If you ever thought of selling something, you’ll know what I’m talking about…
I have quietly mentioned on TFB that I’m working on a membership website of late. I didn’t put too much emphasis on it simply because I didn’t want to bug you with my project that has nothing to do with making money online or becoming an entrepreneur.
However, if you have ever thought of selling something, regardless if it’s on the web or not, I am now offering you my thoughts about the incredibly long process behind any product launch. I now understand why big companies spend millions on a marketing team to coordinate their launches!
Not only is it a lot of work (that you can imagine) but the worst part is to wait through days, weeks and months of working on details before the launch. This is what is truly killing me from the inside out. It’s like being pregnant and ready to give birth at 9 months but waiting 4 more weeks before you see your baby!
One thing I’ve learned during the process is that having a product is good, but building a great package and finding the right audience matters more than everything else. Anybody can come up with a product, literally! We all can change the world from our basements with a brilliant idea.
But the first question you must ask yourself is: is my idea useful for people? It is clearly useful for you since you thought of it, but this doesn’t mean it’s useful for others! In order to answer this question, your idea must answer one of the following:
#1 Takes care of a pain
#2 Improves one’s life
#3 Alleviates a fear
To be honest, pretty much everything you can think of will answer one of these “three pillars of a great product”. The point is to package it the right way.
The best example I can think of is the “Post-It” invention by 3M. Post-it stickers were invented after a failure to create effective glue. Instead of throwing this failure in the trash, 3M decided to package it differently. We all like post-it stickers that we can move from one place to another. However, we would never buy a sticker with poor quality glue that doesn’t stick around. This is why we needed to be told that the post-it was made to be moved. This is how to package an idea.
Then, you need to find your potential clients. Don’t think that everybody around you will buy your product. It’s not true! In fact, most people will likely not buy your product. As I mentioned earlier, my next product is not in line with TFB main topics. I will still make you aware it exists but my conversion rate should be very low.
It takes time to build an audience or a list of potential clients. If you don’t build your list first, you may waste a lot of time creating a product that doesn’t meet anybody’s needs. This is why I started with my idea and created a landing page with a specific mailing list subscription option. If you want to look at it, you can see it here.
It is obvious that I already have an audience to launch my product; I run several financial websites! But I wanted to make sure that I have people interested in a paid site that will provide them with information. This is why I created this new list and asked people to register for it if they are interested in hearing about my idea.
I didn’t want to spam my regular readers with a series of emails mentioning my concept and how I intend to package it unless they clearly tell me that they want to hear about it. This was the purpose of making a new list apart from all the others. I sent 4 emails so far to this list. If you have a mailing list, you know that a good average opening rate is around 30%. Here are my numbers:
This list has over 500 subscribers. Therefore, roughly 350 people opened and read these emails attentively. This is a very important sign that my package and what I offer will be welcomed by these readers. Another interesting stat is the 200+ emails I’ve received back from these readers commenting and asking questions… Definitely, I can tell that I’m close to something good now!
If you want to know how I build my mailing list and email funnels, read this series and you’ll know all my secrets.
But I’m not ready to launch yet. There are too many details left to be taken care of. The idea of your product is important and, the packaging is even more important. However, all these little details supporting your product need to be taken care of thoroughly. Don’t think you can launch and then fix them along the way.
Each time I think I’m done with one section, I ask my partner and VA to take a look around and give me feedback. Each time they come up with something new and I have to go back to the drawing board and apply some modifications.
Pictures used, navigation process, charging methods, software used, update rules, writing methodology (font, color, size, etc). These are all details that need to be perfect. I’ve spent several hours creating my email series and organizing the launch date.
I won’t lie, taking care of the details sucks. It’s not fun and you don’t get anything great out of it. No money, no traffic, not even a “thank you”. You just have to fix everything so the day you open your doors to the world, everything is perfect!
Having a deadline for any project is probably one of the most crucial parts of your launch plan. Without a deadline, you won’t do anything. You need to commit to a higher level to make sure things go along the way.
I’ve personally committed to launch my project for December 2013. At first, it was just a vague idea of launching a membership website. Then, when I came back from vacation in late August, I realized that not much had been done and that I would not be able to finish everything for December. This is why the deadline was so important; it creates the sense of urgency.
