Many entrepreneurs go into business for themselves because they want to make a living doing what they love and creating the lifestyle they want. But simply being passionate about a business idea isn’t always enough to make it successful or profitable.
The idea behind starting a business doing something you love is that it’s easier to stick with something when you enjoy what you do. It makes the day feel less like work and more like fun, and there’s a better chance that you’ll be invested in it for the long haul.
Still, there’s a huge difference between having fun and making money, and if you want to do what you love full time, you also need to make your business venture worth the time you put into it.
There are two ways to look at this: you can turn your passion into a full-time income OR create a passive income that pays the bills so you can focus on doing more of what you love.
Build Recurring Revenue Streams
The subscription-based business model is booming, and for good reason: it’s the most straightforward way to generate recurring revenue. But more importantly, subscription models highlight the value a customer sees in what you provide. The longer they’re a customer, the stronger your relationship with them becomes. And the longer they’re a customer, the less their cost-of-acquisition ends up costing you in the long term.
If you’re wanting to build your own recurring revenue stream, you can use your expertise and authority to do this in several ways:
- Start a members-only site
- Create physical product subscriptions
- Offer a service plan or retainer for your services
- White label a software-as-a-service
Morning Brew took a slightly different approach to recurring revenue with their free daily newsletter. By focusing on quality content and growing their email subscriber list (they hit 1 million subscribers in 2019), they were able to turn the heads of seed investors and advertisers and earn $200,000 a week in ad revenue alone.
The ads are very native to the newsletter and blend in with the rest of the content, almost like the Morning Brew team are endorsing the products themselves. They cater to higher-end professionals with salaries of $100K or more per year and focus on the Millennial reader. They’ve laser-focused their offerings so that the right messages reach the right people to produce the expected outcome.
Offer Services or Products at Scale
Instead of (or in addition to) offering recurring sales, you can scale your one-time product or service purchases by creating them in digital form. For example, an e-book might take you a few hours or several days to create, depending on its depth, but once you finish it, there’s no limit as to how many times you can sell it. There’s also no inventory for you to keep, and it costs very little in terms of materials and resources. Your biggest investment here will likely be your time.
Another product you can offer at scale is webinars. Leverage your expertise on a certain subject to teach something valuable to other people, either in a live group setting or as an instant-access class that allows the user to learn at their convenience.
Many entrepreneurs will offer an introductory class, e-book, or other content and give it away for free. They use this as an opportunity to show their expertise, build rapport with their audience, and grow their leads and email subscribers so they can nurture those leads and turn them into sales later. After the introductory session, you can present a Master Class that your audience can pay to learn more information or get a more personal or tailored approach to what you have to offer.
Enlist the Help of Affiliate Partners (or Become One Yourself)If you like the idea of creating your own digital products but aren’t confident in your sales and marketing abilities, you can still earn an attractive income. Lean on the help of professional affiliate marketers that can put your product in front of the right audience. You only pay your affiliate when they successfully refer a sale to you, and you can choose how much of a commission you want to pay per sale.
Popular affiliate sites like Share-a-Sale or LeadDyno make it easy to connect with affiliates in your niche. You can list your products on these platforms and reach out to affiliates to encourage them to share your products with their audience. You can also do your own outreach to bloggers, influencers, and websites or blogs in your niche.
Or, you can reverse engineer this strategy and become an affiliate marketer for other people’s products. If you have a blog that gets good traffic, consider signing up to be an affiliate for products, services, or digital content. You’ll earn a commission on each sale you refer, which is automatically tracked by a unique affiliate link so there’s no manual guesswork involved.
One of the most attractive things about each of the above options is earning money on auto-pilot. It takes some effort to get started, but your products, services, or affiliate content can continue generating revenue as long as people are clicking on your links and making purchases.
You can look at the above ideas in one of two ways: either you love creating content and courses around your expertise and selling them for a profit, or you want an easy way to build passive income so you can pursue your real passions. Either way, it’s a step forward into the entrepreneurial lifestyle and can help you break away from your nine-to-five job with confidence.