many more than those listed in this post (e.g., a self-storage business), but the trick is to find one that suits you in terms of the business and what you expect to put into – as well as get of – it.

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The Granddaddy of Passive Income Streams: Getting Rich by Investing Dividends

Welcome!


Thanks for visiting my post on dividends – the original passive income! Here, I will focus on some companies that offer fantastic income through dividends and let you see what you could have earned – or may earn in the future. Hopefully, this will encourage you to view dividends as another source for generating wealth in the long term, as well as an on-going generator of passive income.

(And if you want to see wome real-world outcomes from this type of investing, visit my post on Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Got Rich.)

 

 

What are Dividends?

Dividends are regular payments made by a corporation to its shareholders. Although usually paid quarterly, dividends can be declared at any time by a company’s Board of Directors. Most companies will allow you to take the dividends as cash, or reinvest them in order to buy more shares. Because the payments are made regularly, dividends can – and should – be a part of everyone’s income stream, although I favor reinvesting dividends in order to buy more shares of stock. As you will see from the stories below, dividends can indeed make you rich.

 

Johnson & Johnson: Great Dividends for Passive Income

We all know Johnson & Johnson, the mega-conglomerate that produces everything from medication to baby shampoo. But even more impressive that their vast array of products is their stock and it’s dividend.


Assume that on January 30, 1982, you decide that you’re going to leap into the stock market. You’ve got $1000 to invest, and you’re trying to decide what’s a good company to put your money into. Looking around your house, you see that you’ve got some Rolaids in your medicine cabinet, some Band-aids in the first-aid kit, and some Johnson&Johnson baby shampoo for you infant son. Recognizng all of these as J&J products, you figure that you’ll be putting money back in your own pocket with some stock in the company, so you plop down your thousand bucks and get a grand total of 27 shares in return, each of which pays a split-adjusted quarterly dividend of 1.4 cents (yes, cents!) per share.

Fast-forward to today: reinvesting all dividends up to this point, your original 27 shares have grown to 601 shares worth a whopping $39,445 – almost 40 times your original investment. Moreover, the quarterly dividend is now a robust 57 cents per share, meaning that you are paid $342.57 (that’s from $0.57 x 601 shares) every quarter. Put another way, you’re collecting $1,370.28 in dividends every year. Your annual dividend payout is more than you ever put into the stock! (And you’ll get it every year…)

Now let’s assume that you’re late to the party. Instead of making your investment in J&J in 1982, you wait exactly 10 years later – until January 30, 1992. Your $1K investment would have bought you 9 shares back then, and a rinky-dink split-adjusted quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share. But today, 20 years later, following stock splits and reinvestment of dividends, your 9 shares have grown to 103. And that 5 cent quarterly dividend? It’s now $0.57. So you’re now getting $58.71 per quarter – or $234.84 annually – in dividends. It ain’t the $1370 per year we saw above, but it’s a guaranteed 23% annual return on your original $1000 investment. World-class money managers aren’t able to duplicate that!

(You can confirm my numbers with the Johnson & Johnson Investment Caculator.)

 

Procter & Gamble: How’d You Like a 78% Annual Return?

Procter & Gamble is the well-known manufacturer of dozens of consumer products, from Duracell batteries to Tide detergent (and probably most other detergents you can think of). They are quite the commercial powerhouse and tend to sell products in good times and bad. (People don’t stop bathing during bad times – most of them, anyway – and they keep washing clothes as well.)

Going with the same scenario as before, let’s assume around the end of January 1982, you decide you’d like $1000 worth of P&G stock. On January 29 of that year, the stock closed at a price of $85.25, meaning you would have perchased 11.73 shares for your money, accompanied by a split-adjusted quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share.

Leaping forward to today, your original 11 shares have grown into 375.37 shares of stock, each paying a quarterly dividend of 52.5 cents. In other words, you’re getting dividend payments of roughly $197 per quarter – that’s $788 per year (a 78.8% annual return) – all without investing another penny! And did I mention that the stock is now worth approximately $23,650.00?

