Search

Does Passive Income Really Exist? My Life and Schedule as an Internet Entrepreneur

The allure of passive income is often dreamed about by the average person.  At dinner with friends, one of them may throw out, “someday I won't have to worry about paying for a night out!” or “just wait and see, someday I'll have that big house, no more student loans, and living off the interest of my wealth!”

Or for the laziest of dreamers, they might exclaim, “I can't wait to win the lottery, so that I won't ever have to work another day in my life.”

People dream about passive income all the time.  And in fact, its not so far fetched to say that the entire traditional workforce (at least in the US), works long hours for decades at a job so that someday when they are old and retired, they can finally travel and live off their “retirement savings”.

When it comes to internet entrepreneurs, we are just as vocal about “passive income”, but we often couple this discussion with passive assets such as businesses that run themselves, free traffic from Google, and making money from websites while we sleep.

However, does passive income really exist?  Sure its a nice dream, but are there actually people (other than those silver spoon heirs) that live passively and still have income rolling in?

In other words, is passive income a dream that's possible?

And even if it is possible, is it something that is all its cracked up to be?

Today I want to discuss those questions related to passive income, and then share a little bit more about my own work schedule.

The Mystique of Passive Income

Many people often dream of when they can live lazily and still have income pouring in the door.   This dream is taken advantage of by many late night infomercials and shady internet marketers.

Unfortunately for most, no matter how many products containing passive income secrets they buy, the dream is never obtained.

However, when we look at the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America, we can clearly see that the ridiculous amounts of wealth that some dream of actually has been achieved.

While some of the people on this list are indeed heirs of wealth, such as the Sam Walton decedents…most of the people on this list are self-made billionaires.

I find it interesting to see how many of these individuals achieved their wealth.  Here's a small sampling:

That last one is my favorite…cheese!

I want to make just a couple of points about the wealthy people on this list.  First, most of them are entrepreneurs.  The way to achieve true wealth is to create income producing assets as demonstrated by these individuals.

Second, all of these people have clearly made enough money to live passively for the rest of their lives.  However, what I find interesting is that the individuals that I'm aware of such as Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and others…all of them are still working!

So, while they could be out sipping drinks and playing golf all day; instead these billionaires are actively running their businesses.

In other words, these people don't want a life of luxury and laziness; even though they have the bank account to live that way.

Why is that?

The simple answer is that all of these people are high achievers and would get pretty bored not making an impact on the world.

I've personally come to the realization that I never want my life and income to be 100% passive.  In other words, I would never be happy or comfortable if my life was a vacation everyday.

Passive Income vs. Residual Income

So, perhaps “passive income” is not a good dream to have or at least not the right phrase to use when you formulate your income dreams.  A better goal in my opinion is residual income.

In other words, what activities can I do or businesses can I create today, perhaps by working long and hard hours for the next several years, that will allow me to collect residual income even after I stop putting in the long hours in that particular business.

If I build a website that starts earning well after a couple of years, this can become a mostly residual income website…it may continue to earn money for many years.

Rental properties are another common residual income asset.  You buy the property once, but continue to earn residual rental income for as long as you keep tenants.  (This is also clearly not a “passive” income stream as it requires maintenance and more).

Another example is a business.  If you are able to develop systems as recommended by Michael Gerber in the E-myth Revisted; you can essentially remove yourself from the day to day business.

This is partially what I've done for my Long Tail Pro business.  While I still remain involved in many aspects of the business, I've also developed systems that don't require me to be involved in all the sales.

I'm no longer trading my working hours for dollars.

Here are some aspects of Long Tail Pro that I no longer have to be involved in:

Now clearly there are some aspects of my Long Tail Pro business that I'm very much still involved in such as strategic decisions, ongoing marketing, and some other details I still handle.

However, for the amount of residual income that this software business continues to generate for me, I work considerably less on it than someone working a traditional job and even many entrepreneurs.

My Daily Schedule

I have to confess that as I write this blog post, I'm actually on vacation with my family.  I'm sitting in a cabin in the woods near Wallowa Lake, Oregon.  The scenery is absolutely beautiful and we woke up this morning to find several deer just outside our door (the kids loved that!).

wallowa
Wallowa Lake

However, most of my time I'm not on vacation…but do have the privilege to work out of my home office as I look to grow my online business ventures.

I've been asked by readers on several occasions what a typical day is like for me as an internet entrepreneur.  So, today I am going to dive in and share what a “normal” schedule looks like each day…and I'll let you decide for yourself how truly “passive” my income is.

I'll be honest that I've been somewhat hesitant to post my true schedule; as I'm sure some people won't think I work enough, while others will think I work too much.  But rather than worrying about what others might think, I'm just posting what my normal schedule looks like on a daily basis.

