How One Blog Post Made Me $20,000 in Passive Income

Jake Posko
7 min readJun 16, 2021


One blog post made me $20,000 in Passive Income (this is how I did it, and how you can *probably* do it too)

$20,428.69 actually.

TLDR: Starting with ZERO audience, I wrote a blog post on my website answering a frequently asked question within my niche. It wasn’t super hard. Pretty much anyone can do this. I used a little SEO (not much). I eventually put up an affiliate link (not amazon). And it has since consistently brought in $4000 a year for the past 5 years. Read the rest if you want the details (including details on the affiliate and niche I use).

Backstory and Traffic Generation

I quit my $70,000 a year full-time job to teach guitar lessons. It started as a side hustle and grew into a full time hustle. I went from my first on-the-side guitar lesson to quitting my full time job in about 8 months.

However before I even got my first student, I built a website:

This was SOLELY for the purpose of adding legitimacy to my brand new side-hustle.

Using my new website, I started to write blog posts within the guitar-lesson niche. I just thought of questions that new students might have. Questions like:

  • How much is a new guitar?
  • How old do you have to be to play guitar?
  • What’s the best beginner guitar?

And the moneymaker: “How long does it take to learn guitar?”

I don’t know if it was my writing style, blog content, blog post title, timing, or something else, but eventually this article started bringing in a steady flow of visitors. Eventually, I was ranking as the first hit on the google homepage when anyone searched for “how long to learn guitar” or better: “how long to learn acoustic guitar”

Side note: I didn’t KNOW I was ranking this high at the time. In fact I wasn’t too focused on generating traffic, I wanted in-person students (that’s where the bulk of my income would come from). My blog posts were solely to legitimize my new side-hustle/business. I was in Maryland — what the hell was I going to do with traffic from people in California?

Traffic remained fairly light, but consistent. Then, in late 2016 I started posting more frequently. Eventually traffic started to snowball. It peaked in January 2019 where the post was bringing in a little over 12,000 monthly views:

Monthly View for the Post

95% of this was organic (probably more).

No ads.

No backlinks (there may have been links from other pages, but I didn’t actively seek out backlinks)

For the most part, everything was coming in from google searches.

Lifetime Source for the post

Keep in mind, this wasn’t a one-and-done kind of deal. I didn’t just write the post and peace out. I wrote the post, then wrote another post, and another.

My writing came in spurts and was VERY INCONSISTENT.

If I were more consistent my traffic would definitely have been higher and I’d be writing this post from a yacht off of my private island.

For me, consistency wasn’t sustainable. I wrote posts based on:

  • Motivation... when I felt like it.
  • Boredom… when I felt like it.
  • Fear… when I noticed traffic dipping down, or when I realized I’d been neglecting my website.

For a period of about two months (September 2016 and October 2016) I was posting to my website almost EVERY DAY. I was disciplined about this. You can see in the months following this period there is a steady increase in traffic culminating in peak traffic around January 2019:

Starts to climb towards the end of 2016… write after a period of DAILY posting

The weird thing… most of the traffic was still going to the “how long does it take…” post. Almost 65% of traffic is consistently going to that page.

I don’t know why.

Seriously — if anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to know.

Affiliate Income and Money

Now let’s get to the ACTUAL money.

It wasn’t until 2016 that I wised up and attempted to monetize my website with affiliate links.

I am not an expert in affiliate marketing (obviously).

I use amazon, but it doesn’t bring in much, so I won’t bother with that.

The biggest money maker for me has been JamPlay.

Earnings from 9/2016–5/2021

This is an online music lesson (mostly guitar) service. It has a monthly fee where you get access to live, pre-recorded, and other guitar related material.

I signed up for JamPlay’s affiliate program, threw a few links up on the site and started making money.

It sounds insane and easy and too good to be true, but I swear to you that is what happened.

Each email is a $40 sale/commission. I love getting these emails.

If you visit my website/blog you’ll see that my posts have been minimal (to say the least) over the past few years. Even with doing virtually NOTHING for over two or three years, JamPlay still brings in money:

I have literally done NOTHING, and this still brings in money.

I do NOT advise doing literally nothing. I’m sure if I was more on top of this my revenue would be higher. I could probably push harder with amazon. Hell — I could probably make my own guitar-lesson type of course and just sell that. These are options out there for you choose/steal/create.

Recommendations for setting up passive income

So — How could you do something like this?

You could straight up copy my method and process (but hopefully do it more efficiently and with more purpose).

Here’s what I think worked for me, and still works:

Enjoy it

Stay within a niche that you are knowledgeable about, or at the very least have a pretty solidly informed opinion about — but mostly that you enjoy to some extent. And if you don’t have anything like that — learn something. If I were to start something new — it would probably have to do with learning to surf. It’s something that interests me (yet I’m so bad at it), but I think I have some good insights AND there is the possibility for future income from it (lessons, drop shipping, amazon affiliate for gear, etc).

Be honest and stay honest

I mean — seriously. You know how easy it is to spot some BS affiliate site which is designed for the SOLE PURPOSE of affiliate income. I’m more likely to scour youtube and reddit (or even just go to wirecutter) than to buy from a shady affiliate site.

Engage and be transparent

Engage with EVERYONE who comes into contact with you on your site. I get a lot of comments on the “how long does it take…” post. I try to respond to ALL OF THEM. If someone leaves a comment on my page, I’ll answer it — especially if they’re asking for help. Don’t expect the people who engage with you to be the customers — but by engaging you do several things:

  1. You help someone directly.
  2. You establish social proof in the form of comments on your page.
  3. I’m no expert but the page engagement probably helps with google rankings.
  4. You build further authority on the subject you’re writing about.

Another thing worth mentioning

The motivator cannot be money or traffic — otherwise it’s not sustainable (see my brief but lucrative writing spurt in September and October of 2016). The motivator (for me) comes from doing something interesting and fun — noted from the fact that after almost 10 years I’m still giving guitar lessons (and enjoying them).

Lastly — and possibly controversially — I think it helps if passive income is NOT the end goal, but a byproduct. A small bet of your larger portfolio.

I make my money in a lot of ways:

  • Guitar lessons that I personally teach
  • Music lessons I contract out to other teachers
  • Guitar ebook I wrote (don’t make much on this)
  • Playing live gigs
  • Affiliate income

Those are in no particular order, but by having a portfolio I don’t have to bank on one source of income. It also takes the pressure off (e.g. if I don’t feel like teaching a lesson one week, no big deal, I have other streams of income).

Added Bonus: All of these income sources are intertwined in some way:

The website I use to promote my guitar lessons also ties in with my affiliate income. The guitar students I get sometimes ask me to play gigs at events. The gigs that I play lead to private guitar students.

It takes work. It takes luck. But it’s absolutely attainable. I did this while being married with a two-year old, being underwater on a home we bought in 2008, having car loans, student loans, and my wife was in school at the time. Not an ideal financial situation. Since then, child is older, marriage is still good, loans paid off, wife’s out of school. Not too shabby.

Follow me over on Twitter to hear more about my (always ongoing) journey. I probably missed some stuff in this post, so feel free to ask questions.



Jake Posko

I quit my grown up job to teach guitar 🎸 Now I tweet about passive income, side hustles, and sometimes beer and surfing 🌊