Why Passionate Income Is Better Than Passive Income With Brian Luebben | 698

MORI 698 | Passionate Income


Is there really anything better than passive income? What is “passionate income?” How does that play into everything?

Brian Luebben shares how he became financially independent at age 27, and where his passions led him. He shares his grand journey to travel the world full time by buying real estate and monetizing his podcast “The Action Academy Podcast.” What passions do you have that could lead to millions? Find out here!

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Why Passionate Income Is Better Than Passive Income With Brian Luebben

I appreciate you guys binging and tuning in. Without you, there could not be a ripple effect created. Thank you so much for not just taking this information, and then going on with your day, but actually applying it and making it work for you. As a reminder, if you already listened on iTunes or wherever it might be, if you haven’t given us a review, give us a review there or give a shoutout. If you’re a YouTuber, great. Go to YouTube, subscribe, like us, and all that good stuff. I appreciate you guys tuning in. Please be sure to share that with all your friends.

A special guest I’ve got here is someone that I met through different circles, especially in the real estate game. Not just real estate, but entrepreneurship. He’s an impressive man. For someone so young doing some things that are so cool, I know you’re going to love this story. I’ve got Brian Luebben here. A little bit about him. He was working the whole 9:00 to 5:00 corporate job, retire by 65, that kind of thing but he realized that wasn’t for him.

What he ended up doing is he ended up going out on a journey and traveling the world. He’s doing that full-time. He also has a great podcast, The Action Academy Podcast, that you guys should check out. This guy’s been able to hit financial freedom at the age of 27. If you thought it was cool that I did at 28, Brian one-up me. He did it one year better. Brian, we get to talk with you about how to not just create passive income, but passionate income. I’m excited to have you on, Brian.

I was like watching the Sistine Chapel being painted. That was a work of art. Everyone tuning in, he does this live. That was beautiful from one podcaster to another. I am eternally grateful to be on here. It’s awesome to finally be able to meet you face-to-face and have this conversation. You and I struck up a relationship over a couple of mastermind groups that we were discussing. Now, we’ve formed a new friendship. I’m excited to be on here and talk to all of you.

I’ve been following your journey around Europe and stuff on social media. You’re like, “Chris, you went for another run.” I’m definitely excited to have you here. Help me fill in the gaps. Help us understand more of who you are, Brian.

I did everything the traditional way like real estate investors do. I started with a small loan of money from my parents of $10 million and through a lot of hard work, I made it to $9 million. I started middle class. I went to college. I did the normal thing where we tried to figure out what the heck to do outside of college. I graduated and went into Corporate America.

I’m one of the few insane people that chose to go into a sales profession. I worked my tail off. That was my identity being the corporate guy. Clean-shaven, shirt and tie, nicely pressed, whistling to work, and listening to podcasts every single day in my car. That was my cheat code for how I made it to the top of the company.

This applies here because now all of you are tuning into me and Chris while you’re going to work or from work. You get in this freaking automobile university of information. I used to listen to sales podcasts and I did the math. If you are listening to one hour to work and one hour from work, that’s two hours of podcasts a day.

That’s 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month, which means that while all your co-workers are working their normal work week, you’re getting a full additional 40 hours of education without any extra time. I made a switch from sales podcasts. When I hit the top of the company, I won Sales Rep of the Year and Rookie of the Year. I got all the awards and a Fortune 500.

I realized that I was climbing the wrong mountaintop and that it was not the summit that I anticipated. I switched those sales podcasts to real estate. I started buying real estate one house after another. It’s very simple and very doable for everyone tuning in to this show. After that, it’s a snowball effect compounded into me starting a podcast and joining a couple of mastermind groups.

I was able to monetize that show and leave my corporate job on March 17th of this year. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am doing this show from Amsterdam, and this has been very cool. I’m traveling full-time around the world. I started in July. This is month two and a couple of days. That is essentially my story completely. Thanks for having me on guys. It’s been fun.

I’ll tell you the rest of the story later when I’m done.

I had to beat Chris. I saw that he did it at 28, so that was my mission all along. Doing it at 27 just to one-up him.

You just had to beat me by a little bit. I imagine because you’re with a Fortune 500 company, you got all these accolades. Were there people around you, maybe even your own parents, that were thinking, “You’re trying to quit this job. Are you freaking insane?” Were people thinking you were crazy for doing this?

Here’s what happened. There’s a lesson in this, which is why I tell the story. I’m trying to speak with a lot of brevity here for time’s sake. Essentially, I hit all of my goals and dreams when COVID hit. Normally, when you hit the top of the company, you get this red carpet rolled out for you. You get this massive bonus, cash bonus, $50,000-plus. You go to President’s Club diamond level. You get a beach vacation all-inclusive. You go up on stage with all these thousands of people clapping for you.

