Whoa — Donald Trump Earns His Money in Some Unexpected Ways

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons

No matter what you think of Donald’s politics, personality or hairstyle, there’s one thing we can all agree on: The name Trump makes you think of dollar signs.

Now that he’s running for president, Donald Trump has to be upfront about finances by reporting through the Federal Election Commission.

Trump’s public financial disclosure report, released last week, doesn’t explain dollar-for-dollar how much The Donald is worth; instead, it provides ranges of earnings rather than hard numbers. This is typical, but makes it somewhat more difficult to pin down the mogul’s moneymakers.

However, the report does reveal several of the entrepreneur’s surprising income streams. Heidi Moore at Mashable dug into the filing to find out some of the most unusual ways Donald Trump makes money.

Book Royalties: Not a Sure Bet

After you sell your book idea or manuscript and cash your advance check, as many published authors can tell you, you’re not likely to make money again. Royalty checks are like unicorns.

Trump has seen both sides of the publishing coin, his financial report reveals — did you know he’s written 15 books?

2011’s Time to Get Tough earned him between $50,000 and $100,000 in royalties last year. And his first book, The Art of the Deal (1987) earned between $15,000 and $50,000.

But 10 of his other titles earned less than $200 in royalties last year.

Still, earning close to six figures on a book that’s been out for four years is a pretty great payoff. And if Trump stays in the GOP race for the long haul, he’s likely to see a surge in book sales.

Speaking Engagements: Sign Us Up

“People are paying a lot of money to hear Trump speak — generous, since he does it a lot, very loudly and frequently for free,” Moore commented regarding Trump’s disclosed speaking engagements.

But while you’re likely to hear Trump spouting off the moment you turn on your TV — and we’re not even talking about Apprentice reruns — business professionals seem keen to compensate Trump for his time.

A speaking engagement before the International Council of Shopping Centers in December 2014 paid $50,000, and a speech before the National Multifamily Housing Council in April 2015 paid $100,000.

It seems easy to stand up and speak in front of executives, but Trump’s decades of experience (plus all those business advice books) have prepared him to take on those speaking engagements. Unfortunately, you’re not likely to command the same price to speak at your local Chamber of Commerce.

Visit Mashable to catch Moore’s roundup of Trump’s income streams. An accompanying report by Mashable colleague Brian Ries includes an embedded document of the entire financial disclosure report.

Your Turn: Are you surprised by the ways The Donald makes money?

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Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor and podcaster based in Washington, DC.

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