One of the things I’ve been wanting to do is add more passive streams of revenue to my business. I’ve dabbled in it over the years with self-publishing a book, selling some online courses and affiliate sales. While I always had a little bit of money coming in passively each month, I never thought I’d be able to earn anything significant. It also certainly wasn’t anything I would consider to be sustainable.
That all changed when I started paying attention to my friend Michelle Schroedner-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents. Each month, Michelle publishes an income report where she details how she’s making an average of $50,000 in affiliate sales per month.
Now, normally I’d see something like that and have my doubts. While I know the possibilities of making money online I’m still a healthy skeptic. But in this case, I know Michelle. We’ve hung out in person at FinCon a few times. I know she’s the real deal so I started paying attention.
What is passive income?
Passive income is money you make without having to trade hours for dollars. To put it in perspective, let’s compare freelance writing to affiliate sales.
Freelance writing is active income. I get paid to write and provide content.
Affiliate sales via my blog is passive income. This is where I recommend products or services on my blog and then make a commission whenever someone purchases through my link.
While I have to put in some work up front in terms of writing a blog post, inserting affiliate links of products I recommend and possibly send some emails, the reality is I really only have to do those things once. From there, those blog posts continue making money for me without me having to actively work for it.
Other forms of passive income include selling products you created, ad revenue, and dividends from investments. Real estate also often times gets lauded as passive income but the reality is there is a lot of work to be done there. (Trust me, I just helped my parents rent out a property we own. It is insane.)
Why would you want passive income?
The obvious reason for wanting passive income is to make money in your sleep. If you don’t have to trade hours for dollars then you have the ultimate form of freedom: the choice to do whatever the hell you want with your time.
However, there are other reasons you may also want some passive income. For example, in my case, I want to find a way to supplement my writing income because my hands and wrists are starting to feel the pressure of writing so much. I’d like to give my body a break while still earning money.
I’d also like to be able to travel more without having to worry about my bills. I’m going to be traveling for two weeks in September and I have peace of mind knowing that at least some of my bills will be covered thanks to passive income.
It’s also good to know that your bills are paid in case you find yourself in a position where you can’t work. It doesn’t even need to be anything drastic like an accident that disables you. It could be as simple as wanting to take maternity leave so you can focus on your baby.
The reality is there are tons of reasons why someone may need to take a step back from work, so having passive income allows you to take the space you need without having to worry about your bills.
Can you really make money in your sleep?
The short answer is yes. However, it’s important to note that even passive income requires some work regardless of the type of passive income you choose to have.
Affiliate sales require you to work on a blog.
Investing in the stock market requires you to do your research and actually put some money into it.
Real estate investing requires maintenance and upkeep.
You have to feed your passive income streams so that they continue making you more money. While this is work, it’s not the same as consulting or writing where your time is literally being taken up in order to get paid.
The problem is most people sell this pipe dream of being able to make money without having to lift a finger. That’s only a half-truth. Everything requires some work in the end. It’s the amount of work required for the payoff that differs.
When can you start creating forms of passive income?
There’s no time like the present! Honestly, one of my biggest regrets has been not paying attention to affiliate income sooner. Or at least, not taking it seriously.
You can start with something simple like a blog. It’s low cost to get started and you can use it as a platform to start making passive income in the form of affiliate sales and ad revenue. Click here to check out my video tutorial on how to start a blog for $2.95 a month.
How long does it take to start seeing passive income?
This really depends on quite a few factors, but I can tell you that I make passive income with affiliate sales and I don’t have hundreds of thousands of page views, tens of thousands of email subscribers or a million social media followers.
The reality is if you put in the work and do it properly, you can start seeing the passive income pretty quickly. This something my colleague Michelle covers in great detail her new course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
How I Made Over $427 In My Sleep
I took Michelle’s course as soon as she launched it and it paid for itself within weeks. In fact, I’ve made a profit off of it already and recently had my highest grossing affiliate month. Here are some of the screen shares from my affiliate partners:
This brings my affiliate income from the last few weeks to $427. This beats my past record of $300 and much of it has to do with what I learned from Michelle’s course. I also know this is going to continue growing because now I understand what I have to do.
What is covered in the course:
Michelle’s course covers affiliate marketing in explicit detail. Although I was already familiar with some of the content because I’ve been blogging for a long time, it was helpful to review it and make sure my blog had a solid foundation for affiliate revenue.
Additionally, she covered a lot of stuff I actually didn’t know or wasn’t sure about. This is what I believe has truly helped me increase my affiliate income in such a short amount of time.
Here is some of what Michelle covers:
- How to choose a profitable blogging niche.
- Which WordPress plugins and tools to use to help you maximize earnings.
- The necessary pages you need on your website and how to format them.
- How to format blog posts to increase your chances of earning affiliate income.
- How to use Pinterest to skyrocket your blog traffic (I doubled my traffic within a week).
- How to choose the best affiliate programs.
- How to maintain a relationship with affiliate managers and get higher payouts.
- How to keep track of all your programs and earnings with helpful worksheets.
- The legal stuff you need to know about affiliate sales.
Where I’m Going From Here
Right now I’m depositing any income I make passively into my Betterment retirement account to maximize savings.
I’m going to keep applying what I learned in Michelle’s course and track the income as it grows. Eventually, I’d like to earn at least $2k per month in affiliate sales. This would more than cover my business expenses so I can begin focusing more on increasing my take-home salary.
Of course, I will keep you posted on how this all goes.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make passive income with affiliate sales, I highly recommend checking out Michelle’s course.