I checked my phone. 

“You’ve made a sale! $10 has been deposited into your account,” the email read.

I ran screaming into my boyfriend’s room, “I MADE A SALE!!!” 

We bought $20 champagne to celebrate my $10 sale. 

Fun times. 

You never forget your first passive income sale. 

Many people want passive income, but few really figure out how to make it work. 

They try things everyone else is trying, launching into a saturated market, and then wonder why they are struggling to make passive income.

Now, before we go on, I want to clarify something about passive income. 

Very very few people make real passive income. (The kind where you literally make money without having to work.)

Most people work VERY hard to set up passive income streams

Yes, they initially trade time for money. But, once these income streams are built, they continue to make money long after the work is finished. 

That is the kind of passive income I personally make, and the kind of passive income is accessible to nearly everyone. 

Below, I am sharing unusual ways I make passive income (things you might not think of!).

For the most part, I worked HARD to build these systems, but now I make money every day (without fail) because of my work. 

Hopefully, you find this helpful!

1. Create a clone of yourself.

Yes, you read that right.

Here’s how to create a clone of yourself to make twice as much income. 

Step One: Decide what you want to clone.

I always recommend starting with whatever you do best.

Do you design graphics really well? Create landing pages? Manage social media? Write? Organize files well? Are you a fantastic assistant?

Ideally, you can also teach it fairly quickly/easily. The list is really endless, but it’s so important to start with something you know really inside and out. 

Step Two: Pick your person you will turn into your clone.

Now, you have a couple of options here.

You can find a qualified expert who already knows what you do, or you can train someone new.

Personally, I meticulously taught a young family member.

They made more money than they would babysitting, and they had the time. It was a total win for both of us, which is exactly what a partnership like this should be.

Step Three: Teach them how to land and complete jobs on Upwork.

Upwork is a freelancing site, and it’s not super hard to use it to land jobs.

I used to use it all the time when I was starting my business (back in the day, it was called ODesk.)

Your new clone is going to go on Upwork and bid on jobs and then complete them. It’s fairly straightforward to get clients on Upwork, in my experience.

If you want to learn more about landing gigs on Upwork, I highly recommend you check out my good friend, Danny.

Upwork is a freelancing site withs TONS of opportunities to make money.
Upwork is a freelancing site withs TONS of opportunities to make money.

Step Four: Have a 1-hour meeting every week to debrief.

Once your clone is up and running, they will be landing you jobs on a regular basis. (They should be doing at least three jobs a week, in my opinion).

While you work on other things, they are going through Upwork, applying for jobs, and completing them. You’re making money without having to do the work.

Bonus tips for additional success: 

  1. Follow your gut when it comes to hiring. Choosing the right person is critical to this working well.
  2. Consider paying your employee on commission. This will incentivize the right person to go after more jobs. 
  3. Create clear metrics for success. Create very clear processes and instructions to help it run as smoothly as possible
  4. Be willing to work closely with this team member for the first 6-8 months to really build good systems, habits & processes.

2. Teach a ton of classes on Skillshare.

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Skillshare is definitely one of those income streams you have to work to make money from, BUT once you do, you get paid every single month.

I once taught a class on Skillshare. It took me about an hour, and it was fun.

Currently, I do not get paid very much from Skillshare, but there’s a reason for that; I only have one little class. I have not poured time into it. 

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But it’s a monthly reminder that if I chose to put more time into this, the amount I get paid monthly would drastically increase. 

If I were to really build up my Skillshare passive income stream, here’s what I would do: 

  1. Study what is currently popular on the platform. What do people want to see? 
  2. Create a TON of those classes. The more, the better 
  3. Continue to assess which classes perform the best.
  4. Make more courses similar to the ones that are working best.

Skillshare solves a huge problem for you; they send you traffic.

Most people don’t have an audience, and so this is a great way to get on a platform that already has traffic.

If you do decide to make passive income on Skillshare, mentally prepare to put a lot of work in at first and then watch the commission roll in.

