How to Get Your Business to Work for You Instead

Passive Business - How to Get Your Business to Work For You InsteadSince posting my latest income report a week ago, I’ve been enjoying life offline, taking a bit of time off from my usual posting schedule to celebrate and spend time with the new addition to our family, our daughter, who entered this world only 10 days ago.

She’s amazing. :)

I’ve even taken some time off from writing my book. I was hoping to get a first draft finished by the time she was born but she decided to join us a few weeks ahead of schedule.

Family first, always.

I’ll soon be getting back into my regular schedule (or as regular as it can be, now that I have two kids, hehe!), but this recent time off has made me truly appreciate the power of being your own boss, and of course, passive income.

Not only can I spend time away from work on my own schedule so I can be with my family and re-learn how to fold the front of a newborn baby’s diaper so that it doesn’t cover the umbilical cord, but the businesses that I own can continue to work for me too, even while I’m not there.

No income is truly 100% passive - some work needs to be done to maintain it (not to mention the time, effort and/or money needed upfront to invest into a passive income opportunity), but not having to directly trade hours for dollars can make the income 100% passive during certain periods of time, which is the point.

It provides flexibility. A break in the chain.

Since my daughter was born 10 days ago, and putting in maybe 2 hours of work into a blog post (my latest income report, which was already halfway written at the time), and spending a couple of hours on social media platforms engaging with my audience, my businesses have continued to work for me and have generated over $20,000 in gross income.

Systems are in place to make this happen and specific choices have been made in my businesses to make it more passive, which is exactly what I’ll be covering today.

How to Get Your Business to Work for You Instead

All businesses are different and not all businesses can be 100% automated, but in many cases there are opportunities within your business, big and small, where you can take yourself out of the equation and put something else in it’s place to keep it running, sometimes even more efficiently than before.

Some of these strategies may not apply depending on the type of business that you have or want to create, but implementing just one of these strategies can help free yourself from your business a little and give you some extra time to do what you’d rather be doing, or focus on the parts of your business that need you more.

The Human Touch?

The first step is to understand where the human touch is currently (or would be) required in your business. In other words, what parts of your business would fail or stop working if a human was not present anymore?

There are a couple of ways to figure this out:

  1. You can create a flow chart of exactly how your business works and see exactly what parts require a person to function.
  2. For those with an existing business, you can keep a list of all of the actions that you and those who work for you do. Take a week and write down everything that you do in your business.

After you know exactly where in your business a human is used, you can see if any of those parts of your business can be handled by something or someone else instead.

Automated Delivery

For a lot of businesses, a human touch is used during the delivery of a specific product or service. Many times, however, the delivery process can be automated.

For GreenExamAcademy.com, I made the conscious decision to go digital and sell an eBook instead of a physical book because this would allow me to more easily automate the delivery of that information to my customers.

See flowchart below:

 

I use E-Junkie.com, which is just one of the several delivery and payment processor options available to digital content providers. Here are some others:

In addition to self-hosted automation and delivery options, there’s also specific marketplaces where you can not only take advantage of their automated delivery processes, but you’ll have access to potentially millions of people on those platforms as well.

The Kindle Marketplace for eBooks and Apple’s App Store for iPhone and iPad applications are specific examples that come to mind.

With digital products like eBooks, courses and software, automation is almost a given, but what about physical products?

With physical products, delivery isn’t as easy as a download or access to a password-protected area, but for some businesses it can still be automated.

Fulfillment centers – third-party businesses that will pack and ship your physical product to your customers for you – can easily take a huge load off of your back and make life a lot easier. You will typically have to pay for the service, but it can be well worth the price, especially if you understand how much your time is worth and how much time it takes to pack and ship the products you sell yourself.

I’ve recently been working with a fulfillment center for the physical items sold in the Crooked Arrows store, and not having to worry about packing and shipping to each individual customer is awesome.

I don’t know too much about fulfillment options since the Crooked Arrows store is my only experience selling a physical product, so if there are any readers out there who sell physical products, please feel free to chime in about how you handle and automate fulfillment.

I do know, however, that Amazon.com offers an optional fulfillment service for those who offer physical products in their business.

If you have a service, as opposed to a product, then automating your “deliverable” will be much more difficult, which is why it’s smart to see where else in your business you can possibly automate things.

Outsourcing

Sometimes, specific parts of your business must include a human touch and there’s no way around it. But, a question you can ask yourself is: does that specific part of your business require your human touch?

Many times, it does not, and you can easily find someone to handle those tasks for you.

From web development to customer service, a lot of people can benefit from handing off specific parts of their business to those who could potentially do it much faster and better than they could.

As I write this post, for example, I have a developer who is working to create a better Create a Clickable Map (a free tool that I had developed to help people create a clickable U.S. map for their website). The new developer is adding the ability to save your map so you can come back and edit it later, and it’ll be HTML5 compatible so it can be viewed on any device. That’s definitely something I could not do on my own, or even learn how to do in a short period of time.

Just last month, one of my virtual assistants compiled a list of 2,500+ security guard training companies around the U.S. which I’ll be using in a zip code search function on my new security guard training niche site. That research took hours of work and it’s work I didn’t have to do myself.

