October 17, 2013, 5:08 am

Why Old Media Are Dying Online

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Make Money Online

 

 

For the past few years, I’ve been fascinated by the way classic newspapers handled the shift to the internet. Most of them handled it poorly and thought that simply copying / pasting their paper news would make it online… Their business model is broken, profits are thin and they still don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

What will happen to the old media?

 

Can’t Press the Publish Button and Think You’re Good

 

This is where the problem stands; once you go online, any newspaper is as important as any other blogger. In fact, some bloggers are way bigger than some newspapers! This is where the problem is; there is no more entry barrier to publish content. I remember that when I was young, I wanted to become a writer. While growing, I realize how it was difficult to live from writing and decided to head toward the financial industry to assure a comfortable retirement.

 

In order to write; you needed an editor or a job as a journalist. Then, your destiny was held by a handful of major players. If you didn’t make the cut, writing for the local newspaper wouldn’t be as lucrative. But these days have changed as anybody with a strong personality and the ability to write can setup their blog for less than $100 per year. They can publish and share their stories with no marketing budget and they can even make money without having to setup a distribution network across the country.

 

Old media thought they would simply open their “dot com” window on the internet and occupy the same space they have in the “real world”.

 

You Compete With the Guy Who Has No Paper

 

The competition on the internet is as close to fair as it can get. We all have the same medium and it doesn’t require any background nor massive funding to start a website. This is why old media doesn’t compete against 5-6 major competitors but several hundred thousand bloggers without papers. Basically, anybody with an opinion can be a competitor.

 

The journalist by trade who is sitting in the same chair for the past 30 years now has to wake-up; anybody can pick-up “his” seat and he won’t even know it. Survival of the fittest; your experience and number of years worked at the same place won’t save you from the guy next door without any background or paper!

 

What’s the Sustainable Model? Are You Ready to Pay to Read?

 

The first thought old Media had when they noticed a drop in their revenues was to charge for their content. We saw it with the Wall Street Journal at first, and more locally, the Globe & Mail is now charging to read full content online. I’m not too sure that it’s the right way to approach this new evolution in the industry.

 

On the one hand, not all newspapers charge for their content. Therefore, you better have a hell of an offer to charge readers. If they think they can read similar articles elsewhere for free, you won’t get many subscriptions. At the same time, you still have tons of specialized/niche sites covering the same topics for free as well.

 

Im not convinced charging for content is the right answer. I think it’s a Band Aid on an open wound. The whole business model needs to be changed. Charging for content or posting an avalanche of ads will not solve the problem. Readers are looking for free and useful content not  a Nascar newspaper full of ads.

 

As long as old Media heads towards the classical way of making money with news, they will walk on the path to the cemetery.

 

Other Options than Upsetting Your Readers

 

I think there are others options traditional newspapers could use to make money online and survive the internet wave. I’m not a guru of any kind and don’t pretend I hold the key to success online. However, I believe there are different ways to make money online without upsetting readers.

 

#1 Work On Your Strengths

 

Newspapers have 2 major strengths they should use to their benefit;

 

 #1 They already have an audience.

 

#2  Google likes them and its easy for them to rank in the search engines.

 

Therefore, they already have the 2 things we, as bloggers, fight for since day one! This is how they could easily insert one or two “profitable” articles in their edition each day. These articles will be SEO optimized and include different type of advertising. It could be Adsense or affiliate links if the writer liked a product and recommends it. There is obviously a risk where the journalist may or may not cross the line of integrity by recommending a product with a commission attached to it.

 

Conspiracy theory fanatics will see the loophole and scream. But we already have the same issue with other bloggers anyways. Is Pat Flynn writing about Blue Host because he truly loves their hosting service or because he makes over $20,000 per month through his affiliate commission? Who cares??? I bought my hosting with Blue Host because I trust Pat, period. So why wouldn’t it be the same thing with your favourite columnist?

 

#2 Launch Side Products

 

With such a large audience, there is definitely a place for side products such as info products, ebooks, paid newsletters for specific information. I think the main platform should remain free, but additions could be charged to readers. People are craving for more valuable info on what they search for. Since old Media has the resources, time and money to create side products, they seem to be in the perfect position to do it.

 

Once they track their traffic, they can see what are their most popular topics and columnists. Then, they can easily create products targeted to this audience.

