When we think of passive income, we think about making money while you sleep. What does it really take to build out these streams of income and to see success? Hope Taylor pulls back the curtain and shows us how she was able to build multiple six figure passive income streams as a photographer, educator and business coach.
This episode is packed with so many tangible tips on how you can get started on creating your own passive income. Even if you already have a stream of passive income, Hope shares the changes you need to make to see success.
The Independent Business podcast is powered by HoneyBook, the all-in-one platform for anyone with clients. Book clients, manage projects, get paid faster, and have business flow your way with HoneyBook. Use the code PODCAST to get 20% off your first year as a new member.
Follow the Independent Business podcast
Hope’s entrepreneurial journey
Hope started her first business in high school after taking a photojournalism class. During her senior year she started photographing her friends and decided to continue pursuing a business in photography instead of going away to college.
Her parents were not exactly thrilled with her decision not to go to college, so Hope knew that she had to work hard to prove herself and make her business work. In her first year she scaled it to a six-figure earning business.
However, she was run down and watched as all of her friends were having the time of their lives at college. Her income came solely from service-based work, which meant that she was shooting every day of the week.
It was during this time of being overworked that Hope started to consider ways to create passive income so that she could work less.
Building passive income with online courses
At the beginning of her business, Hope also taught photography on a small scale. She saw other people selling courses online and making a living from it, so she decided to give it a go to start building passive income.
However, with her first online photography course, Hope had no strategy or email list and her course videos were not high quality. She relied on the fact that she had a large Instagram following of people who wanted to learn from her. The course didn’t sell as well as she hoped it would, but she learned a lot about the process and how to improve it the next time.
The biggest thing Hope learned from the experience was the importance of building an email list then turning it into a selling machine and using social media as a support tool. Today, Hope has an email list of 20,000 photographers, which has contributed to major success when it comes to earning passive income.
Hope’s six streams of income
Hope currently has six streams of income, and about 70% of her income is passive. These streams include:
- Four online courses
- A monthly membership called the Senior Scoop
- A coaching program
- Affiliate revenue
- Shop products
- Photography services
Out of these streams, Hope’s online courses, affiliate revenue, and shop products are the most passive. The online courses and products are things she only had to create once and can sell over and over again, which allows her to be fairly hands off.
However, passive income streams are not actually 100% passive. It takes a lot of work to build a course and launch it. The passive income kicks in when the course is automated.
How to decide when to add new revenue streams
When pursuing passive income, Hope started with online courses because she needed something that didn’t take up a lot of time. She was still a full-time photographer without much free time, so she needed an option that would yield a high return in exchange for only a small amount of time.
The next thing she added was her monthly membership. She wanted to offer her audience something that was more affordable than her courses and would help build their trust in her.
From there, she added in her high ticket item, which is her mastermind coaching. She wanted to have an option for the customers who had taken all of her courses and were looking for something else. Her coaching program is not passive income, but her other passive income products lead her customers to her mastermind.
Next, Hope added her shop products. She taught her students that they needed things like welcome guides, so she started making and selling them herself.
At the beginning of her journey, Hope decided on new income streams based on the return they would provide for the amount of time she could put into them. Then, she added income streams that would guide her customers through a journey from low ticket item to high ticket item. After those were established, she added in supplemental income streams that could help her customers succeed in their business.
Managing six streams of income
Maintaining six streams of income means managing a lot of moving pieces. Hope manages her time by having a project that she focuses on every month. Instead of constantly launching something new, Hope and her team spend a month focusing on driving traffic to an existing product.
Hope also has a big sale on all of her products every quarter, and she plans them out with her team in advance. Those sales take up four months of the year, so she fills in the other eight months and creates a content calendar before the new year has even started.
Since every month is assigned a focus project, it’s easy to work backwards to figure out what kind of content to create for each month.
Hope’s advice for business owners with no passive income
If you don’t have a passive income stream, starting an email list should be your first priority if you want to get started with building passive income. From there, create a content system that drives people to your email list, and automate it. That means creating a really strong lead magnet that consistently drives people to your list. Do not try to sell something until you have people to sell to, which is why you need to focus on building a list.
If you have a passive income stream in place but aren’t seeing success: Combine your email list with a content system that gets people to the top of your funnel. Otherwise, you will be trying to sell your products over and over again to the same group of people.
If you aren’t seeing success, you need to evaluate your content system and see if it’s actually getting people in the door. You may need a stronger lead magnet offer.
For those that already have a passive income system in place and want to refine it, simplify it as much as you can. The process of automated sales and email marketing should be simple, so do not overcomplicate it.
Data-driven decision making with an analytics strategy
Every month, Hope’s team creates a scorecard that evaluates how the products performed that month. They also look at social media engagement, followers, and views. They also look at open rates and click rates of their emails.
Diving deep into analytics helps Hope and her team know what her customers are liking, what they aren’t, and what they want more of.
The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail
The businesses that succeed use their failures as growth opportunities. They treat everything as an experiment that they can learn from and improve upon. They are also able to be flexible and move with the times, making changes as needed based on what their audience wants.
Important sections of the conversation:
- [1:53] Hope’s entrepreneurial journey
- [6:21] Transitioning into online courses
- [14:16] Hope’s income streams
- [20:09] How to decide when to add new revenue streams
- [26:53] How Hope manages six streams of income
- [30:30] Hope’s advice for business owners
- [38:00] Hope’s analytics strategy
- [44:54] The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail
Connect with the guest
When we think of passive income, we think about making money while you sleep. But what does it really take to build out these streams of income and to see success? Hope Taylor, who’s a photographer, educator and business coach pulls back the curtain and shows us how she was able to build multiple six figure passive income streams. And let me tell you, this episode is packed with so many tangible tips on how you can get started on creating your own passive income. And if you already have one of the changes you need to make to see success. Now let’s get into the episode. Hey, everyone, this is your host, Akua konadu. And you’re listening to the independent business podcast, more people than ever are working for themselves and building profitable businesses in the process. So on this show, I get to sit down with some of the most influential authors, entrepreneurs, and creators to break down the science of self made success so that you can achieve it too.