I know a lot of people who use hired help to automate things like publishing a podcast episode. They hand over a recorded mp3 file to their editor and they take care of the rest, including publishing it online.

There are endless possibilities, but you have to be willing to hand over some of the work in your business to others. I can say from experience that it’s not always easy to “let go” and hand over some of that control, but for me it’s been well worth it.

For more information about finding and using virtual assistants, check out my podcast interview with outsourcing expert, Chris Ducker.

An FAQ

Even for the most automated types of businesses, questions from customers can easily take up a lot of your time. For GreenExamAcademy.com, the business was 100% automated except for the emails I would get from people about the products that I sold.

I soon found out that one of the easiest but most powerful ways to automate your business while actually providing more value to your customers is to create a helpful FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that answers the most common questions people have about your business and your products.

Customers get their questions answered sooner, and your time isn’t needed to answer those questions.

It’s a beautiful thing.

By adding an FAQ page (in this case, it was a PDF file) along with the digital delivery of my eBook at GreenExamAcademy.com, I cut down the number of emails from customers by 75%.

Autoresponder

I’ve talked about the power of email lists very recently in a two-part podcast series all about email marketing, but I want to reiterate the power of using your autoresponder in your email campaign.

With a little bit of effort now, you can deliver pre-written emails that get sent out sequentially to new subscribers and automate a lot of the relationship-building and promotional processes within your business.

There are many ways to structure and craft your autoresponder emails. Click here for some specific examples that you can model after.

Affiliate Marketing

It might seem kind weird to see affiliate marketing here on this list, but since it has become the #1 way that I generate an income online, I have to mention it because it’s definitely very hands-off and automated.

Even on GreenExamAcademy.com, I promote practice exams administered by a third-party company and the process is as simple as driving people through a specific link. The delivery and customer service related to that product is handled by the product owner, instead of myself, and I get a check each month for the sales I’ve generated.

That said, it’s not completely hands-off for affiliates because successful affiliate marketers do a lot more than just put a special link on a website. A lot of research has to be done to make sure the product is just right for your specific audience (i.e. it’s something that’s actually going to help them achieve the goals that you want them to achieve), and I always recommend that you should “unbox the product” for your audience before promoting it as an affiliate, making your customers feel more confortable with what they are about to purchase and exactly what they’re going to get.

For more affiliate marketing strategies, please check out my Blog World Expo presentation, Affiliate Marketing the Smart Way.

Publish More Content

And lastly, something we can all do, is publish more content.

Huh?

Publishing content is not passive (unless someone else is doing it for you), but the truth is that if you’re blogging, podcasting, creating videos or producing and publishing any other kind of content, you are creating passive opportunities.

The content you publish today can be read by someone tomorrow, next year, or even five years from now. It becomes a seed that you plant now that can bare fruit for you later, and the more seeds you plant and the more you put yourself out there, the more fruit you will yield.

New content becomes an opportunity for people to find you through search engines, through sharing and word of mouth and it can become a vehicle for more income if that content sold a product, or has a pay-per-click advertisement on it, or an affiliate link. Even if it doesn’t, it’s an opportunity for people to find you and be introduced to your brand and become familiar with what you have to offer, without you having to actively reach out to those people in a real-time fashion.

Automating your business doesn’t mean you’re going create something that you can 100% walk away from forever. Any smart business owner knows that he or she will have to adapt to changing markets and at least monitor the business, but you can take yourself out of the equation, or at least some of it, so you don’t have to be present in order for a transaction to take place and you can spend your time doing things that are more important to you, or focus on the areas of your business that you’d prefer to focus on.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Are you automating your business in a way that you’d like to share? 

Please leave a comment below. Cheers, and all the best!

  • http://www.extramoneyblog.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    excellent run down of automation Pat.

    this has exactly been my focus since having tried real estate and e-commerce businesses. I was in pursuit of establishing an online business model that would run by itself on minimum maintenance.

    I use many similar tools and systems you mentioned in this post, which have been critical parts of the puzzle that make a “passive” business possible. the beauty as we know is that once established, the “system” can be rinsed and repeated in other subject matters.

    hope the little princess is happy and healthy :) glad to read you are enjoying fatherhood buddy. keep it up

    • Pat

      Everyone is happy and healthy here in the Flynn household, thanks Sunil! Hope all is well with you!

      • http://www.onlinebusinessmania.com/resources Sajan Elanthoor

        Pat,

        I can relate to your feeling as I’m the father of 2 pretty daughters. There was time I really struggled a lot to handle family and business together. Your advise really help us to automate the business as much we can.

    • http://drawsomethingcheat.eu/ Lisa

      Yes, Sonil you are right. I am agree with you, here is the example site: http://drawsomethingcheat.eu Thank you..

  • http://jessicakihara.com Jessica Kihara

    Congratulations on your little one! Your family must be so happy. On a weirder note, I miss that new baby smell that I’m sure your daughter has right now lol.

    Although you do need to maintain and grow your internet business, it’s nice that a lot of it can run itself with technology like automated product delivery services you talked about.