 

#3 Explore New Ways to Deliver News

 

Not too long ago, there was a big launch made by a French newspaper called La Presse. I actually like reading La Presse for free on my laptop and also on my iPad. A few months ago, they launched an app called La Presse +. At first, I wasn’t too convinced about the idea. I just thought that, once again, big media was wasting their money on a marketing exercise.

 

But now that I’ve gone through the app several times, I can tell you that I simply love it! The content is fun to read because you have more colors, images and they even include videos! Therefore, it’s more than a blog, it’s more than a newspaper and it’s even more than a TV show!

 

The only thing missing on this app is probably the ability to comment on any news live and discuss it with other readers. However, it has clearly changed the way I read a newspaper. Even if you don’t read French, just download the app to see how it works. It’s clearly amazing. I wonder if there is an equivalent in English, do you know any app like this one?

 

What is Going to Happen to The Traditional Newspaper?

 

I am asking you, what is going to happen to old media? Are they going to die and other internet giants will create more content? It has already started… what’s next?

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October 14, 2013, 6:55 am

Leaving Everything Aside to Focus on ONE Thing

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

 

 

I’ve always valued multitasking over everything else. In my mind; if you are productive; do as many things as possible. As long as it is still effective; simply go for it! But I noticed that sometimes, focusing on one single thing is the best way to make it happen.

 

I’ve had this dream of having a membership website as part of my online empire for some time now. A membership site is awesome since it enables our ability to build a “real” company. By “real”, I mean that I have a product, something to sell; something that nobody can take away from me. On top of this, once you have a product, you have clients. And these clients can stick around for a while and there are no Google updates to take them away from you. You can build a relationship and be in direct contact with your customer. This is why I call it a “real” business.

 

IT’S NOT THAT EASY

 

I’m sure I’m not the first one to daydream about the number of potential subscribers multiplied by a monthly fee to see how much I could rack-up in a month. Imagine that you have 1,000 clients paying $15/month for your product. That’s $15,000 each month coming into your pocket. Your cost of goods sold is close to nothing since you have no building and no inventory to maintain. Even if you hire a VA to manage customer service, you will still net $13,000 per month out of the 15K…. wow!

 

As I just wrote, this is called daydreaming. I might reach that point with my product one day, but it’s not going to happen overnight… especially since I don’t have a product launched yet! Many people come up with an idea, fund thousands of dollars to create their product and keep it wrapped up in their basement on the shelf of the broken dreams.

 

It’s definitely not easy to offer something original, something that is not being offered a thousand times over already. Finding the right product, the right audience at the right price is an art all by itself. This is why I’ve brought my expectations to a much lower level. My goal is to reach the mark of 100 subscribers within the first three months and adding 200 subscribers each year. With such a plan, I will be making that $13K net in 5-6 years. I guess this is more realistic.

 

TIME IS REQUIRED TO BUILD SOMETHING GREAT

 

I have spent more than year thinking about my future product. About how I would offer added value to what is being offered on the market right now. Now that I’ve clearly defined my idea, I needed a lot of time to build the structure around it.

 

I started to work seriously on my special project about 6 months ago but it wasn’t going fast enough. I was working hard, sending tons of emails to my partner, doing research, etc. But, the results weren’t not coming my way.  After 5 months, I had a very good idea of what my product is, but the structure wasn’t anywhere close to being in place in order to offer it.

 

When I came back from vacation, I decided to put almost all my attention towards this project. This is why I haven’t been writing much over the past week and why I’ve been delaying most other projects in my workflow. I kind of stopped my empire to focus on one thing.

 

This is how I was able build a structure and determine a deadline: I want to launch my project for December 2013!

 

WHAT FOCUS GIVES YOU THAT YOU CAN’T GET ANY OTHER WAY

 

By spending numerous hours in a row working on the same project day after day, I was able to think about all the “little things” that would make my product successful. I was also able to drive my partner crazy because I was sending 5 emails a day about this project, hahahaha! I was working on it mostly by night so he wakes up with a bunch of emails to answer. This caused a bit of confusion since I had the bad habit of sending more info each time without waiting for him to answer the first email… but this is the hype of brainstorming!

 

The fact that I was 100% focused on 1 project helped me to brainstorm to another level. Each day, I had a better idea than the previous day. The focus mode built a bubble around my mind where the only thing I thought of was this project. I have gotten more done over the past three weeks that I’ve done over the last 5 months! This is why sometimes focusing is better than multitasking!

