What exactly is passive income and why would I want to earn it?
The broad definition of passive income is money that comes to you fairly regularly without you having to do anything (or at least more than one thing) to get it. No - it's not winning contests, or the lottery...that would be variable income.
An example of passive income is money due to you from a rental duplex you own. The money comes to you regularly without you producing more than one action (buying the rental). Of course that is simplistic, because with a rental there is always something you are doing with it. But the idea is that you are not repurchasing your duplex over and over.
So, how do you create passive income by using the internet and without any money?
By helping others find what they want or helping them earn a little cash.
For example, do you know that Orbitz has a refer a friend program and will give you $25 for every friend that signs up through a link that they give you. You get $25 and the friend also gets a credit of $25. If you have a lot of friends, you might be able to get enough money to pay for that trip you want. BTW -this is my link, feel free to sign up and we will both get $25.
Directv also has a refer a friend program as does one of my favorites AIRBNB (for which my referrals paid for an awesome hotel in the heart of Venice for three full days last summer).
Look at services you already use and see what they offer. It doesn't cost anything to sign up for their programs and you make "passive income" by just putting their link on your web page, or on the signature line in your emails. You are not browbeating anyone to sign up under your link, but if they do, that's money in your pocket with very little effort and also money in theirs - WIN-WIN!
Keep in mind that you do not have to be a new customer of the site, but your friend does.
How do you get started?
Most sites have tools to help you refer your friends. The webpage listing your referral code will have twitter, facebook, or email buttons to share your code.
If you’re a frequent traveler, as I am, your friends and family probably ask you for advice when they travel. When recommending a site with a referral program, suggest that they sign up using your code. Your friends, family and followers will be happy to help you while they are saving money.
A note of caution. These codes are for personal distribution. If you put them on someone else's website or wikipedia or something like that, you will most likely be banned. Can you imagine getting $25,000 in signups? Well your company can't either...so be cool.
Referrals are not the only way to earn passive income on the net, but they are the easiest and they may not replace your income, but it's nice to see a check pop into your paypal account from something you did and forgot about 2 years ago.
I recommend that you add multiple passive income streams to your bucket of roadworking tools - starting with referrals. You can see more referral sites on the Resources page.
You won't regret it.