In these uncertain times, the idea of generating an income with minimal ongoing effort is a popular aspiration.
I'm sure if you type "passive income'' into Google you will be inundated with articles, tutorials, schemes, and financial products that sell the dream of a non-work or early retirement type of lifestyle.
But passive income is also one of those divisive concepts that either inspire or irritate people.
Perhaps it is because it seems out of reach for so many, folks either love or loathe the thought of getting money without having to continually work for it.
Worse still if your passive or residual income is digitally derived, few people understand how you are making a legitimate living.
So I thought that it would be worth putting my foot in it and asking "why is passive income such a swear word?"
As an affiliate marketer, my efforts and investments are about building businesses that will eventually generate income without me having to continually pedal them.
I'm in the trenches now, but I aim to reach a point where the majority of my income is passively accrued, leaving me free to do other meaningful things in my life.
Whenever I mention PASSIVE INCOME in a video or post it always gets lots of comments like ' It's not passive' and ' You have to work hard to make money'
And I totally get where that instant reaction comes from.
Years of listening to Fake Gurus trying to sell you the Passive income lifestyle by purchasing their $2000 course.
So join me as we take a look at passive income. By the end of this article, I think we will have taken a look at:
- what passive income is
- whether passive income is a real thing or not
- and how you can generate it online
Now, this article is not financial advice and shouldn't be taken as such, but I hope that we will be able to see that passive income is not as elusive as you think and with an online business, you have some amazing tools for generating a reliable income without having to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
What is passive income?
Traditionally, passive income is described as income that is earned and sustained with minimal or no labor. That is, the recipient of the money is not materially involved in generating it.
Another term, progressive passive income, describes where the earner of the money does put in minimal effort into growing the income.
Passive income is usually associated with brick and mortar, real-world endeavors like renting a property, interest on your savings, royalties, income generated by capital assets, or being a silent partner in a business.
It's the type of money that you expect to appear in your bank account regularly without putting in the effort of completing tasks or holding down a job.
Passive income is generated by assets
In the world of investment, assets are items or resources that can generate an income or be exchanged for cash.
Just like the owner of the goose that lays the golden egg, the person who owns an asset will be the recipient of any income that the asset generates.
The income that is derived from an asset is truly passive as the recipient gets it through ownership alone.
Here in the UK, you declare passive income as part of a self-assessed tax return, separately to earnings from employment, but in the US and other countries, it may be treated differently.
Sounds too good to be true? Just wait until you look at passive income from an online perspective.
With online business, passive income is still basically the same but it comes with an important twist.
With the passive income generated through an online business, the website has been carefully set up to do all the hard work of maintaining your passive income stream through automated processes that oversee business growth, selling products and services, and completing transactions for revenue.
Believe it or not, an online business can be engineered for generating this sought-after type of income long term, leaving you free to reclaim your time and live your life.
The money men may not yet have come round to recognizing this form of income generation as authentic passive income, because they cannot see a physical asset like a house or car.
However, with passive income generated online, you are building the asset that will provide you with passive income.
At the heart of online entrepreneurship, is the initial upfront investment, of time, effort, and money to develop and deliver content, products, and services that will serve others profitably.
And if you do a great job you can reap some serious long-term rewards in the form of income that continues to flow in long after you have downed tools on your project and without draining your time.
Online businesses are unique in being able to provide an opportunity to generate a passive income without a massive cash outlay.
Think of the money you would have to borrow or spend to invest in property or the stock market. Without significant debt, those types of real-world investments are simply out of the reach of many people.
But for an online business operated through a website, the costs are negligible by comparison. I mean some of the tools I use in the day to day operation of my portfolio of sites are completely free!
Considering the ongoing financial rewards you could enjoy, the barrier to entry with online business is incredibly low. Plus your initial yield can be greater and come in sooner compared to other assets.
And if you want to exit your endeavor, more and more people are becoming aware of the value of such sites and will exchange cash for them.
Is passive income a myth and am I selling snake oil?