(Please feel free to confirm my numbers with the Procter & Gamble Stock Calculator. Historical stock price and dividends were obtained from Yahoo Finance.)

 

Wal Mart: A Retail Giant with Giant Dividends

Everyone has heard of Wal Mart, the giant retailer that sells in almost every corner of the globe. The company has been great at making sales to customers, but how has it treated it’s investors? Let’s find out:

As before, you take $1000 of your hard-earned cash, but this time – noticing that your spouse does all of your shopping at Wal Mart – you decide to get something out of the deal by buying some stock in Sam Walton’s company. On January 29, 1982, your $1K nets you roughly 23.6 shares at a cost of $42.38 each. The split-adjusted dividend at the time is .07 cents. (Yes, .07 cents; that’s not even a penny – it’s seven-hundredths of a penny!)

Looking at your Wal Mart stock today, you are pleased to see that your original 23 shares have bulked up and are now 3,020.65 shares worth (drumroll, please…) $183,413.81! And the dividends? You’re now collecting $0.365 quarterly for each share; that’s a little over $1100 per quarter, or $4400 per year. Put another way, you’re making back more than your entire up-front investment every 3 months!

(My numbers can be checked with theWalMart Investment Calculator. Historical stockprices and dividends are from Yahoo Finance.)

 

Summary and the Dividend Aristocrats

In short, we can see that dividends are a great source of passive income that are often overlooked in this era of fast money. However, as with the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. There’s no law that says you have to make all your money now, just like you don’t have to earn in all one single, solitary profession or via one particular website. Plus, it’s wise to diversify your options in terms of income sources; it’s a practice that can pay big dividends in the long run (no pun intended). (And if you want to juice up your returns a little, visit Making Money with Stock Options and Option Trading.)

If you are interested in investing for dividend income, be sure to check out the Dividend Aristocrats, which are stocks that have increased their annual dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years: 2012 Dividend Aristocrats. (On a side note, the thee companies profiled in this post are all Dividend Aristocrats. Others include AT&T, Clorox, Medtronic, Franklin Resources, AFLAC, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo and McDonald’s.)

Finally, just for kicks and grins, see how much your invest would have grown to in various stocks If You Had Only Invested Then.

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How to Make Money with Stock Options and Option Trading

Thanks for visiting my post on stock options and option trading. Here, we will discuss strategies for safely making money monthly by trading stock options. I think you will find that these approaches can be successfully employed by almost anyone, so if you have good fortune using these methods please feel free to comment to that effect. (And if you want to be a little conservative, you can always focus a portion of your efforts on Getting Rich with Dividends.)

 

An Introduction to Options and Option Trading

“Wall Street” poster available at AllPosters.com.

The notion of trading options often tends to make the average investor nervous. Many consider options as belonging to a vague and nebulous world that is far different from the investment environment they’re accustomed to. In a certain sense that is true; it is different from investing in the ordinary sense, but there’s nothing marticularly mysterious about stock options, as you shall soon see.

Most investors have a good understanding of the stock market as a place to buy and sell shares of publicly traded companies. (The term “share” refers to a unit of ownership in a company.) However, there are other various other financial instruments that are also traded daily, including options.

In a general business sense, an option typically refers to the right to buy some item at a designated price. For example, you may be interested in buying a car for $10,000 but want some time to think it over. In that scenario, you may be able to give the seller some amount of money – maybe $100 – to take the vehicle off the market while you mull it over. Basically, you’re paying $100 for the option of buying the car. (In other words, you’re not required to buy the car; you have the option of simply walking away.) However, whether you buy the cart or not, the seller keeps the money you paid for the option. This is essentially the manner in which stock options operate.

