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How To Make Passive Income – 7 Proven Ways, No Upfront Cost

How To Make Passive Income - 7 Proven Ways No Upfront Cost

For years now, I have been putting spare time and effort into a variety of passive income revenue streams that have grown to be a substantial part of my income.

In my 5 Step Guide To Building Passive Income Revenue Streams article, I talked about why I decided to stop trading my time for money. If you are reading this article, you have probably already made this decision.

It’s easy to get caught up in active income methods because they typically pay out faster. The problem is that active income only pays you as long as you are working. Passive income work continues to pay you even long after you have completed the work. If you continue to feed your passive income revenue streams, the growth continues. It compounds like the interest you earn on income you invest.

There are a lot of Passive Income Revenue models that require an upfront investment of money. I don’t believe in selling opportunity that isn’t proven. I would rather you start something with no investment at all other than your time. As you grow, you can find a way to invest in it in other ways.

I have a lot of resources I link to throughout this post so make sure to read it and click on the links that will provide value to you.

I am also going to skip the Passive Income methods that assume you already have a huge following. I will discuss each method and how to grow it into a revenue stream from Day One! Let’s jump into it!

#1 Blogging

It has never been easier to start a professional looking blog. Back in 2005 when I went full time into designing websites for clients, I felt that within 10 years, website design would be fully automated. That means I believed I would be replaced by software. While that is not completely the case, it is very easy to create a website and start blogging without spending any money at all.

Go to WordPress.Com and set up a free blog. There are free themes to choose from so you can give it a professional style that is appealing to you and premium themes that are pretty cheap as well. You can buy a domain name website address for your blog but I don’t believe you need to start with a domain. You can always purchase that later.

Start blogging on a specific topic. Starting a niche blog is the best way to get going because the search engines have a hard time determining what to rank a lower traffic website for. Until your website is receiving a lot of organic traffic from the search engines, it will be hard for you to be more generalized in your content approach.

You can start blogging about a hobby or an area of expertise you have. Your experience and unique approach will help others learn about the topics you are sharing. I shared a great example of this in my previous article and plan to share more, so make sure you subscribe to my blog for updates.

Don’t get caught up on making your blog fancy. Focus on the content. If you need content ideas, use sites such as Quora to look for questions being asked that are related to your blog’s topics.

My wife wrote a blog in 2012 titled “How To Make A Wood Sign With Stickers” which has received over 1 Million views since she wrote it. It ended up getting Pinned multiple times on Pinterest early on when Pinterest was first gaining popularity. She wasn’t even trying to write a viral piece of content, but it happened. Just focus on creating something useful and the views will come.

#2 Online Courses

We carry a high quality digital video recorder in our pocket. You can use it to film an online course to sell to the world. If you have an area of expertise, you can teach others about it. That doesn’t mean you have to be the world’s leading professional on the topic. You just have to know enough about the subject to teach others.

I am a professional photographer, but I am not the leading professional photographer out there. I created a course because I was continually getting asked how I get such amazing photos out of a camera anyone could buy off of the shelf. What is that one thing people keep asking you about? Have you considered turning that into a course?

You can upload and sell your course on sites like Udemy.Com for free. It’s a great place to start because they already have a large user base that is looking for online courses. Use their platform until you have grown your audience to the point where you can host your course on your own website using a platform like Teachable.

#3 EBooks & Information Products

You can easily create an ebook using something as small as your smartphone. There are so many powerful tools available to us these days. You can design and create a nice looking downloadable book using an app like Pages that comes with your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer.

Ebooks and downloadable information products such as PDFs can be simple or very graphical. I recommend that you focus more on your informational product containing great information and only add flare where it makes sense. Don’t take away from the content, you simply don’t need to.

There are many tutorials on YouTube that can teach you how to make an Ebook in Pages. If you are not on a Mac or an iOS device, there are alternatives for Windows and Android, just do a Google search for Pages Alternatives for Android or Pages for Mac Alternatives for Windows.

#4 YouTube

Some of the most subscribed to YouTube channels started out filming videos on a smartphone or a cheap video camera. The popular YouTuber Casey Neistat often refers back to the cameras he was using when he first got started. You don’t need high-end video equipment to make YouTube videos. The quality of your content is more important.

There are YouTube channels focused on just about everything. I really get into watching “build” videos where someone creates something out of wood or metal. I really enjoy wood and metal working but don’t have the time or the space to do it myself, so I enjoy watching others create which keeps me inspired to create something on my own one day.

You can make videos showcasing a hobby such as many people in the craft space do. Rather than focusing on creating craft products to sell you can teach others how to create items of their own. If you are still learning make that part of the process as well. I shared about the YouTube channel “Seth’s Bike Hacks” in my previous article and how he has grown as a mountainbiker since he first launched his channel

#5 Affiliate Marketing

Companies need exposure for their products. One of the methods used to get exposure are affiliate programs. A company starts an affiliate program to incentivize others to promote their products in exchange for a flat fee or a commission on the sale.

Depending on the month, around 40% of my passive income revenue comes from affiliate marketing I have done for various brands. Currently, the most comes from Amazon.Com. In videos I publish to YouTube, I discuss the use of specific products as part of my videos. I link to those products in the description of the video and people click on those links to view the products. When they purchase a product, I get a small commission. One sale won’t result in much, but 100’s of sales do. Look to see what products you use and how you can incorporate them into your content.

Making passive income from affiliate marketing requires building up a lot of content over time. It will start out small but overtime it will grow into something you can count on each month as part of your overall income.

You can look for affiliate marketing opportunities on popular Affiliate Marketing Networks such as ShareaSale, Clickbank, and Rakuten Marketing. Sometimes companies have their own affiliate program and usually provide a link to it in the footer of their website.

