Many service based businesses dream about passive income, but few know how to turn it into a reality.
Plenty of us have this vision of passive income as lying on a beach somewhere, sipping a margarita while raking in thousands of dollars with little to no work.
Another common conception of passive income is the whole idea of “making money while you sleep” – and this idea is obviously way too good to pass up!
But what is passive income, really?
And how can you REALISTICALLY start generating it so you can add passive income revenue streams to your existing income or even quit your 9-5?
This post will cover everything you need to know about passive income, including:
- What IS passive income?
- The problem with running a service-based business
- Things you need to know before you jump on the passive income train
- 17 ways you can start earning passive income
- The best tools and resources for earning passive income
This post will be geared toward passive income for service-based business owners; but no matter your background or experience, you’ll find the strategies below useful.
Let’s jump in!
What is Passive Income?I would define passive income as this: Any money you make without putting in an active effort.Click To Tweet
I would define passive income as this: Any money you make without putting in an active effort.
If you google “passive income,” you’ll find a wide range of different definitions.
You’ll find that many definitions of passive income involve some talk of real estate holdings. But, in my opinion, that’s a pretty old-fashioned concept (since buying real estate is really not a possibility for many people these days).
For instance, Investopedia defines passive income as “earnings derived from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which a person is not actively involved.”In my opinion, a more modern and realistic way to look at passive income is leveraging your service-based business to make extra money without a lot of extra work.Click To Tweet
In my opinion, a more modern and realistic way to look at passive income is leveraging your service-based business to make extra money without a lot of extra work.
Depending on how much work you put in on the front end, this could be a little extra cash each month, or it could completely replace or even surpass the income you make from your business.
But if you already have a service-based business, you may be asking at this point – Why would I want to work myself out of a job? Why fix something that isn’t broken?
This is a great question. To really answer this, it’s important to first look at the limitations of running a service-based business.
The Problem With Service-Based Businesses
First, let me be clear: I have nothing against service-based businesses.
In fact, I have run one – and still do to a lesser extent.
However, there’s a major problem with running a service-based business, especially if you’re looking to increase your cash flow:
You’re ONE person.
This means you’re limited in how much help you can provide.Your #1 limitation is time – you can only help a certain number of people in one day…and even then, at maximum capacity you could easily be burning yourself out.Click To Tweet
Your #1 limitation is time – you can only help a certain number of people in one day…and even then, at maximum capacity you could easily be burning yourself out.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a successful business offering business consulting to clients. On a typical day, you might work with 2-3 clients, meaning you’re spending 2-3 direct client hours working.
Of course, you’ll spend many more hours indirectly working with clients – answering emails and calls, coming up with strategies and ideas, doing customer service, etc.
Now, hopefully you’re charging enough that you’re getting paid fairly for all the hours you put in.BUT, at a certain point, you may realize that as much as you love working with clients – and as much as you’re getting paid well for the work you do – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.Click To Tweet
BUT, at a certain point, you may realize that as much as you love working with clients – and as much as you’re getting paid well for the work you do – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
You’re 100% trading time for money, meaning you’ll only make income when you’re putting in significant effort.
So, does this mean you should just scrap the whole service-based thing in favor of pursuing passive income strategies?
Not necessarily. In most businesses, there are ways the two strategies can work together beautifully and effectively.
And, if you choose to entirely stop working one-on-one with clients in favor of pursuing passive income streams, that’s great too. This will leave you more time to focus on helping MORE people, with LESS active work on your part.
What You Need to Know Before You Pursue Passive Income in Your Service Based Business
Later in this post, I’m going to give you a bunch of ways you can start earning passive income.
But before we jump into these, it’s SUPER important to talk about a few things.
As with most new ventures, it’s important to go in with your eyes wide open – otherwise you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment or even failure.
Following are 5 things you NEED to know and be prepared for before you incorporate passive income strategies into your business.
1. It’s usually not entirely passiveWhile it’s true that earning passive income is generally MUCH less work than earning active income, it will still require some effort, particularly up front.Click To Tweet
While it’s true that earning passive income is generally MUCH less work than earning active income, it will still require some effort, particularly up front.
For instance, if you’re going to create a kick-butt online course, you can safely expect to spend at least a few weeks doing research, developing content, and just generally building out your course.
