A lot of people market the idea that you can have a business that makes money while you sleep. And then they show pictures of gorgeous beaches, women with perfect pedicures in fluffy spa robes, or fancy expensive cars.

It’s a very attractive prospect – I mean, who doesn’t want that?

But running a business isn’t all lazing around on the beach.

I also wake up to Paypal notifications – but it doesn’t mean I don’t do any work!

Not quite as glamourous, right?

The problem with these promises is that there’s very little that’s actually passive about passive income

It seems to be the gold-plated dream of every Internet entrepreneur: passive income, working from anywhere, traveling the world, etcetera.

While I can – and do! – work from anywhere, I still work.

Yes I go for long lunches and sometimes get my hair done and go shopping during the day and take trips, but most of the time during working hours I am sat at my desk, working away.

The truth is, even the people out there selling the idea of passive income are hardly passive!

Even if the product they’re selling is already created, they’re working hard to market it, sell it, and create their next big thing.

That’s why I cringe at the term “passive income.”

A better goal to work towards

To me, a better goal to work towards is “leveraged income.”  What I mean by leveraged income is that you’re receiving more income for the same number of hours of work.

For example, most everyone in the service industry starts out with one on one coaching packages. They trade dollars for hours working with one client at a time, whether they are coaching, writing, designing, styling, photographing, or bookkeeping.  This is the one-to-one model.

The next step is to find a way to create a one-to-few product. So, perhaps our coach starts working with a small group, our photographer offers “mini sessions” where she can see batches of families in a single day, or the stylist offers a VIP day with a few select clients at the same time. This is reaching more clients for the same number of hours for the business owner.

The third step – and what most people refer to as “passive” income – is the one-to-many model, where the writer is selling a course on how to write, the photographer is doing a group class on Creative Live, or the designer is selling templates. These reach the most number of clients with the fewest input hours from the business owner.

It’s almost impossible to start out leveraged

But the truth that so few Internet gurus will tell you is that it is very difficult to start at that leveraged, one-to-many model.

Can you build a course and start selling it from the get-go? Absolutely. But in my experience, you won’t have a big enough audience to sell very many, paying for the traffic will be challenging if you have a low price point and are inexperienced in building sales funnels and – more importantly – you won’t have the experience that comes from doing the one-on-one work to make your course truly useful.

In almost all cases, you have to work your way up the ladder to create leveraged income. As almost all of the people you are following online will have done.

As you become more successful you naturally do work less; you raise your prices, you work up more leveraged products, and so on. But in the beginning, you have to put the effort in to get to a level of consistency that you can build from.

What’s your leveraged business plan?

Now I’d love to hear from you: knowing what you know now about building a leveraged business, what’s your path to the beach?

In other words, how can you create more leverage in your business so that some day you can be working from a beach towel or Parisian café?

I’d love to hear your big dreams in the comments below…


  1. Karen Berzanski on September 4, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Great post, Cat. I’ve been hearing a lot about this lately too! Thanks for being honest and real. Starting a business is hard work. It’s important to know that going in, otherwise we’ll start to think something is wrong (either with us or our business idea) if we’re not making 6 figures our first year. You are a refreshing presence. :) Keep up the good work!

    • Cat LeBlanc on September 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Karen! Yes, people need to know that those stories of making crazy money in year one are the EXCEPTION, but incredible things are possible if we put in the work :-)

  2. Alana Dagwell on September 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Great post, Cat. Demystifying the elusive goal.

    • Cat LeBlanc on September 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Alana. I really appreciate you commenting :-)

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