    • Pat

      Haha, I know exactly what you mean Jessica. Everything about them is perfect, even their baby breath, hehe. Thanks for the congrats and I wish you all the best!

    • http://benjaminboyer.com benboyer

      the way the top or their heads smell is AWESOME! I seriously Loved my kids baby-head-sniffs!!! = )

  • KimP

    It must be so nice to take time off to enjoy your new little baby girl and still earn money! Just think of how lucky you are in comparison to the parents who have to get back to work right away!

    You peaked my interest with the talk of fulfillment centers. I have a few offline, physical products in mind, and I had no idea about fulfillment centers. I’d like to hear more about your experience, Pat!

    • Pat

      Well, like I mentioned there’s not much experience – they handle pretty much everything and are even tapped into our website’s store through Shopp. They get notified of the orders and from there take care of packing, shipping and handling. It’s awesome. If you look up fulfillment centers, or fulfillment services in Google, you might find some local warehouses that can do the packing and shipping for you. You may not even need a local solution, if you have a supplier that can ship your product to a specific fulfillment center for you.

      • Brett Bartlett

        Hi Pat and Kim P. There is a FANTASTIC fulfillment option provided by Amazon. They do everything (storage, packing, and customer service). Leveraging Amazons fulfillment process is a MUST for anyone selling physical products. We are currently selling over $1,000 a day using Amazon’s services without ever having to send packages to customers. It is probably the closest to passive income you can do selling physical products. Hope that helps :)

        • KimP

          Thank you so much for replying Pat and Brett.

          Pat, prior to seeing your reply I went ahead an did a quick Google search for fulfillment centers and found some great info. just from that quick search.

          Brett, this sounds really good. Glad to hear Amazon’s fulfillment service is working out for you! I’ll be sure to check out the program. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.jasonloveslife.com Jason Love

    A little off topic, but wanted to ask your thoughts. I noticed that you tend to write longer Blog posts than some of the other blogs I read. I am always worried when I write my posts that they are too long. However, your blog is the one I usually turn to when I have questions and the only one follow on a regular basis, so I wonder if my posts need to be longer.

    I guess my question is, do you purposefully write long posts that are jammed packed full of information? You could have easily made this into two or maybe three posts, but instead put it all in one. Also, do you consider writing shorter ones that take less time to write or do you feel people prefer longer posts?

    Thanks for another great post.
    Jason Love
    http://www.jasonloveslife.com

    • Pat

      I don’t think the length of the post really matters as much as people think it does. Really, it’s just about providing content that really counts, so if it’s 300 words or 3000, if you get your point across you’ve done your job. This particular topic I could actually talk days about, so it was naturally going to be much longer. Most of the topics I talk about just naturally need more words to cover. I never shoot for a specific length. Hope this helps Jason!

      • http://www.jasonloveslife.com Jason Love

        It helps immensely as I always thought the idea of getting people to move around a blog was the most important thing even if it made it harder for the viewer to get the information. Also, I think it is the college/school mentality that I aim for a specific amount of words, paragraphs, etc instead of just writing what needs to for the particular post.

        Thanks for the help.
        Jason Love
        http://www.jasonloveslife.com

        • http://www.whatarehobbies.com Eric Cox

          Quality over quantity always wins regardless of the length in my opinion. Pat is great at removing the fluff from his blog posts and focusing on the content.

    • Jason

      ViperChill wrote a great post about blog post length, http://www.viperchill.com/blog-post-length/ but like Pat said…it is the strength of the content that matters within that length.

      @Pat – big congrats on your new addition to the family. I am patiently awaiting the arrival of our first…a girl…some time this week. A little nervous and excited, as I am sure you know.

      I’d love to see a post on how you juggle being a new Dad and working from home. That is my biggest concern moving forward. I noted your “typing with one hand” remark in a previous post.

      • http://www.jasonloveslife.com Jason Love

        Thanks for the link.

        I loved that it had an analytic feel to it with data. The article could have easily been just an opinion piece, but the data is cool to look at.

        I think we all would like to balance our lives a little better. I know I am struggling with the same thing. Part of my problem is that I have issues with where I need to put my attention. If I find any good links on the subject I will share it.

        -Jason Love
        http://www.jasonloveslife.com

    • http://www.tradlands.com Jeremy

      I think Scott from Live Your Legend talks about this and why he writes longer posts if you want someone else’s take on it. It’s either him or Corbett Barr, but I’m thinking it’s Scott.

      • http://www.jasonloveslife.com Jason Love

        Thanks Jeremy,
        I will do some searches and see if I can find it.

  • http://www.alaininternetmarketing.com alain

    The whole world is rejoicing after the arrival of your new daughter. Congratulations! You deserve some family time. We all do.

    I an my first steps of my internet business. I have a full time job and when I finish my job I go back to my blog to try to learn, improve and take action.

    By following your examples, I know that I will get there, at the point of passive income while creating value for other readers.

    I will continue to look forward to more of your teachings.

