Rant alert! 

Today I’m going HARD on all the lies surrounding this idea of PASSIVE INCOME. 

The idea that you can create a course, launch it, and it will keep the dough rolling in without any effort is such BS. This myth is EVERYWHERE online. It’s so prolific people accept it as truth, and it’s so hard to convince them otherwise. 

I see business leaders (big and small) fall for this myth and lose a TON of money. 

Or worse…they quit. 

I want to bust the myth of passive income and share what REALLY works. 


In this episode, I cover… 

  • Why I find this myth so prevalent and nefarious 
  • Why passive income isn’t realistic BUT what is and what you can do instead 
  • How course launches actually work and the reality of marketing today 
  • What to expect if you want to create and launch a course
  • The mindset you need to adapt if you’re going to build a lasting and successful biz

 I’m not holding back here, people! So strap in for this rant-fest of an episode! 


What’s the most misleading piece of business or marketing advice you’ve seen online? Share it with me in my DM’s me at @EmilyHirsh I’d love to hear it!


Honestly, we’re more than a marketing team — we’re a tactical partner who will care about your business growth just as much as YOU (maybe even more)! We’re here to play the long game and help you create a powerful impact! APPLY NOW!


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Intro: People are feeding them advice and expectations that are completely off and that are unrealistic. And so I think because I have gone through the experiences that I’ve gone through and learned from them and still am learning from of course, but I’ve learned a lot.

You are listening to the Not for Lazy Marketers podcast, episode number 389.

Emily: Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. The last podcast I did was an interview with my dad. And I’ve had so much fun with all of the messages you guys have been sending me. And some of you, stories about when you were a kid and you did this too, and were so alike and it just was fun. That was such an impromptu interview.

I never planned to have my dad on my podcast. But also, he was so excited. And beforehand was, “What’s the link?” And just so excited to be on the podcast. So thank you everybody for sending those messages, if you did, and tuning into that. I had a lot of fun with that and it was just a random idea I had and it turned out to be really fun.
So are you ready for today’s episode? Because this is going to be a little bit of a rant. This is going to be Emily style, real talk, let me give it to you straight conversation. And it needs to be said. If you’re new here, you’ll learn quickly that I’m extremely direct, extremely to the point and I also don’t give you any fluff.
I do not promote to you things that are not possible, ideas that you can get excited about that are just not reality for anybody. And honestly, that is happening a lot in the online space right now and has been for several years. So I was recently in a group of friends of mine. We did this small, someone put together a little mastermind and they came here for Austin for a couple of nights. I spent one night there and I realized one of my superpowers is sitting down and someone saying, “Here’s my business problem. Here’s my problem, marketing, business,” you name it. And I have an answer within two minutes. And I’m not saying I’m always right, but I have pretty good ideas. And so they all kind of shared what they wanted support with. And within two minutes of me hearing the idea, I was, “Oh, well, this is what you have to do. This is the reality.” I am also really good at being very direct and realistic. A lot of times I see entrepreneurs get ideas or they see something and they glorify what they saw because they only are seeing one side of it.
And so then they’re, “I have to do that” or “I’m going to launch this new product” or “I’m going to launch this offer. I’m going to make this much money. I’m going to do this.” And I’m really good at being, “Well, that’s actually not reality.” And I think that I’m really good at that because I mean, I’ve been in business for seven years. I don’t have all the experience in the world. I’m not this wise entrepreneur that could tell you all these things, but I have built a team of 24 employees. I’ve probably had over 50 employees work for me. I’ve made a ton of mistakes. I understand the reality of business and not just this online world, but a real business where you have a process, where you remove yourself from the day to day, where you build a team, where you build a good culture, where you build a legitimate company. And I’ve been able to do that. And I’ve learned a ton from that. And to be honest with you, there’s a lot of online businesses, solopreneurs who are not at that place yet, where they’ve had to start building a real team. They maybe have a few contractors and they just haven’t gone through that rite of passage, I guess. And that’s okay. I was there too. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that.
However, there’s a lot of people feeding them advice and expectations that are completely off and that are unrealistic. And so I think because I have gone through the experiences I’ve gone through and learned from them and still am learning from them, of course, but I’ve learned a lot and I’ve seen the reality of business and it was not, and is not what I thought it was when I was first starting out and what a lot of was fed to me. And then also I have seen behind the scenes, a ton of other businesses, hundreds of other businesses, some with no teams, some with big teams, some with small teams. I’ve seen behind the scenes of a huge range of businesses and leaders and CEOs. And so all of that combined, you can ask me a question and I can straight up tell you, “This is what I think you should do and that’s reality or and that’s not.” A lot of entrepreneurs, we naturally lean towards not being in reality, which is sometimes a good thing, but sometimes we need to be brought down to reality. So one of the conversations that we were having was one of the people in this small group said, “I just want to create this course. I have all this knowledge inside of me and I just want to create this course and have it be done and then launch it.

