How I went from $0 to $750 in my first month earning passive income

I spent eight months, from August 2016 to March 2017, developing my first ever e-course.

The one that was going to end my time-for-money struggles forever, give me more passive income than I could ever dream of, and make me a rich online entrepreneur.

But after my launch in March, which was hardly “passive”, I wasn’t making any passive income from my course. At all.


Probably not, in hindsight.

But a lot of the online marketers selling courses on how to make and launch these courses are really good at setting up false expectations. They skim over the kind of work it takes to set up passive income funnels, and on how much income you should realistically expect to make at first.

Want more? Have a listen.

They all love to focus on the endgame of $20,000 months, all on 100% automation, don’t they?

And for those of us trying to get there, it can be hella frustrating when we do everything they say, exactly as they say to do it, and still don’t see the results they promise us.

Realistic Passive Income Expectations

In June 2017 though, I did finally make $750 of truly passive income.

Which is not even enough to pay my rent and bills, but after my reality check in March, I was super proud of myself for it.

Because even if it’s not replacing a full-time income anytime soon, it’s still $750 cash money that I would not have had otherwise. And it was after looking at my income for the month and comparing it to the work I did on my own business, that I realized the relatively simple steps that made it all possible.

So here’s the breakdown of how I did it:

First and foremost, I made an ~$430 chunk from sending out ONE email to my list about a course launch I was an affiliate for. Most people who have built-out affiliate programs give you email copy to send out to your list over a series of days.

I sent out the first email, but then got busy and forgot to send out the rest. Lo and behold though, one person from my email list who got into that funnel ultimately bought the course, so I earned that commission.

Second, I bought the $25/month Leadpages plan and implemented it on my website.

After someone signed up for my free email course, I’d send them to a “thank you for signing up page” where I offered a $47 mini course I sell for only $7.

How I went from $0 to $750 in first month earning passive income

It’s a super basic page, but it works well and is an amazing funnel piece to have in place. Plus, it ensures that my Leadpages account essentially pays for itself each month.

It was an experiment, and one that worked really well. Of course, not everyone bought it, but I did sell a handful of them which amounted to a nice sum of money plus a handful of people who’d be more likely to buy from me in the future.

At the end of my email funnel, I built up to a pitch to my $197 copywriting course (the one that took me eight months to make), and I sold one of them.

And, I added an affiliate plugin to my website, offering anyone who sold my course a 50% commission, and one of my affiliates sold a course, totaling another ~$100 in passive income for me.

Having Realistic Expectations

And from this past month, I have to say, those rags-to-riches online marketers do have one thing right: passive income, as long as you have things to sell, is pretty easy to set up.

But, at the same time, you need to have realistic expectations around it.

I’m super proud that I made $750 in one month of passive income, and I’m definitely going to put myself on the path to increasing it in the long-run. But, it’s not going to happen over night.

It’s the end of July, for example, and so far I’ve been able to ramp up to selling two of my $197 courses passively instead of just one.

Maybe in a few months I could be to the point of earning a few grand per month, but since the most expensive thing I have to sell is less than $200, I highly doubt that I’ll be replacing my income and living the “four hour workweek” anytime soon.

BUT, it is a totally viable income stream for every single freelancer… no matter what kind of freelancing or business you do. If you want, you can sign up for my free email course here and see my entire process from start to finish. It’s pretty simple, but it’s also proven itself to be fairly profitable.

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About Chelsea Baldwin

Chelsea Baldwin runs Copy Power, where she teaches how to reverse-engineer copywriting based on psychology to get your readers hooked on you forever. She wrote a free ebook that’ll help you keep your traffic from bouncing and get more leads and conversions on your site.


  1. Humble beginnings, but if you can make one sale, you can make two. And then ten.

    I’d love to hear what you did to build your list and get traffic to your LeadPage and/or website.

    • Yes Thomas!

      For me, it’s been a lot of guest posting, some podcast interviews, and local workshops / networking events that have built my list.

      I keep traffic coming back via social media & sending out a bi-weekly email.

  2. Chelsea – this is a great post and it gave me hope (and a little inspiration) to be patient with my efforts to create passive income. I just launched a new service and the results through online marketing, are well, less than overwhelming. I’m hoping with some time and patience (and some perseverance) I’ll start seeing the passive income everyone is talking about. Great post and thanks again!

    • I hear you Jeff!

      I tried an experiment with Facebook ads to sell my course, and it was a total flop. Not everything works the same for everyone, and overnight riches definitely are not a thing. Good luck!

  3. I actually just went through this and I didn’t buy the $7 course only because I couldn’t pay with Paypal. Which is a dumb excuse, I know but I just thought I’d share in case the feedback was helpful at all.

  4. Making money by selling the trick to make money. Aren’t we thru that yet?


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