It seems like everywhere I look these days people are talking about passive income streams: why you should start them, which ones you could start, how they can change your life, and how much money you can make from them.
Doctors commonly look for ways to create passive income as a way of being able to work less while still maintaining the lifestyle they want or honestly to quit medicine altogether. However, many of these same doctors also find that passive income is not as easy to come by as everyone makes it sound.
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not always easy, otherwise, everyone would have achieved massive amounts of passive income. Despite having the highest of aspirations, most fail to reach their goals and for a wide variety of reasons. Personally, I’m still not where I want to be with my passive income streams, and I’m always trying to examine why not.
Do any of these sound familiar as to why you’re not creating the passive income that you want?
Failure to start
This one seems obvious, but it’s the number one reason doctors fail to find financial freedom through passive income – they never start. We cite reasons such as lack of time or lack of knowledge/experience. And it makes sense; physicians are extremely pressed for time, whether it’s during your training or while trying to practice medicine while juggling all of your family responsibilities.
However, ask physicians who have started a side hustle whether they had so much free time that they didn’t know what to do with it. Honestly, they will most likely all tell you that they were extremely busy. They just realized that they didn’t want the rest of their lives to look like that and knew something had to change. So they found ways to carve out time to pursue ways to make passive income. Maybe they woke up an hour earlier every day or found time that they weren’t being productive and used it instead to plan and move toward their goals.
As for lack of knowledge or experience, that can be remedied. Knowledge can definitely be found through blogs and books, but the best knowledge is simply attained by doing. We know this in medicine. It’s one thing to study for Step 1, but it’s completely different to see a living, breathing patient in front of you dealing with a certain pathology. We remember how we dealt with certain tough cases and that experience and knowledge helps us in treating future patients.
Most successful people will say that they figured things out as they went and I think the same can be said for anyone who wants to truly change their position in life. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be informed before taking action. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t get stuck in “analysis paralysis” and worry about not knowing enough. Again, the best way to gain experience and knowledge is by doing.
Lack of financing
Financing is a particularly significant problem when it comes to starting certain passive income streams. Some people struggle to find the money that they need for their idea or to fund their ventures. For example, it’s not necessarily cheap to buy an apartment building. It can easily get into the six figures and you have to plan for that. For doctors and other high-income professionals, however, this can be less of a problem, as most have a higher level of potentially disposable income.
The key to overcoming this issue is to simply save money. That might mean keeping track of your budget and finances. That might mean “paying yourself first” where you make sure to set aside money to put toward passive income ventures at the beginning of the month, not waiting to see what’s left over at the end.
Again, lack of financing can be overcome by smart planning and dedication toward saving. You might not be able to invest in that rental property today, but maybe you can in six months.
Fear of failure
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison
Another leading reason why you might not be creating passive income streams is that you have a heavy fear of failure. Being afraid to fail stops you from trying new things. Instead, you’re stuck in the same old patterns and your lack of action simply makes sure that nothing changes.
Sounds counterintuitive but the key to overcoming your fear of failure is to fail until it no longer affects you as much. You have to realize that failure only helps you get closer to your goal. Yes, we’re all overachievers and used to being at the top of our classes. You’ve probably failed at very little in your life. However, in the case of passive income streams, realize that some level of failure is likely an inevitability, but from each setback, you will learn, and that will ultimately help you find success.
Well, I hate to say it, if your current passive income stream isn’t working, then maybe it’s the wrong stream for you. This is one of the toughest calls to make – do you keep going, wondering if just a little more persistence will help you break through or should you move on?
Dedication and persistence are huge, but so are flexibility and resourcefulness. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is part of the journey. Don’t be afraid to step back and see why something isn’t working. Ask for help from mentors. Even professional athletes have coaches to help them work through issues.
Try to figure out why you started it in the first place. Is it because you’re passionate about it, or just because you thought it would make money? Neither is wrong in my opinion, but after a while, if you’re not getting the results you want, it’s going to be hard to continue if you’re not passionate about it.
Not putting in the work
Starting a passive income stream is only the beginning of your journey. Along the way, you have to continuously course correct especially at first to get where you want to be. I like how Grant Cardone puts it in the 10x Rule, “You must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets. Massive thoughts must be followed by massive action.” Are you putting in 10 times the work or just doing enough to try to get by?
The key to being successful in this is to dedicate a good amount of time and energy to focus on your passive income streams especially at the beginning. As I’ve mentioned, passive income is not necessarily about not doing any work at all. It’s about putting in most of your time and energy at the beginning and the rewards continue to pile up over time.
Examine yourself, are you doing the necessary work to make sure your passive income venture is healthy and on the right course? Your success correlates with how hard you work initially and how smart you work as well.
Make it happen
Passive income streams can be an effective way of changing your life, but it’s not without having to overcome some obstacles and putting in some work. You might hear some spout that passive income is easy and it’s easy to get rich quickly. You won’t hear that from me. It does take hard work, just like anything of true worth. However, the benefits can last a lifetime.
“Passive Income, MD” is a physician who blogs at his self-titled site, Passive Income M.D.
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