Passive Income: Myth Vs. Reality

Most of us got into Internet marketing because we literally “bought” into the dream. And oh, what a dream… Jet setting around the world, staying in fabulous hotels, driving sports cars, and — during all this fun — a never-ending passive income flows effortlessly into our bank account.

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

But ask yourself: how many people do you actually know — in real life, not in a forum or on a sales page — who actually are living the dream?

My guess is: not many.

As an entrepreneur marketing online for five years now, I can attest passive income is possible, but requires more work than what you’ve been told. The truth is, most people fail to make money online because they lack one thing: dedication.

It’s almost impossible to stick with a business idea for six months or more without making a dime. But once you work your way through the learning curve, that small trickle of income continues to flow into your bank account, freeing up your time to work on new income streams. And over time, those income streams really add up.

Notice the key phrase is: “over time”.

Now, let’s separate the “myth” of making money online with the “reality”.

The myth: no work (except pushing buttons) >>> passive income

The reality: lots of hard work >>> a little passive income >>>> more hard work >>> some passive income >>> still more hard work >>> lots of passive income.

So why does this “myth” get blasted all over the internet?

In short, there are two groups responsible.

The first are those with a vested interest in “selling” you the dream. Common examples include get-rich-quick infomercials and $37 eBooks (sometimes called “secret software”) sold on Clickbank. These guys make millions – yes, millions – of dollars each year promoting marketing 101 courses disguised as a “magic bullet” designed to make them rich, not you.

The second group propagating the myth are successful online entrepreneurs.

These entrepreneurs talk about launching companies which go from zero to six-figures almost overnight. And for a seasoned marketer with years of experience it’s very possible. But “newbies” have a tremendous learning curve to climb before they can reach that point.

You see, it may take six months or more just to become familiar with necessary technologies like domains, hosting plans, FTP, autroresponders, payment processors, content management systems, advertising programs, pay-per-click, and building an SEO friendly site.

And that’s before you even think about your product or service.

“Many overnight success stories actually took a long time to succeed.” – Steve Jobs

So – as someone earning a full-time income online – I’d like to share my average work day:

7 AM: use the home gym and take a shower. I love the sleep Inn, scratch that I’ve always been a morning person, so this part is optional. I do find that exercise helps clear my head and prepare myself for productive workday. What? Work? Yep… I put in (at least) eight hours a day working on numerous marketing projects.

8 AM — 8:30 AM: check e-mails, and respond to any questions/concerns from customers and/or potential partners.

8:30 AM — 11:30 AM: write two high-quality pieces of content. Usually I’ll write one post for my own websites, and another for promotional purposes (like this one, for example). Each post I write is a minimum of 1000 words, includes original research and at least one interesting photo from Flickr.

11:30 AM — 12 PM: lunch. During this time I do not look at a computer. Sometimes I’ll eat, other times I’ll go for a short walk around the block. In either case, I’m already working out the details for the rest of my day.

12 PM — 2 PM: I usually spend this time building relationships with prominent bloggers and decision-makers within the industry. For example, I spend at least an hour a day building a list of prospects that I can partner with. These partnerships come in many forms: guest posts, interviews with industry professionals, link exchanges, and cross promotions are just a few examples. As you can see, I balance creating content on my own site with marketing them.

2 PM — 3:30 PM: write another 1000 word article for distribution. Often times, I’ll submit this to third-party sites such as, and

3:30 PM — 4:30 PM, write one press release about my new post or article. Then I’ll submit the press release to top press release directories like PR Log and Pr Insider. Note: there are many pieces of software available that do this for you automatically. Two I’ve used with great success have been PRbot and SENuke.

4:30 PM — 5:30 PM: respond to all e-mails, and occasionally meet with outsourcers over Skype.

5:30 PM — 6:30 PM: Cook and eat dinner with my wife. Then go on a short walk, where we discuss our long-term strategy.

So that’s pretty much an “average” workday for me.

Of course, there are many, many things that come up each day. For example, if I’ve interviewed an industry leader that day, I’ll listen to the interview and create a PowerPoint presentation to go along with it. I’ll edit the audio so it sounds professional, and record a PowerPoint presentation which highlights the key points. Then, I’ll transcribe the entire interview into a PDF format and offer it on my site.

And that’s just one example. Other fires inevitably come up throughout the day which I try to handle as quickly as possible.

Now this may seem like a lot of work, and it is. But after doing this for over five years, the benefits are certainly worth it.

I get to travel around the world, live where I want and take time off whenever I feel like it. And the best part is: all the work I’ve done in the past continues to bring in a residual income.

So as you can see, the dream lifestyle of Internet marketing is possible, though you better be prepared to work hard at it. Think of it like a rocket ship: it takes tremendous effort to get your business off the ground, but eventually it reaches orbit, and requires no additional work.

What have been your biggest obstacles to making a full-time income online? What were the hardest things to learn, and what would you do different the second time around?