I know this sounds like a scam. In fact, even as I was writing the headline, my bullshit alarm was going off. I may as well have written “Lose 60kgs overnight without doing anything!” Sure buddy, sure.
If you’re sceptical, that’s fine; be sceptical. I’d be sceptical as well if I hadn’t seen it AND done it. But as you’re being sceptical, just put that aside and consider the fact that there are thousands of people all around the world who have all experienced the freedom of making location-independent and time-independent incomes. And the only difference that separates them and you is that even though they were sceptical, they opened their minds long enough to logically assess this information instead of dismissing it without giving it a chance.
So be sceptical, and as you’re being sceptical, consider what you read below and see if this makes logical sense to you.
How to quit your job and travel the world with less than $120 in your bank account
The first time he told me how much money he was making, I nearly choked on my ham sandwich.
“You make what??? You’re backpacking through South America and work less than an hour a fortnight! I work 60 hours a week and every month, you make more than double what I make in a year in 2 huors. How is this possible??!!”
“You don’t need to be strapped to a desk to make $50,000/month. In fact, being strapped to your desk is probably one of the reasons you’re not making $50,000/month.”
It didn’t make sense. How could it make sense? $50,000 per month while backpacking around South America. He had to be selling drugs. HAD to be.
“It’s called passive income dude, and you need to get on it.”
This was the first time I’d heard those words: Passive Income. I didn’t know what they meant or how to make them happen, but anything that was going to let me drop below 60 hours a week and bump my wage up above $25k/year was something I was willing to explore.
What is Passive Income?
“The way it works is like this: At the moment, you’re trading your time for money. You start earning money the second you sit down at your desk, and you stop earning money the second you step away. That’s it. That’s your entire earning model. With that model, the amount of money you can earn is limited by the amount of money someone’s willing to pay you for an hour of your work and the hours you can work in a week. Unless you’re an NBA player or work in a profession that’s required 6 – 10 years of study, your hourly rate is probably going to be south of US$100/hour. And unless you’ve found a way to not need sleep and not burn yourself out working 80+ billable hours a week, your monthly wage is probably never going to exceed $25,000/month.
“But what if you didn’t trade your time for money? What if you traded information for money? What if, instead of getting paid money for the hours you spend sitting at a desk, you were paid money for every piece of information you collected or distributed? And what if that information was collected and distributed through an automated website that never went offline and operated regardless of whether or not you got out of bed? If you made money like that, your earning capacity would be limited by how much information you could capture and how much people were willing to pay for it. With over 3,000,000,000 (that’s billion) people using the internet every year and people willing to pay thousands for some pieces of information, your earning capacity is virtually unlimited.
“This is passive income: income that you generate without actively being tied to your desk. It’s money that comes in while you’re sleeping, eating, surfing, or laughing, regardless of whether you’ve actively working at that point in time.
It was so obvious, so simple, and so profoundly different from any earning model I’d been raised to believe was possible. Growing up in a lower socio-economic household where we counted every dollar and were taught to work hard, it felt wrong in some way. I couldn’t say just how, but it just felt off. But also sounded great.
And it was about to get better.
“And here’s the crazy part: because your passive income streams are automated, as soon as you set one up, you can let it make you cash in the background and spend your time creating another one. And another one. And another one. You can create a virtually unlimited amount of passive income streams across a virtually unlimited number of niches and even if they only make you a few hundred dollars a month, when you add them all together, $50,000/month becomes more than possible.”
Now he had my attention. It still felt wrong — like cheating — but I wanted to know more and I wanted to start.
My first big step into creating passive income
The idea of passive income was enough for me to start dabbling. I wrote an eBook and automated my coaching programmes, but neither of these were truly passive income streams. For either of these to sell, I needed to design, create, and deliver the marketing funnels necessary to make them sell. They were better than only being paid for the time I was strapped to my desk chair, but they still weren’t in the $50k/month range.
But that all changed in February 2013 when I landed in Colombia and met up with a friend of mine.
