What is Passive Income and are Online Courses Passive Income?

Passive income is something everybody wants, but not many people know how to create.

My guess is that passive income is something you want to create in your business. 

But before you can create passive income, we need to get on the same page about a few things: 

What is passive income?

Does passive income really exist? 

Can an online course be passive income?

This post covers what passive income looks like for digital products, and then answers the question of whether online courses can even be considered passive income.

What is Passive Income?

Nothing you do starts out as passive income. 

Passive income is a system you use to sell your product at scale that for the most part is hands off and streamlined. 

But passive income doesn't happen overnight.

In order to create a passive income product, you have to do a lot of work upfront.

So, let’s bust the myth right now that you can set up your passive income product once and then go lay on a beach, because that’s just not how it works!

First, you’re going to have to create the product. This might take you a few weeks or months to validate and create. 

Then, you need to create the systems that it will take to sell the product. This can take another few months to really hone in on the systems.
You might decide to sell your product through  an automated webinar, a free email course, or have affiliates drive traffic who are doing their own limited time promotions for your product without you promoting it.

In some cases, just one piece of the puzzle is completely passive, so here’s an example.

A lot of people think of an ebook for a passive income product, right? The fact is that with an ebook, the delivery or the fulfillment of that product is passive. 

Someone buys it, and they can download it directly from the system, whether it's Gumroad, or DPD, or SamCart. 

They can buy the ebook, and then it immediately gets delivered to them. Well, that part of it is passive.  

create an online course for profit

But the next question is, is the promotion passive? Or are you having to go out there every single week and promote your buns off to get people to buy it? 

So there's multiple pieces of the “passive income puzzle”. There's the delivery of the product itself and the promotion and marketing.

In many cases, the delivery can be passive and the promotion is active.

Ebooks are one example of a digital product that you can sell. Other examples are templates, or printables. It can be anything that you can automatically deliver to a customer online.

We talked about 5 types of passive income products here.

Are Online Courses really Passive Income?

Online courses can become passive income in certain situations, but not always. For the most successful course creators we know, they’re not.

That’s because there are so many live elements with a course that you’re opening a few times a year. On top of that, running a live course isn’t very passive. 

What an Active Course Looks Like 

Launch Your Signature Course today

An example of an “active course” is Launch Your Signature Course®. There are open and closed launches, and a very active community that takes daily participation from the Mariah Coz team.

There are live group calls every two weeks. Those are obviously very active, and require us to be there and do the work continually. It isn’t just set it and forget it. 

Running this type of active course is called leveraged income.

The product is created once, but promoting it is definitely NOT passive, and running those classes live is leveraged, but not passive. 

What a Passive Income Course Looks Like 

You can have a self-study version of your course that's set up in a passive funnel or in some sort of automated way. 

It wouldn’t have a community that you're active in every day, no live calls, group office hours, or any live interaction with students.

Someone would purchase the course, receive all of the materials automatically, and that’s it! That's the end of the interaction.
If you have a passive income course, and you don't offer community, support, live calls, or anything like that as part of your program, and maybe people don't get as good of results, you might need to reevaluate.

There are definitely ways to make an online course passive. If you're launching it, if you're promoting it in anyway, it's not truly passive income though, it’s leveraged.

What a Blend of Active and Passive Courses Look Like 

The middle ground would be having your course evergreen (someone can buy it anytime), and having ongoing support for new students and existing students. 

So the course creator (you), in that sense, might feel like it's mostly passive because the cart is open and they're not launching it, but they are doing that monthly call or they have an active Facebook group. 

Part of it is passive, but the whole thing isn't truly passive. 

Deciding How Passive You Want Your Online Course to Be 

It all comes down to the lifestyle you want to have! And it might evolve over time. 

So, it's up to you to choose how you want to run your course and what kind of support you need to offer in order for it to be successful.

Some online courses lend themselves to being great passive income products, and others wouldn’t be successful if it was completely passive.

For example, if you have a $97 course that can be implemented in an hour, an ongoing community or coaching calls aren’t necessary for your students to be successful. 

It really depends on your course and what will work best for you and your students! Always test your options and see what works. 

If you’re wondering how all of the systems come together to make your passive income product work and connect, be sure to download the Passive Income Systems and Tools Guide now!

What are your biggest questions about passive income? Have you created a digital product already? Let us know in the comments!

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