I went a little bit further by creating my mailing list and the email series. I’ve committed to myself of sending 1 email every two weeks. This technique is being used to keep the momentum about my project going, giving an update while slowly selling my concept. At one point, these people should be as ready as me for the launch!
I must also go forward with my project faster if I want to make it a success. Imagine the opposite; imagine that I wait another 6 months to launch my site? I would probable get close to ZERO sales!
On the other hand, deadlines are deadlines, nothing more. The world won’t end if you don’t make it. The key is to commit yourself to a high level so you need to work on your project every day. Then, if you miss your deadline by a few days or weeks, it’s not the end of the world either.
I’m given myself a small buffer (don’t tell my partner! Hahaha!) of launching in January instead of December. If I can’t launch in the first week of December, I’ll probably launch during the first week of January. I guess people will be more interested in buying gifts than buying a membership website subscription during the Holidays!
But my hopes are still to launch on December 1st and make myself a real gift for the Holidays!
The most important thing I’ve learned during this process is that patience is key. If you get too impatient and want to launch right away, you won’t be doing things the right way. You will likely miss some key details and sales won’t be as good.
I want to make sure that I’ve done 100% of what I could do prior to the launch. At that point, I know that I couldn’t have done things differently and will be satisfied with the results.
Do you have a product that you sell? How did (do) you plan your launch?Google+ Comments: 3 Read More
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?
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”.
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!
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.
I’m 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.
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.
Newspapers have 2 major strengths they should use to their benefit;
#1 They already have an audience.
#2 Google likes them and it’s 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?
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.
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?
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?Google+ Comments: 4 Read More
I love to tell people that when this blog started back in 2006, I told other financial bloggers about wanting to make money with my site. I didn’t know how I would achieve my goal yet, but I was reading about people like John Chow and Pro Blogger making 6 figures with their sites and thought I should join the party. Most bloggers told me that was dumb and that the day I would be making $200 per month, I would be a star PF blogger… well! Ah!
I didn’t let these “encouragements” get to me and grew a thick skin. I concentrated on writing cool stuff that inspired me, thinking I would eventually reach out to people. It worked out pretty well and I now run several financial blogs. But it wasn’t that easy at the beginning…
Back in March 2008, I had been blogging for about 18 months when I decided to buy half of my partner’s existing websites to create a corporation. We called it M35 because we want to become millionaires by the age of 35 (the clock is still ticking… only three years left!). In order to buy his sites, I had to put several thousand into the kitty. It was my leap of faith to be part of a much bigger adventure.
I had to prove myself as a writer and a marketer for 18 months before my friend offered me this partnership. He was working part time on his site and part time on our new ones. During this period, I proved to him (and myself) that I could work long hours without seeing immediate results. That I could simply hold the fort as long as was necessary to earn a penny at the end of the day. I still remember I used to fill an Excel spreadsheet with my hours each Friday night. I was counting everything!
Once we created the incorporation, we took what used to be a hobby to another level. We wanted to make money – I wanted to make some money back from my investment! We started to get a few emails from advertisers to place links on our homepage. We were making slightly over $1,000 per month and I felt like a king!
In 2009, we made our first important deal when I remortgaged my house to buy a website. Who would pay the price of a brand new car to buy a domain and a few posts? I was crazy enough to do it. A year later, our gross online income went from $18,403 to $124,514. We sold some websites, made some great money and I reimbursed my loan.
This is when we understood that we were darn good online at buying and optimizing existing websites. All our investments generated at least 30% return on a yearly basis. For three years in a row, my partner and I grossed over $100K/year (so 50K gross each) without working more than 10 hours per week. The derived income from our company was the equivalent of roughly $30K each per year. Those were the good years…
The Personal Finance Blogosphere has changed a lot since 2006. Back then, we were roughly 100 known blogs sharing a huge pie. Google liked blogs a lot back then and offered a special place in search engines for any good content. I remember at one point that I could rank on the first page of Google within 2 days after writing an article about this topic. Believe it or not but I used to rank on the first page for keyword like “Primerica” due to my Primerica Reviews and its 1,000+ comments.
Making money online today is definitely harder than it was back then. The competition in the financial niche has increased to the point where there are now over 1,000 active PF blogs. I doubt there are 10 times more readers to read them! On top of that, gaming Google has become more popular and blogs don’t have special place in search engines anymore. Therefore, if I had to start a PF blog today, it would be a lot more work to reach the level that I am at right now. Most people I know hit a plateau around 10,000 visitors per month and stay there forever.
