What Stardew Valley has taught me about passive income

The magic of crab pots.

Screenshot of game home menu

Here’s where crab pots really manage to demonstrate what passive income really requires:

1) Passive income takes a certain level of skill to even get started

In Stardew Valley, you cannot buy or create crab pots until you level your fishing skill up to 3. In the real world, please do not expect to replace your full-time working income with a passive one unless you can bring a skill of some kind to your work. I promise you have skills, figure out what they are and use them to your advantage to create something you can sell over and over. Digital products are fantastic for this since you don’t have to do any inventory management.

2) Passive income generally requires a bit of start up investment

In Stardew Valley, you can either craft crab pots with resources you have gathered, or you can pay for them with gold. In the real world, creating passive income streams is also generally going to require your time, or your money. Projects that require a time investment might be creating digital products, or freelance writing. If you want to create passive income with limited time investment but you have cash available, investing is the way to go.

3) Passive income is not a get rich quick scheme

Some days, your crab pots will bring you worthless garbage. Some days, they will bring you a nice valuable catch. Likewise, some days the stock market may be down, or your blog may get no views, or you’ll make no sales. Take this in stride. I made less than $20 my first month on Medium, and it was still more than I would have made had I not bothered to write at all.

4) Passive income requires regular upkeep

Every day, you need to go down to the beach, the river, or wherever you have placed your crab pots, collect anything they have caught, and replenish the bait. Generally, you should be doing the same thing with your own income streams in the real world. Check in on it, add some value (whether that means writing an article, crafting some social media posts, or creating a fresh product), and take a peak at your earnings to see how they compare to your goals.

1 part girl boss, 1 part designer, 1 part writer, and 1 part depressed potato.

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