If you are trading time for money like most do to earn a living, take a moment and read this. It could change your life, just as it has mine.
I used to trade time for money as my primary source of income. I would do work and I would get paid for the work I did. That was it. Nothing more, usually nothing less. Why is this a bad deal for you? Well, it’s because your time is not scaleable.
You are given a certain amount of hours in the day that you can be productive before you need rest. If you trade time for money, that limits your earning ability. It is limiting for anyone whether they are a doctor or a school teacher. If you really push it, you can work and get paid for about 12 hours a day, but most of us don’t want to work like that. Even if we need to for a period of time, we never see ourselves working that hard our entire lives.
If you want your income to scale beyond the hours you have in the day, you will have to rethink the way you make money. If you want to have more freedom and flexibility in your day, you will have to make changes. That is what this post is all about.
Before you start looking at different options for making passive income you have to be in the right mindset. Passive income doesn’t mean you won’t have to work. You will have to work. At the beginning, you may even have to work harder than you do currently. This is typically the case with anything you start. It takes work until you build up momentum.
I started looking into passive income options about five years ago when I decided I was tired of chasing clients. I love working with clients but I don’t enjoy the chase. If a client wants to work with me, great. If they don’t, bye Felicia! There is plenty of work out there for everybody and plenty of clients in most cases. The perfect fit will find itself organically. What I just said there is going to frustrate a lot of salespeople. I used to enjoy the sales process, but my focus changed. The face to face sales process is not scaleable.
If I was ever going to have the freedom and flexibility I wanted in my life I would need to make changes to the way I earned money. I would have to be able to put that on autopilot to some extent. My first step was attempting to grow my online marketing agency Hill Media Group. I started by hiring a few employees and getting an office. That grew to multiple employees but I quickly realized that my growing agency was consuming more time than it was giving me back. You can’t just hire people and get time back. It takes a lot of time to grow a business like that to the point where your team can handle most of the daily activities around the business. This option was not for me and it was not the first time I had realized that building a business with employees was not the right direction for me. Sometimes I’m a slow learner.
So how do you go from trading hours for money like I was? It’s a lot easier than you think. You already have the expertise, you’re currently getting paid for doing something right? Let’s start by utilizing that. These are the 5 Steps I have identified you can take to start building a passive income revenue stream today. Let’s jump into it!
#1 Identify Your Area of Expertise
This has been a tough one for me. Not because I can’t identify what I am good at, it’s that I want to be good at everything. It is hard for me to focus on one area of expertise. This is my struggle. For you, it may be figuring out what that area of expertise is. We all have some sort of professional skill and usually a hobby or two we have invested time in to. However, don’t limit yourself only to what you currently know. Nobody says you have to start with a skill you already have.
In his book “Choose: The Single Most Important Decision Before Starting Your Business,” Ryan Levesque said: “consider that you can always learn how to do something that others would like to know.” You don’t have to be a professional, you just have to know enough to teach somebody.
I am currently pouring into a couple of different areas of expertise. Early on, I chose Photography, and have since added in mobile technology and teaching others how to create their own lifestyle rather than accept the one that was handed to them. That sounds like a lot, and I should probably pair down a bit, but for now, that is my focus.
Whether you are a lawyer or a manager at a Starbucks, you can turn your area of expertise into passive income by teaching others what you already know and do. You just have to present it in a way that helps others.
For the Starbucks manager it might be helping local coffee shops hire and train baristas. A coffee lover usually opens a small coffee shop out of a love for coffee, not because they have management and employee training experience.
A lawyer could create an online course to help new lawyers start their own private practice right out of law school rather than working for a larger firm which will push them to generate countless billable hours.
You already have an area of expertise. You can utilize that to help others or you can learn something new. You only need to know enough to teach others about it. We’re not talking Ph.D level stuff here.
I created my first online course for photography on the subject of teaching people how to take better photos using manual mode on their camera. I felt the best way to learn was to understand how the settings worked and how they effected each other. I didn’t bother with big terms and rules that would make it hard to understand manual mode. I just taught it as I know it. Over 250,000 students have taken my course and are taking better photos because of it. Some have even gone on to start their own photography business.
Do you have a hobby like Mountain Biking? The YouTuber Seth’s Bike Hacks is making passive income by turning his love of Mountain Biking into informational videos that help anyone improve their off-road biking experience. Beyond making money from ads that run on his YouTube videos he also tests products you can find for sale online and has built up a large enough following to make passive income-producing exclusive content to those who pay a small monthly fee on Patreon for access to his content. I am not sure what he used to do before making Mountain Bike videos, but he can now support himself and his family through his love of Mountainbiking. He has even turned the process of getting better at Mountainbiking into passive income by talking about that in videos. He didn’t start out as a professional Mountainbiker, he simply took something he loved and started making videos about it. How cool is that? I can give you tons of examples of people who have done this with YouTube or a blog.