Is it still a good idea to start a blog today? How much can you earn with it?
These are pretty good questions. Starting a PF blog today means a lot of work. It’s not like you can simply write about your quest to pay off your debts and review the latest balance transfer credit card hoping people will sign-up for it. The commission on a credit card is still pretty good (between $50 and $70 depending on the card) but the web is so crowded with credit card reviews, that I doubt you can actually base a business model on it.
There are tons of affiliate offers out there but making money selling stuff online isn’t the Klondike. It’s not that easy. Just think about how many times you have bought a financial product (savings account, credit card, consolidation loan, investment account, book, etc) online from a blogger… yeah…. the answer is probably close to ZERO. You need to create a feeling of trust and build a psychological funnel that will direct your readers towards buying the product or service you use and recommend. Still, it’s a long process and involves a lot of trial and errors.
The most popular way to make money online has always been going through Adsense. In the finance niche, this is a great bet as you can make over $0.50/click pretty easily. Some topics such as insurance are paying easily over $1 per click. Therefore, you don’t need 10,000 clicks in your month to make a thousand bucks. Still, Google is using is double hedged sword here again. If you optimize your Adsense earnings to the point where Adsense is more important than your content in the eyes of Google, you will lose your ranking in search engines and will make less money. Therefore, you can’t be too good at Adsense, you have to use it with parsimony. If you do so, making a few hundred per month is feasible but you won’t buy a BMer with that income either! I wrote a full post about Adsense Optimization for PF Bloggers.
The most popular source of income for PF bloggers had long been private advertising. Selling links on your blog to company trying to game Google. Sounds risky but darn lucrative! At one point, I was making between $6,000 and $8,000 per month simply by selling links. Companies were willing to pay up to $75/month for a link on my homepage! This window of opportunity is now closed as Google hit the financial industry early in 2012. At this point, most of the easy money has dried out from the private advertising field. Buying links and gaming Google is still very popular, but methods have changed and big clients are staying away from this. If you sell private links on your site you will be able to make a few hundred per month, but it will never bring you to a 6 figure income.
Down to real expectations; if you start a PF blog today and you work really hard on it, my guess is that you will be making about $1,000 per month after 12 months. But those 12 months will be at 15 to 20 hours per week of work and you won’t be earning much for a while. Once you reach $1,000 per month, you can drop to 10 hours per week to maintain your blog. At that point, you will be making roughly $20 per hour from your blog. This is a good income but it is definitely nothing to write home about.
I always knew that if I want to make money in life, I need a sideline. My day job is great but it’s not exponential. I work well; I get a nice paycheck with benefits and a bonus at the end of the year. The following year, I have to start all over again. There is nothing more to gain but my year-end bonus that is not scalable.
If you can grow your business, it is possible to scale your results. At this point, you work less and make even more money. Plus, what you have built has a value. If I had to sell my websites today, I would certainly not get what I think they’re worth, but I would definitely be able to sell them separately at a very good price. I can’t sell my job or my brain the same way I can sell my websites.
I also started an online company to make sure I was independent from my day job. I know I can lose my job but I also know that I’m sitting on an income generator ready to be fired-up if I need additional cash flow. This is a lot better than an emergency fund!
The business has grown tougher as both money and traffic is harder to obtain your way. Nonetheless, I’m ready for another round of hard work to make even more money. I’ve created this company to become a millionaire at the age of 35 and I have 3 years before I turn 36.
I have written about some of my failures over time on this blog (you can read how I failed with my first eBook and how Martin failed at launching his product). These are important reality checks you will need to get before you embark upon this adventure. We are not only talking about hard work, we are also talking about the likely chances of not making it.
Sorry gals & guys but if you haven’t started your blog yet, you have missed the window of opportunity to do it. It doesn’t mean you can’t make it today, but it means that the easy money has been already made and there are some big players rolling where you won’t be able to step in.
As I mentioned before, making $1,000 per month with a new blog after a year will be quite an achievement. A few years ago, I could expect to make that within 3 months and see the blog making over $3,000 per month after a year simply by selling private advertising. This is not going to happen anytime soon and chances are that Google will take away all your traffic if you sell links on your site. With no traffic, you won’t be making income anymore!
