How To Copy My 3 Source Passive Income System

If you’ve been on my list over the last few months you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet recently.

In fact, a quick look inside my Aweber account tells me that the last email I sent was over 2 months ago (excluding automated autoresponder emails).

What’s going on?

Well so far 2014 has looked something like this for me:

  • March: Put on a live 2 day seminar in London
  • April: Started a 5 week road trip, driving 5,500 miles from Atlanta to San Francisco
  • May: Decided to move from London to Cornwall
  • June – October: Arrived in Cornwall, bought a new house, began renovating it, spent time enjoying the great weather, exploring the area and started learning how to surf (very early days and I still can’t stand up – yet!)

In essence I’ve taken a good chunk of the spring and summer off.

Summer 2014 close to my new new home in North Cornwall, England

Summer 2014 close to my home in North Cornwall, England. Click the image to see more on my Facebook page (opens in new tab).

But my online profit streams have remained healthy and consistent due to the “multiple streams of passive income” I have set up.

I’ve put the phrase itself in speech marks because it is a bit of a cliché and one that is misused and over-hyped a lot.

However, in this post I want to show you that it is real, it can be done and how I personally do it.

Before we break it down it’s important to make the following points:

1. This takes time and effort
I put in over 3 years of pretty hard work to build up my online income streams from zero. To my knowledge there’s no quick fix or magic button here (please let me know if you know of one!). The income streams may be “passive” once they are set up but it always takes work to create them in the first place.

2. Less work means less money
Despite a continued stream of profit coming to me this year during the extended periods when I was working 20-60 minutes per day, the level of profit was lower than before when I was putting in more time.

It really is an amazing feeling being able to take time out and enjoy life whilst still getting paid and certainly there aren’t many jobs or businesses where this is possible. Internet marketing has this and I love it.

But equally if you stop development of new products, traffic generation and general growth then of course you will earn less. Moreover, the passive income streams you do have in place will fade gradually over time. I’m pleased to say that I can’t see any evidence of this in my business during 2014 but even so, if I did nothing or very little for the next 6 months I’m almost certain this would happen.

With this said, what actually are these “multiple streams of passive income”?

It’s probably easiest if I break them down into 3 categories:

1. Your Own Recurring Billing Products

The most obvious way of generating continuity income is to have your own membership site or similar product with a built in recurring billing structure. The big one for me is Gain Higher Ground Membership but there are several other ways of doing this.

Perhaps the easiest and most straight forward is to create a recurring billing PDF newsletter. This is best sold on a traditional sales page with a simple PayPal “Subscribe” button at the bottom. Subscribers get added automatically to an email list which you then mail the PDF newsletters to on a regular basis.

I know several marketers who do this very successfully: Monthly seems to be the most popular delivery schedule and you can either create your content each month and manually broadcast it or alternatively queue it up in your autoresponder so it gets sent out automatically.

To start with you just need the sales page and your first month’s PDF report. Then hook up PayPal and Aweber.

If you aren’t sure what content to create then a great approach is to spend a few hours per month reviewing and researching blog posts, products (e.g., in the IM niche low priced Warrior Special Offers would work very well) and maybe podcasts too.

Separate the good from the bad, extract the “golden nuggets” that you find and write them up into your PDF newsletter. Where appropriate you can even link back to the original sources so people can see the ideas in action or find out more (an opportunity to use affiliate links for additional revenue).

You don’t need to be an expert yourself to make money with this strategy. Instead you are simply acting as the “reporter” who is providing saving your customers a lot of time and hassle by unearthing the golden nuggets for them.

(If you are a GHG member then please see “The Reporter Method” in the Product Creation Central section inside the members area for more on this style of product creation).

If you wish you can even extend the model by including interviews or guest articles written by experts in your niche. This is another way to add value for the customers and often a good traffic source as well if you can get some of the contributors to promote your newsletter in return for a slice of the recurring revenue it generates.

2. Recurring Affiliate Income

When it comes to making money with affiliate marketing (i.e., promoting other people’s products & services in return for a commission) there are two things I go for:

  • Higher priced products/services
  • Recurring billing products/services

Within the latter group I specifically look for ones which have some kind of “pain of disconnect” built into them because this means subscribers stay longer and therefore my recurring affiliate revenue streams last for longer.

