Have you ever been in the cycle of working all the time and STILL not making enough money? The worst part is that you don’t have time to do MORE work…so how are you going to make more money? By adding passive income to your business!
Passive income diversifies your income streams and creates a more balanced revenue structure in your biz. Instead of putting all your money eggs in one basket, you have many baskets, and that means you’ve still got a little something if one basket is empty.
Read on to learn how you can diversify your income streams through passive income and five passive income ideas for your business.
This post contains affiliate links to products that I use, know, and love! Affiliate links mean that if you sign up for something through my link I receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I have tested, use for myself or for my clients.
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What is Passive Income? (0:15)
We hear this term all the time, but what does it even mean?
Before we talk about passive income, we need to address what active income is.
Active income is the money you earn from performing a service or selling a product. You’re continuously providing a service or producing your product in order to keep earning an income.
Passive income is income that comes into your business with minimal effort on your part. Generally, passive income doesn’t require that you work on an hourly basis or engage with the income source on a daily basis. Think of it as a background income.
Passive income doesn’t mean that you don’t do any work or never put effort into these income streams. Typically, there’s a lot of setup that happens first. Even if you have things completely automated, there are always going to be things like maintenance work, setup time, customer support, and marketing.
One of the biggest benefits of passive income is that it can diversify your income.
If you’re ever unable to engage in some of your other revenue streams, you still have income coming into your business. A healthy business model has a mix of active and passive income streams. No matter what type of business you have, there are plenty of passive income ideas that you can implement!
Digital Downloads (3:13)
The first passive income idea for your business is digital downloads. These are downloadable resources that educate or help your customer work more efficiently. Think of these as assets that you create to help people who need your services or products. The value of a digital download is that it saves your customer time or helps them learn something quickly.
Here are some common types of digital downloads:
These could be Pinterest images, blog post images, social media graphics, workbooks, and infographics. They’re files that the buyer can download instantly and use with specific software like Photoshop, Canva, or InDesign.
Swipe Files or Scripts
This is pre-written content that you provide for people where they can plug in their own information to create an email, contract, or proposal. Generally, it should be something that you’ve used personally and know works.
For example, you have an amazing client onboarding email sequence. You could sell that for $5 or $10 because someone would be happy to spend a little bit of money to save hours worth of work.
You know how much I love my spreadsheets! But spreadsheet don’t have to be just about finances. Other ideas include budget trackers, editorial calendars, and personal organization.
E-books are much cheaper than producing a print book, which makes them easy for you to create and less expensive for your customers to buy. They can be a short manual, how-to, or something more in depth. E-books can cover any and every topic.
Cheat Sheets or Checklists
This is another example of selling your expertise, just like the scripts. You created something that’s worked well for you and your business. The only step left is to format it into a cohesive digital document that you can sell passively. You could sell a checklist for creating a workflow, house cleaning, packing for travel, grocery shopping, or setting goals.
Bonus Tip: Look for templates, checklists, and cheat sheets that you’ve already created for yourself
You don’t need to do a bunch of extra work to sell this stuff! Use what you’ve already made and get these types of passive income ideas on your site in a snap.
#2: Mini-trainings (8:36)
Mini-trainings are short-focused trainings on your customers’ pain points, usually 60 minutes or less. Because they’re concentrated pieces of content, they have a lower price point compared to a full-blown course.
That’s the value behind mini-trainings: They enable your customer to solve their problem quickly, which makes them excited because they’ll get the solution to their problem instantly.
Here are a few passive income ideas for mini-trainings:
This isn’t a tutorial on how to use every feature of a software has to offer, but rather one feature or process within the software. For example, you could sell a mini-training on how to create a vector in Photoshop.
Step By Step Processes
This is educating someone on how to get from Point A to Point B for one single activity. One example could be setting up your camera to take flat-lay images for you to post on Instagram.
Bonus Tip: Review your most popular FAQ to find customer pain points
Talking to your customer base and understand what they’re struggling with will help you come up with the perfect idea for a mini-training.