    • Pat

      Cheers Alain, and I wish you all the best! Thanks again for your question on Leslie’s podcast! :)

  • http://OutsourceFactor.com Chris

    Hey Pat,

    I’m always a big fan of your detailed posts, and many aspects of the tutorials I create are now modelled after you :)

    I know you (and many others) swear by E-junkie. It’s good. I use DLGuard in my business quite a bit (for single products) and it’s VERY good. For membership stuff my homework suggests DAP is the leader, but if you are not drip feeding content then Wishlist is pretty solid. Both DAP and Wishlist plugin nicely to the OptimizePress theme (version 2 coming in a few months, so no rush on buying it folks).

    There’s always the free method too (a totally unprotected download page) if you need something basic to get you started, not that I recommend it.

    I put together a very detailed tutorial of options here:

    http://blog.outsourcefactor.com/digital-download-protection-primer-on-content-delivery-options-for-beginners/

    P.S. SO GLAD to hear you’ve got your priorities straight on family vs work. I quit a job in the banking world and took 3 months off in France last summer as part of a mini retirement. It was the best decision of my life, EVER. No turning back.

    • Pat

      Thanks for your expert opinion and experience with those tools Chris – very helpful for all of us, thank you! And so cool about your mini-retirement to France, that sounds AMAZING. :)

  • http://www.mobileapptycoon.com Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    You’re definitely showing us the power of passive income here Pat — only being able to work a few hours on your businesses because you want to be with your family during this time but STILL making over $20,000 is AMAZING. It definitely goes to show that these automation techniques work really well :)

    Thomas

    • Pat

      Thanks Thomas! My son is enjoying your book, we read it every so often before bed. Thanks again!

  • http://Www.ingeniousinternetincome.com Steve Eason @ Ingenious Internet Income

    Pat,

    Congrats again on your daughter. What a great life changing event.

    I’m not at a point where I can pass off tasks to a VA, but I can easily utilize other forms of automation such as the auto-responder and scheduling posts out ahead of time. I do look forward to the time where I can start doing some of things you can do.

    Thanks so much for your insight. Now get back to the kids!

    • Pat

      Thanks Steve! Kids are asleep so I can comment now :) Cheers!

  • http://contentmarketingup.com Michael Chibuzor

    Yes Pat, and I’m so happy for the new lovely baby that joined your family. Being your own boss is the best thing that can happen to anyone. I love it when I can make decisions and “break it.” No questions asked – This post is good. Thank you for making out time to compile it.

  • Mark

    Hi Pat,

    How do you plan on monetizing the clickable map website?

    • Pat

      There will be a free version to create a fully functioning map, but you can pay a small fee to store the map information on my server so that one can come back later and edit. I’m not looking to make a lot of money with this, I just want to provide a solution for people who need it and it’ll cost me a little bit to store that information on my site if people want a convenient way to come back and edit later. More on this later :)

  • http://www.airconditioningservicehq.com Ron

    Hi Pat congratulations on your new daughter I’ll never forget the feeling when the nurses handed me my little girl for the first time. I also have a boy and girl they are both older and I hate the fact that I worked around the clock and missed so much time with them. But they are my inspiration to create a online income so I can spend as much time as possible with them before they get to big. Enjoy every minute with them.
    You’ve been a big help, thanks.
    Ron

    • Pat

      Well, like most people, I’m sure you were working for them so they have a great dad they can be proud of. My kids are my inspiration too so I’m right there with you :)

      Cheers, and all the best!

  • http://www.learnnichemarketing.com David Tong

    Hi Pat,

    Dave here again. Congrats for being Dad 2.0!

    Your posts are getting more and more fluid and consistently epic, they’re so helpful and actionable :)

    I’m posting a request actually, if you can make a post on scaling operations efficiently in the near future, particularly when to scale and how much to scale before it gets out of hand.

    SPI rules, :) Keep it up!

    Dave Tong from LNM
    http://www.learnnichemarketing.com

    • Pat

      Dad 2.0…I like it! Hehe.

      Thanks for the kind words. About your post request, a very interesting topic. Thank you. I’ll keep that in mind for the future. Cheers!

  • http://www.airplanepatch.com Adam

    Hey Pat,

    Congratulations on your daughter, I’m glad that she is healthy and safe.

    Thank you for everything you offer here so freely, I’ve been digging around in your postcast archives and have been listening to all the ones that apply to the step I’m at in building my brand. I’m a fairly new site and only starting to see a trickle of traffic. Right now I’m building content is my number one priority, and also I’ve been listening a lot to your “be everywhere” and I’m trying to figure that out.

    My end goal is to build an authority site in my selected topic, I’m just taking it one step at a time, and not trying to over extend myself so as not to give up. Thank you again for everything.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • Pat

      Cheers Adam, and all the best to you. Taking it one day, one step at a time is definitely the right way to do it. My Be Everywhere book should be out, hopefully sooner than later. I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon. :)

      Thanks again!

  • http://www.studenomics.com Martin

    Your love life is definitely not passive lol! Congrats.

    I like your idea of publishing content. It’s amazing how you can write something today and someone three years from now will read it. I received a comment the other day on a post from 2008. I don’t even remember what I said last week, let alone that many years ago.