And then it will just passively create me income. And then I can do what I love, which is more one-on-one client work, but on a smaller scale. And I’ll just have this course over here working for me.” And it was funny because a few of the others in the group were, “Yeah, you could totally do that. And here’s how you could do that.”
And I was kind of the, what would you call it? The pessimist, but the realist. And I was, “That’s never going to happen. You can’t just create a course and it just runs and sells and you don’t do anything. When you create a course or you create a product, you have to work. It’s a full time business.
You have to work to sell it, you have to work to modify it, to update it every six to 12 months, to change the messaging, to change the wrapping paper, to work on the marketing strategy, to get leads.” Nowhere does it exist, nowhere, you guys. This is the thing I want you to understand.
If somebody is making it look like they’re a passive CEO or they’re making passive income and they’re not doing anything to make that income, it’s not true unless they have spent years, years, not one year even, years building a team to replace them in their business or they’ve invested in something that’s making them passive income, like real estate or another company that’s running and they’re an investor in that company.

That’s passive income.

Creating a course one time launching it and just thinking, “Oh, once I get people buying it will become passive income,” it doesn’t exist. It does not exist. And so I was the realist in this conversation and I was, “I know you really want to do this. And I know you want to create this course, but you really want to do the other things on your list more. I can hear it in your voice. I can also hear that you’re a multi-passionate entrepreneur. You like to have a lot of things, you don’t want to be tied down to one thing or one source of income. But if you go and create this course, you are lying to yourself if you think you can create it one time, update it once a year, maybe. And once it’s selling, it’ll just be there and be making you money.
It won’t happen. You’re going to lose more money than you are going to make trying to refine it and then wanting to not put energy into it. And because you don’t have the time for it because of the other things you’re working on, it’s not going to do well because you don’t have that time.” And then as soon as I said that, the other people were, “Yeah, that’s very true. That would not actually work very well. And you need to have time to put into the marketing and the refinement.” And so what I want you guys to understand from this, the thing I want you to take away from this is that you are being fed this lie by people online, influencers online who are trying to tell you, “Create an evergreen funnel, create an online course, create a digital product.
It’s passive.

Once you get it going, you don’t have to do anything because it’s online and because you can run ads.” It’s not true. It’s not passive unless you have a team working for you and you’ve been able to build it to a passive place which doesn’t happen overnight, or you are investing in something else. It, of course, just because it’s selling in an evergreen webinar where it’s running all the time and it’s selling all the time, that does not mean it’s passive.

That doesn’t mean that it’s no work and it’s easy to keep it converting. An evergreen automated funnel that runs all the time and you get sales every day, it might seem passive on the outside, but on the inside, the ones that are working are constantly refining their messaging, changing the wrapping paper on the way they position that webinar, updating email sequences, re-engaging with their email list, improving the webinar itself, updating the course content, pulling new testimonials.
There is so much that goes into a successful automated evergreen funnel but is not passive. Yes, can it be automated, can it generate sales every day and create that consistency in your business? 100%, but it’s not no work or passive work. And nowhere does it exist where you can build an online course or a product, launch it and never have to touch it again or rarely have to touch it again while you go work on other things. I have never seen that work.

And people again, who are feeding you these lies, they have teams of 20 plus people, 10, 15, 20 plus people working for them all day to make it look like it’s passive for them. It’s not passive. They’re paying for that team. So if you are in the earlier stages or you’re trying to do this and you’re trying to create this and you have in your minds, “I’m going to do this whole thing in my business where it’s going to require a ton of my time or I’m going to start this different business. And then I’m just going to easily create a course, create a product and launch that and it’s going to sell on its own over here,” you’re lying to yourself and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The other piece I kind of added into this and I talked about was there’s a lot of online business owners that I’ve witnessed. And I’ve been responsible for having this mindset in the past too, because people also feed you this lie of, “You should be a passive CEO and you should just run your business without you.”