Also, note that I'm putting in more of my schedule than just business related items.  I spend a lot of time with my family (I'm married with 4 children), and so I think it only makes sense to show where my time really is spent, even if its not related to this blog or my business.

I should also note that this is a typical schedule for Monday – Friday only.  I am almost never online on Saturday or Sunday; I simply get back online Monday morning.

Also, this schedule clearly may vary depending on the day and what is going on in my business; but overall, this is pretty close to a “normal” schedule.

And finally, I should mention that I'm chatting with Perrin or others via Skype as things come up throughout the day.

So, if I were to give my best estimate as to how much time I spend on different activities each day, this would be it:

So, generally I probably put in about 6 to 7 hours a day of “work”.  Some days it's less if things come up with family activities, or some days its more just depending on the state of my business.

Living Actively

So, am I living passively off of my investments?  No, clearly not.  But I do have a nice lifestyle business going for me right now, and perhaps that's all that I will ever be interested in.

I don't know what the future holds.  Perhaps someday I'll have the desire to run a larger organization like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaires.

Or perhaps, I will simply continue to enjoy working a relatively light schedule with a small organization.  This allows me to work when I want, take vacation as desired, and generally have a low stress business that supports my family (and a few employees).

So, do I ever dream of the day that I don't have to work at all…and just live “passively” off my assets?

Nope.

In fact, I enjoy what I do now, and if my schedule was completely free of anything business related, I would probably drive myself crazy.

I don't necessarily consider myself extremely efficient (as evidenced by my above schedule) or even particularly hard working, but I do enjoy working on something productive and seeing the fruits of those labors.

So, even if I ever achieved a ridiculous wealth level where I could truly live passively off the interest earned from my investments, I don't think I ever would.

I would keep myself engaged and productive building businesses or helping other through non-profits or education.

For these reasons, I basically consider “passive income” as a misnomer.  I don't seek to achieve some blissful day where I no longer work at all.

And while perhaps this is nothing new for many of you out there, it is an important distinction from what is often portrayed by the late night infomercials or even the dreams among friends.

A better potential goal is to achieve residual income from valuable assets that you have built.  This can give you the freedom to work as long or as little on any particular venture that you may become involved in.

However, the realization should be that once you've achieved one goal, to achieve your full potential and to help others as much as possible, you will always need to be engaged and working at some level.

So, having the freedom to pursue your business dreams through residual income is a great goal; living passively is not, in my opinion.

Your Thoughts

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Clearly this is a pretty broad subject that touches on everything ranging from passive income, wealthy people, income producing assets, automating businesses, my personal schedule, and even charity work.

However, much of this is simply my opinion, and we can all learn from each other and differing opinions.  So, feel free to jump in and leave a thought.  Thanks!


Strategy and Mindset

By Spencer Haws
June 17, 2014 | 111 Comments

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

Yes! I Love to Learn

You may also like

View all

111 Comments

Join the conversation

Leave a comment
Maher Abiad

Hey Spencer, another great post.

My favorite way to make a passive income is to create something once like an ebook or training course, and then have it make money for you while you sleep.

Our time is so precious that its not worth it to trade dollars for hours.

Information is something everyone wants more of, and if you know something someone else doesn’t, then you should sell them something that you don’t have to create over and over again.

Tung Tran

I absolutely agree with you Spencer.

Many people buy into the passive income dream just to realize that it almost non-exist, and that’s clearly not the best goal in my opinion.

It’s all about pushing ourselves forward!

Ray Roman

Spending time with family like you do Spencer is really energizing and something I do as well.

As for me I know I don’t want to live passively I think living like that shortens your life.

Great article Spencer and nice link to the cheese guy. Really interesting fellow.

Jason

Yup. “Passive” is a bit of a misnomer.

As I continue to scale niche site building, I’ve found that even after building systems with a VA, I’m still somewhere in the process because someone has to review for quality. Or someone has to answer a VA’s question.

So, not so passive. But still highly leveraged!

Ferzy

As far as the internet and online businesses in general are involved, I think every “passive income” source has a life span of a couple of years. The internet changes way too fast to be able to create a passive income source now and imagine that it will still be there 5-10 years from now if you don’t work on maintaining it. Most probably, in 1-2 years it starts to die down without additional involvement.

Spencer Haws

Good point.

Thoufeeq

Yes. Most of the web properties (niche sites) don’t last more than a couple of years.

And thats where flipping comes in 🙂

Raweewan

I like your ideas. For me, I enjoy working than take vacation everyday. So life is not boring. 🙂

Christina

This definition is kind of my own. I also want to continue working in some capacity but for me it’s about owning my time. I think many who dream about that lottery winner lifestyle are really wanting to just own their time and do something they’re passionate about. It may be playing golf or hanging out at the pool for a while, but they’ll eventually – if they’re smart – invest that money into a passion business and spend their time growing whatever it may become.