Hello, hello, hope, how are we doing?
Fantastic. I’m so excited to be here.
Oh, my gosh, so excited, we have just been chatting it up. So we were fine. Like, we just need to record because we have been catching up. But I’m so excited to have you on the show today. So just talk about passive income strategies, because you number one, have a very unique story. And I’m really excited for myself to hear because I’ve heard through the grapevine. I’ve never heard it from you. But I’m excited to hear it today. And I’m also really excited for our audience to hear and also the strategies that you have implemented to build a multi six figure passive income strategy. So welcome, girl. Oh, yay, this
is like my favorite topic to talk about. And I don’t get to talk about it. And nearly as much as I would like to because I geek out about this stuff. So I’m super, super pumped that this is what we’re chatting about. Yes. Okay. Well, let’s
just hop on into it. I really want to know more just about your business journey. And essentially, what led you to start kind of leaning more into passive income and building these strategies. Yeah, absolutely. So
like you mentioned, I have a little bit of a unique angle on this, because I actually started my business when I was 15. So I was a high school student. And I basically took a photo journalism class for fun. And it snowballed into me photographing all my friends and building a business, my senior year of high school, that ultimately led to me going full time instead of going away to college. So that’s the cliffnotes version of like the photography side of my business, because I was a photographer, when I started, I still am now I educate other photographers, but it started as just hey, bestie, like, you want me to take your senior pictures, and then it just snowballed very quickly. And so I went full time, right out of high school. So that is really the season where kind of the idea of the passive income side of my business began. So I always share this kind of, like vivid memory that I have where I was, I had decided not to go to college, my parents, like weren’t super pumped about that. At first, my mom was always on board and kind of trusted that I would figure it out. But my dad came from the perspective of taking college classes when he was apparent. And he waited until later in life to do college. So he just was nervous that I was going to have that same experience and kind of struggle through it and the way that he did. And so I was in this mindset of like, I have to prove myself, right. Like I’ve made this massive decision, I actually had committed to a college and revoked by admission just a few weeks before moving in. So like, we I dropped this bomb on my parents and was like plot twist. We’ve already committed to a school, I’m not going and now I’m in this like hustle mindset in this whole new way. But I vividly remember a few months into that all my friends are out of college, I’m seeing all their posts of like rushing sororities, being at football games, like everybody’s having this incredible social life. And I am drowning, because I scaled my business to six figures in that first year. But that was all service based work. So I was shooting, every single day of the week, I was mentoring other photographers in really small capacities. But I was drowning. Like when I tell you that my like editing backlog by workload, just my schedule, it was insane for anybody, let alone somebody that was barely 18 years old. And I remember going to my parents house and just having this meltdown to my mom of like, I don’t know how I can maintain this. Like there’s this just isn’t scalable. This isn’t possible, but I’m making money. But it’s not how I thought it would be like I’m just so exhausted. And that was kind of the pivotal moment for me of okay, something has to shift because I cannot keep running at this pace that I’ve been running. And that’s really where things slowly started to turn into being more passive. And I started to have more interest in what that could look like. And it kind of grew from there. So that would have been in 2014 2015 when kind of the ball started to roll on what passive income could look like for me? Well, first
of all, I knew that you had served your business young but I didn’t realize that. I wouldn’t baby. Which is amazing, because you know, when I met you it was back in 2021. Like we were both speaking at a state like the next level retreat and so I remember just learning from you and beat my mind was blown. And then now hearing from like, since when that you started and what I think it’s it’s it speaks a lot just to like who you are have, you have always kind of just gone the path that you feel like fits well for you instead of just kind of following what everybody else does because I as a millennial, like I was guilty of this too, like I, you know, you go to high school, you go to college, and that’s the route that you go. And you instantly knew that that was not the route for me. So I’m gonna lean into something else that’s completely different, no matter what other people’s reservations are, you just went all out which I love that. But I also find that interesting to that, which I think a lot of business owners, a lot of us have started that way, right? When you’re launching your business, you were just trying to get going, right? You’re just trying to get paid. And you’re you got like to your point, you got to hustle. But sometimes that hustle can come at a cost. And I think what you said with being burned out, which is something that so many of us experience all the time often. And it sounds like you had to kind of start the passive income in the sense of like desperation almost right, like you were just like, I don’t know if this is going to work. But there’s something has to change. And so I just love that you again, just pivoted and shifted into making sure that your business was going to be here for tomorrow. And so another question that I have for you is what were some major things that you learned from building your strategies? And then What mistakes have you made throughout as well? Oh, my
gosh, so many, I could talk about this for like an hour because I feel like I’m a huge believer that making mistakes is how you propel yourself forward. But I’ve made plenty of them. When I’m talking or thinking about like that 2014 to 2015 timeframe, I think the biggest mistake that comes to my mind is that I or misconception maybe would be a better word. But I saw so many people doing online courses and doing education and making so much money in this space. And that’s really how it got started for me was I just knew I wanted to educate. I always loved that I used to be in theater. So I loved like speaking and teaching and like, it didn’t bother me to be on stages. Like I just loved that side of things my whole life. And so the idea of bringing that into my business was really exciting to me. So initially, the thought process was just okay, how can I make this more accessible? Right? Like, how can I make this available to more people, which would ultimately make me more money, but it would stop limiting? Oh, I can only have 10 people come to this in person workshop, right? So I saw people doing courses, I saw people doing education, and they were talking about how they were making like a gajillion dollars doing it. Like you see people having six figure launches, I mean, a million dollars with one course, you know, you see all of this happening online. And little 18 year old delusional hope was like, Oh, I’m gonna create one little course answering a question that I get all the time. And I’m gonna make a gajillion dollars like that is truly what I kind of was thinking going into it is that that was the extent of the work that I had to do. Like, I’m going to create this project, if you build it, they will come. And then I’m going to make a bunch of money. I had no email list, I had no strategy. I had a large Instagram following at the time of people that wanted to learn from me, but that was about it. And so I filmed my first course in my parents basement, it actually wasn’t even video, it was voiceover of PowerPoint slides, it was super, super baseline super bare bones, I launched it, I made a decent amount of money for somebody that was 18 years old, not nearly as much as I thought that I was going to make. And so that was kind of the first big mistake I made where I was like, Okay, let’s check yourself. Like there’s way more that goes into this than what you originally thought. And I love the strategy side of things, I geek out about it. So it made me excited to have this door open to kind of a new side of business to learn. But it definitely was like a gut check of Okay, hope like, we’re gonna be a little smarter and a little more strategic about this now. So that was the biggest mistake I made. And I think if I’m getting really like, practical and really almost like tactical about what the mistake was, is that I wasn’t focusing on earning my customers trust in getting them into, like an email list or a system for nurturing them. I was just like, Oh, they’re gonna follow me on Instagram and immediately buy what I have to sell. That’s not how it works. And so I think that in retrospect was a mindset shift. And it made a huge difference for me is like, I don’t nobody owes me their trust, right? Like, I’m not entitled to people believing that I have value to add to them, I have to consistently show them that and I have to earn that in order to then even have the opportunity to sell to them. So it was just kind of this like mindset shift of if they build it, they will come I went from that to No, I’m going to show them why I’m worth their time and why they should invest in my business and not his has moved with me now in the last seven or eight years of scaling to what my business looks like now.
