Passive Income Streams

Money coming in while you sleep — it's one of the most intriguing thoughts out there.  Tons of people fall for “get rich quick schemes” in the hopes of building an automatic money machine.  But even though there many scammy programs to designed to make other people rich at your expense, passive income is real.

I've been making passive income from my websites for years.  It tends to ebb and flow in amount, with the largest amount coming from my large authority site.  I make money via advertising and affiliate sales, with a little bit from my own products.

More passive income is always a good thing (my ideal is to fully replace my husband's “job” income).  Steve Pavlina has been running a series challenging readers to create a new stream of passive income.  I've just started to read through it — it's been in my “read later” queue for months and I'm just catching up after moving.  I decided it would be great to take up his challenge.

Passive vs. Non-Passive Income

Passive income means you set up your product or other income stream once, and it keeps generating income.  Examples are an ebook or a rental unit (where someone rents a house from you every month).  They're “set it and forget it” systems, though in reality they may need a little maintenance here and there.

Non-passive income means you have to do something to generate the income.  A job is not passive.  You have to show up and do something (even if it is most likely just pretending to work).  If you're a freelancer or consultant, your income is not passive.

I'm not knocking non-passive income.  In fact, I'm working on a project for my authority site right now that includes a group coaching program that will take a couple of hours of my time each week.  The homework and training materials coming with the program will need to be made only one time, but I'll work one-on-one with clients on the call and most likely give some guidance via email.  This is really beneficial for my clients and it gives me satisfaction, too.

Passive income streams, however, are very useful to have around!

My Income Stream Thoughts

I decided that Steve's series was a great motivation to create a small income flow for one of my other niche sites.  I originally considered doing it for this site, but I wasn't able to think of something I feel confident in creating yet.  I may revisit Milk and Mud for an ebook project after I finish the current project.  Ebooks are a pretty lucrative passive income stream if you do it right, especially right now.

I ultimately chose to go with my smallest niche site.  I already have a small product funnel for this niche that could use some more traffic.  I've decided to do a menu mailer service to compliment the existing product line.  Menus are in hot demand for this niche, so I think I'll be able to generate traffic and subscribers.  Once I've created the menu plans, they're done and only have to be auto-delivered to subscribers.  It's a great passive income model.

My goal is to have this passive income stream set up by the end of October.  I'd like to see it produce at least $250 a month and think it's a very long-term demand product.  If I really work the traffic I think I could see upwards of $500 a month from it (maybe more).

Info-products like this are always a solid idea for income streams, especially if you're in a niche that you know needs a product 🙂

At this point I'm going to stick with products I can easily create here at home.  Real estate and other passive income streams aren't really going to fit in with my lifestyle at this point, so I'll stick with ebooks, audio teachings, etc.

Are you up for a passive income challenge?  You could start at a basic level with a simple product and a simple goal.  Scale from there.  What plans are you making?

Coming Out of a Slump

I was in a slump – a big one – for a couple of months. A slump happens for many different reasons. I've learned some preventative measures, but in this article I really want to cover what to do when you've gotten into a slump. How do you get out?

I can happily say that I've been in the clear – out of the slump – for several weeks. I'm still not completely up to speed (for instance, this is the first post I've written for this blog in ages), but I'm ramping up my productivity and I feel good about what I'm doing.

Let Go if You Need To

I stopped being dedicated to work on my websites because we were in the process of house-hunting. It's a very, very emotional process. We bid on one house and lost the bid. Then we went through an agonizing month of looking at many houses and not finding “the one.” Finally, we found our house and wow, that was a roller coaster of making an offer, getting it accepted, closing on the house, moving in, and finally settling. Did I mention that I found out I was pregnant during all of that? We had a lot going on.

I realized that I just couldn't do a lot of the work I'd have liked to do during that time. I really wanted to, had even tried to take steps to make sure I'd get some work done, but in the end I needed to just let go. There were other priorities in life: getting moved, getting through the first trimester of pregnancy, getting the family settled. It's OK if you sometimes have to focus on one area of life.

Getting Back to Work Sooner

Letting go is good – but staying stagnant is not. People have a tendency let go and keep on puttering around, never getting back to work. “Work” is whatever project that needs doing. Once I got done with the immediate needs of moving in (setting up the kitchen, for instance), I realized that I just needed to get back to work. Sitting around and feeling depressed about the enormous amount of work in front of me was doing me no good.

