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5 Passive Income Ideas For Service-Based Business Owners

Apr 03, 2021


Today, we are talking legitimate passive income ideas specifically for service-based business owners and solopreneurs.

So, if that’s you and you are looking at creating passive income in your business, this is the blog post for you. 

Or if you prefer, you can watch the full video below over on YouTube.


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Truth be told, affiliate marketing is by far one of the easiest ways for you to start creating passive income in your business, because as a business owner, it does not require as much upfront energy to create and promote.

So, say, for you as a business owner, that you are already using a current product or service in your business that you absolutely love, well then, there is an opportunity there if you are already recommending that product or service to people to get a kickback from doing just that.

And one of the questions I get asked most when it comes to affiliate marketing is:

"Joanne, how do I get started with these different affiliate offers and programs?"

Well, I've got a couple of different options for you:

1. First, you can join various affiliate marketplaces, such as CJ Affiliate, Rakuten, or ShareAsale. These marketplaces have thousands and thousands of products where you can go in and search for various products you might align with and already use in your own business. You can apply to the program and see if you are accepted, then start promoting and sharing your different affiliate links for that product. 

2. If you don't see a product that you use and love on any of these marketplaces, there is an option to head directly to the business' website and see if they offer an affiliate program. If you don't see anything there, you might be able to simply Google "[insert business name] affiliate program." That's one of the easiest ways to find if a company has an affiliate or partner program.

3. But on the other hand, say you are sending a specific company or brand a lot of business and they don't offer an affiliate partnership right now, you could always reach out to them directly and ask how you could potentially partner since you are already sending a lot of people their way especially if you have a sizable audience to work with! This mutual relationship would benefit you both directly.

A great example of this is in my own business, I started using the online business management platform Kajabi (where you are currently reading this post) and have been doing so for two years. So, when I found out they had a partner program, I was ecstatic, because I was already talking about Kajabi and sending people their way.

Now, each month I make a few hundred extra dollars from Kajabi simply by talking about it and recommending it, like I would've been already. Pretty cool, right?

By chance, if you want to start your own online business today by using Kajabi, click here to test it out for 14-days free

So, like I said, aligning with various affiliate products is a great way to start creating passive income in your business and diversifying your income with a new income stream that doesn't take a ton of effort!

One disclaimer I do want to mention that is super important when it comes to affiliate marketing is to have ethics. There are a lot of affiliate marketers out there that sign up for a ton of offers, spam platforms with their links, and generally ignore all of the rule-of-thumb affiliate marketing rules. But, what happens when you do this is you end up alienating your audience, spamming platforms, potentially getting blocked, and no making any money, which defeats the purpose of what your initial intentions were.

My suggestion?

Select four to six commission based affiliate offers that you truly align with and can wholeheartedly recommend to your business that will allow you to make a decent amount of monthly income while still helping and serving your audience.


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The second way you can start to create passive income in your service-based business that I absolutely love and I think a lot of business owners overlook is by creating and selling digital products! 

Digital products are generally minimal energy and time investment to create and likely are low-cost offers that you can easily develop to help solve customer or client painpoints or address issues they might be struggling with.

In other words, these are low-cost, no-brainer offers for people to invest in that don't take you a ton of time to develop and start to sell.

These are things like templates, printables, eBooks, workbooks, guides, swipefiles, excel spreadsheets, digital systems, etc. 

It's likely as you are reading this you can think of some simply digital products you could create right now to start making more money in your business today.

To give you an easy example of what this looks like, I have a boudoir photographer client, and when we were developing her value ladder, we were trying to determine what might be some great low-cost, digital products she could create for her audience.

As she has a lot of fellow budding and aspiring boudoir photographers that follow her, we came up with the idea to offer posing guides that people could buy to help them pose their clients in a variety of ways.

So, now, my client has come up with three separate posing guides she can sell (and at $75 a pop!) or as a bundle that she can develop fast and without any maintenance in the long run to help her make a significant addition in income this year! 

That's just one example of taking her own expertise and monetizing in a different way to increase her overall business revenue.

In the event that you aren't a graphic designer or you don't know how you can start to create digital products, Canva is a great resource on getting started or designing your own products. Or you can look for freelancers on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Etsy to help you also. For a bigger investment, you can work one-on-one with a graphic designer that you know, who could help you design high-quality, branded digital products for your business.

