Finance

Passive Income: Make extra money online

Passive Income: What is it and how can it benefit me?

Cash to Computing (photo credit Flickr)

Cash to Computing (photo credit Flickr)

Passive: not actively participating.  Income:  monetary payment.  

Combine them and it means money made without working that sounds too good to be true.  It is too good to be truce, because there is always some footwork to be done ahead of time.

Setting up that webinar takes time so does taking video and editing that YouTube upload.  But once its done set the marketing to autopilot and then let the passive income roll-in!  Yeah, that is wishful thinking too, there is a lot of hard work to be done to keep it up and running.  Also, keeping with the trends can be hard, but the tools below can help you meet your goals.

Make Money Online

Make Money Online

Get Started

This is the most difficult part, it was hard for me too!  The first steps are always the toughest.

Have a long term goal and cut it down into smaller pieces, so you can gradually to achieve this goal

  1. Have an idea for a Webinar?  Use this cool tool to monetize it.  Monetize it means to make money from it, like cash deposited into that PayPal account!
  2. I’ve started affiliate marketing with Share A Sale: Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content. shareasale.com.
  3. Also, try this marketing tool: Drive more traffic to your online store using performance based marketing.
  4. Set up a drop-shipping site with a free trial with Oberlo: 30 day trial here:
  5. SpyFu helps find competitors most profitable keywords to make it easy to think these up
    1. Increases web-traffic
    2. Tracking keywords automatically
    3. Make better connections
  6. To help get started here is a Word Press Coupon: AMP for WordPress – WP Engine Webinar with Yoast SEO
    1. What is SEO?  Search Engine Optimization
    2. This basically means when people search a topic your website is actually on the list!  Trust me, its worth the investment!


Automate it:

Whew, the hard part is over.  The site has been created, the Videos are posted, and the articles are written… Now what?  There are endless resources on automating the promotion of your webinar, you-tube videos, or blog articles.

Here is a list of my favorites:

  1. Tailwind:Grab your free trial here
    1. Discover Content: taking the work out of work- they do it for you
    2. Schedule Posts: posts get automatically updated
    3. Monitor Conversations
    4. Amplify Research: can’t think of what to research? They do it for you
    5. Analyst Results: the tools are available here
    6. Perfect for Instagram and Pinterest users
  2. I need hits: This awesome tool boots web-traffic!10% Off 1st Time Orders at iNeedHits.com – Shop Now! Use Code: SAVEINH2012
    1. Get listed in Google
    2. Location Targeted Traffic
    3. Affordable Pricing
  3. Vertical Response
  4. Kolau

Boost your Website Traffic with iNeedHits Today! Shop Now!

Now invest it:

Passive Income can be created by investing into the stock market via mutual funds, individual stocks, or bonds.  Once the cash starts rolling in, now its time to make some smart decisions and use Ally and other investment tools to continue making money.

  1. Open an Ally Invest account
  2. Swell: Investing in stocks that allign with your values
  3. Robinhood:
    1. Easy investing right on smartphone
    2. Free Stock Trading
  4. Acorns
    1. Easy round-up from a credit card or debit card of your choice
    2. Set it and forget it

Good Luck on your adventure into online money making!  Tell me about your webinar in the comments, I’d love to check it out!

Oh yeah, there are affiliate links in this article, but I check them all out before I suggest em!  We are all in it to make the money right?

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Create a Webinar or Training Module

I scrolled across EverLesson recently and I’m in the process of creating a webinar and training modules for my day job. I am thinking of trying it out by creating a training for the grandparents on how to log into Facebook, their Gmail, or even using Skype.  The ideas on creating videos or training modules regarding, how-to XYZ, DIY, or gaming solutions are endless.

EverLesson: What is it?

Create easy how-to lessons, develop a membership site, sell items thru it, brand promotion, engaging your users, allowing banner adds, scrolling news ticker and many other items that will be detailed below.

The list of ideas on using this just keep coming, so on-boarding new employees, hosting videos, online training and education.  Get more exposure for the products selling, how-to use the product videos, tips and tricks on your products, this can definitely mean more sales in the long run!

Or, take that drop shipping site to a new level, by showing videos on using the items, have adds and banners across the top of the page and then have flashing items to get the user to buy it after they see the awesome review!

Create an EverLesson Course:

Five easy steps to get going: Click Here!

