Hustlers, it’s time to have a heart to heart.
A very candid conversation about reality and not all the hyped up article headlines or edited instagram photos.
I had a 4 month mini-retirement last year. It was unplanned and I didn’t realise I was in the middle of my retirement until someone pointed it out to me. The exact event went down like:
Person A: “I haven’t seen you for awhile. What have you been up to lately?”
Me: “Well I haven’t actually been working for the past few months. Just been busy with the family.”
Person A: “what? what do you do for money then?”
Me: “It’s passive, so it just comes in every month regardless of me working or not.”
Person A: “Seriously!? You make money without working?”
Me: “Yeah, well it’s not that simple, but yeah.”
Person A: “OMFG you’re F-ing retired dude!”
Me: “…I guess…I guess I am.”
Yeah, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. It somehow didn’t register that me deciding to stop working was essentially me retiring. And although I’m out of retirement now, I was still nevertheless retired for a grand total of 4 months. And in those 4 months I was itching to get back to work.
Not exactly what you wanted to hear huh.
I was in the middle of a few projects, books and also setting this blog up. So a lot was going on and I had a lot of goals I wanted to hit. One of them was the mini-goals in the 4th quarter challenge 2017. My motivation was high on the charts and I was really pumped to achieve them all. But I took my 4 months off anyway.
Essentially I took 4 months off from work because I couldn’t work with the new born baby in the house. It was all hands on deck for my nephew and I gladly chose family over work, even if it did mean poor sleep and aching muscles. (You can read more about that here) Which, I guess contributed to my desire to get back to work and make progress on all the exciting projects I had in mind. But a bigger reason for it was, living your days with no defined goal in mind makes you restless when you’re young. Or maybe even when you’re old.
However looking back on those 4 months. I am extremely blessed to have had that experience because it just reconfirmed my desire to carry on with this path I have chosen. The path of creating assets and building passive income streams. During those 4 months, I had made around USD$10,000 from doing zero hours of work. Or if I wanted to be very transparent and honest, it would be nearing 10 – 20 hours in total for the whole course of 4 months. Those hours consisted of checking my keyword ranks for my kindle ebooks on Amazon, logging into my dashboards, checking if everything is still working fine and of course making sure my money was getting deposited into my bank accounts.
$10,000 isn’t an amazingly huge number that some of us are use to seeing online, but for many that’s already a full-time salary. It averages out at around $2,500 per month and with that amount I can live without financial worry in many places around the world. As a person that’s location independent, that’s awesome, but of course for top tier cities like Hong Kong, New York and London $2,500 will see me counting my pennies.
But that’s ok! Because what I’m making now isn’t going to be what I make tomorrow or the day after next, or even the day after that. My money is built from creating assets online that give me recurring passive income.
What does this all mean?
My earnings can grow exponentially.
Why? Because everything online accumulates and builds itself off from your last activity. For example, when I create one kindle ebook on Amazon that sells well and I stop all activity afterwards. Nothing will happen and actually slowly dies out. But if I created a whole series of kindle ebooks on Amazon, each new ebook will build upon the last ebook’s success. The success accumulates, increasing the sales of each individual book in the series and making me far more money overall.
Or how about another example with my YouTube videos. One of the secrets to my fast progress was consistency and feeding the YouTube machine with data. I was making sure I was accumulating a presence on their databases so every new video would build off from the last one. The consistency was what allowed my videos to rank faster and easier each time I uploaded.
Everything online works in a similar way, including the money you make from it. The money comes from all the activities you have done thus far. That’s why I always tell people to be prepared to work and hustle at the start without seeing any return. The way effort and reward works online is not linear. It’s exponential.
(many people don’t have the resilience or stamina to see them through the flat line until they can hit the massive upward curve)
And here’s where the heart to heart comes in guys.
A lot of people out there advise people to go for active income. “Get a job. Freelance on the side. Do something actively. Don’t jump head in to building passive income. Always have an active income stream you can lay back on…” That’s the advice from many money gurus, and I say ignore them all. (unless of course you have a family to provide for or immediate bills to pay, then sure active income right now is better than delayed passive income)
The reason why I say ignore them is because you’re preventing passive income success. And not a lot of people realise this. Or so I assume, because why else would there be so many people jumping into freelance writing while trying to blog or being a virtual assistant while running a dropshipping store on the side. I know these money gurus mean well, but the advice they’re giving stems from fear of failure and responsibility. No one wants to feel like they encouraged a person down the wrong path and gave advice that the receiver will potentially regret.
I’m not saying passive income is the wrong path, but it’s not a guaranteed path. Although objectively speaking passive income is the best type of income. However a lot about passive income success is determined by the individual’s personality. That’s a whole basket load of variables no money guru can account for or know the details of if they’re simply writing a blog post, youtube video or online courses.