If you have a chance to escape all this crap and make money with your blog, it won’t happen by using Google. I think there is a lot of room online for other successes but it won’t be done through search engines. Don’t get me wrong, Google Traffic is worth a lot and it is always nice to have it. But I’ve learned one thing about the web over the past 7 years: you can’t trust Google! One day you rank on the first page and the next morning you have disappeared from the search engines. Glenn @ Viperchill makes a shocking demonstration of how Google completely screwed its search engine algorithm here and there. After reading both posts and doing a few searches on the internet, I can only agree with his theory… Right now, Google likes fresh content over anything else. No matter how great you content is, if it’s old, it can be outranked within minutes with a poor quality article. This is Quite Disgusting.
So if your plan is to rely on building a great site and then doing SEO to get more traffic, I can tell you are entering the race blindfolded… good luck! It’s like playing a game where you don’t know all the rules and they can be changed at any time.
The key is to build a community (yeah, I know you read that a million times!), but cliché just works! My biggest success with community is my dividend network and the newsletter attached to it. Each time I send an email, I get around 100 answers. Nobody can take this away from me! If I had to start over again with a brand new site, the first thing I would do is to build a list. You can read more about how to create your newsletter and make money out of it here.
I once read it doesn’t matter how many readers go to your website. That’s only good for your ego but it doesn’t fill your pocket with money. The only readers that count are the one that are engaged, that comment and answer back. The rest are only there for the free stuff; they take and don’t give back. Would you feed your neighborhood with your best spaghetti sauce? That’s what happening on the web if you don’t monetize your site!
There is something worse than trusting Google and it’s to trust online marketing gurus. They are not evil, far from it, but they are just a bunch of people making money online and trying to figure out what is going on with Google. Some gurus advocate genuine link building, while others will tell you that gaming Google is the only way and others will ask you to register for their course so they can teach you how to write compelling content and create a bond with your readers.
The problem is that they are all right. They are right because they found a way to succeed in the online industry. But they found their way, not your way. There are tons of ways to make money online and you need what you are good at. It can be link building, writing awesome stuff, networking, social media, monetization, conversion, lead creation, flipping sites, Adsense optimization etc. You can find dozens of gurus for each technique. Don’t waste your time trying all of them and following everybody’s advice. Here are a few examples of how gurus make their money with different strategies:
Glenn @ Viperchill does a lot of SEO and link building
Justin & Joe @ Empire Flippers are building sites to sell them
John Chow @ John Chow Dot Com is making money telling people how to make money (the most common business model )
Jon @ Authority Website Income makes money from a methodical link building strategy using VAs and expired domains link redirect.
Spencer @ Niche Pursuits is making money from niche websites based on extensive keyword research.
Chris Ducker @ Chris Ducker makes money from VA training and hiring for other people.
Pat Flynn @ Smart Passive Income makes money from building a deep bond with his readers and selling affiliate products.
They all make over 6 figures and all follow different paths. So technically, they all hold the holy grail and drinking their Koolaid will lead you to the infinite potential of the online industry… but the problem is that you have to pick the 1 way that you like, master and follow through. Trying to become all these gurus at once will burn you. This is why it is important to find your own style.
Further on down the road, there is another reality check I need to share with you. Working online is not different than working in the real world. If you think you can’t make it with a brick and mortar business but you can do it online; you are wrong. It’s not because you can work on your laptop in a Starbucks that makes you the next Pro Blogger. The glamorous aspect of blogging is attractive: how about working when you want, where you want and raking in a 6 figure income while you sleep? Nobody would spit on that.
But that’s the end result a few people reach. You would probably reach the same level of wealth with any other type of business. Imagine if you had 6 rental properties or owned a $10M business recycling plastic? You would be making a six figure income while you sleep the same way you would do with blogging.
Can you imagine how hard it is to put money aside and build your real estate empire? Or how many hours you need to put into hard work to build a $10M recycling business? Well similar efforts will be required if you want to build a 6 figure income blog! It’s not easier because it’s online! It will require that you work hard, long hours for almost nothing in your pocket. One day, maybe, if you are lucky, you will reach the top and make money. Or you could also fail miserably like thousands of other bloggers who quit after 12 months of writing, commenting, hard work… but without any results.
Is buying blogs a safe business model? Why not? After all, you buy a domain where there is already traffic and where you only have to put your links here and there to make some money. It’s not that simple either!
