As it is my ambition to build a portfolio of passive income, I’m always looking for the next piece of inspiration to click and hopefully be the start of a fruitful venture. As well as just getting out there and trying to learn as much as possible, I also read and look up people who have had an initial eureka moment and taken the idea on from strength to strength.
Many of my biggest inspirations never had dreams of owning huge companies but knew they didn’t want to be an employee making someone else rich. They had a great idea, worked hard to set it up and then sat back as it grew and grew.
Here are four of my all-time inspirations in building a passive income.
Block by Block
In 2004 Alex Tew from Wiltshire made his first million dollars by renting out ad space on his webpage. The whole page was simply a massive online billboard made up of 1 million pixel blocks. He offered the pixels for 1 dollar each and from that companies could advertise by making up their logos or ads out of the blocks.
In four months he had achieved his goal and moved on to other projects. I guess the bad thing about this is that once all the pixels are full, that’s kind of the end of the game, but so many companies got behind the gimmick I guess Alex didn’t care so much long term- he’d just made the easiest 1 million dollars ever!
Like by Like
Contrary to the film the Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg actually set up a peer-study platform at college where people could add information about their shared classes. He had this idea when realizing he had spent too much time on computing and not enough time studying.
The online study group gave him a platform for his class mates to share information from the classes and Mark could pass the tests by just looking up what they gave him. Later, he took this further as he was obsessed with the internet and thought it was annoying he could research anything from reference sites, like history on Wikipedia or the News, but there was no way to research people.
In the present day, he’s mining our voluntarily surrendered info to target Google paid ads and rank up Facebook’s revenue just like he used his classmates back in his college days.
Take the Skies
The story goes that Richard Branson was stuck at the airport trying to fly back to his private island in the BritishVirgin Islands. Already a millionaire and fresh from his confidence as a successful entrepreneur, he asked about renting a private plane.
He managed to get one and then charged the other stranded passengers $40 for a seat on his flight. After that, he thought “How hard could it be?” and set up Virgin Airlines that took off to take on the big boys of BA for top spot in the skies.
Hit the Slopes
On a slightly smaller scale, Richard Downs, founder of iglu.com, found himself in a similar situation. Fed up with the lack of expertise from local travel agents, he set up Iglu Ski, an online travel agency specializing in skiing holidays.
Using email and a website instead of high-street property and printed ads Downs had success riding the wave of the early dot com boom. A few years later he expanded into the cruise holiday market. Things went global when he bought rival Planet Cruise to give the brand a truly international name.
Initially calling his start-up website Iglu, he never imagined he’d go on to dominate the cruising holiday industry and need a new, more universal name.
Whether it was quick ads, chartered flights, good value holidays or digging for information, what unites all these guys together is that they had a great idea right at the right time and used their ingenuity to make it work and be even more of a success than they ever thought possible.
When Mark Zuckerberg first started, I bet he never thought he’d get brought up before governments when he was almost expelled from Harvard or Richard Downs went from trying to sell good ski holidays to filling out cruise ships from his website.
I bet Alex Tew thought he’d never be able to monetise his idea so fast or Richard Branson go from one flight to a whole airline. That’s why these guys are my inspiration and testament to why we should always be open to every opportunity, as you never know what’s waiting round the corner and how things can develop.