    • Pat

      Well, if you read the 4-hour work week you’ll know that actually it can be with the use of VAs (the guy making up with his wife, I think, thanks to suggestions and research done by his VA – lol). But yeah, publishing content now that can forever be read – it’s such a powerful thing that people forget about. It’s just a matter of getting those old posts to come back up one way or another, either through search, or through smart linking on new posts on your site.

  • Jon

    Pat
    As someone who is expecting my first child in six months and working to make my online income be enough to give my family financial security this post hits home.

    Congrats on all you have been able to accomplish in terms of finacial security and the availability of your time for your family.

    Jon

    • Pat

      Congratulations on the baby Jon! :)

  • http://perfectearningtips.com IGBALAYE OLAYEMI

    Pat, congrate on the little one and welcome back online. we have really miss your post and this is a great post from your holiday…Lol. have been saying this and will continue saying it that your email list is your asset if you can manage it very well and build it to the high level. what make it unique is that you can be making your money even when you are no longer running your site again because they are now your friend and their email are with you. so anytime you really need money from them, just find one product and recommend it to them since they trust you with anything you recommend then you are going to make your money through them even your are no longer operating your site again….life is good with email list, do it wisely. thanks for sharing this Pat.

  • http://www.ithuit.com Perry

    Thanks Pat for the awesome post! You give everyone looking to become self-employed hope being that you’ve successfully created passive income through internet marketing.

    And congratulations on the new addition to your family!

  • http://www.bizoppsbuzz.com Owen

    Hi Pat,
    Great info here. I like the way you structure your posts and explain the process of what to do. I downloaded the 2 mp3′s about outsourcing.
    I only just came across your blog, so lots to catch up.
    Ahh.. and congrats on your daughter.
    All the best,mate and looking forward to all your future posts.

    Owen

  • http://www.designwebidentity.com Wade McMaster

    Congrats on the newborn Pat! It must be a proud moment to become a father again. Also having the ability to step away and spend the first moments is pretty amazing!

  • http://Www.efficientlifeskills.com Joseph Michael

    Thanks for another great and extremely helpful post Pat! I’m actually “working hard now” to create some passive income for my family like you have done so that my wife can stay home with baby number two :-)

    It really is inspirational to see how you have done this. I am in the process of writing and setting up my auto responder now and your post about how to craft and structure these was just what I needed.

    I have a question though. My blog is in the self-development niche and I was thinking about setting up a monthly or quarterly magazine as my free “bait”. Would you set this up the same way you would an ebook? Do you know of any sites out there that use a magazine style and would you recommend it or not? Any feedback from anyone else reading this is appreciated too. Thanks :-)

  • http://www.zzzprofits.com Moe

    Congratulations and welcome to the 2 kid club. The best part is when they get a just a little bit older they actually will entertain each other as play mates(when their not fighting, heheh). Gives mommy a break.

    Another thing that could be added as a tool to improve automation, is documentation and procedures of all the recurring processes in a business. In time we improve, evolve and perfect precedences that if we document in the form of steps, guides or recorded training guides they can easily be passed on to new employees, new partners, Virtual assistants and freelancers, which of course makes our life a lot easier down the road.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Hey Pat,

    Congratulations with such an awesome family Pat. I have three kids and I understand how it feels to be around them :)

    I am working with several clients now that are trying to do what you’re showing, one of them is a bikerace and another one is a car dealership. The problem I have been facing is what they should be offering, they have “real” products and services, they just want to automate parts of the process. I’ve been thinking about a newsletter and delivering a free report related to their business. That’s what I’m working on.

  • http://www.activebackpacker.com Tom Summerfield

    Excellent post as always Pat. Congrats on the new addition to the family too!

  • http://www.androidpaycheck.com/ Vickram

    Good article Pat.

    But, I felt the whole article to be on the lines of “Automation” section of 4 hour work week. Since I know you are great fan of Tim Ferris and his book, it is fine.

    Good reminder though… What happened to your course that you spoke about in the blog few month back ?? Is it still being worked upon or postponed it for later ??

  • http://www.emailslistbuilding.com Matteo Spigolon

    Awesome post Pat. I’m waiting for a new version of create clickable maps.

  • http://www.topbloggingcoach.com Theodore Nwangene

    Hey Pat, congrats. I’m soo happy for your family. Its never easy… The cries at mid night and the rest of it. Althouth i haven’t been on that road before but i sure know how it feels like.

    Automation is very crucial in any business online or offline. Any business that is not automated in any way becomes a JOB. So i can’t agree more.

    Thanks for sharing dude and enjoy the joy of fatherhood.

  • http://www.brendanhufford.com Brendan

    Great article Pat. I’m loving that you’re giving the clickable maps stuff out for free. Thanks so much. Now I just need to try and figure out how I can implement it with a project that I’m working on.

  • Ken

    Pat, you said Physical Product, what product are you trying to sell?

  • http://www.onlineincomestartup.com Dr.Spencer Jones

    Congrats Pat for having a baby daughter. Saw her pictures in facebook. Really cute… :)

    You have done a great job achieving that financial freedom and being able to automate much of your business, that helps you to be away from work and be with your family when needed. There is nothing more precious than to give first priority to family. To be a caring husband and a good father. Good job being a great family man.

