The Side Hustle (Passive Income) - Part 1

Let's talk about making some extra dough. Everyone wants to do it and everyone loves a quick easy buck.

Well, this isn't it. If that's what you're looking for I'm not sure how to direct to something that isn't scammy. BUT If you're looking for something that has potential for long term growth and passive income then stick around and maybe this will help you in your journey.

Where to start?

That seems to be the big question these days. What should I do? Should I have a YouTube channel? An Instagram? A twitter? Facebook? Blog? The answer should eventually be "Yes". But to start, pick the one you feel you can manage the easiest and the one you can fill with the most content. Have an idea for a YouTube Channel? Then make a channel; you don't need to have a nice $1000 camera or setup to make videos. You can do all of that on the cheap with what you have to at least get yourself started. Want to talk about your experiences in life and share the lessons you've learned along the way? Maybe a blog is the way to go. Want to share your passion for pictures and DIY? Take a look at creating a Pintrest account and Instagram to tie into a website that focuses on your creativity. 

Pick some where to start. Sometimes it's honestly easier to just pick a point to start at and refine your processes as you go.

That what we've been doing and it's helped us reign in our sprawling scope and give us a sense of direction along the way too. Starting off somewhere is always going to be better than never starting at all. 

So, for the sake of this blog let's explore the idea of starting a blog. To learn about starting a YouTube Channel, Pintrest (business) Account, Business Facebook, Instagram, or StumbleUpon Account, check out our other blogs (in the near future).

A blog to starting a blog. That's where we start. 

There are two approaches to doing this.  You can sink in some capital ($$) up front, or you can wait it out and try to build up your popularity before making the jump. To get started with a blog you'll need a site and a domain name. The site you can get for free, domain names typically cost under $10 a year, and if you can't afford that then you can always leave it on a basic site for free too. 

Before we get too far into building a site and deciding which platform is best for you; you need to know what you're going to write about and how you're going to capitalize on that. Don't know what that is? Think about what you're good at, think about everything in your life you've experienced, can your life story help someone else? If you're sitting here shaking your head side to side, do you have any life stories that would be entertaining to listen to or read about? Anything can be worth writing about. You just have to start with something. 

When I was 19, I started my first business building custom computers, it was a slow business and it didn't go very far because I got in at the wrong time. Laptops were all the rage and smart phones were starting to gain popularity. People didn't want a huge computer sitting around. When I realized this, I changed my business approach to repairing smart phone screens. Business was so good I had to turn people away and recommend my competition because I couldn't keep up with the demand. When I could no longer work on the phones due to complexity and physical constraints, I changed my business plan again and oriented myself more into the consulting/repairing side of IT. My point with all this is that businesses are meant to be dynamic, not static. You can't just build one thing and expect it to always work, so you build it with the knowledge that it might work for now and you'll adapt as you go or it might not work at all and you'll 180 where you want the site to go to redirect your target audience. All of these options are okay and it's not a sign of failure if you do go down any of these paths, it's a sign of future-proofing.

Do you have an idea as to what to write about? Still nothing? Email me and let's talk about it. I'd be happy to try and help you get you started. For now, let's say you do have your talking point(s) figured out. Start by testing your depth of material. Write a couple blogs in Microsoft Word or Google Doc. This will allow you to start working on a common theme to your writing and get at least a handful of blogs completed before jumping into site creation. Through research and testing this out ourselves, the best blogs are around 2000 words and have some pictures to add some color to the story. These don't even have to be your photos if you have access to stock photography. And as long as the blogs don't average out under 1000 words per blog you should be fine to at least get yourself started.

Once you've found your commonality between your blogs you want to work on your site name. This sounds like a no-brainer next step but it's crucial to pick the right name for you and your goals since changing a name is harder than changing a blog or two later on down the road.

Remember these simple tips when coming up with a name:

Is the name available as a domain and for social media use?

You can do a check the domain name here --> 

Does the name contain words that are common to Google searches?

Is your name easy to pronounce and remember?

Does the name have relevance to what you're talking about?

Your name doesn't have to fit all these questions perfectly, but it should at least be taken into consideration.

Got a name? Check. Got about 5 blogs written? Check. Next step? Making a simple site.

You can do this part several different ways. Most people starting a blogging site start with WordPress, it's free and easy to use. The only bad thing about WordPress, as you grow more, so does the complexity of the site. There's a lot that you can customize if you want and/or know how to, but for a simple site it works great. Another fine option? Wix.com, slightly higher price tag than WordPress, but still won't break the bank. The simplicity remains fairly constant no matter how big your site gets, and it can be customized to do a lot as well. My only complaint is the template designs don't seem to be quite up to snuff in the looks and speed department compared to Squarespace. Which is my personal choice for website building. Yes, it's the more expensive route, not as cheap as WordPress, but way less than a custom website builder (which I have also done). Our site is built on Squarespace and no, they're not a sponsor. We just love the templates, the speed, the simplicity, and how easily it scales up. 

Let's say you're starting the free route and making a WordPress Site. To start you'll want to pick website out of the four options they have listed. Blog might sound like a tempting, but ideally, you're trying to create a brand through your blogs. You want people to follow and come back to your brand so they'll read your blogs, but ultimately, it's your choice. Continuing on with the idea of the website; once your new site is accessible, you'll want to create your categories. This is how your site will be organized and how people will ultimately navigate through your site. This can be done under the settings tab then the writing tab. Add the categories you want your blogs to be under (like the pages they'll appear under). Next, we'll want to customize the menu showing on the top (or side) of your site. You'll click on the "customize" button next to the theme tab on the side bar. From there click the "Menus" tab, now you'll see your menu location and the menus you have already created. You'll want to either add a new one or modify an existing one to include your categories as well as your other basic pages that should have come with the site: Contact us page, About us page, etc... Apply the "new" menu to your most visible menu location and voila! You can now see and click on your categories to direct to blogs organized under those categories. There are other ways to organize a site, but after trying multiple other methods and redoing several sites (including this one) Sierra and I both agree this is the best way. I'd be glad to go over other ways if you all have different opinions on the matter in the comments! Let us know below! Now that you've got the basic setup taken care of go ahead and start making tweaks to the site and turning it into your own. Add your blogs and let's get the ball rolling! Next time we'll talk about how to grow your brand to eventually start monetizing your site. Let us know if these kinds of blogs interest you and if you'd like to see more of these OR if you have different opinions or views on how we're going about this process, we're always open to healthy discussions.

-Matt