These income streams took my blog to 6-figures. Most of them are passive. I share these in the order in which they were created and the pros and cons of each method.
We are spoiled for choice when it comes to income streams online. In fact, too much choice can actually stop you from taking any action at all.
So what I’m going to do today is to break down my own personal income streams to show you what has actually worked for me.
I am also going to put my income streams in order of when I first created them, so you can see a good order to implement these income sources.
I will discuss the pros and cons of each income source.
13 Income Streams For Bloggers That Got Me To 6 Figures
1. Offering A Service
This is the very first thing I did to get started with online income streams. I learned how to set up websites, set up my own website and I was then asked to set up a website for a friend of a friend.
It didn’t actually take me very long to set up a website and I got paid a good amount of money for my time. Providing a service to someone starts off by making you a lot more money than you can earn passively when you first start your business. So it’s worthwhile to do both active and passive income sources when you are getting started generating extra revenue. Other services I have also offered are meal planning services, coaching, website critiques (I still offer this as I love it so much), and headline writing services.
You are trading your time for money which means you can’t scale up by doing more work yourself as you only have so much time in the day.
However, what you can do to scale up a service-based business and make it successful is to outsource the services to someone else to do. If you spend your time creating a sales funnel of new clients every month, you pay someone else less than you have been paid to do the work.
2. Put Ads On Your Blog
I started to build up the traffic on my blog by working for free, writing helpful blog articles and sharing them everywhere I could. Very quickly my traffic built up to about 30,000 page views a month. At this point, I decided to put other people’s banner adverts on my blog. I made about $30 in my first month which was actually very exciting for me.
My traffic continued to rise very quickly and I moved from Google Adsence to Media.net. At the height of my traffic I was making over $7,000 a month from banner ads and this was my highest revenue source. But this income from ads didn’t last, unfortunately. I then moved to AdThrive. For a while, I had a combination of media.net and Adthrive ads on my website as AdThrive couldn’t beat the RPMs that media.net were giving me. But then media.net dropped down and I replaced all my ads with AdThrive.
My ads revenue dropped to around $1-2,000 a month.
Recently I’ve moved to Mediavine to see if I can get my RPM any higher and I’m making slightly more money.
This income source is completely passive which is fantastic as you set it once, which is easy, especially if you’re with a bigger network, and you forget it and the money just rolls into your bank account. What’s not to love? A few things actually…
Ads can make your website look a bit cheap and spammy. The bigger networks aren’t too bad as they have good quality controls over their ads. But with Google Adsense, you can find yourself with some really random ads appearing on your website.
Ads can slow down your website quite a lot and then are annoying to readers leading to a poorer user experience.
Ads can also be distracting to your viewers if you are trying to sell your own products or freebies, so your conversion rates can be lower.
Most Popular Advertising Networks You Can Join
Here are the most popular advertising networks with my favorites at the top:
- Google Adsense
3. Affiliate Marketing
This is another lovely passive income source which is perfect for those who have a lot of traffic. Affiliate marketing is simply recommending other products on your blog and getting paid a commission from that company.
Being a food blogger, I mainly used Amazon Associates to link to food-related products on Amazon from my blog post. I also tried several products in Clickbank but none of them did that well except Organifi which did do well for me and customers were happy with the products and continued to order, so I continued to get a residual income each month which was pretty amazing. I also happen to love the product myself which is essential if you are recommending other people’s products.
This income stream is completely passive. It’s also very easy to simply drop links in your blog post to products you use and love. You don’t get any of the hassle of having to do market research, set up sales funnels, create and test and product, market a product, test the financials and risk losing money and have to deal with customer services. You just get an automatic transfer of money into your bank account each month. It’s so easy.
You have to have a lot of traffic to realistically make good money from affiliate marketing. I wouldn’t even expect to earn any money from affiliate marketing before I had at least 10,000 visits to my blog every month, and even with that amount of traffic, your affiliate income will be very small. If you get over 100,000 page views to your blog each month, you should be able to make at least $1-2000 from affiliate marketing. This is what I earned from affiliate marketing for many many years without having to do anything new.
You don’t get to control anything. You don’t get to change the product to your liking. The affiliate program might also change the terms so it’s not so favorable anymore, like Amazon did and everyone’s earnings, including mine plummeted.
Affiliate Marketing Programs
Here are all the most popular affiliate marketing programs you could join:
- Amazon Associates
4. Write An Ebook
This was the next revenue stream I implemented on my blog and it generated a lot of money for me. What I did was to look at my most popular blog posts and read the questions that people kept asking me over and over and create a product to solve those problems. People only ever wanted to know how they could lose over 50 pounds in a few months like I did.
So that’s exactly what I helped people to do. I created an ebook which was a 7-day detox using the same recipes I’d used to lose the weight.
My ebook made me thousands in my first month and it continues to sell well for me. I’ve updated it several times to give it a more modern feel and people are still getting fantastic results from it.
After the success of this first ebook, I repeated this process and created many more ebooks including several recipe books and even a homemade beauty products book and many more.
None of my subsequent ebooks have ever sold as well as the first ebook I created, but they help to fill my store with products so I can offer sales on my various products all year long.
