Passive Income is a Lie – Don’t believe everything you Read

United States dollars - passive income Yes, passive income is a lie. It’s a lie that a lot of online “entrepreneurs” want you to believe. For income to be truly passive, it has to magically arrive in your bank account all on its own. Everyone knows that’s impossible but some how, some way, people get hoodwinked into believing it is possible.

There is such a thing as “almost passive income” and that’s what I’m writing about today. “Almost” is not the same as “truly” but it’s as close to passive as you can get.

Generating Passive Income requires Non-Passive Actions

If you read enough websites that talk about it, you’ll become familiar with terms such as “passive income” and “residual income”, with someone’s definition to go with each. A dictionary can tell you what they mean, without the bullshit you have to wade through at some sites.

Cause and effect is where I’m going with this. You have to do something for something else to happen. Things don’t just happen, even if people like to phrase them as such. The first step is a decision and that’s active, not passive. You can remove most of the activity surrounding your income, but it’s still not 100 percent passive. 100 percent passive, or truly passive, is impossible.

You can set things in motion and treat it like it’s truly passive and it can be truly passive, but only for a limited time. Eventually, you’ll have to do something active (non-passive) to get things going again.

Using this Website as an Example of Temporary Truly Passive Income

The last time I wrote anything anywhere was on the 13th of this month, nearly a week ago, and it was the previous article I wrote here. As far as money goes, I made as much in that time period as I did when I was writing every day.

So, in essence, I was getting truly passive income for nearly a week. But it’s temporary. If I decide not to write for something close to a year, I seriously doubt I’ll get a lot of new visitors and returning visitors will get tired of waiting for something new.

I guess I’m trying to explain things in the best way I know how. The fact is, truly passive income will never remain truly passive income. You have to put the wheels in motion and can get your income in an almost passive way, but not truly passive – at least not for longer than a temporary time period.

There’s a saying I really like to repeat these days: Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. It’s even more important when someone says they’re going to teach you how to do what they do and that very act itself is a lie.

April 19, 2016


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Dave Starr (2016)

Spot on, RT. The word "passive" is overused and used wrongly in the majority of cases. There's virtually no such thing as "passive" income online.

But income that comes independently from specific hours worked is nice. And income that flows in regardless of where you are located when you do the work, well that's great too.

The reason so few people ever really make any money online is the fact that work _is_ required. If one does the work and outs in the effort to learn, and grow and adapt, money can be made, but passive? Virtually never.

RT Cunningham (2016)

What irks me the most is when someone offers to teach "passive income" for a modest fee, whether it's a membership site or a training package. You can't teach what doesn't exist.

Byron Watts (2016)

...what about royalty income.

The passiveness of the income is not declaring that there was no work involved setting it up, but that it doesn't continue to require your attention to receive income.

Investments can be rather passive. They might even require none of your own work...somebody else might manage the Real Estate properties for example. You might make a decision occasionally...otherwise you might have trouble claiming it's 'your' investment.

Perhaps you can write a book and it sells for 20 or 30 years. That's fairly passive. Again, it requires writing the book.

...or software

If it's an IP (intellectual Property) Asset, you might very well receive long term income with absolutely no additional effort.

But if you're going to get to truly passive income, you absolutely have to stop thinking about trading time for dollars.

RT Cunningham (2016)

While everything you just wrote makes sense, it isn't what the purveyors of passive income are selling. You're thinking outside the box and they're thinking inside the box and how to squeeze the last bit of juice from the last penny they can get from someone else. Most of them are sharks and I've seen a lot of them disappear almost as quickly as they arrived.

Almost passive income, near passive income or whatever you want to call it is attainable, but pure and truly passive income doesn't exist and anyone who says otherwise is a liar, even if they themselves believe it.

Seriously. Do a search for "passive income", "how to make passive income" and nonsense like that and you'll find the sharks circling the rafts.

Kenley J (2016)

RT, thanks for writting this. I have some one trying to get me into Amway Organ gold and you name it. They lecture me about passive income. I tell them it doesn't exsist. They ask me why. I say if it did you and I would not be conversing right now. I love my art and I put in time to make a good piece. I then make prints to sell. When a print sells its nice I just fulfill the order. It's not passive but it's easy. Love reading your posts though I don't always comment.

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RTCX established February 28, 2011