“How are your websites going? Last time we spoke you were making great money and not working very much.” I asked offhand.
“I stopped working on them. Things got too tough — I got slapped around by search engine updates, lost all my traffic and sites, and I gave up on them.”
“What?? Tell me what they are. I’ll work on them I’ll find a way. If you’re not working on them, at least let me make money from them.”
“Look, I could tell you what they were, but it wouldn’t do you much good. Knowing the niche and knowing how to make money from it are two TOTALLY different things. I’ll tell you what, seeing as you know very little about this, I’ll take you on as a minority partner and teach you everything. You’ll do most of the work, and only get a small cut of the money, but you’ll learn something that you’d normally have to pay thousands for, and you’d still get a substandard education. But, and let me be clear about this, this is going to be intense. There’s a lot of money on the line here, and we need to move fast if we’re going to capitalise on it. You keen?”
“Well, I’d really nee… Done.”
And so it began. Instead of exploring the luscious green countryside surrounding Medellin, I was (I hate to say this) stuck in an office chair in my small apartment hammering away at a keyboard for three months getting a hyper-intensive crash course in passive income generation.
Project No.1: Black Hat SEO Affiliate Marketing
This particular project started out as what’s called an affiliate marketing project.
The way affiliate marketing works is simple: you advertise people’s products (typically on a website, but it can be through an email list or straight up through advertising) and if someone clicks on a link and purchases a product you recommended, you get a commission.
For example: There are a number of books I recommend on this site, including The Millionaire Fastlane, The 4 Hour Work Week, and eMyth. I recommend that you purchase them from Amazon, and if you click through my link and make a purchase, I get paid a commission; typically around 7%.
It’s a great model for both the product seller and the advertiser. The product seller only has to pay for advertising when they sell a product and the advertiser typically gets a much higher commission than they’d receive for just advertising a product.
Affiliate marketing is, I believe, the best way to start a new business. So much so that I wrote an entire article based on the model which you can read here.
So this was the project we started. We spent $48 on website hosting and another $59 on a professional looking website template, and voila, the foundations of our business and passive income stream were established. Once we filled it with high-level articles and great content and started Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) work, we were really moving. It took us a little while to test what was working and what was necessary, but once we nailed it, we built another website targeting a different part of the same niche. Then another site. Then another site.
When we were sure we were doing the right thing and the project was going to make money, we had two choices:
- Continue to do the work ourselves and slowly grow the business
- Inject cash, hire staff, and scale quickly
We opted for strategy #2.
As the project grew and money started coming in, we got more aggressive. We hired more staff and built more sites and started targeting more parts of the same niche. Typically, it wouldn’t be necessary to hire this many staff, but our particular approach made it very necessary. We were doing what’s called ‘Black Hat SEO’. This means we were doing our SEO work in a way that the search engines didn’t approve of and it resulted in our sites being regularly penalised out of the search engine results. This opportunity was time limited and we knew it wouldn’t be around for more than 2 years so we got in fast, hit it hard, and didn’t really worry about the long-term implications of our actions.
Things moved pretty quickly.
We started with just myself and my mentor in a room in Colombia, but we quickly expanded. We hired staff from all over the world and even though we were burning through $6k or $7k per month (this is what happens when you want to scale quickly), we were breaking even in 3 months.
In June, we went from being an affiliate to being the product provider ourselves. We created our own products, our own ecommerce site, our own support staff, and our own logistics. And just two months later, we had a team of 14 staff is 7 countries and were collecting over $80,000 in revenue per month.
That’s what I mean when I said things moved quickly. We didn’t need to hire all these staff members and spend all this money, but we knew the opportunity was time-limited and we knew we had to act quickly.
The best thing about this $80,000 / month revenue was that it was truly passive.
