Building Passive Income Streams: The Pyramid Parable

In this episode, I share a short story that has changed the way I live and run my business, conducive to making money in my sleep. Simply put - if you don’t set up passive income streams in your business, you’re not going to have any! If you’re an online business owner who is interested in creating passive income in your business, this episode is for you!

Reality or buzz word? This week we’re breaking down passive income streams by looking at an old Egyptian parable that I teach to my private clients. Keep reading below for insights and suggestions into how you can build systems to set your business up for success with passive income.

Prefer to read? Here’s the blog version…

Building Passive Income Streams: The Pyramid Parable

The idea of making money in your sleep may sound too good to be true, but, for entrepreneurs, it can become a reality. In fact, passive income is one of the reasons I started The Wanderlover to begin with. 

Passive income is money that’s generated from something other than an employer or contract work. It enables you to earn money whenever and wherever you are, offering time freedom and flexibility. Fortunately, there are many passive income streams available. From online courses to eBooks to selling sneakers, there are plenty of options to choose from. You will have to put in some work to start but once it’s up and running, you can sit back and watch the money flow.

In this guide, we will unpack the Pyramid Parable, look at passive income streams and reveal why they’re important for you and your business.

What is the Pyramid Parable?

The Pyramid Parable is something all entrepreneurs need to hear and it completely transformed the way I run things. 

It is a story about the great Egyptian Pharaoh who summons his two young nephews, Chuma and Azur, to build two monumental pyramids as a tribute to Egypt. On completion of each Pyramid, the Pharaoh promises a reward of early retirement and lifelong riches. The catch? Each nephew has to construct the Pyramid alone. 

Azur starts by manually building the pyramid, dragging and lifting extremely heavy rocks. His brother doesn’t show any signs of progress and Azur begins to assume that he has given up entirely. Three years later, while Azur is averaging just one rock a month, Chuma arrives with a machine that he has quietly been working on. The machine effortlessly lifts the stones and softly places them side by side. Within just one week, Chuma built the foundations of his pyramid – something which took Azur one whole year to do. Two months later, the second level was built. 

Reluctant to recognize the machine’s success, Azur vows to get stronger and continues with the hard labor of Pyramid building while Chuma relies on his machine.  After just eight years, at the age of 26, Chuma finishes his Pyramid. As promised, the great Pharaoh rewards him with kingship and endows him with great riches. Chuma never has to work another day in his life. Meanwhile, Azur continues to slog away, wasting time and money on getting stronger.

This mindless prescription leads Azur to a lifetime of toil. In the end, Azur dies of a heart attack whilst building the 12th level of his Pyramid – just two levels from completion. Chuma went on to become Egypt’s greatest scholar and an accomplished inventor. He is now entombed alongside Pharaoh in his Pyramid. 

Applying The Parable To Life: Why The System You Choose Is Your Key To Success

Now that we know the parable, it is time to unpack what it means for us as entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, the system you choose will dictate how you spend the rest of your life. In the parable, Chuma spends three years building an effective system which saves him a lifetime of arduous work. I first came across this Parable when I was still working in my corporate finance job. I soon realized that Azur’s strategy of doing the heavy lifting is comparable to slogging away for an employer. Work smart, not hard.

Many of us spend 50 or so years working a corporate job while saving for retirement. We might eventually get to retire and reap the promised rewards, but there is also a possibility that we’ll die sooner. While that might sound pessimistic, it’s something worth considering. Wouldn’t you rather just spend your life making memories and doing the things you enjoy?

Even though it took Chuma three years to start building the pyramid, he ignored other people’s opinions and had faith in the system. And it’s that inner belief that leads to success. He worked smart, his brother worked hard. 

So, the question is, are you going to stay in the slow lane or are you going to choose a different path? The best part is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I used to like the stability of my corporate job and I started to test my income streams while I still had a regular paycheck. 

When you start your own business and opt for passive income streams, you open a plethora of opportunities. You can also work to your own schedule and travel as you earn. 

Passive Income Streams

Passive income is making money without having to put in the time. Sounds good right? 

If you dream about far-flung trips abroad and the flexibility to do the things you enjoy, read on.

From affiliate marketing to online courses and memberships, I have rounded up the best ways that have worked for me, to produce passive income. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is where a blogger includes links to other websites and receives money every time someone makes a purchase with that link. 

As you know, I actually use affiliate marketing links on the Wanderlover Blog. This is where I recommend tools and encourage readers to make a purchase such as Thrivecart, or Active Campaign. By including an affiliate link, I get paid a commission when a reader makes a purchase using my link. 

Now, although this is passive income in theory, it does come with limitations. Affiliate marketing is out of your control because it isn’t your own product or service. If the product ceases to exist, or the purchases drop, then you don’t make the money. 

It can also be a bit frowned upon if done for the wrong reasons. Imagine I promoted services I do not believe in or use myself just for the payout. It’s important that you truly stand behind any product or service you are promoting as it can be damaging to you if done wrong. 

Digital Products

Online courses and ebooks are a great way to boost your passive income.

The Wanderlover Business Academy and my eBooks are examples of digital products that allow me to generate passive income online. 

Of course, writing a book or a course isn’t a one day job. It takes a lot of time and commitment but you will soon reap the awards. I promise! The trick is to choose a topic that you are an expert in and that you love. 


From rewards to exclusive content, memberships offer a win-win for both you and your audience. With my membership package, digital nomads can sign up for just $7 a month. In return, they receive live coaching, tools, templates and 24 hour support. 

In just one month, I have made $2,000 in monthly recurring revenue just from the Digital Nomad Society. Once the content is up and running, you’ll have more time to focus on the sales. 

One really important thing about memberships, is that you must constantly add value. If people no longer are gaining any value from the content, because they have had the same thing for the last few months, they are going to cancel their payments. It’s like having an Amazon Prime subscription, when you never buy on Amazon.

Things to remember before setting up passive income streams

Many of my clients become frustrated when they don’t see results right away after putting the work in. Just like Chuma experienced in the parable, there is a lot of upfront work including setting up your website, branding yourself as an expert and growing your audience. This takes time and it can feel tedious at times.

Building passive income streams is a long-term strategy. I use the Parable as a reminder that you are working on a long-term vision. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it will provide you with your desired lifestyle; sooner rather than later. 

Don’t give up.

Finding Your Aligned Passive Income Streams

From real estate investment to crypto and stocks, there are so many passive income streams. It’s important that you explore the options available and follow your own intuition. 

For me, it was always blogging, travel coaching, and content creation. Find the stream that aligns with your goals and interests and stick with it.

Passive Income = Making Money In Your Sleep

With the above passive income stream, you no longer have to worry about invoices, timesheets, or slogging away at the computer screen. 

Many people say “oh, you’re so lucky to be able to make passive income”, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just like Chuma, you need to set up the systems and have faith in them. 

Of course, it’s going to take time to optimize, grow our audience and learn marketing strategies. But putting the effort in at these stages, sets you up for success. 

Chuma spent years formulating and creating before he saw any results. You will also have to battle through thoughts like “will anyone buy this? “ and “How will it work?”.  

Feel confident in what you are doing and ignore the naysayers.

If you are looking for a community of like minded, highly driven digital nomad and entrepreneurs, with loads of resources to use, you have got to check out Digital Nomad Society. You can check out this article on Her Forward, which talks about the Digital Nomad Society.

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Hi, I’m Danielle

My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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How I went from a side hustle and unfulfilling jobs to finding my passion, 5-figure months, and full-time world travel.

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