Generally speaking software products have a higher degree of pain of disconnect than information products.

A classic example is something like Aweber, a company I regularly receive payments from. If you have a list with Aweber (or any email service provider really) then it’s a bit of a pain to move and go elsewhere. In addition to the quality of their service this is why I still receive a slice of the monthly payments made by Aweber subscribers that joined through my affiliate link 2+ years ago!

It’s a similar story with LeadPages which is another good source of income in my “portfolio”. But there are many others you can look at too – the concept is what is important here really.

Personally speaking I only promote products and services I use and/or have reviewed in detail, which is part of the reason I do a lot less affiliate promotions than many other marketers. This though, of course, is just my approach.

3. Lead Generation Products

An overlooked source of passive income are on-going sales of your existing products.

Specifically, I’m talking about low price/high value lead generation products here – although you could extend this to any back end or higher priced product.

This year my software products such as SpyBar and WP Viral Payments have done the best in this regard but equally they could be information products too (as they have been in previous years for me).

It’s amazing how many people I meet at seminars who are struggling to make any income who haven’t actually got any products for sale online – no wonder they are finding it tricky!

Another tip is to have your products for sale in lots of places. Right now I have products for sale simultaneously on Clickbank, JVZoo, Warrior Plus, DealFuel, MightyDeals and direct through PayPal links.

To be clear: In most cases I have the same product in several of these “distribution channels” – more exposure means more sales 🙂

Some of my slightly older products sell at least one copy most days and some only one every few days. But again, the point is that this all adds up and it amounts to not only complete passive income but also passive lead generation putting brand new customers onto the lists.

Speaking of lead generation, an important passive traffic source for me is a result of “content marketing/syndication/integration” traffic strategies I’ve done in the past. For example, I get traffic from:

  • Guest posts I’ve written
  • Audio interviews I’ve given
  • Bonuses and content I’ve provided for other people’s products
  • Blog posts I’ve written that get found in Google
  • Other people’s reviews of my products

None of these methods generate huge amounts of bulk traffic for me on their own (if you want that then buy FB ads, solo ads or do a product launch). Sometimes, it’s literally just a trickle. But it’s still passive steady stream traffic which tends to be very high quality.

For example, someone who reads a guest post I’ve written, looks me up online, goes to my site, reads some more and then signs up for my list is a pretty well qualified lead compared to a trigger happy clicker who follows a link in a solo ad email, arrives at my squeeze page and signs up on a whim.

Please note: I am not saying solos ads are a waste of time. Far from it, well selected ones can be great. I’m simply using this as an example to point out the difference in quality verses quantity across different traffic sources.

Similarly, none of my income sources are huge on their own, they really aren’t.

But I have many across each of the 3 categories listed above. So they do add up and also diversify the risk so if one of them weakens or even disappears there are still all the others ticking over nicely.

If you are reading this and thinking I don’t know where to start please remember I didn’t either. I just got started with something. And then I did something else…

Some of it works well and some less well.

Gradually though, passive income is built and sometime later you can, if you wish, afford to rebalance your lifestyle, take some time off and really enjoy life in a way which simply isn’t possible with a regular job or business.

I hope you found this helpful. I would love to hear your passive income-related thoughts, comments and questions below. Please LIKE/SHARE/TWEET if you enjoyed it too…. Cheers, Rob 🙂

31 Responses to How To Copy My 3 Source Passive Income System

  1. Paul Hollins October 28, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    Hey Rob,

    Always good to hear you’ve been up to and how it’s all working out for you.

    I think the key takeaway point here is… You need to build up your business to the point where you can take an extended break. However don’t expect to be able to do so from day #3, you need to do the ground work first.

    Great advice!

    Cheers, Paul

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Spot on Paul, it’s all about groundwork first of all. It can seem very hard at times but when you look back it’s all worth it and actually a lot of fun building your mini “empire”! As an avid reader of your newsletters I knew you’d get it 😉 Cheers, Rob

  2. Rob Taylor October 28, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Welcome back
    I really didn’t think you would be doing nothing!!!