In terms of the stock market, an option is a right to buy or sell a specific stock at a particular price (known as the “strike price”) within a certain period of time. An option that bestows a right to buy is known as a “call”; an option that grants a right to sell is known as a “put.” However, while stocks can be bought and held forever, options will always have an expiration date – normally the 3rd Friday of a particular month – meaning that the person buying the option has a limited time frame in which to make his option trade profitable. Moreover, options are only sold in units dubbed “contracts”; a contract represents 100 shares of stock. Finally, options trade at their own price level, separate and apart from the price of the underlying stock they represent. By way of example, here is how we might conduct an option trade:

 

An Example of Buying a Call Option

Assume that Microsoft stock is currently selling for $23. You could buy a call for this stock, offering to buy it at a strike price of $25, with the call expiring next month. In essence, in this example, the buyer of the option would have the right to buy Microsoft stock at the price of $25 per share any time between now and next month (or to be more precise, the third Friday next month). If the price of the call is currently $1 (remember, the stock price and the option price are two separate things), the purchaser could buy one contract – representing 100 shares of stock – for $100. (The call price represents the cost of the call for each individual share of stock in the contract. Thus, the cost of a single contract would be $100, 4 contracts would cost $400, and so on.) If the call buyer chooses to purchase the stock, he will “exercise” the option. However, the buyer can also choose to just sell the option on the open market if he so desires.

This, in general, is the gist of how the trading of stock options occurs. In the discussions below, we’ll touch on several methods of earning monthly income by tradig stock options However, it should be made clear that while there is the potential for tremendous profit in option trading, not all option strategies are the same. Some are more risky than others, and if you are not careful you can suffer substantial losses. Here we will focus on what are generally considered to be more conservative option strategies.

 

 

Make Easy Money Selling Covered Calls

 

In investing circles, stocks and bonds are probably the best-known investment vehicles. While I am a firm believer in stock ownership as a means of accumulating wealth, I think there are some additional strategies you can use to boost your returns significantly with a minimal amount of risk. One of these strategies is the selling of covered call options.

As already noted, a call represents the right to purchase a specific stock at a designated price (the “strike price”) within a certain period of time. You can actually buy or sell calls. In fact, selling calls can be quite lucrative.

When you sell a call, you are agreeing to sell stock to someone at a certain price. If you already own the stock in question, then the term “covered call” is used to describe the option you sold; it’s considered “covered” because the underlying stock is already owned by you. Therefore, you will not need to buy any shares of the stock it in order to make good on the sale, if necessary. (By contrast, it’s considered to be a “naked” call if you don’t own the underlying stock. I would personally do not advocate the sale of naked calls, as it can leave you open to substantial liability.) Here’s how the sale of a covered call would work:

Let’s assume you currently own 100 shares of Microsoft, which at present is trading at $23 per share. You think that’s a good price and would willing sell at this point, but there’s some easy money to be had here. A glance at next month’s options reveals that the $23 call for Microsoft is currently selling for $1. That being the case, you could sell one contract of next month’s calls and earn an extra $100 on your Microsoft shares – assuming the price of the shares stays above the strike price of $23. In short, the call buyer will exercise his option and buy your shares if the price is above $23. (Why would the buyer do this? Because, if the stock price is above $23, he can buy your shares at that price – the $23 price you agreed to sell them for – and immediately sell them for a profit on the open market!) If the share price is lower than $23, you keep the $100 you earned selling the call, and you still own your Microsoft stock. (The buyer won’t exercise his option if the stock price is below the $23 strike price. Why should he pay you $23 per share when the stock is trading for less than that in the marketplace?) Basically, if you end up keeping your stock in stead of selling it, that’s a good thing because it just means that you can do the whole thing again next month – and the next month, and the next month – until you actually sell). You can use this strategy even if you don’t really want to sell your shares of a particular stock, as long as you understand that such a sale could still occur.

In short, while I’m not in a position to cover every scenario that might result from selling call options, it should be clear how selling covered calls can produce some healthy supplemental income every month. (Imagine, for instance, having 200 shares of Microsoft; or 800; or 1000.) Of course, my example here assumes that you own enough shares of stock in a particular company to start with – namely, 100 (so you can sell at least one contract). Moreover, you have to accept the fact that engaging in this strategy may require you to sell your stock, and in agreeing to sell at a designated price you may miss out on certain gains in the stock’s value. Therefore, I encourage you to read and review the subject matter carefully prior to pursuing any options strategy, including the sale of covered calls (which is generally hailed as one of the safer, more conservative options strategies).

