How to Decode the Passive Income Blogging Puzzle

The foundational steps needed to market and sell your first digital product

Jon Brosio
Mar 27 · 12 min read
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Photo Credit: Josh Coleman

The entire blogosphere is like a gigantic puzzle that seems impossible to solve. Every day, you make strides towards building your blog and putting in place automated systems that are meant to help build a passive income machine. However, with every day that passes, it seems like there is new information, puzzle pieces, that compound on top of what you've already created, causing more anxiety that you'll never truly unlock the secret to building a passive income blogging machine.

There are hundreds if not thousands of writers, bloggers, and marketing gurus writing their own version of how to achieve the aforementioned goal. With an estimated 31.7 million bloggers in the United States alone, it can feel like there is too much information existing on the web. Generally, the issue with building your own passive income blog and online business isn't necessarily that there is too much information. The problem is the information causes paralysis by analysis.

What is paralysis by analysis? According to Investopedia, "analysis paralysis refers to a situation in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of overanalyzing data or overthinking a problem."

In the context of building a monetized and passive income generating online business, a budding entrepreneur can become overwhelmed with the amount of information and education telling them how to proceed forward, what utilities to buy, and what decisions to make. The influx of viable decisions, and the associated negative outcomes of those decisions, cause countless novice online entrepreneurs to halt any and all of their progression.

An up-and-coming online entrepreneur will choose buying the most recent bestselling marketing book over writing a new piece of content thinking that the next answer they need is within the book. While our hero, in this case, can learn some valuable information from the literature, we all know that they lose valuable time in getting their content out to the audience that is looking for it. In this article, we're going to go over the various strategies, techniques, tools, mindsets, and practices you need to commit to right now in order to decode the passive income blogging puzzle.

Passive Income Overview

Many people have different definitions of what passive income is. This is understandable seeing as it can be applied to a handful of different contexts.

Passive income can be applied in the:

  • Real estate space
  • Investing segment
  • Sale of digital products, services, and content

For the purposes of this article, we're going to focus on the sale of digital products, services, and content. Furthermore, let's completely spell out the definition of passive income. According to BusinessDictionary passive income is,

“Earnings from […] other sources of income (in which the earner does not take an active part), not including salary, wage, interest, or capital gain. Also called unearned income, passive income can be written off against passive losses.”

Now, when it comes to our context, a red pill of honesty needs to be taken. You will be putting in an immense amount of active work upfront in order to achieve the passive income you desire. In 2020, there are scores if not hundreds of different automated tools that you need to employ and enact in order to achieve the passive income dream.

There are going to be individuals reading and absorbing this article that are going to want to leave their pessimistic responses in the comment section offering up their opinion on how passive income is a hoax and how there needs to be work performed in order to achieve as such. Well, I've already outlined and conceded to that. So if you're one of those naysayers please do one of two things:

  1. Suspend your critiques and approach the content with an open mind
  2. Leave this article and don't waste your time. This article isn't here to convince anyone out of their already preconceived confirmation biases.

This article is for the dreamers, doers, and believers.

Why You Should Strive to Build an Automated, Passive Income Online Blogging Business

The world is changing. What used a be a world where you could:

  • Do well in school
  • Go to a good college
  • Get a degree
  • Find a well-paying job
  • Stay with that job and receive benefits
  • Start a family due to the job security
  • Work until retirement
  • Live a good life

Is gone. This script is disappearing due to two primary factors:

  • The rise of the gig economy
  • Artificial intelligence and automation

Briefly, I'm going to uncover why both of these factors are contributing to the dissolution of the classic script and why & how this yields an opportunity to build a passive income enterprise through blogging.

According to a study conducted by NACo, "The gig economy is made up of […] the independent workers paid by the gig (i.e., a task or a project) as opposed to those workers who receive a salary or hourly wage […] These companies make it easier for workers to find a quick, temporary job (i.e., a gig) […] One of the main differences between a gig and traditional work arrangements, however, is that a gig is a temporary work engagement, and the worker is paid only for that specific job."