#2 Decide On your Platform
There are many different methods for earning passive income. I have already talked about blogging and YouTube as two different options. Here is a list of passive income methods I have determined as being something you can do on the side and build up over time.
- Blog about a topic
- Create YouTube videos on a topic
- Create an online course
- Create a podcast
- Write an ebook
- Sell stock photography
- Promote affiliate products
- Online Workshops or Seminars
- License something you created such as art or music
Everything I have listed above is something I have tried. Some require more work and/or expertise than others. In order to sell stock photography, you need to be able to take great photos. To license your music, you have to be a musician. However, where people often get held up is thinking that they are not good enough to do these things. The simple act of doing will make you into what you need to be. I’m going to borrow another quote from Ryan’s book: “If you don’t think you’re ready to teach someone, think again. The simple act of teaching will raise your expertise exponentially, in a way you didn’t even think was possible.”
You should probably just go buy his book. I listened to it on Audible while driving to and from the airport and while on a flight. Get your first month of Audible Premium and this book for free. Click Here!
It was actually that easy for me to monetize this article and make it create passive income for me while at the same time providing value to you. Prefer reading books over listening to them? Buy the book instead, by Clicking Here.
I have found that I learn more about something preparing to teach it to someone else than I would have learned had I just wanted to educate myself about it. It’s pretty amazing actually. This is why I end up producing so much content online. I learn by teaching others, and so can you.
Choose one or two options from the list and get started today. You can make the learning process part of the education you are sharing with others just as Seth does on his Mountain Bike YouTube channel. Not good in front of cameras? Create a blog and a podcast instead. The tools have never been more available than they are now.
My blog is a WordPress website. You can sign up here for WordPress and start a blog for free. I recommend you do this regardless as you can start your process of building passive income revenue streams by writing about it just as I am here. Even if you are not ready to start your blog, I suggest you buy your website address domain name. Do a quick search to see what domain names are available here.
Just make sure that you don’t start too many things at once. I recommend two at most and I will do my best to create resources to help you along the way, so make sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking here or using the form in the sidebar.
#3 Be a Giver!
You are going to have to have the mindset of giving in order to build passive income. If I had decided to write this blog and sell it to people, it probably wouldn’t sell. I have not established myself enough in the area of passive income. Those close to me know that I make a large portion of my income from stuff I do online, but I have not been specific enough about it yet. While I work on changing that, I will continue to give.
In the book, “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea,” Bob Burg makes this statement: “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” I read this book back in 2008 when it was originally published and when I was already on my “lead with value” path. It helped enforce and solidify what I was already doing and gave me even more of a desire to give away as much as I can. Click Here to buy it.
What I have come to learn is that you have to earn the ability to ask people for money. People have so many options these days, you have to give them a good reason to trust you over someone else. If I added up everything I have published online I would guess that at least 95% of what I have put out there was put out for free. That means that I charge actual money for less than 5% of the work I put out. Sounds crazy right? It’s not though, because people are watching.
I put out a ton of photography content before I charged for any of it. That content, however, was monetized in a passive way to the viewer. There was a short ad that played before the YouTube video would start. There were links to the products I used in the description that are Amazon Affiliate links. I avoided the traps other creators get into such as partnering with brands where I would end up trading money for time again. I created what I wanted to create as if I was teaching younger me what he needed to know.
The most important takeaway here is that I gave first. Another great book that validates what I have said here is Rich Dad Poor Dad. Robert Kiyosaki shares this thought in his book about those trading time for money: “They get up every day and go work for money, not taking the time to ask the question, ‘Is there another way?”
#4 Make Yourself Unique
It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. However, it is also said that you are unique and there is no one else on earth like you. God and science back up those two statements. Understanding that makes me very optimistic. It means that even though there are likely others out there that have been doing the same thing you are considering for much longer, your approach can be unique because you are unique.
There is no other photographer talking about cameras and camera settings the same way as I am because I am unique. While there may be some similarities with other YouTubers out there, my tone, personality, and every other unique aspect of my person makes my presentation different than every other photography educator out there. There are people who would prefer your presentation over that of someone else’s.
With that said, the internet does not reward people often for copying others. You need to have your own unique take on what you are going to share with others. This will take time and that is ok. It takes time to develop your voice on a topic, this is part of the process. Just go look at any popular YouTuber’s first video uploaded. Finding your voice is part of the process and it’s a process of growth.
With every new blog post, video, podcast episode, or whatever you end up creating think to yourself, “how can I make that better next time.” Don’t feel bad about what you have already created, just look at how you can improve. How can you tighten it up or make your points more clearly? This is something I am constantly doing, especially in videos where I tend to talk more than the average YouTube viewer prefers.