#6 Automated Services

Just about everything can be automated in one way or another. I used to manually manage the business listing information of my clients online. That was a tedious process until I found a company that helps automate that process. Now I simply make sure the information is correct and let the tool I pay for continually check to make sure the information stays current. I log in once or twice a month to check on my clients business information and submit an update if needed.

You can easily find a service that most people do manually and automate it. We live in a world where automation has never been easier. Whether it be finding a tool that automates a process like I did or hiring people on a website like Fiverr to do the work for you, the time invested on your behalf will be significantly less which means you can more easily scale it into a passive income revenue stream.

It is often that automation services start out as something you offer manually. In order to invest in a tool that automates the process, you must first have customers willing to pay you for that service.

You can even use Fiverr to get examples of services you want to offer automation for. Chances are if it is being offered there, people are willing to pay to keep from having to do it themselves.

#7 Stock Photography

There are a lot of websites selling stock photography, so how can you create stock photography that will sell? Simple, create a specific type of stock photography and offer it to people in that industry. Let me give you an example:

An auto repair facility might want to use social media to reach new customers. They probably are not social media savvy so they need photography they can use in their posts and will pay for a collection of images they can use. You can package your photos together with a calendar of social media posts they can publish throughout the month. Heck, you could even automate the process for them using a social media scheduling tool and be their social media manager.

Find a niche that seems to be underserved with interesting photos on stock photography websites and create photos for that niche. The photos don’t have to be professional quality, they just have to be interesting and easy to look at. Keep your images simple and clear of distraction.

To get opportunities to shoot photos of these underserved niche markets, go into a local business that specializes in that niche and trade photos for them allowing you to photograph their facility. They need good photos as well. Just make sure you get permission from them to sell the photos online and have anybody that is in the photos to sign a photo release.

Start Making Passive Income

As you can see, it is pretty easy to start making passive income online. It doesn’t mean you get to avoid work as building passive income revenue streams means doing the upfront work. You are simply choosing to do work that continues to pay you rather than trading dollars for time.

If you want more articles from me on passive income and lifestyle design, subscribe to my blog here. Let me know down in the comments section below if you have any questions or if there is any way I can help encourage you to get started today!

Vlog

3 Ways to Find Blog or Video Topics

Three ways to find blog or video topics

I believe that nothing is new but what can be new and unique is your take on it. Finding topics for blogging or making videos can be tough. I want my content to be fresh and relevant. I also want it to provide value. If the content I create is not providing value, I am just making noise. There is enough noise out there without my addition to it, so I do my best to find topics that I can provide value by talking about.

When I run out of ideas or can’t decide on a topic, I use tools to research topics to determine their relevancy. These tools not only help me find ideas, they help me decide how I should approach it.

BuzzSumo: http://buzzsumo.com/
Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Jerad-Hill-1
Answer The Public: https://answerthepublic.com/
Feedly: https://feedly.com/

Do you have any tools or ideas for finding topics? Share them in the comments section below.

Video Transcript:

Hey, what’s up, its Jerad. And I have a highly requested topic. I get asked this all the time when I run into people and they’re asking me about the videos or the blogs that I post. And that is how I find topics. So, this is Three Ways To Find Video or Blog Topics. Now, I’m constantly needing to find new topics because I run out of them. I’ve talked about before that I have this, like, extreme, kind of, BS meter that I can only talk about things that don’t provide value for so long before I really start to feel like, I need to make a change. Now, that happened when I started vlogging. I felt like, you know, sometimes I might make an interesting vlog, and other times, I was just like trying to film something for the sake of filming something. And so, I feel like when I put content out there that there needs to be value, and how can you keep coming up with topics? Like, how can you find things? It requires research. I mean, you look at all the popular blogs and YouTube channels out there that talk about specific topics, and I guarantee you, they’re doing research, or they have researchers of their own that do it for them.

So, here are some things that you can definitely do to find topics. You can go to a website called BuzzSumo, and I’m linking to all these things down below for you, so, you can check them out. And then on my blog, there will be those links as well. So, you can make sure to check out the extra resources that will be available on my website. Link is down in the description below. So, BuzzSumo, you basically can ask any…you could put in any search term, or phrase, or topic, and you can see how often it’s being shared on the web, like what kind of buzz there is around this. It’s great because you can, kind of, get an idea on whether or not a topic is worth talking about or writing about because you can see what kind of buzz is happening around it. Not only that, but you can see what the titles of those articles, or those blog posts, or those social media shares, and stuff like that are, and it, kind of, gives you validation as to whether or not that idea is worth talking about.

You can see what other people are saying about it as well. So, it helps in the research process because you might start out with a topic like blogging, so, you type in blogging and you start to see all the recent buzz on blogging. And you start to see what people are writing about, maybe that, kind of, leads you down, like, well, talking about blogging is like a huge, kind of, wide range thing. Like, how do I get more specific? Well, you know, maybe you’re wondering if people are still blogging or if it still makes sense to blog. Or will blogging ever died, like is that a thing that will last forever? Will people continue to blog? So, you’re now, kind of, going down this trail of trying to find something more specific to where you can answer a specific question or talk about a specific, like, facet of a topic, instead of being extremely wide. Like, why should you blog or something like that. Like in this video, I’m talking about here’s three ways to find new topics, because that’s obviously a thing that anybody who’s blogged more than a couple of times is gonna run into. So, BuzzSumo helps you, not only find potential new ideas, but also validate ideas, or even maybe figure out a better way maybe that’s an idea, but with a little bit of research, you can find the better approach for that idea, the better way to deliver information on that idea.

