Online Business Isn't As Passive As You Think

Jerrin Finney is the owner and author of blogs on The 1099 Life. Remember to always do your research and gather all the information necessary to make the best decision for yourself possible. Also follow me on social media! Click the social media icons to learn more!


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Hey! Heard of Print on Demand? You know, uploading graphics to t-shirts and other merchandise? I'm getting back into it and I use Merch Informer to find niches and do my research! Here's an affiliate link if you want to check it out. I highly recommend it! Of course, you don't have to click the affiliate link if you don't want to. Affiliate links help me generate money at no extra cost to you while providing you with a product I think will be valuable to you - especially if you're looking for a low barrier entry way into starting a business. Print on demand, while the barrier is low and it is typically less risky to start, isn't at all an easy business. It's time consuming and takes a lot of hard work and dedication while adjusting to a steep learning curve. At least that's been my experience so far. I'm not trying to sugar coat anything for you. But if you want to try out print on demand or if you're already trying it out, then consider using Merch Informer to help you with research. Also, to learn more about affiliate links, please visit or do an internet search for affiliate links. Thanks for your support and I hope you find Merch Informer as helpful for you as I have for me!

Passive Income? More Like Passively Broke!

If you don't know it now, you'll soon figure out that the chances of you earning money come from you being active, not passive. Specifically, I'm referring to when you first start a business that you have no expertise in. Not only do you not know anything about the business you're planning to not operate (because you're passive about business and earning money, right?), but you don't know anything about the marketing skills you need. Also, you need the skills of selling - you don't plan to do any selling or to learn anything about that either. Way too active for your taste, right? You also need to know how to do research and testing to make sure you have a viable product to sell - but you're too passive for that as well.

So, if you're being so passive when you know nothing about business, have absolutely no plan about how to operate your business because you know nothing about your chosen business - from the products or services you're offering to the audience you expect to spend money on your products and services - then please, educate me on how you plan to make money? Do you think business is magic? Well, you're about to find out how magical business is - when it makes your money disappear from your bank account! Well, when those magical gurus who preach about passive income sell you on a $2000 course about a subject they have little to no proven expertise in. They're like thirteen after all!

What Is The Point of a Business?

But aren't businesses supposed to make their owners money? Yeah, when they're set up right. In fact, profit is a vital indicator of how successful your business is. If you don't make any profits, then you don't have a business. You have a hobby. Or so the old saying goes. But for the most part, a business is successful based on how profitable it is. 

So how do you set up a business to be profitable? Most likely, you're not going to get some magic out of a box business sold to you by some random person promising you can make thousands of dollars easily. We don't value what's easy to do. We value what's rare. And what's rare is typically hard to get access to. But that's not all. It has to be useful for our perceived problems. If you don't have a good solution for the problems we have, whether it be a cure for a rash or a cure for boredom, you don't have a profitable business. And that's a part of the foundation of what a business is. 

You need to know marketing. You must know about product creation and distribution. You need to test your products. You have to be good at customer service. None of this is passive. It's very active. But you aren't convinced, are you? You just know you're going to make money online in the most passive and easiest way possible, don't you? That's why you just paid all of that money to a fake guru promising you that you'll make about ten grand a month if you follow their exact blueprint to success. The only way they make money is from duping suckers like you into purchasing $2000 courses from them. I do empathize with those who fall for a flimsy course out of desperation or from being taken advantage of. But as nature shows us, many predators wait for the perfect opportunity to catch their prey slipping. Crocodiles do it. Snakes do it. And scammers online do it too. We may not like it, but it is a part of nature. The vulnerable will be eaten by those who are opportunistic. We have to do stuff to protect ourselves.

We must report fraud to the proper authorities. We have to think more about what the person selling us the dream wants versus being too deep in our own problems. I know it's hard to be skeptical and think about what the person selling you on the dream wants when you're just desperate to have the dream at any cost. I've been there. Haven't been duped out of thousands of dollars, but I've spent at least fifty for their entry level stuff. You know, the low ticket stuff they sell so they can try to hype you up for the big ticket courses. I can say I never squandered money to those people. But I've lost my money in stupid ways regardless, don't misunderstand me. So I'm not attempting to judge people who fall for scammers. I fell into my own indulgences and feelings and lost my money. Nobody fooled me but me! So maybe I'm the biggest fool out of us all - I sure feel like it.

But the point is, business isn't easy. It isn't a solution to your problem until you become the solution to someone else's problems. Once you solve other people's problems to the point they're paying you money for your solution, you're on the path to owning a business. If you get your profit margins and expenses right, then you'll be on your way to running a successful business. But none of that happens passively, unlike what your favorite social media influencer is probably telling you.

Your Favorite Social Media Influencer Is Probably Lying To You!

I'm not trying to say everyone you see on YouTube, TikTok, or any other social media platform tells lies. But I am saying because there are some shady people on social media, you should be careful about what you do with your money. Listening to a social media influencer about business is probably a bad idea in most cases. For one, they don't have your best interest in mind. Why do you think they ask you to like and subscribe? You think that's for your benefit? No, it's for theirs. It's so they can get sponsorship deals. It's so they can sell their poorly thrown-together course in hopes of making "a bag" off you. It's so they can get ad revenue for their channels. It's so they can get clicks to their affiliate links in the description boxes and pinned comments.