  1. Create a Theme: Which is very easy as they have formatted themes available that have been proven to work for other users
  2. Customize: Easily customize the color palate to suit your brand
  3. Build Pages: Video’s can be added, Downloads, Create Modules.  Each page can have trip wires, banners, links, or other adds.
    1. Set up Call-to-Action boxes to announce a new product or special promotion
    2. Set up a scrolling news ticker across the header
  4. Setup Access: Offer the content in form of packages, levels, up-sells that are all available for the members to purchase
    1. By creating levels and packages this allows for breaking sales down to a single product for access
    2. This is useful with Up-sells, showing how to set up their blog then an up-sell would be monetizing it.
  5. Sales Page:  Based on the input these pages are automatically generated.

There is no coding needed and nothing technical!  Easy for the rest of us to use and create our own webinars or training.

Webinar computer wires

Old Webinar (photo credit Flickr)

Features:

  • Manual Payments
  • Comment Moderation
  • New Comment Layout
  • Pop-up monetization
  • Top bar monetization
  • Upcoming module- display upcoming modules
  • Live Leap & Broadcasting to Facebook Live video:  This is really neat function!  Makes is super easy!
  • Ratings- users can rate the module for real time feedback
  • New Product Pages: Promote new items, products, or new lessons
  • New Sales Page
  • Drip-feed Categories
  • Leader-board – Users can see standing inside membership
Webinar

Easy Webinar
(photo credit: Flickr)

My Plans:

I’d like to use this to set up training sites that are linked to my website. What I like most about this product is the easy way to collect money, and the various ways to do it.  Including taking money for additional courses, banner adds, or add-on items and up-sells.

Now my to-do list includes:  Find a product to promote, make a video on how to use it, sell it thru a module on EverLesson and make some cash!

Look at my resource page for other Side Money Ideas!

There may be, well there are, affiliate links in this article.  Hey, I want to make some money too!

Side Money via Drop Shipping

In my quest to find ways to make money online I came across a term I didn’t know well: Drop Shipping.

My thoughts were, what is this, how does it work, is it high risk, what are the rewards, and is it worth a shot?  And can anybody really do it any better than Amazon?  Maybe there is some low hanging fruit here for me.

What is Drop Shipping?

Here is the process:

  1. Receive and order from a customer
  2. Send the order to your supplier
  3. Supplier ships order to your customer
  4. Everyone gets paid!

Sounds easy right?  No, I don’t think so.  First, where are the customers?  Do they just find me?  And how many other people are selling this same product?  Possibly at a lower price too!  Now this sounds like work, but it might be worth it if I can find the right product.

Drop Shipping makes me happy (photo credit Flickr)

Drop Shipping makes me happy (photo credit Flickr)

Who is Drop Shipping for?

In researching this further I found that Drop Shipping is for the first time sellers, its low risk but also low reward.  I found a few sites that let you start up as low as $67.  Like  SaleHoo

Oberlo is another site that lets you do a “free” trial, but we all know nothing is free.  My thought is why not try it out and see how it goes.  I’ll update this if I drop it or end up paying for it.

Drop Shipping is also good for the supplier who wants to test out a new product.  Drop shipping allows for a nice test market.

Also, if a new supplier wants to get their product out there but doesn’t have the capital; drop shipping would work for them as well.


Drop Shipping Tips:

  • Don’t sell what you think will work, or selling on a hunch, because realistically you are selling blind then.  Decisions need to be based on facts.  Utilize Google Keyword Planner, Look at Google Trends, search for your potential products on Amazon or E bay to see what the competitors are selling it for.  Check to see if are there any reviews for your product at the Better Business Bureau.
  • Don’t sell what everyone else is selling, because they will beat you out on pricing and then you are left with nothing
  • Don’t sell stuff that nobody wants – duh!
  • Sell things that lots of people want but not what other people are selling: Here are ways to research this:

Now, I just need to find some customers, a product, and a supplier...

Good Luck on your Quest!

 

Affiliate Testing

I’ll admit it I”m new to blogging and finding ways to make some extra money.  After doing some Affiliate Testing I came across this affiliate promotion and finally found out how to monetize my website Click Here!  Along with creating a resource page I was able to use some of their tricks to set up my own money making blog.

Here are the tools to an awesome Affiliate:

  1. Quick Start Guide to be able to get your Affiliate Marketing up and running
  2. Downloadable road-map to success, whats easier than following a map
  3. Video lessons, not just one or two, there are 120 videos!

Over the shoulder:

Its like someone looking over your shoulder to help you along the way.  Several people are making over $500 per day and more.  I want to help you do the same!

