This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend items and services that I have personally used or believe in.
Northeast Ohio winters can be described in three words:
Cold. Gray. Long.
Because we are situated near the Great Lakes, we get what is called Lake Effect Snow. Good old lake effect storms can hit suddenly and often and before you know it, there are several inches of snow on the ground. When I first moved here ten years ago, I was actually pretty excited to have frequent snowstorms. Now, it's kind of old and I definitely look forward to spring each year.
And because we spend a lot of time cooped up in the house, there's lots of eating:
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This right here: some of the best oven-fried chicken I've ever had. Thank Betty Crocker for the recipe!
But there's more than eating and hibernating going on around here during the winter months. There's business planning for the summer months.
Once upon a time, I spent my summers hunched over my computer all day, billing clients hourly and never taking time away from my business to enjoy anything, let alone the warm summer months.
That's not what life is supposed to look like.
It was time to do things a little differently and not trade my time for hours worked. Introducing passive income.
What is passive income?
Passive income is kind of weird. It's income you don't really have to work for but you have to create the right systems in order to earn it. Yep, I told you it was kind of weird. But play along with me for a minute and you'll see what I'm talking about.
The big myth about passive income?
You can set it and forget it.
Once you've set up your money-making system, you've got to update links, create opt-ins and products, promote it and design and create a funnel.
What is a funnel?
Ah yes, the funnel. That thing that most online business owners know they need but confused on how to set one up.
In laymen's terms, a sales funnel is a process that leads customers through the motions of buying something from you. You nurture your potential customers to the point where they make a purchase.
The sales process shouldn't be in your face. The right sales process will look like a nicely choreographed, smooth slow dance:
And not like this - too fast, slow down, I'm not ready to buy anything from you yet!
A simple funnel can look like this:
Create a super-duper, drool-worthy blog post your audience will love you for, full of value-packed content they can use.
Create a lead magnet. This can be an ebook, video or anything you can think of. That's the beauty of running your own business - do what's comfortable for you. Me? I like to create ebooks, sprinkled in with a video now and then.
Introduce your audience to your low-ticket offer. Do you have a product less than $50? Make sure to tell your audience about it.
Offer your audience your big-ticket item. By now, you've been communicating with your audience so share your big-ticket item - your course, coaching package, high-priced service package.
And that's it. Remember, the sales process can be a slow process. I think back to the days of door-to-door sales. Man, I couldn't have done it - knocking on countless doors, trying to pitch your service or product before the door slams in your face. I can handle email marketing :)
Need some help planning your first or next money-making sales funnel? Download your free planner.
Not ready for the whole sales funnel thing but still want to earn passive income?
This method of passive income is about as passive as it gets - getting paid for things you already do.
Example: I love to shop online. The crowds in stores can be a bit much and I get a little anxious while shopping. If I don't arrive soon after a store opens, I'll wait until the next day.
But I still need things, right?
Just today, I placed an online order with Sam's Club and by using a nifty little tool called Ebates, I got money back on my purchases. Sweet!
Seriously. It's as simple as installing an extension on your computer, shopping and watching the money accumulate. Watch the video below to see how it all works and sign up here to be on your way to making passive income.
There's another way you can make passive income - and it's called affiliate marketing.
Done well, affiliate marketing doesn't feel like selling at all. It's more like recommending products to your friends. And that's pretty effective if you've used the product yourself. It's called street cred, baby.
For example, many of my readers are thinking about launching a virtual assistant business or they're ready to take their business to the next level. I'm an affiliate for VA Classroom - in my opinion, one of the best places to learn mad skills to puff up your business.
VA Classroom opens up twice a year to take on new students and I'll let my subscribers know by sending an email with my affiliate link. If a subscriber signs up through my link, I make a commission.
Some affiliates payout as much as 50% of the purchase price and that can be a tidy little sum. Note that sometimes there is a lag between the time the purchase is made and when the payout actually happens. Let's say someone makes a purchase on January 1 using your affiliate link. You may not see the actual payout until March (60 days later) so if you're planning ahead for a little extra income for the summer months, now is the time to get started. Most affiliates pay by Paypal, making it super simple to get your hard-earned cash.
The gist of this post?
Passive income is a great way to add income to your existing business and help folks at the same time.
There's a little work that goes into creating passive income. You can't set it and forget it, especially if you're writing posts and creating products.
Plan now to start receiving payments by the summer.
Is passive income the real deal? You betcha!
If you want to dive in deeper and learn more about passive income, Michelle from Making Sense of Cents has a super-duper course that will walk you through the whole affiliate marketing thing. Yep, I took the course and yep, I'm highly recommending it.
That's it for now. Now go make some money!
Learn how to fund your online business with free resources - for real!