In my case, I tried leaving the site in “automatic” mode a few times, when I did not have the motivation to post anything new. I found that my traffic, then my revenue, quickly tanked to half of what it should be. So far this has been motivation enough for me to keep writing, when nothing else would keep me motivated. But I have no reason to believe the “passive” part of the revenue would last more than one year. I can imagine revenue progressively going down, until it does not even pay for the server costs anymore.
So as you can see from the above example, using the concept of residual income, although Company X is reporting a profit on its income statement, once its cost of equity is included in relation to its return to shareholders, it is actually economically unprofitable based on the given level of risk. This finding is the primary driver behind the use of the residual income method. A scenario where a company is profitable on an accounting basis, it may still not be a profitable venture from a shareholder's perspective if it cannot generate residual income.
Great article, Joe! I’ve thought about this a lot…whether blogging is passive or not. By definition, it probably isn’t (since the income goes away if you stop), but it FEELS passive. “feels”. Ew. Feelings. Blegh. Anyhoo…even if it isn’t passive, I can’t stop doing it because I love it so much. So if you like writing and interaction with readers, it seems passive, but to anyone else, they’ll have to put in a lot of work for very little gain, so it seems VERY active.
Interesting post thanks. I have had similar thoughts about the passive income model – it’s not “passive income” at all, it’s just a different business model where you do the same amount of work to build a product/service and support clients in a slightly less direct way than standard freelance/project work. There are also greater risks with the passive income model – if you are simply selling your time as a freelancer or WordPress agency, you are guaranteed to be paid for your time. Whereas you can spend months or years developing a product, service or blog in the hopes of attaining “passive income”, only to find that it doesn’t take off and you never get paid for this time. In theory the gains of a passive income business are greater as it is scalable and the amount of work doesn’t necessarily increase as you get more sales, but the risks are greater too.
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.
The underlying idea is that investors require a rate of return from their resources – i.e. equity – under the control of the firm's management, compensating them for their opportunity cost and accounting for the level of risk resulting. This rate of return is the cost of equity, and a formal equity cost must be subtracted from net income. Consequently, to create shareholder value, management must generate returns at least as great as this cost. Thus, although a company may report a profit on its income statement, it may actually be economically unprofitable; see Economic profit. It is thus possible that a value deemed positive using a traditional discounted cash flow (DCF) approach may be negative here. RI-based valuation is therefore a valuable complement to more traditional techniques.

You can add products to an existing page or post or create new ones for each product. This is a good solution if you maintain a blog on a regular basis and want to earn a little extra money from the endeavor. A product can appear at the beginning of a post, at the end of a post, or even within the post content. Utilize the included shortcode for faster insertion. You will also need an Amazon Product Advertising API to make this plugin work.


But I hate the very idea of how the “kick back and do nothing” business opportunity is sold. *Residual* income and *Passive* income are not the same, so I agree with you there. I’d love to see a series that goes more in-depth into what kind of work each type of digital business needs, a kind of fantasy vs reality thing. (Mostly so I could have something to send to people when they ask me, as I’m not in business.)
This is a venture that is growing rapidly. You can create videos in just about any area that you like — music, tutorials, opinions, comedy, movie reviews — anything you want . . . then put them on YouTube. You can then attach Google AdSense to the videos, which will overlay your videos with automatic ads. When viewers click on those ads, you will earn money from AdSense.
It takes a special kind of person to wear that many hats, and in my opinion, the current positioning in the information marketing industry of “anyone can do this” is just nonsense. Everyone I know who has been successful creating information products is a driven, uber smart entrepreneur. If you’re one of those people, you might consider it. If not, I would look elsewhere.

PS Joel also throws up the whole coaching idea in this book, and whilst it’s not at all passive I just wanted to mention it, because this is one of the ways to create a six-figure business for yourself if you are a true expert in an arena.  ie you can use passive income info products (that generate say $30,000 a year) to pull in the customers for your 1-1 or mastermind style coaching service (that brings in say $100,000+ a year).
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