It doesn't do you any good, either. Once your time of crisis focus has passed, it's time to get yourself back to work on the projects that mean the most to you! Pick something that really needs to be done, and something that will really make a difference. Don't choose busywork. Don't choose your email backlog! An income-producing project is the ideal.

Toss the To-Do's and Pick What's Important

If you're like me, you're probably staring at a “to-do list” that's a mile long. I realized that my list was only depressing me. I put everything that wasn't “urgent” away to examine later (I picked about 3 weeks out from the date I was at). Then I created a few categories that were very important in my life. I ended up with:

  • Home – getting the house organized from the move
  • School – getting all the materials and lesson plans for our upcoming home school eyar ready
  • Business – Income-producing projects
  • Work – Mundane “maintenance” tasks for work (checking stats, website tweaks, email, etc.)

For me, placing the most important task for the first three categories on my daily agenda really helped. The fourth category, “Work” was good for when my energy levels were low (after working on the more important “Home”, “School”, and “Business” categories).

Every day I determined which of my tasks was most important. I planned to work on that first. Then I worked on the other important things, and finally, mundane tasks.

I tried to work on “Business” or “School” tasks first, because they took the most energy, creativity, and focus. “Home” cleaning and organization is easier 🙂

Set Goals and Prevent Future Burn-Out

I think it's important just to get back to a baseline of getting some important work done for a week or so. Then you can really re-evaluate your goals for yourself, your home life, and your business. Examine your strategy and work on tweaking it if needed.

Be willing to set goals and truly take steps to work towards them. Also be willing to re-evaluate every couple of weeks. You may grow bored of writing articles every day, for instance. It may be time to focus on creating an audio or video product, or on writing a book. It's important to finish projects, but changing your schedule of activities from time-to-time can help prevent burnout.

Sometimes you'll need to just grind through a project. Maybe you want to write an email campaign sequence for your autoresponder. This can make you a lot of money if you get it up and running. It's something you could choose to do over a period of time (an email a day, for instance) — or you could just focus on writing the whole campaign over the course of one 20-hour workweek.

Vary how you organize your projects.

Do your most important project first. Save the mundane things (and email!) for when your energy levels are low later in the day. If you work on something important for a few hours and find your energy lagging, stop for the day. You'll get a lot more done tomorrow, when you're fresh.

And take a break now and then. Take the weekends off 🙂 Take a whole week off from time to time. You'll be more energetic and creative when you return to your projects.

What's caused your slumps? How did you overcome?

Photo by Kasia and Mike

Day One Hundred and Eleven

Today was a good day. I set aside 10% of my business income to tithe in some fashion — donating it to charity, church, etc. So the kids and I hit Sam's club and got a bunch of stuff needed by Munson Manor, which is like the Ronald McDonald house for our local hospital. We then dropped everything off at Munson Manor. The kids really enjoyed it and seemed genuinely excited. I want them to be excited by helping others.

I love the thought of using my money (or time) to help others out. I don't care for the thought of letting the government do it, though. I don't like the thought of feeling forced to give to X, Y, or Z because we're “supposed to.” So I want to teach the kids to enjoy helping someone out, but I also want them to see the joy of us choosing who to help, like Munson Manor. Those things will help give comfort to someone who has a loved one in the hospital. I like that idea.

I got a lot of writing done today, too.

And, OH! My coach's suggestion for the “one high priority” worked pretty well. I set that last night and started working first thing this morning. My task was the outline for NBBC's product, so I set myself to it and got it done, yay!

I'm going to use this tactic to make sure I'm really getting things done. The next task? Getting my Roth IRA set up. For some reason that terrifies me… but I know that I'll be relieved once it's set up and the money is just going in automatically.

Tomorrow the kids and I are going to be doing a lot of work getting the house cleaned up and organized. I think I'll feel a lot better once we've made some strong progress there 🙂

Photo by pheezy

Day One Hundred and Ten

Today was a gang-buster kind of day. I worked seriously hard and got a lot done. I wrote 8 articles, which is no small feat! I also got a lot out on the social media networks… now I just need to keep all of that caught up!

I checked a lot of schoolwork and shepherded kids through some problem areas. Two kids finished up some books, so one of them is completely done for the year. The other still has math and such, and my 4th grader still has a lot to do. She's making progress, though. I'm trying to remember to be patient with it all, and not push too hard.

