With the rise of the Internet and designers’ increasing savvy to opportunities for licensing and information products, the phrase passive income has created a new sense of urgency. Everybody wants to start earning some, now. I get it. Earning money on the work you’ve already done, in perpetuity, sounds pretty good but unless you get very lucky, passive income is still going to involve work.
If you license, you become a marketing partner for your brands, and I know how much you love to spend your time marketing. It’s a brand-building strategy for the long haul, because the right on-brand collaborations will showcase your aesthetic over the course of your career. But it’s not a quick process. It can take up to eighteen months from the time you begin talks to the time your products go out in the books and then another six before you see any royalty checks, that is if you negotiated well.
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I saw the late Michael Graves speak at Dwell a couple of years back and he said one of the biggest mistakes he made was negotiating his own agreement for the Alessi kettle. Turns out that now ubiquitous product earned him very little. As for you, unless your product or pattern is a run-a-way hit, your trade partner won’t continue to offer what doesn’t sell, which means that you’re going to have to do your part to sell it.
If you’ve got a book, whether self-published or not, or information products, the same holds true. If you think that the masses are going to find you online without a platform, a comprehensive marketing strategy and a whole lot of hustle, more power to you.
So let’s get back to your urgency, first of all are you doing the most obvious thing you can do to create passive income: save for retirement. Depending on your financial structure you can put up to $40K in a SEP IRA each year. Next, knowing that creating the structures for other passive income channels is going to require even more of you, at least in the beginning, are you still raring to go? Or is the real reason you’re so determined to earn income passively, because you’re working too hard for your money now?
Are your clients ideal? Are your team members playing the A-level game you require to support you in delivering your luxury services? Do you have enough of them? Have you structured your calendar so that you’re not invisible? If the answer to any of these is no, that’s what given rise to the underlying fear that money won’t be there for you in the future. It’s because deep down you know that you’re exhausting yourself now.
If you continue to throw your financial fear into the future and you continue to focus on not having enough, no amount of passive income will make you feel wealthy because that's not what you're focused on. What this urgency is showing you is that you need strategic help to redesign your business, now.