What Online Entrepreneurs Fail to Mention About Earning Passive Income

I am so tired about hearing about people who say they make thousands of dollars in passive income every month. When I read online case studies of people who funnel in six figures off of an e-book or people who say they live off of their passive income online, I literally cringe and shut my laptop down.

It's not that I'm jealous of their success or doubtful that it actually happened. I know that reaching a high-figure money goal like that is something to be celebrated, and it's commendable that they were able to market and sell something that others wanted to buy. 

What I get frustrated with is the simple fact that these seasoned online entrepreneurs (in most cases) fail to mention how hard it is to actually earn passive income through selling digital products/services.

It's not because they don't want to (let's be honest: if they are sharing their figures on the interwebs, they are likely talking about the steps they took to make their money). I think that they just sometimes forget to mention that it took growing their online brand and community before they could achieve this amount of money through passive income. So, I'm going to break it down for you.

I want you to know that you can make the money you desire online (and passively) but you just have to know how passive income works and how it can work for you. If you aren't really sure about the differences between active and passive income, I encourage you to read up on it, but if you're all ready to go, this is what you need to know about earning passive income online.

1. Many online entrepreneurs made thousands of dollars in active income before they created a passive income stream.

Though they may not mention it, many successful online entrepreneurs did not start off making money from generating online income. They had to work extremely hard to gain and develop the reputation, audience and expertise that they have. They traded each minute of their time to earn money to make a living, and when they decided that they wanted to dedicate more time into making and selling digital products or automated online services, they use the experience they had, the knowledge they knew about their audience and their current online tribe/community to market and sell their products passively.

Many of them also spent tons of hours developing their online brand making no money in exchange for eventually bringing in coins down the road. Long story short? Making passive income isn't something you can just do tomorrow if you want it to be sustainable and fruitful for you and your business. 

2. It's easier to make active income (rather than passive income) when you are first starting to monetize your online brand.

After I quit my 9-5 PR job and moved abroad to Thailand last year, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do at first. I thought I wanted to completely move away from public relations, marketing, social media and writing, but as the months went by, I gravitated toward using this expertise to consult, freelance and coach others to do this same thing. 

But at the time, no one online knew me as "Erica, the entrepreneur." They knew me as a food and travel blogger, since I had branded myself as such from years of creating and managing my website

So in November 2015, I built up a website and began working to establish my online brand, separate from my current blog. I started doing a couple of webinars, growing my email list and establishing my online brand. I even launched a digital product. But where did most of my money continue to come from? It came from freelancing and consulting.

Speaking from personal experience (and from researching other successful entrepreneurs' stories), I know that it's easier to find a client online and earn money than it is to research your target audience, spend time developing and marketing a passive income product and sell said product to your audience (who may or may not buy), especially when you are just starting out.

3. A passive income stream is never truly passive: there will always be some form of maintenance or marketing.

It's easy for people to get caught up in the glamour and glitz of passive income. If I told you that you can make twice as much money than you ever did in your day job by selling digital products online passively, wouldn't you get pumped too?

The fallacy with thinking this way is that you'll believe all you have to do is create something and then not worry about it anymore. Wrong. For instance, if you are creating an e-book and you want it to sell long after it launches, you have to create a sales funnel to make sure that happens on autopilot. Or, if you are interested in promoting one of your paid classes but you'd like to market it to a different audience, you'll have to come up with and execute a plan to introduce your product to that new audience. 

Long story short: there will be a little work involved with managing the systems that help you make money passively. But if you choose the right systems, it won't take much effort to make it happen.

What are some things you think people fail to mention about earning passive income online?

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