Passive income is not a new concept. People have been out there making a side income for awhile now: buying real estate, investing their money, selling old things they own on eBay. For creative entrepreneurs, a lot of these avenues to generate income while you sleep are laughable. With our incomes measured by how many hours we have to work a day, some of these passive income options are just not realistic. 

Luckily for us Creatives, we can make products as well. So naturally, there has been an upsurge in people offering digital goods and living the passive income lifestyle. Many people have started using their non-client hours to build e-courses, blogs, planners and eBooks to take advantage of this booming digital industry. However, there has been a trend developing alongside that has started to divide Creative Entrepreneurs & Solopreneurs into two groups. People who believe in the hustle, and people who believe in the hustle-free.

Why is this a problem? Mostly because of the amount of content surfacing out there that touts the notion that generating passive income is hustle-free.

5 Stages of Hustle you need to set up your Creative Passive Hustle

Before I get too ahead of myself, for those who are just getting started: Passive Income, according to Wikipedia, is income acquired on a regular basis with little effort to maintain it. This includes eBooks, Online courses, Templates, Affiliate income, and a host of other revenue streams that don’t require direct sale contact.

The key part of Wikipedia’s definition is “With little effort to maintain it.”

If you’ve read anything on my site or had a chat with me on twitter, you know that I am firmly entrenched in the “I believe in the Hustle” camp. I believe in making connections, promoting (aka Hustling) your services/products, and asking for the things you want in life. And I also believe 100% in diversifying your income with passive revenue sources. As many as you can, really.

I think that Artists can benefit by making clip art to assist designers on a wholesale level and that Social media experts should absolutely sell eBooks so everyone can benefit from that knowledge. Every type of person out there can get in on the Passive Income Revolution and take charge of their earning power.

But instead of trying to convince you that it is easy peasy pumpkin squeezy, I want you to know the steps you need to take to make your Passive Income dreams a reality.

These are the 5 types of Hustle you can expect when you’re getting ready to set up your Passive income empire.

Step 1: The side hustle

The ‘Side Hustle’ is the work that it takes to build an audience in the first place. And this is the biggest chunk of your climb to success; right after deciding on what you want to do in the first place.

This phase is the time in your life when you are working ‘dollars for hours’ to earn a steady income, either a 9 to 5 or with clients you already have. You have money coming in that pays your bills and hopefully doesn’t leave you mentally exhausted at the end of the day.

So you start a blog, or an Etsy, or something. When you have this side project, you’re devoting all your extra time into getting people to look at it. The timeline varies for everyone, but getting traction usually takes some time, so really focusing on having fun with your side hustle is essential.

Passive income is 100% hustle-free? Not so much. These 5 'hustles' make Passive income possible. Click To Tweet

Here is an example of some milestones you might have for getting ready to sell a digital product

  • Start a blog or Facebook group and share quality content regularly. Have a clear vision for the design of your brand and make sure all your online platforms and content match your goals.
  • Build and release freebies (aka content upgrades) to get lots of people signed up to your email list. Quality content is really important because people will unsubscribe quickly if they receive a substandard promotional product. In example, if you’re offering a workbook, make sure it has lots of additional information and questions that they will refer to again and again in future.
  • Promote your content and free products on other social platforms. Experiment and have fun to find out where your people are online. Interact with them and make lasting impressions on the people you help online. Make sure your branding is reflected on all platforms.
  • Send out a Monthly newsletter. It doesn’t have to be high stress at this point, you can recap your blog posts and point to freebies they might not have yet.

In digital marketing, this is all about attracting attention to your knowledge and ability to help them with their problems. Over time, you should have a nice size email list to help you market your Passive Income products.

If you have already been doing this for a while, make sure you’re maintaining your lists and removing people who aren’t interacting with your brand anymore. Or reach out on an individual level to ask what you could do to improve.

Step 2: The product Hustle

At this point, you have an audience. You have people who read your content regularly, they download your upgrades, and you have a mailing list of 100+ people.

You should look into automating what you can at this point, which we’ll cover in another post later. Automation is key now, because while you are still working your side hustle, now you need to build a content upgrade.

If you are already making money from affiliate marketing or otherwise, consider outsourcing this task by working with a designer to make sure you’re providing the highest quality content for your Passive Income Product.

If you don’t have the funds for it, make sure you spend a lot of time building and testing your product with friends. The more your product delights the people who buy it, the more likely they are to refer their friends to use it as well.

Some milestones you’ll look for in this phase are:

  • Your side hustle is still coming up with new content regularly. But now you’re making sure that all of your content helps people understand that they have a problem that your future product will help them solve. This will attract the right people to you.
  • Your freebies should be a reflection of the type of content you offer. Make sure you’re fully automating the delivery of your content by now.

You’re getting involved more online to make sure that people are engaged with you when your product comes out. Offer tons of value in the form of advice and networking. People will buy from someone they know, or someone who has given them value before.

Step 3: The launch Hustle

So your product is built, you have a following. Yes, good, great!

Now come up with a strategy before flinging your Passive Income product out into the wild.

‘Build it and they will come’ is true if you have hired out an SEO specialist to optimize your website and your leadpage. Sort of.

Take this time to really map out how you’re going to launch your product before sending it out. Talk with others online who have been successful. Listen to your audience to make sure you’re using your marketing channels effectively.

Then launch your landing page and make some money!

Step 4: The Post launch Hustle

Congratulations, my friend. Your product is ready, tested and approved by a bunch of people in your target market. You have a nice sized email list. You have a strategy prepared. You have launched your product.

At this time, you can expect some stuff will go wrong.

It’s not meant to be pessimistic, but just be ready to act quickly to address any issues that come up. And if you don’t have a single thing go wrong, you just earned yourself an extra glass of champagne!

Most of your time during this phase will be in implementing your marketing strategy, getting into networking groups to market your product, answering questions and dealing with the upkeep of delivering your product.

Step 5: The Passive income Hustle

Okay, so that was a lot of work! Now it’s time to make that money in your sleep!

Sort of.

They did mention that ‘very little to maintain.” at the end of the definition of Passive Income, right? Well, you’ll be hustling your Passive Income for as long as it remains available for sale on the internet. So look into handy automation and make sure marketing this baby is in your strategy documentation.

If you don’t have a strategy or documentation, there are lots of classes you can take online to learn this part, or you can outsource this to someone else.

Why is it called passive income at all?

It is a passive income because you don’t have to be physically present for the sale of it, and you are not trading dollars for hours.

That’s it.

It's passive income because you don't have to be there for the sale. Is it Hustle-free? Click To Tweet
However, if you repeat this process enough times, you’ll end up with enough money on the side to pay off your cell phone bill, and then your student loan payment every month, and eventually your rent and any other bills you have. Which leaves you with more time to, well, probably keep building more Passive Income streams.

The process may seem long, but once you have your first launch, you’ll forget the grind that went into getting you there. And it gets easier every time as you start to expand your team so you can focus on the things that are important to you.

Are you guys working on a passive income project or have one already out? Comment below so we can take a look!

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