Three business ideas you can start for passive income and make money now

Passive income is a myth on YouTube with thousands of videos promising no work ways to easy money. It’s no better on Google with the passive promise trapping millions a year into bad business ideas.

There is a such thing as passive income but you have to know where to find it. You have to be ready to put in some work to launch your passive income business and know how to run it right.

In this video, I’ll reveal three legit passive income business ideas you can start with little or no money. You’ll still need to put in some work getting started but these are the three best business ideas I’ve seen for the speed at which they become passive and the money you can make.

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Why You Need a Passive Income Business

One of the most popular videos on the channel has been a list of seven passive income ideas and how I make money online. I got a lot of feedback on the video about how many were smaller sources of income so I wanted to follow it up with some bigger passive income business ideas.

These are all going to be legit business ideas you can start with no money and grow into a business that will sustain itself.

I’m going to show you my three favorite passive income businesses, how to get started and how much you can expect to make. All three of these businesses, you’ll be able to get started quickly and will provide passive income within a year of getting them off the ground.

I’ll then be revealing three secrets to making passive income online, three rules for success no matter which of these business ideas you go with so make sure you stick around for that.

I want to say first though, if you’re looking for income you get every month without having to put in any work or invest any money, it doesn’t exist.

There’s a big lie on YouTube that creating passive income is easy or that investing is passive income. It’s like passive income sightings and grainy photos. Nothing is going to create money out of nowhere and I don’t consider investing passive income because you had to do something to earn that invested money in the first place.

So these three passive income business ideas, of those I’ve seen and use every month, are the ones that will get you to that passive income point fastest. You’ll still have to set them up, maybe working on them for a few months, but they grow fast enough and can be managed to be as passive as possible very quickly.

Creating Passive Income with Online Conferences

Our first passive income business is creating virtual summits and conferences.

Now I love my experience going to a conference of financial bloggers each year but the total cost is upwards of three grand for the five-day trip. I always pick up enough ideas to make it worth it and the community is great but that cost is a killer for a lot of people.

Virtual summits are a great way to still get that sense of community and the inside knowledge but without the travel and other costs.

So there are different ways to structure your virtual summit. At a minimum, you’ll have 10 to 30 video sessions around half an hour or more where a speaker will go into a topic. This is the core of your conference but you want to add in other features to set it apart from other virtual events.

Some good add-ons are an online forum or even better a group video chat to create that community interaction. You can set up special online networking events and a private Facebook group. You can also work with sponsors to offer special discounts on products.

A friend of mine, Liz Stapleton, recently finished up her Side Gig Summit, a virtual conference of 25 side hustle ideas with speakers in each. By the end of the summit, she had over 200 registrations and at ticket prices between $100 to $400 each. And the beauty of the virtual summit is that you keep getting registrations even after the official launch. All those video sessions stay up to earn passive income every month on new registrations.

side hustle conference sessions

Getting started with your virtual summit means knowing a niche and being part of a community within that niche, whether it be online or traditional business entrepreneurs. You need to get to know some of the people that are really crushing it. Then you reach out to get them to speak for a 30-minute video interview. This can be an interview format or them delivering a presentation.

To get speakers for the event, you can offer a cut of the ticket sales or the ability to sell their own products or services but some might do it just for the experience and to get their name out. I prefer offering a commission on sales rather than letting speakers pitch their products. This way, you make sure they give as much information as possible without holding back to sell people into their courses.

Setting up all this is actually the easy part. You can record all your videos and upload them to a platform like Teachable. This is going to give you the ability to charge for your summit, set up coupons codes and get other people to help sell it through an affiliate program.

how to sell on teachable

Teachable is the platform I use to host all my online courses and is the one I see used most often. The site is offering a free live training on seven steps to launch your own online course or summit now.

Reserve your seat and get these seven steps to launch your profitable online course on Teachable.

Marketing is the bigger challenge in virtual summits but there are ways to make this completely passive as well. The easiest way is to work with your speakers as affiliates to promote a few weeks before the launch. You can also do free videos on YouTube that feed into a registration page and you’ll pick up a lot of ideas in that free training on the Teachable site.

A couple of tips for success here before we move on to our second passive income business idea. First is that you want to make your virtual summit topic as narrow as possible. You don’t want to do a summit on something like being an online entrepreneur or personal finance. This is too broad and it’ll make marketing more difficult.

Instead, take that broader topic and narrow it down, Instead of personal finance, make it about investing or paying off debt. Instead of being an online entrepreneur, focus it to blogging or vlogging or ecommerce. This means you can hit every theme within that smaller topic with your video sessions and you’ll provide more detailed information.

Second is to really push your speakers to provide quality and detailed information in their sessions. Have at least a couple pre-recording calls with each speaker to see what they’re going to talk about. Ask for an outline and then ask questions to make them think deeper into the topic.

passive income business ideas online

Passive Business Ideas Offline

Our next passive income business is an interesting mix of online and offline worlds, creating a co-working space with coaching and equipment rental.

I love this one because it’s a little of both worlds, online and offline. That gig economy, we’re talking independent and contract workers, is growing by double-digits a year and is expected to reach 9 million workers by 2020.

Employers love it because of the lower employee costs and freelancers love it for the freedom and potentially higher pay.

But starting as an independent worker and just that daily work can be tough. In school, we’re taught to be a cog in the wheel, a part of a machine and do what we’re told. Out in the gig economy, you have to be the one that organizes and manages and gets things done. Beyond all this, the flipside to that independence is that freelancing can feel like solitary confinement at times.

That’s where co-working spaces come in, shared office space rented out on a daily or up to monthly basis to freelance workers. Now the co-working idea isn’t new but you can make yours unique by adding in new ideas like training videos or equipment rental.