Another one is Quora. Quora is, kind of, a question-and-answer website where people post a question, hoping to get an answer from somebody who has information on that topic. It’s been a lot of fun for me because I follow specific topics, I answer questions whenever I can, and then sometimes, I even ask questions of my own to, kind of, get some information out of people. Now, I typically ask questions in the form of wanting people’s opinions. So, I might already know the answer to it, but I want to know what other people think about it. Quora is a great place for that. Simply go and sign up for an account, follow a bunch of topics that are interesting to you, and you’ll start to see questions. And those are things that, you know, people need to know that they want to know. And they are topics that could be answered in a video or in a blog post, or an article, or something like that. So, you can get an idea by paying attention to and seeing what other people are asking. Questions that come up often or even questions that have a lot of different answers to are great opportunities for you to provide clarity and not…I mean, you can answer, they’re on Quora of course, but you can take that topic and you can make a video or make a blog post about it as well.

Another one is AnswerThePublic. I love AnswerThePublic because you go there, you type in maybe a topic like blogging, or something like that, or, you know, skateboarding, or anything, and you get all of these different types of questions that people are asking out there on the internet about this. And some of them are very basic and not even relevant, but there are a lot of them that… I mean, you can take the topic of skateboarding and you’ve instantly got, you know, 20 or 30 ideas right there that you can go off and, you know, produce video content, produce articles or blogs. AnswerThePublic is fantastic.

So, between these three different sites, you’re definitely not gonna run out of ideas. I mean, there’s so many ideas in just using these three different sites. But I did want to add a bonus which is Feedly. Feedly is a website that allows you to follow blogs or different websites that post articles, so that you can, kind of, follow topics. And I subscribe to a lot of different websites on Feedly. So, what that allows me to do is, kind of, instead of having to go to all these websites, one at a time and view their recent articles, their articles are pulled into Feedly. I can categorize them based on the topics, or my, you know, what I’m interested in. And then I can see all their recent articles and blog posts and whatnot right there.

I can see things that people are posting about, questions. I can go and check out those blogs. I could see the comments that are down below which typically, is also a great place to farm for topics. Because if somebody posts something like, you know, say, I did a blog post on, you know, three ways to find video or blog topics. And then somebody down…like many people down in the comment section was asking a similar comment or a similar question, I could…that’s a potential another video idea or another blog idea right there. So, you can even find ideas in the comment section of other blogs from popular websites that you follow. And Feedly makes it easy for you to follow those websites and get all of that content into one place. And Feedly has a really nice smartphone app, so, you can even just be scrolling websites and, kind of, seeing what is new out there on the fly without having to go into web browsers. And remember, you know, all your bookmarks, your bookmark bar gets out of control. Feedly is just a much easier way to, kind of, keep all that stuff together. So much so that I pay for Feedly Pro because I think it’s well worth it, to have all my stuff across multiple devices and have those extra features. Feedly Pro definitely adds value to my life.

So, like I said, all these resources are in the description below, including a link to my website where I have some additional thoughts and resources along with this video. So, make sure to check that out. If you like this video, click on that subscribe button. And hit that little bell next to it, so that you can be notified when I put out new videos. If you have a resource, share it down in the comment section below. I would love new resources, and also, just to see what some of you out there are using to find new ideas. Definitely, if you have a blog or a YouTube channel, share that down below as well. I’d love to see what you’re working on. And that’s gonna do it for today’s video. Hope to see you back next time.

Blog

Two Weeks Without Facebook

Today marks two weeks without using Facebook and three weeks without having the Facebook apps installed on my devices. Now that I am two weeks in, I have really started to notice the benefits of not being on Facebook. Here are a couple of things I have noticed.

I talk more with my wife
When I was checking Facebook periodically throughout the day, I would see all of my wife’s posts and when I came home, we would have nothing to talk about. To be honest, sometimes I would say that I didn’t see something just so I could hear her tell me about it. I had already recognized the fact that social media had taken away the ability to catch up with each other’s day before we went to bed. My wife still asks me if I saw the photo she posted with the kids earlier in the day and I can enthusiastically say that I have not and then get to experience it and the story that goes along with it. The rest of the world may have known about it already, but I get to hear about it from the source.

I am slightly more disconnected but this is a good thing
It was already hard to stay up on what my closer friends and acquaintances were doing but now I have to personally ask by sending a text message or making a phone call. Actually reaching out to people makes for more meaningful conversations. Sure it would be nice to know more of what is going on but do I really need that?

I am less worried about missing things
At first, I felt like I didn’t know what was going on in the world of the people I know. Now, I am less worried about that. We never used to know every little detail about what was going on in each other’s lives. We used to get together to “catch up.” I am looking forward to doing more of that.

I am more focused on writing
I have been blogging more often, which is a good thing. I don’t want to waste too many thoughts on Facebook because what happens when Facebook goes away? So will all of the time I spent posting to it.

I use Twitter more
I save my quips for Twitter where people seem to have more of a sense of humor. Twitter users also do not feel the need to comment on everything and give their opinion when it was not asked for. Twitter also has a different tone. There are a lot of business minds that I follow on Twitter and I have been paying more attention to their writings. I would rather ingest positive information that helps me grow than negativity and complaining.

Final Thoughts
Not going to Facebook to mindlessly scroll is kind of liberating. I have had several people reach out to me and ask that I continue to post to Facebook. I guess you don’t realize who actually likes your posts until you stop. I thought about posting to Facebook through another app but I don’t like the idea of putting stuff out there and not coming back to it to respond to comments. I am enjoying not being plugged in to Facebook for personal usage. As I have mentioned before, there is too much negativity on Facebook. Not everything on Facebook is negative, it just seems like there is an excessive amount of narcissism going on there and it’s too hard to filter through it these days.

Blog

One Week Without Facebook

I'm logging out of facebook - One Week Update

Two weeks ago, I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. Last week, I decided not to log into Facebook to check my personal profile anymore. You can read more about that decision here. Part of me kind of feels childish for just not going on Facebook. For a moment, I felt like the kid who decided to leave because the other kids wouldn’t play nice. The problem with the majority of the people on Facebook is that they do not respect the thoughts or opinions of other people. These people have no regard for others. What is interesting to me is that these people seem to only exist on Facebook. There is a different mentality on other social networks such as Twitter, Linkedin and even Instagram.