 

TFB! WHAT’S THE PROJECT?

 

Are you getting curious? Hehehe! You can register here if you want to be the first to know about it!

 

Cheers,

 

TFB

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October 7, 2013, 7:10 am

Retirement Planning; Sprint, Spartan Race or a Marathon?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning

 

 

A few weeks ago, I read a great article from Joe @ Retire at 40 talking about whether retirement planning is a sprint or a marathon. I’ve been giving it some thought lately about how we should approach retirement planning and I really liked the running analogy. There are several ways to retire just as there are several ways to train for a run.  Let’s revisit how you can retire depending on your “workout”:

 

Sprint – Is this an Option?

 

 

In my opinion, you can’t really sprint your way to retirement. Unless you have the ability to make a lot of money in a very short period of time, the sprinting method will not happen. In order to build a solid nest egg, no matter how good you are at saving, you will need at least ten years to build it.

 

Unfortunately, we see too many people waiting until they hit their late forty’s before thinking about retirement planning. This is when you wish you make a lot of money and that you have finished paying off most of your debts. If you are not in this situation, the sprint to retirement will be harder than you think.

 

For example, someone at 45 saving $10,000 per year at 5% will gather only $330K before he retires à 65. At the same rate of investment, the 330K can generate $26.5K per year as a pension and the payment will stop at the age of 85. This calculation doesn’t take in consideration inflation so you can guess that 26.5K in 40 years in not much to live comfortably! If we increase this amount to $20,000 per year, the retirement nest egg grows up to $661K and will generate $53K per year for 20 years. So if you are thinking that sprinting is a good option; you’ll have to save $1,666 per month if you start at the age of 45!

 

Spartan Race – For Those Who Eye Early Retirement

 

If you ever have the chance to do a Spartan Race, Prison Break or a Tough Mudder race, DO IT! I did one myself this summer and I truly enjoyed this mix of hiking, running and military training. It truly demands all your body’s abilities.

 

You can take the Spartan Race way to plan your retirement. It will be harder than a regular race. Instead of focusing solely on saving money, you will need to work on all your personal finance abilities. This may include saving more, creating a business, paying off your debts very quickly, etc.

 

My plan to retire looks like a Spartan Race: I work more hours than a normal job since I work at both my job and online business. By doing both at the same time, I make sure that I have my “normal” retirement plan on line while I try to reach early retirement.

 

My normal retirement plan includes investing $5,000 per year in my savings account + my pension plan. This plan ensures that I’ll be making roughly $100K per year starting at 65 and ending at 90. This should be enough to cover for both my wife and I.

 

Now that I’ve secured this option, I can start my Spartan Race and look for early retirement. For example, if my online business generates over $20,000/month in ten years, I might be able to stop working in my early 40’s.

 

As is the case with real Spartan Race, I’ve faced a few obstacles with my retirement plan. Having three kids has slowed me down since I have more expenses and less time to work on my company. I don’t regret my choices at all, and I just came to the conclusion that the Race was harder than I thought in the first place and that retiring early is quite challenging. I also failed to resist spending more in previous years. This had a big impact on my early retirement plan.

 

At least, my “marathon” plan is on pace and I know that in the worst case scenario, I will retire at 65 with a solid pension.

 

 

The Marathon – The Right Way to Approach Retirement Planning

 

I’ve never run a marathon… yet. The biggest race I’ve done was 16.5km and that was this summer. In order to reach that level, I started by running 5km 3-4 times a week this spring and ran 10km once a week. I started slow and increased as I think my body can support it. I expect to be able to do my first half-marathon next year. In fact, I could probably take the step this year but I’m not sure I’ll have enough time ;-).

 

Retirement planning way ahead is like training for a marathon; there is nothing exciting about it! When you make a habit of saving money on each pay check, you ensure a safe retirement. At the same time, you don’t have to starve for years or stay on your couch for your vacation. Actually, if you save $1,000 per month toward retirement for 35 years, you will be a millionaire (this makes $1,083K at a 5% investment return). Since you don’t need that much money to retire, you can drop your monthly retirement plan to $600 per month and still gather $650K in 35 years.

 

No matter how you run your race, the end is always a finish line. The only thing that is different is how you feel once you have crossed the line! Are you going to be proud, exhausted or feel ashamed because you haven’t trained enough for your race?

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