After you create a few ebooks, you can bundle these together by creating a bundle of ebooks. People often love these as they get a discount and they pay more than they would for just one book.
Creating a product once and continuing to make so much money from it is a really good feeling and a very good use of your time. It feels amazing to be the author of a book that is helping so many people change their lives for the better.
I estimate that I have made well over $160,000 from this one book which took me about a month to create. You can’t beat this in terms of return on your time investment.
This is a good passive income source that can free up your time to work on other projects and income sources.
Ebooks are very easy to create and don’t cost you any money at all. You don’t have to have any special kind of expertise to write an ebook.
No income source is every truly passive and this is no exception. With the introduction of an ebook into your business, you now have customer services issues to deal with.
Customers won’t receive your email delivering the book, they’ll have problems with their payment source or they might want a refund. All this requires more work answering emails.
I personally pay an assistant to handle customer services for me which frees up my time to do other things. But I do have to pay for this of course, but if you are making the same kind of money that I’ve been making from my ebook, this small expense is a drop in the ocean.
If you struggle with writing, you will find it hard to create an ebook.
Also, you have to have a good idea for an ebook, something that will actually sell or you’ll waste your time creating something that nobody wants. This has happened to me and it’s no fun.
Ideas For Popular Ebooks
- Weight loss
- Personal development
- Make more money
- Create a successful business
- Relationship help
5. Self Publish A Book On Amazon
The next thing I did was take my sale ebooks and turn them into Kindle books and put them on Amazon. This hasn’t been a big earner for me, but then again I don’t promote it as I prefer people to buy my ebooks directly from site as I get to keep all the money.
This can be a fairly passive income stream once it gets going and it’s a good way to get your name out there by helping people find you on Amazon and your book can direct them back to your blog.
You have to be good at marketing your book on Amazon. Amazon isn’t just going to start showing your book on the first page without proof of sales and reviews first.
Amazon also take a commission and have rules about the price you can charge and don’t allow you to add buyers to your email list. They are Amazon’s customers, not yours.
6. Create A Membership Site
Creating a membership site is a great way to earn recurring income month after month. Although my ebook sales were good, I realized that if I offered ongoing monthly meal plans in the form of a membership, I would get paid every single month, not just as a one of sale for one ebook.
So I created my signature weight loss program called The Leaf System as it sneaks a lot of leafy greens into delicious food so you can’t taste the greens. I got a group of testers to go through my program and they got amazing results, so I started offering it on my site in the form of monthly memberships and lifetime offers.
It worked really well and it continues to do well for me.
You make money every month, not just once.
It is a great feeling to build a community of people and support them to change their lives while they support each other.
It is a good upsell to a cheaper product and helps to take your income to the next level.
It is a lot more work than creating a standalone product as you have to continue to work on your membership every single month so existing members are always getting more value for the money they continue to pay.
It can be hard to walk away from if you change your mind.
People can be more hesitant to join a recurring monthly subscription than pay for a one-time product which is why I offer both of these ways to pay for my weight loss program.
7. Network Marketing
This wasn’t something I planned to get involved in but I just happened to fall into it and actually didn’t really know what network marketing was until I discovered the company I joined. A lot of my blogger friends got started with an essential oils company called Young Living at the same time, so overnight literally everyone I knew was raving about how good essential oils were for your health.
At the time I was actually pretty sick with a long time illness and wasn’t up to starting another business. But after mentioning my health problems to a friend, she recommended that I try essential oils, so I did as I was willing to try anything to recover. And I was shocked that it actually a massive difference to my health. I started detoxing and then felt a million times better.
So I’d actually ended up joining and had fantastic results, and I was now well enough to focus on work again, so naturally, I shared my experiences on my blog and with my email list.
People were joining my team in their droves and pretty soon I had a thriving network marketing business which was actually really fun.
After 6 months of starting, I’d made enough sales that I won a place on a cruise as a reward and some other pretty awesome gifts.
I dedicated about 2 years to make that business a success before I decided that I really preferred blogging type work. I learned so much about personal development during that time and how to motivate a team of people. I enjoyed it while I did it but I just burned out of always having chats with team members all the time. I’m a creative person who likes to get stuff done, not sit around having virtual chats all day long chiveing people along. So I dedicated my work back to my blog again.
I made a couple of thousand dollars each month for a good while, and now that I’m not active in the business, I still make around $500 a month for not actively doing any new work on the business which is fantastic. My passive income has lasted for about 4 years now without me doing any work on the business at all.
If you love to network with people, this is the perfect business for you. It is possible to do it online as I did, but you need a big audience to make it work well. Your income can be passive for a very long time. It is possible to make very good money with network marketing, but, like anything you have to have the right attitude to it. I don’t think I had the right personality for it but I still really enjoyed it at the time and am grateful for the income. Most of my friends did very very well with the business and several of them ended up at the level where they were making millions in residual income. They have done fantastically well.
It can be draining for introverts and you can alienate a lot of your friends in real life if you can’t bring yourself to stop talking about your network marketing business. I made that mistake and learned my lesson! It requires a lot of hard work to start with and you have to invest some money in the products every month so you can legitimately promote something you love.