Over the last week I have ran different situations through my head that could get me back to Facebook such as deleting a lot of these negative people from my friends list or just deleting my entire friends list altogether and then add people back that I want to remain online friends with. All of this sounds like too much work. There is no easy way to do this when you have 4500+ friends in your friends list. I don’t want to delete my account because as I have mentioned before, there is a timeline of my life for the last many years on there and I do not want that to go away.

I also noticed that my Instagram was posting to my Facebook profile and my wife mentioned that people were commenting on the photos I was posting from our trip to Newport Beach last week. I wish that you could pin a post to the top of your profile like you can with a Facebook Business page. Since Facebook does not show much of what you post to your entire friends list, many people do not know why I am not responding. There is no easy way to make that known. I did add a message in my about me section mentioning that I am no longer checking my Facebook profile but people who are already my Facebook friend would have to dig to find it.

I have been considering disabling my Facebook profile because that would make it easier to remove myself from the equation. A friend of mine deleted his Facebook profile and then started getting messages and calls from people asking if he was ok. He said that people thought he might be having marital problems or that maybe something went wrong with his health. This is the kind of weird OCD or whatever it is that people on Facebook have. Facebook is so engrossed into people’s lives that when something doesn’t seem right, they assume the worst and have to know the gritty details. The issue I have here is that most people would never bother to call or check in on you personally so long as you have your Facebook profile going. The moment you remove yourself from the tribe, everybody assumes the worst and must know the drama. When there isn’t any drama, they go back to scrolling Facebook on their phones in hopes to find something else they can feed off of.

What is hard is that all of my family uses Facebook to stay up to date with what we are doing and to see photos of our kids. To be honest, I kind of like it that way. My family and I talk maybe once a week, sometimes a little less than that. It’s just the way we have always been with communication, even before social media. My wife’s family talks much more often and seeing a post on social media often triggers a phone call. When I decide to post to my blog or another social network, my family often does not see that post. Being on Facebook does make it easier because everybody is there.

Not posting to Facebook all week has also changed how I feel about Facebook pages for businesses. The more Facebook forces businesses to pay for advertising the less I want to be involved with it altogether. When there was talk of the Facebook IPO, I knew that they were going to have to switch gears quickly into money mode and that is what they have done. Facebook runs tests on us showing us different content to see how we react to it. They show us less of what we actually want to see so we spend more time there. For many, it has turned into an addiction. For me, I would spend a lot of time there just trying to find something interesting. It would take me 10 minutes of scrolling to find something that was interesting enough to read or comment on.

I get it, we are all busy these days. We have filled our lives with so much stuff to keep us occupied that we don’t have time for real life interactions. We don’t get the details on each other’s lives like we used to so when we see something on Facebook, we obsess over it. We have also lost context. We are left to draw our own conclusions. To be honest, I would rather that less people know what is going on in my personal life. I would rather those who do care about what I’m up to ask me what I am up to by giving me a call or text message. I miss the days of getting coffee with a friend and talking about life.

Whats next?

I am going to continue not logging into Facebook and will stop Instagram from posting as well. Hopefully this post will remain on the top of my profile so people can see that I am not physically present on my Facebook profile. If anybody wants to stay up to date with what is going on with my family and myself, you can follow this blog or the links below. There is also a Photos section of this blog that contains photos I have been posting here rather than to Facebook.

I have also been reconsidering my presence on several other social networks. Instagram is owned by Facebook so I am sure they are working toward making changes to it like they have with Facebook. They have said that there will be ads and the feed of photos will start to change. It’s only a matter of time before Instagram becomes more of a time consumer.

When talking about social networking with people, I have always told people that I would rather be someone that somebody Google searches for than someone who just shows up in somebody’s news feed. I want to add value to the internet and that means coming up with content that is useful and interesting. I want to connect with people who have similar interests and desire similar things in life. Facebook has not been the correct platform for that.

Blog

30 Day Blogging Challenge

Social Media has reshaped the way we share online. There used to be a time where I shared everything I found interesting on my blog. Even during the age of Myspace, I still shared most of the content I created or came across on my blog. With Facebook and Twitter’s popularity, I have found myself posting more to these social networks and neglecting my blog. I have long been an advocate for creating content on your own website and using social media as a catalyst for sharing that content. Social Networks come and go, so it does not make sense to create all of your content on a social network whose audience will most likely shift to a new location one day.

When I create content, I post it to my website and post links to my social network profiles. What I have not done much of is sharing content I find interesting to my blog. When I find something I like online, I often post a link and a short thought on my social networks. I should be doing this on my website.

Starting on the first of the year, all content I create and share online will originate on my blog. I will then share the content I post to my blog on my social media profiles. I have already began testing this in various ways by posting to my blog from my various devices. I am excited to make this change because I have become somewhat complacent with sharing content in multiple places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Throughout this process it will be interesting to see how posting here changes engagement that I normally would have received on posts directly to the social networks. Will the amount of times content I post get shared change? How will the social networks treat my content considering it originates outside of their network? Testing things like this is fun to me. I have already noticed that Facebook does not show content that links away from their website nearly as much as when you post directly to Facebook. Deciding how I will post content to Instagram will be interesting being that you can’t link away from Instagram easily.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will see a lot more content then you were previously used to me posting. This is also why I went to a more minimal look on the design and layout of my blog as well.

When it comes to sharing content, I want my website to be the first thing I think of, not a social network. Once I share that content on my blog, I can then share it with the social network I feel it would be most interesting to. For example, I share more family and life related content on Facebook. I share more tech related content on Twitter and Google+.

