3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Create Passive Income

As solo business owners, we often feel like there are only two ways for us to make money:

  1. Raise prices
  2. Work more hours

And since most of us can’t charge whatever the heck we want for our products or services, we get stuck in a cycle of working long hours just to give ourselves a raise.

But trading time for money is never going to work to our advantage. The solution? Passive income.

Passive income is anything you can do to make money while you sleep: you put the time in upfront, and your revenue accumulates indefinitely. Here are three ideas for earning passive income no matter what industry you’re in.

1. Sell information products

You see this one happening a lot in the entrepreneur world. We’re talking ebooks, behind-the-scenes guides, cheat sheets, knitting patterns, cookbooks, etc. At first glance, it may not seem profitable. After all, you have to go through all the work of creating the product, which takes time and money.

The trick is to use knowledge that’s so familiar to you, compiling it into a product will hardly feel like work at all. Then you need to price your product so that you can reasonably recoup your costs within a month. After that, it’s all profit!

Ask yourself these questions for ideas:

  • What knowledge do I have that others value?
  • What have I succeeded at that has others wondering what my secret is?
  • What behind-the-scenes process could I let people in on—for a price?

With a little brainstorming, any entrepreneur can develop an information product that will be hard at work earning money while you sip margaritas on the beach.

2. Create an online course

Some online courses require you to be available to facilitate live groups, events, or Q&A webinars, but others are set up to run themselves.

For example, you could use MailChimp, Aweber, or CourseCraft to create an automatic email course (editor's note: like this 16 week productivity e-course!). Your customer pays via PayPal and your email service kicks in with a series of timed auto-responders to deliver them your pre-written content each day, week, etc.

Getting your email lists set up might take a bit of time, but the initial costs to create an e-course are pretty low. Depending on your list size, email service will cost as little as $10 - $20 per month!

Many of the same ideas you thought of for information products can be created as an online course if that’s more appealing to you. Bonus: most people are more willing to pay a premium price for an e-course—even if it includes the exact same info you would have included in an ebook!

3. Run a membership site

Sites like Hope*ologie, The Influence Network, and our very own One Woman Shop are an awesome way to keep money steadily flowing in. With this model, you create a private website that’s only available to subscribers. For a monthly fee, your customers get access to whatever resources, webinars, or community groups you post to the site!

Membership sites require plenty of maintenance and have a higher startup cost, but the reward is loyal subscribers who automatically hand you their hard-earned cash every month. Because customers are forking over a fair amount of dough, you’ll need to make sure you keep your site well-stocked with new goodies each month so they get a reasonable value.

If you’ve got the wherewithal to plan ahead and create amazing resources each month, the profit you’ll see rolling in will more than make up for your efforts!

What are your favorite ways to earn passive income?

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Ashley Brooks is the content marketer and strategist behind Brooks Editorial and a cohost of the Chasing Creative podcast. She’s on a mission to help intentional creative entrepreneurs make their blogs work for them, starting with the Blogging for Business workbook, a DIY resource that helps busy creatives turn their blog readers into paying customers. Ashley works from home with her toddler daughter in tow, and you can always find her with an iced mocha in hand and a spare book in her purse (just in case).

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