9 Minimalist Steps Towards Passive Income

February 10th, 2010 § 0 comments


I wrote this post a long time ago, before I knew many things. Please note that some of the information isn’t as accurate as some of my later writing, because I hadn’t really figured out how to generate passive income on a larger scale yet. For more accurate and complete information, please check out my e-book Minimalist Business.

Thank you,
Everett Bogue

The minimalist journey to manifesting money in your sleep.

This is the second part in my series on how I started my minimalist business. The first part was about focusing on high-impact income.

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Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

An interesting thing happened to me overnight on Monday of last week (after I released The Art of Being Minimalist.) This was a fundamental change in my existence, one that I had worked hard for. I didn’t think it would be so gratifying, but it really was a good feeling to have.

I started to make money in my sleep.

Not a huge amount of money. But enough that it feels liberating. From that Monday night forward I’ve completely changed the structure of my income.

I hope sharing how I did it can help you start living this life too.

A brief history of making money.

In the past I made income by exchanging time for money: I’ll write an article for you, you’ll pay me one time X. Your company makes any money over that. Or, for instance, I’ll create a photo-illustration for your company for X-dollars an hour, and you’ll keep any money over that.

After I’m done with the project I get paid a set amount, and then all of the rest of the profits to a company that sees me as disposable.

I imagine many of you are still working under these conditions. I hope this article can help you liberate yourself through a minimalist approach to work.

By taking the time to create a scalable work of art that I can sell on the internet, I’ve tapped into a completely different way of thinking about income. You can do this too.

I’m no longer sitting on the factory line banging out one widget at a time. Instead, I focused on creating a work of art that can lead to a number of returns above and beyond my one action.

Why would you want to start running your own minimalist business?

  • You’re tired of being paid a set daily amount by a corporation in exchange for the higher value you deliver.
  • You want to free yourself to spend more time doing research and other far more interesting things.
  • You want to take extended periods of time away from hard work regularly; changing the monotonous daily M-F 9-5 trek towards death into something far more beautiful.

Let me absolutely clear: you can’t take this path if you’re lazy. I spent months learning the skills, writing the copy, and making the layout/design for The Art of Being Minimalist. I’ve worked at professional blogging outlets since 2005, I studied writing intensely for three years at Journalism school at NYU.

Doing this work wasn’t easy.

In a lot of ways keeping your head down at your day job and plugging your way towards oblivion is a lot easier than it is to start your own project.

If you choose to embark on this path, the rewards can be greater. And who doesn’t want to make money in their sleep?

9 steps toward manifesting passive income.

1, Help people learn.

People want to better themselves. If you focus all of your energy on filling a need by producing something that helps people, you will have a much better chance of success. What do you know how to do that other people don’t? (I know how to live with 100 things, work from anywhere, and be free.) Focus on creating a product around that subject.

2, Focus your free time in the important.

I know Lost is on, I really do (but I’m not watching it.) You’re not getting anything done if you come home from your 9-5 and flip on the TV. If you want freedom, if you want to start generating passive income, you have to work on it. For me, this meant saving, quitting my job, and isolating myself in Portland’s Powell’s books while I read the business section and planned for world domination. Maybe you can do this too, but if you can’t, the next best strategy is to destroy your TV and dedicate the hours between 6pm-2am to creating something amazing.

3, Disconnect.

Work doesn’t happen on Facebook, Twitter, and Email. No matter what the three billion social media gurus in the world tell you, there is no work to be done on these platforms. I use all of these tools for connection and communication, but not for work. Unplug the internet while you’re creating, it’s the only way to make real art a reality.

4, Automate.

Make everything happen automatically. I wouldn’t be making money in my sleep if I had to confirm each transaction manually via e-mail. Instead, I’ve hired e-junkie to complete each transaction for me. They take the orders, receive the payments, record how much I owe my affiliates, and deposit it all into my Paypal account automatically. These tools exist to automate your business, use them.

5, Support a community.

I wouldn’t be anywhere without the simplicity/minimalist community. I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve had some brilliant conversations. Check out 15 Minimalist/Simplicity bloggers to watch to meet some of these amazing folks. My interview section is another great resource. Also, Leo Babauta’s list of minimalist links. Many of these people joined my affiliate program for The Art of Being Minimalist. We support each other, we grow together.

6, Opt out of physical reality.

Our culture is changing on a fundamental level away from relying on physical goods. While we will always have to sleep and eat, most of the thriving businesses that cross my radar are focused around digital distribution of digital goods. Why? Because making physical objects is costly and they create clutter. A minimalist doesn’t like spending money on a business before it thrives. A minimalist also hates clutter. Physical products also deplete the world’s limited natural resources. Create a digital business and you’ve avoided all of these potential problems.

7, Don’t try to game the system.

There are no easy ways to the top. There is no way to cheat the system. There is no way to fake your way to success. You have to create something brilliant to succeed. You have to spend a lot of time and effort doing it. Did I say this would be easy? No, it’s not easy.

8, Do your research, learn everything you can.

Study people who have found success in your minimalist business. How did they find success? Read a lot of books. Seth Godin is a god, ignore him at your own peril (I just re-read his classic Unleashing The IdeaVirus, you can get it free.) If you’re into blogging, Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch’s A-List Blogging Bootcamps is starting in a couple of days, they’ll teach you blogging basics and put you on the path to success. Darren Rowse’s Problogger is a huge resource. Chris Guillebeau is the master of the minimalist business, consider reading everything he has to say about success online.

9, Create art.

People are sick of mundane products doing mundane things. The last twenty years were about televisions selling us mediocre products, now we’re past that. A product that is remarkable, that is crafted with the personal hand of an artist who cares, will be successful. Mundane mediocre products will fail in most situations, so don’t create them. Choose to create something beautiful instead.

Here are some other resources that I hope can help you:

Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

Glen Allsopp’s Cloud Living

Johnny B. Truant’s Zero to Business (in Just 7 Days)


If this helped you, I’d love if you’d hit the retweet button. Thanks!

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