How to Become a Passive Income Pro (and Make Money While You Sleep or Play)

Hey blogger! Thanks for stopping by my little slice of online pie today so that we can chat about earning passive income from your blog.

Now, in all honesty, any income that you earn from your blog is awesome! There isn’t only one right way to make money blogging. But, some ways are easier and more profitable than others! That’s why I wanted to dedicate this blog post to passive income.

Let’s get to it!

How to earn passive income from your blog | Step by step guide for growing and monetizing your blog on autopilot, using passive income streams!

WHAT IS PASSIVE INCOME?

Here’s my easy definition of passive income, as it pertains to bloggers: it’s the income that you earn from your blog on autopilot, after the initial effort of creating that income stream is done.

We’re not talking about the passive income you earn in other fields, like real estate. We’re just talking about creating an income stream and system that allows you to earn money directly from your blog even when you’re not physically in front of your computer working.

Let’s take it a step further for clarification: Most people participate in employment to earn “active income”, like a salary, a weekly paycheck, or tips. Example: a waitress works actively for an employer and gets paid income in exchange for her work.

Active income often requires you to exchange your time for money.

In our example, the waitress works 8 hours in exchange for an agreed-upon hourly rate. More examples of active income: a graphic designer actively works on creating a logo for a client and gets paid an agreed-upon rate for their service. A teacher actively works every day of the school year to earn their annual income.

Passive income is different because you aren’t exchanging hours for dollars. Passive income is the result of setting up a revenue model and marketing strategy that allows your customers to find you and buy from you continuously, without requiring a ton of active work hours to earn that money. The money flows in regularly, after an initial process of creation, promotion, and automation.

We call it “passive” income because you earn it passively instead of actively. And yes, you CAN continue earning that money, even while you sleep!

HOW TO EARN PASSIVE INCOME FROM A BLOG

Now, we’re going to get into the application part.

We know that passive income is the money you earn passively and regularly from your blog, without trading hours for dollars. Now, let’s talk about how to actually set up your systems and earn passive income from a blog.

Here are three of the most popular passive income streams in the blogging world. Remember, they do require initial work and regular maintenance. But if you set things up properly and strategically, you’ll be able to earn steady income without being stuck at your computer for 40+ hours a week.

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  1. Selling your own digital product.

Creating and selling your own digital product is one of the best ways to earn passive income. It might sound daunting at first, the idea of creating and selling your own digital product online. But believe me, you can do it, and it can be very rewarding.

It’s considered passive income because you do the initial work of creating the product and the marketing system to promote the product. And then, as people learn about your product and purchase it from you, the earned income flows into your account passively, without requiring you to exchange time for money.

This is an income stream that I use and love. I worked hard to create my premium online course. Every week, I continue to grow my audience and market my course to them…but the actual hard part (the time-intensive creation part) is done! And there are many days that I wake up to find 5+ course sales from the night before (quite literally, it’s passive income that I earned in my sleep)!

With a solid marketing and automation strategy, you could even take a vacation and let your business run on autopilot.

Here are some ideas for digital products you could create and sell: online training courses, stock photos, e-books, software, music, videos, audio books, digital art, informational guides, or educational printables.

The digital product that you create and sell should be relevant and helpful to YOUR specific audience. If you’re a fitness blogger, you probably wouldn’t benefit from trying to create and sell girlie stock photos. Your audience isn’t really looking for that when they come to your site.

Do some brainstorming today and think about who your audience is and what they need from you. Is there something that you can create and sell that would fill a need for your ideal reader or follower?

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  1. Affiliate marketing.

With this passive income stream, you promote products and services for other businesses on YOUR blog, and when someone makes a purchase through your trackable link, you get paid a commission.

It’s considered passive income because you write the blog post one time (initial work) and then when someone reads that post and buys that product you recommend, you earn money from it. And you can continue to earn money from those affiliate links for years to come, with little effort on your part.

Affiliate marketing is great for bloggers, because we tend to recommend things we use and love anyway…might as well get paid for it. The best way to make money through affiliate marketing is to join affiliate programs that would be beneficial to your audience, and then share their products on your blog.