Kent

Spencer, it’s awesome to have some time-off and visit Wallowa Lake with family.

I agree that residual income is not truly passive. It pays off long-term though. I love Rental Income the best but the upfront cost is high.

I’m building up some online properties, it’s exciting to see income rolling in when I sleep.

I really like your daily schedule.. looking productive and fun working as a family man!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Kent!

Sebastian

Great post Spencer! I totally agree with you on this. I always get angry when friends ask me if I am slacking all day just because I run passive/residual income business.

The way I see it is that residual income takes away many of the negative things I never liked about work (like fixed working schedules, dependencies on others, high level of stress caused by deadlines set by others etc.). Residual income gives you the opportunity to define how you want to work. It doesn’t replace work with a life long vacation though. As an entrepreneur this would be a nightmare for me anyway.

Kevin

Nice post, I am always intrigued to learn about people’s daily routines.

You seem to email a lot though?

As T Ferriss says, “email is the mind killer”.

I do really like the goal setting sheet though first thing, I do that. Write down everything I want to accomplish for that day and if I get them done I would be happy with my day.

Enjoy the vay-kay! Looks lovely there!

Pratik Unadkat

Beautiful article, Spencer.

Like you, I would not quite as well if I was to have a good amount of money too because frankly…it’s what I love doing and why sit idle and bore yourself.

That’s why we entrepreneurs work and love to work because it’s the area that we like working in unlike stuck working in some corporate office.

PS, amazing view of lake!

Cheers,

Pratik.

Tom Lorimer

This is how I see myself. Even if I did make a serious amount of money (several thousands per month), I’d still want to maintain that income and as mentioned several times, the internet marketing business changes so quickly that to keep that income flowing would mean constantly adapting to those changes.

Being able to work from home and the hours that I choose is my goal. Not to be a millionaire but to have enough to not have to worry. I read a report that summed up that what I really want to have is 2 times my required income to pay the bills. Ultimately, I want to have enough income (residual or passive however you want to define it) to be able to take a day off work to spend with the wife and kids and not get hit with loosing x hundred euros salary.

Love reading your blog Spencer!

~Tom

Spencer Haws

Its a great goal…best of luck Tom!

Alistair Cochrane

“Sure its a nice dream, but are there actually people that live passively and still have income rolling in?”

That’s not how i understand the term.

Just because you choose to work on new projects doesn’t mean you are not making passive income from your old projects.

The ‘passive’ in passive income simply means that you are not active with regards bringing in that income stream.

It’s great you are busy with new projects and further development but ask anyone ‘working down the mine’ and your setup is going to look pretty passive to them 😉

Spencer Haws

For sure, I think we pretty much stated the same point.

Claire Smith

Great post Spencer, very thought provoking.

I think residual income buys you to the time to have choices, which allows you to take more risk on more enjoyable businesses with less certainty of success. It can allow you to spend time pursuing crazier dreams, like writing, and things that you would not have ordinarily afforded to do (time, money or energy-wise), when you were still trading time for money.

I think creating something and making it grow and yield rewards is an addiction. I do dream of a day when I do absolutely nothing, and the bills are paid for the rest of our days, that drives me. But in the back of my mind, I know I won’t stop then. The game of creation and assessing the results and fine tuning is too satisfying, enjoyable and addictive to give up.

IMO, it makes more sense to trade your efforts for a pretty sure residual return, than invest in hoping for a totally random return like a lottery win. Once we stopped having jobs and were earning enough to give up our work and be free as we want each day, we stopped buying lottery tickets. It was weird, a lottery win just wasn’t necessary to be happy anymore. If I do imagine a lottery win for a minute, I am pretty sure I’d be spending my days exactly as I do now.

Better to just put your back into it and know you are working towards a great bigger picture of your own design.

Spencer Haws

Well said…and I agree on the lottery statement. Even if I won the lottery (even though I’ve never played and never will), my life wouldn’t change much. Perhaps I would invest larger sums in larger businesses…but my day to day would likely remain very similar.

gabriel daalmans

Hello Spencer, great article about the myth of passive income in the internet. To my opinion it doesn’t exist; it is just an empty promise of people who are selling dreams to newbies. Anyway if your customers should come to your site by SEO, their visits will not last forever if the site content is passivated. The SEO-Rankings vary in time and who is on the top now will not keep there, if there is no action on the site. I made myself this painful experience. Writing articles, moreover writing good articles with useful content, takes time. Having limited for writing, I stopped writing for one of my not monetized sites – having produced about 20 articles before – in the beginning of January this year. At that time I had an Alexa rank of about 600.000 with about 1000 to 1200 unique visitors a month. Now about 6 months later I have an Alexa rank of 1.600.000 and about 400 visitors a month. These visitors come nearly all by SEO. So without action on your site you are going to lose your income; no passive income at all.
If you want to be successful with niche sites and SEO you have to make maybe 10 sites to get one real winner. Nobody knows in advance which one the winner will be. So you have to set up 10 pages and creating content for them and see what happens over a few months in order to be able to weed out the losers. Thereafter a continuous process of content creation for higher visibility starts … and will never end.