And that’s all true. 100%, you should get your business to that place. And that is where the true value comes in if you could step away for a week or two and your business would still make sales, generate leads, make money and be able to deliver your product. But that does not happen overnight, that does not happen in three months’ time. It takes you years and years to build your business to the place where you can be a passive CEO. And I have watched multiple CEOs on a high level, high scale where they just have this decision where they’re, “I am going to walk away from my business. I’m going to take a step back. I’m going to get off Instagram. You’ve got it, operator. You run my business, you can do this.” And they take a step back.
And then three months goes by or a period of time goes by, they come back in and everything’s messed up. It’s not working, their business is declining, they haven’t been able to generate enough sales, there’s all these problems. Trust me, building a leadership team where you can actually be this passive CEO where your business is just running on its own and working on its own, it takes years. I am five years into growing my team and I’m still working on my leadership team. Yes, a hundred percent can my business run without me, it can. But if I fully, I didn’t even touch my business, there would be problems. There would be because I’m still refining and building and making more solid my leadership team and my processes and all of those components in my business.
And so there’s people that I’ve watched do this and they do this quickly when they get this idea or some coach says, “Hey, you should not work in your business. You should have your team run things. Why are you doing all this?” And then they decide, “Next week, I’m going to just take a step back. You’re going to run it on my team, someone.” They take a step back and everything goes to crap. Their business goes down and it’s not good and it’s negatively impacted. And they come back in and they have to fix it all. So understanding that the lies about passive income and being this passive CEO, it is possible to get to that place. But passive doesn’t equal easy. And there is no world where you can just create an easy product, create a digital product, create a course, create something and it will just sell on its own with minimal maintenance.
Bring me someone who’s doing that and I will show you that behind the scenes, there’s either a team or a ton of work going into it, or it’s not working and it’s not selling because they’re not changing it enough. And especially in recent years, there has been more and more need for updating, changing the wrapping paper. I talked about that a couple weeks ago on the podcast, episode 385.
If you want to go back to that where I talked about how you don’t need to change the foundation of your funnel and the foundation of your offer, but you need to change the wrapping paper. The way you’re presenting it has to be new and seem exciting to your audience or to people. And the frequency at which you have to do that has greatly increased in the last couple of years.
And so it is even more not possible to just create a course, create an offer, let it sit, and it will just work on its own. And I just see so many people with this kind of pipe dream that they’re trying to achieve. And they believe that they can achieve that. And I don’t mean to poop on your party or whatever you say. I don’t mean to be negative.
I am a realist with you because I see this behind the scenes and I see what really goes into it. Now, can you create that consistent daily success where you’re generating new leads and you’re generating new sales every day? 100%, yes. But it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be passive. If you’re not doing the work on it, then you better have a team doing the work every day on it and putting in these changes and these updates.
Because you cannot just set something and forget it for a couple months even. There’s got to be refinement and changes and updates. And anybody who’s telling you can do this, they have something working in the backend that they’re not showing, they’re putting in work, or like I said, it’s not actually working for them. So you can absolutely create passive income and build it to a point where it is working for you.
But people who have that have a team supporting them and doing updates. And so the idea that you’re going to focus on something else over here and then just have this passive thing running over here, you may as well not even try the passive thing, because you’re just going to waste your time trying to get that to a point where it’s passive. You got to be either all in or all out with that.
So I thought you guys would find this helpful. And if you kind of have been feeling bad because you don’t have this passive income or it hasn’t worked that way for you, maybe this is your message that that’s more the normal way is that you have to put in work. I mean, truly if it was really that easy to make a course and launch it and it just runs on its own, then every single person in the world would be doing that.
It’s not easy. It takes investment, time, money, resources, refinement. And even once you get it working, it still takes refinement because the industry is pushing new. It needs new, it needs fresh. It needs innovation constantly, which takes time behind the scenes. So if you’ve been feeling like, “Why can’t I have that success that somebody else has? You’re not seeing the full picture.
Trust me on that and be real with yourself so you can be all in on the commitment that you’re making to what your offer is and to what you want to sell. And don’t try to do four or five things at one time, all in on that one thing. All right, everybody. Thanks so much for tuning into the podcast. I will talk to you all next week.

Thanks for listening to the Not for Lazy Marketers podcast. If you love this episode and want deeper support with your marketing, head over to helpmystrategy.com to see how Hirsh Marketing can help take your marketing to the next level, no matter where you’re at today. We help our clients scale faster than ever, find hidden leaks in their funnel, experiment with new creative marketing strategies and help their business explode and be more profitable than they ever dreamed possible. Head over to helpmystrategy.com and see if you qualify for a free strategy audit with team Hirsh.