They even offer free web hosting.

Check out my resource page for more.

Benefits of the Affiliate program:

  • Analyze your competitor’s websites and spot their weaknesses:  this was most helpful to me because there are several blogs with my same niche
  • Discover which pages on your site are most valuable: analyzing the data is key to success
  • Track your search engine rankings over time — are you going up or down?
  • See your rankings in different regions and search engines (yes, they’ll be different!)  This was really cool for me to see on my site.
  • Discover if there are any “stupid” mistakes on your site that might be costing you traffic.  Boy did I have the mistakes on my start up site.
  • Analyze your social media activity and followers.  Very crucial keys here.
  • Find high-quality sites in your niche that are ready and willing to build links with you.
    BLOG photo from Flickr

    BLOG photo from Flickr

Blogging: Hobby or Business

Is your blog a hobby or a business?  Blogging everyday but not making any money?  Blogs can make some big money and others fail.  Here is how to properly report that hobby income and report the offsetting expenses so the auditor stays away.

Audit Keyboard

Audit keyboard from Flickr

Disclaimer, this is not to be referenced as legal tax advice, this is just a helpful guide if your blog is being audited~

How to report income from a hobby:

Yes, its time to admit it, your blog is a hobby.  That $601 you made last year gave you enough to receive a 1099 from Google and now how do you report it?

It would be nice to be able to take all of the expenses and have a nice loss to offset that day job wage… but chances are Uncle Sam will find it and reverse it, then you’ll be stuck with a bill + penalty + interest.

    1. Income:  This is reported on the Form 1040 Line 21 of the 2016 tax year.

      If Google sent you a 1099 for $600 chances are the government received a copy of that, so yes it needs to be reported somewhere on your taxes.  The location varies by business entity, so I’m speaking to the newbie that does not have a partnership or corporation set up.

    2. Expenses:  This is reported on Form 1040 Schedule A Line 23 of the 2017 tax year.

      As noted in income, location of these expenses can vary by business entity.  So, basically this is for the 1040 guy or gal out there.

      1. Include a portion of internet costs (not full amount because Netflix doesn’t count as a business subscription)
      2. Subscription costs for researching articles
      3. Costs of the blog
      4. Pinterest add costs
      5. Costs for photo editing
      6. Costs for sound editing
      7. Cost of photos

CyberChimps LLC

Note the Expenses amount cannot exceed the income reported.  If $750 was reported as income, then the expenses are limited to $750, even though there may be more expenses incurred.  But, if there were only $400 of expenses then you have to list the $400, making up additional expenses is not allowed.

9 “Hobby Loss” Factors:

    1. Manner carry on Activity: This is why its important to keep track of how often blogging is happening.  If there is a day job they want to say there isn’t enough time to blog, but who isn’t thinking about what they are going to blog next when they are sitting in the cubicle jail, uh, I mean office.
      1. Were new techniques developed?
      2. How are the books and records maintained?  This is where a separate bank account is important.
      3. Keep track of expenses, try to show where turning a profit.
      4. Blogging business plan would be helpful here.
      5. Then show where using records to make decisions and changes in business operations.

All Themes Package

  1. Expertise: Noting any other websites used to base the blog on can be helpful. When decisions are made what is behind them?  This can be important in showing that research was completed and any growth in the blog audience.
    1. A list of advisers can be helpful, I’d use a list of other bloggers of same niche.
    2. New techniques used are documented here too.
  2. Effort Expended: We all know there isn’t enough time in the day to blog, work, and live, but this is where it gets tricky.  Can I really say between phone calls at work, I’m promoting my blog via Twitter or Pinterest?
    1. They want to nail down hours worked on the blog vs all the hours available in the year.  Keep track of time spent:
      1. Posting to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook: Promoting Posts
      2. Writing
      3. Researching Topic
      4. Photo-editing
      5. Following up with tribe (aka followers)
    2. To overcome the alternative passive activity make sure the time exceeds 500 hours for the year.
  3. Assets appreciate in value:  So, is your blog actually worth something?  Could it be sold to a third party?  Even thought there isn’t land or equipment don’t rule out the value of the website itself.
  4. Success in similar activities: The day job might be the major income provider for household, but what other activities like the bog have brought in cash?  And make sure it has been reported elsewhere!
    1. Maybe there is a second blog
    2. Could have a YouTube site
  5. History of Income and losses: This is hard to overcome if the blog isn’t making any money.  These are just cold hard facts here.
  6. Occasional Profits: If the blog is going to sell for big bucks next year this could impact this factor.  THe sale of the blog might overcome all the incurred losses.
  7. Financial Status:  If the day job is paying big bucks, this might be a hard one.  If you are a broke blogger (like me) then this would be in your favor!
    1. Why?  The hobby of a blog is really to offset other income?  Or is it really to make a profit?
    2. Are there tax savings by having the blog?
  8. Personal Pleasure:  Blogging can be fun and it is work!  All the tasks to get from the original idea to the final post and everything that goes behind posting it will show how much hard work we all really do!