Oh my gosh, I love that. And I love the transparency as well of like okay, my first course launch did not go well wasn’t bad. Go well, but I love that too, that you took that and took what you learned and move forward made some more strategic decisions, and I loved how you shared to just how Waiting email list. I think a lot of us as business owners that we, whether we have a list or we don’t. And if we do have a list, maybe we’re not nurturing them, or we don’t have a list at all, I think that’s was that a key into your success, moving forward with how you’ve been able to have multiple six figure launch launches, 100%.
So I’m so glad you like pulled that out of what I said, because I think that that was from a tactical, tangible perspective, the, like, technical strategy that I changed as it went from, I’m just gonna talk about it on Instagram and hope people see it to know I’m gonna get these people actually into my system and into my network by collecting their email addresses. And that’s going to be where I sell to them. Instagram is going to be to add value to create connection to create brand awareness. And the email list is going to be the selling machine. And that is really from a strategy side, what shifted and what has changed the game for me now. So now I have an email list of 20,000 photographers. And that is what really allows me to have such passive revenue. Because it kind of works in in my sleep, right? Like you hear people talking about making money in your sleep. Email List is what allows you to do that, because it runs on autopilot. And I think we’ll probably chat more about this later on too. But I love a good email list, I believe that it is the number one key piece that a lot of people miss because they see people talking about courses. And they see that they have a big Instagram following. And the assumption is like, Oh, they’re just selling on social media, but they completely miss the fact that there’s this behind the scenes machine that is actually working for them. And I completely missed that for a really long time.
One thing I love that you said is right, bringing them into your system, I think thinking I think having that at the forefront, as you’re really trying to figure out, okay, that’s what you should be asking yourself, How can I bring them into my system and whatever that looks like whether that be a course or a membership or whatever? I think again, how can you bring them into your system so that you can be able to nurture them and build that relationship? So I’m really curious, so after your first launch, and then you realized, okay, email lists, and really nurturing where people need to trust me. How long were you doing that before you then relaunched again? And how big of a difference did you see between your first launch than the second one?
Fantastic question. So I actually ended up I think I want to say it was probably a good six to nine months of like reassessing re structuring how I did things, making some updates to the course and really figuring out what my system was going to look like, before I did a relaunch, and I saw definitely an increase in revenue and success with that next launch. But it wasn’t really until I joined a mastermind and learned from a coach that I started to realize how to kind of simplify the system and that I was overcomplicating a lot of things. And that is when I really started to add in more products and kind of create this automated system, that I started to see a little bit more success. So I would say I actually launched a second course, it was a Senior Business course, which is still one of my signature courses. And I actually think I might have launched that second course, before I re launched the first one, like launching that first one left me with like my tail tucked between my legs, a little bit of like, I need to reassess a lot of things right. And so I think what I in retrospect, I’m trying to think of the order of how this happened, but I’m pretty positive i refilmed a new course, or filmed a new course and launched a new course than refilmed, the first one and relaunched it, because I wanted it to be done right. And I wanted it to be done well. And so I kind of took what I had learned, did something new, and then refilmed, the existing one. So I had two courses. And that’s when I really started to see the consistency and the revenue and the success. Oh,
I love that. I love that you just gave us that that inside scoop because it again shows the amount of work that it takes number one, because right, it’s true, we see a lot of these entrepreneurs that have these huge followings that are selling these courses. And you assume that that’s how they’re making it. But you had to go back six to nine and take six to nine months off in between those two launches, to really put in the work and get a better understanding. And then also to even beyond that hiring somebody to come in and help you which I think again, you don’t have to know all the answers when you’re doing things. It’s okay to ask questions. And it’s okay as well to find somebody that does to get the support that you need. So I absolutely love that. And so another question that I have, too is, you know, they always say that millionaires, right, have at least seven streams of income. Yeah, how much of that is passive? Like, what is yours look
