The passive income lie (or how to build your personal brand)
There’s no passive income…
Over the past 3 years I’ve launched more than 10 websites. I’ve written more than seven books. This one right here is my eights book. I’ve uploaded and designed dozens of t-shirt designs to platforms where you can buy them. I’ve written five or six guidebooks.
And none of these things generates passive income for me.
All of this passive income stuff is basically a lie. There’s no way you can create a product, a service or what not and then leave it as it is. That never works. You’d always have to create new stuff to stay relevant.
But even more importantly, you’ve gotta become relevant first. You’ve gotta build an audience first. No matter what you’re trying to sell or make passive income with. If you don’t have an audience you won’t be able to make any passive income. As a matter of fact anything at all. So if you want freedom, if you want to travel the world and generate money online you’ve gotta build your audience first.
I’ve spent the last three years building my audience. And I worked a lot more on building that audience than I’d have spent time at a day job. And I’m still not able to generate passive income. Most of it is semi passive. Because you’ve gotta be active. You’ve gotta be out there. You’ve gotta put stuff out there. Because if you don’t, people will forget about you. Instantly!
I once did a test and didn’t post anything for an entire month. No one even noticed! The moment you stop showing up is the moment people forget about you. It’s like you never even existed. No matter how important or unimportant the thing you’re doing really is. You’ll be replaced in no time by someone or something else.
There’s no passive income. Or living on an island. And traveling the world while you see the cash rolling in. There’s just hard work and showing up constantly. More often than anybody else.
For how long?
I don’t know. Maybe 5 years. Maybe 10 years. Maybe never. But I really hope it’s just 5 years.
Look. Most people who are selling you the passive income dream are basically showing you how to make passive income by teaching you the exact same technique they use. To teach other people how to make passive income. It’s basically a big fat ponzi scheme where everybody makes money teaching everybody else how to make money online by teaching others again.
And the only way to build an audience and to maybe one day make money online, to live in freedom and wherever you want to and do what you want to is to build your brand as they say.
The people who are generating passive income are people that have a brand. That stand for something. Like James Altucher. Or Gary Vaynerchuk. Tim Ferriss. Or Seth Godin. And they don’t rely on passive income only. They have multiple streams of income. Because they know that you’ve gotta be active, that you’ve gotta show u over and over again.
And none of them used any techniques or tricks to build their brands. They put in the years. Because there are no other tricks that work other than putting in the work.
But even those folks don’t really generate passive income. Because they’ve spent years and years and years building their brand. They invested more time than most people are willing to. Everybody can do what they are doing. But trust me, most people just won’t.
So how do you build your brand?
I don’t know how you can build your brand. I don’t know you. I could tell you to do this or to do that. But the truth is that I just don’t know. No one knows. Because it’s different for everybody. But I guess being yourself and doing something unique instead of doing something that everybody else is already doing is a pretty good start.
I know this is hard. Because it’s a lot easier to just do what everybody else is already doing. Because there’s a roadmap out there. But guess what. That roadmap only works once. For the person who created that roadmap. But it won’t work anymore for you. Because you’re different. You are you. And no one else.
Look. I really can’t tell you how to do all of this. But I can tell you how I did it. How I got where I am right now. Wherever that might be…
Back in 2013 I started writing a book. I wasn’t ready for it. At all. I had no clue about how to write a book. And I was a bad writer. But I did it nonetheless. Why? Because I felt that there has to be more than my 9 to 5 job. Because I realized that no one would come and unleash my potential. That I was the only one able to unleash my potential.
At the same time when I started writing my book I started a blog. Actually, I didn’t even start with a blog. I didn’t know how to setup a blog. It was too technical for me back then. I wasn’t ready. But I just did it. So instead of starting a blog I posted my updates on Facebook. And only a few months after I posted my first update on Facebook did I start my own blog.
Then when my book was half done I went on a speaking tour. I wasn’t ready. And I was scared. But I knew that I had to do it. That this was part of trying to unleash my potential. Because no one else ever would. I was scared because in the past people were making fun of me when I gave a talk in public. And because no one knew me back then, I contacted 30 universities in Germany and asked them if they were interested in me giving a talk. I ended up giving ten talks or so.
And then I did the same thing again all over Europe and gave 15 or so more talks at all sorts of events and conferences. And because no one knew me back then, I got in touch with more than 20 people. And when I started that tour I had just one date confirmed. I wasn’t ready. But I did it nonetheless and started that tour. And the rest is history as they say…
When the tour was over I decided to write another book. I still didn’t feel ready. Especially because my first book wasn’t a success. And right after I published it I was ashamed of it. And the only way to get rid of that shame was to write another book. A better book. And then another book. And then another one. Until maybe one day I won’t be ashamed anymore of the books I write.
So I kept pushing. I kept writing books. I kept writing blog posts. I kept giving talks. And I still build new websites at least once a month and experiment with new models and ways of doing things.
Look. When I started I didn’t know anything about anything I’m doing right now. I didn’t learn any of this at school. No one taught me any of this. And when I started, I was pretty bad at all of these things. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you keep going and then keep improving.
And when you start at zero there’s a hell lot of stuff you can improve. And the only way to learn this stuff is by doing. By getting out there. By standing in front of a crowd naked. By getting laughed at your face. That’s the only way. There’s no other way.
So bottom line is this…
You’ve gotta start when you’re not ready. When you don’t know who you are. Wen you don’t know what exactly it is you want to do with your life. Because only by doing things, by experimenting, by tweaking over and over again will you be able to figure yourself out. Will you be able to find yourself.
And that’s how you build your brand. Your audience. And maybe some years down the road you might even be able to become a free person and make money online. Maybe. Maybe not. But probably not…
P.S. This was part 23/30 of my upcoming book. By the way, I just uploaded a super fancy cover. It’s really good! And yes, that’s my handwriting :-).You can check it out and pre-order it here.