 

Earning Extra Money Buying Put Options

There often seems to be very little that is rational about the stock market. Prices will rise when a company delivers bad news (because the news wasn’t as bad as the experts thought it would be), and plummet on good news (the news wasn’t as good as it should have been). It’s insane, and can make you want to pull your hair out at the roots..

However, you can sometimes use this insanity to your profit through the use of stock options – specifically, through the purchase of puts.

As previously noted, a put grants the right to sell a stock at a certain price. Just like calls, one can buy and sell put options. In fact, puts are often used by the owners of stock to lock in their profits. In essence, purchasing put options is the equivalent of buying protection for the stock owner with respect to the stock price – hence the term “protective puts”. Here’s an example:

Let’s assume that Microsoft stock is currently trading at $23 per share. Moreover, over the last two months, the price has fluctuated wildly, going as low as $15 and as high as $30. As the owner of 100 shares of Micrsoft, you’ve grown tired of the seesawing price and want to sell within the next 60 days; ideally, you’d like to hold on to the stock to see if it will go any higher, but you also don’t like the idea of selling for less than $20 per share. Knowing a little something about options, you realize that purchasing a put will guarantee you the right to sell your stock at a designated price, no matter what the stock is actually trading for. With that in mind, you look at put options that will be expiring in two months and note that for Microsoft a put with a $20 strike price costs $1.00. You buy one put contract at the $20 strike price for a cost of $100. You can now afford to wait and see if the stock price goes higher, knowing that regardless of anything else you will be able to sell your stock for at least $20 per share.

In essence, this is how puts generally work, although there are various factors to this equation that we did not address. (For example, the value of the put that was purchased will also change, such that the buyer might even be able to sell the put option itself for a healthy profit.) However, as already noted, options really are a different breed of animal than stocks, and would behoove you to research any option strategy you consider very thoroughly before investing or trading in such.

 

Using Put Options to Buy Stocks for Cheap Prices

Making money in the stock market is a tough proposition in this day and age. The global financial crisis seems to continue unabated; as soon as one financial fire is put out somewhere in the world, it seems that another one starts. Still, there are ways to continue to profit and garner income for yourself. One way to do this is by selling puts.

As previously discussed, a put represents the right to sell a stock at a specific price. It is possible to both buy and sell puts. With respect to selling puts, this can be used as a method of buying stocks at cheap or reasonable prices. What follows is an example of how this works:

Assume Microsoft’s stock is presently trading at $23 per share. You use Microsoft products every day and are considering purchasing 100 shares of stock in the company, but you’re livid at the thought of paying more than $20 per share.Knowing a little something about options, you understand that you can sell a put option, which may require that you buy shares of the stock at a certain price, irrespective of what the stock is actually trading for on the open market. Keeping that in mind, you peruse next month’s options (which will expire on the third Friday of the month) and quickly note that for Microsoft a put with a $20 strike price costs $1.50. Selling one contract at the $20 strike price, you pocket $150. You are now obligated to buy 100 shares of Microsoft stock for $20 per share.

Fortunately, this purchase obligation is only triggered if the price of Microsoft’s stock falls to $20 or lower. The reason? The buyer of the put option has the right to sell you his Microsoft stock for $20, but would he really do that if the market price is higher than that – maybe $22.50 per share? He’d make more money selling on the open market in that example. There’s no benefit in selling to you unless the market price drops below $20, because he can then sell his Microsoft stock to you for more than they’re valued at by the stock market. On your part, you would get to purchase the desired stock at the requested price of $20 per share. In addition, you keep the $150 that came your way by virtue of selling the put, thereby making your effective purchase price was $18.50 per share! And if the price never gets down to $20 or lower before the option expires, you keep the $150 and can do the same thing month after month until you finally get the stock at the price you want.