like? Exactly. Yeah. So this I love this question, because I actually didn’t even hear this like, quote or statistic until just a couple of years ago. And I find it so interesting, because I think it’s another big misconception that that entrepreneurs have is like, these millionaires are making millions of dollars off of one product. And that is very rarely the case. They’re making millions of dollars off of lots of different things. And so I completely agree with that quote, that there’s seven, seven streams of income, I think is what they say is average. And I actually mapped it out. I think I have six right now. So I would say about, let’s say let’s say 70% of that is passive, but with the caveat that passive is never truly 100% passive, and I think That’s another misconception about passive revenue. There are parts of it that are 100% passive, where I’ll wake up in the morning and have five sales on a course. And I didn’t do anything to get those because it’s all automated. So there’s definitely some streams of it that are 100% passive. But there’s also like quarterly sales, like Big Black Friday sales, there’s nothing passive about putting together a massive Black Friday sale, right? Like, there’s so much work that goes into that. So just kind of with that caveat in mind, these these, you know, six streams of revenue that I have, I’d say 60 to 70% of it is truly passive. But there’s also still a lot of work that goes into maintaining those products being passive. So kind of like an important thing I wish somebody had said to me back when I was like, beginning this side of my business, like there is still work that goes into these things. But I’ll break down my six streams of income that I have right now. The first is my online courses, I have four digital courses now in my business, and those are going to be the most truly passive, because an online course is something you create one time you film it, you work really, really hard, you launch it out into the world, and then you can create an automated system for selling it. And since it’s pre recorded, there’s really no additional work that goes into that. So my four digital courses are my most passive stream of revenue. And the fact that I’m not as hands on with those products as it was when they launched. The second stream of revenue that I have is my membership, my monthly membership called the senior scoop. It’s kind of like the Netflix for senior photographers, they get new content every single month, that is recurring revenue, which means I get revenue every single month from that product. But I’m creating new content every single month. And that is definitely an active amount of work on my part. So it’s recurring, which is great, it’s passive in the fact that I don’t really have to leave my house in order for that money to come in. But I do have to create the content consistently, right. So we have courses, we have my membership. Third is that I have a coaching program. It’s a high level coaching program where I actually teach the type of stuff we’re talking about right now not trying to sell it to you, that’s just what it is. And that is like my highest ticket offer. So that is I think a big piece of this like, quote unquote, millionaire puzzle is having some form of a high ticket offer. And that is not passive. That is me actively hands on coaching 12 business owners at a time, and really being kind of like their business coach in their back pocket where they get unlimited access to me to ask questions. So not passive, but it’s high ticket because of that. The fourth and I would say second most passive type of revenue I have is my affiliate revenue. So I’m an affiliate for a lot of amazing brands, HoneyBook being one of them cloud spot being another. And I share about those brands, those businesses, those products that I use in my own business, and I get an affiliate kickback for anybody that signs up using my link, or my unique coupon code. That’s pretty passive because I make YouTube videos. So I have YouTube videos about those products, those systems, those, you know, things that I’m an affiliate for. And people can find those all the time. So I filmed a YouTube video three years ago about honey book, and I still make affiliate revenue off of that video. So that’s going to be another kind of passive form of revenue. So we have courses, we have a membership, we have a high ticket coaching program, I have affiliates. The fifth is shop products. This is the newest addition to kind of my revenue streams. So this is going to be another really passive form of revenue, I create the product one time, it’s typically a little lower ticket than an online course. And people can purchase it whenever they want to. I’m super hands off in this, I pretty much do nothing for those products, aside from what I created them the first time. And the last form of revenue I have is my photography services. So I still am actively a photographer, just in a much smaller capacity than I used to be. I used to make 150 to $200,000 on just photography services, that’s more like $40,000. Now, I pretty much just do enough photography services to stay relevant stay front of mind and feed content into all these educational resources that I create. Girl. I know just a quick little short list.
But that was so good. I mean, it’s true passive income isn’t really passive, like the amount of work that you have to put into each one. But I love that you have well first of all I one thing I’m really curious to know is how you went from just the courses. Number one, which passive income stream did you figure out what’s going to be the like the best fit for you? And then how did you build one on top of the other especially just hearing from your story earlier where you were like I was burnt out. And now you have all of these multiple passive income streams and that you have built a system that works really well for you. And again, I think that really want to hone in on that as creating a system that’s really going to benefit you and your business. So you can do a lot of the things that you love because you can see it all the time on social media like whenever I’m consuming your content. I’ve seen some of your YouTube videos you are truly passionate about education and what it is that you do, and serving other people. business owners and you’re still showing up in other capacities for your clients, you know, who still purchase your photography services? How How did you get there? Let’s break down some of that messy middle.
