A 39-year-old making $160,000/month in passive earnings shares his finest recommendation

When starting a business it is sometimes difficult to know what to prioritize and doing it alone can be overwhelming. But there are strategies you can use to avoid common pitfalls.

My mission is to teach people how to make money from their passions. It’s what I did: I went from grocery stamps to building two online businesses.

Today I run a music blog, The Recording Revolution, and an entrepreneurship coaching business. I work just five hours a week from my home office and earn $160,000 a month in passive income.

Here’s what I tell my 3,000 clients to think about in the first 30 days of starting a business:

1. Be clear about how you want to spend your time.

Many new business owners I meet only know one thing: how much money they want to make.

While this is a good starting point, it is incomplete. Your business should serve your life, not the other way around. So make sure it aligns with your hopes, dreams, and goals.

Ask three questions to get clear about the kind of business and life you want:

  1. What does a perfect day look like for you? Don’t just think about your typical work day. Think about other life activities that you would like to incorporate into your day, such as exercising or spending time with family.
  2. How many hours would you like to work a week? You don’t have to stick to the standard 40-hour week. Knowing exactly how many hours you want to work will help you prioritize tasks.
  3. How important is free time? Some people don’t care if they take time off as long as they love what they’re doing. Others appreciate longer breaks. In order for money to flow when you’re not working, you need to have some form of passive income.

2. Simplify your business model.

When I started my music education business, people told me I needed to test my sales pages, host launch parties, and pre-record a bunch of ads in order to grow.

Instead of overwhelming myself with things that didn’t make sense to me, I kept it simple and focused on three things: creating weekly content for my blog and YouTube channel, growing my email list from that audience and promoting the paid products I created to this list.

If you’re just starting out, develop content around your expertise to engage an audience. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can iterate over time and design new products based on what your customers want more.

3. Cut out unnecessary daily tasks.

Identify which daily activities help you earn more. Don’t waste time or burn out by focusing on unimportant tasks.

It can feel good to hit inbox zero or change the color of the buttons on your site, especially in the early days when you want to feel like you’ve achieved a goal. But none of these things will make you any money.

Before beginning a new task, ask yourself three questions:

  1. What is the expected result for this task?
  2. Does it make more money?
  3. Can I point to a direct link between this task and earning income?
  4. What does it cost to do this instead of something else?

4. Prioritize fun.

People can tell if you’re doing something just for the money or if you really love what you’re doing. This authenticity will connect you more deeply with your customers and support you in the long run.

You don’t want to burn out because you’ve wasted all your time doing things that didn’t matter to you.

I always give my students this framework as they begin their entrepreneurial journey: build a business around something you want to do and enjoy for the next 10 years.

Graham Cochrane is the founder of The Recording Revolution and author of How to Get Paid for What You Know. He has helped more than 3,000 people start and grow their own businesses. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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