Smart people build systems that generate income 24/7, especially passive income. This can include starting a business, building a web site, becoming an investor, or generating royalty income from creative work. The system delivers the ongoing value to people and generates income from it, and once it’s in motion, it runs continuously whether you tend to it or not. From that moment on, the bulk of your time can be invested in increasing your income (by refining your system or spawning new ones) instead of merely maintaining your income.
This web site is an example of such a system. At the time of this writing, it generates about $9000 a month in income for me (update: $40,000 a month as of 10/31/06), and it isn’t my only income stream either. I write each article just once (fixed time investment), and people can extract value from them year after year. The web server delivers the value, and other systems (most of which I didn’t even build and don’t even understand) collect income and deposit it automatically into my bank account. It’s not perfectly passive, but I love writing and would do it for free anyway. But of course it cost me a lot of money to launch this business, right? Um, yeah, $9 is an awful lot these days (to register the domain name). Everything after that was profit.
Sure it takes some upfront time and effort to design and implement your own income-generating systems. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel — feel free to use existing systems like ad networks and affiliate programs. Once you get going, you won’t have to work so many hours to support yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to be out having dinner with your spouse, knowing that while you’re eating, you’re earning money? If you want to keep working long hours because you enjoy it, go right ahead. If you want to sit around doing nothing, feel free. As long as your system continues delivering value to others, you’ll keep getting paid whether you’re working or not.
Your local bookstore is filled with books containing workable systems others have already designed, tested, and debugged. Nobody is born knowing how to start a business or generate investment income, but you can easily learn it. How long it takes you to figure it out is irrelevant because the time is going to pass anyway. You might as well emerge at some future point as the owner of income-generating systems as opposed to a lifelong wage slave. This isn’t all or nothing. If your system only generates a few hundred dollars a month, that’s a significant step in the right direction.