I went into a lot of details as far as my buying blog process goes. So far, I haven’t made any bad investments. However, some of them were/are not as profitable as I thought they’d have been. This is always a problem since the dynamics of a website changes every 6 months or so. A Google update, a new affiliate, a shift in trends could all be good reasons why your site generates more or less money. The problem is the dynamics are changing constantly. Before you buy a blog, you want to make sure there is some stability. Never buy something 12 months old. The site has only gone through 2 dynamic changes and could easily drop flat in a few months and you would lose all your money. If you can buy a blog with a brand, it’s even better!
Buying a blog such as Smart Passive Income would be an awesome deal. Most people think the opposite because they see Pat as being the main icon behind the site. However, since this site has so much powerful content and its ranking well all over the web (youtube, google, podcast, facebook, etc), you wouldn’t have any problem making $30K/month for several months, read years before it fades away.
I think this is a business model that will continue to work very well. Think about it; most of the time, you can buy a great blog within 4 years of gross income. Chances are that the blog you are looking at isn’t that big and you can buy it as cheap as twice his past 12 months’ gross income. When you think that buying a rental property would cost you 14-15 times the yearly gross income, buying a blog looks like the most lucrative investment on the planet!
If you are looking to generate extra income from a website, you probably found a few buzz words within your research. Since blogging requires you write content on a steady basis, this is very demanding. Most of your blog posts can’t generate money either because your readers will be bored from your credit card reviews pretty fast. Therefore, you need to spend a lot of time building your community in the hopes of making money one day. Since blogging is so rough these days, internet marketers came up with other types of websites requiring less work but generating more money. Isn’t this paradise for any online entrepreneur? Here’s a quick resume of all the cool words and how you can make money from these types of sites.
Niche Site: this is a small site with 5 to 25 pages of content on it. The goal is quite simple; rank in search engines and get visitors to generate income. The most common type of niche aims at Adsense, Amazon or a specific affiliate program as a source of income. Depending on the niche and its traffic, you can generate something between $25 and $500 per month. If you generate more than that, this probably means your site is bigger and you fall in the second category.
Authority Site: the authority site is often confused with a niche site. It makes sense since both are targeting a specific topic. The main difference is authority site is an enhanced version of the niche site. It shows more content, often of better quality, more options (such as a forum, newsletter or other types of interaction). The income potential is higher but the work required is more demanding too. It’s not as demanding as a blog in terms of content creation but adding a fresh piece once in a while is always a plus to keep your site on top of the others. While the niche site is “just another wordpress site”, the authority site should definitely add value to the world of internet.
Epic Shit: Many bloggers have referred to epicness over the past 3 years. I’ve been part of it . There are a few variations of the word epic such as a “whale post”, “pillar article”, “authority article”, “reference”, etc. An Epic article would be like the one you are reading right now; tons of content and hindsight about a specific topic. I wrote this article to share my thoughts and knowledge about making money online in 2013-2014. I think it will be a great reference for many of you in the future and probably help you avoid making a beginner’s mistake. Epic articles are highly time consuming and don’t necessarily give something back to the writer… immediately. I’m thinking that if I write less stuff but always this quality, I might get a bigger readership! Another Epic article I wrote is how I run multiple blogs without working much.
I’ll be honest with you; it’s been three months that I’m lagging behind on making a 6 figure income this year. For the first time in four years I might not make over 100K this year. I’m still making good money (especially for a sideline!) but I don’t treat myself as I used to with my online money. I like to be accountable for my actions and this is why I blame it all on me. I wasn’t smart enough to see it coming and assumed that the online environment would be pretty much the same for several years.
On the other hand, I’m not happy with the status quo and can’t stand failing. This is why I’m currently rethinking my whole business model and looking a different opportunities. The eBook business has recouped a part of my lost income and I hope my future membership site will generate revenues as well. My first book on sale at Amazon is still generating between $200 and $300 of income one year after I’ve launched it. Writing another book would take me roughly 6 months and I would be making another $250/month of passive income.
As far as my membership website, the moment you reach 100 subscribers at $10/month, you just generated $1,000 of semi-passive income. The key is to offer a premium service and this is why we haven’t launched yet.
As far as blogging, I’m not quite sure where I will go with my blogs. We own several great sites but we need to pay for content creation and paid writers are never as engaged as website owners. So chances are that this model will eventually fade out if we keep it this way.