Ruan

Great article, Spencer.

I have to agree that residual income is a better term than passive income. Personally I think that my own goal with my businesses is to work ON the business and not actively within the business. The E-Myth Revisited describes it best for me:

To find the balance between the technician, the manager and the entrepreneur within. Ultimately, I’d like to shift 80% towards being the entrepreneur, work on things, new things etc.

At the moment I’m still at 33% a piece, pretty much still involved in all aspects of everything I do.

More residual income streams result in an increase in the percentage of an entrepreneur I can afford to be, both literallly and financially. As simple as that.

Spencer Haws

Absolutely.

Eric

Great article Spencer.

Ryan, Just finished the E-Myth book myself last week, really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I found out about it from a post on MOZ by Mike Ramsey http://moz.com/blog/from-zero-to-a-million-20-lessons-for-starting-an-internet-marketing-agency

Will

Great post Spencer. For me ‘passive income’ is about leveraging the best technology available to create the most value for other people, often that creates a system that might appear/ move towards passivity. Like the guys from tropicalmba said, the people who have the fantasy of lazy passive income are the ones who hate their jobs and don’t live life passionately.
Will

avi

Spencer, question do you have stock investments? Bec you can live off this year’s to come. I found a great blog about making money with dividend reinvesting http://www.dividendmantra.com. check it out its great information.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I invest in stocks (my background is a register stock broker). So, I’m well aware of living off income from financial investments…that was a big point of this post. Even if I could live off dividends, I would still work.

avi

Ok cool didn’t know you where a register stock broker. Maybe you should write a post about stocks and investment? It’s a good mix with niche sites

Spencer Haws

Maybe so…

Eric

I read this article though I know what the answer is. But I believe it make people think more realistically. You can’t really live with “total passive income”, either for you can’t archieve it or you can’t bear it. 🙂

Thu Ha

Each person a different perspective. If I have enough passive income and achieve financial freedom, I will not have to work I do not like, just to make money.

I want to do work that I love, living where I want, not financially dependent on my boss.

Thanks for sharing. You live very balanced. I like that.

Spencer Haws

Great point…thanks

lynn

I love to work so I’m not concerned if my income is passive, residual or from a normal job.

However, I have kind of found my niche in building tools for other people and showing them how to use them. So I have a residual play for the most part.

And besides my software for finding expired domains, I’m now working on a couple of other things including a domain valuation tool.

Spencer, thanks again for another great post! They are always very thoughtful and encouraging.

Daniel

Great post Spencer, thanks for sharing your personal schedule with the community.
I also agree that “passive” is not literally passive anymore. For some of us, which we preserver our day jobs and maintain an online business part time, the daily schedule could look really terrifying 🙂
Keep up the great work you are doing,
Daniel.

Rus

I’m like most of the others here. I don’t expect to not have to work for it, I just want to own my time, not have to deal with a boss and build my dreams instead of someone else’s.

Great post Spencer, thanks for sharing!

LaTusha

It’s funny because I was thinking about this topic recently. I had been spending so much time trying to create a passive or residual income that I was leaving money on the table creating an active income. I recently started back selling on eBay and amazon and I definitely see the potential to create an income that will eventually allow me to leave my day job, which is my ultimate goal. I want the freedom to be able to create my own income stream, work when I want and not be at the mercy of an employer.

Spencer Haws

Yep, I think that is the goal of so many people…and a good one.

Danny Ng

There are indeed people who make passive and residual income, for example, Singers, Actors and Writers etc.

Guess people like Bruce Lee or Elvis are a rare breed where after their death they are still making money through royalties.

For software or online business unless one can create something that is evergreen, most of the time the life span is pretty short(due to technology changes). it would be quite good if a software or online business has been ongoing for more than 10 years.

I believe it is still achievable, for example onwers of webhosting services. However, passive or not it really depends on what business model works best for the individual.

Why chase a dream when you can live a life? I think Spencer provided a very good example of his schedule and his goals for the day.

Besides passive and residual income, many may not achieve financial freedom and doing things when they like. These are good ideals but do enjoy the journey while doing the chase.

Jay

Now that you mentioned fixing bugs in LTP… will LTP’s crashing problem ever be fixed?

Once a sufficient amount of data is stored, it tends to crash all the time.

Anybody else got that problem?

Spencer Haws

Jay, if you software is crashing, file a support ticket at longtailpro.com/support. There is a likely a fix on your end (especially if you are on a MAC). The software should not crash.