Then once your course is ready to go, there will be the ongoing work of marketing your course, keeping it up to date, and providing customer service.So, while it will be much LESS work than working one-on-one with clients all day, it will definitely still require SOME work!Click To Tweet
So, while it will be much LESS work than working one-on-one with clients all day, it will definitely still require SOME work!
2. You may have to try a number of different strategies before you find one that “sticks”
When you create your first passive income stream, you’ll probably be super excited to see what happens with it.
Hitting “publish” on that first sales page can be exhilarating!!
But, the reality is that it’s rare for a first product to be wildly successful.
Prepare yourself for the possibility that your first offering may not do well…and that this isn’t a reflection of your ability (or rather, inability) to earn passive income.In my experience, it takes time, patience and a lot of trial and error to find the passive income stream that will work for you. And this will vary depending on your niche, audience and skill set….so don’t give up if things don’t go your way immediately! Click To Tweet
In my experience, it takes time, patience and a lot of trial and error to find the passive income stream that will work for you. And this will vary depending on your niche, audience and skill set….so don’t give up if things don’t go your way immediately!
3. You’ll probably need multiple streams to make things work
It’s rare to find a successful business owner who only has one passive income stream.
For instance, Pat Flynn, the king of passive income, regularly publishes income statements showing exactly how much money he made the month before.
These statements reveal that he earns passive income through:
- Online courses
- Affiliate marketing
- A podcast
- Book and eBook sales
- Ads on his niche websites
And just to be clear, he’s KILLING it using these strategies. His last income statement shows monthly revenue of over $167,000!
If multiple passive income streams is what Pat needs to make things work, you probably do too!
4. You may need to make a financial investment to get off the ground (but not always)
This will very much depend on what type of revenue stream you’ll be pursuing, as well as your current assets and skillset.
For instance, if you’re an experienced writer and marketer and want to start promoting affiliate products on your existing blog, you probably won’t need to invest much (if any) money to get started.
Depending on your skills and experience,you may also need help with writing, filming or editing your content, or with simply learning all the behind the scenes stuff of creating a course.
Finally, if you don’t already have an established audience, you may need to invest in online ads or sponsored posts to generate interest in your course.
5. Launch ONE passive income stream at a time
It’s exciting to start something new, but don’t fall into the trap of launching too quickly, or of launching a whole bunch of passive income streams all at once.
As with any new venture, it’s so important to have a proper marketing funnel in place.
Jumping in too quickly and without some forethought can mean overwhelming and overloading both you AND your audience!
For instance, imagine launching an eBook, course and DIY program all at once…and then promoting them to your email subscribers and social media audience.
They probably won’t know what hit them!
Instead of being excited about trying out your products, they’re more likely to feel overwhelmed by all the choices, over-marketed to, and just plain ANNOYED!
17 Ways to Earn Passive Income for Service Based Businesses (Get Started TODAY!)
Now for the good stuff…what you’ve probably been waiting for.
Since this post is largely geared toward you – a service-based business owner – I’m limiting my ideas to ones that will allow you to leverage your current knowledge, expertise and customer base.
While there are many other ways to earn passive income (like renting out a room on Airbnb, driving for Uber, or investing in dividend-paying stocks), the suggestions below are all ones that will be a natural complement to your service-based business.
Keep in mind that while some of the strategies below will be almost entirely “hands off” (and therefore completely passive), others will require more active efforts. That said, all of them can complement a service-based business beautifully, allowing you to stop directly trading time for money!
1. Selling eBooks
There are two main ways you can sell your eBooks: on your website, or via a major eBook retailer like Amazon.
I’ll cover both strategies briefly below.
Selling eBooks on your website
This is an easy way to start selling a (relatively) low-cost item on your site.
Typically, eBooks range from a couple of dozen pages all the way up to a full-length book. Depending on your niche, the price could be anywhere from a couple of bucks up to $100+.
In other words, there’s a market for pretty much every type of eBook at every single price point!
I recommend scouring your emails and blog and social media comments to see which topics your audience is regularly asking about. Then create kick-butt content that addresses those issues, and you’re good to go!
Selling eBooks on eBook marketplaces
I wanted to mention this strategy separately since it’s a fairly different beast. As with creating eBooks for your website, you’ll still want to find a topic you know your audience is asking about or struggling with.
