The concept of passive income draws in a lot of people. Having the ability to make money in your sleep, travel the world, and live life as you desire. You must admit it sounds appealing. There are thousands of “Gurus” on the internet that make it appear so simple. A lot of these individuals picked up “The 4 Hour Work Week” (4HWW) then started what Tim Ferris describes as a “Muse Business”.
Quote from the 4 Hour Work Week
“Our goal is simple: to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time. That’s it. I will call this vehicle a “muse”…Muses will provide the time and financial freedom to realize your dreamlines in record time, after which one can (and often does) start additional companies to change the world or sell.”
I purchased The 4HWW in 2013 not knowing what to expect. I remember walking into Barnes and Noble and glancing over the top sellers in the business section. Most of the books in the section have extremely simple covers. They list the title of the book in bold letters with the author’s name at the bottom.
In contrast The 4HWW is begging to jump into your hand. The bold red and yellow colors that paint a scene of a lone character sitting in a hammock. The sun is setting directly between two palm trees that almost create a happy face. Then you have the sub title that reads“Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join The New Rich”.
Prior to picking up this book I had no clue who Tim Ferriss was, who the “new rich” are, or how someone can only work four hours per week. I’ll admit, Tim’s testing of titles pulled me in and converted me into a “Ferriss bot”.
I purchased the “Expanded and Updated” edition. This version had success stories from individuals that followed The 4HWW principles and started traveling the world. Some of the “Muse Businesses” (passive income sources) mentioned blew my mind.
You have people making $20k / month on over sized Yoga mats. People selling audio clips and stock photography images. Here I am working my tail off for 40+ hours per week and someone is making more money than me on giant yoga mats. I think this really pushed my buttons because I dislike Yoga. I’d rather spend 4 hours lifting weights than 20 minutes of Yoga. Yoga looks so easy, until you do it. You quickly realize you are not as strong or flexible as you originally thought.
I was impressed with all of these stories and the “comfort challenges” that Tim issues throughout the book. These comfort challenges lead me to join a Toastmasters group which was the real beginning of the new me. As for creating a “Muse Business”, this was far more difficult that I had planned. I wanted passive income and I wanted it NOW!
Here are the ideas I came up with in June of 2013. I first started with what I am an expert in, then tried to associate these with products.
I am an ‘expert’ in:
- Python – ( related to Networking / automating basic tasks)
- Gluten Free
- Living with Stomach Issues
- Creating Budgets (Website called Envelopes?)
- E Book: How To (not) Fail in Business
- E Book: How to start an Arizona Business
- E Book : Raising HyperChildren
- Product : Create an envelop binder (budgets)
- Video : Cisco MPLS Training
- Video: SIP Training
- Product: kids lunch instructions (laminated pages showing how to make a packed lunch)
- Product: Adult Acne Treatments
- Product : Paleo protein powder
- E Book: $100k blueprint – A guide for taking new engineers to the six figure level
- Training Course : Learn Broadworks?
- Speech evaluation company
- Online relationship coaching
I had big plans. I wanted to do all of them! This would be my path to passive income!
The idea was to start with a Website that focused on network and telecom training material. I purchased the domain “www.networkengineertraining.com” and quickly started working on content. The goal was to have a full course on SIP available on January 2nd 2014. A course about MPLS would launch a month later.
By December 2013 I was able to make one module for my SIP course. I was running a Linux computer at the time, and I did not like any of the video editors I found. I used this as my excuse to not get any real work done. I would start recording then make an error on my verbal script. This was the perfect opportunity to blame the computer and video editor.
If you want to see the 11 minutes of video that took me seven months to create, here it is.
I found myself on January 2nd, 2014 banging my head against the wall. I advertised on my technical blog that a course would be available. Nah. Just kidding everyone, no course here!
My dreams of creating passive income went down the drain until April. I had been going to Toastmasters for almost a year and I fancied my self a decent speaker. I thought I could make a website where people will learn to become more confident and break out of their comfort zones.
Geek2great.com was born that day.
