To start with, what is passive income?
According to this definition found on Wikipedia from this Google search result page:
WikiPedia Definition of Passive Income
With that in mind, lets read what expert and an online marketing symbol (Pat Flynn) of the term Passive income ideas have to say about this subject,
building online businesses that take advantage of systems of automations that allow transactions, cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence. We don’t have to trade our time for money one to one. Instead, we invest our time upfront, creating valuable products and experiences for people, and we reap the benefits of that time invested later,” he says, adding, “It’s not easy. I just want to make sure that is clear.” – Source, Forbes
Okay! But before we go fully on today’s topic, here is something you need to know, understand and accept upfront (taking from the above words of Pat Flynn) – there is no such thing as 100% passive income lifestyle or business.
Every noise you read about building a passive income business online happens at the back of years, months, weeks and days of hard work, consistencies, trials, and failures, building, creating etc.
The business of passive income ideas is to keep your business operations fully on automation, and there are lots of tools that will make your life easier doing that, but even at that and on top of it…….a lot of time MUST have been invested into building, growing and perfecting the business to reach such level.
And when you achieve this, you still need to keep maintain the trust, credibility, awareness and keep updating the tools that make your business runs smoothly. So while you have invested the greater amount of time upfront, a lot of time still require to maintain your business otherwise it may get sidekick by your competitors.
So you see, is not all that passive anyway!
This is why we will need to discuss some important issues about the reality of what passive income IS and what is NOT plus how you can create consistent passive income opportunities that enable you to be financially free.
Tips #1. Passive Income is Not For The lazy Type.
Nothing worthwhile that leads to great success in life comes easy, so also generating passive income consistently good enough to sustain your whole life responsibility will not come by on a silver of platter.
You have to work your way up to it, be prepared for the task ahead and did I tell you that the task is not an easy one at all?
Building a successful online business is one of the most challenging tasks I ever know, in my opinion – this is not something for the weak minded person or the so-called “Lazy Man.”
Online business is very hard, don’t get deceived by some conventional marketers that try to make money off you by selling you false hopes. It takes lots and lots of constant efforts to build a thriving online money making business.
Tips #2. what you give is what you get.
In fact, let me put it straight in your face – Garbage in, Garbage out – what you give is what you get. If you put in few hours of work (Productive one for that matter) you also get few rewards in the future for your efforts.
If you put in long hours of productive work, you get more and better rewards for your efforts in the future.
So don’t expect to start generating passive income from mediocre or unproductive task. It doesn’t happen like that, you have to give your best upfront, put in lots of efforts, energy and resources to perfect the system before you can expect it to work on autopilot for you.
Tips #3. Choose EveryGreen Topics.
This is very important and applicable to online marketers that hope of generating residual income from their one-time efforts they’ve invested in putting that quality content or products out there.
Trending topics that fade away with time or events won’t give you much of passive income opportunities, it takes writing on evergreen topics or creating products and services that will always remain relevant to the concerned society to make the best out of passive income consistently.
This is one disadvantage of blogs that writes on technology, mobile devices, events and occasions, breaking news etc. What is HOT in the morning might just be as cool as ice cold water in the evening – no one is talking about it anymore.
These types blogs need to keep updating multiple times per day in order to remain relevant to their followers. The worst is that a good percentage of their content doesn’t have long-term value because they’re writing on time-sensitive information.
For instance, do you remember this Nokia Symbian OS Mobile phone? It was my first ever smartphone to use, and as at the time….one of the very best smartphone in the market.
Fast forward to some four, five years later, even my six-year-old son won’t accept it as a gift. Technology has moved beyond it, and if there is anyone living that built part of his passive income strategies on Nokia Symbian OS phones brand……..I guess that’s a dead income a long time ago.
Tips #4. Passive Income is a Reality.
Many are still in doubt whether earning passive income is real or not, my answer is “YES”! earning passive income from your one-time efforts is a reality and not myth.
One blog post you publish today has the potential to keep generating income for years to come as long as the topic discuss remain relevant to the affected community. Also, a single product you produce today can keep selling for years so far it remain in top shape, and relevant to the community.
Take the business of ebook publication for an example.
The author writes and published his digital book today, but keep selling it for years to come as long as certain factors are met.
Tips #5. Discover Your Target Audience.
Earning consistent residual income will directly involve utilizing your personal skills, experience, and passion to create something worthwhile for your target audience. The best you can discover this target market, the best your chances to serve them better with providing them with useful content/products and or, services that will benefit them.