Let me know your thoughts on what I am trying here. Do you think it’s a good idea or should certain content be posted directly to social networks while longer content be posted to blogs?

Blog

What do people want from me?

I have been blogging for years. I started blogging in 2005 and have written about a large variety of unrelated topics over the years. My blog started with updates about my life and my opinion on things that I was experiencing at the time. Though I have not always been a consistent blogger, this blog has over 1,100 posts. I am a very resourceful person. If I need to do something, I will figure it out on my own or I will find someone who has written about it online and follow their instructions. This is how I taught myself how to be a website designer and a professional wedding photographer. Whenever I can not find an answer online and figure it out on my own, I post about it. I feel that it is my way of giving back to the internet which has given so much to me. The only problem is that each article I write on a problem that I solved is unrelated to the other articles. Articles I have written have ranged from resolving problems with my Mac, video editing, photography, Photoshop, fitness, traveling and the list goes on. Some of those items could be categorized together but if I was to organize it, the list of categories would be so long they would run off the page. I have always envied niche bloggers who solve related problems all day long on their blog. Many of them do it so well that I don’t want to enter the space and be just another person writing about the same situations.

I have considered writing about Photography many times. Through tutorials and workshops, I taught myself how to be a professional photographer by trying things I read online refining them until the end result was appealing to me. The problem is that there are many websites that teach photography and even more websites that curate great photography related content. There are a lot of voices online regarding photography. Though I have been producing some online photography courses, I have not felt lead to produce a blog and attempt to write original content all week. I have also considered writing about Website Design. Designing and building for the web is a lot harder to teach than photography. I feel that there are also a lot of great sites out there that teach website design and curate fantastic content on being a better website designer.

I think that my problem is that I don’t consider myself as much of a professional as I am in my chosen crafts. Those of us who are professionals in a certain job or function have professionals that we look up to. There are photographers who are much more knowledgable than I am and there are website designers who could code into a corner. It’s not a matter of self-confidence. I am confident in my abilities to produce quality work even though I practice two professions. I get bored easy, so I have to keep myself learning different things to keep my attention.

I envy those who find one craft and are all about it. Our world has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Many will completely change careers more than once in their lifetime doing something completely different than what they were equipped to do after the completed their schooling. People like me, who did not have the attention span for school left on their own path and may even see more career changes over the course of their lives. So how do you decide what to focus on when you are focusing on so many things?

What it comes down to is that I want to add value to the world in a similar way that it has added value to my own life. If I was born in the 50’s it would have been much harder to do what I am doing today because the information was more difficult to come by. Back then you had your local library, today we have the internet and Youtube. There is no excuse for not knowing how to do something anymore.

What I have found that is unique to me and very few others is the understanding that when you set out to do something, you need to own it. When you commit to something, you have to be the best you can be. When I say that I will do something I do and when I want to do something I figure out how. I am one of the most resourceful people I know and I can say this because all I hear from more than 90% of people I come in contact with is words confirming their inability to do something. Most people are convinced that they are dealt certain cards. They know that they have more ability than some but less ability than most. People accept only a small amount of responsibility for things these days. Job descriptions are very specific and if it falls outside of what is on paper then that person most likely won’t do it. We live in a world where people take very little responsibility for anything anymore. Two weeks ago a guy side swiped my wife while driving down the road and he denied responsibility. Every day people complain about being given tasks stating that it is not their job. We all sound like kids who was just asked to clean the dishes when our only chore was to take out the trash. On top of that, we all feel that we are entitled to so much but will take responsibility for so little. No wonder our Grandparents shake their heads at us.

Now I don’t want this post to turn into a tangent on what the world should be but I do find that I take responsibility for what I say I will do and I own every task. Sometimes I may take longer than anticipated but I always get things done. I encourage my clients to think big because I want them to go big and achieve goals now that they thought were a couple of years away. We live in a world where you can go big now and achieve great things in a fraction of the time it used to take even ten years ago. I had a thriving wedding photography business in less than six months after shooting my first paid event. I started an app discovery website for the iPhone that took off a few months after starting the site and has been a constant income source since then.

I often buy into the glamorized appearance that are most publicized  Sometimes I think that my businesses are to small to talk about but in reality they are big enough to support a relatively comfortable lifestyle for my family and I have two full time employees on payroll. The only consistant goal I have had for myself other than to try to stay in shape is to be able to have a family and support them and so far I am doing that. Honestly, I don’t know where life will take me as far as that goes, I hope that I don’t cause any struggle or hardship for my family but I believe that I am a hard enough worker and resourceful enough person to not have to worry about that very often.

Perhaps what I should be blogging about is personal responsibility. The idea of taking ownership for your actions and promises is dying. People blame any easy target for their situations and it is why our nation is having so many issues. What I don’t want is to be some soap box guy touting my thoughts as if they are some sort of religion. I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to people and I definitely do not want people to feel judged by me. Earlier today I posted a photo on Facebook of a giant “We accept EBT” sign on a Papa Murphy’s Pizza simply making the joke that I would love an EBT card so I could get free pizza. Many people took my post as a jab at the less fortunate and the comments under the post turned into two sides: One side recognized that the welfare and assistance programs in the US were flawed and agreed when I stated that if you are needing assistance that you should choose a more humble way of feeding your self and family. I mentioned that things like buying prepared pizza is a luxury item that should be seen as a treat. The other people attacked me with unemployment details and disability situations that were obviously one of a kind situations. Don’t get me wrong here, I am all for a system of assistance that is well moderated. As long as there is accountability in place, the system should operate fine. The problem is that it is too easy to take advantage of the system so people are doing it. The result is ever increasing taxes and burdens on those who do chose to work. I am all for helping those who are unable. As a child, we had to accept assistance for a short stent due to extenuating circumstances. It just happens, but you do what you need to do to get off of it as soon as possible. It was hotdogs and chili for months but we survived…