Jay

I’m not on a MAC, but I’ll submit a ticket. A friend of mine has the same problem, so I recon I’m not alone.

Jay

I’m in a small forum of a mere 200 people and I just found a thread where everybody was lamenting that the software is continuously crashing for them.

That’s no coincidence.

My advice: stay away from Adobe Air for applications that have to handle lots of data. It simply isn’t built for it and it crashes ALL THE TIME.

I cancelled my subscription because the software is buggy to the point where it’s useless.

Spencer Haws

My guess is that there is a simple solution for you; if you file a support ticket at longtailpro.com/support we can help you out.

Anton

Spencer, thanks for the interesting post topic. From your schedule, I see you don’t have a VA who acts as project manager and takes care of all the niche sites rankings, content outsourcing etc?

Do you do this yourself? Your main area of focus now is LTP and niche sites act as a secondary income compared to it?

Spencer Haws

Perhaps you missed the part where I am discussing niche sites with Perrin each day on a call or via chat. Perrin is my full-time employee that does nothing but work on my niche sites. I set the strategy and Perrin does the day to day. He has half a dozen content writers/VAs that he works with and manages. So, Perrin is the project manager for my niche sites.

Andrew

Seems like a pretty solid system. Are you (or Perrin in this case) using oDesk/Elance for VA outsourcing or some other service?

Spencer Haws

We have found most of our writers and other help through personal contacts. However, odesk/elance is are great places as well to find help.

Mike

That seems to me like a very balanced lifestyle– you should be proud that your efforts have made it possible!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Mike!

Nancy

I agree with Claire, residual or “passive” income buys you choices, flexibility and some element of lifestyle security. My goal is to have the flexibility to live/work/vacation from anywhere in the world while earning enough residual income to pay the bills and know that I can take care of myself and my children for the rest of my days.

Ivo

Awesome post. Your schedule sounds fairly relaxed which is what most of us aim for. I’ve been following your blog for a few years now and what readers should understand is that it took quite a different schedule to get where you are today.

I mean, you put in some serious hours especially when you still had your 9-5 job. What’s really impressive is that you’ve always set aside time for your responsibilities as husband and dad. I’m married with 3 kiddos so I know it’s not easy sometimes when there’s a lot of work to do. (if only there were 26 hours in a day!)

I also agree that the notion of never having to work again just sounds BORING.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I put in some insane hours to get where I am. I worked a regular job…had children…oh and got my MBA in the evening :). I was dabbling and building my “side” income from 2005 to 2011…6 long years. Then I quit my job in 2011, because my side income exceeeded my day job. I’ve continued to build my business since 2011, and my income has grown as well. Tons of hard work upfront.

Drew

Spencer, I am really curious that you didn’t mention all the other niche websites that you own. I have been following your website for a few years and don’t know if I missed the point where you let go of those 200+ niche websites.

Are you still actively managing them? Have you scaled down or sold those off?

Spencer Haws

Drew, I still own them, but they most of them dont require my input at all…residual. However, in my schedule you will see that I spent a couple hours each day tweaking my niche site business with Perrin, and this includes sometimes working on my older sites.

Sarah

Thank you for your thoughtful–and thought-provoking posts. They always come at the right time and your readers’ comments are always a great discussion!

I am a SAHM, one niche website, and want to develop more. I don’t ever want a traditional job again and find much inspiration here at nichepursuits, thank you!!

Sudarto

I enjoyed reading your article. It is a very interesting personal experience, how do you work every day so that it can produce great work and build a huge income. Very inspiring and exemplary. Thank you.

Jeff

Obviously some people are a LOT lazier or less motivated / energetic than others. I’m sure that to some degree this is do to genetics and personality type, while in many cases it could simply be do to general health and mental clarity based on nutrition, fitness, and basic “self care”.

What about relationships? Take someone like me who has literally NO family at all, compared to most any caring individual with a spouse and / or children to take care of. How much of a “motivational factor” does this alone tend to be?

Now take 100 people all with no family at all, and let’s talk about attitude, spirit, and general self worth. Again you’ll likely find significantly different levels of motivation and achievement.

But no matter who you are, it is obviously YOUR life to live and as Mr. Ferriss put it in “The 4 Hour Work Week”….

“Life’s too short to live on anyone’s terms but your own”.

No matter what terms anyone decides (or just passively accepts) to live by, I really can’t imagine what it would be like going to your grave knowing you had intentionally lived any significant portion of your life strictly for the purpose of non productive self indulgence.

Spencer Haws

Good points, Jeff. I would think that someone single, without a wife and family would have much more time to pursue whatever ventures they are interested in. That why you see many people (like Tim Ferriss) taking so many exotic vacations and doing interesting things…because they don’t have responsibilities at home. Not sure about the motivation factor, but having a family presents its challenges that single people don’t have to overcome. (But having a family it TOTALLY worth it! 🙂 )

Mark

Great post, Spencer!