Don’t build your business on the purpose of trying to appeal to everyone, targeting everyone in your marketing means you’re calling nobody to your business. You can’t appeal to everyone.
How to discover your target audience.
There are lots of practical ways to discover your ideal target market, but here I will discuss few:
- Your Passion. Your passion should be your number one strategy for finding your ideal audience especially if you’re a beginner. This will make it easier for you to serve your audience in an honest way, and to keep serving them for long. Try to discover your true self; what is that gift nature has blessed you with that the world need to see in you? If you can discover this, consider building your online business around that gift….it makes a lot more sense starting a blog/podcast or video blog around the subject you’re passionate about.
- Use Keyword Tools. If you’re an advance digital marketer, keyword research tools like that of Google keyword planner is a great tool for discovering target market that resonate with your passion. Use this tools and many more to discover hidden treasure in creating your next business blog and start building the foundation that leads to creating passive income streams.
- Forums. Niche specific forums are great places to discover what could be hot and have long-term value to build your business around. There are lots of these places on the internet, depending on your choice…..find one that relates to your business and see how you can make the best of it. Warrior Forum is a great place to discover HOT topics that has been around for years and are likely to remain so.
Tips #6. Choose Products/Services wisely.
One of the backbone to create passive income opportunity is in the services or products you promotes either as an affiliate marketer or product owner.
If the products or services you promotes doesn’t appeal to your target audience, there is no way to go around this – you won’t make money from your efforts not to say generating consistent passive income from it.
Choose products or services you render wisely and this should be base on the topics of your blog/podcast or youtube videos. If your audience is directly tied to the products/services you promotes, you’ve opened up your chances of generating a steady income.
Tips #7. Start a Niche Specific Sites.
Once you’ve discovered your ideal audience is best to create a site only for this audience;. This will allow you to concentrate only on the task that truly matters to them.
Instead of building a blog that talks about SEO, Traffic techniques, Backlinks Strategy, Conversion optimization – you can narrow it down to target just one specific topic. Let say – Traffic Techniques.
All the above-mentioned topics are closely related yet each one can be a stand alone blog topic you write about.
This makes it a lot easier for your audience to know what they should expect from reading your blog, it also provide advanced marketing strategies for proper monetization methods you can take advantage of when your niche specific site start generating quality traffic.
Tips #8. Choose Best Product Format.
After you’ve created your niche specific site, and you have validate that your audience do enjoy what you’re offering them, and some decent traffic worth monetizing……is time to decide on what product will best serve your audience purpose.
There are many format a single product can be created especially when it has to do with giving out information.
You can create an ebook to sell to your audience who are currently reading your blog while you place it on for sale in places like Amazon, Ejunkie, ClickBank etc and makes more money from it for years to come as long as it remains relevant to the society.
Also, one of the best strategies to keep earning passive income is by creating membership sites, but this has lots of layers to cover and is best executed by season marketers like Zac Johnson who know what it takes to manage it effectively.
Affiliate marketing is something you should consider too, especially if you have loyal followings that put great trust in your work and take positive actions on your recommendations.
However, choosing the right affiliate product to promote is one difficult task, but there are lots of ways to make it look simple and one of such ways is to ask your audience directly what products could best solve their problem(s). You can do this through running a survey on your blog, email newsletter, social media marketing and many more.
Affiliate marketing if done right, can be a very reliable passive income streams for years.
Tips #9. Remember Your Audience Trust.
If there is just one thing I would want you to take from all you’ve read so far – that would be trust – don’t trade the trust your audience have for you for anything in this world……even a million dollar does not worth the trust people have in you.
Trust is what will make people buy from your recommendation time and time again. If they put their trust in your expertise, skills, and knowledge…….only to find at the end of it all that you’re only here for the money – believe it or not – that’s the beginning of your end in making money online.
Word of mouth is consider as the best form of advertising, so also word of mouth is the worst reputation or image destroyer. And to make things worst, whatever goes up online remain online forever so far search engines have indexed it.
Generation after generation will keep reading your ugly past forever even after you’re gone.
The joy and freedom that comes along with being able to live the way you want are enough to motivate anyone to strive to reach greater height in his choosing career, and one of the best possible ways to live that dream live is by not trading your time for money.
This is where earning passive income comes into play. But remember, there are lots of works involved upfront and when these works are married with the best intention to serve your audience faithfully……….the sky is just your beginning!
Can blogging still be a profitable way to earn a living?
In this article, I’ve compiled a list of six bloggers who can answer that question with a resounding yes!
