How to build lifelong passive income

Published: March 28, 2024 at 6:00 am

Many are drawn to the concept of generating passive income, yet few can achieve substantial results. This piece will explore the reasons behind such shortcomings and provide a passive income framework that can lead to a consistent income stream. Our focus will be on cultivating passive income online.

Many of us struggle to build passive income: (1) Our understanding of passive income is limited. In reality, the concept of completely passive income is a myth. Simply establishing an online or offline source of revenue with the expectation of a lifetime of income is unrealistic. True passive income only refers to income streams that require minimal effort, not zero effort.

(2) Everyone wants the money, but no one wants to work hard: Building a steady and reliable passive income stream from an online presence will take about 3-5 years. We must regularly help others and build a trustworthy presence without expectations during this time.

(3) I hate to say this, but very few of us have something useful to offer! To make people buy from us, we must provide something useful. If we do not have this ability, then we must develop this ability. In my Earn From Skills course, I point out that the right time to start monetizing is when your readers/viewers write to you saying, “I will buy whatever you are selling.”

(4) Popularity is not the key to success! In our current society, one’s number of subscribers, followers, or verified account status is often used as a metric for judging people. Unfortunately, these metrics have little correlation with online income. Popularity draws in a crowd; as a rule, crowds do not think critically. On the other hand, attracting an audience of intelligent readers or viewers will increase the possibility of monetary gain and lead to referrals to others who appreciate quality content.

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We can only build simple, low-cost products for beginners by aiming for popularity, and the competition would be intense. A specialized online presence can easily make more money with fewer followers, and the competition would be significantly less. You can build a strong competitive moat around your online presence.

A template for passive income

So how do you go about building passive income?

  1. Stop thinking about the money! Our goal should only be to educate ourselves and to reach a point where we can help others. When this happens often, money-making opportunities will arise automatically.
  2. There are two possibilities. You may already have a skill or ability to solve a specific problem.
    • For example, you may know how to set up an e-commerce website;
    • You may know how to create a financial plan;
    • You may know how to lose weight etc.
  3. Or you wish to know more about a particular area. Dig deep, learn about it and share it. For example, when I started to use Excel for my financial planning, I knew nothing about Excel or financial planning. I studied, focused on a single problem, solved it and moved to a higher level problem and so on. If I shared my learnings, it would provide value to others.
  4. Time management is essential! You must allocate about 4-5 hours per week to your project.
  5. Start an online presence: tweet about developments in your skill space. Write short articles on Facebook, in a blog, and on Youtube. Create a community; create an identity (even if people hate your views, they should not be able to ignore you). Polarization works!
  6. Develop your communities trust.
  7. Recognise their problems. This would inspire not only new content but also new products.
  8. Do not start selling anything until people write to you saying: “I want you to help. How do I pay?”
  9. Recognise all this will take years and years to gain traction.

Theoretically, active or passive income is the overlap of skill and utiity. Practically it is all about consistency

A venn diagram with overlap of skills and utility
A Venn diagram with an overlap of skills and utility

Passive income is based on two key ingredients: value and trust.

  • The value here refers to how well you satisfy the requirements of your followers. A good amount of this value should be offered for free without holding back so that your readers appreciate your expertise. How else can you convince them to buy your products?! Value alone is not enough.
  • Trust here means no matter what, you will always provide unbiased content. Any sponsorships or affiliation from product manufacturers will break this trust with your readers/viewers.

The more trustworthy value you provide, the more members of your community will be ready to pay for your products. Notice that we have so far not talked about how you must create a passive income product! When you offer trustworthy value regularly, product ideas will come to you!

What matters the most is building trust and offering value regularly: At least once a week – consistency is everything in this business! To be consistent, you need to manage your time efficiently!

Patient effort  – without expectations – that helps others and therefore teaches us to become better.

This is the secret of building a passive income that would last a lifetime. We have a detailed video course covering all the steps mentioned above and more to help you build such an income.

Sricharan Monigari, an Oracle HCM cloud solution architect, has to say the following about the course:

For a long time, I had some ideas in mind for a side hustle, but I faced many questions on how to start, where to start, and how to make a passive income from it in the long run. I signed up for Earnfromskills and have gone through the content, which provided more clarity on starting a blog, hosting, plugins, posting the content, and helping others, and then the money will follow when others feel that we are posting good content.
I just followed the content, bought a domain, signed up for hosting, started a WordPress blog,, and started creating content without any expectations, and the sole idea was to help others in the area where I am an expert. Slowly the blog had a good reach, and within less than a year, it had reached a good readership (> 1.3 lakh views), and I had a good customer base who subscribed to the newsletters.
After a year, I started membership plans, and some of the regular readers signed up for it, where I post exclusive content for them, which they cannot find elsewhere. Along with that, I am generating some bucks using Google Adsense too. Overall, if you have an idea in mind and are struggling with where to start and how to start, this course would help you connect the dots and get started without procrastinating. Thank you, Pattu, for creating this course and helping others start the journey of side hustle.
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About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
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