Your schedule is very similar to mine when I worked from home for a major corporation. At the the end of the day, work is work, but being able to have a certain level of freedom that residual income or a good working situation provides is priceless.

Luna Moore

For me, this :
11:30 – noon – Check earnings stats, traffic stats, or other website analysis

Is the most interesting part 😀

Matthew45000

Excellent post! I think you’re right on the money. There is no such thing as truly passive income. There are incomes that are more “hands off” than others—but those sources of income are very rare and don’t usually last very long.

I think people look at Pat Flynn’s security guard site and think “THAT’S what I want” (because that’s exactly what I did!). But that kind of a site is an illusion, really. Successful sites usually require more upkeep, and even when they’re successful, they usually fade out after a few years. You always need to be looking ahead, and planning for what’s next.

But that’s the fun of it, really—brainstorming, creating, and growing new ventures.

Josh Shogren

I could not agree more Mathew about your last statement. It is nice to finally build something that brings in money but the fun part is creating something new that also brings in more money. To me it is always about the next business venture and how I can grow that into something that makes money. That is where I get my fun out of it. Making money is nice but that isn’t what motivates me. What motivates me is growing something into a successful venture, I love it. Good comment Mathew

Adil

Hi josh have any email I want to contact you ?

Tim Burton

Thanks for solving the paradox! You can’t really live with passive income, either for you can’t achieve it or you can’t bear it.

Fran

For me the passive income dream was never about sitting on my backside. It’s setting up businesses that become self sufficient. Not that I don’t work in them, just that I don’t need to for the majority of the time. Although my time is then spent on looking at other business idea’s

I like the sound of your schedule Spencer. Do you tend to read many other blogs of spend much time on researching other income avenues? Do you class that as work?

Spencer Haws

I don’t spend much time reading other blogs. However, when I do its during the times I listed (reading during lunch, and other research in afternoons).

Charles

4 kids? I thought Americans placed a 3-kid cap on the number of kids they would produce with their partners? Seriously, I thought 4 was considered too much. In most of the American movies I’ve watched, couples produce just 2 kids. Anyways, nice schedule. Not something to copy but it’s pleasing to know how you typically spend your day.

Spencer Haws

No caps :). Although average is 2 or less…

Josh Shogren

Great post Spencer and it was fascinating to me to see what a schedule would look like for someone like you. A lot of the people that read this blog, including myself, probably aspire to be something like you. So it was good to see what your daily schedule would look like. Thanks for sharing.

Greg

Hey Spencer,

A highly respected psychiatrist once said one of his patients had no self esteem.

I dreaded hearing what he would say next. Should the person repeat every day, “I am a good person, I am a good person?”

But no!

He said the patient had no self esteem, “and well he shouldn’t, since he had no accomplishments.”

The only way people are going to respect you – and you are going to respect yourself – is if you have accomplishments.

Having a guaranteed income is nice because it eliminates the constant feeling of worry about money problems that many people experience. Still….

Whether you have passive income or not, happiness comes from long term success with your daily activities and long term success with good relationships. These are the two accomplishments that create happiness, don’t you think?

Adil

Good point.

Spencer Haws

Yep, exactly.

Kevin

Interesting to discover the “hidden” face 🙂
Totally agrees. I remember the first time i read the 4 hours work week, my friends were asking me if i really planned to only work 4 hours per week. It took some time to explain that it did not mean actually working 4 hours and then doing NOTHING, but rather limit to 4 hours some “painful” tasks to make the rest of your time available for stuff you enjoy. Same here, passive income is def the result of hard work, and it’s just not an option for me to stop doing anything, i’d surely get bored after 2 days :))

Clayton

I think passive income is possible but eventually it sputters out if you are not actively taking care of it and building new income streams. Many people got excited when the 4 hour work week came out but I think it’s more fiction than non-fiction…

Shane

I recently heard even Tim Ferris say on a podcast that the 4 Hour Work is there to allow you to optimize your time to accomplish more not to sit around and not work at all.

The point is people don’t realize within 2-3 months of doing nothing our mind gets bored. Also,its really hard to actually do nothing because to be successful to develop passive income you have to put a lot of work and energy into reaching financial freedom so ironically you can’t be a person who wants to sits around and do nothing.

I think there is a balance you don’t want to become a work alcoholic but I think true freedom is us being able to maximize our natural potential and creative gifts.

Christine

I agree to this post, especially now that I am a person who does not want to rest despite earning money. Never stop creating an impact to people and inspiring them to do more.

neale

Interesting thanks for sharing your daily schedule, i need to readopt this one “8:30 – 8:35 -Write down all the tasks I need to accomplish that day”

What grabbed me most reading through the post was “responding to emails” and other similar stuff Skype Blog comments etc… and how it just kept appearing..