(…yeah it’s just impossible for them to know your individual traits)
If you couple the above with the fact that most people who start these online passive income streams lack the determination, resilience or patience to ever see success in the first place, then it’s easy to see why these money gurus give such ill advised advice. But this is potentially damning for the real hustlers out there looking for information. People like you who are more than ready to put in the work and are prepared for the emotional rollercoaster of delayed gratification.
The consequences are horrible for this group of people, because they’re delaying or even preventing their own success without realising it. And sometimes that extra few weeks, months or even a year of delay gratification is enough to make people quit a little too early.
Let’s look at why making passive income a side hustle sets you up for failure.
You’re not creating enough momentum.
Success online is determined by every action you’ve done and having it accumulate to the point that it snowballs. The thing people don’t talk about is how you get to that point is heavily determined in how good you are at creating momentum. Momentum is energy, and just like what you learnt in science back in school. The same rules of energy apply in the case of creating passive income streams from scratch.
The deciding factor is the attention span of your audience. You don’t want your audience to forget you before your next action. That could be a tweet, blog post, Youtube video, instagram photo etc etc the list could go on. Each online platform has a different audience and thus different expectations and attention spans. You need to know how frequent you must complete an action to retain your existing audience and create momentum to attract a new audience.
But by having an active income stream you have to dedicate time and energy away from building that accumulation of actions. You’re slowing down your progress or at the worst of situations starting and stopping so momentum never builds up.
You’re learning all the wrong skills
Having a job, even if it’s just freelancing means you’re going to need a lot of employee skills. Skills that make you great at doing a very narrow selection of jobs. That’s a real problem for anyone hoping to become great at passive income online.
Because most of these skills aren’t going to help. A lot of people who start freelancing as the gateway to becoming location independent or a digital nomad start from scratch. They don’t have many marketable or sellable skills when they first start off and so they end up pouring a lot of time learning skills to grow their active income stream.
I’m talking about writing articles, web design, project management and other common freelance jobs. Yes, they’re nice to know and they do help in creating the system for your passive income stream if it’s relevant, but none of these skills actually bring in money directly.
You can be the most brilliant writer and your blog or newsletters will make you no money if you don’t know how to build an audience.
You could have created a brilliant online course of high quality and excellent value but still not make a single cent because no one knows it exists.
You can have excellent SEO skills and rank web pages but still not make much because you lack selling skills.
And the list of examples goes on. Working for others make you great at only one piece of the puzzle and building a long lasting passive income stream needs you to be good at every piece.
So you’re left with being great at a pool of skills that don’t directly help your final goal of being financially free and you’ve spent a lot of time and energy learning these skills. It’s not what you want. Stop doing it.
You’re getting too comfortable with freelancing
We all know a lot of people want to quit their jobs and chase their dreams, and we all know not many every actually take that leap.
There’s a lot of reasons why people don’t take the leap, but one of them is comfort. You’re comfortable and secure. You’re not happy but you’re safe and that sense of safety from a stable income is enough to make you never go after what you truly want. You wonder why you’d give up a steady job and all the nice things you can buy for a chance of something better. It seems to risky.
And that’s the same mindset trap you find yourself in when you start getting a “temporary” active income job. You initially got it to keep yourself afloat financially and to calm your nerves, but eventually all the time and energy in building this active income has made it your primary focus. You’ve built a client list, a portfolio and a good reputation in the community. Why give it up? The money is good enough to live and travel how I want. It’s exactly what I wanted.
You’re putting yourself in a dangerous position financially in the long run. Working for yourself is great, but if you plan to live the location independent or digital nomad lifestyle then it’s disastrous. Working for yourself is essentially running an active income business. Your aim it to continuously grow it, because one law of business that no one can deny is: If you’re not growing, you’re dying
This leaves you with either spending more time than you would like on work. OR you’re only aiming to work just enough to meet your immediate financial needs. The latter is where the real danger is. Everyone is going to need to retire one day. It’s very rare for someone to be mentally and physically fit enough to work until their last breath, which means you need to plan for it. And living from one project payment to the next leaves you in a worse off position than when you had your old job because you’re not planning for the future. You didn’t actually gain financial freedom or time freedom, you traded it. You swapped your long-term freedom for immediate comfort, and in my opinion that’s not worth it.
Other resources you should check out:
- Learn how I travel the world with money I make online
- Learn my 3 big rules to building wealth for early retirement
- Read how I got over 10,000 views on Youtube in 1 month
- Check out my honest review on Michelle’s making sense of affiliate marketing course to earn passive income from blogging
- Check out the internet’s longest list of passive income streams
- The important of framing your goals the right way for successful goal setting