I hit it during COVID. When that happened, they took away all of that. They said, “Brian, this goal that you’ve been working towards, great job. You did fantastic. By the way, the $70,000 we owe you, we’re not going to pay you because we’re laying people off, so we can’t justify giving you that kind of money. Also, no trip, but we’re going to do a five-hour presentation end of year. We’re going to put you on a PowerPoint slide at the end. It’s going to say, ‘Congrats to Brian Luebben for winning.’”

I watched that by myself sitting in my dark apartment almost depressed and in tears. I was like, “This is the thing that I’ve worked so hard to accomplish.” I realized that I was at a mountaintop that was on the wrong end of the freaking mountain range. That was the realization that it was time for something new. I said, “I’m never going to have this happen again. If I’m going to work my tail off, I’m going to make sure that I’m getting the fruit from it.”

The lesson in that is that whenever a bad situation happens in your life, which it inevitably will, you have to zoom out and ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” If that hadn’t happened and I would’ve gotten everything I wanted, I’d still be wearing a shirt and tie today. I’d still be maybe working my way up the corporate ladder whistling.

Instead, that’s what started my financial freedom journey. It was how terrible I felt. It’s sweeping me under the rug after that and saying, “Starting back at zero. Onto the next one.” I said, “No, I’m out.” To answer your question, at that point, my friends and family were like, “They didn’t pay you $70,000. We get it.” I did give up a $250,000-a-year job. It was a good bit of money, but now I live life on my terms. That’s more important for me. It makes me feel richer and have a richer life.

Not to sound cliché, but what happened didn’t happen to you, it happened for you. It guided you down the path that you were meant to go down, which is incredible. I know everybody’s going to be asking, how did you do it? They want to know how you created this passive income to creating passionate income. Talk about that. What’s the difference between passive income and passionate income?

Thankfully, we do a lot of podcasts, me and Chris both. We’re pretty well-rehearsed in all of these answers. Passive income is what everyone knows traditionally and what Chris talks about on the show. It’s where your investments and the money coming into your mailbox and to your bank account are no longer tied to your time. You’re not working X amount of hours to get Y amount of dollars.

Passive income is what everyone knows traditionally. It’s where your investments and the money coming into your mailbox and to your bank account are no longer tied to your time. Click To Tweet

You can have something like real estate, stock, dividend stocks, business, revenue, or whatever have you. It’s coming in no matter if you’re lying on the couch playing Xbox or whatever you’re doing. It’s passionate income. In passive income, we’ve all talked about this for ten years now. Tim Ferriss started this with a 4-Hour Workweek back in 2008. It’s been over a decade now, and people are still on chapter one of the book.

We talk about passive income over and over again, but nobody talks about what the hell they do after they have enough passive income to have their freedom. What happens is now, we’re a decade past. I’m assuming that you guys have at least exposure to investing or you have investments yourself. You have some level of passive income and you know that it gets easier.

What is your enough number? What is that number that when you hit it, you’re like, “I’ve accomplished something?” More importantly, after that, what does your life look like? Nobody can answer that for the most part. I talked to multimillionaires on my show every single day, and that was a huge thing. A lot of them said even they didn’t know what their life looked like. They’re making $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 a month. They don’t know what their vision is.

Passionate income is when you have passive income and you have your freedom. Now, you do work that you choose to do, not that you have to do. Passionate income is what life is about. Passionate work. Now, instead of doing something to where you’re having all these rental units and all these thousands of dollars of cashflow, you’re sitting on a beach in Mykonos and you’re just sunning, drinking, and having fun, you’re literally doing something that’s fulfilling to you.

You’re doing something that’s meaningful. You’re working on complex things. You’re striving to be better and move the business forward. You’re doing something that fires you up. That’s what keeps people going that are 80 to 90 years old. You see these 95-year-olds in Italy because they’re still working at that restaurant that they created with their family and they love it.

I’m trying to get people out of this freaking corporate job and cut your tie off. If you want to go travel the world, I’ll help you. If you want to go create a candle-making company and move to Colorado with your family, let’s do that. Let’s get you the passive income to allow for that. We can get into that conversation here in a little bit because that’s the easy part of the conversation.

Most people do think that the strategy to get there is the hard part, but it’s like what Mark Twain says, “I can help anybody get what they want. I just can’t find anybody who knows what they want.”

I love that. That’s true.