However, if you want to sell on Amazon (or Kobo, Smashwords, NOOK, etc.) you’ll definitely need to make sure you a) price it appropriately, and b) have it formatted for the platform you’ll be selling on.
In terms of pricing, eBooks sold on these platforms tend to sell for far less than if you sell them directly on your website. They typically range from $.99 up to $10…you’ll need to see what comparable books in your niche are going for to determine your pricing.
Of course, the trade-off is that you often get MUCH more exposure on these sites than you would on your own website!
2. An Online Course
Online courses can be a GREAT way to share in-depth information with your audience.
There are so many amazing tools out there now that will help you create and market your course. This means that literally anyone – regardless of technical ability – can do it.
The major decision you’ll need to make when considering an online course is where you’ll host it. You have two options: you can either build and host it on your own site, or you can use an online course platform like Udemy.
These two options will vary considerably in terms of how much they’ll cost you, how much they’ll cost your students, how much technical ability you’ll need and how much marketing you’ll need to do.
In the next section of this post, I’ll go into more detail about choosing a platform for your course, including the pros and cons of each type.
Is the idea of creating an online course piquing your interest? Check out my posts,
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s product to your audience via your website or email list.
For every sale you make using your unique affiliate link, you earn a commission. This commission usually ranges from 4-10%, but can be as high as 90% for digital products.
There are a ton of creative ways you can promote these products, for instance:
- Creating review posts on your website
- Sending a promotional email to your email subscribers
- Including relevant affiliate linksin your blog posts
- Including your affiliate products in a list of helpful resources
- Offering promo codes for your affiliate items (this is something many merchants will provide)
4. An E-commerce Store
Okay, so this isn’t exactly passive income. But I wanted to include it here because it can be a good way to earn money through your website– and is far more passive than, for instance, running a brick and mortar store.
Using a tool like Shopify (pictured above) will allow you to get your online store up and running in no time at all. Another great option is WooCommerce, which is a plugin you can use to add a store directly to your WordPress site.
Of course, one of the main issues you’ll have with this approach is finding and managing the inventory you can sell on your site. If this is something you’d like to avoid, move on to #5 below.
Dropshipping is an excellent way to sell products on your site WITHOUT having to carry any inventory or worry about shipping and customer returns.
Here’s how it works: You make an arrangement with a third-party seller to promote and sell their products on your site. When someone purchases a product, the seller is automatically notified and ships out the product. And your customers will never even know there’s a third-party involved!
In terms of payment, you pay the wholesale price for the product (usually plus a small fee), and then keep the rest of the customer payment as your profit.
One of the trickiest parts of dropshipping is simply finding products to sell. A great place to start is Oberlo. You can browse through thousands of products to find ones you think would be popular with your audience.
When you’ve found a product you like, you can grab images and descriptions, and then simply click “import to store” to start selling it on your store.
6. Build an App
Have an idea for an app that would make life easier for your prospects or clients?
The good news is that it no longer needs to take months and thousands of dollars to build an app for your audience!
Sites like AppyPie and BuildFire let you build mobile apps, and edit them anytime you want.You can choose from tons of different features, integrate monetization into your app (i.e. make money!), and even accept payments through your app.
All without paying a developer!
7. Outsource Most of Your Work
Have a thriving service-based business, but tired of spending countless hours working with clients? Outsourcing can be a great way to keep your business running without as much hands-on involvement.
While you can always find contract workers via a site like Upwork, I usually recommend relying on good ole word of mouth.
Ask friends and colleagues in your industry who they recommend. Reach out to those people to see if they’re interested in working with you. After a trial period, choose the BEST contract workers, even if they’re also the most expensive!
Knowing your customers and clients are in good hands will mean you can take a hands-off approach, making your income as passive as possible.
8. YouTube Videos
Want to earn passive income through filming and promoting videos? There are a number of ways you can make money through YouTube.
First, your goal will be to create amazing, helpful videos you can share with your audience.
Cover their biggest pain points, and offer specific, practical advice for addressing those issues. As with blog posts, social media posts or any other type of content, keep your promotional stuff to a minimum – generally no more than 2 pieces of promotional content for every 8 pieces of other content.
