Why I'm Starting To Build A Passive Income Business
I love affiliate marketing but I don't want to rely on what I call "drive-by shoppers" to buy the odd thing from my site if they happen by. If my site ever tanks, so does my income.
Many of us here rely on getting good ranking in Google and the organic traffic it generates to give us some income.
However, I know what it's like when you have a successful site, Google changes the rules, and that then kills your site.
As an example, back in 2012 (long berfore I joined WA) I had a site in the photography niche that was earning $100-$150 per month just in Adsense revenue.
I wrote all the content so everything was 100% original. The site had been generating that level of Adsense income for about 4 years!
Then Google introduced the first Penguin update. The idea was to force all the crap and thin sites to the bottom while boosting the valuable sites.
The opposite happened. Online businesses disappeared overnight. It was something of a bloodbath. All the dross floated to the top of Google.
Many sites never recovered and many people went out of business as a result.
Google has never apologised for the consequences of its actions. In fact, it said absolutely nothing.
Several iterations of the Penguin and Panda updates have come and gone since then.
But I don't trust Google now not to screw up my online business. My trust in them died that day.
Because Google has shareholders, the company no longer lives up to its alleged mission statement: "First do no evil".
The company is obliged by law to make their shareholders as much money as possible.
And if that means screwing over webmasters and online businesses again, so be it.
The day they opened up to shareholders is the day that Google sold its soul.
Now WA does a fantastic job in teaching us how to rank our sites in the search engines. Google, of course, is still the mother of all search engines.
But I don't trust Google (did I mention that?). I never will.
List Building And Email Marketing
So I want an income source that's independent of Google. One that will survive should Google ever pull the rug out from under us again.
I don't want my online business to live or die on the whims of one company that controls a large amount of the traffic that goes to my site.
So I started looking seriously at list building and email marketing. In fact, my main WA site is all about those two topics.
A mailing list is a business asset that you fully own and control. If Google crashes tomorrow and search engine results are a mess, or my site plunges in rank, I still have my email list and can make money with it while I figure out what to do if webby things go bad.
If you're not familiar with list building, here's a post I wrote a while back about what it is and why every webmaster should consider building this business asset.
The Passive Income Goal
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I don't want to rely on drive-by sales. Email marketing at least lets me market multiple offers to my subscribers, so I'm more likely to make repeat sales.
While email marketing is still the best way to make a consistent income, it all depends on your relationship with your subscribers, how much they trust you, what you promote and how often and how responsive your subscibers are.
There's a lot of variables there.
The bigger your list, the more even your income will be from it. But it takes time to build up a big list. And it takes work.
I think the goal of affiliate marketers is to make consistent passive income. You do some up-front work and after that, the money continues to roll in automatically.
I looked at a number of opportunities that could potentially provide that desired passive income.
Obviously, Wealthy Affiliate fits the bill and I know some here are making life-changing incomes from promoting it.
However, I've not had any success in getting a single Premium member to sign up, even after offering a big bonus package.
It takes 64 paying members to make $1,500 per month with the $23.50 commission per Premium member referred.
The commissions are too low for me. I'm not complaining that a 50% commission is too low or that the $47/month fee is too low. It's just that I don't see myself recruiting 64 paying members anytime soon (and I've been promoting for over a year).
I did find another opportunity that also fits the criteria. Its basic commission payment is $38.80 per month per referral. There's also potential to earn $118.80 per month if a referral takes up the Enterprise plan.
There are many products to promote, from free books to webinars and courses that will put people - tagged with your affiliate ID - in the sales funnel. And many of these products have sales funnels in their own right, where you can make additional commissions of up to $1,000.
The product also isn't as saturated as Wealthy Affiliate.
These are a couple of the reasons why I chose Clickfunnels as the product to promote to build that passive income stream.
You can read my reasoning, learn more about what its affiliate program offers and the method I've chosen to promote it in this blog post.
It makes sense to have multiple streams of income in case any one of them should go under. You're cushioned against what could otherwise be a massive loss of income.
So I've adopted the 3-pronged approach of...
- a front-end website (following Wealthy Affiliate principles) that makes occasional sales but which also drives traffic to my optin form to build my list. Visitors are also presented with optin forms for sales funnels for a variety of products.
- list building so I can build a relationship with my subscribers and market to them over and over again
- using sales funnels to build a passive income. These also incorporate list building and email marketing, so I'm building additional lists this way (but not so many that they become hard to manage).
Check out the blog post on my site to see if my reasoning for going this route resonates with you.