Passive Income Is Not a Myth, but It May Be a Scam


It seems we’ve all been doing it mistaken. Commuting, promoting our labor for cash, even getting an schooling – all overrated. There’s a higher, simpler, sooner option to earn a living. It’s really easy, in reality, that many individuals can’t determine how you can do it as a result of they don’t belief how straightforward it’s. It requires so little work, that they’ll’t wrap their heads round how a lot cash they’ll make doing subsequent to nothing. It’s passive revenue and it’s all over the place proper now.


The idea of passive revenue will not be new (neither is it new to warn towards it), but it’s a development that’s turn into ubiquitous in social media and content material platforms, simply garnering hundreds of thousands of views. Passive revenue is defined as unearned revenue—versus revenue gained by means of labor—that’s acquired with minimal to no effort, usually by means of the usage of automated processes. It popularized the concept millionaires have seven streams of passive revenue that assist preserve their wealth. But how passive is the processes to generate this sort of revenue, really? And is it even a real supply of revenue?


For the rich, it’s. For everybody else, passive revenue is akin to a rip-off.



Investing is probably the most widespread method used to generate precise passive revenue. It may generate vital income. But it’s typically suggested that, given the excessive threat of dropping capital, cash that may be invested must be cash that somebody can afford to lose within the first place: their spendable revenue or even perhaps a portion of their ongoing financial savings. Historically, there have been predatory schemes that purposefully promote to attract the financially determined and financially illiterate, with the promise of straightforward funding positive aspects regardless that the funding course of itself is usually intentionally complicated (extra so than investing in and of itself already is). And in actuality, good investing requires energetic participation – maintaining with world affairs, remaining educated of financial and market developments, and so forth. In different phrases, that is work that must be achieved to count on a worthwhile and ongoing return on funding. Has anybody ever met an investor or a day dealer who’s chill? As it’s, investing will not be at all times viable for many, and for this reason worthwhile investments to the tune of hundreds of thousands are normally reserved for individuals who are already rich.


Perhaps a extra appropriate title for this idea could be “leveraged” as an alternative of passive revenue. Most, if not all, of the passive-income concepts which are floated across the web require an up-front value, oftentimes a very excessive one. Real property, for instance, is certainly thought-about one of many safest types of funding that may yield a revenue down the street. The thought to generate passive revenue from that is merely to purchase a home after which simply hire it — and let that hire cash maintain the mortgage with additional to place in your pocket. But the prospect of shopping for a home, in fact, is out of attain for a lot of individuals. Plus, it ignores the prices of sustaining a home; and never simply the naked minimal of preserving it livable for tenants, but to retain tenants as nicely.


Meanwhile, there are a number of different venues which are usually cited as being “the perfect” passive-income concepts. And there are a number of causes as to how every of these choices aren’t, in reality, passive. Most troubling although is that none of those choices presents sustainable, long-term revenue with out somebody being actively concerned of their growth and operations.



Content creation, for instance, is usually listed as a straightforward facet hustle that may generate passive revenue. This contains issues like beginning a podcast, or a YouTube channel, and even a weblog. That content material creation is taken into account in any respect passive is misguided, for starters, and that it could actually simply generate revenue is deceptive. Content creation, on this context, means frequently producing and publishing content material meant for mass consumption (versus, say, the occasional viral TikTook). It must occur repeatedly as a result of sustaining or driving up engagement is the one method that a content material creator can really generate any form of revenue, thus negating something “passive” content material creation is meant to be.


One statistic measured that just about 90 p.c of content material in YouTube won’t ever attain even 1,000 views. By distinction, solely 0.77 p.c of the whole content material on YouTube reaches 100,000 views per video. In different phrases, this tiny microcosm of content material, in a platform that sees over 122 million customers each single day, might be making any precise revenue in any significant method from content material creation. Not to say that along with making content material that’s repeatedly partaking, even when somebody has the technical expertise wanted to make that content material accessible (figuring out how you can movie, correctly mild and edit a video, search engine optimization tagging, and so forth. – all measurable expertise that require energetic participation to be taught), the price of correct tools can simply add up shortly –which is why even content material creation requires some form of upfront funding, each of money and time.


Another oft-cited recommendation for passive revenue is thru licensing charges. This, technically talking, is nice recommendation – besides that there’s nothing passive about it. The thought right here is to generate a steady movement of revenue by means of licensing charges by, for instance, creating music that’s then made commercially accessible. No clue who thought that creating music was in any method passive to start with; but to ensure that one thing like music licensing to be profitable, it requires intensive and arduous work. New music have to be produced always, and licensed sufficient instances to generate income. To make issues worse, the music licensing enterprise is extraordinarily competitive.