If you can get a LOT of views for your videos, you can make some decent money through YouTube ads. Basically, advertisers pay to have their ads shown, and you get a cut – usually somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-$2 per 1,000 views. To put this in perspective, this means that if you got 100,000 views, you’d make around $100-$200.
Generally speaking, I’d recommend using your YouTube channel to promote your own stuff – whether that’s your eBooks, online course, affiliate products, etc. You’ll likely find this to be much more lucrative in the long run.[Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using BOTH strategies!]
9. Group Coaching
If you currently offer one-on-one coaching or consulting, you probably find you’re extremely busy earning ACTIVE income!
Many coaches and consultants do quite well offering these one-on-one sessions but wish they had a way to work fewer hours while helping more people.
Group coaching is the solution to this. Through a combination of pre-recorded videos, written content and some live support (possibly in the form of a secret Facebook group), you can provide help to multiple clients at a lower price per client.
And the best part? Once you’ve got your coaching structure and content up and running, you’ll find most of your active time is spent offering support in your group…rather than responding to individual requests, scheduling calls and Zoom sessions, and creating new content for your clients.
10. Advertise on Your Website
Your website is prime real estate for advertising products or services – either your own or someone else’s.
If you’re using the other strategies on this list – like affiliate marketing and selling a digital product or online course – putting up ads for these products will probably be your best bet. (See pic above for what I do on my blog.)
BUT, you may also find that there are other businesses in your niche who are looking for ways to reach your audience. Offering ad placements in your sidebar, leaderboard, or via a native ad (e.g., a review post) can be a great way to earn some additional income with very little additional work on your part!
11. Get Sponsorships for Your Social Media Properties
This strategy involves getting paid to post sponsored content on your Facebook page or group, Twitter or Instagram feed, Pinterest, etc.
Many businesses find this to be an excellent way to gain exposure and fans/followers in their niche….and it’s a super-easy way for you, as a blogger or publisher, to monetize all your hardwork on social media.
Some types of sponsored content you can post include:
- Giveaways or contests
- Sharing an advertiser’s blog posts
- Promoting a special offer
- Sharing content from the advertiser’s social media properties
- Sharing an advertiser’s video
12. Sell Templates
Do you have administrative or business documents you could turn into templates and sell? Or how about successful blog or social media post outlines/formats you use for your business that you could share with others?
People love using templates when:
- They’ve already proven to be successful for someone else
- The templates save them time when creating content, and
- The templates help them avoid paying a designer, developer or writer tons of money
Some examples of templates you can create are product launch emails, blog post outlines, social media graphic packages, client forms…the possibilities are virtually endless!
Have you spent years building up a loyal, engaged audience…but still struggle to find ways to monetize this engagement?
Patreon is a simple way to earn income from your established audience by accepting donations for content you’re already providing.
Here’s how it works: Imagine that you create new blog posts 8 times each month. You have a loyal following of people who LOVE and NEED what you write…but they have no real way to give back.
Enter Patreon. “Patrons” sign up to pay you for the content you already create (or content you promise to create in future). Typically, patrons sign up and then pay a small monthly fee (even justa couple of bucks)…but these small amounts can add up FAST, especially as your audience grows.
14. A Membership Site
Via Peaceful Parent
Having a members-only site isn’t exactly passive income – not by a long shot.
That said, if you’re currently offering your services exclusively on a one-to-one basis, making the switch to a membership site can save you tons of time while allowing you to serve MANY more people.
Your membership site can take many different forms, but will generally include some combination of:
- A members-only forum or Facebook group
- Exclusive member discounts
- Access to members-only content
- Live webinars or Q&As for members
- Members-only conferences or live meetups
While running a membership site may take a lot of time and effort, the primary advantage is that you have a guaranteed monthly income. That means if you DO need to get away to those warm, sandy beaches…you can do so while continuing to earn income!
15. Influencer Marketing
While you can use all of the strategies above as an influencer, this one is too important not to list separately!
If you’ve earned the trust and respect of your audience, and if you have a large and engaged following, influencer marketing could be in the cards for you.
This will involve using your influence to promote other people’s businesses and products…whether on your website, social media or to your email list.
Not sure where to start with influencer marketing? While you can certainly reach out to relevant businesses in your industry, there are also many great influencer marketplaces that connect influencers and brands (for instance, check out AspireIQ and Influence.co).