Yeah, I love that. Well, thank you for saying that. First of all, that’s so sweet of you to say, I really have just always loved educating and kind of teaching on these topics, because I wish somebody had done that for me in the beginning. So makes me happy that you see that come through. Thanks for saying that. So really, there’s, there’s a few different things that kind of contribute to my thought process when I’m deciding what products should be next, or what revenue stream should be added into this lineup. And I think the first thought process that really led to me creating courses first was that I wanted something that would take a minimum amount of time, because I was still actively a photographer, I was shooting all the time, I didn’t have a lot of free time, right. So I needed something that didn’t take a ton of my time, but still had a pretty big return. So I did courses first because I could film them one time, launch them one time, and then get back to doing the photography side of my business because I wasn’t in a financial place where I could just shut that down, right. So my time and energy still needed to be focused there majorly. But I wanted something that could get the ball rolling on some additional revenue. So that’s why courses were kind of the first option. For me, it was really a decision based on the time that I had to give it like to give to that project and the revenue that I would make. As a result, the courses were the lowest hanging fruit, it was the easiest thing for me to do with the amount of time I had, that was going to solve a problem that my audience had and make me enough money to make it worth that time that I was going to take away from the other area of my business. The next thing that I did was my membership, this was something that I did, it was probably three years ago now was when I started doing my membership. In that three year window, I was adding in affiliate things slowly. So there was some other passive revenue coming in, I was also teaching workshops and doing one on one mentoring. So I kind of had education revenue coming in just not passive revenue. So once I decided to add in the membership, my thought process at that point was okay, I have all of these kind of mid range offers in terms of pricing, right, I have a course that starts at 250. And my most expensive course goes up to about $500. But I don’t have anything on either end of that spectrum, right? Like I don’t have a low ticket offer to get people in the door for somebody that maybe doesn’t trust me enough yet to spend $300. And I also don’t have a high ticket offer that is for the people that have maybe completed all of my courses, and now they want somewhere else to go. And they have nowhere else to go. So once I had gotten more experienced with the passive income world in the education space, and kind of got to know my audience and what they wanted from me or what they were needing from me in terms of education, I started to look at my product lineup as a whole of like, okay, where are the holes in this process? If I want to have this kind of product flow, or this well rounded list of offers, what am I missing? And a low ticket offer was the answer. That’s That’s what I was missing, I had nothing to offer somebody that was less than $250. So that’s where the membership came in. It’s like, okay, there’s a major gap in what I can offer people right now. Because if they don’t have $250 to spend, I’m like, Oh, well, sorry, by like I have nothing to give you. And that’s leaving a lot of opportunity on the table for a customer, I could then nurture to be somebody that would spend $500 on a course, right. So that’s kind of where the membership was born. After that my mastermind was born, which is that high ticket offer. So I kind of hit both ends of the spectrum, right, I was like, I need a low ticket, and I need a high ticket. So I did both of those within about a year and a half of each other. And then once I started, I did all those I had my membership, I had my courses and I had my mastermind, then I started to really analyze what was missing in terms of what my customers were needing. I kind of started to look at this success path of my customers. Since I am an educator, I wanted to be able to get them from point A of having no idea what they were doing as a senior photographer to thriving, right as a six figure photographer. So I started to kind of look at that success path. And I was like, Okay, what products are missing that could help them along this journey of, they start at my lowest ticket offer and go all the way to my high ticket offer. I want them to have everything they need to see success. And that’s where the shop products started to plug in is like, Okay, I’ve taught them about why they need a welcome guide and their experience, but I could make it for them so that they don’t have to like that would be an awesome product for them to save time and make more money in their businesses and also make me passive revenue as a product. So that’s kind of where the shop was born. And we’re actually launching more products next year that really fill in those gaps in the success path. So to break it down, really the kind of early seasons of my education. The decisions were made based on the time that I had to give versus the revenue I was going to make because I wanted to do something that was going to move the needle I needed The amount of time I invested to make me more money because I was in that kind of crisis burnt out mode. Right? So that’s kind of thought process number one in the beginning is what can I do that’s going to give me the best return right now, thought process number two, as I kind of continue to grow and expand is, how can we make a well rounded product suite where somebody can enter at a low ticket offer and have a clear journey of buy this next, then this next, then this next, and they kind of know what to expect in terms of what product they should buy. And then lastly, once we’ve kind of got this, these bare bones of, okay, they start here, then they go here, then they go here. Now let’s add in some supplemental products that can really help them along the Success Path and just continue to scale your passive revenue options.
Oh, my gosh, hope this was amazing. Because yes, to your point, I love just seeing how everything evolved, and you just laid it out perfectly, right? You come from a place of being burnt out what’s going to save you the most time. And but one thing I noticed in the journey is every single one built on top of each other, every single one of them, right, you took something that you learned from the very beginning, and then you use that to now make a more well rounded product, and you use that next round to build your membership. And you use that, you know, it’s, it’s amazing. And again, it truly does speak to the amount of work that it truly takes to build a passive income. And I just love hearing your journey cuz it didn’t happen overnight. It was not an overnight success. This is the amount of work that it requires to get where you’re at. And so one thing that I’m really interested in is because you do do all of these now. And so how were you throughout the year, right? So a calendar year? How are you essentially doing all of this, right? Because you also have to do launches to make sure that you are marketing your product. Like there’s so much that goes into it. And you’re doing this all throughout the year? What does your calendar year essentially look like when you’re preparing for all these multiple launches and the income and the passive income strategies? Yeah,
so I love you’re asking this right now, because this is the time of year where I’m analyzing this, especially as I prep for maternity leave, I’m like, Okay, we got to map all this out ahead of time. Because it does right, it becomes a lot of moving pieces, how do we make sure that we’re driving new people to the top of your funnel, and then driving them to each of these products is like where does it all fit in. So one of the things that I try to do is in this has really been a strategy we’ve kind of developed in the last year or two, where I try to have a focus project every single month. And that focus project always drives towards one of my products in some capacity so that each month we have something that is driving passive revenue to my business, but using a product or an offer that we already have. So I’m not constantly launching something new at this point, because we do have so many offers. Instead, I’m trying to figure out ways that we can drive traffic to each offer to really make the most out of what we have, versus trying to constantly reinvent the wheel. So I sit down to the beginning of each year. And like right now we’re doing that for 2024. It’s mid November, now we’re starting to look at what these focus projects could look like for the new year. The first thing that I do is I plug in my quarterly sales, we have one big sale each quarter. And those put all of my products on sale. And it’s kind of our biggest, like live launch that we do each quarter. So that handles four of the 12 focus projects, right, if we’re going to have 12 Focus projects, one a month, the four quarterly sales check off for off that box. So now I have eight months left in the year where I can plug in additional promotions or launches or sales or focus projects so that we can be driving traffic to different things. So I actually look at a yearly calendar, and I just start to plug stuff in like okay, if we have a quarterly sale in February, maybe in January, we are going to do a sale on one specific course that could then drive more interest for that February sale. And maybe in March because it is the start of busy season, we’re going to do a promotion for HoneyBook. Because it’s a good time to make sure you have your clients systems organized. And we kind of look at the year that way and plug in focused projects to make sure that all of our ducks in a row and our projects and products are being highlighted throughout the year. And then we take those focus projects, and we make a content calendar accordingly. Like okay, we’re going to talk about honey book in March. Let’s make some YouTube videos that go live in March about honey book. And we kind of work backwards with those focus projects each month in mind.