Hiring a contractor or gig economy worker is cheaper for the organization in question and offers more flexibility for the person hired. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, knowledge-intensive industries and creative occupations are the largest and fastest-growing segments of the freelance economy. This is great news for the creative about to embark on their entrepreneurial blogging journey, but that will come in later.

The second factor as to why we are seeing traditional employment diminish is the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence in the marketplace. If you haven't heard a whisper about how automation is going to be the downfall of the traditional worker in our global economy, perhaps you’ve been living under a rock. Many political pundits, futurists, economists, and sensationalists see automation as a doomsday prophecy. How are we supposed to flourish as a global economy when no one will be working?

This global economic shift can be seen as an opportunity, however. Instead of it resulting in the displacement of millions of jobs, McKinsey further projects that by 2030 the United States alone will lose 73 million jobs due to automation. On a positive note, the study further goes on as to how creative professions will have the opportunity to flourish in this new economic landscape.

How to Actualize the Passive Income Formula in the New Economy

For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume that you are familiar with and have already progressed through various stages in the blogging/online business creation:

If you haven't progressed or are unfamiliar with any of those stages in the blogging journey, use the link within the respective bullet point. There, you will be able to find guides that will help you progress to that point.

Continuing, we are a place now where we have and operating blog that is getting constant traffic and we are building an email list as a result. From here, we are going to need to create our first product, set up a payment processor, and redirect every email subscriber that comes our way to a product-pitch page in order to start making passive sales.

1. How to Create Your First Passive Income Product

The creation of your first passive income product is where many bloggers become paralyzed and cannot seem to progress past the hobbyist blogger stage. This is due to many reasons:

  • The fear of putting one's name behind a product
  • Paralysis by analysis in trying to make the perfect product
  • Not having any idea in what to make
  • Not having any idea how to make your product
  • And perhaps many more

In this section, we are going to approach our first digital product creation with the lowest hanging fruit in mind. What do I mean by that? Well, we're going to create a product that is easy to make, doesn't require much time bandwidth to do so, that sells for a low price, and can be uploaded into a digital merchant plugin in little time.

So often with any entrepreneurial endeavor, the first step is the hardest. You think you need to create and sell something that is going to drastically change the lives of the entire planet. With that thought, however, you tend to bog yourself and your business down with too many ideas and not enough action. Here, we're going to create a simple PDF digital download packed with value in order to create our first passive income product.

I like to start with the creation of a downloadable digital product for a few reasons:

  • You can use the speed of getting set up to your advantage, time is money.
  • You don't have to worry too much about the formatting, though some presentation formatting is necessary.
  • You can easily host the product through your WP site for free.

So what are the makings of your digital product? In the blogging and online entrepreneurial world, you should always be taking into consideration your audience, and customer for that matter. You need to always be putting yourself in their shoes. Your audience and future customers are always asking themselves these questions:

  • "What's in it for me?"
  • "What problem am I looking to solve"

This is where your opportunity lies. In your downloadable PDF, what problem can you solve for your audience? This has to be a simple enough problem that you're going to put into a PDF but a large enough problem that your audience cannot seem to solve on their own. Depending on your niche and space, this could be any number of things:

  • A 30-day meal plan and exercise regimen to help radically and positively alter someone's life.
  • A selection of psychological tools that one can use to help get them in front of women and secure ten dates within the next month.
  • Negotiation tactics that will help build confidence in a person for walking into their boss's office and negotiating a raise.
  • A 60-day budgeting matrix to help a reader save enough money to travel on the cheap across Europe.

I just ran through a few ideas in my head considering a number of different niches. You are the expert within your space. You're going to need to use your own know-how in order to come up with a product that will help your audience.

Once you have an idea of what you're going to solve [create], it's time to write it out. This is going to be written out fully, but be a bit different than your average article. Using this resource, "How To Write The Ultimate Blog Post," you are going to create an article like PDF with a few added benefits. You are going to want to break up each section of your article into "chapters" in your PDF. You can use headings as place markers for your creation:






After each Chapter, if you really want to provide value to your audience, and you should, it's important to offer up Actions To Take for the reader. This is how they can actually solve their problem and make progress. After each chapter, what is something they can do to better themselves? Give them an actual plan. Sometimes this takes the form of a worksheet:



Sometimes, it might be a checklist, for workouts completed, etc. Next, we take our fully-formed product and start formatting it into our PDF.