What if I don’t report anything?

Yeah, that is another option, what’s $600 to Uncle Sam anyway?  Well, truth is they have automated a lot of the crosschecking and they know there is $600 not reported.  They’ll automatically send out a letter adding it to your return and adding interest and penalty on top of that.  It won’t break the bank, but it can be scary and annoying to get random letters from the government.

I don’t even make $600 from my blogging, so whats less than a hobby?

Still planning your expenses, check out my Midyear Tax Planning article here.

If nothing else, just be sure to file a tax return:  Save 30% at E-file.com
yX Media - Monetize your website traffic with us

FreeTaxUSA Box 728x90

Settle Credit Card Debt

In dire situations there are a few steps can be taken to settle credit card debt.  Dire situations means extremely large amounts of credit card debt.

Caution: These steps may cause accounts to be closed, credit score to drop, owe additional income tax, or a higher interest rate!

Options

-Debt Settlement: Offering a lump sum of less than you owe in return of easing the debt.  This is NOT Debt Consolidation, which is not as hard on your credit score.  Debt Settlement is serious and will hurt a credit score.  The negotiation to pay and amount less than what is currently owed.

-Debt Management: Paying a counseling organization monthly, then they help negotiate terms and pay bills on your behalf.  Choose wisely here because there are some bad guys in this field too.

-Hardship repayment or forbearance:  This one is used when there is a divorce, job loss, or extreme financial hardship.  Talk to a professional! (more…)

Bad Habits (its killing your budget)

These Time Savers are Ruining your Budget

  1. ATM Fees:  Just don’t do it!  These fees are killer and they aren’t worth it.  Most banks have apps that will show you where your closest ATM is.  Some banks waive fees, its worth checking into.
  2. Other Banking fees:  Check those bank statements!  Be sure to check if there are any fees associated with your account.  If there is anything weird call the bank right away to get them sorted out.
  3. Bottle Water: Go with the Eco-friendly travel water bottle or buy them in bulk.
  4. Pizza Delivery: We’ve all been there, its so nice to have them deliver a pizza to the door.   Try take-n-bake or buy frozen in bulk.
  5. Coffee Shops: Just bring it, There is extra sugar in the latte anyway!
  6. Prepared Fruits and Veggies: Planning ahead is hard to to, but it will save you a buck or two (oh, that rhymes).  Wash, cut, and separate food upon returning from the grocery store.  This makes it easy to grab and go.
  7. Vending Machine Items:  It is so easy to just plug in a few coins for a needed snack!  Just don’t do it!
  8. Fast food @ Convenience Stores:  Ah, the gas station, heat lamp, burger.  Its not healthy and not cheap!  Its time to start brown bagging it.  Bring a lunch or snack to make it thru the day.
  9. Soda from checkout cooler: Marketing, they know what they are doing.  Don’t fall for it.  Buy in bulk and plan ahead.
  10. Drink more water not soda:  This one is a bit odd, but stay with me on this one.  If soda isn’t on the grocery list then money saved!  Many reusable water bottles have built in filters now too.

Is money on your mind? Click Here!

My Budget killer is an expensive coffee… What is your go to time saver that costs you?

 

There are affiliate links on this site

Credit Checkup: Managing your Credit Score

Credit Score Management

Credit Score Management

How is your Credit Score is it time for a credit checkup?  Here are a few items to ensure you don’t pay extra interest due to a poor credit score.  But it can be more than just an interest rate hike, a credit score might effect insurance rates, apartment rental, or a potential new job!

What is a credit score?  Dictionary.com says that credit is:

confidence in a purchaser’s ability and intention to pay, displayed by entrusting the buyer with goods or services without immediate payment.

There are a few different credit scores, but I’m focusing on the FICO score as it is most widely used by banks or major lenders now.

A FICO Credit Score can generally fall between 300 and 850, the latter being the better.  Or a high score wins in this case.  It is predicting the likelihood of your intention to pay the bills or loans on time.

