Interesting post thanks. I have had similar thoughts about the passive income model – it’s not “passive income” at all, it’s just a different business model where you do the same amount of work to build a product/service and support clients in a slightly less direct way than standard freelance/project work. There are also greater risks with the passive income model – if you are simply selling your time as a freelancer or WordPress agency, you are guaranteed to be paid for your time. Whereas you can spend months or years developing a product, service or blog in the hopes of attaining “passive income”, only to find that it doesn’t take off and you never get paid for this time. In theory the gains of a passive income business are greater as it is scalable and the amount of work doesn’t necessarily increase as you get more sales, but the risks are greater too.
There are many people who get paid vast amounts of money to become the CEO of a company, play professional sports, or star in a movie. Earning a high active income is often a lot of hard work and requires a dedication beyond most of us. It’s also limited because no matter how much money you get paid you still need to show up to work to earn your money.
Making legitimate passive income isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some of the best passive income ideas might take a little time to set up but can start cash flowing within a couple of months and will provide a consistent monthly income for years or more. The most important point is just to get started. You make exactly $0 on the passive income sources you never start.
I was so excited I wanted to share how it all happened and what I had learned, so I created SmartPassiveIncome.com that same month. Then, as sales grew on the LEED stuff, I had more and more to talk about and I kept sharing how much I was earning and what I was leaning — things that went right, and stuff that didn’t go right. A year and a half later, I started to accumulate a large following and be known as a transparent leader in the space of online business education. I then started a YouTube Channel and my podcast. Then I wanted to experiment. I created new businesses outside of anything I was already doing, and sharing that along the way — that’s how SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, CreateaClickableMap.com, FoodTruckr.com and other sites came about. Recently, I started getting involved with public speaking. All the sites have kept growing and people have shared their success stories based off of my own experiments with me, and here I am today.
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.
For example, say you watch the interview they did with The Minimalists a while back, you straight away start getting all these thoughts about whether minimalism is a good subject to create an info product around, or whether it could work as an affiliate site that links out to all the products on minimalism (and trust me there are literally 100+ minimalism ebooks out there that you could affiliate sell, oh the irony).
Add the links on your blog posts without sounding salesy. I don’t just say buy this or that, I usually write about something useful that happens to mention a product or I write about something I’ve researched about and link the product to Amazon. For example, when it comes to a recipe (which I rarely do) I say “now put the mix in a 9in pan” – 9in pan is a link to Amazon. People probably don’t need one but some might click on the link to see what I use and that might generate some money if they buy something else.
I have posts that are heavily linked to Amazon and some that aren’t to keep things balanced out. My heavily linked posts are product guides or stuff I was searching for my kids. Some examples are: Non-toxic high chair, 20 non-toxic teething toys, and Gift for 2-3 year olds. My blog is “green” so a lot of my posts are about non-toxic products since this is what I personally look for.
The only way to increase your income substantially, then, is to reach more people. The difference, put simply, is between writing an article and a book. If you write an article and sell it to the New York Times for $1 a word, you’ll never see more money from that piece again. On the other hand, if you were to create a collection of articles and sell it in a book, you may (depending on various factors, which we’ll get to) see money from this book over and over again until you keep it in circulation.
For some reason, many writers I talk to are afraid of starting their own niche blog. They're afraid it will take up too much of their time. They're afraid they won't see a decent return on the effort put in. They're afraid no one will want to read what they have to say. And sometimes they're just afraid to start something new because they're not sure where to start. To those writers, I have one thing to say -- Get over it.
Yet none of these people I've talked to who have this temporarily successful lifestyle seem very happy. They actually seem kind of restless and lost. I've had conversations with several of them to help them determine "what the purpose of their life is" now that they have some amount of money coming in from some little passive venture they don't even care about that much. It all feels empty to them.
