If you’ve been on my list over the last few months you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet recently.
In fact, a quick look inside my Aweber account tells me that the last email I sent was over 2 months ago (excluding automated autoresponder emails).
What’s going on?
Well so far 2014 has looked something like this for me:
- March: Put on a live 2 day seminar in London
- April: Started a 5 week road trip, driving 5,500 miles from Atlanta to San Francisco
- May: Decided to move from London to Cornwall
- June – October: Arrived in Cornwall, bought a new house, began renovating it, spent time enjoying the great weather, exploring the area and started learning how to surf (very early days and I still can’t stand up – yet!)
In essence I’ve taken a good chunk of the spring and summer off.
But my online profit streams have remained healthy and consistent due to the “multiple streams of passive income” I have set up.
I’ve put the phrase itself in speech marks because it is a bit of a cliché and one that is misused and over-hyped a lot.
However, in this post I want to show you that it is real, it can be done and how I personally do it.
Before we break it down it’s important to make the following points:
1. This takes time and effort
I put in over 3 years of pretty hard work to build up my online income streams from zero. To my knowledge there’s no quick fix or magic button here (please let me know if you know of one!). The income streams may be “passive” once they are set up but it always takes work to create them in the first place.
2. Less work means less money
Despite a continued stream of profit coming to me this year during the extended periods when I was working 20-60 minutes per day, the level of profit was lower than before when I was putting in more time.
It really is an amazing feeling being able to take time out and enjoy life whilst still getting paid and certainly there aren’t many jobs or businesses where this is possible. Internet marketing has this and I love it.
But equally if you stop development of new products, traffic generation and general growth then of course you will earn less. Moreover, the passive income streams you do have in place will fade gradually over time. I’m pleased to say that I can’t see any evidence of this in my business during 2014 but even so, if I did nothing or very little for the next 6 months I’m almost certain this would happen.
With this said, what actually are these “multiple streams of passive income”?
It’s probably easiest if I break them down into 3 categories:
1. Your Own Recurring Billing Products
The most obvious way of generating continuity income is to have your own membership site or similar product with a built in recurring billing structure. The big one for me is Gain Higher Ground Membership but there are several other ways of doing this.
Perhaps the easiest and most straight forward is to create a recurring billing PDF newsletter. This is best sold on a traditional sales page with a simple PayPal “Subscribe” button at the bottom. Subscribers get added automatically to an email list which you then mail the PDF newsletters to on a regular basis.
I know several marketers who do this very successfully: Monthly seems to be the most popular delivery schedule and you can either create your content each month and manually broadcast it or alternatively queue it up in your autoresponder so it gets sent out automatically.
To start with you just need the sales page and your first month’s PDF report. Then hook up PayPal and Aweber.
If you aren’t sure what content to create then a great approach is to spend a few hours per month reviewing and researching blog posts, products (e.g., in the IM niche low priced Warrior Special Offers would work very well) and maybe podcasts too.
Separate the good from the bad, extract the “golden nuggets” that you find and write them up into your PDF newsletter. Where appropriate you can even link back to the original sources so people can see the ideas in action or find out more (an opportunity to use affiliate links for additional revenue).
You don’t need to be an expert yourself to make money with this strategy. Instead you are simply acting as the “reporter” who is providing saving your customers a lot of time and hassle by unearthing the golden nuggets for them.
(If you are a GHG member then please see “The Reporter Method” in the Product Creation Central section inside the members area for more on this style of product creation).
If you wish you can even extend the model by including interviews or guest articles written by experts in your niche. This is another way to add value for the customers and often a good traffic source as well if you can get some of the contributors to promote your newsletter in return for a slice of the recurring revenue it generates.
2. Recurring Affiliate Income
When it comes to making money with affiliate marketing (i.e., promoting other people’s products & services in return for a commission) there are two things I go for:
- Higher priced products/services
- Recurring billing products/services
Within the latter group I specifically look for ones which have some kind of “pain of disconnect” built into them because this means subscribers stay longer and therefore my recurring affiliate revenue streams last for longer.
Generally speaking software products have a higher degree of pain of disconnect than information products.
A classic example is something like Aweber, a company I regularly receive payments from. If you have a list with Aweber (or any email service provider really) then it’s a bit of a pain to move and go elsewhere. In addition to the quality of their service this is why I still receive a slice of the monthly payments made by Aweber subscribers that joined through my affiliate link 2+ years ago!
It’s a similar story with LeadPages which is another good source of income in my “portfolio”. But there are many others you can look at too – the concept is what is important here really.
Personally speaking I only promote products and services I use and/or have reviewed in detail, which is part of the reason I do a lot less affiliate promotions than many other marketers. This though, of course, is just my approach.
3. Lead Generation Products
An overlooked source of passive income are on-going sales of your existing products.
Specifically, I’m talking about low price/high value lead generation products here – although you could extend this to any back end or higher priced product.
This year my software products such as SpyBar and WP Viral Payments have done the best in this regard but equally they could be information products too (as they have been in previous years for me).
It’s amazing how many people I meet at seminars who are struggling to make any income who haven’t actually got any products for sale online – no wonder they are finding it tricky!
Another tip is to have your products for sale in lots of places. Right now I have products for sale simultaneously on Clickbank, JVZoo, Warrior Plus, DealFuel, MightyDeals and direct through PayPal links.
To be clear: In most cases I have the same product in several of these “distribution channels” – more exposure means more sales 🙂
Some of my slightly older products sell at least one copy most days and some only one every few days. But again, the point is that this all adds up and it amounts to not only complete passive income but also passive lead generation putting brand new customers onto the lists.
Speaking of lead generation, an important passive traffic source for me is a result of “content marketing/syndication/integration” traffic strategies I’ve done in the past. For example, I get traffic from:
- Guest posts I’ve written
- Audio interviews I’ve given
- Bonuses and content I’ve provided for other people’s products
- Blog posts I’ve written that get found in Google
- Other people’s reviews of my products
None of these methods generate huge amounts of bulk traffic for me on their own (if you want that then buy FB ads, solo ads or do a product launch). Sometimes, it’s literally just a trickle. But it’s still passive steady stream traffic which tends to be very high quality.
For example, someone who reads a guest post I’ve written, looks me up online, goes to my site, reads some more and then signs up for my list is a pretty well qualified lead compared to a trigger happy clicker who follows a link in a solo ad email, arrives at my squeeze page and signs up on a whim.
Please note: I am not saying solos ads are a waste of time. Far from it, well selected ones can be great. I’m simply using this as an example to point out the difference in quality verses quantity across different traffic sources.
Similarly, none of my income sources are huge on their own, they really aren’t.
But I have many across each of the 3 categories listed above. So they do add up and also diversify the risk so if one of them weakens or even disappears there are still all the others ticking over nicely.
If you are reading this and thinking I don’t know where to start please remember I didn’t either. I just got started with something. And then I did something else…
Some of it works well and some less well.
Gradually though, passive income is built and sometime later you can, if you wish, afford to rebalance your lifestyle, take some time off and really enjoy life in a way which simply isn’t possible with a regular job or business.
I hope you found this helpful. I would love to hear your passive income-related thoughts, comments and questions below. Please LIKE/SHARE/TWEET if you enjoyed it too…. Cheers, Rob 🙂