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I Get Paid to Sleep

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of July 2006 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

The quote that stood out to me in the article on MSNBC that I mentioned a few posts ago was from Andrew Leyden from the Podcast Directory who marvels at his new income source by saying:

‘”I get paid while mowing the lawn. I get paid while cleaning the garage. I get paid driving my wife to her office, buying groceries, seeing a movie, playing video games, or just surfing the Internet. That’s really the nice thing about AdSense: No matter what I’m doing, people keep clicking and I keep getting paid.”‘

For about six months a few years back I did shift work in an in-flight catering company. It was the most boring work ever. I’d stand in front of a conveyor belt for hours on end putting orange juice on trays as they went past. The only way I could get through a shift was to play little mind games as I worked – one of which was to work out how much I was being paid per orange juice (I’m not good at maths so it’d take a whole shift to work it out).

Now I sometimes play a different game – this time not because I’m bored but because it’s kind of fun.

I work out how much I get paid to sleep, to play with my son, to walk out to the mail box, to take a weekend off at a Bed and Breakfast etc. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have a business that earns you an income whether you’re actually physically there working on it or not.

A lot of people see making money online via blogging as being a ‘passive income’.

I don’t agree with using that term to describe ProBlogging simply because there is a lot of work involved and it does take years to build up (read this ProBlogger Public Service Announcement if you’re seeing quick and easy dollar signs floating in front of your eyes thinking about blogging). However – there are moments where the income feels, and really is, quite passive.

Of course if you remain passive for too long your income will suffer – but it’s a nice feeling to be able to take a day off and know that the work you’ve invested in your blogs in the previous months and years is still paying off.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. “A lot of people see making money online via blogging as being a ‘passive income’.”
    interesting. I knew that earning money is always a difficult and active work. Secondly, earning money through blogging is a very difficult work. Not only you have to write quality content but also you have to ensure that some people come and read them and pray that some of them click on your ads. So, the income may be passive or active but the process is tough.

  2. Darren – I would have to agree with you. There is nothing “passive” about blogging – if someone is using automation to create a blog and make money then it falls into a basic website on a blogging platform.

    It’s not something we realize at the very start of blogging but once we step outside our own blog to read and connect with other bloggers – we realize this is more than traffic or income. It is about connecting. The income follows.

    The more I learn about blogs and blogging is that it is work to create and maintain the relationships and connection with readers. Income or not, it is about people. A “passive” relationship isn’t much of a relationship – the same holds true for a blog.

  3. I must agree and it took me a little bit of time to realise this.

    In days gone by writers would earn a living off supplying words for a publisher, who would either sell them or run advertising around them, giving a slice of this to the author.

    But the problem with this is that it is difficult to then sell the same article, ensuring your hard work earns cash in the future.

    In today’s world thanks to self-publishing through blogs, an article you wrote yesterday, last week, last year can still be earning you money through advertising tomorrow, next week, next year.

    And instead of struggling to sell your words to publishers, you can be busy writing and helping others with your words, as well as earn some money.

  4. It’s definetly true that the archives is where the money is made. My “most profitable” post is almost 18 months old. Making sure that there’s always fresh things to put in the archives is the key, though.

    I’m off to bed, so I can make some more money, though…

  5. I wonder if I would have better dreams if I was making your sleep wage?


  6. Well it sure does not seem passive when you’re spending days and nights setting everything up. How long until everything is on cruise control? I bet about 3 years.

    Patience and percistence is the main ingredient to success in most online efforts. I am new to blogging to maybe I will be surprised.

  7. I feel the same now I’m just strating out as a true blogger. My site Madden Generation I wish I can get to that point. Where I can sleep and make a lot of money too.

  8. I appreciate you pointing out that this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. I am pretty new at this, am putting a bunch of effort in, and haven’t seen much of any return. YET.

    It can be a little discouraging to read how some folks are making big bucks doing what they love in blogging. But I am confident that my hobby will at a minimum pay for itself in the near future if I keep improving and learning along the way.