3. Boost youtube ads to good videos and have an offer in the comment section. 

We just recently got into youtube ads, and it’s crazy simple what we are doing to get passive sales. Honestly, my mind has been blown. This passive income stream builds on stuff we have already created, which is an opportunity for us to work smarter, not harder. 

I know many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to running ads, or they fear they won’t be able to afford it. Youtube ads speak to both of those fears; you can pay as little as a dollar a day, and setting it up takes 10 mins. 

So here’s what we do: 

Step One: We boost ads to our most popular videos (easier than you think).

We put an enticing title and subheadline and click “Publish.” It really is that simple and the views are cheap

Step Two: We make sure to put the link to our most popular $7 kits in the description of those Youtube videos.

These are products we’ve already created, so it’s as simple as editing the video description and popping a link in. 

Simple, right? But we get Youtube sales every single day. 

If you want to know more about the simple process to run ads to Youtube (it took us 10 mins), check out Laurel. She’s the one who showed us how to do this, and all credit goes to her.

4. Investing (much less complicated to get started than you think.)

2020 was the first year I got into investing, and I made $5000 in my first year. I think it’s important that we take this seriously, especially as women and especially as entrepreneurs. If you’re full-time, it’s unlikely that you have a 401k, and so it’s really important to be intentional with this stuff. The sooner you start, the better. 

Here’s what I learned: 

  1. It’s easier than you think. 
  2. There’s so much helpful info out there. 
  3. Start small, ease your way into it.

Follow “personal finance guy” on Instagram. I really found this particular post very helpful. 

Books I recommend: 

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  2. Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

Further resources:

How I Spend $100k/month. It should help you understand how I split up my money in my business. 

Savvy financial people on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnMn36GT_H0X-w5_ckLtlgQ & https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIbslwukNCyVp-XMz_2-gmw

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. This is not financial advice. I am new to this and really have no idea what I’m doing. Invest at your own risk and be smart about it. 

5. Properly set up your credit cards (and use the right ones) 

If you aren’t running the majority of your business expenses through credit cards, that’s something you might consider doing. I made $1070 and change last month just in credit card cashback from my Spark Capital One card. 

I don’t spend any more than I normally would, but I run my normal expenses (ads, payroll, investments, software, etc.) through cards to get great cashback.

Be sure to set it to pay the balance automatically. (This is critical). 

Credit cards I personally use:

  1. American Express Card
  2. The Spark Capital One Card 

Remember, I am not a financial advisor. This is not financial advice. I am new to this and really have no idea what I’m doing. Use credit cards at your own risk and be smart about it. 

6. Take the time to set up affiliate links for the software you are currently using. 

How often does someone ask you what software you use for this or that?

Depending on what you do for a living, people could ask you about software recommendations all the time, whether you’re a coach or a service provider.

Because of my large audience, I get asked daily, multiple times a day. And so, I properly set up my affiliate links. 

Also, consider looking into the programs you love and see if they have an affiliate program.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if you’re already recommending them, you might as well get paid!

For example, did you know that the Get Clients Now program has a 10% affiliate payback?

I have a couple of students who make $1000/month just from my affiliate program! 

Bonus 1: Reverse Passive Income Idea: go through all your subscriptions and cut everything you aren’t currently using.

Seriously. I usually do a clean up every six months.

As you do the work to build up these income streams, don’t forget the flipside: cutting down random, dumb expenses that don’t get you anywhere.

Set aside a weekend to go through your bank statements and cut useless expenses. 

Bonus 2: if you want more ideas for passive income streams, go to Flippa.com. 

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It’s a good reminder there is money to be made all around us.

I would love to leave with you this quote about passive income. Simple and straight to the point: 

“The greater the passive income you can build, the freer you will become.”

— Todd M. Fleming

I hope this was helpful to you!

Remember, the first step is to start. You’ve got this, I’m rooting for you!

Want more income? Grab a copy of my little $7 kit that shows you how to add $3k/month to your income.


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Written by

Maria Wendt

Maria Wendt is a highly sought-after business coach who specializes in helping ambitious female entrepreneurs get clients online.

Published and interviewed in many different places, including Forbes & Business Insider, she mentors her community of 150,000+ business owners, teaching them exactly how to build a profitable online business.