I also made a little video on how to start a Blogger blog and get a good number of posts into it. I'm hoping to have my VA create some tightly-niched little Blogger blogs for generating some leads and maybe getting some backlinks.

There was a great coaching call today, too. My coach made a suggestion of just having one thing on the “high priority” list, which seemed like a really great idea to me. He said focus on getting that one, most important thing done, then move on to the list of everything else. I'll try that tomorrow and see how it works for me.

Photo by saguayo

Day One Hundred and Nine

Today was more of the same… writing and making Powerpoint Templates. Reading and thinking. I started an article for this site today but didn't get it done.

I sound pretty pathetic, lol! I'm feeling a little better but still really struggling. It will get better.

Photo by masahiko

Day One Hundred and Eight

Today feels like more of the same from yesterday. My thoughts are pretty much in the same space, and my actions are mostly the same, too. Sorry to be super mundane about everything. I think it will take some time to get my spirit and drive back up.

I'm listening to some trainings and working on getting the product for NBBC structured. I think about products for this site, too, but what could I really offer? I make a steady part-time income, but it's nothing to write home about. I think the best thing I have to offer is how to fit in a business when you already have a busy life. Sometimes I totally bomb that but most of the time I feel like I do well.

One thing we've totally bombed the past couple of weeks is working out. We haven't been lifting and I haven't done P90X. I'm hurting, too. So is Scott. I can't help but wonder if it's because we haven't worked out. I miss it and we need to get back to it.

Photo by Gustav H

Day One Hundred and Seven

Ah Monday… another week. I'm super-ready to be done with homeschooling for the year. I love school, but I think everybody is tired of school books and looking forward to the summer. I seriously want to get some more packing done and more cleaning and stuff around the house.

I'll be honest, I don't really want to do anymore work to get this house ready to sell, but we really need to. But the first thing to do is to declutter (even more than we have already…) So that's what I want to focus on. And I'd like to get school done so that I can do that! I'll work hard at doing some this coming weekend, as well as do a bit here and there where I can fit it into the week. I need to draw up our summer schedule…

I made myself write today, with the reward of being able to work on a Powerpoint Template so I can get some videos up on Youtube. It worked well enough and I got the writing done, though today it felt like pulling teeth. I'm hoping to get Scott to proof these things and actually get them live.

Photo by ghindo

Day One Hundred and Six

Today, being Sunday, was mostly a day to relax and enjoy the day. I can't say how relaxed I felt. I looked at real estate stuff and told myself I'm not going to spend countless hours pouring over listings this coming week like I did last week after finding out our bid wasn't accepted. I did spend some time making out floor plans in a floor planning software. That's probably a waste of time as we most likely won't build… but it's kind of fun and I suppose an OK way to waste time on a Sunday.

I'm getting some books finished up, which is a good thing. Reading business and personal finance books is always something that makes me think… about what I want to be, how I want to do things. It's very interesting to look at where we are right now, where my business is right now, etc.

I want to make sure that we're using our money wisely, and that when my business really takes off, it's funding the right things.

Photo by cogdogblog

Day One Hundred and Five

Today we spent the day driving around, looking at the areas that we're thinking about moving to and visiting with Scott's mom.

It's nice to drive around and look, but discouraging in some ways too. We saw a house that's really too far away, but it still gave me some hope because I liked the interior and I liked the land with it. That's good because after our offer for the first house was rejected, I almost felt like nothing else would ever “live up to it.” It's good to see something else that I like because it means there *are* other houses out there that may work.

Anyways, did a little writing today but not much. I'm way behind on writing for traffic generation and I still haven't posted anything.

I'm sure that these 365 entries won't inspire anybody because they're mostly me whining while I try and figure all of this out!!

Photo by mediafury

Day One Hundred and Four

I made a major goof with sending out my survey this morning — I used another email as the “template” and forgot to change the subject line, oops! Even with such a big blooper, I still got flooded with responses which makes me happy =D Now I have to reply to everyone, lol!

But I've got a good idea of things and can really start working on creating the product for NBBC. I also did some writing for GSC (the niche site) but I haven't started actually posting anything from that yet. At least the articles are written, though, and I can start developing systems to get them distributed around the web.

Photo by kirstyhall