‘I work just 5 hours a week’: 39-year-old who makes $160,000/month in passive income shares his best advice

When starting a business, it can be hard to know what to do first, and it can be hard to do everything by yourself. But there are ways to keep from falling into the same traps.

My goal is to show people how to make money from what they love to do. It’s what I did: I used to get food stamps, but then I started two online businesses.

Today, I run a music blog called The Recording Revolution and a company that helps people start their own businesses. I work from home five hours a week and make $160,000 a month in passive income. Here’s what I tell my 3,000 clients who are starting a business to think about in the first 30 days:

1. Know what you want to do with your time.
Many new business owners I meet only know one thing: how much money they want to make. Even though that’s a good place to start, it’s not enough. Your business should work for you, not the other way around. So make sure it fits with what you want and what you hope to achieve.

Please answer these three questions to describe the kind of business and life you want: How would the ideal day look? Don’t just think about a normal day at work. Think about other things you want to do in your day, like going to the gym or spending time with your family.

How many hours a week would you like to work? You don’t have to work the typical 40 hours per week. If you know exactly how many hours you want to work, you can better decide which tasks to do first. How important is having a break? Some people don’t care much about taking time off as long as they enjoy what they do. Others like having more time off. You’ll need a passive income stream if you want to have money coming in even when you’re not working.

2. Keep your business model simple.
People told me that to grow my music education business, I needed to test my sales pages, have launch parties, and pre-record a lot of ads. I kept it simple and focused on three things: making weekly content for my blog and YouTube channel, growing my email list from that audience, and promoting the paid products I made to that list.

If you’re just getting started, make content about what you know to build an audience. Not everything has to be just right. You can change things as you go and make new products based on what people want more of.

3. Cut out unnecessary daily tasks.
Could you figure out what you do every day that will help you make more money? Don’t waste time or wear yourself out on tasks that aren’t important. Getting to “inbox zero” or changing the colour of the buttons on your website might make you feel good, especially in the beginning when you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something. But neither of these will help you make money.

Ask yourself these three questions before you start a new task: What do you think will happen if you do this task? Does it bring in more cash? Can I show a clear connection between doing that task and getting paid? How much will this cost instead of something else?

4. Prioritize having fun.
People can tell if you do something for money or because you love it. This will make your customers trust you more and keep you in business for a long time. You don’t want to lose interest in life because you spent all your time doing things you didn’t care about.

When my students start out as entrepreneurs, I always tell them to build a business around something they can see themselves doing and enjoying for the next ten years.

Graham Cochrane started The Recording Revolution and wrote “How to Get Paid for What You Know.” He has helped more than 3,000 people start their own businesses and make them better.

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