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Last Updated on September 30, 2022
Does live launching your digital offering leave you exhausted & stressed? Here’s how to make a passive income (that’s more reliable) with evergreen funnels.
One of the best things entrepreneurs can do for their businesses is to stop exchanging their time for money.
For many business owners, that looks like moving away from charging hourly rates. It can also look like adding in group coaching or 1-to-many offerings instead or just 1-to-1, or (my favorite) having a digital course that you sell to your ideal customers.
(And as I talk about frequently, there are many ways to structure and sell your offerings, including your courses. It’s empowering to get creative and build something that really allows you the most freedom and brings you the most joy!)
But here’s a place where business owners can get kind of stuck: they come up with an amazing digital offering, and they assume that the best way to sell their product or service is through periodic live launches. And they most likely assume this because it’s what we frequently see in the online business world.
So even when they’ve let go of the time-for-money model of generating income, they’re still caught in an approach to selling that:
In other words, they haven’t discovered how to make a passive income — and make it in a way that’s steady, sustainable, and reliable.
When I created my first big digital course offering back in 2019, the Six-Figure Blog Academy, I thought live launching was the only way to go. As in: I really had no idea there was another way to “successfully” sell a digital product. I had not yet discovered how to make a passive income online (more on that later!).
So live launching and I go way back. And I’ve shared openly about my successes, failures, and lessons learned from those launches.
The biggest lesson I learned? I really don’t like live launching. This is even after I did a $100K launch!
Before I go on, a couple of quick caveats:
But live launching isn’t something that works for me. It is not my jam, and it’s not what I teach, for a few basic reasons:
After those first few live launch experiences, with major ups and downs, I knew I needed a change. I needed figure out how to make a passive income and sell to my base with a method that didn’t require such huge output and risk.
BUT — I also needed an approach that I could legitimately influence, so that I could gradually grow my income over time.
In other words, I couldn’t do just a plain evergreen offering, where your product is sitting on your sales page and available all the time. Putting it on a sales page with no timeline would actually put me in the same feast-or-famine position, relying on people to find my site, see the “buy now” button, and click on it.
Thankfully, I discovered how to make a passive income in a way that is the perfect balance of hands-off and high-influence. It’s called an evergreen funnel.
An evergreen funnel is a specialized type of automated email sales funnel.
Very basically, here’s how it works: someone comes to your site (or you reach them some other way), and they are invited to sign up to your email list — often they give their email address in exchange for some kind of free content that’s valuable to them (there are lots of ways to do this). When they sign up, they’re automatically placed in an email funnel that takes them through a nurture sequence. At the end of the nurture sequence, they enter a sales sequence where you invite them to buy something. This can be a next-step item like a workshop, or it can be your main offering; it’s up to you.
Once you set up the funnel, it should be able to run with very little day-to-day management from you. This is why it’s passive income. Whatever you’re selling is technically always available to buy — that’s the “evergreen” part. But your product or service isn’t just sitting on your site 24/7 with no interaction, journey, or built-in urgency. Through the sequence, your emails are creating that sense of urgency to your ideal client, so you’re “launching” to whoever is on that list, but it’s all happening in the background.
In 2020, just as the pandemic was landing, I let go of live launching and dedicated myself to figuring out how to make a passive income that could work for me, my family, and my desired lifestyle. Since then, I’ve honed my evergreen funnel to consistently deliver 5-figure months. And that’s without live launching or social media.
My stress levels have gone down. My reliable income has increased. My ability to take time off and care for myself has grown. So here’s what I tell people when they ask me how to make a passive income and why I think they should go evergreen.
If you just send someone directly to your sales page, you’re not nurturing them. And when you’re selling anything, particularly anything over $500, it’s going to take a bit of nurturing to get them to trust you enough to buy from you. That’s where the funnel and savvy, soulful content marketing come in.
If you only live launch, you may be forcing people to make a decision that’s not right for them at that exact time.