People never look beyond that goal of whatever it is like $10,000 or $20,000 monthly passive income. What is it you think money is going to help you accomplish? What is it you want to do after? What’s the next step after you accomplish that? I truly believe that many people don’t achieve their passive income goals faster than they do because they’re afraid of what that next level might be. They’re not sure what they would do with that freedom, time, and passion they have.

It’s insane because I have personal friends that are making $1 million a year passive. They joke and say, “I have more freedom than they do.” They can’t just up and leave. They have a team of 50 that work for them. They can’t just disappear. To put a case study to this so that you guys know I’m not completely full of crap and talking woo-woo at you, let’s put some numbers to it.

What did I do step by step? There’s a four-step process to do all of this. I’ve got all of it free online, too, so you guys don’t worry about anything. Step one is to do your vivid vision. Vivid Vision is a book by Cameron Harold. It’s essentially a three-year vision that you cast into the future. You write down in present tense what you want your family to look like, your friendships, your relationships, health, business, income, investments, etc.

MORI 698 | Passionate Income
Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool For Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future

You’re going to write it all out, take a day or two days, however you want. This is your roadmap. Once you have your roadmap, you’re going to build your financial foundation. The foundation’s going to be unsexy stuff. A lot of the stuff that we talk about on Chris’ show and my show, where we’re giving you examples of things that aren’t necessarily going to maybe fire you up, but to get you the security and the foundation to build on top of.

For me, that was house hacks. House hack is when you live in one unit and rent the others out. We want to get super granular. I bought about five-bed, four-bathroom house hacks in the upper metro part of Atlanta, Georgia in appreciating neighborhoods. I focused on 1970 to 1980 styles, split construction, two kitchens, and in-law-suite.

Essentially, you look at this and you’re like, “Cool.” It’s a duplex technically, but nobody on the MLS wants to buy these because Millennials don’t have a purpose for two kitchens. To build a kitchen is $20,000, so you don’t want to do that. I buy these houses up to have two kitchens with separate entrances and I rent them out by the room. I did the co-living thing before it became a little bit mainstream now.

I have the upstairs unit rented like a traditional three-two. It’s my HGTV unit. It looks super hip and trendy. Downstairs, I rent by the room. I would live in one and move a buddy or somebody in that I liked to the other room. While I’ve been investing, I’ve never gotten out of the apartment mentality, although I’ve got a pretty sizable chunk of net worth now. That’s going to be the next step.

I rinsed and repeated. For that, because you’re running by the room, you get way more cashflow. I was cashflowing $1,500 to $1,700 per house. I got two houses, and then I realized, “I’ve got $3,500 coming here. This is fun.” What also happens when you house hack is you don’t have a mortgage payment technically because your tenant is covering it. You’re not paying rent, so that’s gone.

MORI 698 | Passionate Income
Passionate Income: When you house hack, you technically don’t have a mortgage payment because your tenant is covering it. You’re not paying rent, so that’s gone.


My student loan is gone. I paid all of them because I had a DJ company in college, which I would talk about, but I don’t think any of you are trying to be DJs. It’s not pertinent to you. My mortgage is taken care of. I buy all my cars in cash. The latest one I have is Toyota Camry XSE. It was $30,000 and I bought it in cash. I have no car payment.

I’ve got some insurance payments and I’ve got my cell phone bill. Call it $1,000 of fixed expenses that I’m on the hook for every single month. That cashflow technically surpassed what my expenses are because I run a lien. That’s my fixed expenses. For my variable expenses, I spend a s*** ton of money. I spent a good bit of money on what I enjoy spending money on, which is travel, food, and nice hotels. I want to stay in a cool place.

The variable income, once I had that financial foundation with my fixed expenses covered, I get to phase two, which is, I build my framework. Now you’re going to start going to your masterminds and communities. You’re going to build relationships. You’re going to start growing this community and this collaboration with mentors and peers.

You’re then going to start building businesses with them on top of your financial foundation. This is the point where you’re going to start shooting for the stars and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It took me three times to figure out I loved podcasting. I started the podcast because I loved it, not because I wanted to make money from it.

What happened was I did the podcast. I started it last October going into December. I had multiple people reaching out to me saying, “Whatever you’re doing is working. I’m having dozens of guys sign up for my coaching program and for my mastermind over and over again without you even saying anything just from your show.”

They said, “Do you want to have a business partnership here?” I said, “Heck, yeah. Let’s go.” Now I’ve got those formal partnerships, and then January hits. I looked down and I looked back up and I’m like, “I’m making $10,000 to $15,000 here outside of my W-2.” Let’s repeat this. January, February, and March hit, I said, “That’s three months back to back. I’m out. Let’s go.”

