My journey - A brief history
My name is Paul Cardall, and when I was 16 I had my first and only real job, working for British Steel, a job that lasted only 6 years. Being made redundant at the age of 22, broke my heart, I loved that job and in losing it, I felt betrayed. Anyway, following a period of unemployment (loads of free time, very little money) I had several jobs in quick succession, none of which I enjoyed and I quickly realised that I had no interest at all in being an employee ever again. I just never liked putting someone else in control of my time and that was decades ago and I haven’t had a real job since.
So moving on from that point I had to find a way to make money and support myself and eventually my family without making income as an employee.
I started doing some contract work, which I enjoyed better than having a job, but I was still basically trading my time for money, so I kind of went from being employed, to being self-employed. Years later I came up with a different paradigm, and that was that instead of thinking of myself as self-employed was to think of myself as a business owner.
And that’s when I restructured my business to focus on creating more freedom for myself instead of trying to directly earn money - and so my goal at that point become to put my income on auto-pilot as much as possible, and in doing so, freeing up more time.
Instead of trying to make more money I set about trying to make a decent income in a way that required less and less of my time and that worked extremely well, eventually I got it down to where I could meet my expenses while working only one or two days a week.
And it didn’t hurt that my standard of living was comfortable doing that. So obviously getting to this point gave me incredible freedom because I didn’t have to spend much of my time working I was able to spend the bulk of my time doing what I really wanted to do, whether or not it made money – and for me this meant a lot of time working on my own personal development, which is something I’m really passionate about.
So today, I have the privilege of only working when I want to work, and I’m free to take on interesting projects regardless of whether or not they are profitable. So I get to spend time, maybe even weeks at a time, working on projects that I’m interested in, whether or not they generate money.
My work is no longer something I primarily think about as a way to make money. Instead of working for money I think about my work to express who I am and to grow.
So how can you reach this point if this is something you want for yourself as well. Well the key point for me was to realise that instead of working for money directly I would spend my time to set up systems and processes that would do the bulk of the work for me. That way I would continue to make money even while I slept, while I’m on my holidays and so on.
The whole idea is to decouple your time from your income so you’re not spending your time to make money, instead you're spending your time to set up systems that would then run for you independent of your time, and those systems would generate your income.
Part of the reason I did this was that I found getting a job was to risky a way to make money.
That probably sounds very ironic because people often think that starting your own business as very high risk – really it’s just the exact opposite though.
If you run your own business, or you create other streams of money that aren’t based on having a job, you can’t get fired, you can’t get laid off.
See, when you have a job you have a limited downside perhaps, but you also have a limited upside. Because if you have to spend so much of your time working for money, like full time, say 40+ hours a week or more, you’re going to miss way to many opportunities because you’re giving too much of your time working to make money, so I think its far riskier in the long run to miss so many of these opportunities than it is to worry about going broke.
I’ve been broke before, its not really a big deal, you start fresh and you move on and a job actually offers even less protection against going broke because of the fact that you can get fired, and laid off through no fault of your own (as I was when British Steel went under, laying off thousands of jobs) somebody can just come along and turn off your income, whereas if you setup streams of income through a variety of sources some major catastrophe would have to happen to really make you go broke.
If one income source has a problem, and gets turned off through no fault of your own, you can pick up the slack through the other income sources.
So what's the process you go through to do this:
The whole idea is about creating streams of income. Streams of income where you set up a little system that runs for you, that generates income (and a little later on I’ll give you some examples of how to do this) but the basic idea is to simply try something, try anything, try an affiliate programme (earn a percentage from selling other peoples products), try setting up a little web site as a way to make money (generate traffic+ad sense), work from whatever is your own strength, and if it works, if you find something that generates a little bit of income on the side, keep it, if it doesn’t work that well, maybe keep it small and don’t invest much time into it, or if it doesn’t work at all, just dump it and try something else instead.
You have to get passed this fear of failure thing because with this model, failure is very common, you’re just going to go through one failure to the next to the next to the next, and eventually you’ll have a little success.
And I’ve tried many streams of income that have just utterly failed, an example was trying to sell T-Shirts on an early version of my web site – many people try this, and I find very few people make much money from it because the profit margin is too small.
So that was a project I tried for a month and I dumped it and moved onto something else. And affiliate programmes is another thing that makes me very little money, but I keep it because it’s free money and it doesn’t really take much effort to maintain, and it's a way to help others start on this Passive Income journey.
These streams of income are dynamic to begin with, when one dies, another one is borne, you’re constantly trying new ones, think of it like the Ready Fire Aim Approach, as opposed to Ready Aim Fire. So you just try something, you get ready, you fire, you try it, and if it works, you adjust it, you tweak it and you try to improve it, and if it doesn’t work, you drop it, and you fire again, and try something else.
