Tiny Startup Camp

A tiny camp for making tiny startups.

November 10-11, 2012
Portland, Oregon

Be Scalable, not Passive

I hate the phrase “lifestyle business” mainly because there seem to be a ton of people who’ve jumped on the “lifestyle” bandwagon and are all looking to get rich selling shit. Or worse, get rich telling you how to get rich following their advice on lifestyle businesses (even if they’d never done it before).

Obviously, I’m way into helping people start small online businesses (this is the Tiny Startup Camp blog after all), but there seems to be something a little douchey about the lifestyle business niche, and in general, I’ve grown against using the term.

Another term people throw around is “passive income.” And for a while, I’d used that to describe Paleo Plan’s business model, as I’m passively making money while I sleep. However, due to the 4-Hour Work Week and other lifestyle design/business mavens making big claims, it’s often assumed that you do a little work once, then sit back and rake in the money, never working again.

Honestly, this is just straight false (at least for me and everyone else I know). A much better term is scalable income. Meaning, your business can scale very well. More visitors, more sales, more traffic, all without necessarily working harder. Because you will have to work, but hopefully not trading dollars for hours, like when I was an employee, or a contractor.

Paleo Plan scales well because we do the same thing each week. And that’s been fairly constant from when I had 100 customers,  1000 customers, and to where we are now (more than that ;). We make more money every month, even though we do relatively the same amount of work. That’s scalable income. That’s the sweet spot. I will say that we have more support needs, but at Paleo Plan, that scales at a very manageable rate. And having so many customers you need help with support is a good problem (so long as they’re paying customers).

Anyway, as we draw closer to Tiny Startup Camp, I just want people being honest with themselves about passive income. Hopefully, we’ll find a way to do less work while making more, but never believe you don’t have to work at all, and the money will just keep coming in.

Note: This post was heavily influenced by Sacha Greif’s fantastic post Scalable Income Strategies.


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