With that said, there are many things that I am passionate about and some I even get emotional over. Some of you know me pretty well and many of you do not know me at all aside from what I post on this blog. Most people enter this blog from a Google search that resulted in a link to a post or article on this website. Not nearly as many people enter this website because they anticipate what I have to say next. This is what I want to change. I love the open-ness of the internet. I am a very transparent person and do not mind sharing aspects of my life to either help someone who is going through something I did or inspire someone to do something they did not know how to do. I am not perfect, to be honest, I am just as flawed if not more flawed than the average person. The only difference is the decisions I make and the responsibility I take for my actions. I have drastically change my life from the course that it was headed in my late teens and early 20’s. I am personally responsible because of people who have either shared their lives with me either personally or online. The only thing I have to get over is the fact that I often think that I don’t have something unique to offer. Each of us have something unique to offer, it’s just hard to find a comfortable way to display that publicly and honestly.

If you made it this far, what do you think? Should I pick a topic I am considered a professional in and chronicle my experiences and lessons learned into educating articles, posts and videos? Should I try to bring back personal responsibility by showing the world that if you take ownership in what you do you will already be 3 steps ahead of the rest? Or should I just post cute pics of my kids and make jokes like I do on my personal Facebook profile? Most probably don’t want anything from me at all, and I am ok with that, but I know that there are some people that I would connect well with out there. Those are the people I want to create for.

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Importance of Sharing Information

Part of the way I learn is trying to teach it to someone else. I find that challenging myself to reteach what I just figured out how to do writes it deeper into my brain. Besides that, I enjoy giving back. I have no formal education beyond high school. Everything I do for work and in many cases in life, I attained through some sort of resource. Earlier on in my life, it was books. As the internet expanded, it allowed me to learn anything I wanted to at a much faster pace than traditional education could allow. Because I took the route of consuming shared information or online courses over formal education, I wanted to give back. Over the years I have posted Photoshop tutorials, snippets of custom code I wrote, photos and countless hours worth of information. A few of my tutorial videos have received over 100,000 views on Youtube each, which is pretty cool. I still get emails just about weekly about some of them, today I actually received a phone call about one of them. I love sharing information, my problem is that other things get in the way from me being able to do that on a regular basis.

This website, JeradHill.com, has been many things since I purchased the domain name in 1997. At that time, very few people owned the domain name that was their name. In 1997, I wanted to start an online business and I knew that if I was going to be able to do this with the $400 I had in my bank account, I would have to teach myself. This is when I started consuming online information and browsing forums for assistance. The internet is a fantastic place filled with information, you really can learn how to do anything you want online. After a few of my online tutorials took off, I decided that I wanted to spend more time teaching. I love to teach. I realize that even though the same information exists for all of us, not all have the patience and resourcefulness to make use of all of the information. I am fortunate to be a nerd with communication skills. I can break down the difficult processes of technical tasks into simple/actionable English. When I realized that I had this gift, teaching became fun for me.

We all have things we know how to do and there are people who consider us a professional in this area. Even though there are people we consider professionals over us, there are people who want to learn what we know and consider us a professional. I am a professional wedding photographer and even though there are photographers that I look up to as having reached a higher level of professionalism than I have there are still many who want to learn the ropes and could learn that from me. I do this because I want to give back somehow. I have consumed countless hours of free or close to free information to learn and become what I am today, I want to offer someone else the same luxury.

Right now I am in a place where I want to be teaching more, but have other obligations. I keep all of my ideas in Evernote, which is a great way to capture your thoughts in text, photo or audio note. However, the ideas are stacking up and as more time goes by the less relevant the idea becomes. My desire is to be able to work on teaching more, but I did such a good job building my business over the years that word-of-mouth referral business keeps coming in and I don’t like turning people away who desire to work with me.

There are many places that I share information. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Udemy.Com and soon I will have my own website containing my tutorial videos and training resources.

So how do you start on a journey of information sharing?
It’s actually quite easy, and free.

I started by blogging on this very website. My earlier posts consisted of me writing articles about how I figure something out that I could not find an answer to online. I never wanted to repost something that I had found from another website but if I couldn’t find something online, I had to figure it out myself. When I did figure it out, I would write about it. These posts were mostly posts about programming. When I started to learn Photoshop, I would record short videos on how I performed a certain edit or style. Over the years I have started several podcasts as well. Now I am in a place in my business where I have to figure things out for myself. I don’t know anybody else personally who has several different things going on and uses the web to market themselves like I do, so I take bits and pieces of information I find, mash it up with some of my own ideas that are relevant to what I am doing and if it works, I teach it. Great teaching moments also come from failures, I am big about mentioning the things that I did that did not work. I believe that the reason I have any success at all is due to the fact that I learn from my failures and do not let them become an excuse to quit. Quitting is one thing I do not do. Even though sometimes I am forced to slow down on things to direct my time elsewhere, I don’t give up. This website is a perfect example of that. There have been seasons where I have blogged daily and some where months go by without an update.

If you wanted to start blogging, you can set up a free blog at WordPress.Com. They have a few premium features to make your website more professional, but you can use it for free. I like WordPress.Com because if you decide to take what you are doing to the next level, you can merge your content with a customized WordPress website such as my website you are on right now.

Becoming a curator of information is a popular thing right now on the web. Since Pinterest has came along, curation has blown up as a way of sharing online. By no means is Pinterest the first to do this but it sure is fun. My wife shares a lot of fun ideas and inspiration she finds on Pinterest. Check out her Pinterest boards to see what I’m talking about.

