Making Passive Income is a Lie — Be Active
Don’t fall for the hype; anything worth doing is worth doing right
Many people are searching for a way to earn money online right now. They have lost income, freelance clients, or were downsized by their employer because of the pandemic.
It’s inevitable that during the search for something to help them out of this rut, they will come across promises of unlimited passive income. Whether they are typing search terms into Google or using Pinterest to find opportunities, promising passive income is a common scam.
Network marketing companies thrive on the dream of getting rich by doing nothing, and webinar and seminar promoters are laughing all the way to the bank because they can’t believe that suckers still think that you can get rich by doing nothing.
There are a lot of people willing to drink the Koolaid if promised they can make money while sitting on a beach somewhere warm and sunny.
They happily dive into the marketing funnels and swipe their credit cards for the chance at passive and easy income.
Passive Income is Attractive
Who doesn’t like the idea of doing a little work and making a lot of money?
Tim Ferris and Pat Flynn gained fame by making the idea of passive income possible. Their books and websites were slick enough to sell us on the idea, and many (including me) gladly paid for the pleasure of finding out how to turn nothing into something.
We learned we had to do all the hard work upfront — set up everything, like processes and funnels, in advance, and hire VAs from India or the Philippines to run the whole thing.
Then they told us it would run with a tiny bit of input from us (maybe 4 hours a week?), and frankly, for many, it worked for a while.
But it wasn’t realistic for the long term.
Tweaks need to be made, products needed updating, and freelancers required direction. Not only that, but our customers also wanted personalized service, and they tire of being stuck in a constant funnel when they dealt with us.
We were making sales, but not many, because others offering the same product were doing a better job with customer service.
How great could we be doing if we were rarely involved in the process? What kind of control did we have over our businesses if we never got our hands dirty?
Potential customers want unique and remarkable, and our 4-hour-workweek was only offering the same old vanilla flavor. But we never saw it because we were happy as long as we made some sales.
That formula is just not sustainable.
Now everyone is trying to apply the same concepts to blogging. Passive blogging is an unrealistic idea based on the standard formula for building and managing a blog.
They assure you that you can set up a blog in a weekend, which is achievable only for a simple blog using the standard formula (niche/hosting/WordPress/content/monetization), but not smart because there is more to blogging than following a recipe.
For a long time, (a still sometimes now) scammers were pushing us to set up a simple blog, put a few pieces of “borrowed” content on the site, do some black-hat SEO magic, get the number one spot on the search results, and watch the traffic and money roll in. We should have been able to make enough from Google AdSense if we repeated this process a few times, setting up niche blogs over and over.
But Google is much smarter than that, and like anything black-hat, or even grey-hat, it only works for a short time before we are left with a bunch of useless blogs and hundreds of dollars in hosting fees.
Remarkable is Not Passive
Nowadays, people want to be WOW’d! They want specialized content, 24/7 access, and excellent service. They want personalization with a human touch — not funnels and processes.
It’s understandable that something like having a business that makes a lot of money, but runs by itself so you can sit on a beach and sip fruity drinks, is attractive.
But the truth is that if we want to make a living online, we can’t be chasing passive income because passive income still requires an active presence, and we might as well be active from the beginning.
If we want to make money online in this day and age, we need to create something remarkable, be an active participant in our businesses, and be ready to change with the times.
How to Make Money Online
It’s 2020; the world is being forged into something new by a pandemic that is creating a new kind of consumer. Nobody will be falling for the same old marketing mumbo-jumbo. People have gotten much more sophisticated.
Think about the direction everything is going: People will be working from home. Kids will be schooling online instead of sitting in a classroom with 30 other virus-bearers. Nobody wants to rub elbows in the mall anymore.
Everything is going online, and if we can try to make the process less painful our bottom line will be much better.
If we realize that a lot of the products and services we offered in the past have gone from nice to necessity, we can really appreciate how great of a position we are in right now.
Take blogs, for instance. Six months ago, I was predicting their downfall, and now that people are using the internet for every part of their lives, bloggers have suddenly become a hot commodity.
But people don’t want the same old generic information they can get everywhere else, packaged up to look new and improved. They want specialized content that changes with the trends and will come to us for help, if and when we are willing to give up the tried and true and give them unique and personalized.
Pick a niche, but not any old niche. Of the thousands of topics you could base your blog content around, you need to pick one that has three things:
- A problem you can address with content
- An audience
- A way to monetize
Forget the advice that you need to find a niche you are passionate about. In a perfect world, yes, but in the world of blogging, you find a niche with an audience that you have some special knowledge or experience with and learn to have passion for it.
If you want to make money, forget the passion, and follow the audience.
What are some of the best niches in which to start a blog? As always, the “how to make money” niche is still good, but it’s been done to death, and unless you have something groundbreaking to offer, skip it.
- Lifestyle — This is very hot right now. How many people do you know are talking about gardening, homesteading, and survival? Start a blog about your victory garden and how you planted it, or:
— How you fixed up your house
— Cleaning and sanitizing
- Food — Food is always a good topic, but stay away from offering only recipes, because most people will take the recipe and ignore everything else.
— Baking — This is huge! Have you seen your Facebook timeline?
— Foodie — When the restaurants open again, people will be lining up to get your take on all the new places.
— Home Chef — Cook food, take pictures, and explain how you made the dish. Simple.
- Health and Fitness — Now that we have been stuck at home for a while, and not really watching what we eat, don’t you think people are going to start looking for information about how to get in shape and lose weight?
- Personal Finance — This is always a huge topic, but even more so now that people are struggling with common bills and expenses.
- Health and Beauty — Makeup tutorials, beard care, how to cut your own hair, how to dress for a Zoom meeting, how to give yourself a pedicure. Need I say more?
- Self-Help — People are as interested in how to fix their minds as they are their bodies. If you have something no one has ever seen and you could help people, this may be the niche for you.
- Gaming — This is not a niche most people mention, but it is huge! It meets all the criteria, and best of all has an audience of all ages!
- Dating, Relationships, and Sex — Now that people are avoiding Tinder dates, we have to help people figure out new ways to get together and do their business. And if you don’t think sex is significant, take a look at Medium.com.
We have to be gearing our information to what people want, and you need to have a post-pandemic mindset. People may care less about concerts and festivals, but how many have vegetable seedlings starting on their patio this spring?
Take the Leap!
Active blogging involves taking that niche and your new audience and creating worthy content that is up-to-the-minute and unique. Focus on quality instead of quantity, because there is already too much noise out there.
Forget trying to make money in the first few months, just regularly feed your audience with great content and build an email list.
Be active in the community you build, whether it’s your own blog on WordPress, or content you create on Medium.com.
Don’t be passive about engaging with the people reading and commenting on your content.
Once you stop looking for an easy, passive answer, you will find a way to make money. Be patient, and give more than you receive.
A lot can happen when you are active instead of passive.
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