Niche sites and authority websites are still on the radar as they generate a few hundred per month without taking a second of my time. I just wish I could create bigger sites generating higher income! This is definitely something I need to work on for 2014.
If I had to start all over today, I would definitely start by buying a site that already works and optimize it. I still think it’s the best way to make money on the internet; let others build a site ranking in Google for you! Then, building a newsletter is probably the key for being independent of external forces. But beyond everything, I would my focus on only a few sites and work hard on those exclusively. The biggest weakness of my empire was once its strength; we are everywhere. Right now, we don’t seem being able to manage everything and have simply put too many things on autopilot. This is the biggest mistake we have made; there are no autopilots during a Google Storm!
How about your site? Do you have problem managing it? Would you start a blog today to make money online?
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This is a guest post by Bob Richards. He is a financial blogger that thinks people think too small about money and as a result never have any. He says it’s not possible to save your way to wealth. He is among the 1%, inherited nothing and worked his ass off.
I encounter way too many websites by financial bloggers who think too small. Their posts are intended to help their readers who also think way too small. Here are the types of issues I see promoted:
I don’t want to insult anybody, but these are chicken sh** issues and if you focus on them, you will have small financial results. You get what you focus on. If you accept that, wouldn’t it be better to focus on earning an additional tens of thousands of dollars or adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to your net worth? Your problem, I guess, is that you don’t know the steps to do that. My response is that if you look for websites that help you save $25 per month on groceries, why not substitute that research would sites that tell you how to earn significant extra amounts.
First, let me take a step back. Don’t focus on saving money. That’s the focus of poor people. Rich people focus on making money so make that your primary financial intention. Now that your focus is free from finding free movie tickets, you can turn your attention to making some significant dollars. Note that if you want to accumulate wealth through somebody giving you a job, hang it up now. Stop looking for a job as that’s the way poor people think. Very few get rich through a job. Rather, you can get rich with little to no investment by connecting buyers and sellers of anything.
There are unlimited ways to do this and the elements of success are:
If you can bring these four elements to your focus, then here is a tiny sample of places to look.
Be an agent. Sell a $500,000 house to somebody and you can earn $10-$15,000. Do that once per month (or hopefully more often) and accumulated some serious net worth. How do you become a real estate agent? Go work for a firm in that business. Let them train you and watch closely the two top producers in the office and replicate what they do. No special education is required, only that you pass an exam and intelligent sixth-grader can pass.
Trust Deed Broker. There are people who need financing on their home and they don’t fit the bank’s profile. However there are many investors who would be happy to lend them the money. The person who puts the two together is called the trust deed broker (or private mortgage broker). Just like you research anything else on the Internet, you can learn about this and even find courses that teach you the details. Again, you need a license that any intelligent sixth-grader can get.
Flip finder. There are people who want to sell their homes at a cheap price. There are investors looking for homes to buy, fix and sell. These people are called flippers. You can help them find the right homes and earn a commission on each deal. Again, put on your research hat and locate the opportunities. No education or license acquired.
The model of being a middleman in transactions can be applied to almost any industry. You are simply the party that connects buyers and sellers. All you need to bring to the party are the four elements above and facility using English. But the very first step is to eliminate your attention on the nickels and dimes you’ve been intent on saving.Google+ Comments: 2 Read More
I’ve been doing a lot of work on my most recent niche website lately. It’s been about a month since I worked on the content creation and web design. The site now has over 20 high quality articles. They were all written by me and are all over 700 words with some pillar posts over 1,500 words. I have completed the exhaustive keyword research to make sure I cover most aspects with regards to this topic and that I’ll have over 60-70 articles once the site is finished.
Writing content and building a site is nice but it doesn’t get you ahead if you don’t have any visitors. This is where it all comes down to and why you need to start building links. This niche site project is very important for me as I’m currently designing processes and trying different methods that I’ve never used before. If this works the way it planned, I will be able to use this whole process and boost all my existing websites. At this stage, I’m still experimenting. My latest experiment was hiring a VA to do a part of the boring administration. Surprisingly, after I spoke to Jon from Authority Website Income, it took me only 30 minutes to find the most effective VA I have ever hired before through ODesk.