I created a course that would give subscribers a new challenge every day for a month. These tasks where not fun at all. Most of them involved talking to strangers on the street, making a fool of yourself in public, and getting rejected in various scenarios. The content and challenges seemed like a great idea.
I made Youtube videos of me speaking in an attempt to draw traffic to the site. The ultimate goal was to get someone to buy the course for $79.
A year went by and I had one individual sign up for the course. This was after I gave him free access to it.
Again I was slightly discouraged. I made my mistakes and tried to learn from them. I kept this site up until April of 2016 hoping that traffic would magically appear.
In August of 2015 I met an interesting couple. Oddly enough the first time I met them we attended a Yoga class. Both of them used to have jobs in corporate America. The male was in the IT industry and owned a successful business a few years earlier. Nowadays they write ebooks, run a blog, create podcasts and travel for three to four months of the year. They abandoned the concepts taught though social conditioning and follow only the path they pave.
Hearing their stories ignited the passive income fire in me once again. Maybe “ignited” isn’t the best word, however it made me start to think again. Thinking caused the wanderlust in me to flourish. All I could think about was finding a way to visit Europe.
I made a plan.
I was taking my family to Germany in October of 2015. It was finally going to happen. I remember sitting at my desk getting ready to order the tickets for our flights. That’s when I told told that a major platform upgrade at work was going to be delayed and rescheduled. Of course the reschedule date was when I planned to be in Germany.
Being an ultra reliable employee I cancelled my travel plans. My advice to you; don’t do that!
My passive income plans once again went out the window. I was too busy with work. I was too busy with life. “Busy with life” really meant watching Netflix, sleeping in on Saturdays and hanging out with friends until 4am. It all summed up to more excuses.
A few months later I started thinking about Yoga again. Those that practice and put forth the effort make it appear so simple. They perform every technique slow and gracefully. They have far more strength than what you see from the outside.
Around this time I read “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. Law #30 is to “Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless”. All of these online passive income “Gurus”, they play this law to their advantage. Just like the experienced Yogi’s. They make it appear effortless because they have put in the time. They have put in the sweat equity and made their mistakes. Only after trial, error and failure are they able to see the forest for the trees.
I knew it was time to start working on a passive income source again. It was time to finish what I had started. I was going to finish my course on SIP. I made this my single goal. I dropped every other goal I had for the year.
Over the next 30 days I spent roughly 40 hours in my spare time creating content. Once recorded and edited everything was trimmed to just under four hours. I was a bit disappointed about this, but it’s better to have four hours of learning, than 40 of pointless filler material.
“Things will be different this time.” I told myself.
In my previous attempts I knew absolutely nothing about copywriting or the role of content marketing. In fact I didn’t tell anyone about my passive income projects. I had the “If you build it, they will come” mentality. I can say with 100% honesty, that mindset is garbage. Do not fall into it.
I ordered a new domain and redirected all of my blog traffic to the new site. I started working on content marketing material that others can benefit from. I started emailing people in the industry offering them discounts or free access to the course.
I found myself putting 40+ hours into marketing tasks before the course even launched. “For this being “passive income” I am putting a lot of hard work into this” I repeatedly told myself. I knew that it would be worth it in the end.
I released the course on udemy.com and started making sales within 24 hours. It was the greatest feeling in the world to wake up and see that I made $40 sometime in the middle of the night. Passive income, here I come!
What I want you to take away from this writing is a simple concept. Ready for it?
Creating passive income requires A LOT of work upfront.
You will most likely come up with a handful of ideas that you lackadaisically follow through with. Yeah, don’t do that. If you want to create passive income, be prepared to put forth more hours than you ever imagined possible. Once you are generating revenue you will need to start developing systems to keep it all on auto pilot. Once again, this will require even more work! Hooray!
I never imaged I’d see the day that I am creating multiple revenue streams. I create online courses, I blog and create content marketing, I drop ship through eBay. By no means are these streams causing a flood of money to come in (yet). It does however provide an extra cushion while I am on sabbatical.
Until next time,
I made a free course about how I made my first $100 on Udemy. Click on the below image to check it out.