Hey, readers. I need your help today. Please vote on the poll at the end of this post. My question is this – should I consider blogging income as passive income? In 2017, we are very close to being able to cover 100% of our expenses with our passive income, but we’re not quite there yet. I don’t count blogging income as passive income at the moment. If I count blogging income, then we’re there. I’d like your opinion on how I should count blogging income. Blogging isn’t really passive, but the income is. It’s somewhat difficult to categorize.
See how we generate passive income.
Blogging is not passive
Truthfully, blogging is a lot of work for me. I spend 20-30 hours per week writing and maintaining Retire by 40. It’s definitely not passive. Here is what I’m doing every week to keep this blog going.
- Write 2 blog posts – Each blog post can take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours of work. I need to research, write, edit (by Mrs. RB40), create graphics, schedule it, and make sure it publishes on schedule.
- Interact with readers and other bloggers – I respond to comments, do social media stuff, and visit other blogs. I really enjoy this part of blogging, but it takes a lot of time.
- Back end stuff – I make sure the site is running smoothly, upgrade plugins, deal with security issues, monitor performance, and more. This part usually doesn’t take that much time unless there is a problem or big update. I haven’t had much of a problem since we moved to SiteGround and I highly recommend them.
- Respond to mails, interview requests, and networking – I get lots of emails every day and I’m pretty slow with the responses. Sorry!
- Work with advertisers – I changed advertising networks last year and signed on with some new advertisers last year and that was some work. This year, I didn’t have to spend much time on this part of blogging because everything is settled.
This aspect of maintaining a blog is different for every blogger. Some bloggers post just once per month and they don’t have to do much work on their sites. Other bloggers have a coaching business on the side or products such as books or courses. Some blogs hire out everything and the owner just have to manage the people. I’m not sure if that’s more passive or not. I guess it depends on how good you are at finding good help and managing people. There are many different approaches to making money online.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, see my guide – How to Start A Blog and Why You Should.
Blogging income is somewhat passive
On the other hand, blogging income is somewhat passive. We’re in Hawaii this week and the blogging income should keep rolling in. I’ll check the site once in a while, but I’ll log just a few hours this week. One week off won’t make any difference in the income especially since I have the posts scheduled. One week is just too short to make a difference.
I generate all of my online income through advertising and that’s passive. As long as the traffic is stable, the blog should continue to generate income. The real test will come in a few years when we take a year off from retirement to travel around the world. (It’s going to be hard work to “road school” our kid.) I plan to post twice per week, one post about travel and one refresh/rework of an older article. One year is a long time and I’m not sure how traffic will be affected by this change. I guess we’ll see what happens.
Eventually, I’ll have to stop blogging altogether. Don’t worry, it won’t be anytime soon. I still enjoy blogging, but I just don’t see myself blogging when I’m 70. That’s 27 years away so we have plenty of time left. I really don’t know what will happen to our traffic if I stop blogging completely and just repost old articles. I suspect the traffic will slowly drop and stabilize at some point. If you have firsthand experience, I’d love to hear about it. My optimistic guess is that traffic will eventually drop to 50% of the current level.
That’s why I think blogging income is about 50% passive. What if I consider 50% of my blogging income passive next year? Our FI ratio* will look great then. We’ll be over 100% by a good margin. That might convince Mrs. RB40 to retire earlier than her 2020 goal.
FI ratio = passive income / expense
What do you think?
*Update* You need to see Stockbeard’s comment below. He shared his experience on trying to make a site more passive. Traffic really dropped if you don’t add new content. Just search for Stockbeard.
You can see how I’m doing with blog income at my Passive Income page.
For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.
Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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