You can not do what I am suggesting without creating and publishing. You have to put something out there and measure it. You can’t do this privately. You will have some flops and that is ok. You will need to learn that every form of feedback or lack thereof is a form of measurement that you can use to make it better next time. In the marketing world, we call these KPIs or “Key Performance Indicators.” When I put something out there, what are measurements of acceptable outcome? Perhaps its email newsletter signups or new YouTube subscribers.
I prefer thinking of feedback as data that I can use to improve my KPIs. That helps me from getting emotional over a negative comment. You are going to get them simply because you are putting yourself out there. Don’t let someone else’s negativity distract you from your goals. Be unique and you will be rewarded for it. Being unique takes work, but just like being a giver first, it pays off tenfold.
#5 Develop Your Passive Income Revenue Streams
Hopefully, by now you have an idea or three of how you plan to generate some passive income. We talked about topics and I gave you some examples. We also talked about platforms, and I gave you some options there as well. Now it is time to start creating and earning your passive income.
As I discussed earlier, you can’t just create something and try to sell it. You need to build an audience in that space first. You do this by creating content such as blogs, podcasts or videos. The only shortcut to success in this area is to pay for ads on platforms such as search engines and social media to reach the right customers. This can be costly and I am going to assume you are not going into this with a large ad budget. This is why Step #3 Be A Giver is very important. You have to build trust with people and you will do that by giving them information, just as I am doing so in this article.
Using your chosen platform, make it a point to create something once each week. When you have more time, create more often. Write a weekly blog and share it on social media. Invite people to signup for your blog so they get your new writings in their email box. People are busy and likely won’t remember to visit your website often so getting them to subscribe to your email list is a great way to remind them of new content. Continue to feed them information for a while before making the ask to buy something. Your product could be an ebook or an online course. You could even start by giving your first ebook or online course away for free. This will help you build your email list even faster and it’s how I have over 45,000 people on my email list.
It is an individual decision as to when you should try to get your audience to buy something. You can’t give everything away for free forever, but as I have, you can monetize what you are giving away for free. Eventually, you will need to offer something more substantial that people can purchase directly from you. This is where your real earning potential is. I struggled in this area for a long time. This is where I plan to help you thrive.
Helping you get started is the easy part. It only took one blog post that I wrote in one day, all before breaking my intermittent fast for the day. Helping you replace the income your daily job provides is a whole other thing and will take more guidance and accountability. I have created something new just for people like us. It’s a free Chat Community on Discord where we can encourage each other and learn from each other as we build and grow our passive income revenue streams.
It sounds like a lot, but the key is to just get started. Even if you only have an extra hour each week, you can get started today. Building passive income takes time and as you start to see the fruit of your labor you will desire to allocate more time to working on your passive income projects.
Let’s recap what I shared with you today:
- Identify Your Area of Expertise
- Decide on Your Platform
- Be a Giver!
- Make Yourself Unique
- Develop Your Passive Income Revenue Streams
All of what I mention above will take work and dedication, which is why I created the chat group on Discord. Most of the people around you will not understand why you are starting this project so you will want some people you can do Passive Income with which is why I created the Discord group.
Building Passive Income Revenue Streams means you are starting a business and you need to treat it as such. There are no special credentials or licensing you need to get to start (unless you plan to give medical or legal advice, or something like that). You don’t need a business license until you decide to sell something. You can earn passive income from affiliate programs such as Amazon Affiliates without ever having a business license. It’s not required. A business license is required when you charge for a product or service directly to another person or entity, such as when you sell an ebook. This requirement could vary depending on where you live so I would check with your local business governing authority to make sure.
Ditch That 9 to 5
This is the first step towards ditching that 9 to 5 job where you can stop trading your time for money and instead invest your time into work that will continue to pay you even if you take your foot off the throttle pedal for a while. It won’t happen overnight. Treat it like an investment in yourself and your future. It will pay off and when it does, it will feel better than any paycheck you ever received from a job.
I have given you a few action steps to take in this post. I recommend you jump on them now. Don’t wait or procrastinate. Procrastination is a form of stress relief through avoidance. You will feel your body resist this change but you can override that tendency by creating your blog now or making that first video for YouTube.
Join the Discord Chat so we can discuss this together. Even if it’s just you and me in there, it will be worth having someone in your corner to encourage you along the way.
Signup for my email newsletter using this link or the box in the sidebar. I will make sure you get useful information when I have it to provide to help you on your journey of creating passive income.
Follow me on social media so you can see that I am living this lifestyle and not just blowing smoke. My passive income growth allowed me to travel full-time for two months this past summer with my family of six in our travel trailer. If it was not for my passive income revenues I wouldn’t have made it a week.
I hope this article gave you the encouragement and tools to get started today. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below this post. You can also reach out to me on social media or through the Discord chat group I mention above.
I look forward to hearing the story of how you transformed your income by creating passive income revenue of your own.