It’s not difficult to see why passive income is one of the hottest topics in the financial world today. With a name that tantalizingly promises money for nothing—or at least money for very little—passive income is viewed by countless investors and entrepreneurs as the ultimate financial goal.
However, as many of these same investors and entrepreneurs quickly find out, the nuts-and-bolts reality of earning passive income doesn’t always line up with their vision of lounging on a beach while their bank balance climbs. While it’s possible to generate steady and significant cash flow through passive revenue streams, far too many would-be passive income earners are misled by the persistent myths and misconceptions that surround this form of revenue. If you’re thinking about getting started with a passive income venture, here are some of the most common myths to watch out for.
Myth #1: You can “set and forget” passive income.
Understandably, many people think of passive income as something you can “set and forget,” as that’s essentially what’s implied by the word passive. But the reality is that passive income is rarely completely hands-off. If you’re looking to earn to passive income through a blog, for example, your audience will expect to see new content regularly. If you’re selling an e-book online, you’ll need to keep finding creative ways to attract new readers. If you’re managing a rental property, you’ll need to conduct regular maintenance and deal with tenant issues on an ongoing basis. While passive income, for the most part, doesn’t require as much work as a full-time job, it’s still much more active than many people expect.
Myth #2: You can get started with very little prep.
Another common passive income myth is that you can start earning passive income quickly, with very little setup work. However, the reality is more complex. While it’s true that setting up a blog doesn’t take much time in and of itself, a newly created blog is not yet a passive income stream. If you want your blog to be a lasting source of revenue, you’ll need to do quite a bit of research and planning to find your niche, generate content, and drive traffic to your site—and that’s not going to happen in just a few days. So before you get started implementing your passive income idea, do keep in mind that it’s not a race. Over the long term, quality will deliver far better results than quantity.
Myth #3: You only need a single revenue stream.
A great deal of today’s passive income advice suggests that you only need a single income stream to generate all your desired revenue. However, as is the case with any other form of investment, it’s a good idea to avoid putting all your eggs in the same basket. Diversifying your revenue streams will help ensure that your income remains steady, as better-performing sources can help balance out those that perform less well over time. For example, if you’re a blogger, you might choose to offer online courses or market freelance writing services in addition to selling products on your site and using affiliate links.
Myth #4: Passive income is permanent.
Just as it’s a mistake to think that you only need one source of passive income, it’s also dangerous to assume that your revenue stream(s) will last forever. Whether you generate passive income from investments in the online and digital realms or activities like real estate, it’s important to understand that things are always shifting and changing. New competitors may emerge, interest in your niche may drop away, or markets may evolve, any of which could dry up a once-profitable passive income stream. It’s therefore essential not to be complacent about your passive income, even (or especially) if it’s doing well. Instead, work to future-proof your passive income by diversifying your revenue streams, as described above, keeping track of new market developments, and making changes to your activities as needed.
Myth #5: Getting started with passive income takes money.
“It takes money to earn money” has long been a popular saying in the investment world, but it’s not entirely accurate when it comes to passive income. Of course, there’s no question that some forms of passive income do need a significant amount of capital to set up. For example, it takes quite a lot of money to purchase property if you want to get involved in real estate investment or rentals. But many other forms of passive income, particularly online-based revenue streams, can be started with very little in the way of upfront payments. To go back to the example of launching a blog, there are plenty of free or inexpensive options for domain names and web hosting packages, which is essentially all you need to get started.