Oh, that’s so good. And it’s actually really helpful. It makes it sound because I was there in my mind. I’m like, how is she?
It does sound very stressful. And you break it down. Just
explain it. I’m like, oh, yeah, that’s doable.
We can do that. We could do do that. Yeah, well, I didn’t used to do that. I used to be very overwhelmed looking at it and being like, well, what the heck do I do now? Like what do I do with my hands? I have all this stuff and all these people but how do I make sure they’re being sold to effectively and they’re actually seeing each of these products and breaking it down in a monthly format that way really, really helps to make it more tangible and kind of easier to navigate.
Yeah, but it’s so I like how again, working backwards and it sounds like you take your big Guess thing and put that on there first and then kind of move everything around that to kind of supplement that. And that makes a lot of sense. And so I’m really just thinking about people that are listening, whether, you know, if they don’t have any passive income, or you know, they have a couple, you know, or maybe they have some similar to what you currently have, and they’re looking to like refine things. What I kind of asked you like three different people, but yeah, but what advice do you have to them in regards to just creating, so that passive income? Yeah,
so for somebody that has never done passive income before, or like, never really explored this type of revenue, my number one first piece of advice is to start an email list that is like should be top priority for anybody that wants to make passive revenue. If you’re somebody that’s making passive revenue, but you don’t have automated systems in place for your email, this applies to you to start an email list and create a content system that consistently drives new people to that list. And some of you just heard that and you’re like, Okay, hope, like easier said than done, sis, like, I can’t do that in one setting. And it took me a long time to like refine what that system looked like. But create an email list and a really strong lead magnet that drives customers to that list consistently, that is going to be step one, because if you don’t have anybody to sell to, then you shouldn’t be creating a product to sell right, I see a lot of people that create a course and they like I did, they put the cart before the horse, they create this product, and then they go to just post about it on Instagram and think that it’s going to sell. And that’s just not how it works. Because social media is so hard to use as a marketing system right now. So start an email list first and foremost, and get that growing before you try to start creating a product for people that already have a product in place. But maybe they’re not seeing a ton of success, or they aren’t seeing as much passive revenue as they would like to, I would almost give the same piece of advice about creating a content system that’s consistently driving new people into the front end of that email list. Because some people create a course because they already had an email list, right? So they’re selling that course to the people on their list, but they don’t have a system for getting new people into the top of their funnel. So they’re selling these products over and over and over to the same group of people. And they’re not realizing that the problem is there’s not new people coming in the front to get access to this product, right? Like they’ve already heard about it. They’ve either bought it or they don’t want it. So where are we going to get new people in the front end to actually be interested in these products. So if you’re somebody that’s not seeing success with what you’re currently trying to sell, I would question whether you have a strong enough system of getting new leads in the door and if those leads are the right type of people. And then for people that have multiple products already in place, maybe they already have like a passive income system running. My biggest piece of advice is to strip it down and simplify it as much as you possibly can. That’s when we talked about like misconceptions and mistakes earlier, that’s another big one that I experienced is that I saw so many right ways to do it, right? There’s like 25 ways that you can set up your email system and your passive revenue when your products to make a lot of money. And if you try to do all 25 of them, all of a sudden, you have paralyzed yourself because you have way overcomplicated the process. The process of automated sales and email marketing can be really, really simple. I see people try to like, tag everybody that comes in as a different thing, and then sell them a different product. And then if they buy this or click this, then they get this and then that gets really overwhelming. And it doesn’t have to be that complicated. So if you log into your email system or your course platform, and you just get overwhelmed looking at it, because there’s so many moving pieces, simplify it make it as simple as you possibly can. Because it doesn’t have to be hard in order to be successful. And I wish that somebody had like taught me that from the beginning, because I tried to do it the hard way when I didn’t have to back at the beginning.
I love that it doesn’t have to be hard in order to does it successful. Like that is so so key. And again, I think anybody no matter where you are in your passive income, strategy or journey, there’s something that you can take away from it. I think email marketing, I mean, it’s it’s key. And I think, you know, I’ve been seeing more conversations about it because I quizzes are making a comeback, you know, I think, yeah, they’re making a huge comeback right now. But I think you know, in terms of, especially with email marketing and creating opt ins, really ask your audience for me, I’m currently refining things my own business, we talked about that with my own journey. And like I’m currently asking people right now what they need from me and doing that work, right. So I can start making strategy based decisions within that. And I’m hoping to I’m actually leaning as well into building a course now because that’s what everybody asks for. Yes. Okay, we’re gonna do it that you know what I mean, but, but he even hearing you talk about that lets me know that, okay, like, it’s possible to do it. You just have to take the time to get to know your audience. How are you going to nurture them? How are you going to bring them into your system? And again, I think having a system is just so important because as you’re building things and as when things explode, do you have the system to accommodate Get those things. And so again, I think that’s just so so key, really taking the time out to really create that flow. And if you already have the flow, simplifying it really identify those gaps of where the struggle is. Where are you having a hard time? Where are you losing people? Again, everything is just really rooted in systems and planning as business owners. And it’s not the sexiest thing, but it’s what literally makes you have a sustainable business. It’s what’s so important and so key.
Yeah, well, and you just brought up such an important point about getting to know your audience and knowing them well. And that’s something that we really haven’t touched on, on this conversation. But it’s so important. And one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give anybody in any of those three seasons, right, like just getting started, maybe already has a product or even if you already have a whole passive income system built out, keep your customers a part of the conversation the entire time. Because I used to spend like days or weeks trying to brainstorm what products I would launch the following year, or what was the you know, good idea, or the next best thing that I could offer. And I completely undervalued and underestimated, ask just asking my audience, like, if you don’t ask your audience what they want from you and involve them in the conversation of what would be most valuable? Why did you start following me in the first place? What video Have you watched that gave you a huge lightbulb moment? Like, why are you here? What do you want more of for me, if you’re not asking those questions, then you could be creating products that are just so far from what your audience actually needs from you. And that could end up wasting a lot of time and a lot of revenue. And I have always been fascinated when I survey my audience and just even Instagram story polls like that doesn’t have to be complicated, either. But involve your customers in the conversation because they should be the people that you’re creating for. And if you’re not giving them an opportunity to speak into what you’re creating, then you might be missing out on a lot of money.