You can start a Youtube channel, for free, and start uploading content there. It does not have to be broadcast quality. I am sure you have watched some home-brew tutorials on Youtube before. With time you will want to increase your production quality but you can do that over time. My website DailyAppShow.com started out pretty shabby and now we have high quality HD equipment we record our reviews with and I even have a full time employee helping with this process. DailyAppShow.Com started as an idea in the spare bedroom of my house and turned into something that requires employees to run. The DailyAppShow Youtube Channel has over 2 Million Channel views to date.

My most recent teachings can be found on Udemy.Com. I chose to use Udemy because I wanted to see how my content performed next to other professionals out there who are creating content. I have two free and one paid course at the time of writing this post. I could have uploaded my free content to Youtube but I feel that there are to many complainers who are not serious and just looking for a chance to give you a hard time. I wanted to be a part of a teaching network where people who are serious go to learn. Udemy is that platform. They also allow you to charge for your courses which is great if you have your own content that us unique and worth paying for. I plan to use the Udemy network to release future paid courses in hopes to move most of my focus toward content generation as an instructor. My first course on Udemy is an Introduction to Facebook Pages for Businesses which will hit 3000 subscribers by the end of this week.

There are countless ways to share information online. Slideshare.com, Howcast.com, About.com and many more. I am a fan of having something everywhere. You don’t want to have the same content in a hundred places but you do need to have a presence everywhere. Use the web to your advantage and share something you know about and have a passion for with others.

Do me a favor and check out some of the channels I share information on and if you see something that you find interesting or that you think would be interesting to someone else, share it. Sharing is what helps the flow of information continue.

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The Blogosphere

Blogs continue to gain popularity despite the social networks that keep popping up. Though Twitter has been a popular micro-blogging platform, people have more to express then what can be said in 140 characters or less. To give you an idea of what the blogging world looks like, here is a diagram explaining it.

Are you blogging? Share a link to your blog in the comment box below. I allow for links and will approve posts to your blog.

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Creating a Blog for Profit, My Path – Part 2

First off let me mention that I truly believe if your 100% intention to start a blog for profit outweighs your desire to provide great content, you will fail. Your viewers/readers/listeners will sniff you out and walk right past you faster then the guy collecting signatures outside of Walmart. With that said here are a few other items to consider before you start blogging or podcasting.

When you blog/podcast you are associating your name to something. Everything you say or do is a direct reflection upon yourself and the integrity of who you are. It is important to consider this because if you have no desire of being tagged as a sports guy then you have no reason to be blogging about sports. Catch my drift? You need to make sure that your blogging platform matches the one you are currently standing on.

I have always been the tech guy to those around me. When the iPod was first able to hold photos, I made sure my wedding clients could view their photos on their iPods to show others. When the iPhone came out I did the same, I even made sure that the video slideshows I put together for my clients would play on their iPhones. I wanted to make sure the content I gave them was readily available to be shared with ease. In website design I have always pushed my clients in the direction of mobility. I tell all of my web design clients that they need to be accessible on mobile devices because that is where many customers of the future are going to be doing their searching. I have always been pro-mobile. When I decided to start the iPhone App Podcast I saw a good connection there that would bridge something I was already passionate about with my own personal brand.

A note on Personal Branding: We all have a personal brand, some stronger than others, but our brand is what we stand for and what we lend ourselves out to. My personal brand stands for excellence in wedding photography and website design but it lends itself out to other brands such as Apple, Toyota, Guess, Nike, and a myriad of other brands in which I support by purchasing and allowing other to see me using. I love Apple products and I wear that on my sleeve. When you start to blog or podcast, the attention of the people you reach are going to start to notice those other things about you. The more popular you become the more the associations you have with others will be noticed as well. Consider what you are doing to your name before you start talking about something. Make sure it does not water down your name or spread it thin. Think about the celebrities you have seen over the years who farm their name out to anyone with a few dollars to throw at them. Your name is important in the biz world and it’s use should be well watched over.

1. Find your audience
Before you start blogging or podcasting you need to define and find your audience. The first thing I did when starting my blog and podcast was to identify that my viewer was not just an iPhone or iPod Touch user but also a business person, a student, a father, a husband and much more. If all I did was review game applications for the iPhone then I would miss a large part of my demographic which are business people who are looking to get productivity from their iPhone. I make sure I cover all of the bases.

2. Be passionate!
When you are talking with someone who is in business strictly because they are trying to make a quick buck you can tell. You don’t feel the passion that someone who truly loves that business would have. The most successful people in this world were passionate about what they were doing. Having a passion for something means that you love to do it and would not care if it paid the bills or not. Of course you have to decide when you can afford to have passions and can not. One of my passions is to go to pilot school so I can learn to fly a plane but that passion is not in line with my bank account at the current moment.

3. Be specific
It takes enough time and effort to become a voice in any industry, if you decide to talk about to many things you risk not having enough content about each topic to hold an audience. I have been asked over and over to start reviewing applications for the Blackberry and the Google Phone. I have no desire to do this because it goes outside of what my website is all about. My website is the iPhone App Podcast, somebody even started the iPod App Podcast because I so specific. Of course most applications for the iPhone work just the same on an iPod, my demographic is people like me who have an iPhone and use it wherever they go.

4. Don’t be afraid to invest in your passion
Like I shared earlier it cost me a few dollars to get started. I am fortunate enough that I have years of website design experience behind me which saved a ton of startup costs. There are blogs that are very popular such as the photography blog “The Strobist” which have been using Blogger since the beginning and still do. My podcast is video so I wanted to make sure that the video I served up was of quality. My viewers watch the podcasts on their iPhones, iPods, computers, laptops, Appletv’s and I’m sure several other ways as well. I started out using my digital camera to record video and quickly upgraded to a nicer camera so I could use a better microphone. After watching my podcast on my own tv and hearing my voice through my Dolby 5.1 system I was a little embarrassed and knew I needed to step up quality. People will pick up on quality and believe me quality makes up a large portion of value.

