4 Steps to Building a Passive Income

passive income

Welcome to our weekly column by Blogger Babes co-founder Ponn Sabra. Check back every Monday for the tips and tricks you need to take your blog to the next level!

Blogging about fashion is exciting, especially when there’s something huge going on, like New York Fashion Week. But whether you blog about fashion or anything else, we all fall victim to a few things the first year we start.

For one, you quickly become distracted from your purpose with clever PR pitches and enticing promises of the “next best thing.” You also discover that there’s not enough time to keep up with fashion and blogging news and your particular niche—the dreaded “information overload.”

You discover that no matter how many hours you put in per day, you just can’t seem to exceed a certain dollar amount in revenue. Only after much desperation, you discover there’s a drastic need for some sort of passive income to boost your PayPal account while you sleep… if sleep is still something you're getting.

But let me share something major right off the bat: you'll never make true passive income without diligence and hardwork in the initial set-up stages. They're the most crucial part of your venture.

So what are those stages?

Step 1: Understanding What's Possible

First, you must find a method and plan that works for you, your lifestyle, and your goals.

When it comes to creating online income, before you can properly focus on planning, you need to look at what's possible. Honestly ask yourself three basic questions:

  • Are you more comfortable selling or promoting?
  • Are you more comfortable in front of the camera or behind the scenes?
  • Are you more comfortable leading or following?

Your answers should pre-determine the direction you’re going to take.

Step 2: Assessing Your Options

If you’re a born leader—the sort of person who everyone looks to in a crisis, or even just in everyday life—your best option may be to sell yourself as an expert in your niche. Perhaps you can publish an ebook with your stellar fashion tips, or put together a coffee table lookbook.

If, on the other hand, you’re a born follower, and you just love hiding comfortably behind the scenes, promoting others and their products, becoming an affiliate marketer or a niche blogger may be your best method. You can look at apps such as CoSign and FashionTap for your passive income.

However, if you hate selling, you may find affiliate marketing a really uncomfortable method. You'll be better off becoming a personality and an expert by helping people. When your tips work, people will turn to you for more and recommend you and your blog.

You have to be smart about how you offer your work and expertise. For example, if you're a blogger who sews and has an Etsy store offering aprons, don't sew one hundred aprons at $12 a piece. Break it down this way:

  • If each apron takes you 3 hours of cutting, sewing, and finishing time…
  • You're working for $4 an hour.
  • One hundred aprons will take you 300 hours of work…
  • That's five weeks of solid, 8-hour days and then some.

Talk about tiring! That's not the kind of income you want.

For this example, you could instead sell the pattern. You only have to create it once, and you can resell it as many times as you like, adjusting the price as you deem appropriate. One of my colleagues developed an entire online business by selling her family's patterns online!

Step 3:  Plan Your Portfolio

  1. Pick the income method that most appeals to you, whether it be selling those patterns, becoming an affiliate master, or getting sponsorships. Concentrate on mastering that one method, ignoring every other “freebie” or get-rich-quick scheme out there.
  2. Commit to spending a certain amount of time every day on your passive income business model.

Stick to these two resolutions, and you’ll have more success than ninety-percent of your peers.

What is the one thing everyone does?  They succumb to information overload and hop around like fleas on a hot little doggy from one idea to the next.

What are the two things everyone doesn’t do? Stick with one method while working consistently on building this source of passive income creation every day.

You may find yourself frustratedly looking at these methods and thinking, “that's not really passive, what's the point in doing it?” But it works like this: the more diligently, thoroughly, and completely you set up your passive income stream now, the less work you'll find yourself doing further down the line.

Step 4:  Plan and Execute Your Passive Income Streams!

Now that you have some examples, take out a notebook or a fresh Google Doc and sketch out your passive income plan! Then it's time to put it into action and fine-tweak it to whatever works best for you. You never know—your strengths could surprise you. 😉

These steps are extracted from my and Heidi's third ekit in the Blogger Building Blocks Monthly series, Creating Passive Income Now. This starter kit includes a passive income planner, step-by-step tutorial workbook, 3-week business planning and marketing calendar, and a getting-it-done checklist.

How do you build your passive income?

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About The Author

Ponn Sabra has been a freelance journalist since 1995, and ultimately became a bestselling author and professional blogger in 2005. As the co-founder of Blogger Babes, Ponn teaches female bloggers how to profit from their passions to live the life of their dreams. Ponn's primary job is homeschooling her three teen daughters (also bestselling authors and pro bloggers) as they travel the world. Sleep-deprived, Ponn dreams about finding more time to sleep just so she can dream more.

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12 Responses

  1. Angie

    I love how you point out that passive income is also a project and unless you want it taking up 300 hours of time you need a plan in place. I also think it is getting harder now to come up with passive income models that aren’t “old”, it would be great to hear a few more examples (like the pattern one)!

    & thank you

  2. Sagan Morrow

    Great tips! It’s definitely about getting creative and figuring out the things that fit best for each of us depending on our interests and strengths.

    I second Angie – would LOVE to see a big list of ideas similar to the pattern 🙂

  3. Dari

    This was a great read. I am definitely on step two, but will be taking your advice. Btw, I love that you used the example of pattern making as passive income (the thought has crossed my mind for my site.) Thank you!


  4. Luís de Oliveira

    Really nice! Thanks! With #Love from doliveirafashionblog.com

  5. Jeanine Marie

    This is a good and useful article. I have an Etsy shop and using affiliate links. I am certainly not an expert on anything LOL but I do like to let people know what goods/services work for me.

    Jeanine Marie