If you could somehow remove 80% of the above you could free up a whole load of time, and possibly just address the un answerable stuff.

Spencer Haws

Yep, I’ve been thinking of how to get rid of my email for a long time…

Roland Zongo

I am still in that dream state;i have multiple projects going on in the internetbut i didn’t have my first dollar yet.hope i’ll make it soon so i would relate with what you are saying.but other than that i find it really good that you enjoy what you are doing and keep working on your empire.gob bless

Carl Bolland

Great post Spencer!

I’ve always been keen on Passive Income, but only to support my travels around the world to gain somewhat of a minor overview effect.

I love following these case study blogs, I think it’s inspiring and brilliant to find information that you can use and someone you can relate to.

Have you ever considered taking the business to another level, putting together a company of writers, developers and such and trying to capture market share in certain niches? I would love to see that happen!

Love your work – Again it’s an inspiration for someone of my age!

Look forward to your next post.

Carl:)

Spencer Haws

For sure, I’ve considered that…and eventually hope to some day.

Georgi

Hi Spencer,

Thanks again for the great post revealing your personal daily lifestyle!
It would be very interesting for me (I would suppose for your other readers too) if you uncover a little information about how your daily routine went back when you started your business (the days after you left your job)?
It would be helpful for starters and also sobering in a way.

Thanks in advance!

Bex

I want to build some assets that can bring in a good revenue stream so I can achieve my life long goal of becoming a dolphin trainer. My dream job wouldn’t cover the bills on its own 😉

Spencer Haws

Sounds like an interesting goal!

Kashif

I really envy the way you have organized your time. If you don’t tame your time, it will tame you 🙂

Chris Guthrie

From my observations the people that can build up wealth to the point they can live off their success 100% passively never would because it took that dedication and hard work to get there. These are above average performers and above average performs don’t like to be lazy.

The people that think they want 100% passive income likely discuss it romantically as if its something they desire but will never put in the work to get there anyway.

Bottom line: I feel the same way you do Spencer

Spencer Haws

Thanks Chris!

Sam

Spencer,

I honestly don’t believe your schedule looked like that when you first started building your online business. I know there were many all nighters and long weeks to build what you have now.

I think when you are first building a business there is a lot of heavy lifting before you actually start to see success. But like Chris said we romanticize about getting passive income but how many truly will put in the hard work.

Spencer Haws

That’s correct.

Rohan

Hey Spencer.

It’s great to see a schedule thats not packed from the top to the bottom with tasks starting from 4am in the morning 😉 Hope you don’t mind if I get some inspiration from it ?

Passive income is such an attractive idea… It’s basically getting something for nothing and can be very misleading when first starting out… I know personally I wasn’t quite aware of how much consistent action goes into creating passive income.

Thanks for sharing this 🙂

Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

If you are driven enough to create a “4 hour work week” for yourself you are usually too driven to be satisfied with only 4 hours of creative production. However, what you do with the rest of your time doesn’t have to necessarily be a money generating activity. I always tell my clients instead of focusing on making enough money so that you can take time to figure out what you want to do, figure out what you want to do first. You rarely need as much money as you think you do. Loved seeing your schedule – has inspired me to write a schedule post of my own.

Martin

I think passive income really comes from tax code (the opposite, for lack of a better them, of “earned income”). I’ve always thought of it more in terms of how you do, and how Robert Kiyosaki does as well…it’s income which is produced by the assets themselves, not from trading hours for dollars.

I’m a new follower of you blog, Spencer, and really have enjoyed it. BTW I love the Blue Mountains! I’ve done some camping around La Grande and my wife and I make the occasional trek to Walla Walla for wine.

Martin

Spencer Haws

Good point Martin. Great to hear from those in the WA/OR area!

Richard

Passive income does exist – if you have millions of dollars in the bank, and you are earning interest every month – just for having a lot of money sat there.

The term ‘passive income’ is confusing for most. I see lots of oxymoronic statements in the comments here – if you have to ‘maintain’ or ‘put work into passive income’ or ‘actively monitor’ it – then it is NOT passive income is it?

Passive means you do nothing. I have a course that I sell – sure, it sells when I am not at a computer, or when I am asleep, but I am still promoting it, I am still answering emails, and I am still keeping it up to date.

So although I did the bulk of the work at the outset, there is still work to do every week – this is then NOT passive.

The problem is with people like Ferris and Flynn (who I both like as individuals and as content creators), they are creating this these dreams where they are completely contradicting themselves – Ferris and the 4 hour work week – he doesn’t practice what he preaches, clearly, because he is everywhere.

Flynn – again, he is everywhere – everything he does is ACTIVE. He still needs to maintain all these streams, and anyone who has even the smallest of online businesses know that these things take time.

So no, Spencer. I do not think passive income exists, not in the way that ‘most’ look and understand the term anyway.