To finish my monologue and get off my soapbox, I saved up four months of emergency fund. That completely covers all of my expenses. I left the job on March 17th. I gave up about $110,000 of preferred options. I gave up a $20,000 bonus and a good bit of enterprise deals that I had in the pipe. I knew it was time and I knew it was now or never.

My accountability group said, “Put a date to this or never talk about this again.” I said, “Got it. I’m going to put a date to it.” It was March 17th, I left and on July 6th, I got on my flight. I flew out to Mykonos with my girlfriend. We did Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Barcelona, Split Croatia, Austria, then we did Vienna, and now I’m in Amsterdam. There’s my entire life story in about six minutes.

It’s a good thing you have a short life. That’s for the last few months alone.

That’s the kicker, Chris. I accomplished my 3-year vision in 1.2 years. You hear all of this stuff and all of this materialized $10,000 a month coming in from October that didn’t exist before. That’s the power. How much real estate would you need to do that? That’s why I tell people, “Find what you’re passionate about and post content on it. Be a producer of content, not a consumer,” like you’re doing with this show.

I don’t care how niché down you are. If you love doing old reformation pottery, go on TikTok and create a brand on it and you’ll get millions of followers. There are dudes watching glue dry on TikTok making millions of followers and they have a business built around it. It’s insane. That’s the soapbox I get on now. I’m like, “Whenever you find what your thing is and you go all in on that, it’s an accelerant. It’s like you’re putting nitrous oxide in the gas tank.” It’s just so much fun.

That’s such good advice because you didn’t even have to get strategic. For the most part, the strategy is creating that plan. Having that vision, having the plan to help you get there, and then walking that path. As you said, it cut your timeframe from 3 years down to 1.2 years. You’re living your dream. I know you have your own next level. I’m sure you have something next that you’re like, “I have a new dream now.” What is your new dream right now?

I have been turmoiling over this. I’ll take this as a little bit of a segue to tell the audience about the theory of navigation versus acceleration. This is a term from the book The Buddha and the Badass. It’s by a guy named Vishen who founded this company called Mindvalley. It’s a unicorn in the Silicon Valley space.

Navigation versus acceleration talks about how our life is not just continuous innovation. It doesn’t work like that. We’re designed to sprint and go 100 miles an hour and then rest. That’s how we’re designed to do. We’re supposed to live our lives in spurts, and then do the work to figure out what’s the next spurt. For me, I had a little bit of a depression first month while I was traveling because I had accomplished everything that I had set out to do and that was my identity for three years. I did it and I’m like, “Now what? Who am I now that I’m doing it?” Moving forward, my thing is I want to be the go-to resource, community, and program for people that are looking to leave that corporate position and figure out how to build passive income and passionate income.

I want to be the go-to resource and the go-to community for that. That’s what I’m in the process of building right now. None of it is live yet, but it’s in my vision. I know how that works, so I’d put it out for maybe around January. That’s what I’m working on right now and I’m working my tail off to make sure it’s the best thing ever. To also grow my podcast to a million downloads a month is what I want.

Right now, it’s been so much fun. You know what I’m talking about. The podcast is the most fulfilling thing ever. When you guys reach out to Chris or if you reach out to me and say, “This one quote or this one book or this one idea that you told me in that show completely changed how I viewed things. Now I get it.” That is the most fulfilling thing in the entire world. I want to grow that community. That’s all I’m focused on right now. It’s building a media company and an online education platform while traveling.

The most fulfilling thing in the entire world is when a quote, book or an idea you shared changed how a person views things. Click To Tweet

I’m excited to see that unfold. Brian, I appreciate you joining us today. Everybody, be sure to check out The Action Academy Podcast. Brian, what’s the website we have them go to?

You could check out the Action Academy Podcast or you can go to the website W2ToWorldTravel.com. That’s going to have a free 30-page guide. That’s going to be essentially everything Chris and I talked about today broken down, step by step with numbers and case studies. Also, a bunch of other financial case studies from other multi-millionaire entrepreneurs that have done the same thing. You’re going to get all that for free. If travel is not your thing, that’s okay. You can use that framework to live whatever your best life is.

Again, Brian, thank you for your time. You’re very generous. I’m very excited for you in the next 27 years. You’ve got ahead of you, too. Everybody, make it a wonderful and prosperous week and we’ll see you later.


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About Brian Luebben

MORI 698 | Passionate IncomeBrian Luebben made it to the top of a Fortune 500 Sales org only to realize that the corporate ladder and retirement at 65 were not in the cards for him. He then set out on a grand journey to travel the world full time by buying real estate and monetizing his podcast “The Action Academy Podcast” to help him hit financial freedom at 27. He did just that and is now building his media company and teaching others how to go from “passive income to passionate income.”