Our first idea, was my first passive income idea. It is also one of the oldest passive income ideas (along with being a landlord).
Idea number one is writing a book. It can be an ebook, or a physical book, or both. But thanks to Amazon, anyone can write a book these days.
Deciding What To Write
There are essentially 3 ways to write a book. The first way, is to write about what you know. This method is contingent upon you REALLY knowing about something. Common topics are teaching the reader how to do something, or explaining the history or background of something. This falls into the non-fiction category. While this method may be faster than the next two, you still don't want to rush. Remember, for your work to be any good, you'll need to do multiple drafts and rewrites. Start by creating an outline of main topics (possible chapters) and put them in a logical order. Fill in subtopics under each main topic. This will help you write the details in the chapter. Try to make sure there aren't other viewpoints on the topic that you are leaving out.
The second method would non-fiction as well. This version would involve doing research on the topic. Whether you know about the main topic or not, this book will require you to do some more learning. In this book, you can form main topics based on what you would like to know. Then you can go out and do the research.
The third method involves fiction writing. This will take a different type of effort. It can require research, but it will also certainly involve creative thinking. Whether you have the ability to tell a story naturally, or you take the time to read up on creating suspense, conflict, dialogue, and structure, it will take quite a bit of effort.
Deciding How Much Help You'll Need
There are cheap ways to write a book and expensive ways. It will mostly involve the quality of editor and proofreader you hire, and of course the marketing budget.
It is possibly to go "middle of the road" on these services, using a website like Upstart or Fiverr. Find a proofreader or editor that charges what you can afford, but that also has high ratings. This will at least mean that your finished product is better than it otherwise might be.
Another useful expenses is hiring a designer to make sure the finished copy looks good in the book. This person will format the document. They will also be able to make a cover for the book.
Between all of these costs, you will probably be looking at a cost of between $500 and $3500. Not cheap right? But worthwhile if the book catches on and sells consistently for years.
Put Your Book To Work
Once the work is up to snuff -- you've rewritten it 5+ times, it's been proofread, and an editor has given you feedback on further changes -- you can upload the book to CreateSpace (Amazon's book publisher) and get ready to sell!
While it is hard to guarantee success, the quality of your writing and the strength of your idea, combined with (guerrilla) marketing, may yield a passive income source that can provide income for years. And even if it doesn't, you'll have created something that will live on long past your own life.
Good night and good luck.
I am a Chicago-area financial adviser to young doctors & business owners.