In retrospect, selling puts will either let you buy stocks cheaply, or allow you to earn a little extra money every month until the stock price gets back into a range where you’re comfortable purchasing it. As always, should you see the merit in or benefits of option trading, please take the time to research stock options and option trading very thoroughly and make sure you’re comfortable in doing so before making any type of investment.

 

Summary of Making Money with Stock Options

In brief, options can be used as a cheap way of controlling large amounts of stock. It is not without risk, but it can be extremely lucrative and a way to earn great supplemental income on a monthly basis.

(And if you found this post useful, informative or entertaining, you may also want to visit Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Got Rich and You Can, Too.)

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Earning Passive Income with an ATM Business

ATMs as a Business

Just as in my prior post on Earning Passive Income with Vending Machines, you can also earn good passive income with an ATM business.

For those who don’t know, an ATM is an Automated Teller Machine (also called an Automatic Teller Machine). It allows you to perform various transactions with financial institutions (such as a bank) without the need for a teller.

Although many ATMs are own by financial institutions, quite a few of them are not. In fact, owning an ATM business has never been easier and has the potential to be quite lucrative.

 

Getting Started with ATM Machines

ATMs are very much like vending machines, except they dispense cash rather than tasty snacks and beverages.

In addition, the income is basically passive; ATMs have the ability to earn income for you day and night.

Finally, this is a business that you can essentially run from home.

 

ATM Location

As with other similar businesses, the location where you place an ATM is critical to your success.

Typically, the best place to put an ATM is in an establishment with a fair amount of traffic and/or where the public normally spends cash.

For example, a convenience store would be a great place to situate an ATM machine. People are constantly coming in to purchase various items, usually with cash. And if they don’t have enough money for their purchase, the convenience of the ATM allows them to get whatever additional amount they need.

(Of course, if you have your own – or a family-owned – business, that would also be a great place for an ATM.)

 

ATM Costs and Earnings

With an ATM business, you make your money by charging a service fee – typically $1 – $4 (you set the amount) for each transaction. The amount that ATMs can earn varies widely and depends on a number of factors, including location, traffic and the surcharge amount. That said, most ATMs are estimated to earn $200 – $2,000 per month.

A new ATM direct from the manufacturer typically costs $3,000 – $6,500. Used macines are often just as good, and can run from the hundreds to thousands of dollars in terms of cost.

However, as an alternative to outright purchasing them, ATMs can also be leased fairly cheaply – usually for $70 – $100 per month.

 

Summary and Other Issues

In addition to just placing the ATM in a location and collecting your fees there are other factors to consider.

For instance, although ATM theft is rare relatively speaking, you will want to have insurance on your machine.

You will also have to make a decision about how you will go about stocking your machine with cash and who will do it. (Most machines typically contain several thousand dollars in cash, but you don’t necessarily have to use your own money or do the stocking yourself.)

Other decisions involve selecting an ATM processor, and maintenance and repair options.

In short, there are a lot of decisions to be made with respect to operating an ATM business, but it can indeed be lucrative and provide great passive income.

You can also get other business ideas for passive income at Passive Income Business Ideas.

 

 

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Earn Great Passive Income With a Vending Machine Business

Vending Machines are Ideal for Passive Income

Have you ever given thought to what your dream job would be like? I mean, not so much the specifics of what you’d be doing, but what the organization would be like? How money would be made? If not, let me give you some ideas.

First of all, for any dream job, you should be the boss. You shouldn’t be taking orders from anyone. (Is it really a dream job if someone else is in control? That sounds more like it’s their dream job!) Next, it should be an easy-to-operate business that doesn’t require a lot of effort from you. Moreover, it would be great if the business were something you could operate from home. Finally, it should generate as much income as possible in a passive manner.

If all of that makes sense to you and descibes something you coud get on board with, you should consider starting a vending machine business.