Examples: 

A mom blogger can become an affiliate for companies like Target, Amazon, Etsy, Gymboree, etc. She can promote products that suit her target market and encourage them to make a purchase through her blog posts.

An online business blogger can become an affiliate for companies like Microsoft, Photoshop, web hosting sites, automation services, email services etc. They can promote these services to their readers and clients when helping them to start their own online businesses.

A few things to keep in mind:

Affiliate marketing is awesome, but it’s important to consider some unique aspects of this particular passive income stream.

  • You are only getting a piece of the pie, usually a small percentage of each sale. This is not a bad thing at all, but it takes some time to earn enough income from affiliate marketing to make a comfortable living.
  • Most affiliate companies have a holding time on your sales, which means you might earn money today, but won’t see the deposit for 30-60 days. It’s very different from receiving that steady paycheck every Friday, so you have to account for that.

And this is why I highly recommend that you DIVERSIFY your passive income streams. Don’t just rely on affiliate income to support you and your business growth. Mix it up, and make sure you have income flowing in from a few different places each month.

For a list of my favorite affiliate networks, check out >> this article <<!

  1. Running ads on your blog.

Most of my readers already know how I feel about ads all over websites, but if you’re new here, I’ll fill you in: excessive ads are annoying. I don’t like them on my website or anyone else’s.

HOWEVER, it’s relatively easy for a blogger to place ads on their website and earn some ad income from them. Initial set up is usually quick and easy, and you can start earning some pocket change even with a low number of page views (with some ad networks).

Google AdSense is where most bloggers start because the minimum requirements are pretty easy to reach. As you grow beyond 25,000 sessions a month on your website, you can apply to other ad networks, like MediaVine.

Most ad networks don’t pay all that much, unless you have high website traffic. You also have limited control over what your audience is exposed to, and you get paid pennies to draw people AWAY from your awesome stuff (and toward someone else’s stuff).

To me, it just isn’t worth the nuisance. I prefer to control the user experience and limit the intrusions from advertisements. And I find it much more productive to draw attention to the products that I use and love (via my affiliate links), and encourage my readers to purchase my products that I created specifically for THEM.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of ads, I still have to throw the option into the mix, because it’s a relatively easy passive income stream and most bloggers do choose to have ads on their website at some point in their career.

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WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT PASSIVE INCOME?

So, now you know a few of the common ways that bloggers make money from passive income. It’s becoming a pretty popular topic in the world of online business owners. Do you know why?

  1. You can earn A LOT of money.

When you have a strategic plan in place, you can earn a lot of money through your passive income streams. And the best part about it: that income can flow into your account regularly with little maintenance on your part (after the initial creation and promotion process).

  1. You don’t have to trade hours for dollars.

Remember, with passive income, we aren’t trading time for money. You still have to put in the work to start earning that income, but you don’t have to put in 40 hours a week to earn a paycheck. There are only so many hours in a day, and it can be exhausting trading hours for dollars.

  1. You can earn money while you sleep (or lie on the beach)!

If you know one thing about me, it’s that I love my beach days. The sunshine and the sound of the waves are soothing to my soul. There aren’t many jobs out there that allow you to earn money while you’re lounging on the beach, but passive income makes that possible!

Don’t get it twisted though, you still gotta work! The beauty of passive income is that your work CONTINUES TO PAY YOU long after you get your systems in place.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s answer an important question: what does it truly take to start earning steady money from your passive income?

IT TAKES STRATEGY

If you want to be successful with growing your passive income streams, you need a plan in place. You won’t be making millions overnight either, so keep your plan realistic. Every successful business has a strategic plan in place for growth and profit.

IT TAKES A LOT OF EFFORT

I have to be clear about this from the get-go, because I have a lot of new students that come to me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that they aren’t growing and making money. It takes effort to grow a new business. Effort to build a community and earn their trust. Effort to create and sell a product. And effort to make steady money. Providing valuable free content to your audience is a good way to kick-start your growth.

IT TAKES TIME

It’s so easy to get discouraged and feel like every other blogger is making money while you struggle to get off the ground. No successful business is built overnight. It will take a little time, but it will be worth it! Just focus on narrowing down your target market and creating valuable content for your readers.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Passive income strategy can really bring clarity to your blogging path and help you to earn a comfortable living working from home. Once you know who your audience is and what you can provide for them, you can choose your passive income streams and start working on your strategy for creating and promoting your stuff!

