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How to Make Real Money Online With Passive Income

Updated on May 22, 2018

Want to make some serious money online in the long term? Forget the "get rich extremely quick" scams with their hyped up promises and build yourself an empire of micro businesses that might one day allow you to leave your day job.

The internet is full of people boasting about how to make it big or selling you ebooks and products you can buy to build upon their success; however, when it comes to the average Jill or Joe, there’s some things that these people aren’t telling you. Not many of them have high IQs of 180+ and hardly any of them did post graduate study. In fact, many of them did not finish high school. So how did they do it?

For years I have studied how people make real money online part time and full time and I’ve spoken with many successful internet entrepreneurs to determine what the well-kept secrets are. Not everyone is capable of hitting it big with a good viral keyword or coming up with a best selling product or concept that makes millions. You might not have a successful niche or hard core selling abilities or feel any passion towards anything much. So what is the average person to do if they want to make an online income?

Firstly, let's find out about the three types of successful earners online.

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." - Robert Brault
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." - Robert Brault

Type 1: Service Workers

These people take the skills from their day job or career and advertise it online. Sometimes it pays off and they have no competition and can get more dollars per hour than doing it for an employer. I run a business like this (freelance design) and yes, I do regularly get more money than what a boss would pay me. Word of mouth and repeat customers can grow a business really well, even in a competitive field.

However, I don’t want to be doing it when I’m 60. I get a bit jaded from time to time as it feels like life is passing me by and I’m doing the same thing over and over, just like a day job. I’m also limited in how many hours I can actually work to make the desired income. Many times I've tried working in my pyjamas from home full time and it is socially isolating and mentally exhausting.

Unless the business grows in demand and you can hire employees to do it for you, you need to recognise that service work is a constant uphill journey that has no payoff later. As the years go by, online customers are going to expect more for less and competition is only going to get bigger and the “rules” of Google harder.

Then again, there are quite a few people out there doing well out of service work. Usually they are experts, specialists, good at marketing or they are combining fields in unique ways to bring a new service to the market.

Yes, I have lived the dream of saying goodbye to my boss and working from home full time in my pyjamas doing service work. Let me tell you, I looked about as happy as this poor sod. Total social isolation and burnout were to blame.
Yes, I have lived the dream of saying goodbye to my boss and working from home full time in my pyjamas doing service work. Let me tell you, I looked about as happy as this poor sod. Total social isolation and burnout were to blame.

The Millionaire Entrepreneur's Latest Bible

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
I bought this book. Despite the negative reviews, it's good read for people who want to be trend entrepreneurs. Packed with tips and ideas. All you have to do is get past the author's boasting. I found it useful for knowledge on how these people think and what they do to make big money very quickly.

Type 2: Trend Entrepreneurs

According to the big names on the net, everyone and their dog can be an entrepreneur online. Many people selling their autobiographical ebooks on how they made millions overnight fall into this category.

Yes, they might have slogged away on different projects for 20 years prior (they were slow empire builders until they made their millions), but what they were really doing was building up specialised knowledge on subjects such as online marketing, networking and search engine optimisation. They know what the market wants and how to run online campaigns and businesses. They provide a great product that sells well with a huge profit margin for a few years. They are always working on the next moneymaking bestseller.

Millionaire online entrepreneurs are experts at communication, marketing and selling. They love instant results, are driven by monetary reward and know how to get traffic, get the right keywords and find the right niche. They know which software to use and which people to employ to do all the work for them in a fraction of the time of doing it themselves. Most of their products have a shelf life and are geared for high volume profits. They work project-to-project and move up in the world by networking with peers and building a massive audience to become successful.

These people describe themselves as passionate, persistent and hard working. They make money quickly and effectively and think about new opportunities all the time. Often, you’ll find them travelling the world or relaxing on a beach while running their business for minimal hours a week (yes, I read the "The 4-Hour Workweek"). They enjoy working on a project by project basis and some of them can be quite driven and obsessed with making money and building businesses and projects. These entrepreneurs are living life to the max!

Most people want to be like this, but not everyone has the desire, drive, ambition, knowledge, communication skills and persistence at their fingertips to get there. If you can see yourself at this pinnacle, you should definitely follow this journey, by ramping up the speed and volume of your projects and acquiring the appropriate knowledge to become like the big names via selling, inventing or becoming a true internet entrepreneur.

What trend entrepreneurs do.
What trend entrepreneurs do.

The Right Mindset

Yes, we’re all hunting for money online exactly because we do feel financially pressured or hate our jobs/bosses/careers/whatever. But unless you’re a trend entrepreneur, you ain’t gonna get rich overnight and you’re not going to enjoy the decade long journey to produce a large enough passive income by worrying about money and how to get it on the internet.

