It is a dream everybody has: get paid for something while you are lying on the beach or doing something else. Earning passive income has been a hot topic during the first two years of our trip. We have tried to sell various things in a passive way. From pictures and wordpress manuals to online courses and more. This page will be updated with our experiments but more importantly with our learnings: is there real happiness in passive income?
Experiment: challenge each other
Very often we challenge each other. We start an experiment proving the other wrong or winning a bet that we take on. In 2012 we started our first passive income experiment. The question: who could make the most money in a passive way? For example: you are on your surfboard enjoying the waves and your product is selling online by itself. Steven decided to try and sell his pictures on istockphoto.com and Diana decided she would start selling Spanish WordPress theme manuals that we had made for customers. We both took more or less a 40 hour week to prepare for all the money to start flowing in our direction.
Does that work? We dedicated approximately two months of active attention to both projects. Communicating with customers, optimizing the website (we did not use Google Ads or Facebook ads). The conclusion? We are not (yet) convinced this is the way to go for us. Steven sold photos online for the amount of 2,65 EUR and Diana sold 8 WordPress theme manuals for 9,95 EUR each. What we learned from this by trying it for ourselves is that like every business online, is like having a shop in real life. Once the door of your shop is open, you’ll have to be present. Improve the shop, add new products, promote the shop, work on a mailing list, send promotional mailings for your products, update the products over time. It takes a lot of work and won’t be as ‘passive‘ as you’d hope. We concluded that we are not afraid to work or to put hours in, but we would like to work on something that is really in our hearts. Selling photos online or selling WordPress theme manuals is not in our hearts, so we quit the projects.
Experiment failed: what to do next?
So, this experiment failed. YAY!! We learned something very important: if you decide to make an online living, don’t focus on the money. Don’t make the money your starting point. Start with what is in your heart. What kind of things would you like to contribute to the world with your talents and passions? How can you add value to other peoples’ lives? We decided to start the search there. Our heart-project? Lifestyle design: helping other travelers, entrepreneurs and people who feel like life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to them. We focus on following the heart, following the call to your own adventure and create a life on your terms. We have called it Wonderlijk Werken (website in Dutch). We offer online and offline training-programs to start living a life on your terms. As of the fall of 2015, we offer our Travel and Work program online in English. Interested? Send us an email!