Get your basic blog set up. This involves choosing a niche (use the Adwords keyword tool to find out if people are really searching for information in the niche first), registering a domain name, getting a hosting account, setting up your basic blog installation (I recommend WordPress.org), and choosing a theme (design). Rather than go through these steps in detail here, you can follow my instructions on getting WordPress set up over in our 30 day marketing bootcamp series for freelance writers over at QueryFreeFreelancer.com.
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.
One of the great things about selling on Amazon, as opposed to eBay is that your listing on Amazon is easier to find. If you’re listing a product that’s already being sold by another seller, your entry is organized by condition and price. If you’re offering the lowest-priced listing (and you have a decent seller rating), your listing will automatically appear in the Buy Box.
It might all seem pedantic but I think the words we use to describe things are important. And calling a business passive when it really isn’t can set people up for disappointment and even failure. It’s not a fair description of the work involved. Sure, you might be able to lounge on a beach as money rolls in but only after you’ve put in many hours of work first and only with the knowledge that you’ll have to sit back down at the computer again at some point to invest further in your business.
There are many ways to earn an income both online and offline. The main goal for most people is to earn a large enough income so they can accomplish and live the life that they choose on their terms. The unfortunate fact is, most people don't have the ability to live their lives on their own terms. They are a slave to their debts and they cannot break the cycle of living pay check to pay check.
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There is a specific tax definition of passive income, known as “passive activity” to the Internal Revenue Service. Passive income is any income you make without actively working or are materially involved. The IRS defines it as any rental activity or any business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” Nonpassive activities, or active activities, are businesses in which the taxpayer works on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis.
The paperback’s formatting could also be improved. I basically just messed around in LibreOffice on Mac to get formatting to work, but I wish I would’ve started with a tool like Jutoh, which is fantastic for formatting and publishing. My workflow was Google Drive exports to LibreOffice, and Google Drive just wasn’t good for editing once you cross 40–50 pages. In the future I’d like to format a better sized paperback.
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.
The VA generally recommends a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of no greater than 41% with your mortgage payment included. It’s not a line in the sand, for reasons we’ll get into below, but it’s important to keep an eye on it. DTI is a comparison of your monthly debt payments to your monthly income. It includes any monthly credit card payments, car payments, student loans, personal loans and mortgage.
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.
Residual income is when you continue to get paid after the work is done. This includes royalties from books, movies, or songs and also income that comes from real estate or business investments where you don’t actually have to be present to earn it. For example, Bill Gates is still making a residual income from Microsoft even though he isn’t working there anymore.
If you’re starting out, select “Sell as an Individual” to avoid paying an extra $1 per sale. "Professional" costs (at time of writing) $39.99 a month, but you don’t pay the $1 fee for each item. If you’re unlikely to list more than 40 units a month, go for Individual. If you’re selling more than 40, it pays to use the Professional Plan. You can change your choice at a later date if you need to.
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.
You are a perfect example of what education can co-create Jon; and you wouldn’t be the person you are or the writer you are if you hadn’t paid attention and learned from great thinkers, writers, poets, and rhetoricians. They have shaped your soul, and it shines through your writing. Lots of people manage business and income — active and passive — but few do it with your educated brilliance.
As soon as you build a significant community of followers, you need to keep interacting with them on a regular basis, through comments, social media, or your site’s forum if you own one. Ultimately if that part is not interesting for you anymore, you need to hire people to do it, or find moderators, etc… to do it for free. If they do it for free, expect them to leave regularly, so you have a constant job of “hiring” ongoing.
If you’re interested in putting some of your content behind a paywall, our very own Protected Content is where it’s at. This plugin makes it easy to create a membership site that sells access to just about anything. You can protect your content in a number of ways based on certain posts, pages, categories, links, keywords, files, and more. This is a quick way to earn some income from your site.
Monthly residuals are a wonderful method of increasing your income, getting paid for things you did in the past that continue to generate money for you. Those who qualify receive a check or electronic payment every month based on work completed in the past. Many sales and marketing people earn monthly residuals by selling a product or service that generates income months or years after the original sale. For example, you might sell a life insurance policy with a 10-year term. The insured pays his monthly premium religiously. The insurance company then pays the selling agent monthly residuals — a percentage of the monthly premium — for up to 10 years.
The topic of buying and selling blogs deserves it’s own book though and is a very difficult skill to master I must say. I rant about the greatness and simultaneous pitfalls of marketplaces like Flippa elsewhere on this site, but needless to say I think this is it’s own expertise; worth learning more about for a lot of us who know that starting a business (getting momentum) is a lot tougher than fixing up and steering an existing business to greater profits (maintaining and directing momentum).