Don’t forget that it’s important to DIVERSIFY. Select a few different streams of blogging income so that you can continue growing your business every month. And be sure to join my free blogging community for blogging tips and daily help growing and monetizing your blog.

If you enjoyed this article, please take a second to share it with friends!!

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How to earn passive income from your blog | step by step guide for automating your blogging income!

How to earn passive income from your blog | step by step guide for automating your blogging income!

How to earn passive income from your blog | step by step guide for automating your blogging income!

12 Comments

  1. Cynthia Crosby

    September 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    These tips will definitely be applied to my blog strategy.

    1. Cate

      September 18, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

  2. Jane@Thrivewithjanie

    September 18, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Hey Cate, this is a great article, on ways to make passive income, and I like that you encourage diversifying. I hate ads too, but I have them. I wish I didn’t but I just don’t see how to create a course. I feel that those who blog about blogging have that advantage. My blog is all about encouraging people how to live healthy lives. Maybe there is are way to create a course around that but I don’t know it.

    1. Cate

      September 22, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Hey girl, thanks for reading! Nothing wrong with using ads at all, I just think there are better ways to make money and keep 100% of the proceeds. It’s definitely not “blogging about blogging” that leads to the success, but finding a problem that YOUR TARGET MARKET has and then creating a resolution to that problem. If your focus is on healthy living, you could create a training program that will help your reader solve a problem, succeed on “Whole 30” or stay healthy while on vacation, or stay in shape after having a baby, etc…it’s all about brainstorming and getting feedback from your audience to find out what they need. I hope that makes sense! And I’m happy to chat if you need help!

  3. Baby Boomer Super Saver

    September 19, 2018 at 3:59 am

    I’m with you, Cate, when it comes to not caring for distracting ads all over my blog. It’s tempting because I hear about other relatively new bloggers starting to make money from ads right away. But I’m sticking with affiliate marketing for products I use and love. I’ve definitely made money with affiliate marketing, but it did take work on my part, promoting my blog and affiliate links through Twitter. My goal is to post more often on my blog.

    1. Cate

      September 22, 2018 at 6:01 am

      Yes, affiliate marketing definitely takes some initial foundational and promotional work, but I’m glad to hear you’re making some money! Ads aren’t evil, I just think there are better ways to earn income from your blog. I personally love passive income! Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Marlon Mariano

    September 23, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Hi Cate, I just want to ask some advice if you may. I have a business, a distributor of printed reading materials here in the Philippines , I sell magazine both local and international and academic and technical journal. I tried to do some blogging for my site before where I promote the magazine/journal, but I stop because of some personal problem. I want to try blogging again to promote my site and the products that I sell and maybe make some money. I’m home based and sell online.
    Is it advisable that I write a content of my blog from the magazine that I read? to promote and give them idea. I hope you can also visit my site and give your thoughts.

    1. Cate

      September 24, 2018 at 5:10 am

      Yes, definitely use your blog to share info about your business and promote it 🙂 Great idea!

  5. Susannah at Mediavine

    September 24, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Cate! Thanks so much for the shoutout. As publishers ourselves, we completely agree with you that ads aren’t always our favorite, but we also firmly believe that digital content creators should be compensated for all of the wonderful material they create. As you said, it is a great passive income.
    We do everything we can to continue improving our ads while avoiding the things that really interfere with user experience.
    If anyone has questions, please feel free to contact us at publishers@mediavine.com.
    — Susannah at Mediavine

    1. Cate

      October 1, 2018 at 12:54 am

      Hi Susannah! Creators definitely deserve to be paid for their work, and I know ads are one way of making that possible. Even though I find them a bit invasive on most websites, I’ve never personally used MediaVine, so I don’t honestly know how invasive the ads are. If I said anything that is incorrect in my post, please let me know and I will happily correct it!

  6. Sobia

    September 26, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Cate thank you for this article! I hope to use some of these tips in the future =] I particularly like the: running business on autopilot idea for switching off now and then.

    1. Cate

      October 1, 2018 at 12:52 am

      Thank you for reading!

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