Building passive income streams is a hot idea right now. Jobs are tough to get (and even to keep) and it’s often difficult to make a living from a single business. The solution offered is to develop passive income sources as a way of increasing your income while lessening your dependence on a single job or business.
Blogging is commonly suggested as one of those income streams. The problem is that while blogging can be an excellent income source, it’s not quite as passive as many of its proponents claim it to be. You have to write content to put on your blog—that doesn’t sound passive. You have to regularly engage in social promotion of both the specific content posts and the site itself, and that isn’t passive either. Then there are technical issues that need to be taken care of. That hardly sounds passive.
Yet it is possible to make a blog relatively passive, at least once the site has been up for a while and is established.
Building an income portfolio
The prospect of creating passive income sources is a big drawing card—who wouldn’t want to have a business venture or investment that requires little to no effort and provides a steady, monthly income? That’s like having a pension only you don’t have to spend 20 or 30 years paying into it.
In truth, there aren’t many income sources that are truly passive, and this is especially true if you don’t have a six or seven figure bankroll to get the investment started. For most of us, the best we’ll do is to develop one or more income streams that don’t require the level of effort and time that a job does.
Think of it as building an income portfolio. With investments, part of the job is building a portfolio of assets that will provide diversification of income sources and protection against market declines. We can think of an income portfolio in much the same way. It can look like a full time job, plus some truly passive investments, plus a side business like blogging.
Blogging is only relatively passive
Blogging is only passive in a relative sense. It’s certainly more passive than working a full- or part-time job, or running a traditional bricks-and-mortar business. You don’t have to show up at a remote office or shop somewhere, work with or be supervised by others or work X number of hours per day. Blogging can really seem passive by comparison.
It’s not however anything like investment income. That source is truly passive in that it produces income while you’re doing other things, and your input is basically limited to making allocation decisions a few times a year. Even rental real estate can be quite passive if you hire a management company to manage the day-to-day affairs of your property.
With blogging, you will always have to put at least some time and effort into it. And while it is possible to make blogging more passive once a blog is up and running for a time, launching and growing a site early on does require a serious effort.
But it’s still an outstanding additional source of income
One of the factors that makes blogging an excellent part of an income portfolio—in addition to the fact that it isn’t as involved as a job or a business—is that it usually isn’t related to your other business ventures. You can have a blog that focuses on just about anything that interests you, and that doesn’t need to be your primary occupation. That’s important because, just as with an investment portfolio, you want to include income sources that aren’t likely to be negatively affected if the state of your primary industry turns sour. A blog can be a diversification away from your primary occupation.
Also, since blogs have low start-up costs, you can also run more than one site, and many bloggers do. Once you have one site running profitably, it isn’t nearly as hard to develop a second, a third, or even a portfolio of blogs. When you reach that point, you can begin subcontracting out functions, like writing content and social media management, and that’s when blogging starts to become more passive.
The more you know about blogging going in, the more passive it will be
One of the issues that can make blogging more involved than it needs to be is lack of knowledge at the start. What ever it is that you don’t know or understand becomes a mountain that needs to be scaled, and each mountain presents its own series of problems that need to be solved. Sometimes that happens with extra effort, sometimes by investing more time, and sometimes—by cutting a check to pay for the services of an outside contractor who knows what to do.
The way around all three of those outcomes is to invest a little bit of time and a little bit of money in learning what to do and when to do it. Doing that early in the process will not only fast forward your blogging effort, but it can also help prevent big problems later.
One way to do this is through the Blogging Your Passion University series from Bob Lotich and John Milligan. It’s the kick start bloggers need to do the business of blogging right, and to bring your blogging career into the “relatively passive” stage sooner than later:
You can make money blogging—thousands of people are right now—but never does blogging fit better into your “income portfolio” than when it isn’t quite so hands on. Get some help and make it happen.