So, no matter where you are today in business, digital products can truly help you create a more sustainable business and make more money in the long run! 




The third passive income idea that I have for service-based business owners is that of digital education.

I know, I know it seems like everyone has an online course, but I'm not just specifically talking about full, comprehensive online courses, but rather all types of digital education.

This could include low-cost things like virtual trainings, evergreen workshops, mini-courses, tutorials, etc.

To be quite honest, launching a successful, higher-ticket online course takes a lot of time, energy, planning, and marketing in order for them to be successful, so it's definitely not the place where I recommend business owners start. Also, an online course is generally the top of your value ladder meaning people need a longer nurturing period before they are ready to invest in a more expensive program like a full-blown online course.

I always recommend to people to start with a lower-ticket mini-course this way you can test out your material, refine your offer, understand student pain points, and then take of that information to make a very enticing, highly-profitable, and more expensive online course.

When I am coaching people with their passive income strategy, we do not start with the high-ticket item in part of their value ladder because a course launch generally has a 2% conversion rate, so if you don't have a sizeable enough audience to get people to convert, then you've spent three to six months developing an online course that will fall flat. And that's a really sucky place to be!

Plus, giving people a lower cost mini-course or training as a no-brainer investment is a great way to show people the quality and value of your paid products. Plus, it's twice as likely when you do launch a more expensive offer, they will be willing to invest, because they've already bought into your paid products and know the benefit of what you have to offer.

A major course is not where I would start with your product ecosystem or value ladder, I would recommend starting with a mini-course or various mini-trainings you could offer and test out with your audience to see what people like, what they resonate with, and what's most helpful while working towards building a larger course later on.


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The fourth recommendation I have for creating passive income in your service-based business is through Membership or Paywall content. Or you might've heard it called Gated content, too. 

These are a fantastic way to create passive income in your business, because even though they do require upfront energy, in the long-term, once you've established your content base within the membership and determine what the new offerings will be, it's something that doesn't necessarily take a ton of maintenance overtime all the while you can continue to get new sign ups regularly. 

You can launch a membership site once you have a sizable established audience who looks to you as an expert in your industry and wants further access to your content, trainings, Q&As, and the like.

Memberships are great for content creators / people who want to build a community.

You can also offer your premium content at different tiers to get people in at different pricepoints, provide upsells, and downsells to make more money and capture more sales.

One important thing to know about membership sites is that is is much easier to make decent money and create passive income when you have an established audience. Launching a $39 membership when you have an audience of 500 people just doesn't work, because the conversion rate isn't there.

Conversely, if you have a $99 membership and only 10 people sign up, it is much more cost effective, because you are able to sustain developing, growing, and continuing to sell the membership.

So, think about that scenario before you decide to open a membership site.



The last way I recommend service-based business owners can create passive income in their business is by leveraging Google Adsense or YouTube Ads.

Obviously, this option is not for every business owner, but I wanted to include it here, because I think it's important to know.

If you are a content creator or educator, using ads is a great way to monetize the work you are already doing especially if you have a blog or YouTube Channel.

If you are a blogger, you are able to link up Google Adsense to your blog where you'll be able to get paid through putting ads in your posts, through cost-per-click, and also through affiliate marketing by aligning with affiliate products you want to promote in a specific post.

Conversely, if you are a video content creator and you want to use YouTube, once you hit those monetization thresholds that YouTube requires in order to become monetized, you can then insert ads into your videos that will make you money in the long run.

Not to mention, you can monetize those specific marketing channels in many other ways, too, including sponsorships, paid collaborations, affiliate marketing, sell your digital products and programs, get coaching clients, etc.

My favorite part about this option is that blog posts and YouTube videos can make you money for months and years to come especially if they are popular pieces of content and about topics that people are interested in.

Meaning, you continue to serve and help people through the content you create and it helps you make more money in the long run. 

So, guys, those are five passive income ideas I have for service-based business owners. Don't forget you can also get a free copy of my Passive Income Quickstart Guide, which walks you through the exact steps you can use to start creating passive income channels just like this in your business!

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