This case study is designed to show that anyone can take their ideas, hobbies, or expertise and turn it into a passive income stream. I’m going to share with you five average people with five average ideas. The only thing that separates you from them is their persistence and the fact that they figured out a way to properly execute their ideas. Throughout this post I will show you the steps they took to build their businesses and how you can do it too.
Shane and Jocelyn Sams
Started in 2012
Quit their jobs in August 2013
In one month alone in 2014 they generated $140,000 from their two websites
Their story: Shane used to be a teacher and high school football coach and Jocelyn use to be a kinder garden librarian. In 2012 Shane discovered a podcast called The Smart Passive Income Podcast by Pat Flynn. This introduction into the idea of passive income was the catalyst for this couple to start building their own passive income streams. Although having basically zero knowledge about websites and creating digital information products, they set out to at least give it a try.
How they did it:
- Made a website for high school football coaches.
- Made an email opt in of an entire football play book for high school football coaches
- Built his audience and his email list
- Made a digital product of a practice play book that could be used with his free playbook opt in
- Sold his practice book to his email list and made around $7000 the first month from his first digital product
- Made a website for elementary librarians
- Made an email opt in of an entire month worth of lesson plans
- Built her audience and her email list
- Made more lesson plans for her digital product
- Sold her additional lessons plans to her email list
Something to think about: Shane and Jocelyn did something very clever with their online businesses. They took what they were already going to do for their jobs and turn it into digital products. This means that you could potentially take what you’re doing right now for work and turn it into a successful online business.
Website: www.colesclassroom.com which is about wedding photography
Started in 2012
Quit his job in March 2015
In 2014 he made $135,000
His story: After realizing that the corporate life wasn’t for him, Cole somewhat randomly decided to try out wedding photography as a side business. With zero experience in 2008, Cole went out and bought his very first camera and started teaching himself the craft of photography. As his business began to grow, so did his interest in moving this side project online and in 2012 Coles Classroom was born.
How he did it:
- Made a website about wedding photography
- Made an email opt in of 15 camera filter pre-sets
- Spend a year and a half writing content and building his email list
- After publishing a really successful guest post by a friend of his about baby photography, he decided to hire a videographer and made a video course about baby photography
- He then successfully sold his baby photography course to his email list
Something to think about: Cole literally knew nothing about wedding photography when he started his side business. This proves that you can decide to reinvent your life at any moment and turn it into something very successful in a relatively short amount of time.
Website: www.pinchofyum.com which is a food blog about recipes
Started in September 2011
Quit her job in June 2014
In 2014 made $272,218.60
Her story: Purely just because she loves food and cooking Lindsay decided to start a food blog just for fun. She was an elementary school teacher by day and a food blogger by night but when she discovered that her blog had the potential to bring in more money than her job, she quit and turned full-time blogger.
How she did it:
- Made a blog about food and cooking
- Made an email opt in of a free eCook book that includes her 25 top recipes
- Spend three years putting out content and building her email list
- Made an eBook about food photography and sold it to her email list
- Turned her food photography book into an affiliate product which means who ever decides to sell it online will get a commission
Something to think about: Even a hobby that you do purely for fun can turn into a successful business when you put it online.
Website: www.learnscrivenerfast.com which is about teaching people who to use a writing software called Scrivener
Started in August 2012
Quit his job in July 2014
In 2014 made $222,000
His story: Joseph originally started his online journey with a website about helping people optimize their lives. After writing an eBook on the same topic and having it fall short of his financial expectations he became a bit frustrated over what he should do next. At the same time he had recently become a huge fan of a popular writing software called Scrivener. He really enjoyed the software but realized that with himself and many others online there was a pretty steep learning curve that took a long time to get used to.
After doing a quick search online for quality tutorials about Scrivener he realized that there weren’t any and that is when he saw an opportunity. Although Joseph is not a Scrivener expert he did know more than people just getting into it so he decided he would be the person that would become the authority figure for teaching Scrivener. He was determined but with a full-time job and a family he had to figure out a way to make time to record these tutorials. This is when Joseph resorted to recording some of his videos in his car during his lunch break with pillows on the windows to block sounds.
How he did it:
- Took eight months to make a Scrivener tutorial product
- Promoted it on Twitter as well as teamed up with popular influencers within his niche
- Turned his tutorials into an affiliate product so his customers could get a commission for recommending it
- Continued teaming up with influencers and doing webinars to promote his product
Something to think about: Joseph’s first attempt at online business failed, however he didn’t give. He found another opportunity and even though he wasn’t an “expert” he still believed he could help people with Scrivener. He also didn’t let the excuse of “I don’t have time” to get in his way and today Joseph is known as the Scrivener Coach.
John Lee Dumas
Podcast: Entrepreneur on Fire which is a seven-day a week podcast that interviews successful Entrepreneurs
Started in June 2012
Quit his job at the same time he started in June 2012
Launched the EOF podcast in September 2012
In 2014 made $2,165,126.50
How he did it:
- Spent three months trying to learn as much as he could about podcasting
- Through networking at conferences and meeting successful entrepreneurs he began to get guests for his podcast
- After building an audience he then started to attract sponsors to his show
- Once his podcast had become successful and he had monetized it through sponsorship he then saw an opportunity to help others build their own successful podcast
- John then launched Podcasters Paradise which has become incredibly successful and where a majority of his profits come from.
Something to think about: Before John started EOF he had zero idea how to start a podcast, however this did not stop him. He did what he had to do to learn the craft and once his podcast became successful he did what a lot of online entrepreneurs do by starting a second business teaching people what he had just learned through his online journey.
These people who have found success in the online realm are no different from you. They are not what most people would consider “experts” nor do they have bachelor degrees or some other form of higher education. They are just average people who took an idea, a hobby, or the knowledge they already had and turned it into an online business. Anyone can do what these people have done so I hope this inspires you to take a similar path. Let me break down the process for you one more time:
- Take and idea, hobby, or expertise you already have that you feel would be of value to someone and turn it into a website, digital product, or podcast
- Make some high quality free content that you feel people in your niche will want in exchange for their email address or to just to listen too.
- Take time to build your audience and or your email list
- Once you feel like your audience is large enough, create a digital product to sell to your audience or monetize in someway
- Bonus step: Once you have become successful, start a second business teaching people what you have just learned and help them become successful as well
Turning your knowledge and ideas into an online business is honestly one of the easiest, inexpensive, and rewarded things that you can do and I believe EVERYONE should at least give it a try. I’m going to do you a favor and give you a massive head start by giving you, for free, my personal Top 10 Essential Online Resources.
These are the resources I gathered and put into action to build my website and to write my eBook. In my opinion, these are the best and most easily actionable resources on the internet. I hope you enjoy them and they inspire you to create your own project! All you have to do is click the link below and subscribe for our newsletter.
After you’ve gone through these resources, you should be ready to start building your online empire. In that case, you are going to want to check out my post Tools, Resources, and Integration Steps for Building Your Online Business.