And they’ve got their profitable digital empires to prove it.
Now when you read about these bloggers making tons of money online, one of the many questions that could sear your mind is: how do they do it?
As an avid reader of blogs myself, I’ve rounded up these six successful bloggers’ case studies and interviews so we could all take a peek at what went on behind the scenes.
Read on to get some ideas that’ll give your blogging career that extra push!
1. Robbie Richard – Blog Earnings: Over $5K/Month
Solely through his blog, Robbie Richards was able to generate over $5K in monthly affiliate revenue without spending a dime on ads or any other traffic-generation strategies.
In his detailed case study, Robbie shared how he was also able to boost organic traffic by 402%, increase email sign-ups by 7x, gain over 4K subscribers, and monetize his email list.
Sounds very productive! Curious about his processes?
Here are his major blogging tips, summarized:
- Perform keyword research for existing content and identify your low-hanging fruit. Any keywords that you rank between the top 6 and 20 results for and have a monthly average search of about 300 are your low-hanging fruit. In Robbie’s words: “These are the areas where a small ranking improvement can generate big organic traffic gains.”
- Use Excel filters, conditional formatting, and other sorting techniques to help you sift faster through massive keyword lists.
- Optimize, update, and re-publish existing posts that correspond to your final keywords.
- Reformat longer posts into more readable, skimmable articles. Break paragraphs into three or four-sentence snippets, add images or other media for every 100 words and add a table of contents with jump links to certain sections of your article.
- Use headlines and subheadings that are eye-catching and that clearly state the benefit the reader is going to get.
- Upon relaunching your updated content, update the publishing date as well. Reach out to people who’ve previously shared, commented, or whom you’ve promoted this article to before, and let them know of the update.
- Pin your post at the top of your Twitter page. Using an auto scheduler, set up your post to be shared on your social media platforms more than once throughout a 30-day cycle. Change your taglines and hashtags.
- Change your email subject heading and resend your newsletter to users who didn’t open it in the first cycle.
- Use Thrive Builder or other similar apps to reformat your main landing page using the Upside Down Homepage technique. Essentially, this puts your opt-in form at the topmost part of your landing page as a banner, where it will get the most attention. According to Robbie, changing his layout this way increased his conversions by over 7x.[
- Use the Welcome Mat (or a Lead Magnet) for all your highest-traffic pages. In essence, this strategy is about laying all your best offers on a single, full-page CTA to make it enticing enough for a reader to convert. It was this strategy that helped Robbie add over 4.8k subscribers to his email list.
- Use Smart Links to differentiate the opt-in forms you show between an existing subscriber and a new reader. This lets you display your typical opt-in subscription form to a new reader, while you can set to display a new and more relevant deal, such as a new ebook, webinar, or app coupon to an existing subscriber.
2. Lena Gott of What Mommy Does – Blog Earnings: Over $10K/Month
Blogger and Founder of What Mommy Does Lena Gott shared how she was able to earn 10K/ month in just 10 months of blogging. As a stay-at-home mom, she only works from 20 to 25 hours a week, which makes this quite a feat. According to her income reports, Lena mainly earned from ads, eBooks, sponsored posts, and affiliate commissions on her blog.
Here are some of the pointers from her case study:
- Identify your highest-converting content. Focus your efforts on directing more page views to those highly converted articles (high-converting articles aren’t necessarily the high-traffic ones), and create more of the like. The goal is simply not to get more page views. The goal is to get more pageviews to the pages that matter.
- Validate your ideas on a smaller scale before spending on paid ads. To quote Lena: “It’s much more cost-effective to test your ideas with a small data set first and then ramp up later with paid ads as opposed to spending money without knowing if your offer will convert on a large-scale.”
- Write targeted posts by getting to know your readers better and finding out what problems of theirs you can help solve. According to Lena, before sitting down to write a blog post, she asks herself these questions:
Image source: Persuasion Nation
- One post equals one solution. Focus on one idea and stick to it. Get granular. The more specific the solution, the better.
- Mix in other media to your posts. No need to write a novel.
- Be helpful and useful. It’s the best way to gain your readers’ trust.
3. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Blog Earnings: $5 Million in 6 Days
Ramit Sethi’s online platform I Will Teach You To Be Rich has over 1 million monthly readers and has over 800k newsletter subscribers. Now, that’s a haul!
In his guest post article for Tim Ferriss, Ramit shares some advice:
- Focus on getting your 1k loyal customers who will support you all the way and buy your products. There are a lot better than 100k vaguely interested readers.
- Unless you want to be just another “me-too” business, do not conform. Follow your own taste and find the tribe who will take to what you produce. But be careful not to reinvent the wheel on everything.
- Don’t spread your resources too thin. Focus on being great at a few marketing channels at a time.
- Give away great material for free, that way, once you establish your authority as a high-quality provider, you get to charge top dollar for the products that you do want to sell.
- Be specific about your ideal customer. Think of your business as a high-end, selective boutique store where, because you serve top-quality work, you get to choose only the right customers to let in.
- In whatever content you write, give 80% valuable meat and keep your sales pitch at 20%.
- If someone who is not a fit wants to buy your product, let them know and direct them to another product, even if it’s from a competitor, if you think that it’s a better fit. Establishing this sort of trust is vital. They won’t see you as someone who just wants to get sales ASAP, but as someone they can trust to point them in the right direction.
- Do not pursue cheap clicks that don’t give you revenue. Insist on quality, deliver it, and charge for it.
- Block off at least an hour in your day (Ramit blocks off one whole day per week) to sit down for some big picture strategizing.
In another interview, Michael Alexis distilled some of Ramit’s practical advice into a guide.
Below are some highlights:
- Know your target readers and write blog posts with them in mind. Appeal to these target readers. Do not kowtow to the requests of readers who are not part of this cohort. It’s okay to, in Ramit’s words, “send them to that other blog.”
- Pick the right kind of customer. According to Ramit, you’re better off targeting the customer type he refers to as “Vicky Value,” or someone who is more concerned with getting value and is willing to pay the commensurate price for it, as opposed to customer types he refers to as “Frugal Fred,” or someone obsessed with cost-cutting and is less likely to spend on anything if it surpasses his designated budget.
- Write the way you speak and think; in other words, show your personality in every blog post you write. Do not be afraid to offend. The ones who get offended and leave aren’t your target readers, anyway. It’s a great way to help you filter your cohorts faster. Also, trying to appeal to everyone makes you boring. Ramit advises against it.
- Read voraciously every day. Ramit admits that he consumes material related to his target niche for several hours a day. But don’t make it a passive activity, either. Take notes, write up ideas, save annotations into an app, and make very specific tags so you can pull these out the next time you need topics for a blog post.
- Have an editorial calendar. List the top topics you want to be an authority for, pick the ones that resonate most with your target readers than consistently write your best articles around these.
- Not every idea needs to be immediately turned into a post. According to Ramit, he has over 100 drafts saved in his blog of ideas that he hasn’t finished writing out yet. Post only when you think it’s ready, and when you think it’s the best you could make it.
- Take as much reasonable time as you need to write your post as best you can. According to Ramit, it takes him on average 12 hours to write a guest post. In one case, it took him 18 hours! But these guest posts gave him major returns. So as long as you provide value and profit from the effort, don’t worry about those hours.
- Use your email marketing platform’s segmenting feature to help you test different writing styles, copy, etc. You can, of course, test for other things that you need. In one case, one marketer even created his own advanced workflow just to create specific email funnel A/B tests that he wanted to do.
- When it comes to guest blogging, research your prospects well and befriend the owners before sending a pitch. Make sure the blog has your same target audience, the same principles you believe in, and uses a voice and style you agree with.
- If emailing doesn’t work, try building a relationship with a target prospect by commenting on their blogs. Not useless spam comments, of course, but comments that spark interesting conversations.
- Do not monetize too early. Always test first what profit channel works, pays the bills, and doesn’t turn off your audience.
- Offer value. And then offer more.
- Think long-term and offer tons of value in your blog posts.
- Sell only products that your customer wants. If your target readers are suddenly preoccupied with a topic you don’t necessarily write about, check out what it is and find common ground. For example, Ramit was never interested in frugality tips. But when the recession hit, almost everyone, including his target readers, was affected by it, so he found a way to compromise and adjust to the needs at the time.
4. Internet Marketing Blogger Matthew Woodward – Blog Earnings: Over $20k/Month
Matthew Woodward’s success has proven that anyone can seriously earn a living just by blogging – no SEO strategies and link building needed. Yep, he said it. His whole blog is a huge case study about what would happen if you simply followed Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and forgot all about SEO.
He earned over $1 million as of November 2017 and has steady monthly revenues averaging over $20k, so this experiment seems to be working.
According to his income reports, he earns mostly from affiliate commissions, ads, and some side projects through his blog, such as consultations.