  9. Its all about how you design your site (theme)and where you place your ads.

  10. One thing that many people don’t mention, though, is that writing often takes place outside the confines of where you sit with your computer, actively composing. At least for me, writing happens when I’m driving, when I’m conversing with someone, when I’m falling asleep or waking up, or just about anywhere. Anything can inspire a blog post (or, in my case, dialogue amongst the characters in whatever novel I’m working on, or a new character, or a plot twist). Many successful writers are always working, because they are always looking for ideas and are often mulling the word choice over before finally heading to the computer or notebook to pound out an essay or a column or a blog post or a chapter. Some of my best writing ideas come when I’m in the middle of something else. So while the time may seem active, writing time also bleeds into time off, because creativity (again, at least for me) doesn’t have an on and off switch, but it comes any time it pleases.

    That, by the way, is why I, too, had several mindless jobs for several years. People expected me to be bored in them, but I simply used the excess energy and time to think about my writing, both on the job and off.

  11. True, problogging is not just a pastime like personal blogs but involves some dedication. It took me a year’s work to finally cross $100/month mark this month. But it also doesn’t feel like hard work if you choose your topics wisely such that they interest you, instead of looking for topics that could make more money. I have gone easy on blogging, havent kept any posting schedules or did not blog when I did not feel like it, took plenty of long breaks each lasting a week or more. It would feel a bit passive because, despite all the breaks and gaps, revenues continued to grow.

    I should also thank Darren for all the stuff you write here at problogger because it helped me a lot to move on from a $2 per month to $100 per month in a year.

  12. Indeed, that is the best part about being a problogger. Of course, I’m not one… yet.

    One day. I will be. hehehe

  13. I take time off from time to time, but I work my butt off making a living at blogging.

  14. I think this is true of just about any website that gets traffic.. it doesnt have to be a blog or a certain format of website.. if you get traffic, you can make money off that traffic with ads.

    You can also make money without ads.. say your affiliate of a program or you have a book you wrote and sell online.. maybe even software you sell off your website.

    The key is:
    1. Having a web presence
    2. Having traffic
    3. Getting that traffic to do something that makes you money.

    I don’t know too many other ways to make money in your sleep if you don’t have a web site.

  15. It’s really suprising to see that people buy this stuff, people that have this instant success and think they make money while they’re asleep mislead others saying that, a lot of people enter the blogosphere thinking they will do $$$ with a subdomain and duplicating content from other blogs.


  16. It could be easy however to turn your blog into passive income by creating an ebook from all of the content. If people are new to your blog and like what you write, there is a good chance they will go and buy your ebook and read it offline. I have done this with one of my sites and selling ebooks is definitely a nice true passive income source.

  17. Whoever says bloggin is easy money is seriously deluding themselves. Also the word passive income on bloggin is so wrongly used. Passive means without having to respond or initiate an action in return, so how then one (problogger) write a post without knowing the topics are being sort for = traffic = money.

    Friends always tell me that my “work” is basically “stringing words into sentences only, no biggie”. Sure, a 7 year-old kid can do that in a heartbeat. But do I want gibberish posts on my blog and drive my audience away and eventually my reputation?

    Sometimes I’d rebuke them. “BTW, how long or how many editings did it take you to write your resume for you to land on this job?” “After all, you are conveying your life archive to your potential employer only, no biggie.” then I shot them with my big smile.

  18. Darren, I am in the firm belief that you are the best blogger that has ever lived.

    I’m sure that if you jumped ship now, and never blogged again, Problogger would still earn you a tidy sum every month…

    Enough. Let’s put it that way. And isn’t that what everyone wants? Enough?

    I know that I’d be happy to have a website this widely read. What you have here is a triumph of our technology. You should be, and I’m sure you are, proud of what you’ve accomplished here…

    It’s strange really… You’re getting paid while I’m writing this comment. Having said that, there are very few bloggers who work as hard as you do.