1,000% I think I was shocked by the answers. Maybe like courses, because for me personally, I was like, you know, maybe courses are not the thing anymore, or you know what I mean? Or I just thought in my mind, like, I’m burned out from courses right now. So I had to remove myself from that, right? You take yourself out of it. Because we, when you put yourself in your business, you become biased, right? And you certainly don’t know what your audience is thinking. So it’s like, you have to just make the ask and give them what they want. And I’m just saving myself right now a lot of times, so it’s true, like really make the ask get to know your audience and bring them along the journey with you. I think that’s one that you do so well is that you’re very honest about your business, the transparency, you bring people in with whatever you have going on, no matter what season of business you’re you’re in. And I think that’s why people just love and know you and trust you so much and are willing to invest in no matter what income stream you have going on. And that’s it and that season. So yes, I have absolutely loved this conversation. It’s been just so impactful, so many really great tangible tips. Another question I’m really curious about, I have to actually but one of them being so you have all of these multiple income streams? And how are you learning to like, what I guess more? So analytics are you looking at in terms of refining each income stream?
Oh, love that. So we have my team builds for me each month, what we call a scorecard. And every month I kind of analyze this scorecard to see what’s working and what isn’t. One of those analytics we look at is followers and engagement on all my social platforms, YouTube being a big one. Like what videos are performing? Well, that’s what we’re looking at for top of funnel right, like, what videos are performing well. What content are people wanting to see more of? And how many leads? Are we actually getting into the front end of our funnels? That’s a really big one for us, then we’re looking at things like open rates and click rates of our actual emails, that’s going to indicate a lot, right? Which subject lines aren’t working? Which links aren’t getting clicked on? And why which products are people finding really interesting? And what part of the journey? Are they finding those emails interesting? Like, are they buying this product right when they join? Or are they buying this product like six months into being on my email list? Those are a lot of things that we pay attention to. And then specifically with my membership, we’re looking at like retention and how long they’re watching when they’re canceling their subscription if they’re canceling and why we have a survey system set up for that to get that feedback. So we’re looking at a lot of different elements for me in this current season of business we actually just redid my whole email sequence like my entire product flow or system for selling all my products got a big facelift this year. So the top of funnel is actually what we’re looking at pretty closely because we’re analyzing what’s working and what’s not as I go into maternity leave so we can only do more of what’s working.
Yes Oh I love that I love that you gave us that that inside glimpse and how you just look at your business holistically. And I think this is also important to know especially as people are maybe feeling discouraged or intimidated with starting up passive income strategies don’t get attached to the results. Like yeah, use them as a way to fuel you into your next step your next passive income strategy whatever that could look like. I think that’s something that’s so key because I feel like a lot of times it’s because we can get be can be afraid to try something new. We’re like, well, what if I fail or things have to be perfect before I launch it, I think, again, when you detach yourself from the results and realize that your worth doesn’t come from that, it makes it a lot easier. Like I literally look at now everything in my business as an experiment, and that has truly changed my mindset. I’m like, I’m running an experiment right now. So I have my control, you know, I laid out like that. So then I feel I don’t feel afraid now to try different things. I’m like, Okay, this, like, I’m just looking for the feedback here. So I know what next step to take. And so just hearing all of that just was really encouraging. And so another question that I also have is, you know, I feel like the landscape for small business owners are changing quite a bit, you know what I mean? And so, what? How are you viewing the future of entrepreneurship? And especially in terms of your passive income strategies? Are there new things you’re going to be trying? Or, you know, you’re going to keep things the way they are now? Because they’re working? I mean, you just said that you did give a facelift to your email sequence? Was there any like tools that you use anything new? I don’t know. There’s just so many things happening, especially with like AI and other things. Yeah, what are your thoughts?
It’s, it is all there’s so much changing, like so many things. And even when I look back at the last five years of my business, Instagram used to be my platform where I would have like the best engagement and the best results with everything that I did. And now my posts get like zero engagement, despite having a relatively large following, like, it is just so crazy how you always have to shift and change with the times. So one of the biggest things that we’re doing, which kind of circles back, something I said earlier, is that we’re really really simplifying everything from the back end, but also everything on the front end. So I’ll start with the back end, we are instead of having and I’ll get very technical here, we use ConvertKit for email. So instead of having all of these different forms in like 17 different ways you could get on my list, and then five different journeys. Once you’re on my list. Instead of having all of these different moving pieces, we have stripped it down to one simplified product flow, so that no matter how you join my list, or where you join my list, we know what order you’re being pitched our products, because we know what makes the most sense from a Success Path perspective, right? Like, you should take this product first, because then you’ll understand this course. And then if you buy this product, then it’ll make this next step easier. So instead of trying to piecemeal together all these different moving pieces, we’ve created one massive simplified product flow that everybody goes through right when they join my email list, and it just has made it so much easier to navigate on the back end. But from a marketing perspective on the front end, because of all the things you just talked about, right, like social media is so fast moving video content is so fast moving our attention spans are like chopped in half the amount of content we can to consume and the amount of ads we see on social media is bananas. But as consumers, we need to see content repeatedly. And we need it to be simple and easy to understand if I have to put any effort into understanding what your product is or how to buy it. I’m opening the next tab and going to Amazon instead, like we need to simplify our messaging in the way that we are getting the products in people’s hands. So we’re simplifying things like the checkout process, like making it as easy as possible for people to check out. We’re simplifying our sales pages so that instead of having these like really heavy copy focused sales pages that go on and on and on about my heart behind the product, and why I love being a teacher, we’re just like, No, it cost this much. And this is the result that you’re going to see, here’s a one click Checkout button. Because we’ve just learned that it’s so fast moving that we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get their hands on these products. So I would say that it kind of all encompasses the changes we’re making right now is just stripping it down, simplifying the back end, but also simplifying the messaging and the marketing on the front end.