Here are the major pointers based on:
- Know what your target customer wants, and create content based on that. Matthew browsed through forums, blogs, and read comments from his readers. This gave him more insight into what is really top of mind for his target audience.
- Post on forums such as TrafficPlanet & WarriorForum. Interact with your readers in the comments section and reply to their emails.
- Build a forums section on your blog where readers can ask questions. This can also be a source of topic ideas for your next blog post.
- Matthew also stressed the importance of writing the way you speak. Be direct and straightforward.
- Set up your blog with the end goal in mind, whether that be subscribing to your newsletter/social media/product/email updates, selling products, or making money from affiliate commissions.
- Offer exclusive content to readers if they sign up or share your post to their network. (Make sure to offer something they can’t resist in exchange for their email address!)
- Post video tutorials along with the transcript and feature a CTA at the end of the videos.
- Host a competition.
5. Smart Passive Income Blogger Pat Flynn Earnings: $200k in One Year
From being laid off to becoming an internet sensation, Pat Flynn’s success story is one for the books.
Entrepreneurs Journey published an interview/case study of Pat Flynn where he shared the details on how he generated 200K+ in just over a year.
To date, the Smart Passive Income Blog has made around 2M+ revenue, and here are some of what Pat did through his blog to contribute to that income:
- Educate your readers through your blog and write about your expertise and interests. When Pat started out on his blog, he was still an employed architect and preparing for a professional exam called LEED. He posted his notes on his blog and soon it became a hit. First, he earned only around $20 to $25 per month on Adsense.[
- Publish an ebook. Write something you’re well versed about or compile info from your blog posts. Once Pat saw traffic coming in, he compiled all of his blog posts together and sold them as an ebook. He made $8k in his first month.
- Create membership sites. This is a good source of recurring and more stable income. But make sure that members get quality content and support. Launch with a pilot group to collect feedback. Keep tweaking your product until you get to MVP. Then, promote it on all channels. Add fresh content regularly and make time to interact with your members.[
- Start a podcast. Some learners are visual, some prefer audio—or may just be too preoccupied to read. Having a podcast can let you serve other types of audiences: the busy executive who only has downtime when he’s on the treadmill, the busy employee who can make time for extra content while on the subway, the work-from-home mom who can listen to your content while she’s cooking food with her baby strapped to her. Of course, when you start a podcast, add a transcript, which is good for SEO.
- Sell online courses. These make for good products because you only need to invest time and cash to create these, and after that, you can keep reselling them for as long as your topic is not obsolete.
- Become a consultant. Consulting services can also be a good source of income. This is something you cannot outsource, though, to maintain a great reputation and quality repertoire of learning materials so you can charge enough to make it worth your time.
6. Internet Marketing Guru Neil Patel Who Earns 1M+ Per Year Through Blogging
As a digital marketer who runs Kissmetrics, Quicksprout and Hello Bar, Neil Patel still highly credits blogging as his number one revenue-generating machine.In a case study, Neil Patel allocated over 90 percent of his marketing budget—roughly between $5k and $6k—on blog creation. This resulted in over 700k visitors and over 900k page views in January of 2015 (screenshot below), which translated to more than 8k leads. A little over 5k, or roughly 62% out of these leads, came from his blog.
Neil has since enjoyed a 6-figure monthly income coming from the sale of his products and services i.e. KISSMetrics Analytics Solution Software—thanks in large part to most of the leads that were funneled in through the quality of his blog posts.
So, some pointers from Neil’s strategy:
- Create exceptionally good content and increase your blog traffic to, ideally, from 10k to 50k visitors a month.
- Put an opt-in box at the end of blog posts. For Quicksprout, this typically converts an average of 0.75% to 2% or 7 to 20 visitors out of every 1k sign-ups.
- Network with influencers and bloggers. Answer questions in Q&A forums and comment section. Make sure these answers are detailed, helpful, and actionable. No generic fluff.
- Make sure all your blog posts deliver clear, actionable, valuable advice to your readers.
- Don’t worry about article length. Take as long as you need to research and expound if it adds value and clarity to your points. Add as many visual aids as you can.
- The title and subheadings are your few-second window to hook your audience’s attention, so make a copy of these sections count. In as concise and clear a manner as you can, show the reader, from a quick glance, the benefits they’ll get if they read your article.
As these successful bloggers show, it is still entirely possible to earn a living through blogging. I hope, by reading this curated list, that you’ve picked a quick strategy, maybe even hatched an idea or two of your own, to help you take your blog to the next level.