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks Rob – exactly, I’m always up to something!

  3. melvim October 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Nicely sum up Rob. This will help get things started for anyone new to earning online. And.. even if u seem to get nothing for the first few mths, the experience is all worth it “)

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      Thank Melvim, glad you enjoyed it.

      Cheers, Rob

  4. Cam October 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Great Rob..I’m getting pumped to build my recurring income. Ive spent years trying to make money online but started succeeding recently …

    Optin page, good long auto responder sequences promoting high converting products mixed in with awesome content, traffic from face book, bing etc .

    Tweak and test. It really works and has the potential to snowball into a big income.
    It’s so motivating seeing those re bills come in…

    Anyway thanks for the inspiration !!

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

      Hi Cam, Glad this post was able to help fuel the fires of inspiration for you 🙂

      Sounds like a solid plan you have there, please do stop by again on the blog and let us all know how it goes.

      All the best, Rob.

  5. Phil Dell October 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Hey Rob,

    an inspirational post and a welcome reality check for many. It is so easy to be sucked into being a consumer with all the emails we receive and slick sales messages. The trick is to stop being a consumer and start being a producer. But it is hard and a bit scary.

    On my journey, I am trying hard to shut out the noise and keep moving forward, even if it is a bit slow. Of course it is important to educate yourself, but in the end we have to start taking some sort of action.

    The dream has been sold to many, but it has to be worked for.

    So thanks for this post, you have demonstrated that it can work!


    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Phil, you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment:

      The trick is to stop being a consumer and start being a producer

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts 🙂

      Cheers, Rob

  6. Leesa October 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for a comprehensive post!

    Your example of the “Reporter Method” with a monthly recurring billed newsletter (first category above) sounds like something I already do for myself, and I could totally spruce it up to share/sell!

    Question: How do you decide which info you would give away for free (blog/promote) versus which to include in a newsletter? Especially if you are the curator of the info, and not the expert.

    And to take it one step further, if you were going to combine with category 2 (affiliate links to the info you curate), would those go in the blog or in the paid newsletter (or both)?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!


    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Hi Leesa,

      Great to see you here on the GHG blog, thank you for your comment.

      On the free/paid content I like to break it down like this:

      Free stuff: Short tips & info that get people on the “first rung of the ladder”. Think free samples at a food festival.
      Premium/Paid stuff: Much more detailed & comprehensive information in a step-by-step framework.

      Another way to think about it is that in the free content you are giving away crucial bits of the jigsaw. But in the premium content you explain how the pieces relate to each other and fit together, giving the complete picture.

      In terms of affiliate links, you can do this everywhere in both free and paid stuff. That’s what I tend to do although sometimes I get a bit slack such as in this post where I mention some products and services where I haven’t linked to them. Actually, sometimes this is intentional where I want to make a genuine point about something without people thinking I’m just making it to earn a cheap commission (which I never do anyway but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to subtly remind the doubters!)

      Great to hear you are using the “Reporter Method”. It’s a great strategy and one I’ve used myself since I started.

      Cheers, Rob.

  7. Michael Gorman October 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Great to hear from you Rob, Cornwall looks wonderful. The main take away I got from you was that you really do have to build your streams and put the time in which will result in a time when you can afford to stretch out and investigate life – or even diversify further. It is having the confidence to make the start and just stick at it. Very encouraging in any case!

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

      Hi Michael, Thanks for commenting and you’re exactly right. Things are always a bit more pleasurable after you’ve worked a little bit too. Whether it’s online income streams or a long walk before a couple of pints in the pub 😉

      Cheers, Rob

  8. Jo O'Connor October 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    A good post Rob, nice to have an overview of what you are doing. I can see from the post the necessity of having income come from different areas as if one dries up there are other places to provide income from.

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      You’re spot on Jo, that’s the key to it really. It’s not like that in the beginning of course but it’s definitely the goal to have!

      Thanks for stopping by here at the blog.

      Cheers, Rob

  9. Stephanie October 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Rob,

    Lovely to hear from you, wondered what you were up to!

    I see you haven’t been wasting your time – i.e. the renovating etc., and that your income streams have served you well!

