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.
I say almost because in truth you still need to do something in order to keep sales coming through. That something is usually write new content to keep the blog active. Without activity, eventually the flow of traffic will cease. It might take a long long time, especially for blogs in a high authority position with firm rankings in the search engines, but eventually, a blog with no new content stream will die…at least I think it will (I often wonder whether a blog like Steve Pavlina’s would ever die given the eternal nature of his blog posts – I think the search engines and all those incoming links might continue to send him traffic for a long, long time).
Once again, that extra income was amazing because we were then hit with another blow. At six months pregnant, we were told that our second son would come out with health problems. I took the time to research and prepare and after he was born, our life completely changed for about two months. He was very sick, in the NICU, and almost lost his life twice. A blood transfusion was what finally saved him. During those months I did nothing in the way of working my business. Yet I still got paid. I was able to take the time to be with my son in the NICU, care for my then toddler with special needs, and still make a monthly income that could help with groceries and bills.
Needless to say, you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else, but if you can, the income can be relatively passive. Chances are, you’ll still have to deal with some questions and complaints from customers about other people’s products, which I’m guessing can be quite a headache, but you don’t have to deal with manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, or any of the other headaches of creating the product yourself.
Every stage of my progress has been met with a lot of doubt and fear but every time I’ve conquered that fear, amazing things have happened on the other end. That’s been from the beginning with Green Exam Academy, to now where I’m getting paid to do keynote speeches. I just got back from Australia and was able to go there with my family but also do the keynote for the ProBlogger conference. If you’d asked me to do that five years ago, I would have immediately said no because I was definitely afraid of speaking. But now that I’ve crushed that fear, it’s been one of the best and most fulfilling things I’ve been able to do, so if you have fear, it’s a sign that there’s something amazing on the other end.
It’s going to be a little bit tough in that I won’t be able to share the actual site here (to avoid an unfair advantage). I will say that the niche will revolve around PR writing — a specialty area for me, and one my research and experience has told me will probably monetize well (precisely the kind of thing anyone should know before starting a blog for income’s sake). I’ll hopefully find the domain name today to start the 3-month period now. I’m about to quit for lunch, so I’ll see what I can find during my lunch break and deal with the basic setup quickly.
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Self Publishing is mainstream today. When you purchase an eBook off of Amazon there’s a pretty good chance you’re buying a self-published book. Self-publishing is also ridiculously easy. I tried this a few years ago and couldn’t believe how simple the process was. To self-publish a book you’ll first need to write and edit it, create a cover, and then upload to a program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t expect instant success though. There will need to be a lot of upfront marketing before you can turn this into a passive income stream.
But, you don't need to go further than that. You can simply write it and publish it and collect the income. That's all. Send out a couple emails to your list (if you have one) or post it on social media, and there you have it. Passive income. Now, the amount of income you receive depends on the quality of the book you've written. How well did you craft the message? How targeted was the information to your audience? It counts.
If you have a spare bedroom, you can find a roommate or list the space on AirBnB for travelers. Having a roommate is the more passive of the two, as being an Airbnb host will require more work in the form of turning over the room between stays. This is a super painless way to earn $500 to $1,000 a month without much effort – you may even be able to cover your mortgage payment with this extra income!
Great article, Joe! I’ve thought about this a lot…whether blogging is passive or not. By definition, it probably isn’t (since the income goes away if you stop), but it FEELS passive. “feels”. Ew. Feelings. Blegh. Anyhoo…even if it isn’t passive, I can’t stop doing it because I love it so much. So if you like writing and interaction with readers, it seems passive, but to anyone else, they’ll have to put in a lot of work for very little gain, so it seems VERY active.
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.
What I like about p2p investing on Lending Club is the website’s automated investing tool. You pick the criteria for loans in which you want to invest and the program does the rest. It will look for loans every day that meet those factors and automatically invest your money. It’s important because you’re collecting money on your loan investments every day so you want that money reinvested as soon as possible.
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.