There are several different ways to generate passive income online.
What is passive income? It is building online businesses that allow you to generate income and grow and scale without a real-time presence.
In other words, you’re not trading your time for money.
Instead, you build something up front that can continue to work for you over time. It’s like when someone writes a hit song and collects royalties on it for the rest of their lives. They wrote the song once and they get paid as long as someone is singing that song.
You can build a passive income without investing a lot of money. Just remember, if it doesn’t take much money, then it’s probably going to take much work. Passive income isn’t “get rich easy” but it is “get rich smart.”
If you have the mindset that you are building assets that will continue to work for you later, then you’ll do just fine.
You’re doing work now to have flexibility and freedom (and money) later.
Here are three completely different legitimate strategies that you could choose from to build a passive income business of your own.
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1. Freelancing to Problem Acquisition to Solution
Stick with me on this…
You’re going to freelance by working for different companies or individuals and getting paid for your skills.
Yes, I know, this is indeed trading time for money, and it is NOT passive income.
Freelancing can be an AWESOME way to get started in building a business of your own.
You’re going to acquire skills and discipline when you’re running your own business as a freelancer. And you’re going to get paid quickly, too.
If you start out trying to make passive income, you’re going to have a very steep learning curve that will involve spending money without making money, sometimes for months. Freelancing brings the money in and gives you an education at the same time.
As you’re freelancing, you’ll get to know the industry that you’re in, and you can be on the lookout for the problems.
These are opportunities for you to create product-based passive income businesses.
You’re freelancing in a niche that interests you, making money and observing what’s missing, what people need and want, and where the money is made.
There’s two basic ways this might work for you.
The first is you find a way to do what you’re doing as a freelancer, only in a way where you do the work once and continue to sell it over and over again.
Let’s say you build WordPress sites. Maybe you create a WordPress theme and software or videos that anyone can use to customize that theme to their particular business. You might even tailor it to a specific niche, like chiropractors, dentists, contractors, etc.
You might give customers the option of setting up the site themselves or paying extra to have it done for them. In that case, you would have an outsourcer do the actual work for you.
If you can create products that can be used out of the box by customers or businesses, then you’ve got a passive income business.
The second method is finding out what a niche needs as far as information and training. Perhaps you’ve worked in a niche long enough, you can now teach about it, and so you hold a live webinar series, record the calls and make a product you sell over and over again.
In the first case you’re providing the businesses or customers with something they can use, such as a website, templates, private label rights items, etc. Essentially, you’re turning your service-based business into a product-based business.
In the second case you’re providing recorded trainings, whether it’s a course, video series, audio series, books, etc.
It can even be a case where you’ve ghostwritten so much material in a certain niche, you now know it front ways and back ways. You can now step out of the limelight and very easily create your own products in that niche.
Freelancing is very much tied to your time, but it gives you an income and the opportunity to find out what you can create that people need or want.
An active business can be shifted and turned into a more passive business by either having products that are already made, by having software do a lot of legwork for you, or even other human beings doing that work, too.
2. Audience to Advertising
This is one of the most popular forms of building a somewhat passive income online.
I say somewhat, because in most cases you will continue to do some work, or at least outsource some work to keep this going.
Essentially, you are building an audience and then generating income through advertising to that audience you built.
Someone on YouTube making money through AdSense, or a blogger with affiliate marketing, or a podcast with sponsors… you get the idea.
You generate content to bring in the audience, and businesses who want to reach that audience pay you (either directly or indirectly) to advertise.
Things you need to know:
- It can take months to build up your audience to a point where advertisers will pay you.
- You can go through a service such as Google AdSense, or deal with sponsors directly.
- You likely won’t get rich off Google AdSense from your blog. But you might on YouTube – it just depends on how well you can generate an audience.
- This is not entirely passive. You usually have to keep creating content or pay someone else to create content for you.
- If you can become famous in your niche, you will do well at this.
- If you create super popular videos on YouTube, you can make a fortune through the advertising.
- Whether you’re selling advertising or not, remember to build an email list. There are times when one email to your list will earn you as much as an entire month of paid advertising.
- If you hire people to create content for you, you can have several sites at once in several different niches, all selling advertising.
- If you’re going to sell the ads yourself, first give away ads to some big names in your niche on a trial basis. Then let other potential advertisers know that these big names are advertising on your site (works wonders!)
3. Become an Expert to Sell Stuff
Okay, first things first.
You don’t have to be a WORLD CLASS expert.
Heck, you don’t even have to be an expert – you can use the reporter model where you report on things in your niche.
And if you’re going to be an expert, you just have to be enough of an expert to know a little bit more than your audience. It’s like new teachers – they read ahead in the book by one chapter, and that way they always know more than their students.
Your goal is to become just expert enough to earn the trust from others, so they want to learn even more from you.
- What do you know that others want to learn?
- What can you learn that others want to know?
Create your own product, book, course, webinar, etc. Solve a problem for your audience, a problem they will PAY to make go away.
Promote that product through any and all means possible (there’s enough there to write an entire book.)
This is just like writing a song, in that you do it once and get paid for it over and over again.
You wake up in the morning and there is more money in your bank account because people bought your book overnight.
By using tools and software and systems, you can automate the delivery process so that you literally don’t have to do anything to serve your audience.
And if you get the sales funnel set up right, you can BUY traffic to send to the funnel that makes you money like clockwork.
Spend $1, make $1.50, or whatever. When you’re able to profitably BUY traffic, the sky is the limit and you are making a truly passive income.
Now, here is my favorite way to make passive income: Promote other people’s continuity programs.
Yes, I’m talking affiliate marketing. You are still selling products to your audience, but now you’re selling memberships and software as a service, and you are receiving income for months and sometimes YEARS for a sale you made once.
You’re the expert. You’re recommending THIS software or THAT membership to your audience because you KNOW (for real, no joke) that it can help to solve their problem.
You are helping your audience to solve problems and get what they want. And in return, the membership or software as a service pays you for as long as your customer continues to subscribe.
And it gets even better, because you did not create the software or membership, which means you have nothing to maintain and no customer service issues to deal with.
All you have to do is figure out what to do with the money.
One caveat: Memberships and software as a service are generally things people don’t subscribe to forever. Yes, they might stay with the hosting company you recommend, or the autoresponder you recommend, for years. But in most other cases, they will drop out after a month, a few months or a year.
But again, if you have a funnel that allows you to BUY advertising at a profit, then you’re golden. You just keep filling the funnel, making the sales and watching your monthly income grow and grow.
A funnel that is tested and proven takes maybe a few minutes a day to care for, if that. You can train your virtual assistant to care for it for you, as well as answering any emails that might come in.
So, how do you get started?
Well first, you have to be an expert in the eyes of those who you are looking to serve.
And remember, you do not need all those qualifications and credibility.
Some people gain expertise and credibility just through sharing their experience.
And you can go out and start talking to people, asking them questions like, ‘What are struggling with right now? What are your biggest pains? What’s something that you wish existed, that doesn’t?’
That will give you some ideas about where to start and what positions you might be able to take.
Remember, a successful business solves people’s problems.
To earn passive income, you’re going to have to do the work and put in the time. It’s about building something now so you can reap the benefits later.
By using software, using tools, using automation, using other people that you hire, you can actually turn this business that helps solve people’s problems to something that can be automated for you, for truly passive income.