Learn to accept what you cannot control (ie. having to go to work for a boss to pay the rent and having to live within your means) and learn to let go of monetary anxiety, otherwise you’ll find yourself on Mechanical Turk fretting over 5c per hour and having a nervous breakdown.

Resign yourself to having a day job while you work on your passions when you feel like it, after hours. Don’t burn yourself out! Do what you like and do what is sustainable over many years.

Trend entrepreneurs have a great lifestyle and feel really alive, but most of them are still working, even when they're not. Working can be quite addictive when you're making large amounts of money!
Trend entrepreneurs have a great lifestyle and feel really alive, but most of them are still working, even when they're not. Working can be quite addictive when you're making large amounts of money!

Type 3: Slow Empire Builders

The average employee who is frightened of becoming a trend entrepreneur should start here, by working towards getting away from service work (the dollars for hours model) and aiming for passive income that runs by itself, after the initial setup.

You might or might not aspire to be a wildly successful trend entrepreneur and you might not care about having millions, but rather just want to get a passive online income from doing something that you enjoy. This is the right place to start – as a beginner.

The mindset of slow empire builders is to slow down, play around, and experiment with what you already love to create specialized and outstanding work that attracts loyal followers and produces a decent passive income over many years.

Slow empire builders gain the most from genuine interaction with online audiences, and therefore have the ability to sell more to less people in a more emotionally satisfying way over a greater period of time. This can result in very successful business models that have a much longer shelf life.

The key to understanding building projects, empires, or businesses with long term passive income potential is to ignore hunting for trends and the next big thing and start with what you know or would like to know instead. Identify that and make it into something valuable which sells.

Over time, consistent slow empire building does pay off.
Over time, consistent slow empire building does pay off.

Wise Words

What keeps us motivated in life?
The answer is hope.

Having an online empire to play with is a great way to create hope, so you can put up with the drudgery of the everyday and still get emotionally rewarded from the simple things.

Having millions in the bank doesn't inspire hope - hope comes from within, from having a curious and well fed soul. Nurture your soul and always work towards hope to make your life journey and the years passing meaningful.

A Journey Of Self Discovery...

It doesn’t matter if it sells a lot or a little bit, you’re going to enjoy the journey and learn along the way about the many facets of yourself. No one was born with just one talent or just one passion and it can make you a happier person to become excited over something you’ve achieved well and to learn about new things without feeling financially pressured.

The goal is to create an empire of all of the different new things you produce. It is very wise advice to not put all of your eggs into one basket, but you should also do what you’re doing as well as you can (let your inner perfectionist run riot) and give each project a good chance to prove whether it will succeed before it gets dumped.

If you begin to hate something because it feels too much like work for work’s sake, leave it alone online to keep earning on its own, and don’t delete it, but move away into something that is a better use of your time and resources.

Many people turn their hobbies into passive incomes or discover something new to explore and enjoy. By not following trends and keeping whatever it is you’re doing “evergreen” (ie. something that you think will still be relevant 20 years from now) you’ll eventually reap the rewards of your empire as it grows in size.

The Price Of Financial Pressure

When you feel financially pressured you're going to be vulnerable. People online will try to sell you lots of get-rich-quick products which won't work because either you will not have the patience to see them through properly, or you will lack the creativity to take them to the next level due to frequent anxiety about making money.

You will also be very disappointed with yourself and can feel like a failure because making money becomes such a hard task. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be sorted out. Otherwise you will not be capable of nourishing your soul and building an online empire in a sustainable manner.

It is paramount that you learn to get the money making monkey off your back in order to concentrate realistically on who you are and what you can successfully build.

What To Do If You Have No Hobbies, Passions or Interests

It really doesn’t matter if you start from nothing and nowhere. Eventually, you will find new abilities, ideas, and surprises along the way and in the most unexpected of places.

Firstly, make sure you sort out any feelings of depression or dejection. Have a rest from life pressures and turn off your annoying inner financial worry voice or do something with your regular day job income to make the irritating brain chatter go away (eg. save more money and learn to live within your means, learn to let go of having to feel “secure” and stop worrying about things you cannot control).

Building a slow empire is just like the name implies - it is a slow, creative process that will replace your need to be spending money on stuff regularly. Believe me, you’re going to get far more interested in your empire than needless consumerism!

Learn to feel comfortable with yourself and remove anxiety or causes of stress (such as overly large expectations or not having enough time or feeling too tired). Get some answers to these issues and make new habits that replace the worries.

