Thinking of going the online course route? Then you might want to check out CoursePress. This plugin is easy to set up and allows you to create a full online course that site visitors can sign up for, complete assignments, take quizzes, and more. You have the option to create text, audio, or video-based courses, integrate discussion boards, and even offer video previews to entice potential students.


You can also resell digital products created by others. This is a good option if you don’t have the time to create an ebook or something but still want to earn passive money. Basically, you sign up for an affiliate account with someone who’s created a digital product (ebook, guide, online course, WordPress theme or plugin, etc) and build a site to promote that product. You can either sell it directly on your site or sell it via affiliate links to the primary seller’s site. If you make a sale, you’ll earn a commission.
I read from the publishing blogs that having a great cover and a great book summary on Amazon was critical. So I worked with Matt Chase, who is an amazingly talented artist/designer, to have the cover designed. People love the cover and I think it’s a huge differentiator for my book. You can reach out to him at http://chasematt.com/ if you’re interested in working with him.
I generate all of my online income through advertising and that’s passive. As long as the traffic is stable, the blog should continue to generate income. The real test will come in a few years when we take a year off from retirement to travel around the world. (It’s going to be hard work to “road school” our kid.) I plan to post twice per week, one post about travel and one refresh/rework of an older article. One year is a long time and I’m not sure how traffic will be affected by this change. I guess we’ll see what happens.
Many people talk about passive income and create the impression that you never have to do anything to keep that income going. The truth is that you will normally have to keep your eye on things if you want it to run smoothly. For example Richard Branson doesn’t run any of the 400+ companies he started but he goes over the numbers each day to make sure they’re performing well and calls the CEO if there are any problems.
Build a list in a particular niche and tell them stories. Create a bond. Build a relationship with them. It's important. Then, when you've created a bit of culture, start marketing affiliate products or services to them that you think they might like. Just be sure that you personally vet out whatever it is that you're selling to avoid complaints if the product or service falls short.
Setup your basic pages. I strongly suggest adding an About page and / or Contact page to your blog. Share some information about yourself and why your background makes you qualified to write about this niche topic in some way. It can go a long way towards building trust with readers. Also set up a privacy policy, comment policy, or any other pages you feel would be relevant.
Start Something That Matters – Book by Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms shoes. It’s a great intro to the world of social entrepreneurship. For those who don’t know what Toms is famous for, they donate a pair of shoes for every shoe sold. In a nutshell, this book has strategies on building businesses, a heavy dose of inspiration, and ultimately makes you feel like it’s possible that your one idea could change the world.
Basic marketing ability -- You will not earn a decent income from most blogs if you don't market that blog in some way. That doesn't mean you have to market aggressively or feel like you're whoring yourself out with a constant sales pitch (more on that myth later). The most important thing you'll do marketing-wise is actually completely on the back-end -- evaluating your stats, testing ad placements, and just overall optimizing the site.
A very thoughtful list here. Another relevant book published this year is “Retirement Planning for Young Physicians” by Dr. Ralph Crew. It covers many of the topics discussed here from the perspective of a physician who has successfully saved and retired. The book adds a lot to these discussions with a focus on the importance of lifestyle choices, as well as a realistic (though sobering) view of likely future physician income trends and how to plan accordingly for retirement.
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Many people talk about passive income and create the impression that you never have to do anything to keep that income going. The truth is that you will normally have to keep your eye on things if you want it to run smoothly. For example Richard Branson doesn’t run any of the 400+ companies he started but he goes over the numbers each day to make sure they’re performing well and calls the CEO if there are any problems.
When you read Russell's new book. You will be amazed at how simple and effective his strategies are. It's like mining for gold nuggets and your striking it rich in any direction you swing! Every chapter gets you one step closer to burning bridge to your old marketing and sales ways. Expert Secrets sent me down a path in story telling and branding I didn't expect to pursue.
This idea is the first one on the list, because I want to get it out of the way. It’s a good idea for earning passive income, but most people will not succeed at this. You should only attempt to do this if you’re very interested in writing, and you’re an aspiring writer. I only recommend this as residual income for people who are very talented or established writers, or who already have an audience that would buy their book.
While I don’t have any direct experience with it, I know it can be quite profitable, especially in niches where you have high profit margins and low shipping costs. Vitamins and cosmetics, for example, are two popular drop shipping industries. Anyone can theoretically start a “store” and have dozens or even hundreds of products to offer within a matter of days.
I don’t make all my blogging income through them. In fact, the residual income sites make up approximately 10% of my whole writing income but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. I don’t promote a lot of my content and I don’t use the sites as much as I used to do. I also have my private writing clients who make up a good 60% of my writing and blogging income.
What you should know, though, is that book sales on Amazon are still massively fruitful. Founded in 1999, Amazon was the original online book retailer, but they've expanded exponentially into a store that sells just about anything. Amazingly, Amazon sales currently account for 43% of all online purchases. 25% of all US adults are Amazon Prime customers, and they ship 1.6 million packages every day.
Obviously, if you’re starting from scratch and you haven’t written your book quite yet, you should think about subjects that are of interest to you. If you write about topics that you lack a passion for, you’re embedding your own boredom into your poorly-prostituted words, and no-one’s gonna go for that; regardless of how punchy you make your title.

The right niche -- If no one is searching for information in a niche, you won't get traffic, and you won't be able to convert that traffic into blogging income. That said, you could take a traditionally low-income or low-interest niche and twist it into something more attractive to readers, such as by combining two niches, broadening it, or even narrowing it.


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Shane and Jocelyn Sams, who were teachers before. Shane listened to my podcast, and he was like, check out this guy Pat, and his wife was like, No, that sounds kind of scammy to me. But then they decided to give creating digital products a try, so Jocelyn created a website called Elementary Librarian where she was selling packages and worksheets to librarians to help them and that site is doing really well. And Shane is a football coach, so he created coachxo.com to sell defensive plays to coaches. Both of those are doing well over six figures a month now, and they’re doing it through pdf files, worksheets and tools that their audience can use to help them in a more convenient way.
This is a VERY good point. Too often I see people touting the benefits of blogging as passive income. But um, y’all, blogging is a lot of work. If you’re in it just for the money, you probably won’t perform super-well. Some of the income is passive through ads, but you still have to write new content, interact with readers, talk to bloggers, etc. There are certainly things you can put on autopilot but it’s not like investing where you sit back and watch money ebb and flow. 😛
If you read everything I said here and your response is, “Okay, that’s fair. I can give it four years,” then you’re already way ahead of most people. On the other hand, you might also say, “Jon, this is interesting, but I really don’t have that kind of time, so I’m going to bow out now.” In that case, congratulations, you just saved yourself a lot of wasted time.
Fox’s book is a little outdated now, but the alternative passive income streams he mentions includes straight up blogging (with the advertising and affiliate marketing as the natural monetization strategy), but also podcasting (don’t agree with this so much as a direct revenue stream) and vlogging (video blogging / web TV, whatever you want to call it).
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