So with every stream of income you might start very, very small, you might just try to find an extra way to make £10 a month, with one little thing you can do, just £10 a month, and you might think that that’s very small, and its negligible, but if you can get to £10 a month, then you can probably find a way to turn it into £20 a month, and if you can turn it into £20 a month, you can probably find a way to turn it into £50 a month, and from there you could probably get to £100, £200, £500. £1000 and so on.
Just to get one stream of £10 a month, is actually a really good thing if you can get to that point, because it’s the seed that you can grow.
So the way to do this is through the process of leverage.
There’s leveraging other peoples Time, there is leveraging other peoples Money but my favourite form of leverage, happens to be leveraging Technology.
By leveraging internet technology I can take an hour to write one article and then post it on my web site and it will be read by thousands of people around the UK. I’ve articles written years ago that are still online, and people are still finding it today and reading them. This is a great way to provide value for virtually no cost, its all about providing value.
So what are some other ways you could provide value. Well some of the processes I’ve set up and used, are direct sales. For example I created some intellectual property, which for me was an eBook and I sold this over the internet in a downloadable form. I also spent a lot of time developing an automated sales system so somebody would come to the web site, click a PayPal Buy It Now button to purchase my eBook.
PayPal would take that persons money, and deposit it into my PayPal account, and then direct that buyer to a link to download my eBook.
That entire process was largely automated, it didn’t require human intervention at all. There was a web sever (PayPal) that was handling all the parts of it, the download, the sale, the fulfilment of the order and so on.
So taking a period of days to set up that system, its now just running on auto-pilot. And it’ll continue to run as an automated process. So there is a lot of upfront investment here, to create the eBook (Intellectual Property), to create the sales system (PayPal's Buy It Now button), but after that you're kind of on auto-pilot.
Another way I’ve made money before, is licensing other products from people to sell. So once you have the sales system developed, you leverage it further by plugging other peoples products into it, so I would go to other authors, and license their eBooks and sell them through my own web site and split the profits with them.
Or you could take your Intellectual Property, and find other publishers, and license it to them, and get paid a stream of royalties, year on year.
One thing that has been beneficial to me is building a high traffic web site, because when you build a high traffic web site you can do so many things with it, you can sell products through it, which you don’t even have to own, you can license products from other people, and sell them through your web site, or you can sell advertising space (Ad-sense etc).
So when you’ve laid the ground work of building a high traffic web site (your upfront investment) you then leverage this to make multiple streams of income that don’t require much time at all to maintain.
You could also network with other people, who are doing a similar kind of thing, and are of the same type of mind-set, looking for passive income, and you’ll find all kinds of creative deals to be struck.
Through networking you’ll find people who have products to sell whereby you could create a partnership deal, where you sell their products through your web site, and they sell your products through their web site, these kinds of deals can usually work out pretty well.
Again don’t worry about failure, fail a lot, especially when there is no downside, experiment like crazy – but focus first and foremost on providing value.
And in order to provide that value you have to develop the skill, you have to take the time to develop some talent or skill, which you can leverage, again, again and again. It can be a skill with technology, it can be some certain type of knowledge, it can be the ability to develop some type of intellectual property, like music or art work or so on, or information products.
But once you have a way to providing that value and delivering it, its not to hard to come up with a system.
Obviously you have to spend sometime learning this (your upfront investment) but really, if you think about it, it’s worth investing months of your time to figuring this out.
So if you want to earn money without having a job it is definitely possible (I’m living proof of that) but you do need to lay the ground work first.
Figure out what you’re passionate about and turn it into a strength and then find a way to leverage that strength. And if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, that’s a common problem, especially when you’re young, just take your time to find out, try lots of different things, experiment, and when you do find out what you’re passionate about, and you have an idea about what you want to start working on, then start small and bootstrap your way up.
Start with a goal to create just £10 a month of extra income, and once you’ve done that, set another goal to turn it into £20 of extra income a month (you know the rest).
It’s really just a process of continuing to experiment, creating small income streams, tweaking these streams of income, and adding new streams. If something doesn’t work, dump it and try something else. If something does work, find a way to do more of it. It sounds like common sense right, and it is common sense, so go on and do it, and be patient and celebrate your small victories.
When you reach that point of having your passive income be enough to support yourself that’s when you’re in a real good situation because you’ll be able to free yourself from having to spend so much of your time working for money. Then you can spend the bulk of your time having a life instead of having to work so hard just to pay the bills.
Our goal is to find multiple income streams, and the more passive the better.