Bret W. Lester

Passive App Income

Passive income is like the holy grail of the financial independence crowd. It's what all the course peddlers promise. Remember, most course peddlers promising passive income are making money from course sales, and that's not passive. Or is it?.

Anyway, what I'm talking about here is specifically passive App business income and whether or not that's possible. The best example of non-app passive income I can think of is something like royalties from a work of art, like a hit song or something. That seems truly passive to me. You're literally doing nothing to keep it going. Apps however require some work to keep going.

In general you have to keep apps up-to-date which requires work. It's not necessarily very much work but it is technically SOME work, so does that make an App business non-passive? Well the definition of passive income is " earned with little to no daily effort, [...] where the person isn't actively involved".

You see, it says "little to no effort", not no effort at all. So perhaps an app business can still be considered passive if all you're doing is keeping it up to date.

If all you did was maintain your apps without adding new features, then yea, that can potentially be little to no effort. And you can get away with that for a long time in my experience. Adoption of new features by users can be slow, so you can drag your feet on that sort of stuff without it affecting your bottom line too much. And the really cool thing about users is they don't like it when you change stuff anyway! I talked about that phenomenon a bit more in another post.

Now let's consider new features on top of maintenance. Is that too much work to be considered passive? I don't know. But I can tell you for sure that there's no reason it should come anywhere close to filling a 40-hour work week. Not on a regular basis anyway.

What I'm saying is that you can choose to structure your app business in such a way where you're not only maintaining your apps but consistently delivering improvements and making a decent income, all without working very much, with plenty of time left over for stupid stuff like 31 day writing challenges, pointless stuff like fishing, and out-of-control stuff like your home office being taken over by your children all summer.

Is it passive? I dunno but at the very least it is semi-passive.

Do we really want total passivity anyway? I don't know about you but my mind tends to turn on me when I go for too many days without a challenging problem to solve.


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