This is you: you have been creating amazing content for your blog for quite a while now: months, maybe even years, but you’re still clueless on how to make that a viable business. You don’t know what to sell, and you aren’t even sure if you want the responsibility of selling anything at all. You’re a content creator. You want to write, make YouTube videos, teach courses, design shirts etc. without the hassle of having to constantly market yourself and hustle for every dollar. You my friend, want to make passive income.
I feel you, because that’s what I wanted to do for a long time. I just didn’t realize that’s what it was called. I had full-time jobs that I loved, but I was also passionate about helping others build their brand so they can make this money. I would work 10-6PM, then arrive home to blog 3 times a week. That had been my life for years when I first started blogging. I was constantly stressed out, because I was giving away so much free (and in my opinion, valuable) content that I felt I should be getting compensated for. It was frustrating for people to sing my praises when I did a free webinar or wrote a blog post, but it was crickets when I tried to charge for that same kind of knowledge. I felt like I didn’t have the time to properly create and market products and services while also working full-time.
Welp. I was wrong. I was simply investing energy in the wrong places. I eventually stopped making excuses about creating my own products, but I found some additional income streams in the meantime. Whether you want to sell courses, digital products, masterclasses, merchandise, produce events, deliver services, or work with brands, there is one thing that you cannot overlook: building your brand. Here's why:
When you make the decision to monetize yourself, you will go through two phases: brand-building and business-building.
Most people skip the branding-building part and jump straight to selling. The internet functions on trust, not on sales pitches and nice Instagram flyers. If generating money online has been a challenge for you, it's probably because you haven't built a platform of people and presence. You should be able to influence behavior and position yourself as a thought leader. Authority is important when you want to sell content. When you build your authority and make yourself valuable, you flip the model. Instead of constantly striving for success and sales, opportunities will start to find you.You already have a a great sales tool on your hands: your website or blog. It's time to use it.
How to make money online with $0 to invest
There are three things that you can sell online to easily turn your blog into a business: products, services, and content. You can sell your own products like a course or a book, or you can offer services to your audience. If you don't feel that you have an expertise to sell or don't want to invest the energy to create a product or service, then you can always sell the latter: content. Selling your content is a way to monetize your social media channels and blog when you don't know what else to monetize. Two options that you have in this scenario are affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. We will dive into each of these below.
Monetize your content with affiliate links
When you’re in the (insert your industry here) game for a while, you probably know a thing or two about the best tools, products and services to use. Whether you’re a fashion blogger, a curly hair girl, a coach, or a service provider, you can monetize the recommendations that you make to your audience and followers. Basically, you get compensated for being the plug.
Don't be afraid to use your influence to promote popular products from all kinds of brands using affiliate marketing on your blog and social media channels. Affiliate marketing is where you share the links to the products that you recommend and when people buy through your link, you get compensated with a commission. Simple!
Think about it. How many products and resources have you put people on to? Whether it's the lipstick you use or restaurants you eat at and post about, you are always making recommendations and acting as a brand ambassador, whether you realize it or not. You can sign up for individual affiliate programs, establish a partnership with a brand, or use programs like Amazon Associates or Commission Junction. Major key: you can use an auto affiliate link plugin to streamline the creation of affiliate links
Another often ignored form of affiliate marketing is network marketing, which is companies joining a company like Mary Kay, Avon, and Herbalife. This is where you become a franchisee of another company's product line and can promote a suite of products that are created and shipped by the company. This is a great option if you want more commission opportunities and want to promote within a certain niche like health, wellness, beauty, or financial services. In network marketing you can make up to 50% of the sales depending on the company. I’m an It Works distributor, because I fell in love with their products, and make about $500 a month sharing the products I use every single day. I share it on my social media accounts and get to glow up and get paid for it.
Work with brands as a micro-influencer
In addition to monetizing your content through affiliate links, you can also get paid directly by brands to promote them to your audience. Every year, brands pay out millions of dollars to be featured on influencers' Instagram pages, blogs and YouTube video. Content and attention is always for sale. This is referred to as sponsored content or brand partnerships, and they come in many forms. These collaborations include a brand paying you for exposure to your audience through sponsored posts on your site, giveaways, brand campaigns and photo shoots, and product placement on your social media pages, or reviews on YouTube. If done well, this can be an extremely lucrative stream of revenue for way less work. Getting paid a few thousand dollars to post about a brand on Instagram or your blog isn’t too bad of a deal if you ask me. However, you need to build an engaged following in order for the brands to find you valuable enough to pay you.
Create products, courses, merchandise
Just in case you are curious about creating your own products and services, here are a few ideas. You probably create a ton of content like blog posts or videos. Why not expand a few that are on the same topic and package them together into a book? Or if you record videos or podcasts, you can create an audio class, or transcribe them and create a guide, or some other form of digital product to sell. These don't require any initial investment upfront, only the work that you put in to create the product, course or service. You can easily create a digital book with an ebook template, self-publish your book on Amazon, or teach courses. If you are a bit more creative and not interested in taking the infopreneur route where people pay your for knowledge and information, you can always create merchandise, without worrying about printing, inventory, or shipping.