2020 has been a year of losses. Lost parents, lost grandparents, lost siblings, lost homes, lost jobs, lost businesses, lost incomes. In my city, I saw restaurants and coffee shops close — restaurants and coffee shops that have been around for decades. Some shaped my city, the locals, the artists in this city, the way we interact with one another, how we understand what this city is, and what the people of this city are like.
All lost because of a damn pandemic.
But anyway, this is The Side Blogger Podcast, so I’ll focus on one of these aspects of loss and how that affects the topic of this episode — the lost income aspect. Whether it happened because you lost your job or you had to shut down your one business, the truth is that many people are suffering, struggling, coping, and finally coming to terms with a new kind of reality.
The idea of multiple income streams isn’t new, of course. But until 2020, it was only a very niche group of people who were talking about it. I was fortunate enough to have gone through situations that made me realize a few years ago that I couldn’t possibly sleep OK, knowing that I could lose my job and not have anything to fall back on. That was when I started to play around with the idea of creating a blog, and eventually, The Side Blogger was born.
But like I was saying, for many others, it was the year 2020. And in the spirit of creating multiple income streams, there is something that I’m noticing, which has me worried, to be honest.
It’s what happens when people get desperate. Out of desperation, they try to do things that, had it not been for said desperation, they wouldn’t even consider. Common sense wouldn’t allow them to consider doing these things. But if we know something about desperation, it is that it defies common sense. And we end up doing things that we inevitably regret later on.
For example, I was on Medium a few days ago, catching up on new articles and people I follow. There was one article by someone whom I do not follow, but for some reason, Medium thought it would be a good idea for me to check her out, that stood out to me like a flashing red light. It was an article by a woman who is considering starting five different income streams in 2021.
Think about it!
Five different businesses that are all very different from one another and not one of them is all that easy. For example, this woman is considering starting a new blog and growing her audience to the point where she would have enough blog traffic to be eligible to run ads on her site. Now, personally, I hate generic ads, and I never put ads on my blog, but I do know that ads do not make squats unless you have a HUGE number of blog traffic coming to your site. And that’s not an easy thing to do! Unless you’re writing every day and publishing every day and promoting every day, you have a really good understanding of quality, SEO, user experience, user demand, etc. Not something a total newbie can do in just a few months.
One of her other goals is to build up a YouTube channel from the ground up. That is also not an easy thing to do. I know people who make multiple YouTube videos every week and have been doing it for well over a year, and they still make maybe a couple of hundred bucks per month. Someone I know had written about it, and they made a little over 500 bucks after they’ve been doing this for almost two years.
Like I said, not easy.
Another business idea this person mentioned is dropshipping. Sounds great, but do not forget that it takes time to design good products. Even if you think that since the dropshipping company will take care of your shipping and, well, basically the hard parts, creating designs for mugs and pillow covers takes time.
Every business idea that this person had been talking about takes time. And she plans to do all of them in 2021. And she had a few other ideas too, but by the time I read up to just these three, I started to get a headache.
As someone who has built a blogging business, a template business, and has created courses on the side, I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. I teach my students how to blog and how to sell Canva templates on the side, but I never promise that it would be easy. Because they’re not.
So, here’s the thing. It is a great idea to have multiple income streams. Really! I encourage it. But if you start 5 different businesses all at the same time, trust me, you’re going to burn out. Fast! You’ll lose money, peace of mind, sleep, etc., etc.
The way to go about multiple income streams, especially ones that are meant to be passive, is to focus on one thing at a time. Maybe two, if both of them are closely related. And once you have created a system where your business kind of runs on autopilot, then you can take that time and energy to something new and build something else. But if you’re trying to do five things simultaneously, I can guarantee that unless you’re a super-human, you’re gonna fail.
So, I know times are hard, and maybe some of you are desperate, so pick what you want to focus on, what new thing you want to start, wisely, and then put your efforts into building up that thing. If you have time, pour all of your time into it. The faster you can create something that runs on autopilot, the sooner you can start another business, another income stream. But trying to go at five things, half-heartedly, all at once, won’t solve your problems.
You see, most things, most passive income ideas, so to speak, are not entirely passive. Like, sure, my courses bring me passive income. But I had to make those courses! I had to build them. I had to write a script. I had to make videos. Then I had to upload them and design landing pages for these courses. So, it took time. Once I put them all together, I could start making some passive income. But I still have to promote them regularly in order to make regular sales.
Remember that passive income streams are not passive from day-1. You will have to put in a lot of work in the beginning, to make sure the thing is passive down the road.
So yeah, if your goal in 2021 is to start five different passive income streams that actually require putting in the time, then please, just don’t. Focus on one thing, and then the next thing.
If you’re desperate and in need of money fast, it’s always best to get a job, and if you’re having trouble doing so, it’s still better to find some kind of freelance work. Do work on your blog or any other side hustle to create a passive income stream down the road, but work at it on the side, over weekends and nights. Set aside a few hours to grow your blog or another business. Just keep in mind that it takes time to build up a business and make money from it.
You may be in a desperate situation right now, so think carefully about the choices you’re making because you do not want to end up making things worse.
Thoughts? I welcome them in the comments section.