5. Live what you preach
I have been an Apple Fanboy for lack of a better term since 2001 and everybody knows it. I always have the latest Apple offering. When the iPhone came out, I got one. When the 3G came out, I was in line to pick one up. Everybody comes to me for Apple advice and if you are going to blog about a subject everybody should know you are the one to come to for that topic. If you blog about gardening then you should have the best garden in the area. It just makes sense, nobody writes books about topics they don’t have any clue about… Ok maybe some do, but they will never become a best seller. People are not stupid, give them something to follow.

By now you have figured out that creating a blog for profit is not going to come easily. Trust me, it did not come easy for me. I have had 100’s of blog ideas, dozens of blogs launched and this is the first one that has turned a profit worth getting excited about. I bet if you contact all of the other “successful” bloggers out there they will tell you the same thing. Your core value should be to share what you love with others in hopes to inform them and empower them to love it as much as you do.

Once my blog and podcast started getting popular the cost of running it went from moments of my time and mild stress on my server to gobbling up my spare time and sucking the very life from my server. I knew that I needed to create an income stream from this project or it would quickly have to be put on the back burner. Here are some of the things I did to start generating income from my blog and podcast, some worked great, others were a waste of time.

The first thing I did was create some ad spaces on my blog and hook up Google Adsense to them. I did this not because Google pays out much at all but what it does do is serve up random content that is ever changing so it brings the appearance of activity in those ad spaces. I have never generated more then $120 in one month from Google Ads. My goal was to sell those spaces to companies for a monthly fee. I have successfully done this a few times earning as much as $250 a month for a 300×300 side bar ad space. The downfall to this was having to remember when to remove those ads and email the company to renew that space, most did not. I knew that this was not going to be my core source of income.

From the beginning I was plugging the idea of pre-roll and post-roll advertisements on the podcast. I wanted to keep clear from an actual commercial because that would require me to have to edit that into each video file. I did not want to have to drag any of my video reviews into video editing software. I contacted Godaddy and was able to land them as an affiliate sponsor. I have my own coupon codes and earn about $100-$200 a month from them depending on how much time I spend plugging them.

One of my goals from the beginning was to provide a way for the new app developer to get noticed. I knew that the iTunes App Store would quickly become like the music store. Great music is released every day in the iTunes Music Store but is never found because there is so much there. The same is becoming of the app store. This means that Developers will have to find ways to get their name out there just like music artists. Even on my own website apps will get buried as I review more of them. With my website growing in viewership I realized that there was value in that viewership. On most websites, front page placement is worth a lot of money. My front page was receiving a lot of attention as I was getting linked up on websites such as Digg.com, Makeuseof.com, Appscout.com and many others. I decided to start offering a featured placement to developers for a small fee of $25.00. This would get them on the front page of my website in rotation for 7 days. The day their review released they would be in the #1 position until the next day when another app review took it’s place pushing it down to #2 and so forth until seven days later it would be pushed off of the front page. I also created a category in the menu titled “Featured Apps”. The name lends itself to believe that there is more value in the apps listed under it then apps that are not. Our minds are predisposed to this kind of thinking because we like words such as value, sale, special, featured, etc. They are verbs that get our brain in take action mode. From the get go I started selling that Featured spot almost daily, after a few weeks I was selling it daily and with in the first 30 days I was selling the space more then once a day. This quickly turned into a problem, though it was a good problem. My website went from generating about $200-300 a month from Google and Godaddy to $750 a month not including Google and Godaddy. The problem was that now I had a waiting list. I could not get the app reviews up as fast as they were coming in because I had created this Featured placement that only allowed for one to be released per day. To be honest, I am still backed up to this day but I am always working toward finding quicker ways to do things and get content out faster.

One of the most important things I have done to show that there is value was to put they data out there about my website’s viewership. I posted screen shots of the Google Analytics reports, the views each video was getting from my video hosting solution, and I contrasted the different in views a Featured App review received from a non featured app review. This was important, it’s like comparing vehicles when you buy. You will spend more if there is more value in the selection. Check out my Submit An App page to see what I have done.

Featured App PlacementFeatured Plus App Placement

My website was on track to earn a projected fourteen thousand dollars in it’s first year but developers were getting restless and uneasy about having to wait 15+ days for their review to show up on the front page. With the layout I had created for featured placement on the front page there was no way to feature two apps at the same time so I decided to offer another way to get special placement on my website and use more of my front page for featured reviews.

I removed the “recently reviewed” section and added a new “Featured Apps” section that allowed me to list apps in blog view down the front page below the old “Featured Apps” section which is now called the “Featured Plus” section. My website now offered two different ways to get on the front page. The featured plus section provided much more real estate so I increased it’s price to $50 and kept the same 7 day rotation plan as before. Below that is the $25 featured app section which will list apps eight deep. Now I was able to list 8 apps on the front page at $25 each and one app at $50 each day increasing the ability to earn $250 per day should I receive that many requests. Do the math… The featured placements alone at max fulfillment have the potential to bring in over $66k a year. You can now see the issue of finding time to blog and podcast floating out the window.

My biggest issue at this time is organizing my time effectively so I can keep up with this podcast and my clients in my other businesses as a website designer and wedding photographer. I use a great app called Things for the Mac and iPhone to keep myself in order.

I have always seen live as more of a journey then a destination. This blog is no exception to that rule. In the next couple of months I may have to transform the way my blog works again to fill the needs coming at me, who knows what will come. That is what keeps it exciting. I am now getting offers to attend seminars and conferences for free as press to interview app developers and I look forward to getting to speak to developers and businesses as well.

I feel this experience has brought a lot of insight to me about the industry. I would be more then happy to answer any questions you may have, please feel free to post them in the comments section or use the contact form on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I hope it helps you take your passion to the next level so you can share it with the masses.