 

Getting Started with Vending Machines

Vending machines are machines that typically dispense consumer goods such as snacks, beverages and the like.

Traditionally these machines were coin-operated, but most modern devices are configured to take dollar bills of various denominations, and even credit cards in some instances.

Moreover, the vending machine industry includes a wide range of products, and includes items such as kiddie rides that you find in malls and grocery stores. Basically, almost any kind of coin-operated machine can fall into the category of vending machines.

 

The Most Important Factor in Vending Success

Success in vending primarily depends on three factors: location, location, location!

The locations of your machines are going to be the primary determinant of your success or failure in vending. For instance, a vending machine near the entrance of a grocery store that sells its products for twice as much as those inside the store isn’t going to do well.

You want to place your machines in an area with a lot of potential customers who want what you have to sell. Placing a machine in a school, for instance, would be ideal. In that scenario, you have a captured segment of the population (students) who actually wield a significant portion of buying power. Moreover, they have limited options with respect to what they can buy (i.e., they can only purchase from vendors – or vending machines – on campus).

Thus, you can see the importance of location.

 

Keeping Your Vending Machine Stocked

Next, it is important that you keep your vending machine well-stocked. There are few things worse than missing out on potential profit because your machine ran out of goods.

Moreover, the type of products you stock is also important – probably the second-greatest factor after location. By way of example, if you get a prime location like a gym or fitness center for your machine, it would be a mistake to stock it with a bunch of junk food like chips and sodas. You’d want to stock it with energy drinks, protein bars, etc., in order to get the most bang for your buck. (This may also involve taking particular note of what is selling and what isn’t when you restock.)

Also, don’t forget to have regular maintenance performed on your machine. A malfunctioning machine is just about the worst thing that can happen to your business.

 

 

Other Factors to Consider

Although it has a lot of benefits, the vending machine business is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Although vending machines are a multi-billion dollar industry, the average machine has been estimated to earn about $10 – $15 per day. (This number is presumed to be significantly higher for machines in elite locations, like schools.) Thus, unless you start out with a large number of machines, you will not be earning large amounts of passive income immediately. That said, it is not uncommon to start a vending enterprise with only one or two machines and build up from there.

Moreover, most locations will not allow you to simply insert a vending machine for free. You will have to make arrangements with the owner. Paying them a percentage of profits is typical; 15% – 33% is common, but you might go as high as 50% for a prime location. (If you are lucky, maybe you have a family business whereby you can insert a machine at no cost.)

I would recommend against having your machines located outside because of the risk of vandalism during off-peak hours. However, if you you find an outdoor location that you feel is worth the risk – such as a highway rest area (which are normally acknowledged as great locations for vending machines), you may want to purchase insurance.

 

Summary of Passive Income from Vending Machines

In retrospect, vending machines can be a great source of passive income. However, like any other potential business venture, you have to approach it with both eyes open and know what you’re getting into. That said, there are few other industries that you can step into for such a small initial investment (some machines are just a few hundred dollars) and yet have such potential for growth.

Also, a vending machine business is a great way to introduce your kids to the world of entrepreneurship. Letting them operate their own business empire – even if it’s just a single machine, like one that sells gumballs – can teach them the value of a dollar, the benefits of a strong work ethic, and perhaps put them on the path to being moguls in their own right. (Again, this would be a particularly great way to let your child start earning his own money if you have a family business, where he doesn’t have to find a location himself to put his machine.)

In addition, please note that you can find other great ideas for passive income by visiting the following:

Passive Income Business Ideas

Resources for Generating Passive Income, and

How to Earn Great Passive Income with Dividends.

Hopefully these will give you some additional thoughts and ideas with respect to how to earn income passively.

 

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December 2017 – The Return…

So, I’ve obviously been away from this site for a minute…  Much has changed in the interim.

For starters, I’m actually earning what could be considered a decent salary from my passive income endeavors.  Moreover, it’s primarily through one of the methods I advocated on this site: writing books.  In short, over the past five years, I’ve been able to establish a [hopefully] solid reputation as an author, and now my books provide an incredible boost to my earnings, because I haven’t quit my day job.

