In 2015, at age 26, I was laid off from my six-figure job as a copywriter. It felt like a major setback at the time. But looking back, it was the motivation I needed to become my own boss.
Immediately after my layoff, I was asked to be a bridesmaid for two weddings. But rather than feeling stressed, I saw an opportunity. I had been a bridesmaid almost a dozen times before, and not only did I enjoy it, I was also good at it.
So I posted a bridesmaid service ad on Craigslist — and received over 300 inquiries. Some people had close friends who couldn't make their wedding day, others didn't need a full-service wedding planner, but wanted some help planning logistics.
That's how Bridesmaid for Hire was born in 2015. After serving more than 125 weddings, I've been able to use my brand to create three passive income streams that generate more than $5,100 a month.
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Here's a closer look at each of the income streams:
1. Sharing products I love
Passive income earnings: $3,000 a month
How it works is that I share products — jewelry, dresses, shoes, purses, makeup and beauty products — that I would wear to a wedding on social media, my website and weekly newsletters. Each time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, I earn a percentage of the sales.
I spend about 20 minutes each week searching for products and creating content around them. I keep a running list of items I actually use and enjoy.
3. Creating online courses
Passive income earnings: $2,000 a month
In 2017, I created my first course to teach people how to start a wedding business. During the pandemic, I released other courses on personal branding, public speaking and how to get unstuck in your career. Now I offer a total of five online courses.
When developing a new course, I think about the areas that I am an expert in, and I ask my audience what they are most interested in. I typically do this by sending them surveys and polls, either on social media or through my newsletter.
Putting together the framework of the course can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how in-depth I go. I use iMovie or CapCut on my phone to film and edit the course videos.
3. Writing eBooks
Monthly passive income earnings: $100 a month
I have written three books. My first, "All My Friends Are Engaged," is about what inspired my business. "Always a Bridesmaid for Hire" is about my experience growing my company, and "Finally the Bride," is about what I learned from planning my own wedding.
"All My Friends Are Engaged," was released through an online publisher. I worked with a traditional publishing company in 2018 for "Always a Bridesmaid for Hire," which paid me a flat fee to write it, and I don't earn royalties from any sales.
With "Finally the Bride," I wanted to take more ownership of the process. I released a new chapter every month (a traditional publisher wouldn't have been able to support that), and I get to keep 100% of the profits.
As my business continues to grow, I'm always searching for new and innovative ways to make more passive income. That way, I can minimize how many hours a week I work and maximize how much money I bring in every month.
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Want to earn more and work less? Register for the free CNBC Make It: Your Money virtual event on Dec. 13 at 12 p.m. ET to learn from money masters like Kevin O'Leary how you can increase your earning power.
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