This is the basic mistake they've made: they've fallen prey to the belief that money and meaning are two totally separate things. They've chosen to make their money from something that feels completely meaningless to them (some business they care so little about, they just can't wait to get away from it and minimize their involvement as much as possible), which they hope will buy them the freedom to do something they actually care about.
Speaking of audience, there’s a lot more I can do here. I can create an email list for buyers to join, and I can also publish other books and attempt to cross sell. I decided not to because I don’t want to do more in the college admissions business. The best resources are free and I’ve routinely turned down offers for college consulting or essay review because I don’t think I’ll be adding much value there.
Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
As always, I’m here to answer questions (within my ability) and I can always help you find that YouTube tutorial you need. When you are REALLY ready to start taking your blog seriously, I have many resources available on my learning site, Adventures in Blogging. The Income & Traffic Bundle is a great place to start if you’re dying to learn everything you can about traffic & income.
The more residual income you can build, the better off you’ll be. In fact, it’s said that the average millionaire has 7 different streams of income. By creating passive income streams that generate money while you sleep, you’ll build wealth faster and diversify the ways you’re able to make money – which helps protect you from the loss of any one individual income stream.
Managing your own blog isn't as difficult as some people initially think. There's this misconception that you can't earn much money with your own blog, so you'd be better off going with content mills instead. Wrong! It's not difficult at all if you're willing to work for it. The only real excuse for choosing content mills over writing for yourself is that you don't want to be bothered with the work -- you just want to write. And frankly, that's lazy (and you know how I feel about lazy freelancers). If you're a hobby writer and you just want to write to get paid a few bucks, fine. Good for you. But don't call yourself a true freelance writer if you're not willing to work on the business end of your freelance career.
New post sponsorship -- Companies appreciated the blunt honesty on the blog, so they'd hire me to review their products or even their websites. They knew up front they wouldn't get glowing reviews, but instead critical and balanced looks at what they were doing well and where they could improve. Sponsors had absolutely no editorial control or impact whatsoever (the only ethical way to incorporate sponsored posts in my opinion).
One of the most popular affiliate programs is Amazon affiliates. It is very easy to sign up and you can start using it on your site right away. I set up my Amazon affiliate account around the same time I launched my blog. I didn’t make money the first year, but as my posts starting gaining views and better spots on google results, my affiliate income started increasing.
If you're looking to get started in real estate, look at a crowd funding solution like RealtyMogul. It works similar to LendingClub - you commit as little as $5,000 towards a property. When the property is fully funded, you become an owner, and will receive your share of the earnings and appreciation in the property. Check out RealtyMogul to learn more.
The Four Hour Work Week – The book speaks to the value of time and how to leverage it. He encourages you to create a business that supports your lifestyle. I also love his concept of having mini-retirements along the way, rather than waiting for someday when you have the time but not the health. There are some step-by-step guides in the book that are extremely interesting to read. It’s definitely changed the way I look at work. Here’s a full review.
Try to write one good post about an expensive product or a list of expensive products that you recommend and actually use. Make sure it has good SEO and wait about 6 months for it to start making money. This is what started making me money at first. My Non-toxic play mats posts got on the first page of Google results and it started making me affiliate income.
I thought I was done, but my sales went up actually, because I think people saw there were guides there and looked to see what else was there, and I was able to price lower because I’m just Pat and they’re a company with overhead. So my guide, which was $29.99 at that time, was outselling their other guide because their guide was in the $100 range, and I think people resonated with me and my story: Hey, I’m Pat, I’m just like you. I created the guide that I wished was available when I took the exam.
In the past, most people wouldn’t have considered selling software to be a source of passive income, but I believe that’s changing. Thanks to tools like Bubble, creating simple web or mobile apps is easier than ever before. You can do a lot without knowing how to code or hiring a developer, and in the future, I think that’s only going to become more and more true.
Personality -- Personality's great if your intention is to build a community around your blog. But newsflash: that's not the "right" way to blog (nothing is), nor is it the only option. My small business blog went from $0 - $2000 per month in just a few months, and it was pretty much devoid of personality. There aren't many comments there. I've never made an effort to change that. The posts are simple new and how-to posts. They're not opinions in most cases. There aren't many reviews. I never blogged there to build conversations. I blogged there to earn from my writing. And I have. On the other hand, my PR blog also monetizes rather well. That blog completely revolves around my no-bullshit personality when confronting PR and social media issues. On the other hand, AFW has personality injected, but is also more instructional than NakedPR is -- it falls somewhere in the middle. No method has really proved better than the others overall. It's all about knowing what the niche audience really wants (community vs news vs instructional content or some mix). Sometimes you'll guess wrong.
Eventually, I’ll have to stop blogging altogether. Don’t worry, it won’t be anytime soon. I still enjoy blogging, but I just don’t see myself blogging when I’m 70. That’s 27 years away so we have plenty of time left. I really don’t know what will happen to our traffic if I stop blogging completely and just repost old articles. I suspect the traffic will slowly drop and stabilize at some point. If you have firsthand experience, I’d love to hear about it. My optimistic guess is that traffic will eventually drop to 50% of the current level.
This is another way to earn passive money from a website: sell affiliate products. Affiliate marketing is convenient and effective, because you don’t have to create or retail any products; you just need to get people to buy a product through your link, and you automatically earn a (small) share of the revenue. The most popular affiliate programs are Amazon Associates and Clickbank.
PPS oh you thought I was done did you?! The other parts of the book, although not truly passive income generation focused, are amazing too. I know things like the low information diet and killing interruptions have made a huge difference to my success – and if I can try and get a little more consistency in my adherence to them, then happy freaking days!