16. Create Niche Websites
This strategy definitely overlaps with many of the strategies above. Creating a variety of niche websites gives you multiple opportunities to generate passive income streams (using the strategies above), without putting all your “eggs” in one basket!
This is the very strategy Pat Flynn (who I mentioned above) used to generate $3 million in 6 years.
He created a number of different sites in various underserved niches – niches that most people wouldn’t really think of. For instance, one of his sites was about how to become a security guard!
He started selling a $20 eBook to help aspiring security professionals pass their certification exam, and boom –he made over $7K the first month.
If this sounds like a strategy you’d like to pursue, ask yourself these questions:
- What topics am I interested in or passionate about?
- Which niches correspond to these topics and aren’t already overrun with websites and competition?
- What value can I provide to this audience?
- What digital products can I provide that people would be willing to pay for?
If you can answer all these questions, you’re on your way to establishing an excellent passive income stream!
17. Write a Book
We already covered the idea of writing and selling an eBook, but writing a paper book can also be a great passive income stream.
While it will be a LOT of work at the front end, once your book is published, you continue to collect royalties for as long as your book sells.
It also has the added bonus of really solidifying your reputation as a trusted expert in your field.
Of course, the thing that scares many people away from even considering this option is the whole idea of getting an agent, finding a publisher, etc.
Fortunately, the Writer’sMarket books, updated annually, will tell you everything you need to know about getting published: including how to write a book proposal, which agents are currently accepting new clients, and where to submit your work.
Top Tools and Resources for Launching Your Passive Income Streams
Once you’ve decided on which passive income streams you want to pursue, you’ll probably find yourself wondering where on earth to start!
For this reason, I’ve included a whole bunch of awesome tools and resources below. Keep in mind that you may only need one or two of them. How many you need will totally depend on:
- What tools or assets you already have,
- Your skillset, and
- What type of income streams you’re planning to launch.
That said, no matter what you need to get your passive income stream(s) up and running, you’ll find exactly the resources you need below!
1. A WordPress Website
Although there are definitely exceptions to the rule, you’ll more than likely need a website to start generating passive income.
This is particularly true if you’re planning to sell an eBook, to do any kind of affiliate marketing, or to offer advertising to other businesses.
Fortunately, starting a blog is easier than ever using WordPress.org. In case you’re not familiar with WordPress, it’s a 100% FREE platform for building a completely customized website.
And the best part? You don’t have to have any techy skills, and you can get a basic site up and running in 30 minutes or less!
For step-by-step instructions, check out my post How to Start a Blog in 30 Minutes or Less.
2. Email Marketing Software
To build relationships with potential customers and to promote your product(s), you’re definitely going to need email marketing software.
In fact, your email management software will be KEY to getting people into your marketing funnel.
Here’s a brief rundown on how this works: Promote a free product that’s related to your paid products. Get people to sign up for your list in order to download or get access to your free product. Regularly send them great content…and of course, don’t forget to let them know about your paid product. Voila!
The email marketing software I recommend is aWeber. The basic package is $19/month for up to 500 subscribers,and will allow you to set up multiple autoresponders (automatic emails that go out to all new subscribers), to segment your audience depending on how and where they signed up, and much more.
3. A Virtual Assistant
While not strictly necessary for earning passive income, a virtual assistant sure does help!
A smart, reliable VA can take over many tasks that are keeping you busy…so that you can stop trading time for money.
Some of the tasks you can delegate to your VA include:
- Administrative tasks like answering emails and answering the phone
- Scheduling meetings
- Billing and bookkeeping
- Graphic design
- Blog writing or uploading and scheduling blog posts
- Social media management
- Arranging travel
- Preparing documents, spreadsheets and forms
Not every VA will have skills and expertise in all of the areas above. However, if you can find one who does, HIRE HIM OR HER!
Hire My Mom (pictured above) is a great resource for finding female professionals who are looking for work they can do from home. Simply post your job (for free!) and qualified candidates can see and apply for your position.
Another great resource is Chris Drucker’s VirtualStaff Finder. If you want to hire a VA but don’t want to mess around with the logistics of finding the perfect person, VSF will do all the legwork for you. They find qualified candidates based on your criteria, then present you with three highly-qualified VAs you can interview.
