Passive income is the goal for most people. Or at least it should be.
And most of the time we know what we should do to create a foundation that could earn us passive income in the future. Still, often, we decide to go in a different direction.
Just this once. But we do it again and again.
Building our website we know we should write an article targeting a specific keyword phrase. But we decide to write about another topic that we love instead.
It is only human to make an error.
But do remember that your success – however you define it – is dependent on many small and smart decisions. And those decisions need to be executed.
- The road to passive income
- A plan to stay on track and measure progress
- Creating a plan to map out your path to success
The road to passive income
Truth to be told there is nothing passive about building a foundation to create passive income in the future.
Quite the contrary, it takes a lot of work.
And the progress is slow. At times it feels like a lot of effort and no progress.
And I do mean no visible progress whatsoever.
This also sums up two important points.
1. Nothing bad happens if I do something fun instead
Tomorrow will be the same whether you do everything right today or stray and lose focus.
When we start we give so much and get nothing back. Sure there are the odd success stories that somehow make it from day 1.
But that is the exception to the rule.
And it is easy to stray when we do not experience any immediate punishment or hurt from not writing the difficult article.
Life goes on and when tomorrow comes it looks a bit like yesterday.
And so we continue.
2. Focus on the plan (not the results)
And this is exactly why you need a plan of action. You create a detailed plan of action and stick to it.
And make sure to focus on following the plan. No focus should be on results for the first 6 months.
Of course you can check page speed, pages indexed in search engines., etc. This tells you that you are being noticed.
But there should be no focus on whether you rank or not. Do not worry if you have 1, 10, 100 or more visitors per day. And if you do find that a page ranks, it is most likely a fluke.
And you do not want to build your future success on a fluke.
Instead stick to your plan and execute.
A plan to stay on track and measure progress
First of all, success comes in many forms and is ultimately defined by you.
We set subgoals and goals and work towards completing the necessary tasks.
But what should a plan include and how detailed should it be?
My plans work as sidewalk surrounding the road I travel on. I work towards my goals and as long as I do not hit the sidewalk I carry on.
When I hit the sidewalk – for example failing to hit a weekly goal – I pause and evaluate.
Why did I fail to hit the goal? Was it due to me or was it actually a poorly formulated goal?
If I spend too much time reading about other people’s success stories I need to look at what I do with my days. If I spent 2 days working on my logo – again – I need to think about how I allocate my time and resources.
But it could also be a poorly formulated goal. To get 3 relevant partner websites to link to my articles is not a good goal. I can do all the work but not control the outcome.
The key is that periodic evaluation of how you spend your time is critical. Without a plan you may cruise along and 6 months later find that you have been extremely busy but not working on the things that matter.
Creating a plan to map out your path to success
There is no one plan that fits all.
But the following 6 components are always part of any plan that I make. They all point in the same direction and complement each other.
Some are action points while others serve to remind me of what is important.
1. Act your age. Be polite and introduce yourself.
When you’re first starting out you are the new kid on the block.
And there are authority websites in your niche that have been around for years. They are all offering information, guides and advice just like you.
Why should the search engines and visitors trust you?
They shouldn’t. And they won’t. But you will work on winning them over.
Think about your first 30 articles as a way to introduce yourself.
Is it really wise to start writing review and recommendation type articles from day 1? Before you have established any kind of trust or reputation.
You may be an expert but you have no history, trust or reputation.
Act your age and start with informational and observational posts and articles.
Build an audience and give them a reason to trust you.
There will be plenty of time to create review and recommendation type posts later.
But first you should focus on establishing a position in your niche.
2. Article publishing schedule
Before writing your first post or article you need to do your keyword research and write down a minimum of 30 articles to be published over a specific period of time.
Ideally your publishing schedule maps out your content creation for the next 3 months.
If you are able to work on your website full time you may need more than 30. But also remember that the goal is to create epic content.
Writing ten 2500 word articles is better than one hundred articles of 250 words.
Needless to say we always need to produce content that is useful and delivers a solid user experience.
3. Reach out and make friends
From day 1 you need to divide your time between outreach and content creation.
You will need a minimum of 10 articles before you start reaching out. And while you are writing those 10 articles you spend your outreach time identifying possible future partners.
Partnerships may result in guest posts, quotes with links on other websites as well as cross promotion campaigns.
It takes time to make friends with other websites. After all, they have no reason to trust you either.
Find ways to create value for your partners and focus less on the benefits for yourself from day 1. After all, act your age and you are the new kid on the block.
BOX: One day when you are established you must remember what it was like to start with nothing. Be kind and give other websites a fair shake. Sure, they will also need to deserve it but be kind.
4. Stay with your posts and articles
When you write an article you pour all your knowledge, expertise and research into your work.
And that is great.
But even as an expert you will hopefully continue to grow and learn as you get more established.
And this is why you need to stay with your posts and update your content with what you learn, observe and experience.
Your publishing schedule should include an article revisit column. This is when you go back and look at what you have already written.
To create the possibility of passive income we need to make sure that our content is current, relevant and up to date.
This can of course be an ongoing process. If you update an article earlier than scheduled you simply update the publishing schedule accordingly.
5. Build topical expertise
Stay focused and avoid writing about whatever comes to mind.
You should actively strive toward establishing topical expertise in your niche.
Your website should have as a gola to offer information, observations and reviews covering all angles of your niche.
If it seems impossible you may need to niche down further.
Building topical expertise is an ongoing process and your work will most likely never be done.
Just make sure that you cover all areas of your niche. Slowly but surely your topical expertise will be visible and noticed by visitors and search engines alike.
6. Start building your mailing list
Last but no least, start building your mailing list from day 1.
It may seem silly when you have no visitors but there is no reason to wait.
Setting up your mailing list with for example MailChimp is free (and easy) when you are first starting out.
Your mailing list will play an important part in your marketing mix going forward.
Search engines, Pinterest or other social media channels may decide to delist you one day. You do not own or control your exposure in search engines or social media.
Your mailing list is however your direct connection to your visitors and potential customers. This can not be taken away from you by anyone else than the individual members in your mailing list.
And this is important in your quest to build passive income. It is also why you should start building your mailing list from day 1.