    You deserve every last penny that you receive mate. Enjoy it :)

  19. Hey Renee,

    Just point out to your friends that being a piano virtuoso is “just hitting a bunch of keys at the right time”.

    I’m enjoying blogging a lot, but it is because I am not really trying to make money. I write about what interests me and what I think will be interesting to others, when I am inspired.

    Of course… if I had no money ambitions, I guess I wouldn’t be reading this blog would I?

  20. I disagree with the whole “passive income” view of my business. My friends always describe it that way – “you’re getting paid to sleep, you’re getting paid to eat, you’re getting paid to play”. This sounds good, but it’s just a cute way to express a very difficult aspect of the business: like most entrepeneurs, the link between the work I do and the money I earn is indirect, and sometimes nonexistent.

    You can optimistically say you get paid to sleep, but you can also express the indirect nature of the business by saying “I don’t get paid to write, I don’t get paid to keep the website running, I don’t get paid to design my sites.” I am paid, indirectly, because of those things, but doing more of one or the other won’t necessarily raise my income. The best they accomplish is increasing my odds of being paid.

    Occasionally I do enjoy taking a day or two off and still getting paid, though…

  21. That was my last visit today. It’s almost 1am. It’s time to go slip and hopefully this night will pay for my lunch tomorrow. :P

  22. i think having the idea that blogging brings a ‘passive income’, which translates that you don’t do much hard work, is going to affect your attitude toward blogging in the long run. it will eventually induce ‘passiveness’ in you as a blogger that will in turn negatively affect what you call ‘passive income’. i think the type of words we use have very deep impact on how we act, and not just in blogging but everything else in life. so regardless of how easy it might be for some to produce quality content, it is much healthier to call it ACTIVE income because of the connotations it projects.

    By the way, Darren, I’m a huge fan of yours and been reading your blog for the past two, however, this is my first comment on your blog. Darren you are my hero!!

  23. i don’t know what kind of connotations ‘hero’ has:)

  24. An online income is remarkable. I’ve often marvelled at the fact that I wake up in the morning and see $60, $100, or even $200 deposited into my PayPal from the night before. For a man that’s been working since he was 9 years old (a huge paper route), I’ve never found any type of job even as slightly as rewarding as working online. And of everything you do online to earn a buck, blogging is superior in nearly every way.

    My fondest memory is from August 2005. I went to a movie for 2 hours on a nice sunny day. While I was gone, I’d earned $780. That’s my type of job, and the reason I’m not looking to switch.

  25. bloggging is definitely not a passive income. it seems like easy money but it is HARD work. Definitely HARD WORK.Thanks to blog networks who pay their bloggers well, amateur probloggers like me are earning well enough in a rather short span of my blogging career.

  26. I think what most folks mean when they say “passive income” is that they continue to get paid a moments when they are not working. I.e. they go to sleep and they wake up to see their bank account balance has grown overnight.

    For many occupations you get paid only during the hours you are at work, not during the hours you are doing other things.

    Most people misinterpret that as “easy money” but there is still a ton of work involved. Very few people get paid long term unless they add value that is worth paying for. For a really good explanation of the whole idea check out Walter E. Williams The Entrepreneur as American Hero.

    When you get right down to it all who are earning income via blogging are doing so because they are adding value and value is rewarded with income.

  27. well it’s pretty passive for me since i have bloggers blogging for me. i pay them $50-150 a month and everyone’s happy. the only work i have to do is seo and web marketing, which doesn’t take too much of my time anymore unless i want to say double my traffic in a week’s time. the only other thing i need to do is upgrade wordpress when they release a new version and also keep an eye on my server’s stats and make sure everything’s running smoothly. i admit i’m not getting rich (yet) but i’m spending my time coming up with new ideas instead of working and earning my income anymore. so yeah blogging is pretty passive for me. but then again i might just be lazy! lol.

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