I look at it in the way of an engine. We build an engine, and we start it up. After this, we keep watching that engine, tweaking it here and there, adding oil, cleaning it up and servicing it.

As long as we have built it well, and we keep maintaining it, that engine will pur on and on. If we leave it, and stop looking after it, it will eventually grind to a halt, break down, and we will have nothing left but a twisted piece of metal.

(seen this article on kingged)

Daman Bahner

Enjoyable article, with some great points. Dismissing the debate on the validity of some of the story, the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books go over this concept quite a bit. Once you’ve realized success in business, after a week or two with your feet in the sand and your brain relaxing, it’s likely you’re recharged and have a list of new ideas to work on. I don’t think I’m ever likely to stop working, but the priority personally is on location independent working. While it might be nice to hit the Chang Mai scene and others, my main purpose is to split time between family and friends divided between Seattle and the midwest.

I came here via @TropicalMBA, glad I did – signed up for the email list.

Cheers!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Daman!

Rohan Bhardwaj

Hi,

My attitude about passive income have changed completely. Now, I am going for residual income dream. And also one day, if I achieved passive income, I will work, like you said being lazy will drive us crazy.

Your schedule seems tight, but you have the liberty to work as per your mood. I hope to achieve your lifestyle soon.

Thanks for sharing buddy. Anyway, I found this on kingged.

Spencer Haws

Can you guys seriously stop saying you found this on kingged? You obviously work for them…just put the kingged URL in your name/URL field like everyone else…

Jagger

Spencer,

Great post! I also have four kids. But, I’m guessing I’m a little ahead of you age-wise. Two are out of college, one in college, and one still at home in high school. Actually, one out of college is back at home too.

Anyway, I have always thought the same way as you in regards to “retiring” or “living off the wealth”. If I were to “stop working”, I would probably also drive myself crazy. But, more importantly, I would ABSOLUTELY drive my wife crazy. I’ve also known too many people (mostly men) that after retiring are not alive within a couple of years. I think it has to do with the “accomplishments” comment above from Greg. As soon as we stop accomplishing things, we lose the desire to go on and therefore lose the will to live. Sorry, if I’m getting a little morose here. But, I truly believe you have to keep accomplishing to keep spice in your life.

Regards,
Jagger

Spencer Haws

Great point Jagger! We want to keep our wives sane 🙂

Yunar

Hi Spencer,
i enjoy your post as i wonder what are super affiliate doing during day time, their life, daily activity, and family life. Many people think they just doing nothing as they already have passive income. I knew they are wrong but i also don’t know what super affiliate are doing until read your posting here. I projecting my self to have a life like your post here.

Sune

I think people who are ambitious and hard-working enough to be able to create a passive income, will always be too ambitious and hard-working to be satisfied with a passive income – and this is a good thing! Working THAT hard and then just sit around and do nothing – nah, I can’t see that happening.

Ari

Just stumble upon your website.

Although keyword niches are easier, what do you think about going into an area that is a bit larger than your typical niche, but spending more time on it?

Basically, what do you think about having
10 high quality websites that you consistently update and devote all your time into vs. 200 niche websites?

Spencer Haws

Even 10 might be too much. What about 1, 2, or 3 that you focus on? I think its a great way to go; and is what I’ve been discussing over the past several posts.

Bill Zimmermann

Spencer, do you do coaching over the phone or via email? If so drop me an email at monogram1@gmail.com. I am a big fan of Tim Ferris and now of your blog. My YouTube channel earns about $115 a month and I want to begin to expand the unique health and wellness perspective of the Zimmermania to the web. Bill

Jon Haws

Hey Spencer. . . thanks for sharing so openly your journey as an internet entrepreneur and the schedule that you keep in order to get it all done. I linked to your article in my “name” section because I think you are a great example of someone who seems to prioritize tasks in order to accomplish what is really important.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Jon!

Christine Berry

I earn fairly well online (above $10,000 a month) but my goal is to move towards being financially independent. I would like to generate enough savings, investments etc to be able to live off the interest/increase each year.

I wouldn’t retire, but I just want that *option* and that level of financial security.

Mike Wolf

Thanks for the great info Spencer and Perrin! You guys do a great job with your blog. I’ve been doing keyword research to start my own site and really like the Amazon affiliate model, but have stumbled upon a number of keywords for regional travel that average 3-5k searches per month that appear that they would be fairly easy to rank for. I know travel sites were hot years ago, but is it still possible to make the kind of money you guys make in the case studies with a travel affiliate site?

Thanks in advance for any feedback and keep up the great work!

Spencer Haws

I’ve never dabbled in the travel market. But generally, money can be made in any market…some are just harder than others. If you go with the right angle or find enough long tail keywords, I’d say its still possible.

Recent Posts

View all