- If I was surfing, we still would have made this money
- If I was eating, we still would have made this money
- If I was travelling, we still would have made this money
Our team was trained and skilled and empowered to make the decisions they needed to make to drive the business forward.I still remember the first time I woke up in the morning and there was $2,000 more in sales than when I went to be that night. It was truly mind-altering. This isn’t to say we didn’t work hard. I was still up at 6:30am to work on sites and manage the team because I was so excited to see just how far we could push this. I didn’t need to be up then and we could have made great money by eating well, having fun, and watching TV, but I didn’t want to.
The next 12 months were a roller-coaster. Multiple search engine algorithm updates played havoc with our traffic and we bounced from $80,000/month to $30,000/month to $120,000/month and everything in between. It wasn’t long before search engine updates had completely wiped all our websites out of the search engine results and we were back to square one; no websites, no traffic, and no sales.
Not all was lost
Despite the fact that the project crashed and we lost all our assets, not all was lost, I learnt some incredibly valuable lessons (as well as making some great money) that I would never have learnt without the experience.
Lesson 1: There’s HEAPS of money available
The first lesson that really sunk in throughout these 18 months was that there is FAR more money to be made on the internet than I could have ever believed. I mean, I’d heard of people making $xx,xxx or even $xxx,xxx per month, but I never believed I could do it. This showed me otherwise.
Whilst I was only a minority partner in this project and only took a small cut of the profits, there were still 1 or 2 months I made more money than I made in the previous year.
Lesson 2: Trading time for money is a limiting life choice
The second was that there’s a FAR better way to make money than tying yourself to a desk and trading your time for money. Whilst it’s a steady, stable, and reliable way to put cash in your bank account; the huge quantities of money available from trading information and products for money makes the instability more than worth it.
Like I said, when you make more in a month than you used to make in a year, you can handle the instability.
Lesson 3: You have to commit
The third is that if you’re going to make it big in this business, you have to commit. You can’t spread yourself between 4 or 5 different projects and hope that one just takes off. If you’re not putting 100% into a project then there’s a good chance it won’t get enough of your time or resources to take off, so you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot before you.
We could have expanded and explored other avenues, but we doubled-down and pushed our sites to the top. It’s better to be #1 in one niche than #10 in 3 niches.
Lesson 4: I had what I needed
The fourth lesson was that I had the ability to do this. I’d proven to myself that I could not only find a niche and make money from it, but I could build and scale the teams necessary to run the businesses. I wasn’t lacking information or tools or insights; I had everything I needed and I could do it again when necessary.
Lesson 5: I personally prefer more stability
The final big lesson I learnt was that whilst the world of Black Hat SEO is exciting and challenging and fun, I prefer slower and more stable ways of making money. Some people don’t. Some people prefer the highs and lows of living on the edge, but not me. I like regular, stable, and predictable income that can still be achieved through trading information for money, just with more stable ways of generating traffic.
Project No.2: White Hat SEO Affiliate Marketing
As Project No.1 was winding down, a friend of mine reached out about a new affiliate marketing project he was starting. He knew the niche and knew how we could drive traffic through SEO, but didn’t have the operational experience necessary to build the team he needed to take this to the big leagues.
We talked about the details, decided on the specifics, and decided to hit it.
While this was still an affiliate marketing project, it was VERY different to the last one.
- Instead of building multiple sites in multiple parts of the niche, we focussed on building one giant authority website
- Instead of taking risks with black hat SEO, we took the safe and dependable option of white hat SEO (SEO practices that are more acceptable to the search engines)
- Instead of producing lots of low-quality content, we produced limited amounts of very high-quality content
- Instead of hiring non-native English speakers in developing countries for $4/hour, we hired native English speaking team and paid them far more
This was the safe and dependable version of trading information for money that I was looking for.
The project’s been through some ups and downs (including 3 situations where we nearly closed it down), but 18 months later, it’s still powering along. We just had our biggest month ever and our biggest week ever and we’re on track to somewhere between $700,000 and $1,000,000 in commissions this year.
Some of the big lessons I’ve learnt through this project are:
Lesson 1: You need to set expectations
The main reason we nearly closed this project down 3 times in the first 4 1/2 months was that we didn’t clearly set expectations before we started the project. I expected one thing and my business partner expected another, and when neither of us got what we expected, we were both not happy, on multiple occasions.