    Glad to see all the long hours you worked for, bringing forth great harvest in your life. Something that everyone wanting to make money online must learn. They see all the great results, but don’t want to sacrifice the time and effort to set up their business.

    The quote you have in your work space comes to my mind “The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get”, hope I quoted it right ? :) Wishing you more success Pat…

    Dr.Spencer Jones

  • http://www.void-life.com bryan

    amazing post Pat, and i wish to one day be able to step away and spend time with my family and not worry about the effects on my income. i hope i can get it to be as passive as you have!

  • http://www.zzneo.pl Teresa

    Hi Pat,
    Your story is so amazing and inspirational to all of us. You inspired me so much that I created a blog for doctors who specialize in neonatology (in Poland). And now I’m working on 2 blogs, one in English, one in Polish- this all happend after reading your blog. Good luck to you and your family.
    Best wishes from Poland.
    Teresa

  • http://parnonegolfmarketing.com Sean Mysel

    The key ingredient to all of this Pat is ridding yourself of distractions. I’ve watched my productivity go up since I killed Facebook and for the most part Twitter. Spend far less time watching YouTube videos and more time making them.

    I would highly suggest people write down and track where they spend their time each day and eliminate the things that get in their way.

  • http://www.stocksmetrics.com The StocksMetrics.com Team

    Hello Pat,

    Really interesting post! As always a lot of pragmatic and real-tested ideas and execution… Well done!

    Are you looking for real interesting investment opportunities to achieve your real passive-income mode through productive assets and dividends generating systems? Then try once http://www.StocksMetrics.com, even Warren Buffett and other guru investors would try it or even have tried it out!

    Best Regards,
    The StocksMetrics.com Team
    http://www.stocksmetrics.com
    Invest like a Real Investor!

  • http://ihaveacaffeineproblem.com Brandon Breshears

    Awesome post Pat! I love it! I am going to be using this in a few different ways including documenting how I automate processes for my non internet businesses so that I can create an info product that teaches people how to automate their businesses. Super congrats on the baby girl man! Best wishes to you and your family.

  • http://socialmediahamburg.de Bill

    Family Flynn,

    congratulations to the new earthling, you got the priorities handsdown! This is another great post as always I just wanted to extend my best wishes for the next phase on you revolution as father, netpreneur and human.

    Keep keeoing on you inspire me and apparantly one or two other folks as well:)

    • Pat

      Hehe, earthling. :) Thanks Bill, and all the best to you!

  • http://www.cleanseandblend.com Andy

    I have to say Pat, you’re really living the dream right now. I’m typing this as I’m sitting at work, about to dive into a problem that’ll keep me here another 3-4 hours.

    Working hard to start my online career – I can only hope that’ll I’ll achieve 1/10th what you have.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • http://ricerecipe.info/ Sachin

    Yes, this is the only smart passive income Pat! Everyone hate ‘Go to work come back home’ for long 40 years and search for passive income opportunities. I have one niche site which run only Google Adsense and it pulls almost 250 to 300 USD per day which gives me ability to spend my time as I want. (I gone through your niche site dual which is THE BEST TOOL for anyone who wants to build an empire with internet marketing!)
    By the way great post and congratulation for new kitty in home:-)

  • http://www.DepantsingTheClones.com Gary Korisko

    Pat:

    Man, you’re a wealth of information.

    I’m fairly new online, but I’ve been in the sales and marketing (offline) world for a couple decades – and you are what you preach.

    I try to teach my employees what you demonstrate every day: Bring value, bring value, bring value!

    As I try to translate what I already know to online business, GUESS WHO I READ EVERY DAY? SPI. Because of the constant value…like this post.

    Because you consistently deliver value, guess where I will spend my ‘web money’ when I’m ready and able to do so?

    Thanks for all you do & enjoy your family time.

  • http://vitamin-b12-overdose.com Mitja

    Congrats man … You mentioned that sometimes you have to put some effort and sometimes even your money. I think that nowadays, if you’re not prepared to invest some money in what you’re doing online, you have a small chance to succeed. Only the best, original ideas with high level of quality and value can grow naturaly .. like yourself :D Cheers!

  • http://www.cherylpickett.com Cheryl Pickett

    Hi,
    Another tip I’ve read for fulfilling physical products is to use a VA for that. You would send them a case of books or CDs for example and let them do the packaging and shipping. This would have to be figured into the overall price of the product, but it also has to be weighed against you doing it yourself. Along the same line but likely less expensive, you might try to find a student in your area looking for a few extra bucks. There there are always your own kids-someday :-) Congratulations and blessings!

  • http://www.mypersonalfinancejourney.com/ Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

    I can totally relate to how you feel and how disoriented the schedule is. I went through three deliveries and no matter how you arrange your schedule way before you give birth, you will always encounter an “unforeseen event” that will ruin your schedule for the day. It was indeed a struggle when you have a little one at home. Hence, automating your business and other tasks as much as you can is the best option to get things done.