    Spending time Renovating your new Home is also another great source of income! When it comes time to sell it should serve you well and I’m sure your are aware that so many people have made a lot of money this way, without ever knowing anything about IM or worring about SEO! Food for thought!

    Great to hear from you as always.

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      They certainly have Stephanie. I’m outsourcing a lot and doing the more “low skilled” jobs myself – it’s all good fun!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Cheers, Rob

  10. Stuart October 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Rob, great to see you back and with such a useful post!

    • Rob October 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it – Thanks Stuart!

      Cheers, Rob

  11. Kwesi October 28, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    You’re right, Rob. I observed a few weeks back that you had gone quieter than usual, even after your exploratory holiday in America and your move to Cornwall.

    Nevertheless you reared your head when I got stuck within the last fortnight and ‘held my hand’ so to speak, and guided me all the way to a happy resolution. What a guy you are!

    I thought it would encourage you to learn that I got to know you through your blog posts in a newsletter I used to subscribe to. Your blogs were so good and aroused my interest so much I felt impelled to follow your link. As you can see, I haven’t regretted visiting your site since.

    What more can I say; your storehouse of money-making ideas is inexhaustible. Bless you.

    Kind regards.

    • Rob October 30, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Hi Kwesi,

      Great to see you here on the blog, thanks for your comment.

      The feedback here is really helpful. It’s always fascinating to hear how subscribers get on to your list. You yourself are an example of the traffic sources I mentioned in the the post!

      Glad you are making progress, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the members area support as and when I can help.

      Kind regards,


  12. Alison October 30, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    Hi Rob,
    Really pleased to see your email in my in-box once again – have been missing your practical, common sense & refreshingly honest posts. Anyway you are back with one of your best – l don’t think I have ever read such an open review of IM income streams before. I really like the fact you highlighted it was 3 years of hard work to get to where you are now – I find it mind boggling that some people think you can get somewhere in 6 months. As I said you are always refreshingly honest:)

    • Rob October 31, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Thank you Alison, you are very kind. Really appreciate your words and glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

      Cheers, Rob.

  13. Paul Dunstan October 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    H Rob,

    I love this post. I think the key here is that it took 3 years of hard work. I have found exactly the same. In fact, I made very little in my first 3 years. But in year 4 I started to hit $10K+ months. People only see those figures and they do not see the three years of blood sweat and tears it took to get there!

    The other take away point from this is to have multiple streams of income. That way, if one fails, you still have others.

    Build them one at a time – (a man who chases two rabbits catches neither) – but once it is earning, start to build another.

    I LOVE the fact that some of my best months are when I have been on holiday – or even moving house with no internet! That is PASSIVE.

    But… it takes work to get there.

    Keep up the good work and as we are both UK based, we must JV at some point again 😉

    • Rob November 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Paul, Nice to hear from you, I hope you are well 🙂 You’ve summed it up very nicely and it’s great to get your perspective given your extensive experience. Thanks for taking the time and talk soon I’m sure… Cheers, Rob

  14. Justin MacDonald November 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Just stumbled across this post and you definitely have yourself a new fan. My favorite was the affiliate advice you gave with selling recurring products. I always have done high priced, but never recurring, thank you!

    • Rob November 10, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      Thanks Justin, glad you enjoyed the post and that tip in particular 🙂

      Cheers, Rob

  15. Yvonne Finn November 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Hello Rob,
    Welcome back and thanks for this excellent and informative post.
    I think people often confuse simple with easy and so they get taken time and again by those “get rich quick” service and product purveyors.

    Thanks for always keeping it real for us!
    I am happy that you have found that work life balance that we all want.
    Continued success and thanks again for sharing.
    Yvonne Finn

  16. JohnO November 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi Rob

    The key here is proper planning, patience and persistence. You are so right, it won’t happen overnight..people are always looking for a quick fix, our lives are so busy these days, we want it, and we want it all now!

    I always look forward to your posts, because you are one of the very few marketers who not only know what they are talking about, you are also extremely passionate about educating us all in a way that is easy to understand..and for that I just want to say a big thank you.


    • Rob November 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi John, Thanks for your comment and kind words – great to see you here on the blog 🙂

      Kind regards,


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