If you launch, say, 3 times a year, you’re inevitably going to be launching to people who aren’t ready in that moment to buy. They might be pregnant, or doing sleepless nights with a newborn. They might be getting divorced or dealing with a chronic health condition.
Evergreen gives them more opportunities. It gives your audience what they want, exactly when they want it. If they’re ready to take action and they have a need, they don’t have to wait months for your solution to be available to them.
One of my mentors, Mariah Coz, talks about “turtles” and “hares” as types of buyers.
Some people are rarin’ to go and know they’re 100% ready to make the purchase. Great! An evergreen product allows them to do that.
Other people are testing the waters. They might need a little more time. They might want to learn more before making a big commitment. Great! An evergreen funnel, with its nurture sequence, allows them to do that, too.
Because you’re bringing people on a journey, you’re directing them thoughtfully to a decision-making window.
It’s not a hard sell, but there is urgency (with incentives like bonuses for early purchasers). When you do this, you’re being clear with your audience. You’re not keeping their minds constantly swirling about what they should do or might do. You’re saying, Now’s the time! Are you in? — but only after you’ve worked to build a real relationship with them and give them content that’s of genuine value to them.
Our brains are wired to avoid risk. So, doing nothing is so much easier, and less risky, than taking action (especially if we are caring for children, studies show). So people delay making a decision until they absolutely have to.
Buyers do what their instincts tell them to do — to act immediately on what is important (urgency), and to acquire what is limited (scarcity). You can build those two elements into your funnel, with no slimy bro tactics (yuck) and without sacrificing your soul.
First, you’ll be able to make money every single day (vs. only a few times per year with live launching). And in addition, when compared to just having your product available to buy at any time (like a regular evergreen model), you’ll sell way more using limited time windows.
This is why I consider evergreen funnels the best of both worlds!
Evergreen funnels take all the “variables” out because you’ve got an automated system that sells your courses year-round, every day.
When your job isn’t pitching and selling all day, it can be about creating fun new content for your audience around your topic that attracts people into your funnel. Or — oh hey, here’s a novel idea — you can make money, even when you’re not working. This is why it (literally!) pays to know how to make a passive income with tools like evergreen funnels.
I’ve let go of the idea that being an entrepreneur means being in 24/7 “hustle + grind” mode. I think it’s an old, worn out, toxic patriarchal notion of work.
Building a systematic approach to selling that allows you to make a passive income without depletion, burnout, and sacrificing your health is just … sane. It’s the very baseline of what we deserve as human beings whose lives have innate value.
Beyond that, making room for rest and creativity is a smart way to work.
When you work with your body (instead of against it), you actually get way more done, and you feel way better at the end of the day. Evergreen funnels allow a ton of room for embracing and incorporating feminine energy into how we work: respecting cycles, getting back to trusting our intuition and listening to our bodies, and honoring both seasons of “getting after it” AND seasons of rest as essential pieces of a successful work life.
I’m a firm believer that pretty much any way of setting up a business can work. It just depends on what you want, what you like, and how you want to live.
So if being “on” for periodic live launches feels energizing and exciting to you — then go for it! I’ll be right behind you, cheering you on.
If you’re more like me, and you want to figure out how to make a passive income in a way that’s less chaotic, requires less performance from you, and levels out the high-highs and the low-lows with something that’s just reliably working for you in the background — then evergreen funnels might be exactly what you’re looking for.
I’ve found that this type of sales funnel is great for:
I’ve spent the last few years building the Success With Soul Incubator — it’s a year-long immersive program that walks you through step-by-step how to build a business that maximizes how to make a passive income (in multiple ways) and minimizes stress.
Inside the Incubator, I show you how to build rock-solid evergreen funnels.
Not only that, I actually give you the funnel I use in Kartra, which you can tweak to make your own. This one thing saves my clients literally dozens of hours in setup, and many of them say it alone is worth the price of admission.
In addition, you’ll find a robust support system. The old masculine model says every (wo)man is an island, which is, of course, bullshit. We need encouragement, periodic check-ins, feedback, and guidance. We’re built for that kind of real community, and it helps us grow and succeed.
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