Shortcuts are great.
But only when you know the long way.
Without hard work, the short cut will seem hard.
Passive income seems to fall into this category.
Some people think panhandling is a form of passive income. It’s not. The panhandler works for his money – he talks to people, shakes a cup, whatever: he gets your attention, and tries to make you give him what he wants.
I have a Google AdSense account. I am also an affiliate with a few other places. I put Amazon links into some posts. From those links, if any purchase is made, I get a small percentage back.
But they are NOT a business.
They’re a shortcut. They’re fantastic – but in the last several years of having an AdSense account, I have yet to see a check from Google. In the past several years of having an Amazon affiliate account, I’ve paid for about three books.
You hear of high-volume sites that make all their money off advertising revenue – advertising may or may not be “passive”. But to maintain a high-volume site takes work. Hard work. Lots of it.
You [generally] don’t magically get traffic just because you are the smartest person in the world (I should know, I get on the order of only a few dozen hits per week! :))
You get – and keep – traffic because you have content or a service that people want to use. That they rely on. That they interact with in some meaningful way.
My friend Jay maintain[ed|s] AIMFix. For quite a while, it was THE best (and only) tool which would remove viruses which spread via malicious links across IM networks – dominantly AIM. I wrote a small library he used (at least for a while) in that program.
He put a metric butt load of effort into that tool, and made a little money from the “passive” advertising he had on his site.
Then traffic tailed-off, and so did his AdSense revenue.
So many businesses are started online with the premise that they’ll “make money from ads”… with nothing more of a business plan than that. They fail almost universally.
Businesses succeed when they follow the tried-and-true path of “work-deliver-earn”. And, “spend less than you earn” [ref].
If your only plan for earning money is to park a bunch of ads on a domain, you may make a little money for a little while. Especially if you’ve managed to register a reasonable typo domain (eg “antipuacity.com or “antipauctiy.com”).
But you need to have a reason for people to want to come back. To engage. To use what you offer.
Make something I want. Give me a service I need. Provide me with content I’ll return to.
Or maybe, just maybe, build something I can buy and hold.