The concept of passive income riles many people simply because they perceive it as getting something for nothing. For example, the money mavericks at Forbes are insistent that passive income is a dangerous fantasy.
Forbes insists that you will have to work for every penny that comes your way noting that:
- You can’t beat your competition passively
- You can’t retain your online audience or customers passively
- You can’t build or manage a team to support your venture passively
I get where they are coming from
I am still up early and going to bed late, studying my competition like a hawk and liaising continually with a trusted team who support me in running my businesses.
But in the words of Pat Flynn of SPI (who I will get on to mentioning in a moment)
I am making an upfront investment to establish businesses that will provide an income stream even after I stop actively building them.
For example, if I put an article with affiliate links into my website, it will have cost me time and money to create it, optimize it, and hopefully get it to rank.
Once that article ranks, people who come across it in their search engine results and find it relevant and helpful may make purchases via my affiliate links, earning me money.
Once that article is out there, it’s out there. It does not have to be written again to do the job it was designed to do. So the income I receive from sales generated via that article ongoing is passive, not requiring me to do anything.
All I need to know is multiply the amount of content that is profitable to me - and that’s where you will find me working up a sweat.
If not, watch how three 800-word articles on one of my sites made me a $69.48 profit and will continue generating income ongoing!
Is that passive income? I’d say it is, and some of the world’s leading internet entrepreneurs agree with me.
Take a look at Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Though he is a regular family guy, Flynn has become renowned as a teacher and coach of strategies that can be used to successfully generate a passive income stream using the internet.
Pat became aware of the untapped potential of the internet for generating passive income through creating a website that was related to an architecture qualification he was studying for.
Little did he know that he had hit upon a lucrative niche that was able to generate income to sustain his young family when he lost his job.
All the effort he had put into developing the website for his architecture exam began to pay him back, with sales of the resources he had created continuing in without him lifting a finger.
The study tips, e-books, and advice he had worked hard on sharing with others online were now in demand.
Realising that the techniques that he had used for building his successful architecture site could be reproduced, Pat Flynn has gone on to lead his family to financial freedom and teach others how to build online businesses that will similarly generate passive income.
There are multiple ways in which owning a website can generate passive income.
Let’s be clear. I’ve found that running an online business for passive income can provide you with multiple income streams.
Going into them all is probably beyond the scope of this article, but as an affiliate marketer, I primarily earn income when someone clicks on one of the links of the many brands and companies I work with as I promote their products and services with informative and engaging content.
I don’t have to be around when those clicks and transactions are made.
My priority is making rankable content that helps a website visitor make an informed choice.
Other ways in which passive income can be generated through a website include online advertising or the sale of downloadable e-books and other digital products which can continue earning income if I stop adding content to the website or even sell it to someone else who wants to use it as an asset.
But to be honest, there will be nothing passive about establishing your passive income stream
Getting a viable online business off the ground is incredibly demanding and is likely to see you pushed to the limits of your patience and perseverance before you start turning over any income.
Creating my online businesses has been a tough journey with unrelenting hard work.
The first couple of years of venturing into online entrepreneurism were balanced with full and then part-time employment meaning that I had to work on my websites before going to work and after returning.
Crashing out in front of the computer was a regular occurrence.
Though I have said generating passive income online is possible, it certainly is not easy and will require sustained effort to break through to the income that you want to achieve.
I also have to be honest in sharing that the road to generating passive income takes time.
But, as I explore in the article “Is being an online entrepreneur worth it?”, generating a passive income from building online businesses is a flexible and satisfying way of life that really puts you in control.
So when you next hear the term passive income, don’t dismiss it as a scam.
It is simply a matter of working now to get paid later on. Having broken through the barrier of working full time as an affiliate marketer, I know that the rewards are there.
If you want to learn more or take the step to generate passive income yourself, why not take a look at some of my income reports?
My income reports really lay out the story of my journey building my online businesses and generating passive income.
You can also check out my YouTube channel where I explain more about earning over 10K per month through the portfolio of websites I built.