Anybody that’s familiar with my blog knows that I break down financial freedom into 3 parts of a funnel; earn money, save money, and grow your money. You’ll also know that I have spent the past few months writing and making videos primarily about investing and growing your money through the markets. So, let’s take a moment to jump to the beginning of the funnel and discuss making money and how you can generate income passively online.
How I Got Started
Before we dive into details, I want to start by telling you guys a little bit about how I first got into generating passive income through the internet. It’s actually kind of random.
About 5 years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing career wise. I was in-between jobs and wasn’t really happy with what I was doing. So, I decided to pursue a childhood ambition and check off ‘become a personal trainer’ from my list of life goals. So, after much debate, I decided to spring for it and become a NASM certified personal trainer.
NASM, also known as The National Academy of Sports Medicine, is one of the premier personal training organizations and the exam through them actually costs about $800 just to get certified. They don’t guarantee a job or anything, so that was quite a bit of money to spend without knowing whether I would get a return on my investment.
But, at the end of the day, I sprung for it and ended up passing the exam about 2 months later and got a job as a personal trainer. After 2 months of that, I became sick of it. The job just wasn’t for me.
So, after all that, it wasn’t really a career changing move. I spent a lot of money on this exam and figured it was an expense i would never get back. But then it hit me.
Literally everything I had read online while studying was about a lot of people struggling to pass the exam. So it kinda dawned on me, you know what? Why not offer this as an eBook? It seemed brilliant!
So, I went ahead and created the eBook and put it up in the Kindle store and then later built a website called www.nasmstudyguide.com for it. Overall, it probably took about 10 to 15 hours of my time to actually put the site together. Since the exam was about $800 dollars, I figured I would have to sell around 25 copies to break even…..that was 5 years ago. It’s paid for itself multiple times over since then.
That’s kinda the beauty of electronic products. After you get your investment back, every single sale is 100% profit margin. You’re not putting in any work to deliver the product to your customer. Everything is automated behind the scenes. Thats why passive income is attractive and why it’s so popular among internet entrepreneurs.
How to Set Up Online Passive Income Streams
So, to kick this off, I’m going to give you guys a high level overview of the steps involved in building a website and setting up a passive income stream. This should help build a foundation from which we can dive further into each individual piece in future articles and discuss how to set them up and how to optimize them for maximum ROI.
Step One: Web Hosting
Before you do anything online, you’re going to need a hosting provider. In essence, they manage the servers and programs that make your website run behind the scenes.
Personally, I use BlueHost. If you’re thinking about getting into passive income websites, I highly suggest you check them out. They only charge $3.50 a month, so it’s pretty inexpensive for the service they are offering. For less than one coffee a month, you can set up the foundation for all your future internet ventures.
Once you have set up BlueHost on your website, they actually automate the installation of WordPress and all you really have to do is click a button. After the installation is done, you’ll be able to login to the backend of your website and access the WordPress dashboard for your website.
If you guys haven’t heard about Pat Flynn at smartpassiveincome.com, you should check him out. He actually has a video on how to build a blog in less than 5 minutes using BlueHost. It’s really, really fast to set up and get everything ready for launching your website. The best part is that you can host as many websites as you want. So, it ends up being a fixed business cost as you scale in the early stages.
Step Two: WordPress Theme
So, the next thing after setting up WordPress through your hosting is finding the right WordPress theme to make your site look pretty. Personally, I purchase my theme’s from themeforest. If you go to the WordPress section, there are plenty of themes to help customize your site. ReddySetGo uses the Minimostiy theme from Themeforest.
You may be asking yourself why you should pay for a theme when WordPress offers a bunch of theme for free. Well, free themes are great, but they don’t give you the customization you are eventually going to want. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars (most themes are around $50) to make a website. But, it spending the extra money on a premium theme goes a long way towards making your website look clean and professional.
Step 3: Blogging and Marketing
Now that you have a beautiful site, you can start blogging and creating value for your readers and all the people that visit your site. For example, with NASM I wrote about personal training and study tips to pass the exam. I actually gave away a lot of free advice and helped create value for my readers. I wanted to truly provide value so that they knew my product would also be high quality and really help them out, which made them more likely to buy.
This step is what takes the most effort. Blogging and content generation is a lot of work, especially if you do it all yourself and don’t outsource it. But, this is what get’s people who may be interested in your product to your site.
Step 4: Automation
At this point, a high level overview of the steps to setting up a website is…Set up hosting (my preference is through bluehost), download WordPress and then upload a theme and then you can start blogging and generating content for your site. So, now let’s jump over to discussing the actual passive income aspect of the site.
There are a number of ways to monetize a website. You can run general ads through AdSense, promote affiliate offers through ClickBank, sell your own product, etc. Personally, my favorite method is selling your own product. You make a much higher profit margin on each sale (since you own the product) and it’s a very rewarding feeling to know you created a product that is providing a lot of value and helping people.
So, for the sake of an example, let’s say you wrote your own ebook. Well, one way to make the sale of your ebook passive is by automating the purchase. The goal is to allow someone to visit your website and purchase your ebook at any time of day or night.
This is where tools like E-junkie is extremely valuable. E-junkie will allow you to set up your sales funnel so that when a visitor to your website clicks to buy your ebook, they get redirected to PayPal where they can make the purchase, and then E-junkie will verify the sale and handle all the emails and deliver the product to your customer. Everything happens behind the scenes.
Beautiful right? When someone pays for your product at 4 o’clock in the morning, you’re not going over to your computer, sitting in Gmail and sending them an email with the PDF attached. E-junkie handles all that, and they only cost about $5 a month if you have less than 10 products.
Well, there you have it. That was an extremely high level view of what it takes to build a passive income stream online. Sure, there are hundreds of tiny steps in between (which I will cover in future articles), but you now have an idea of what it takes. At the end of the day, for less than $50, you can get your entire platform set up and start building an online business.
Don’t get too excited though. My NASM site generates income for me now, but at the beginning there were a lot of months where I didn’t make any money. I put in a lot of work learning how to set this up without any immediate reward. You do have to put in the initial work now to capitalize on the benefits later – months, years down the road.
But, if you are looking to get started, I highly suggest you start by thinking about passive income streams and what type of websites that you could potentially build. Everyone’s an expert in something and everybody’s willing to learn from you about something. It’s not like I was a great personal trainer or something. I did it for 2 months and I’m pretty sure I would have got fired in that third month. But, at the end of the day, I had something that was helpful and people found value in it.
Thanks for reading and in my next couple of articles, I’ll dive into the depths of exactly how you can get set up and start building these passive income websites.