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The Passive Income Online Trap: Don’t Bruteforce Your Way to Freedom

passive income online


Is the Holy Grail in business to make money with zero effort?  Or just do what you like to do anyway and get paid for it?  I’d say the latter is a more worthy goal than the former.


Lots of online marketers advocate working towards building “passive income.”  While passive income is a nice concept, reality is often a little less rosy than what it’s painted as.


Too often, this “passive income” building takes the form of doing mind-numbing work to build up a site.  A site that in the end is only built out of a desire to make money and not help people with accurate information.


Balancing Money and Your Passions


The less money you need for your day-to-day and long-term activities, the more time you have to pursue your passions and money-unrelated goals. The fact remains that nearly all of us need a form of income to pay for our basic necessities.


Bills are bills, no matter where you live.


If you are starting an online business, that implies that as a “business”, you’re expecting to invest time, money, and/or effort with the goal of eventually earning revenue, which is good. If you earn more revenue than whatever expenses you have invested, the difference will be your “profit”.


I know they are basic terms, but you’d be surprised how many beginners confuse the terms revenue and profit. To recap, revenue=good, profit=better, lots of profit=betterer ;-)


When starting any business, online or not, my advice is that you pursue that which is strongly related to your passion.


For example, if you can’t stand to be around dogs, no matter how lucrative your business may be, you’ll be a miserable as a dog groomer. Pockets full of cash, but hating your life when you have to work doing it. Eventually, you’ll get sick of dog grooming and find something else to do. Totally different story if you love grooming dogs and you’ll be doing it forever even if you weren’t paid to do it.


The Passive Income Online Trap


You should always seek to earn a living doing the things that you love to do most.  You wouldn’t believe how many people get trapped in the “make money online” wheel, when they would never in a million years do it in an offline business.


They’ll start with the same “online business” ideas everybody else is doing, which may work if you actually enjoy the process.  For most of us, it just becomes a drudgery in which the main sense of fulfillment is seeing how much money they’re making, not whether they enjoy or care much for the process.


Are you really going to tell me that dredging up random keywords and littering a site with posts with the sole purpose of having that person click to be taken away from your site is your “passion”? Really? That’s your big plan to change the world?


I fell for the same thing, until it dawned on me how silly the idea was.  If I wouldn’t do this in the “real” world, I thought, why do it online???


This is one core business-building principle I live by, which you’ll see me repeat time and again here:



You can start out as passionate as ever about what you’re trying to do with your business.  Slowly though, you can get sucked into a direction that you did not particularly care to take your business.  You’re “selling out”, when you pursue the money instead of your passions.


There is a strong temptation to do so and many have ended selling out to their audience or customers, which helped them get to where they are now.  Only you know how far to deviate from your true purpose in life and what you want your path to be like.


What I’d like for you to consider is that making money and following your passion should not be opposite concepts, but each as part of an equation. A yin and yang in harmony, if you will.


If “following your passions” is 1a, “making money” should be 1b. Rarely does letting one overtake the other produce maximum results. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about hairballs, if you don’t figure how to make a living with your passion, your business won’t take off.


When you are thinking of starting or developing an online business, think of what activities, while highly enjoyable to you, will produce the the most profit.  Within the realm of your passions, there are many activities.  Each of these activities will yield a profit in varying degrees.


Using your God-given intelligence and creativity, think of those activities that will bring the most satisfaction to you and which ways you can monetize them, which means finding a way in which doing said activity can generate a profit for you.


When you start seeing what activities within the realm of your passion can generate a profitable business, the process of building and sustaining a business long-term become clearer and more fulfilling. Make following your passion your top priority, but never forgetting than making money while enjoying your passion is the ultimate goal for your business.


What is your take on passive income online?


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About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.


  1. Tara C. says:

    Awesome post!!!

    I tend to get too focused on getting visitors, writing, that I neglect sometimes that there’s a business side to it. Any tips on staying focused?

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Thanks for visiting Tara!

      They key is to stay focused on your audience. They are the ones who ultimately will buy your product and purchase your services.

      Think of it this way: Let’s say your passion is to play guitar. A product of that passion could be beautiful music. Can you package it in a way that your audience can enjoy it?

      Or let’s go in another direction. What if you could create a course for people to learn to play as well as you do and help them get over the hurdles beginners face?

      Passion is why we do things we enjoy. Products and services are the result of applying your passions to help people.

      Hope that helps :)


  2. Rich – this is true. Passive income is nice but what do you do with you life? It’s much better to combine what you love to do with online income that simply flows and brings value to your customers and enjoyment and freedom to you. I like your content, some of the best stuff out there.

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