This could all have been avoided by being very clear and open about what we expected so that no-one was left disappointed.
Lesson 2: Paying for good staff is your best investment
If you can afford it, pay for good staff. Instead of costing you money, they’ll actually make you money. Whilst this isn’t always the case, the more you pay, the greater ROI you get. You can find staff who can think for themselves, problem solve when you’re not around, and even innovate and improve systems to both save you money and make you more money.
Lesson 3: Your team is your most important asset
The money you make is a direct result of the actions taken. The actions taken are taken by your team. This means that your team members are the one who’re directly responsible for the money you make.
If you want to make a lot of money, spend a lot of time hiring the right people, training them well, and looking after them. They’re the ones who’re putting cash in your pocket.
Project No. 3: White Hat SEO Lead Generation
You know how I said that it’s important to focus on one thing and commit to see it through? Yeah, well I don’t always do that. Most of the time, not all the time. And this is one of those time.
In November last year, a friend of mine asked me to teach him how to build and run online businesses. He’d never done it before but wanted to learn, so I set up a similar arrangement as I had with my mentor in Project No. 1. I would teach him everything he needed to know and would oversee the project and he would take care of the majority of the day to day responsibilities.
This was a great opportunity because there was a niche I’d been dying to get into but needed someone with a strong marketing background to drive the day-to-day operations. It worked for both of us.
This project is a little different to the last two projects. This isn’t an affiliate marketing project; this is a lead generation project.
Lead generation is different to affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, your goal is to get someone to your site and then get them clicking through to another site and buying as fast as possible. You want them in and then you want them out. With a lead generation, you want someone to land on your site and request more information or support through submitting their details. You then make money by passing that information on to people who can provide that support or information.
This project has faced a few road bumps on the way, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. We now rank in the Google search results for over 50 keywords and if we keep moving in the right direction, we should be breaking even within 2 months.
This isn’t the only way to do it
Whilst I’ve had great success with SEO driving traffic to affiliate marketing and lead generation websites, there are plenty of other ways to do it.
- You could rank Youtube videos and sell advertising on those. Or even use those to drive traffic to affiliate or lead-gen sites.
- You target high-volume search terms and sell banner advertising to advertisers
- You could run display ads on other sites and send your traffic directly to affiliate offers
- You could create a product and sign up affiliates to promote your work
- You could drive traffic to your site that sells advertorial space through social media sites
There are literally limitless options available. One guy even runs 10 bricks-and-mortar businesses whilst living with his family on a yacht. Driving traffic to affiliate marketing websites through SEO is obviously a profitable way to spend your time, but there are people making lots of money every which way imaginable.
You’re only limited by your imagination and creativity.
Are you ready to change your life?
If you’re ready to take control of your life, quit your job, and travel the world, I can help you do that. I’ve done it myself and can show you how to do the same thing. It just takes 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Identify a profitable niche
Step 2: Spend $120 (or less) building a professional-level website
Step 3: Write journalist-level content to fill your site with
Step 4: Drive traffic to your website
Step 5: Profit 🙂
Sure, there’s a lot to learn and it’s going to take time and patience, but if I can go from lost and confused to running 4 companies and 22 staff from my small country town on the Australian east coast, then you can do it to.
Now, as you read this, you might be thinking “But I don’t know how to do any of that!” That’s why I’m here. I’m in the process of putting together guides on how to do every one of these steps. As I complete them, I’ll add them below. Here’s more than enough to get you started:
FREE Guide: How to find 100 hyper-profitable niches, every day
FREE Course: How to build a professional-level website for less than $120
Course: How to write professional articles that will make journalists jealous
Course: 7 profitable ways to drive traffic to a new website
Course: 11 ways to monetise even the most obscure niche and traffic
So if you’re ready to quit your job, make incredible money, travel the world, and meet inspiring people, don’t delay. Start building your online passive income streams today and build the life you want.