It's more about making them money than making you money. And that's the important thing you need to keep in mind. So when you click on that fancy thumbnail and hear your favorite social media influencer tell you that you're going to make thousands of dollars passively? Click off and run the other way. Running a business is hard. A.I. will not make your life easier. It doesn't do things for you. It's a tool. Just like a fancy hammer or a fancy power drill won't make you a master carpenter, new and shiny A.I. technology will not make you a better business person. Say your chosen business niche is print on demand. There are no tactics that are going to help you in this highly competitive field. If you don't learn how to do the basics of business - including finding a target audience, giving them what they want and making sure they want to pay for it, and making sure all of their concerns and issues are resolved in a timely manner - then you're going to flop. Oh, and you have to be a better alternative than the competition. If they can get it the way they want from someone else, why would they go to you?

Now, there are some great YouTube channels out there that deserve to be watched more, in my humble opinion. These people, while not flashy or fancy, have very valuable information. Of course, it doesn't really matter how valuable anyone's information is if you have no willingness or ability to process what people are saying and figure out how to apply what they're saying to your business. In other words, you're too passive in your learning. If you sitting there, passively listening or reading something without thought or intentions to put into action what you've read, why do you expect any kind of success?

Success Won't Chase You - You Have To Chase It!

It has been my experience that success won't chase me down. It's that same way with others as well. Success doesn't tend to chase down anyone who isn't actively looking for it. How do you actively look for success? Well, you start by giving it a clear, realistic and obtainable goal. Do you have a clear goal in mind? Is it something you can attain? Success is something that you have to actively make yourself ready for.

If you know your goals and they're clear (SMART goals, for example), then you know what you have to do in order to build your skills and be sure you reach that level of success you're after. Also, know what level you're on.

If you are new to a field, then you need to learn the basics of that niche. Don't just choose a niche because you think it's profitable. If there's competitors in the niches, then they're profitable. Whether or not you make money from those niches is determined by your skills, knowledge and the competition level of your chosen niche. A niche that's very easy to get into like, say, print on demand will be hard to break through and make your first few sales. The customers have a lot of options to choose from, and chances are high they won't even see your designs.

Regardless of how many times you upload a design, regardless of when your first sale comes in, you have to do the best you can and create the best products until you get your first customers. 

What Is Your Definition of Success

Another problem people have is they have no definition of what success means to them. They're just using someone else's definition of success and using that benchmark for their version of success. What's wrong with that? Well, you are basing your happiness on someone else's definition of what your happiness should be.  You can never win that way! So what's your own definition of success? Not what someone else set for you, but your definition.

When you know what you want, how you want to live your life and you set your life up to do more of what you love doing while taking care of what you love, then you're starting to live your version of success. Maybe you don't need a million dollars. Being a millionaire is overrated anyway. So is being a billionaire. Of course, being extremely wealthy more than what you could ever spend in a lifetime leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The things a lot of people have had to do in order to acquire so much money... It just doesn't leave me with a good outlook of any billionaire or even some worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

But if being a billionaire or being worth hundreds of millions of dollars is your thing, then go for it I guess. You only live once, am I right?  And also keep in mind that passive income doesn't play well with discovering your definition of success. If you don't know what your definition of success is, how will you know if you've "made it?" How do you know you've reached your definition of success?

"Well, when I earn a million dollars I'll know."

Oh. But you don't know how to earn your first dollar. How do you expect to earn a million of them? Luck?

One thing I do know, though, is that you will not accumulate a lot of money in a passive way - unless you already have a lot of money. Or, if you start investing and never stop investing from age 18 to 65. Or something like that. Of course, you could always win the lottery or get an inheritance from somewhere or marry into money. But chances are that if you're starting from nothing, it's going to take a lot of active, intentional actions from you to have a chance at getting rich. 

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It's Okay To Pursue Big Dreams

It's okay to pursue whatever your version of success is - as long as you cause no malicious harm to others around you. In fact, I think it's best for me to pursue difficult tasks in order to reach new levels I couldn't reach otherwise. This has been proven to me through my workout routine and advancing my career. If you don't spend time learning and stretching yourself, within reason, then you probably won't ever get anything worthwhile in life.

But I am saying that people on social media talking about passive income are probably lying to you. And those who say you shouldn't trade your time for money? Well, unless you have money to pay for someone else's skills, I don't see a way a person with no money can make money but by trading their time for money. And though we hate our 9-5 jobs and would rather be relaxing on a beach somewhere, a 9-5 job isn't the worst thing in the world. Because my parents and grandparents worked hard their entire lives, their children and their grandchildren - including me - have what we have. And because I work, I have stuff. So I'll never dismiss a 9-5 job as nothing, even though I'm transitioning into the 1099 life.

But I won't forget where I came from. I came from hard working people who clocked in and out every day for eight, ten, and sometimes twelve hours a day to build a life for themselves and those they care about.  Active income is the way a lot of people actually built their wealth - not passive income. Even Warren Buffett's hard work didn't pay off until he was in his fifties - and he was very active in his investing and building his business. I assume he still is - well, as active as he can be at his age anyway.

You can't be passive when you're first starting out. You have to be very active and consistent, letting your work build up and compound over time until you're able to slow down and let the momentum you started years ago get pulled on by gravity. It's like pushing a rock down a hill. While you are pushing the rock on level ground, gravity won't help you much. It'll take a lot of effort from you to get that rock moving. But once it's moving, it's not so hard to push any more. If you keep it moving and then it reaches a hill, it'll take off faster than you can keep up with if you're not careful. That's kind of how passive income works. It's compounded effort brought on by active and intentional actions you did in the past. Of course, there are exceptions to everything. But chances are high you won't be the exception.

At the end of the day, though, it's your life. You have to choose what you want to do with it. I'm just a man giving his opinions on the internet. Thanks for stopping by!

Jerrin Finney is the owner and author of blogs on The 1099 Life. Remember to always do your research and gather all the information necessary to make the best decision for yourself possible. Also follow me on social media! Click the social media icons to learn more!