Credit Score Tips:

  1. Pay those Bills!  Preferably pay them on time.  Set up bill-pay with your bank, then no cost of stamps or forgetting to mail that bill.  Additionally “Payment History” is weighted as 35% of your FICO score.  Lenders are concerned about ability to pay that loan that you are about to take out and the credit history is the best indicator they have of receiving future payments.  Unfortunately, younger lenders will have lower scores because they do not have history.
  2. Review your own credit report: Some credit card companies offer this on the monthly statement.  This is free and an easy tool to monitor what is happening with on that credit card.  There are free sites out there that offer credit reports:
    • CreditKarma.com
    • Creditsesame.com
    • LendingTree.com
    • Quizzle.com
    • Discover credit card shows a monthly FICO score with your bill.
    • Caution: IF a site asks for a credit card number or provides your credit with a fee, this might become a recurring fee, beware that this isn’t the case before you check your score!  Equifax shows some good tips on monitoring so it may be worth the price.

Debt Payoff:

  1. Pay down credit cards:  “Debt Level” is weighted at 30% of your FICO score.  Which ironically enough if you keep your credit at about 30% of your credit limit or less this will help you score go up (which is good).  For example: If my Home Depot credit card has a credit limit of $500, then I should keep the balance at $150 or less. ( or $500 x 0.30=$150)
  2. Use Credit: But be smart about it.  Zero interest for 6 months is a no brainer, but pay the balance off within those six months.  Use bill pay to your advantage here.  Auto payments for six months and done!
  3. Monitor Credit Report: Different from reviewing your credit report, as monitoring means re-visiting the credit report to ensure there isn’t any weird.  For example, and strange loans or new credit cards need to be investigated.
  4. Mix of Credit: the “Mix of Credit” is weighted at 10% of the FICO score, but its not worth it to run out to get an auto loan or personal loan to go with your credit card debt.
  5. Other options:  Be caution of items that can hurt your credit like Debt Settlement.
  6. Get Equifax Business Credit Monitoring Now!

Don’t Do This:

  1. Don’t close old credit cards:  This can play into the “Length of Credit History” which is weighted at 15% of the FICO score. Additionally, getting into credit cards at a younger age can be a double edge sword.  I fell into this at college, signing up for a credit card and buying those books, only to pay more in the long run with high interest rates.
  2. Limit applications for new credit: “inquiries” are weighted at 10% of the FICO score.  Each time they run a credit check it is an application for new credit.  This means any application for an apartment, auto loan or new in store credit card are inquires.  These all have an impact on your credit score.

Use these tips wisely.  Do you have any other tips to boost that credit score?

 

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Where to find a Withholding Calculator

Did you fill out that W-4 form right?  Will you have enough withholding, owe at tax time, or will you get a huge refund?  A huge refund in’t necessarily a bad thing but it is an interest free loan to Uncle Sam.

What is a Withholding?

You get paid, Uncle Sam takes his cut, that is what withholding is.  Either you pay as you go or you owe a lot at tax time and if you don’t pay as you go then you may owe penalties on top of those taxes!

Have your current pay-stub handy, and your recent tax return, if you don’t have this info and want to estimate it just know that the results are only as accurate as the data entered (remember garbage in = garbage out).

Here is the website for the calculator on withholding.  If the results scare you then you can easily change your withholding by printing a new Form W-4  and submit it to your employer.  Some companies have websites that allow a user to log-into and update the withholding with a click of the mouse.

If you don’t know how to fill it out then you are in the right place because here we go:

The personal allowances worksheet gives you an idea of how many allowances you should be claiming.  Most people write zero  in items A though H to offset any taxes and get a large refund.

If you are married, both spouses work and have kids the calculation can become more complex.

Valuable Credits- Savings at Tax Time

Every year millions of dollars go by the waste side.  Why?  Because people don’t know to claim the credits that are available to them on their tax returns.

These are honest tax credits, no trickery here.

Working Families:

Earned Income Tax Credit (Also known at the EITC), this is supposed to help low and moderate income workers and working families.   This means you worked for someone for a wage or independent contractor (you got a 1099-MISC form in the mail).  The IRS offers a cool EITC Assistant to help you see if you qualify.  Check the correct year and have at it.  This is offered in both English and Spanish.

Families with Kids:

Child Tax Credit is available for those with children under the age of 17 (on December 31st).  This credit can be up to a whopping $1,000 per eligible child!  This is not the child care credit or the dependent exemptions.   (more…)