That said, I’m also still earning through other means:  affilite programs, stock and dividend investing, etc.  There are still lots of ways to earn passive income, and it doesn’t hurt to have your hand in a few cookie jars.  However, one of the methods that has dried up to a large extent is article writing, but more on that later.

Anyway, it’s great to be back (for good, I hope), and I look forward putting out more content on earning passive income (and occasionally, non-passive).

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May 2012 Earnings Report

May ended up being another good month for me.  I actually had to go out of town a couple of times, so I had expected a decline, but Redgage.com rode to my rescue.  (I’ll explain in more detail below.)  The breakdown for the month is as follows:

AdSense:  $47.34 (-30.3% compared to last month’s $67.89)
HubPages:  $43.78 (-1.6% compared last month’s $44.49)
Squidoo:  $1.82 (+54.2% compared to last month’s $1.18)
Affiliate sales:  $.32 (-97.7% over last month’s $13.70)
Book sales:  $1.21 ( +98.4% over last month’s $0.61)
RedGage:  $50.00 (No earnings reported last month)
Total:   $144.47 ( +13% compared to last month’s $127.87) 

 Year-to-Date Income:  $536.95

For only the second time, AdSense was not the single-largest source of revenue.  That actually makes me happy from the standpoint of having diverse sources of income.  I’m not wild about the decline in AdSense numbers overall, but again, I’m attributing that primarily to being out of town several times and not being able to focus as much on my passive income efforts.   For those who are interested, revenue from WebAnswers (which tends to be the primary source of my AdSense revenue) was $44.90. 

Affiliate sales were down.  I’m still working on getting greater consistency in that arena.   Also, I’m happy about continuing to earn on Squidoo (and quite pleased about the growth on a percentage basis).  As I keep saying, I’m excited about the potential on Squidoo; I just have to find a way to get in on the action in a big way.

My HubPages earnings were very close to their April numbers, so I’m happy to be holding my own.  I hope to enter another HubChallenge for June (30 hubs in 30 days) and thereby continue increasing my earnings.  

I had some more book sales, for a total of $1.21).  It ain’t much, but not bad for someone who really isn’t doing a lot of promotion.

Last but not least, I come to Redgage.com.  I actually wrote about using Redgage for backlinks (and to earn passive income) just last month in an article entitled Get Backlinks and Earnings with RedGage.   I actually hadn’t been earning very much (and have not, in fact been including my RedGage earnings n my monthly reports), but I happened to win the RedGage Daily Contest twice in May. I received $25 each time for a total of $50.  This helped keep my numbers up while I was away a couple of times during the month.

All in all, May was a good month for me.  In fact, this was the closest I’ve ever come to achieving my goal of earning $5 daily.  Thus, I’m still shooting for a goal of $5 per day (which would have amounted to $155 for the month).  That is now my goal for June.  As usual, here are the resources I’m using to construct my own passive income streams: 

 

 

***Please note that many of the links above are affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission if you purchase products or services via the links I have provided.  More information about these products and services is available on my Resources page.

As I say on a monthly basis,  Q&A site WebAnswers is still generally my best source of income, and I recommend it without reservation for anyone looking to start earning online.  Also, don’t overlook the article-writing, revenue-sharing sites – HubPages, Squidoo, etc.  – because you can do very well with them, too.  (On a side note, Infopirate is no longer on my list of resources; the site is now closed.) 

Also, to the extent that you are engaged in the pursuit of passive income yourself, don’t forget to promote your efforts – especially  via backlinking with social media sites, like Redgage.com  (which also pays you) and Socialadr, a bookmarking service that gets you lots of free backlinks.  (In fact, you can find more on backlinking in my article on How to Get Hundreds of Free Backlinks.)  Of course, not everything you utilize needs to be free; some items are well worth the price  – e.g., Market Samurai.

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