Passive income is a hot term right now. Everyone wants the ability to make money in their sleep, without having to do much work. The truth is, setting up something that provides passive income can be really hard! Some of the popular passive income options really aren’t so passive. Let’s go over some of the myths of passive income.
What Is Passive Income?
If you aren’t familiar with the term, passive income means that you are making money while not physically having to be in the room working. For most people, this is an ideal situation! There are a lot of ways to generate passive income, but all of them require a lot of hard work up front. You might spend months, or even a year, working on something that would be considered passive income, but once it’s up and running, you can make money off of it without having to do much work.
Popular Ways to Generate Passive Income
Below are some common ways to generate “passive income”. This term is in quotes because some of these aren’t passive at all. They require a lot of full-time work, support, and ongoing maintenance. We will give you the pros and cons of each.
Theme development is a big one we see in our industry. A developer will create themes for popular website platforms, then sell them online at places like Creative Market, Envato, Etsy or their own website. In theory, this is a good way to create passive income because you’ll create the theme once, then people will buy it, download it and install it themselves. In a lot of cases, that is exactly what will happen, but being a theme developer can quickly turn into a full-time support job. People will have problems and if you want people to use your product, you’ll need to provide support. You’ll also have to regularly make updates to the theme you develop, as platforms change over time.
- You create one theme and many people can download and use it
- Plenty of options for selling online
- Fairly easy to get started if you’re an experienced developer
- You will have to handle many support requests
- Ongoing theme maintenance can be a struggle
Another popular form of passive income is course creation. Course creation can be a great way to generate passive income but requires a ton of upfront work. You could spend months creating all the content for your course depending on how in-depth it is. There are also more technical challenges involved in creating a course as you have to make sure things are set up correctly so people can easily view the content. The positive is that once the course is finished, it lives online forever and there isn’t as much work that needs to be done afterward. You may need to update a module or handle the occasional support request, but compared to other forms of passive income, the ongoing work isn’t as bad.
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- Once your course is created, it will live forever online
- Doesn’t require a ton of ongoing support
- May require several months of upfront work to create
- Requires some more advanced technical knowledge to create
Another way to generate passive income is through blogging. The idea is that you set up a blog on a particular subject, add content to it, then start monetizing it through things like ads, affiliates and sponsored posts. We see blogging marketed as an easy way to generate passive income all the time, but it’s actually very difficult to make decent money. Along with creating content for your blog regularly, you have to spend time promoting that content and pitching to companies. With so much information online, it can be really hard to stand out. The pros are that if you enjoy what you write about, it probably won’t feel like work. It’s also pretty easy to get ads on your blog or get set up with affiliate programs, so you can start generating some income fairly quickly.
- Writing about something you enjoy won’t feel like work
- It’s fairly easy to start monetizing
- Creating regular content can be time consuming
- Getting eyes on your content requires a lot of ongoing work
Maintenance or Subscription Plans
Providing maintenance or subscription plans can be a great way to generate passive income. Some examples of this are website maintenance, hosting (popular in our industry) or subscription boxes where your customers get sent something once a quarter. This might be the easiest way to generate passive income because subscriptions or maintenance plans are generally automated and you’ll be getting recurring revenue every month. That being said, it’s not just a set it and forget it way to make money. Maintenance plans will require some form of monitoring or maintenance, which will eat up some of your time. Although easier than one-off orders, subscription boxes still require you to package and ship orders every month. The more customers you have, the harder it is to maintain yourself.
- You’ll see regular recurring revenue
- Automated systems
- Still requires you to perform tasks regularly
- The more customers you have, the harder it is to manage
Passive Income Isn’t So Passive
Passive income is marketed as a way to make money by doing minimal amounts of work, but in reality, a lot of work goes into it! Creating something that provides you passive income requires a lot of upfront work and it may be months or years before you start seeing real results. If you are thinking about ways to generate passive income, it’s important to realize the amount of work that goes into it so you can be successful.