4. A Tool for Creating Graphics
As you create and market your product(s), you’ll undoubtedly find the need to create professional-looking graphics.
Fortunately, there are great tools out there that help you to create eye-catching images for free (or cheap) without graphic design skills.
My absolute favorite tool for this is Canva. It lets you create virtually any type of graphic you can imagine:
- social media posts
- eBook covers
- Facebook ads
- website ads
- and much more!
Simply grab one of their MANY free templates, customize the colors, fonts, text and even the image, then download and use it.
There are TONS of free options you can choose from. If you decide you want to use one of their premium graphics or templates, you pay just $1/each.
5. An Online Course Creator
A course built using Teachable
If you decide you want to create an online course, you’ll need a way to host and deliver it. There are many different tools out there depending on your needs and preferences, but here area few of my favorites.
Teachable – Teachable is especially great if you don’t have a website, or want someone else to host your course. It’s an extremely user-friendly tool that lets you create your course from start to finish. With course templates, sales pages, quizzes, discussion forums, and even marketing tools, Teachable does it all. Prices start at $39/month.
Udemy – If getting exposure for your course is your #1 priority, Udemy is a good option. Their platform is super easy to use, and you can be up and running in no time at all. The drawback? Udemy courses are some of the lowest-priced around, usually selling at around the $10-$20 mark. It’s free to create a course on Udemy, but they’ll take anywhere from 3-50% of your course sales.
LearnDash – If you want to host your course on your own WordPress site, a plugin like LearnDash is a great option. Easily create and promote your course on your own with LearnDash. In other words, you keep every single cent you earn. And the best part is, all you pay is a one-time fee of $189.
6. Ebook Formatting
If you’re going to be writing and selling an eBook that’s accessible on e-readers (Kindle, Kobo, etc.), you’ll need to properly format it for reading on these devices.
If you want to go the DIY route, you can use a free tool like Calibre…but be warned, there’s quite a learning curve with this product!
For this reason, I’d definitely recommend going with a paid service like Ebook Launch. It will cost you in the neighborhood of $50 for each format (epub, mobi, pdf, etc.). However, they do an excellent job of making sure your eBook is formatted properly for every device.
Finally, if you’re going to go with just a straight pdf eBook, you can use an online word-to-pdf conversion tool like Smallpdf…which is completely free!
7. An Affiliate Marketing Program
If you want to go the affiliate marketing route, your very first step will be to find affiliate programs you can join.
Some of the biggest affiliate programs (and the easiest to join) are:
Amazon – While the commissions are among the lowest in affiliate marketing (usually between 4-10%), the conversion rates are excellent; meaning you’ll make less per sale, but will likely make more sales than with many other affiliate links.
ShareASale – ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks out there. Once you create a ShareASale account, browse through their database of thousands of merchants to find products or services you want to promote. Then sign up with those merchants and start promoting their stuff on your site. Commission rates range quite a bit, but will generally be in the neighborhood of 10% per sale.
ClickBank – This is another one of the biggest affiliate networks,but ClickBank specializes mainly in digital products. This means their commission structure is much more generous, with rates usually ranging from 50-75% per sale.
While these programs are a great place to start, you’ll likely find more lucrative and relevant affiliate products and services searching the internet.
Simply google “affiliate program” and [your niche] and you’ll likely find multiple niche programs you can join.
8. A Payment System
If you want to charge for your products (and you DO!), you’ll need some way to accept payments online.
If you want to go the simplest route, PayPal and PayPalMerchant Services are good options. Almost everyone has PayPal, and if they don’t, it’s super easy to join. Their transaction fees are 2.9% + $.30 per sale.
In my opinion, Stripe is a better option for most business owners. While the base rates are the same as PayPal (2.9% + $.30 per sale), there’s no additional charge for international payments (which let’s face it, is the norm these days).
There are many other payment systems you can use. And, of course, you don’t need to limit yourself or your customers to just one. But, these options are probably the most user-friendly for newer business owners.
I hope this post inspires you to stop trading time for money by pursuing some passive income streams of your own. As you’ve seen, there are TONS of ways you can work less and make more money…all while helping more people!
Which passive income strategies are you thinking about trying? Let us know in the comments below!