8. Create A Course
This is my most fun product to create. I really love to consume and create courses and I think most people love to watch videos on courses these days. I have only created a couple of small courses as my niche didn’t really lend itself to a course, but I want to create a blogging style course in the future so watch this space!
Courses can make you a lot of money as people are willing to pay a lot more than an ebook. They can actually take less time than an ebook to create, especially if you prefer talking more than you like writing. They can be a great way to help people to understand your material. They are also passive and you create it once and just make needed updates to it in the future.
You have to think more about the tech that you are going to use for your course. This can get expensive so you want to make sure you are definitely going to make money from it. You will need a good microphone and way to record your voice. You may also need to create slides for your presentation and do screen shares if needed.
Must-Have Resources for online course creation
I have experimented with a lot of course equipment so I will share what I’ve loved the most and why
- I love this microphone as it makes everything so crisp and blocks out background noise
- I use Google Slides which are free for my presentations
- I love screen-automatic to record my presentations as videos, because you have the option of having a video of yourself in the corner and it’s easy to edit
- I use Clickfunnels for my weight loss membership because it’s a great place to store information if you don’t have a course. Clickfunels creates some great sales pages and funnels.
- I love Teachable for course creation as it is the best tool for the job and very easy to use.
9. Offer Coaching
I got a lot of experience coaching as part of my network marketing business, and I did a fair amount of business coaching as I really do adore helping people and I often enjoy coaching people for free at mastermind meetups. But I decided that I didn’t want to offer this as an ongoing service, mainly because, even though I love actually coaching people, I don’t like having appointments. If I wake up and I know my day is dotted with appointments, I feel stressed and I feel like I’ve got a job where I am working on other people’s schedule and I don’t want to let them down.
I actually just prefer to have the whole day to create stuff, this is my favorite way to spend my time and I really enjoy the freedom this gives me.
You can charge a lot of money for coaching, but this is still trading time for income, so I prefer more passive types of income, especially when you’ve been in business for a while. If you are someone who loves to listen, talk and really help people, this is a great fit for your personality.
It can take a lot of work to get people to pay for coaching, more than you might think and I don’t find this fun, but you might.
It’s not passive and you always have to be looking for new clients.
10. Design T-Shirts And Apparel With Print On Demand
I set up a store in Shopify, and I suddenly realized there were all these print-on-demand apps that integrated with the store very easily. So I thought I’d try my hand at creating my own products. I produced some designs that I really loved and wear my own t-shirts proudly. But this is a business that never really worked for me. I guess other people didn’t feel the same way and I only made a few sales.
A great passive income stream if you get enough people to visit your store and they like your designs. You can also upload your designs to various other websites which I’ll list below.
People have to like your work and know it’s there. You can’t make much money with this as you have to pay a lot of money to get the item printed, so it’s quite a low sale amount for you so it might not be worth putting your time into this unless you feel confident in your designs.
Where to sell your designs
- Amazon Merch
- Your Own Store
After I set up a Shopify store, I got into drop shipping as a way to diversify my products even more. I sold a variety of health and fitness products, my own digital products, t-shirts, and other accessories.
This worked really well for a couple of years and then my sales just died down and I decided I’d rather focus on my own products rather than selling the exact same products as everyone else.
I had the most success with ‘selling’ a free bundle with an upsell.
I had real fun doing drop shipping but I’ve got no desire to do it again now.
Products that you dropship are very cheap so you can make a good profit doing this.
It is hard to get people to buy products they’ve seen cheaper somewhere else, and you can’t brand or control the quality of the product which affects the quality of your brand. You also have to figure out a way to get people to your store and if you end up paying for Facebook ads, you might struggle to break even, or worse, lose a lot of money.
12. Create Wall Art
Another fun project of mine that didn’t end up being a success…yet! I’ve only just started doing this recently and I would have continued if I got any good sales, I guess I’ve got a long way to go as a designer! When I create a product, if it flops, I generally move on quickly unless I put a lot of time into it. But if it is something time consuming I do a lot more testing first. This was just a fun little project and it didn’t take long to create my bundle of wall art.
It’s a fun project and you get to make money from your art. It is passive.
It can be hard to make a decent income by selling designs.
13. Set Up An Affiliate Program
Once you have your own products, you can ask other people to sell them through an affiliate program. Then you give them a percentage of the sale. This is very lucrative for both parties if you are selling digital products as there are no further costs which have to be deducted, so you can offer 50% or more of the price of the product. I offer a very high percentage in my affiliate product. I don’t get many sellers for me, but once in a while, I get a lot of traffic from someone who is promoting my product which is nice.
A good passive source of income as you are not doing any extra work to get more eyeballs on your product. These are people you wouldn’t have been able to reach and sales you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
It can take a lot of work to build relationships with affiliates or answer their questions and support them.
Now that you’ve got everything you need to start creating your own income streams and work your way to 6 figures, you might be wondering what tools you need to set up an online business?
I have a free gift for you that will give you all the tools that I used to create a six-figure blog.
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