‘It Feels Like Free Money!’: 4 Stories of Successful Passive Income Strategies

"All in all, I couldn't think of an easier way to make $2,400 per year!"

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"Passive income pays my bills—and allows me to travel the world.”

Cat Coquillette, 30, location-independent illustrator and designer in Chiang Mai, Thailand

"Thanks to some solid passive income streams, which make up about 90 percent of my monthly earnings, I'm anything but a starving artist.

In addition to my illustration and design business, I earn about $7,000 a month via art licensing through print-on-demand companies. These are websites that print your artwork on things like apparel, phone cases and notebooks, then sell the items online. For example, I created a design for a travel mug that sells for $24.99; I get 10 percent of each sale. This may not sound like much, but it adds up, especially when you submit a lot of designs. I upload paintings both new and old, so instead of collecting dust, my artwork can earn some cash.

Traditional art licensing is another reliable money-maker, netting me about $2,000 monthly. I do this through art licensing companies and directly with consumer-facing brands, then get a royalty rate based on the sales. Finally, I bring in about $1,000 each month teaching online tutorials.

These passive income sources—which require very little maintenance aside from some social media promotion—allow me to invest for the future and in what I love doing today: traveling the world and painting new pieces for my portfolio.”

"We make $200 per month renting out a parking space."

Corey Fick, 30, nonprofit director of operations and blogger in Boston, Mass.

"When my wife Jessica and I purchased our first home in 2014, it came with one huge perk: two off-street parking spaces—an in-demand commodity in our Boston neighborhood. Since we're a single-car family, we leveraged the additional spot to bring in some passive income.

Renting it out puts $200 in our pockets each month, which almost fully covers our homeowner association fees. Honestly, it feels like free money. The only maintenance expense is snow removal, which has never exceeded $250 a year for both parking spaces.

The only time we really 'lose' money is during periods when we don't have someone renting the spot. To prevent this, we avoid month-to-month agreements and are proactive marketers. Before a rental agreement expires, for example, we list the space on a few local websites to begin vetting new renters. This helps us create a list of prospective tenants, which expedites the whole process so that the space doesn't go unused.

All in all, I couldn't think of an easier way to make $2,400 per year!"

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