I regret to report that passive income is something I didn’t even think of until only a few years ago. Being technically challenged has kept from earning to my true potential. I used to think that heavily monetizing a blog with ads was the way to go. It wasn’t until I saw all my favorite top bloggers discussing ways to earn from their blog, without having to rely on advertising revenue, that I decided to look into passive income a little more.
My problem with passive income was twofold; I didn’t have time to explore the possibilities and I didn’t know how to go about implementing any of these things. I’m still not sure how to go about creating some of the products and tools mentioned below, but I’m not letting it keep me from learning. See, the problem with being technically challenged is that it brings back those same insecurities I had when I was in school. What if I’m doing it wrong? What if people will laugh at me? What if no one wants it?
Those questions aren’t the right kinds of “what if’s” to ask if I want to earn money with my blogs. So I changed it up a little bit. I asked myself, “what if I tried to write an ebook?” “What would happen if I turned this technically challenged series into courses, ebooks and webinars?” There’s something to be said about not giving in to insecurity.
What follows are a look at some of the way you can use your expertise as a blogger in your niche to earn some decent coin. Mind you, I still don’t know how to do a lot of the technical stuff, but that which I don’t know I either research (and by research I mean find some easy to follow, step by step, how to’s and tutorials) or I pay someone to do the stuff that’s beyond my realm of expertise. Here are some forms of passive income I’ve either tried, or I’m working on.
Blogs & Websites
Ok, so blogs aren’t so passive if you have to update every day, but go with me on this one…Blogs and websites have the ability to earn over time, even if you’re not writing for them anymore. If you’re rocking some good evergreen content, you’ll appeal to searchers ten years from now. Many will still click on your ads and buy affiliate products. The biggest bit of advice I can give to you here is to make sure content will still be relevant years from now. Static websites offering informative articles have the ability to earn for years to come -even without daily attention (but please take time to update now and then). Blogs are different because they work best when updated often. However, a good combination of news, how to’s, tips, advice, and fun stuff will keep the searchers coming. Use current topics to stay on top of trends, but also mix in plenty of evergreen stuff to bring in future readers.
Lordy, did I have a lot to learn about ebooks.
Ebooks can be an amazing income booster, especially in the first couple of weeks of their release. If people are coming to your blog each day because they feel you have expertise in a topic, there’s a good chance you can sell a few ebooks. My first ebook could have been done better. It was brief and hastily put together. I sold it as a PDF and didn’t take the time to design a cover (or have someone design a cover), or compile it properly. It did well and brought in more than enough to justify the amount of time spent writing it. Next time, though, I’ll probably pay a designer to put it together all pretty-like for me.
My biggest piece of advice for writing ebooks is to take the time to do it right. Don’t rush it through. Don’t just rehash blog posts, but rather offer in-depth information people can use. Have another set of eyes read it, if you have to pay an editor, do so. Package it correctly so that there’s a table of contents, chapters and it reads just like physical book. Offer free copies for review and affiliate links to those who help sell. If done properly, ebooks can bring in a passive income for years after being published.
Traditional books are another awesome form of passive income. The problem is, being published in the traditional sense isn’t easy. Finding publishers and agents to believe in you and your books can be difficult, frustrating and stressful. It’s not their fault – publishers have to create books that sell. Good, original ideas aren’t always easy to come by. For traditional books you have a couple of different options: you can shop your books around to publishers and agents and hope someone bites, or you can use any number of self publishers. If going the self publishing route, do your research. There are so many scammers looking to take advantage of writers who are desperate to be published. Go with a reputable publisher or self publishers – and heed the warnings you read about unsavory types.
Most self publishers will offer step by step instructions for self publishing your book and in some cases it’s as simple as uploading your files, the ideal scenario for a technically challenged writer.
Courses take some time to create because if you want someone to pay $50 for your class, you’ll want them to walk away having learned something. Still, if you can teach on a blog each day, you can write up some courses for your readers to purchase, download and use. Make sure there are exercises and methods users can practice on their own. Before you begin, determine the courses objective. Create a lesson plan and outline the course. Determine the outcome of the course – what do you want students to have learned once they’re done? Work towards your ultimate goal. Again, you’ll want someone else to read and edit it to be sure it’s grammatically correct and, also, that it makes sense.
Have you ever wanted to speak at a conference but never quite get to do so? Make it happen on your own. Create a webinar teaching your area of expertise. I will tell you that I’ve hesitated to do webinars because of my technical ineptitude, but there are plenty of (pay to play) webinar services online that make this easy to do. Though I haven’t created my own webinars, I have participated in several in the past and for the most part all you need is a telephone or laptop mic and a PowerPoint presentation. The webinars I took part in consisted of me talking via my headset while the presentation screen mirrored what I had on my desktop. It couldn’t have been more simple, really. I’m sure there’s a lot of work in setting up and promoting webinars, but you can’t expect to earn an income doing nothing. Some webinar services will offer recordings and videos so interested parties can listen in long after the live broadcast.
Exploit Your Talent
What do you do best? Chances are, there are people who want to learn to do that very thing, better. Thanks to the web there are a variety of options to choose from. In addition to the methods above, try your own. Make something and sell it, start a series of monetized videos and podcasts, start a subscription based forum or newsletter…the possibilities are endless. Just don’t enter into it blind. Don’t skim the basics. Take the time to learn how to do it well – spend some money on courses and webinars teaching you how to do these things to the best of your ability. If you do it and do it well, folks will buy now … and in the future.