The freelancing lifestyle is defined by one word, uncertainty! As a freelance designer or developer you are building a company as a service provider, and that means you’ll experience times when no income is coming from your service. You aren’t going to have steady client work all the time. So how do you go about to prepare for this, CREATE SOURCES OF PASSIVE INCOME! And what better way to do that than creating tutorials?
Creating tutorials is great even outside passive income because it gives you a chance to grow your brand, showcase your talents to potential clients, and gets you active in the community. This is enough talking about doing, lets get to it!
Note: This article is best read with Super Guide on How to Write Web Design and Development Tutorials
Getting Over Your Fear To Get Started
I know starting to write tutorials seems very intimidating. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “who in the world would ever want to learn from the way I do things?” Right? In actuality in our field everyone, to a degree, has an obsession with reading and learning from others. This is partly due to how fast everything changes and needing to keep up, and understanding that we can learn from each others experiences and mistakes. So don’t stress it, just get to doing.
What You Need To Get Started
Now that your fear for getting started is gone, lets get going. If you are just planning on creating tutorials for popular blogs like 1WD, then getting started is a cinch. It’s as simple as figuring out the typical content they publish, create something similar to that, and email them about it with your pitch. Simple as can be. On the other hand, doing this with your own blog is a lot more work.
Lets take a moment and look at what you need to get your own blog up and running. With your own blog you don’t really need much. All that’s essential is an easily remembered domain, good name, good design and UX, comfortable with a CMS of choice (WP, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, Refinery, etc.) figuring out how often you’d like to publish articles/tutorials, and most importantly, the content itself. Everything listed is an essential item, but content will always be king on your blog.
So here is a more direct check list to look over.
- Memorable domain
- Good blog name
- Good design and UX
- Being comfortable with your CMS of choice
- Deciding on a publishing schedule
- Content, content, content
All that seems really easy right?
Generating Passive Income From Your Tutorials
So now you’ve gotten over your fears of getting started, you know the simple formula of how to prepare tutorials for top blogs, and have an idea of the basic necessities needed to get started as well. So now lets take a quick detour to discuss how you’re going to generate income from your tutorials.
For the most part, all those people you see writing tutorials on blog sites don’t have any real plan. All they’re doing is trying to create a new revenue stream from writing tutorials. In fact most of them don’t even have a portfolio site set up. Whether you’re going to be writing tutorials for your own blog or another site, you need a plan. Lets get to making one.
For Guest Posting
Now if you’re doing tutorials for another site, then you should have some sort of related product you do or could offer. It doesn’t have to be anything major, maybe a theme or a plugin. The smart thing would be to leverage the publicity from doing tutorials on other sites to bring more attention to your products. No extra work put into marketing, and you get to turn readers into possible buyers.
For Your Own Blog
This is a little harder here. This takes a lot of work in the early stages. You’ll need to put a lot of work into marketing, original content, social network interaction, and a whole lot of areas. Too much for a little short description to do it justice, so we’ll talk more about this in the next section.
Getting Your First Taste of Traffic From Affiliations
Many blog sites have some sort of affiliation program that they offer. It could be with the blog itself, or a product they offer, either way it is a great way for you to piggy back off their community to grow yours. This method is great because it takes very little effort on your part. Lets look at a quick 5 step guide in doing this.
- Step 1: Start your own blog.
- Step 2: Take the time to create a good body of content for your blog. I’d say 10 quality tutorials and/or articles would do.
- Step 3: Find a select group of industry blogs that are popular in the area you write on, and offer them a tutorial to publish.
- Step 4: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Ask them to allow you to include at least one link to a specific post on your blog – you can even go as far as waive the fee that they would normally pay you for your article.
- Step 5: Discretely promote yourself in your post, see below for example.
Alright, so in this tutorial we’re going to teach you how to create WordPress themes. Now I don’t just start from scratch with every product, that is a major time drain, instead I start out with this framework I created [framework name]. I created from the basic foundation I found myself creating for all the sites I build.
Improving Reach with Affiliate Promotions
No matter how hard you try, your tutorial and/or article will have linkage to another’s product because you use it in your process. Why not use that to your advantage? Here is a quick guide to getting affiliate promotions from the products you mentioned and using them to your advantage.
- Get in touch with the product owner who’s product who you’d like to promote in your post
- Negotiate some sort of arrangement where your promotion, or your site, gets featured on their site
- Repeat process with other product owners who’s product you’d like to use in other articles
Easy as can be right?
Side Effect: You’ll Get More Clients!
The longer you run your blog with great content, for more noticeable you’ll become. This notice doesn’t just include other creatives, but clients too! Your blog will offer another source of validation a potential client may need to be able to decide if they want to hire you for their project.
Real World Examples
Okay after all that talking about how to earn passive income, you’re probably anxious to see some real examples. That is why in this section we’re going to let successful people tell you how they were able to turn their blogging into successful sources of income. Interviews provided by.
David Appleyard is a writer, designer and editor based in the UK. He was able to turn his blog, Design Shack, into a very successful source of income. Take the time to read this interview done with him.
In this interview, David:
- Tells the story of Design Shack.
- Explains his take on what makes a website successful.
- Shares how he monetizes Design Shack.
Erika Napoletano holds no fancy titles and is an expert at nothing except screwing up royally and learning from her mistakes. Despite this, she was able to gain the attention of Forbes, being branded as a “spinless spin doctor”, and have two book deals under her belt.
In this interview, Erika talks about
- Turning your personal website into more than a small passive income
- Shares the importance of being yourself in your online self repusentation
Further Reading Material
Although there was a lot of great information for you in this post, it is always a great idea to continue reading to find different ideas. That is why I’ve gathered up some great articles from the 1WD and FounderTips vaults that should really help you get going. Below that, you’ll find some great books and sites that will help you with understanding passive income and marketing. Happy readings!
- Real People, Real Money: How 7 Web Designers Who Earn Passive Income
- 5 Reasons Why Blogs Fail Hard
- Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Blogger (still gotta ask if its right for you)