Many individuals reading this might think that in order to have a viable and valuable downloadable PDF for sale, you would have to pitch for bids with a graphic designer on a site like Fiverr or Upwork. The truth is, you don't. Now, I'm not going to recommend that you just write up your product and have your customer purchase a white-backed, black lettering PDF that doesn't have any formatting. Instead, we're going to utilize Canva and Google Slides for our cover page for the majority of our formatting, as well as the rest of the pages.

With Canva, you have access to hundreds of ebook designs for free. This will help you create an eye-catching and conversion-based cover design for your new product, completely for free. With the body of the PDF download, we're going to use Google Slides. If you've never used this, it is similar to Microsoft Powerpoint, and you can probably use that too if you have it.

With Google Slides, we're going to do a few things in order to make our PDF document friendly:

  • First, go into file and change the page setup to 8.5 x 11, like any pdf brochure would be.
  • Then, you are going to insert image and choose the image that you just created in Canva.
  • After, you are going to create a text box in the next page. Make it almost the entire size of the page, but leave some margins.
  • Then, you are slowly going to start copy and pasting the content you created with your guide.
  • Every time you are going to run out of room, duplicate the current slide, erase the content you already posted, and fill in with where you left off.

After you've filled the entire GoogleSlide with your content, you are going to save the file as a PDF.

2. Selling your passive income product

If you already aren't building an email list, you should be. An email list is the lifeblood of any online business. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you're a major multinational like Nike, email works. Don't you ever wonder why Nike keeps asking for your email and then subsequently sending you promotional emails? It's because they work.

Regardless, for our purposes, you should already be building your email list. If not, here is a resource to help you out. Now, whenever you acquire a new email subscriber what generally happens? Well, most people just have a thank you pop up or some type of email that offers thanks as well as instructions to get the new subscriber initiated into the list. This can take the form of a welcome series or the exchange of a free opt-in download.

What many bloggers don't do is send their new subscribers through to a redirect. Think about the psychology going on with this subscriber. If the subscriber opted-in to the list because of some promise that you will help aid some problem that has been plaguing them, chances are there is a high level of emotional excitement with the new subscriber. You want to use that to your business's advantage.

You now have a product that is going to provide value and help this new subscriber achieve even more. You should put that product in front of them. Don't make it so they have to find it. With many email service providers, after a user signs up and subscribes, you can redirect them to a different page. This redirect should be a pitch page for your product.

Because this is your first product, and you are offering it at a fair and low price, you are setting yourself and your business up for a passive income sale. It is passive because the redirect and the pitch happens automatically after a successful subscription.


You have successfully set up your first passive income blogging business. Of course, much of this has to do with putting in a copious amount of active work. Once that is completed, however, and you have put in the necessary systems to build your passive income machine, you'll be off and running.

The necessary steps are:

Many bloggers and aspiring online entrepreneurs are afraid and don't know where to start with this step. By building a downloadable guide/ebook, you are both accelerating your efforts in getting a product to market and also getting used to converting your hobbyist blog into an actual business. You will need to format this ebook effectively.

Many, if not all, email service subscribers offer the ability to redirect a new subscriber to an external URL after subscription. This is your opportunity to passively put your newly created product in front of the people who are looking for it. Whenever someone opts-in to your list, they will be pitched this product on autopilot.

Building a successful blogging business doesn't have to be as hard as you think. All you need are the tools and strategies that successful online entrepreneurs are already using. While there is more that can catapult your earnings, luxury courses, etc., but this is the place to start. Once you have a handle on this, you'll begin to see more pieces of the passive blogging puzzle and acquire the pieces to complete it.

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Thanks to Niklas Göke

Jon Brosio

Written by

📚 3 Mil+ Views | 🤠 Internet Cowboy | 🍷 Wine Aficionado | I'll Teach You How To Build a 💰-Making Blog:

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

Jon Brosio

Written by

📚 3 Mil+ Views | 🤠 Internet Cowboy | 🍷 Wine Aficionado | I'll Teach You How To Build a 💰-Making Blog:

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

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