Just How Passive Is Passive Income?

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The opportunity to make money while we sleep is one few of us would turn down. And passive income, at face value, suggests we can do just that.

Social media is chock-full of influencers telling us how to make passive income. And while many of those content creators do actually earn money even when they’re not on the clock, fewer of them are forthcoming about the work required to get there.

“A lot of people are surprised by how much work it takes because I think a lot of people who are earning a passive income are talking about how great it is having earned that,” says Pat Flynn, a California-based entrepreneur and creator of the “Smart Passive Income” podcast. “But they don’t necessarily tell you the whole truth. You’re seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

“Passive” income, in most cases, won’t be created passively. Whatever the pursuit –– investing in stocks to receive dividends, buying rental properties, earning ad revenue on video channels –– you’ll have to put in work upfront before you can start making money while doing little, or no, work. And in many cases, you’ll have to keep doing work to maintain that income, too.

When does a job or side hustle turn into passive income? That depends on how you define it.

There is no clear-cut point where income turns passive. For some, it could be when no work or upkeep is required, or for others, it could be when a minimal amount of work each week is required. And “minimal work” is also subjective.

“Passive income, for me, is really something […]

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