Along the identical veins, a number of passive-income websites have beneficial writing an eBook to gather royalty charges. This, like music licensing, isn’t essentially dangerous recommendation – but it’s a lot of labor for somebody to jot down a e book, assuming that they’ll write effectively within the first place. But fashionable expertise has supplied a straightforward turnaround. Passive revenue “advisers” point out that somebody can simply write an eBook utilizing artificial intelligence, particularly utilizing a platform like ChatGPT. That is – feed the AI whatever you could train it, then inform it to jot down an eBook for you. Upload it to Amazon or different à la carte eBook publishers and voilà – straightforward cash, subsequent to zero effort. The factor with this although — the scary factor — is that this might doubtlessly work to an extent. This is sound recommendation each from the tech and the minimal-effort perspective. And it’s why it additionally highlights the messy a part of all this, the underbelly of this “recommendation” for passive revenue: that nothing issues besides the cash.



To be clear: Money issues. So much. But the context through which this content material is being created leaves all of the humanity out of the creation. Which could be good, positive. But is there any worth to it, then? Maybe it doesn’t matter ultimately. And that’s why all this so-called recommendation about passive revenue appears hole and, worse, weaponized. It speaks to our insecurities particularly once we’re weak: financially determined and in search of methods out.


Because what it boils all the way down to is that every one that is in reality straightforward and should you don’t benefit from it, you’re a fool. Someone who simply doesn’t have what it takes to take such straightforward steps to get wealthy quick. It’s not that the maths doesn’t add up — you simply don’t perceive scale. It’s not that typically issues don’t pan out — it’s that you simply haven’t cracked the method and gave up too early. It’s not that it’s really straightforward — you’re simply silly for having thought that within the first place.


Passive-income influencers body some other kind of success as a ethical failure. For them, having a 9-5 job is the true rip-off – being exploited on this capitalist world when there’s this supposed straightforward cash to make proper there for the taking. And gleams of reality of that renunciation of capitalism apart, this attitude each ignores the pitfalls of the energetic work that also must be achieved to generate “passive” revenue whereas condemning extra frequent, and nonetheless honorable, methods of buying and selling time for cash.


This messaging, it seems, is vital. In it, there’s greater than a little reminder of the best way that, for instance, self-help content material markets itself, in addition to different ventures which are dangerous at greatest and predatory at worst:  MLMs, payday loans, rent-to-own, and so forth. Like these, it’s important for passive-income content material and messaging to talk to our human needs of getting cash fast, of proudly owning stuff (or the notion of it), or of not having to reply to anybody but ourselves.



In idea, it will stand to purpose that producing passive revenue must be a one-man effort: rolling up your sleeves and getting all the way down to enterprise (but with out placing within the elbow grease, as a result of that is alleged to be passive in any case). Taking dangers upon your self and likewise reaping the advantages by yourself.


But passive revenue recommendation content material is regularly marketed with byproducts to purchase. In different phrases, there’s at all times a catch as a way to transfer ahead; a first step to take that entails some form of buy. It could also be a web-based course that teaches you extra about passive revenue; or an e-book that outlines the methods to begin a YouTube channel; or a package about the perfect tools to purchase to begin a podcast. Many of the websites linked all through this text, in reality, just do that. Never thoughts that if these coaches certainly make a dwelling with their passive revenue streams, then they might not have a should be promoting a product on the web; they might in all probability say that it’s simply their altruistic nature.


 In this sense, it’s actually not any completely different from services that promise an unlikely outcome when all they’re is smoke and mirrors and snake oil. Consumer safety agencies warn towards this sort of messaging: if it’s too good to be true, it in all probability is. If they overpromise, keep away from in any respect prices. And all of it does certainly flip into a scheme when it stops being meaningless, if oftentimes dangerous, recommendation and it turns into a predatory trade itself. This is the best way through which passive revenue is a rip-off.  


Author Bio:

Angelo Franco is Highbrow Magazine’s chief options author.


For Highbrow Magazine


Image Sources:

Blue Diamond Gallery (Creative Commons)

–Investment Zen (Flickr, Creative Commons)

–Ivan Radic (Flickr, Creative Commons)

–Marco Verch Professional Photos (Flickr, Creative Commons)

–Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan (

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