To get started, you’ll need a large, open floor plan with at least 1800 square feet. Get the fastest bandwith internet package offered by your local provider. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 5 megabit per second of download per active user at any one time.

You’ll also need furniture, both individual desks, long communal tables and some more comfortable stuff like bean bags and couches. Increase your revenue sources by having a small coffee shop that can serve beverages, snacks and sandwiches.

Now the budget to get this going can be as much as ten grand so it helps to go in with some partners or investors. Another way to fund it is to get commitments from freelancers ahead of time at a discounted rate. If you pre-sell enough spots or bring on just two or three investors, you can easily start this one off with no money on your part.

How much you charge is going to depend on your city but the U.S. average is around $300 per month in smaller cities with rents as high as a grand in larger metros. The food and beverage sales are generally another $100 each month per member. Monthly operating costs will be a couple thousand but you can see how just having ten or 20 people using your space and you’re clearly several thousand a month.

Once you get a co-working space started, it’s very low management. In fact, a freelancer or blogger could manage it themselves while working their normal workday. Or you hire someone to manage the space and the café workers.

This is definitely closer to the traditional business idea than the other two passive income ideas we’ll talk about but it’s one of the least management intensive I’ve seen. It can be a great second source of income for someone working as an independent worker and passive income if you hire out management.

I want to cover a few tips to setting up your coworking space to avoid some of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen.

First, prohibit members from setting up their own wireless device and network. You get too many networks in a confined space and it’s just going to create interference and slow speeds. Put together a Wi-Fi infrastructure that can handle multiple users and everyone uses that.

Use virtual local area networks for each person to keep everyone on a level playing field for bandwith usage. Otherwise, you can get a few people trying to eat up all the internet speed and it screws everyone else on the network.

You also might consider just wiring up each workstation with cable internet connectivity, or at least each individual workstation. It’s an inexpensive solution and will provide the most reliable connection for your users.

We’re going to see one of those three success tips I’ll be sharing at the end of the video really come into play here. The idea of getting as many income sources out of your business as possible, so getting the rented space, equipment rental and food sales.

I’ll talk more about this in the three success tips after our next passive income business so make sure you catch those.

Starting a Passive Income Affiliate Website

Our third passive income business is going to be to create an affiliate marketing website but with a twist.

Affiliate marketing is partnering with a company to promote their product or service. You get a link to include in articles or social media posts. If someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

Now I do affiliate marketing on my websites and make a good amount of money each month but it’s not quite as passive as you might think. I average just over three grand a month from affiliates but that means creating one or two new articles a month to keep things growing.

affiliate side hustle income

The way you make this more passive income is creating a website more narrowly focused on a product or service. Instead of a blog on personal finance like I’ve got, you create one about debt consolidation or debt counseling. Instead of a blog about making money, you create a site specifically about starting a website.

This narrower focus will make it easier to rank on Google and it’s going to attract a very specific target audience. That focus is also going to be more valuable to affiliate companies with a product or service. That means you’ll get more offers to write guest posts for your website.

Now I’m not talking about the spammy guest posts of 500 words. All the bloggers out there know what I’m talking about. No, here we’re talking about quality articles that give readers value and solve a problem. Writing content is 80% of running a website so if you can get this free as guest posts from others, that’s about as passive as you can expect on your part.

Now I usually recommend bloggers start with a passion project or a hobby for when they’re starting a website. This might not be the case if you’re starting an affiliate comparison site. You might love talking about underwater basket-weaving but there just isn’t much money to be made in it.

Instead, look for some of the most profitable niches that are related to your favorite hobby. You can do this by searching for the most expensive keywords in advertising on Google. So you’ll see things like insurance, loans, mortgage, attorney, credit and even mattresses.

After you’ve got a niche idea for your affiliate business, you’ll go to affiliate networks like Commission Junction and ShareASale to look for companies with programs. These programs pay from $20 into the hundreds of dollars for each commission and signing up takes less than a minute.

how to start an affiliate website

You’ll set up your website and spend a few months writing articles to build your rankings on Google. Within six months, you’ll start getting offers from affiliates to post content and can reach out to have them write articles. You’ll also get offers from other bloggers to write content for your site.

I’ve got a complete step-by-step guide to starting a website here. It will get you started and get your site up to start on the affiliate business idea.

Secrets to Starting a Passive Income Business

That’s our three passive income business ideas. Again, it’s not like any of these are going to set up in a day and start making passive income immediately. That just doesn’t exist. What I want to give you in this video is three legit ideas that take minimal effort and time that can provide a few thousand or more a month once you’ve got them going.

Now I want to share those three success tips that are going to help you get these or any online business started and making money as fast as possible.

First is that you can’t just think about it in terms of your product or service. Spend just as much time understanding the marketing and how you’re going to reach your customers.

As an online entrepreneur for over six years now, I can tell you it usually isn’t your product but how well you get it in front of people. Now I know it sucks that you can’t just create something great. You have to also create that marketing and that funnel system to sell the idea.

This next tip is going to help you make these ideas as passive as possible and that’s to learn quickly what parts of the business you can outsource. This might mean making just part of the business passive like getting that free content for your website or it might mean turning it completely passive like hiring out management for your co-working space.

Get involved in a community of similar business owners to see what they’re hiring out and how they’re making the business passive.

Our third tip and this is one of the most important is to learn how to create multiple income streams from your one business idea. In the co-working idea, this meant food & beverage sales, maybe equipment rental and training courses along with the main space rental. In the virtual summit idea, it might mean sponsorships or affiliates along with those ticket sales.

Creating these multiple income streams is going to help increase and also smooth out your income if any one source falls a little in the month. You’ll build a more reliable source of passive income and will be successful.

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