5 Ideas for Passive Income for Your Service-Based Business

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Have you ever felt the pull to stop trading your time for money? Or maybe you’ve envied the entrepreneurs who “make money while they sleep”. No matter the situation, we can all agree that we would be pretty happy to get an extra hundred dollars here or there. Incorporating some passive income streams into your business is never a bad idea. That is exactly why we are going to share some of our favorite ideas for passive income that aren’t only sensible, but easy to implement.

When you think of bringing in more money for your business, you are thinking of active income. Active income is the work you’re currently similar to wages, tips, or commission. In business terms, passive income is money you generate from established income streams. Money comes in from projects you’ve completed in the past and enables you to earn income while not actively working to gain it. Sounds pretty great, right!?

If you run a service-based business like us, passive income is a great tool to help you hit those 6 to 7 figure income goals or simply free up your time to work on other projects. This supplemental source of revenue helps when the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship hits it low points. However, it’s important to keep in mind, most passive income streams involve you putting in the initial time and effort to get these income streams up and running. It’s not always easy. To get you started, we’ve compiled some of the best ideas for passive income earned exclusively through your online business.

How Passive Income Can Elevate Your Business

Passive income is more than just extra fun money! The content you create for passive income is an incredible resource for your clients, puts your knowledge to work, and builds credibility within your industry. 

Passive income streams could be access to recorded webinars, templates, or eBooks. People use the products they buy from you to determine how much you know or how well your products solve their problems. Depending on how well you meet their expectations, people use your products to determine whether or not they will purchase from you in the future. Meaning your passive income streams can be that initial lead that secures you a new client. Also called top of the funnel marketing strategies.

Passive income helps you to save your own time and money, too! When you put in the upfront effort most passive income streams require, you free up time later down the road. Yes, passive income sources can be a lot of work. But, the payout will be well worth the labor that goes into it! It’s a little like focusing on your organic marketing strategy.

5 Actionable Passive Income Ideas for Your Service-Based Business

Online Course

Online courses are a tried and true stream of passive income. Most of the time, these are pre-recorded lecture videos you can access at any time. You plan, build, record, then sell these videos when you’ve finished wrapping up the course. Online courses are a great way to share valuable information, build a community, and work with others who have similar goals. 

If you want to see what a great online course looks like, check out our SEO on Tap course to see how we created and published this passive income stream. This course is actually helping us to serve a wider audience. Our customized SEO website audits aren’t cheap. So we decided to offer a lower price course where we teach you all our secrets so you can audit your own site. This helps us serve entrepreneurs at all levels — part of our mission!

Selling Digital Prints, Templates, and Photography 

As an online business, you know your products don’t have to be tangible to be valuable! Think of templates or PDFs that help your customers practice their sales pitch or write the best emails. 

For those artsy online businesses out there, you can sell online or physical prints of your photography on sites like Etsy or Redbubble. Keep in mind that these websites do take a portion of your sales. 

If you decide to go this route, you should know and understand the niche you’re catering towards. For example, we sell a beginners guide to Instagram reels with templates in our shop. We target business owners who are struggling with this new shift to video on Instagram. It’s a mix of templates, video tutorials and educational content. We’ve included all of this because we know what our audience needs. We lead with our audience not what is already out there in terms of competition. You should too.

Write an eBook

Don’t breeze past this next idea for passive income, because even if you don’t think you’re a writer, you might just surprise yourself. So go ahead, skip the publishers and publish it yourself! Writing an eBook is an excellent way to get your name out there, boost your credibility, and share knowledge with prospective customers. As long as the information you include in your eBook is updated and relevant, you can expect to see returns in your time and effort for a long time following initial publication. 

Ebooks are so easy to sell and access, too. You can sell your ebook on your website or through an affiliate bookstore. However, you should know that this income source is probably the one with the most labor involved. You are writing a mini-book after all! 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products or services to your audience. You get a portion of sales from people using a discount code you give them, or you’re paid based on how many people purchase through an affiliate link. You share these discount codes and links with your customers through social media, email, or your website. Affiliate marketing is a great way to help other online business owners and get your name out there in new industries.

A quick word of caution. Don’t use too many affiliate partnerships. Your sincerity with clients and followers might go down if all you post about are brand deals. One of our favorite ways to share our own affiliates is through our marketing resources page on our website. Here we’ve compiled all our favorite tools and made sure to include our affiliate links. Not only is this helpful as an entrepreneur who might be browsing our site looking for tools to grow their business, but it’s also a great passive income idea.

Monetize Your Content 

You made the content, so you deserve the money! If you’ve posted successful YouTube videos or TikToks in the past, you should begin monetizing the content you put on these platforms. You receive income from creator funds, ad revenue, or affiliate links embedded in your content. If you have ideas for videos or posts, turn on monetization when you post them. Creating content is a bit of active and passive income, but you should get paid if your content is accessed and utilized long after publication. 

Bonus: Speaking

This might be one of our favorite ideas for passive income — it’s also one of the most fun. Did you happen to see any content from our time at The Ultimate Product Party last spring? Remember, you are already an expert and there are so many people out there who’d value your expertise. Speaking at a conference, inside a private Facebook group or at a retreat can be a great source of passive income.

You might be wondering how this could be considered passive. A lot of times this content can be recorded and then sold as a low ticket offer to your audience. This content can also be sold exclusively for other entrepreneurs and business owners to use inside their own courses, memberships and facebook groups. A great example of this for us, is inside our copywriter and friend’s course, Site Series.

Passive income is a great resource when you run your own online, service-based business.

It supplements your active income and helps achieve your business goals. Passive income streams for service-based businesses are also relatively easy to implement onto your website. Sometimes you don’t even need to add them to your website. You can sell items on Etsy or directly from the course creation platforms like Thinkific.

So what are you waiting for!? Pick a passive income stream and get started. You’ll never regret adding in a passive income stream as you continue to bring in new clients and grow your business.

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Duo Collective is a boutique marketing agency specializing in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners.