After reading the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, I became obsessed with the concept of passive income. If you haven't read the book, I definitely caution you in doing so, Tim is an awesome author and very adept at drawing you into the book (or at least his copywriter was). If you're like me, working four hours a week will be all that you think about for the following 4 - 6 weeks.
That said, here's a brief list of methods I've found to be viable for making passive money. The only thing I ask is that you read the article in full before passing any judgement:
1. Rank #1 in Google for a keyword that at least 50 people a day are searching for.
I know this sounds simplistic but let me explain, there are a number of qualifiers associated with this. Ranking #1 isn't automatic money, you need to have a keyword that people are either paying decent money to advertise with (if you aren't familiar with this, read up on Google's Adsense program, people pay to advertise on search keywords and pricing is determined by the level of competition) or have a keyword that is associated with a higher click through rate - that is, a keyword associated with people willing to buy. For example, "how to buy underwear online" would be a phase possibly associated with people willing to buy. As an aside, I used to automate my underwear purchasing with Manpacks.com - they are great guys, a genuine company and I highly recommend them.
BUT, the tough part - how do you rank #1 in Google? That's a topic that could definitely cover a 3,000 - 5,000 word article but in reality it isn't that tough. Rather than regurgitate a tonne of existing information here, check out Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income site, specifically, his niche site duel. He has a number of posts that detail his methods and how he is passively earning income from a niche site which makes money from adsense and selling private ad space.
For those on the fence, key takeaways for ranking #1 are:
- Choose low competition but high value keywords (I HIGHLY recommend Market Samurai for this, they have a free 7 day trial if you are unsure. I signed up for the trial and bought immediately after trying it out.)
- Build a system of backlinks from reputable sites with high page ranks. This again isn't that hard, a link from youtube to your site is actually gold in SEO eyes... And there are plenty of other sites I'm sure you can think of along the same lines.
- Search engine the crap out of your site. There are simple things you can do that most people don't, including adding relevant page titles to your site, relevant meta descriptions (the info Google uses under search results), properly identifying redirects, etc.
2. Develop Content for Profit Sharing Websites
If you are just passing through Infobarrel and not actually registered, you should know Infobarrel.com is an exact example of this. For every article, you are allowed to link to your own adsense account and the site splits revenue with you. This is awesome because you get to leverage the power of all the other authors on Infobarrel (like me...). Search engines constantly have more and more content to index on Infobarrel which drives traffic to the site and hopefully to your article if it's related to other popular articles.
You could also take it a step further and write for these types of sites and promote traffic yourself through social sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, etc. Drive some traffic to your articles and get some advertising revenue or even link to your affiliate amazon account. I also moved all my privately hosted video tutorials to blip.tv and youtube.com which allow for ad sharing...
3. Develop Cool Content and Create a Premium Product
Now this is one thing I haven't done but am in the process of doing. I created a bunch of Drupal Video Tutorials on my website, torontowebsitedeveloper.com. At first, I just wanted to give back to the community (If you don't know what Drupal is, check out my tutorials or drupal.org). However, after creating a bunch, I started to see my site traffic increase by 100% every few tutorials. With that traffic, I realized some people are hungry for more in-depth, higher quality content. As a result, I'm creating a premium video tutorial to sell.
While it might bomb and make no sales, it could do the opposite and make a couple sales all while I'm sleeping. Who knows. The point is, develop some cool content for free, help people genuinely while doing it and if there's room, develop a great product that people will want to buy.
A side note to this is, I partly tested the concept of selling a premium video tutorial by presenting at a local Drupal conference. It wasn't huge but when I saw actual bums in seats at my presentation, I realized there was some thirst for what I was offering. I wasn't an expert either by any means - the conference keynote was Drupal found Dries and I had only been working with the CMS for just over a year. There were people probably way more qualified to present but I just decided to post a presentation proposal and let the people decide... which they did and I was gold.
That's it really. There are a lot of scams out there on how to make passive money online and I think it's really easy to get turned away from the idea but it's possible. If you're interested in this type of stuff, I suggest you check out:
- The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- The Smart Passive Income Blog by Pat Flynn
- Mass Outsource with Tyrone Shum
- Market Samurai
- and while it's not really always passive, I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Thanks for reading! Feel free to pass judgement now.