Over six years ago, after I was laid-off from my full-time job, I promised myself that I wouldn't rely on one stream of income anymore. It felt risky and unsustainable.
To that point, I had been using one salary to barely pay my bills, build up my savings, and plan for retirement. It wasn't enough and it didn't allow me to do anything extra, like travel or afford hobbies I was interested in.
Once I lost that job, I panicked because I didn't have alternative sources of income and there wasn't a lot of cash in my emergency fund to live off. I realized then that I needed to diversify my income so I'd never be in that kind of vulnerable financial position again. I started building up two businesses: Bridesmaid for Hire and my own personal brand, Jen Glantz.
With both of my businesses, I found ways to charge for services that I could provide in real-time, like one-on-one coaching or in-person help at weddings, and for services that I could offer without having to be present or put in active work on a daily basis, like prerecorded courses, books, and affiliate links.
I also decided to branch out beyond my businesses and find some additional financial strategies that could generate passive income, like using a high-yield savings account. It was so important that if something happened to me, or if the landscape of my industry significantly changed, I would be ready. So when the pandemic hit in 2020, even though my wedding business was largely put on hold, I had several other revenue streams to keep me afloat until things reopened.
These four passive income streams help me bring in more than $2,500 a month. Here is my best advice for how to get started.
In 2017, I sat down and made lists of skills, strengths, unique experiences, and accomplishments I had that other people might want to learn. I narrowed down the list to three main specialties based on topics I was excited about and what other people seemed to ask me for help with quite frequently.
To create courses around those topics, I researched other people who were doing similar courses first to see how I could make one that stood out. Then, I mapped out lesson plans, recorded videos from my apartment, and created worksheets to aid with the online learning.
I built landing pages for each of the courses, using platforms like Wix and Wordpress, and used the platform Thinkific to host the course material on a website where people could pay and get instant access to everything inside.
Video by David Fang
Since 2017, I've grown my course offerings and now offer more than 10 workshops on a variety of topics including social media, personal branding, and public speaking. These courses bring in a range of passive income throughout the year, based on launches, promotions, and ads I run, but I typically make over $1,000 a month.
To get started, I would create your own list of skills, determine who your target audience would be based on who you believe would need to learn that skill you're great at, create the course using a website like Thinkific or Teachable, and then share it with your audience.
I've always enjoyed writing and have published two books with major publishers in the past. But after running the numbers, I realized that it would be more financially beneficial for me to self-publish, rather than work with a publisher who would take a percentage of my sales.
In 2019, I published my third book and began selling it on my website as a way of generating passive income.
After a year of writing, I used a free formatting software called Reedsy to export the completed manuscript to Kindle and into a PDF format. I use an automated email service called Flodesk, and when someone buys the book, they receive a downloadable version.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Fully 100% of the purchase goes straight into my bank account. I make a range of passive income from the book every month, but at minimum I will make a few hundred dollars a month.
If you would like to do something similar, in the same vein as creating a course idea, sketch out a story you can't get out of your head, or lay out some skills that you are an expert at. Write the book, format it using free software, and then consider hiring a freelance editor using a website like Upwork.com, which is what I did, and then when you're ready, share it on your website or on social media for people to purchase it.
Over the past six years, as I have been building my businesses and personal brand, I have been able to grow my following and audience. I have amassed over 50,000 followers across my social media platforms and have over 40,000 subscribers across my email platforms. This has allowed me to partner with brands I support to become an affiliate for them.
In my case, every time I post about them or a product of theirs I like, I embed my special code, generated by the brand, so that when my audience clicks on the links and buys something, I get a percentage of that sale. The amount I make from this can vary, but I usually can depend on around $100 every month from this revenue stream.
Video by Courtney Stith
While this route will require time to grow and build your audience using a social media strategy and consistent email newsletter campaigns, it's something that could pay off and allow you to generate passive income from brands that you really love.
Once you have the audience, you can use platforms like Aspire or Collabstr to get connected to brands. These sites allow you to create a profile, share your social media stats, and reach out to brands who are looking for influencers to collaborate with and pay to post about their products.
When I started Bridesmaid for Hire and began building my personal brand, I wanted to create a variety of income streams, including one way I was making money every month that did not rely on how my businesses were doing. One way I could do this was by moving a lot of my cash into a high-yield savings account that generated around 0.5% in interest every month.
My account generates about $50 in passive income each month, although I don't typically withdraw money from the account until the end of the year, once it's had time to grow to more. I then add that cash to my emergency fund, retirement account, or use it to invest in my businesses.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
My best advice is to look at what your current bank offers in terms of interest and research other rates that are being offered elsewhere. Moving your money to a high-yield savings account is a simple way to generate cash every single month just by letting your money sit still in that account.
Even though I've been self-employed for six years now, I'm always trying to find ways to create more income streams, especially passive ones. For example, I recently started investing in dividend stocks. I've found that the most important thing is to stay curious and open to new ways of making money that I might not have considered before.
Jen Glantz is the founder and CEO of the business Bridesmaid for Hire, the voice of the podcast "You're Not Getting Any Younger,″ and the author of the Amazon-bestselling books "All My Friends Are Engaged″ and "Always a Bridesmaid for Hire."
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