  • http://TimsMinions.com Andi the Minion

    Passive income is what it is all about and I am a big believer in content and publishing more which is as you say, not passive lol. But every piece of content left online is like a footprint, the more footprints you leave on a beach the more chance you have of others stepping into them :-)

    All the best to you and your family, enjoy the time and speak soon.
    Andi

  • http://www.internetmarketing-advice.net SI

    Hi Pat, another excellent post, if anyone deserves to take time out it is you. But don’t take too long otherwise we cannot learn new stuff :-).

    So you take time off and still make $20,000? that is serious passive income and that is something people need to learn so thank you for encouraging and educating people.

    How is the book writing coming along? I am looking forward to reading it.
    Regards
    SI

  • http://www.cute-dachshund-pictures.com Kevin

    Congrats on the new addition to your family Pat! My wife and I are expecting a baby girl any day now. Very excited!

    My website can definitely benefit from some of your automation advice. I post daily pictures of Dachshunds which doesn’t take much time but it is still a daily task. I think I may organize which pictures (mostly visitor submitted) will be put up a week ahead and that alone will save me some time. I still have to manually add the pictures daily. I’m not sure how else to do it? Great article as always. Thanks.

    Kevin at http://www.Cute-Dachshund-Pictures.com

  • http://www.matsholmvik.com Mats

    I am trying to automate as much I can. But their is some more time taken to automate a person based business. But instead of machines, people have to do some of the work. I always look for how a process can be taken to automation. So people can only focus on the process that needs to be done manually. Thats for one of my businesses.

    My writing business, is a time consuming effort. But sales are automated, just the labor of writing left. But thats kind of fun, and evolves me in different topics, good money on the side.

    My blog and niche sites are automated as much as possible, timescheduling of posting, spreading the word with automated newsletters of updates, and pinging and sharing on social media is automated. Also I use the flowchart for my own products the rest is affiliatessales which is automated.

    Great reminder of automation in business! :)

    • http://www.whatarehobbies.com eric cox

      What sort of ping back automation techniques do you use?

      • http://www.matsholmvik.com Mats

        I have a list of ping services that I have put in the automatic ping service when a blog is published on WordPress. And this site http://seesmic.com/ in combination with FriendFeed.com and a service for building links, but I havent got the name here, its at my office :) Its semi automatic I think =)

  • http://www.nomadcouch.com Juha Liikala

    Love the breakdown Pat.

    Physical products delivery & automation is something I’ve been personally giving more thought lately. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a wild west, especially if you’re trying to find a reliable product manufacturer and a global drop-shipper.

    As a cautionary example, a friend of mine wanted to sell different type of working gloves online and made an large bulk order of different type of gloves from an Indian manufacturer. After manufacturing, another company handled shipping to customers after receiving the order through an automated online system.

    To make a long story short, all went well.. until it came clear that most of the glove orders were sent to customers with 2 gloves – for the same hand! 1000 “pair” of left hand gloves. How great is that? You can imagine the trouble with returns, refunds and all that.. :-P

    I guess the lesson of the story is: Double/triple check all the essential parts of your business before automating each. Ask for other people’s experiences on each component (manufacturer, shipping, payments) to learn which ones should be reliable choices. Don’t trust each part to “just work” before testing that the whole chain works from start to finish (with a small batch of products).

    Cheers and keep the good stuff coming Pat!

  • http://mucinex-coupon.com/ Vijay

    And soon we want a post from pat “how to manage and grow your business working from home and being a dad or two!”

    ha ha ;)

    Congrats buddy!!

  • http://www.rocketcases.com Skye

    Hi Pat,

    I just wanted to chime in RE: fulfillment.

    Our business (Rocketcases) is roughly 10 months old. We started out as a drop ship model and recently moved to a fulfillment centre as of June and boy has it solved a ton of headaches.

    If people aren’t sure what drop shipping is, you have zero inventory and send your order directly to your drop shipper who processes the order. Most drop shippers are in China and while they offer free worldwide shipping, it takes 2-6 weeks for your product to get to your customer (not cool). I’m sure there are better and worse ones depending on your product.

    Fulfillment is similar to drop shipping but you actually have inventory and pay a variety of fees for S&H. Benefits of fulfillment:

    -better ship times
    -APIs for integration your shopping cart so shipping is completely hands off
    -offer lots of different shipping services if you start getting into high volume orders
    -better quality assurance

    When we started looking for fulfillment we checked out the following companies:

    -Shipwire
    -Webgistix
    -eFulfillment Service
    -Amazon

    Amazon is great if you sell via Amazon. If you already sell via Amazon, you should look into their fulfillment as then your products qualify for Amazon Prime (paid member service for priority free 2 day shipping). I’ve heard from colleagues who sell via Amazon that qualifying for Prime boosts your sales a lot as Prime members look for Prime vendors.

    If you don’t sell your products via Amazon or want to do both (Amazon and website) you pay much higher S&H for the products not sold through Amazon. This was a deal breaker for us as we have a low cost item (iPhone cases).

    Shipwire has a low monthly fee but there is additional fees for everything. They also didn’t seem too interested in our business. Maybe we were too small.

    We ended up going with Webgistix who is based out of Sparks, NV and they have worked great so far. They have a higher monthly fee but it includes a lot of the stuff Shipwire charged extra for.