Spend some alone time with yourself (doing nothing much) until you can feel your soul getting healthier and getting more inquisitive. A healthy soul is a curious and interested soul that likes to wander around and tinker. It has urges to do things. It likes to please and it likes to be thought of as a kind, genuine person. Then choose some things to learn about by reading material online. Make a list of things that might vaguely interest you or that you might have always wanted to do, but never got around to.

Go for it and have fun exploring. Play with it. You’ll soon discover after a few weeks if something's going to work or not. Make your own product (whatever that may be) and learn to do it well so that you will be proud of what you’ve achieved regardless of money.

Handy Tip

The trick to growing a successful slow empire is to be persistent and not give up. Let your projects sit and mature and see if they do anything. If a project isn't something you're enjoying working on, then have the foresight to let it go and switch to something else that will be of benefit to you.

Do not delete anything placed online unless it costs you more money to keep than what you earn from it.

How To Start Your Slow Empire

Figure out if there’s anything you can do regularly online in your spare time that:

  • Is based on passive income and is NOT service work
  • Doesn’t drive you nuts
  • Makes you feel proud of yourself or makes you feel excited
  • Offers something valuable to the world or to your followers
  • Allows you to set your own price

Then grab a notebook and make notes of everything you want to explore on the topic whether you will make money or not. Do some reading on passive income ideas (eg blogging, photography, ebooks, products, website concepts etc).

Work out the first project to do and do it very well. Give it your all and see how it goes. Completely forget about money, timeframes and pressure. This is what people mean when they talk about yourself being the main obstacle to overcome. The new project should turn you on or make you feel very satisfied with your valuable contribution to society or to the people that matter. This feeling is great and can be rather addictive!

Understand that you’ll be working like this for years and years, so it is very important that you enjoy the experience, act like you have all the time in the world and don’t spend too much money on it, while learning what it is that interests you on a regular basis.

If you don’t feel interested, excited, or satisfied then you will not create an empire of the size needed to produce the passive income required to be sustainable. If you make something that feels too hard or feels like a dead end job then you are doing the wrong thing and should dump it until you find the thing that mentally stimulates or satisfies you.

An example of using lots of micro projects to create a passive income.
An example of using lots of micro projects to create a passive income.

Making The Most Of Your Slow Empire

To win at this game, you need to produce many beautiful things over a number of years. Make it as sustainable to work at as possible and be prepared to work for free until the projects are up and running. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it's easy to start small and to make a tiny little bit of money from each good passive income project.

What you need to do is either build a lot of projects or work heavily on the projects that you really like. None of the projects should require much maintenance after you’ve completed them (if they do, they are not passive or evergreen – which means they are always changing and are trends – you should avoid this or you’ll be doing too much work on old projects that you've outgrown as your empire matures!)

If certain projects make no money at all, even after putting in your best efforts, then these projects require either (a) Marketing – maybe Adwords will be your friend? or (b) Dumping. Forget about working for free forever after you’ve explored it properly!

Each little bit of passive online income adds up and one day you’ll have a castle of your very own. Just like that fellow who started trading with a paper clip and traded up to buying a house. Or even Ingvar Kamprad, who started out by selling boxes of matches when he was 17 years old, then eventually ended up owning IKEA - the world’s largest furniture retailer. There are thousands of these stories on the net that are very inspirational, fun and are achievable for the average person if they learn how to take the journey the right way.

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A Little Pep Talk

It’s very important that you give 110% of yourself to make the product absolutely amazing and useful to your followers. Tell me, which direction is going to be easier - convincing 1000 people to buy something mediocre or letting 200 people who LOVE your product and get excited by you automatically want to sell it all to their friends because it is so fantastic and great value? I suspect the IKEA founder knew which decision to make…

You can do this! You just need to learn patience and enjoy the journey. Forget society’s expectations and let go of your own b*llshit voice that annoys you with whispers about having to earn big money constantly. If you are so desperate for money, go get a real life second job and reap the cash instantly or fill out surveys or something.

If you want a rewarding journey that will pay off long term, give this a go. I mean, what do you really have to lose? Your time will be repaid by learning about yourself in ways that consumerism and your day job will never accomplish. One day, with time, patience and slow building as a positive experience, you will end up with a passive income to boast about.

Build a castle, brick by brick. You’re going to keep the projects which excite you and which make a little money, but dump the ones which make zero money and/or feel horrible. Sometimes, people just don't want what you are offering, but many times, they will. You'll have to figure out which ones are the good ones by actually completing multiple projects. Following this strategy, your online passive income can only go up as you find the things that work for you!

© 2014 Suzanne Day


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