Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Non Passive Income Is - And How to Get It!

I was looking at my blog statistics the other day and one thing caught my eye - one of more common search terms used to find my blog is "Non Passive Income." Almost a year ago I wrote my post about non passive income and I thought since it is still such a popular subject, that I would revisit it.

Let's start with its opposite - passive income. Theoretically, passive income is income you receive you receive passively, in other words, you don't do anything to get it. A great example of this is interest on your savings account. Sure, you might have spend a little time researching where to put your hard earned dollars, but once you make that choice, the interest is paid you automatically. You don't have to work for it. Now, here is the sticky part - there is (in my mind anyway,) some disagreement on what constitutes being passive. Building web sites and blog writing, for example, can earn income and that could be considered passive income, because once built the income will theoretically continue to come in, however, I think a good site is a well maintained site. So maybe passive income can be on a sliding scale, depending how much blood, sweat, tears and time you put into it. Personally, I put a lot of effort and love into this blog but make very little money out of it (very little as in, I haven't seen a check yet) but that is fine by me. That was never the main purpose of my blog anyway.

Another example of passive income that gets thrown out there a lot is rental income. That one always makes my teeth curl a bit, because as a landlord I can tell you, there is a whole lot of work that needs to be done! Maybe if you have a big field and rent it out to someone who wants to graze cattle, that might be passive, but if you are talking about home and apartment rentals, believe me, it is a lot of work! If you want some great examples of real passive income and tips on how to earn it, check out Passive Family Income's blog. It's a treasure trove of great ideas!

This brings me to non passive income. What is it? Well, if passive income is getting money passively, then non passive income is getting money non passively - in other words, doing work. It is plain old dollars for hours work, a.k.a. a job. Now, I am not sure if people are searching the web for non passive income because they just want to know what the term means, or if they are looking for jobs, but let's take a look at the non passive income I bring in:

Day Job

Yes, I have an old fashioned 40 hour a week desk job. Although with the economy being what it is, these are becoming somewhat scarce. In fact, I know two friends who have been laid off who have decided not to go back to full time work. One is expanding his own business and the other is considering doing consulting. Still, all of this would be considered non passive income. Even if you are running your own business, most are are still getting "dollars for hours." Most successful businesses take a whole lot of work to start up, so while you might love what you are doing, you are still technically working.

Part time jobs

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know I have several of these. Whenever I read about people suggesting part time jobs they talk about the obvious - delivering pizzas and babysitting always seem to come up for some reason. If you are looking for part time income, I suggest you look outside the box. Does your church need someone to work in the office for a few hours? Does your favorite bookstore need some summer help? Maybe a friend has an elderly parent that they need someone to sit with. Look around at the places you love to go - the places you shop, you spend recreational time, you worship, you hang out with friends. And talk to friends and family and ask them to do the same - all of my jobs I got through friends. The reason I suggest all this is because you want to work someplace you enjoy. If you are picking up some part time work in addition to your full time job, you especially want to make sure it is something that makes you happy or even gives you great discounts. What about the local scrap booking store or electronics store?

Recently I heard a friend complain because they were offered a beautiful, wonderful job that was in their field... but it was only for 8 hours a week. She was unemployed and felt like there was no sense in taking the job, because she needs full time work. I say, take the job! It keeps the resume full and the other good thing about non passive income is, it gets you out of the house and into a place you can network.


Sidelines are actually mini part time jobs. For example, I do quite a bit of mystery shopping. The work is sporadic, but nice when I can get it. Doing a little plumbing work for friends on the side would be another example. I like sidelines because even in a busy work schedule, you can usually work one in. It is the kind of non passive income that is very short and might happen only now and again.

Internet and Local Sales

By this I specifically mean selling items on Craig's List, eBay, Amazon, and so forth. I also include selling craft items on etsy and even garage sales. Some people list this kind of thing in passive income, but I surely don't. It takes a lot of work to do these types of sales! Not only putting them together, but then dealing with everything after the sale. Definitely not passive in my book.

When I first started down my journey of scrounging up $900 a month, I made a huge list of alternative income ideas - as well as ways I could save. One place I found a lot of inspiration was a post on Moolanomy's post of 40+ Alternative Income Ideas. He has tons of ideas from the very large to small things you can do right away.

Cartoon by: shtikl.

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