Oh, I love that so much. I love that. I think again, that’s just so key as business owners is that you have to always be okay with pivoting you always have to be okay with changing. And I think again, it speaks to what we said earlier about how key it is to truly know who it is that you’re speaking to. Because as a storytelling strategist is one of the things that offer my intensive 10 times it is really breaking down that client customer journey story and you know yours extremely well. And that’s what’s driving a lot of these strategic decisions that you’re making. And what’s going to make things as easy as possible for people to purchase from you. What barriers are you removing, to make things as easy as possible? How can we still lean into that client experience so that people can still want to work with you? Again, how are what barriers are you removing for them? And I just love that this. This conversation has been fantastic hope. And so the last question I’ve been through I’ve thought so many questions that you know, I love it. Amazing, because it’s so good. Everything that you shared has been so impactful and powerful. And I know I’ve speak for myself, but I’m sure people that listening now like feel inspired to go off and start something in regards to passive income, whether that be a course membership, whatever that may be. But the question that I have for you is what do you think is the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail? Oh,
this is such a good question. Oh my gosh, there are so many directions that I could take that I, I feel like in the vein of what we’ve talked a lot about about like not being scared to start something new and about kind of using your failures just to learn and treating new things as an experiment, and just helping, letting that content help you to move forward and figure out what you need to know about your audience. I think one of the biggest things, especially in this passive space that differentiates people is your ability to change with the times and try things again, at a new angle, if they don’t work the way you thought the first time. Because one of the things I see so often in, like my mastermind, students who are incredible that they’re in that high level coaching program, where I work really closely with them is that they put so much work into a first launch, like when you’re creating a product for the first time, it’s a lot of work, right? Like, it’s our baby, but it’s our pride and joy, right? Like we’re putting this thing into the world. And if it doesn’t go exactly how we thought it was gonna go, it can be really easy to feel really defeated by that, because we’ve put 100% of our heart and soul into this product. And it would be really easy to then just put that product on a shelf and never talk about it again, and kind of have your tail tucked between your legs, like what I talked about earlier with my first course launch. And I think the differentiator is the people that are willing to look at that and analyze it and be strategic about it, and then do it again. And that’s just I hate how like, fluffy and like typical that sounds like just get back up and keep trying. But I actually am somebody that has anxiety and like really struggle with this sometimes of like, okay, but what you know, this could go wrong, and this could go wrong, and people can hate it. And people could say mean things on the internet. And here’s the 100 negative things that could come out of me trying this again. And my therapist actually says this to me, she her name is Maria shout out Maria, we love her. But she always says if I if I say I’m anxious about something or come up with, you know, a reason that I’m stressed, she always says okay, let’s actually discuss the worst possible case scenario, right? Because our brain will create 17 worst possible case scenarios, and then we’ll just spiral and be stressed and not try again, or BPO fear of failure. But if we actually analyze the worst case scenario, like, Okay, if I launched this product that I’ve worked really hard on, and I don’t make as much money as I thought, what’s gonna happen? I’m gonna be a little sad, right? Somebody could say something mean on the internet, then what? I’m going to delete their comment, then what I’m going to block them, then what I’m never going to think about it again. And I’m just going to do it again. The worst possible case scenarios are never as bad as we make them seem in our brain. And I think that that kind of mindset shift and piece of advice has really helped me to look at it, like you said, like an experiment. Try it, see what happens, analyze it and try again, because the worst possible case scenario is never as bad as our brain tries to tell us it’s gonna be
yes. Oh, well shout out to Maria, honey. Okay, Maria, we love her. We love you, Maria. Oh, my gosh, I think that is powerful, though. Like, even when you were saying the steps of like, and then what? And I’m like, oh, yeah, like it just it doesn’t get as bad, right? Like, the feelings, the negative feelings that you feel, it just becomes less and less and less. And I love that. I think it’s key again, mindset is so important as a business owner, right. And I love that your transparency within that. It just shows like, anybody doesn’t matter where you’re at in your business, whether you are listening, and you’re contemplating about, you know, taking the leap, or you’ve been in business owner for maybe three to five years, or you’ve been in the game for 20 years, it doesn’t matter, all of us are thinking the exact same thing. And so what can you do to make sure that your mindset is good to move forward. And I love that and so hope Thank you, thank you so much for this conversation. I you just, it’s been jammed packed with so many helpful things. If people want to connect with you, where can they find you?
Thank you for having me. Akua I just adore you. And it was such an honor. And I love talking about this topic. If people want to find more, actually, I have a YouTube channel that I have videos about a lot of the things we talked about today. It’s like my quarterly planning system that we talked about. There’s a video of me doing that in real time. Some of my email marketing stuff, there’s a lot of videos about that. So just search hope Taylor on YouTube, and you’ll find me there if you want more education on this. If you want a fun place to follow me and see like baby and life updates. Hope Taylor photography is my Instagram. And that’s where I am sharing most consistently.
Oh, my goodness. And yes, please go check out our YouTube videos because I have absolutely watched a few and yet your Instagram is so fun to follow just so much joy all the time and your content and I love it. And to help. Thank you. Thank you again so much for being here. Hope and if you were listening, thank you so much for tuning in. And until next time. That ends our episode of The Independent Business Podcast. Everything we’ve discussed today can be found at [email protected]. Head to our website to access for shownotes relevant links and all the resources that you need to level up. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you never miss our future content. Drop us a review and leave our guests some love on social and thank you again for listening.