    For fulfillment make sure you read all the fine print about every charge and get everything clarified. We had a few misunderstandings in some of the promotions Webgistix offered us. We also failed to notice an international fee ($3) for any orders outside of the US.

    All in all it has been great though. Our website is fully streamlined to auto-submit our orders to Webgistix every day through their API. It then checks with Webgistix when orders are shipped and notifies our customers. This saves us hours every week as we use to have to upload an excel doc of our orders to our drop shipper and we’d sometimes forgot to process orders for 3-4 days. Also since moving to fulfillment, our support tickets related to shipping have decreased 75%+. We are not able to focus much more on our business and not have to worry about the shipping side.

    Summary for fulfillment:

    -shop around and find the best fulfillment for your business
    -read the fine print on all charges
    -run the numbers on these charges to make sure your bottom line isn’t impacted too much
    -make sure they have an API so you can integrate your shopping cart (most do)
    -pay attention to your inventory numbers and know your turn around time to get new stock into inventory.

    I hope this helps and isn’t too long. If anyone has questions, please let me know.

    Thanks.
    Skye

    • http://www.rocketcases.com Skye

      Ack. Need better proof reading:

      “We are *NOW* able to focus much more on our business and not have to worry about the shipping side.”

    • http://www.nomadcouch.com Juha Liikala

      Skye, outstanding info here mate! As I’m very interested in this particular topic myself, can I bombard you with some questions about your manufacturing – delivery chain? Would be awesome. Just added you through Twitter :)

  • http://idea-archive.net/ Michael Ten

    Wow. This was really informative. I definitely need to be publishing more content. One can never publish enough high quality content! :)

  • http://chameleonicmaze.com Amanda Prior

    Congratulations on the new arrival.

    Really enjoyed reading the post. You’ve highlighted lots of things to consider for the future.

    Regarding the Amazon fulfillment service that someone commented on, I once read a report which was rather critical of it. It was claimed that Amazon keep a close eye on this service, and if a product is doing particularly well, they stock it! With their brand name and free shipping, their original customer could start losing business to Amazon who are now competing directly with them. I don’t use the service myself, so I don’t know how true this is. But something to bear in mind for those considering using them.

    • Brett Bartlett

      Hi Amanda,
      I am currently using Fulfillment By Amazon for our business.
      I can assure you that they are not studying your data and trying to undercut you and steal your customers.
      Fulfillment By Amazon has the best rates on earth. We know this because we did extensive research on fulfillment centers.
      They also have incredible customer service for their sellers and people using their fulfillment options.
      I highly recommend researching Fulfillment By Amazon and seeing if it is the right fit for your business.
      We have had an incredible experience with them and using their services has allowed us to sell over $30,000 a month without needing to get a warehouse or doing any of the fulfillment.
      I hope this helps clarify any concerns you or others may have about using Amazons services.
      Take care

      • http://www.rocketcases.com Skye

        @Brett. Ya I agree. Amazon is already making money off the transaction and the fulfillment plus I doubt they have the time or resources to worry about small (big for us) niches.

        They are definitely studying your data though. Amazon is extremely good at that.

        Brett what is the price range of the items you sell? Do you just use Amazon for fulfillment or do you sell through them as well?

        Thx.
        Skye

  • http://www.genietalks.com Stella

    nice info. thank you. this helps me

  • http://www.genietalks.com Stella

    There so many free tools to take advantage of. The toughest part is the promotion

  • Brett Bartlett

    @skye.

    You are totally right that Amazon is making a good chunk of change form the fulfillment and commission of its sellers and people who use their multi channel fulfillment options. Thats why they love to support their sellers.

    I agree that Amazon is always studying data but not in an attempt to steal customers. I did not want anyone thinking that Amazon was a bad guy because it’s an incredible platform to start an online income.

    The items I sell honestly vary dramatically. Anywhere from $20-$500 but probably average $35-$40.

    I am an actual seller on Amazon and also use their multi channel fulfillment services which are incredible if you have the right margin on your products.

    Hope that helps.

    Brett

    • http://www.rocketcases.com Skye

      Thanks Brett.

  • http://www.payable.com/ Linda

    Good one , really loved it.
    Thanks for sharing

  • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan – Alpha Efficiency

    Haven’t been here in a while, but I am happy that the blog is alive and well. As time passes my blog is maturing, and I can only say, it’s greatly inspired by SPI. Took me a while to “get it”, but in the end it’s worth it.

    Warmest regards to SPI readership

  • http://www.moneyglare.com Ramit

    Hi Pat,
    First of all let me Congratulate you on becoming a father to a lovely daughter. It is really a Great moment for your family.
    This is the first time i have been to your blog and found the post to be highly motivating in developing a business which is mostly automated. Your guidelines are practical and worth implementing. Yes efforts are needed but a clear strategy should be in place as rightly suggested by you.
    Regards.
    Ramit

  • http://www.bsuccessa2z.com Mimi

    I imagine there are thousands of people who will make use of that. Now I may well try that myself for Business Success! Thanks for sharing. Its very useful info.