The Passive Income Myth

A few days ago I asked my subscribers and members of Serious Marketers Only a question about Passive Income.

“Would You Rather Build a Passive Income Or An Online Business”

Here are the results from the email question after 24 hours

Outstanding Website


The question was deliberately vague as I wanted judge peoples perceptions of an online business versus a Passive Income.

I was a little surprised at the result maybe I was a little naive or I haven’t been doing my job well enough. I should have been spreading the message that the best way to get success online is to treat it like a business.

When I first started online back in 2004, I could spend a morning creating a load of blogs. I would then add a bit of auto-generated content and finally use ‘Blog and ping” to get them indexed.

Each page had a couple Adsense blocks for monetization. I would never look at those blogs again.

Every day I would get click after click on those ads, not surprising as after a few months I had several million pages indexed in Google.

It was truly passive income.

That all finished suddenly when Google got their act together.

My next source of “Passive Income” was an affiliate program I promoted for some software that helped make an income from Article Marketing.

I created a report and an email sequence and between them, they generated about $100,000 in monthly recurring affiliate commission over 6 years. not a life changing income but it was reliable.

While I say passive it wasn’t really, I had to build the list, I had to write the emails, I had to drive traffic. if I stopped promoting then no one saw the original report.

I spent last week going through lots of blogs and Youtube channels looking at what methods people pushing passive income are selling or recommending.

Affiliate Marketing
Info Product Creation
Selling Stock Photo’s
Video marketing (You Tube)
Creating JV Partnerships
Network Marketing
Shopify Sites

They won’t generate passive incomes there is a lot of work required to get them running and generating an income. By using the term Passive immediately people thing that they just have to set up a blog and the income will arrive in their bank accounts each month.

It Won’t.

If anything a better term would be Leveraged income

Leveraged Income

In my mind leveraged income is generating an income by leveraging the assets you have. For example a blog.

I can promote my blog on a daily basis to try to get traffic to it, that traffic will result in subscribers, which down the line will result in customers.

However, it’s not passive by a long way.

Take for example my membership site Serious Marketers Only. Lot’s of marketers will tell you to build a membership site as it’s a good source of passive income.

It’s not, there is nothing passive about it. I have to come up with content on a daily basis, create video’s, build courses, answer questions, promote it. Ensure the tech is working ok. Answer support calls. I log in there 3 or 4 times a day and publish content 2 or 3 times a day.

Leveraged yes, Passive no.

What’s The Alternative To Passive Income?

Finding a business that fit’s in with the lifestyle you have and the time you have available is a good place to start.

If you have 1 hour a day to build your online business then setting up a membership site is not a good idea.

On the other hand creating a youtube channel, building a list or a Facebook page might be a better use of your time.

Next look for a reliable and repeatable source of income. The reason people fall for the passive income hype is they want to see a steady stream of income every month. So look for something that is going to be reliable.

As an example, I created 2 free courses,  one on how to get started with Convertkit and one on Activecampaign, the two email service providers I use.

These generate the occasional commission from the affiliate links I use in the courses. So long as I promote the courses my income grows and is relatively reliable. I don’t have to do anything just focus on getting the traffic to that course. Convertkit and Activecampaign do the rest.

I can do that via articles, videos, and Facebook posts

To replicate this, look for a popular tool that pays a monthly income, create a course and then spend the time you have promoting it.

Pretty much every method or strategy you see online works if you put the time and effort in.

I know of a guy who makes a lot of money from Kindle books.

He creates a book, uploads it to Kindle and waits for the money to come in each month. It sounds like a passive income dream doesn’t ti?  Did I mention he has to write and promote 30 books a year to keep that “passive” income flowing

So just to reiterate.  What I am trying to say be realistic about what you want to achieve and success is possible. Choose something that fits in with the time you have and the skills you have, and you’ll be off to a good start.

What Methods Work?

The things I personally consider to be worthwhile pursuing:

Sources of Recurring Monthly Income.

Such as running a membership site, a subscription box company or promoting something that pays a recurring commission

Facebook Marketing

Building an audience on Facebook. Take time to build an engaged audience, In the Lifestyle marketer Facebook group, I looked at a guy he posts daily on one topic and then sells a course once a month. His model is so simple I even used it for one of my funnel hacks in Serious Marketers Only. He uses nothing but Facebook posts and a Shopping Cart link.

Shopify Stores

Creating Shopify stores and selling and fulfilling your own products. Don’t use Aliexpress or dropshipping they both bring in a whole new layer of complexity that you won’t have time to deal with.

Email Marketing:

Building a list, creating engagement and marketing your own products, or recurring income “models”

Finally – 2 Tips

Finally two further tips for you.
1. Choose something you like to do if you hate writing don’t try blogging. I saw a post today from someone who built a list but hated to write emails. What a waste of time!

2. Look at what others have done and model your business on other successful businesses. Don’t copy, model.  There is a difference!

Why not come and join the Free Lifestyle Marketer Facebook Group? You can talk about this post and other topics relating to building a sustainable online business.


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