FYI – If you’re already a blogger and want some solid ways to increase income from posts and products you already have, I highly recommend snagging a copy of Income Boost. It’s a quick read and will boil down some of my favorite income producing methods into exactly what you need to implement like right now for instant cash. You can use the coupon code “GET5” during checkout to receive $5 off the purchase price.
Just because the whole notion of passive income isn’t all that passive, doesn’t mean you can’t build monetization into your WordPress site with minimal effort. You’ll still need to participate in all of the general site upkeep tasks like writing new posts, marketing, and site maintenance, but the money-making approach you take can be quite simple and require little work on your part once set up.
Financing -- Sure, it's great if you have money to invest in a custom blog theme, advertising, or to hire other bloggers to help out in the beginning, but it's certainly not necessary. In fact, my highest-earning blogs were all started without spending a dime over the domain name and hosting (and since several are hosted together, that saved on the startup costs after the first). You can afford $10 or so per year. If you can't, you probably need to re-think your entire freelance career before you start planning new residual income streams.
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.
No two blogs are really the same. There are no rules about what you have to post. There are no rules about when you have to post. There are no rules about how often you have to post. But there are a few things that will give you a better shot at earning some real income in no more than a few months' time. Here are some of the keys to successfully earning through your own blog:
The Total Money Makeover – Great book on getting your debt under control. When the average American has nearly $10,000 in credit card debt, his message is extremely relevant. While I don’t agree with everything he says, it did make me way more conscious about the power of not having any debt. After reading this, I ended up buying my next car in all cash. Read my full review here.
Great post and comments. All your points in the article are spot on. My vote is Definitely NOT passive income. Launched my blog about 1 year ago without a lot of clear direction. After working with a productivity coach, we narrowed the focus (somewhat) and got rolling with more regular posts in March/April 2017. Small budget outsourcing on Graphics and SEO moved the needle a bit further. Google Adwords campaign a bit further. I just spent about 5 hours re-working a guest blog post for a food site, after already putting in at least 5 hours on the original version. Especially in the early years, there is NOTHING passive about sweat equity. Reducing the learning curve really does add real skills though, so you can hit the ground running and efficiently manage your time. Was interesting to see the vote tallies, thanks for the post.
Real estate is the obvious choice if you are going to make money on your money. I personally am not at the point where I can do any of this in a meaningful way BUT my parents are and they now own a couple homes outright and are collecting income from them to power their retirement income. It makes a lot more sense for anyone that has a chunk of cash sitting in the bank and are planning on slowly drawing from it because you technically still have all that money in a property (or multiple properties) and can sell them if you really need the lump sum of cash but you’ll earn great interest payments until you do that.
Blogging has a very steep learning curve, but if you jump in head first and take it one step at a time (I recommend tackling only one confusing thing per day) and do one new thing each day to work on your blog, you will eventually get to a place where none of it seems confusing! (If you try to tackle too many new things at once, you WILL get discouraged! I urge you not to do this.)
Some of these lists are available via the official Product Advertising API, but many of them are not. Being able to use any of the features listed above (and some more) to find and review a product that precisely matches the focus of your particular niche site, seems like a surefire way to build an interesting review site and to grow your following. That’s why it seems natural, that a true curation plugin should work on an item-by-item basis.
As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short-term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
Similar to selling advertising, the goal is usually to rank for competitive search terms, but instead of selling advertising, you endorse different products your audience might be interested in, and whenever someone you refer buys, you get a commission. It’s kind of like the next generation of Amway, except instead of referring your friends and family to buy the products, you refer strangers who visit your website.
You know the fantasy: write some ebook (or better yet, hire freelancers in Mumbai to research and write it for you at $.20/word!) on some niche topic, set up AdWords and Facebook campaigns targeted to the right keywords (you can hire those Mumbai guys to do your keyword research too), put up a cheap landing page (with copy written by... guess who!), press "Go!" on the PPC campaign, and voilà. . . just wait for the money to roll in while you sleep!