#3: Online Course or Training (12:01)
Online courses can be a grey area of passive income. It depends on how engaged you are with your online course. Online courses are different than mini-trainings because they’re robust trainings that cover a topic in depth and take longer than 60-minutes.
Some courses, like ones that include a Facebook group or coaching calls, shouldn’t be considered passive income. These types of programs move from being passive to more active because they require your time and energy.
Here are some types of online courses that you can sell:
We’re talking about big pieces of information. Unlike mini-trainings, these tutorials cover many areas of a single topic and teach a wide skill set rather than a small, specific one.
Some online courses that don’t teach you to DO something, but rather, help you transform yourself in a positive way. Examples are mindset courses, productivity courses, or habit setting courses.
These courses guide you toward transformation in a specific timeframe using someone system or framework. They focus on a unique step by step process that was developed by the teacher.
Depending on how you structure them, online courses are not always going to be passive income. If you’re selling a course that teaches students how to become a Virtual Assistant with one on one coaching, it’s not passive income because you’re offering constant support.
It all depends on how you position the course and the additional goodies that you add to it. When coming up with passive income ideas for online courses, try to keep your engagement to a minimum.
Bonus Tip: Use Your Free Content as a Starting Off Point
If you’re thinking about creating an online course, use your free content as a starting off point and expand from there. People are paying you to organize a process for them, which means it’s okay if some of your course content overlaps with your free content.
#4: Subscription-Based Products (15:55)
This is the new hip kid on the block! These are products that require recurring payments and are updated regularly. Subscription products are the least passive of all the passive income ideas I’ve shared because you need to add new content to them regularly.
Usually, you’ll start with a foundation of content. Every month or so you’ll add more resources to that foundation. The benefit of subscription products is that you’re creating one piece of content for many people. Instead of the one to one model of service based income, subscription products are a one to many model. This is why I’m including them with these passive income ideas.
Here are some examples:
The most popular subscription product, membership sites are a paid hub for your content. You produce and share resources on a single platform and many people pay to access it.
This is a library of templates or digital downloads that you add to regularly. Instead of selling your digital downloads individually, you give people ongoing access to them. If you have a lot of resources that you could create for your audience on an ongoing basis, this would be an easy subscription product to maintain.
Exclusive Email Newsletters
I’ve heard of people offering exclusive email lists that you can join for a fee. You receive an email every month or so that contains exclusive content that is not available anywhere else.
Bonus Tip: Build your foundation with content or assets you’ve already created, then add to that foundation regularly.
#5: Affiliate Income (20:10)
This one is very popular within the entrepreneur space. Affiliate income is a commission that you receive for promoting someone else’s products or services. You should be ethical with this and only promote products or services that you use and personally love.
Here are the different ways that you can earn an affiliate income:
Choose software that you use yourself or recommend to your clients. For example, I’m an affiliate for Quickbooks Online because I use it myself, with clients, and teach other people how to use it.
A lot of bloggers promote physical products like makeup, skincare products, and clothing. You could also promote tools that you use for your trade or books that are essential reading in your industry.
Many course creators offer an affiliate program, so you can recommend a course that you purchased to your audience. If you’ve taken a course that’s had a significant impact on you or your business, becoming an affiliate is a great way to share your experience and earn passive income.
Some service providers offer a “referral bonus” which is a commission you receive if you recommend a new client to them. If you work with someone you absolutely love, check to see if they give referral bonuses!
Bonus Tip: Pick 1-3 products to promote and focus on creating promotional avenues.
If you’re new to the affiliate market, just pick a few products to promote and focus on creating promotional avenues towards those products.
And also…don’t be sleazy with your affiliate marketing. Don’t push products on your audience that they don’t need. Don’t overboard their feeds and inboxes with affiliate links and product promotions. Be open and honest about it what has worked for you and what might work for them.
There you have it! I hope these passive income ideas have helped you to think of ways to add passive income to your business model. You’ve probably got a list going from the light bulbs going off. Now the next step is to get started and make these passive income ideas a reality!