I always thought that paying someone $1-3 per hour would only lead to mediocre work. When I first tried ODesk, I was ecstatic; I could hire people to work for me full time for as little as $80 per week! I wanted to make sure I hired someone highly effective. So, I spent several hours looking at profiles, talking with my partner, writing an extensive job posting, reviewing applicants carefully and even interviewing three of them before I hired my first virtual assistant (VA). The whole process probably took me 20 hours if not more. And then, $500 literally wasted on a mediocre VA, I fired her and kept a bitter taste of my experience.
Since then, I’ve used ODesk only for very specific and contractual tasks such as editing or copywriting. I hired my two other VAs through my own personal network where I knew them before they started working for me. I had to pay them a lot more man $2/hour but at least, the work was getting done properly and in a timely manner.
At that point, I was probably feeling the same thing you do when it comes to using services such as ODesk; I was terrified. I was frozen in front of a world that I don’t completely understand and where I thought it would require tons of hours to find the right VA, coach him and finally probably waste more time than saving it! If you don’t know where to start or how to hire your VA, this article is for you.
I decided to give ODesk another chance to find a quality VA for less after discussing with Jon and how he has setup his work team (all coming from ODesk). I don’t use his exact technique but I’ve started from what he showed me.
This time, it took me 30 minutes to hire a highly effective and professional VA. I’ll do my best to share this 30 minute experience with you. I broke down my experience into 7 steps I’ll be using in the future for all my hiring as my goal will be to build a team of three VAs working on my niche sites.
The first step is basic but crucial. By determining what you need, I mean literally write down in small, easy-to-read, sentences what needs to be done. Instead of talking about the job itself (I was looking someone to help me do web research and link building), I outlined each specific task I needed for the new site.
This needed to be done regardless if I was going to hire a VA or not. It may require more than 30 minutes doing but if you want a solid site, you need this outline with an attack plan anyways. Without a plan, you’ll start working on your site as long as you have a passion for it without a clear direction of where you want to go. Like anything else in life, results will be okay at best without a plan.
I didn’t want to start by giving a complete attack plan to my future VA because this would require me to spend countless hours before hiring to make sure I don’t spend $100 per week on a guy who doesn’t know what he is doing.
I took a microscopic approach where I wanted to ask my VA to perform a single task for 10 hours on week #1. At 10 hours, my risk had now dropped to $30. I think I can afford this! Jon suggested that I hire whoever I feel like without doing much screening or interview. Test the VA with a specific and simple task and see if he can succeed. After all, any applicant can tell you they are experts in SEO and that they speak English fluently. You only see if it’s real once they start working for you (it’s pretty much the case in the “real” world as well, right?).
So I spent about 15 minutes writing a short but straightforward job posting:
The Job Title is pretty straightforward: I’m looking for someone who will do web research and help me with link building. Remark: you will receive several “I’m an expert in white hat SEO” applicants. The hourly rate is between $1 and $3 per hour. You don’t need to pay more than that for such tasks. I highlighted the potential a contractor could get by working for me. As I posted a maximum of 10 hours at first, I want to make sure I can capture the interest of people willing to work full time. However, I’m not ready to hire a fulltime VA yet.
The last paragraph is about required skills. The English level is the first thing to mention since I can’t hope to do well with my comment strategy if my VA leaves stuff like “me like lot of your post”. You have the option to select skills when you do your job posting, this is how I’ve selected “article-submission, blog-commenting, directory-submission, internet-research, link-building and SEO”. Then you simply have to hit the “publish” button and you are halfway set to find the VA of your dreams!
Once you publish your Job posting, ODesk will automatically suggest a few candidates. These contractors didn’t apply for the job yet but their profile fits your requirements. I had three best matches for my position and I contacted them and asked if they would consider applying on my job. After that, I closed the ODesk window and moved on towards another project.
Fast forward 45 minutes later, I received several notifications from ODesk telling me that I have new applicants for the job. I had received 65 applications… that was way too much for my brain to process. This is why I kept going with Jon’s advice: I hired someone within 5 minutes and closed the job application.
It appeared that one of the three best matches found replied to me and was interested in that job. The guy charges $2.78/hour, had worked over 1,000 hours at ODesk (you want to make sure your guy has been employed several times), showed a 4.77/5 rating and high English skill level.
This was enough for me to think that this guy could do a relatively good job at least. I hired him for 10 hours max during one week and gave him a very simple task to find articles I can comment on talking about my topic. Within 10 hours he had found 1,000 urls where we can comment. The next week, I kept the 10 hours but asked him to start commenting and writing about a web research he has to do. In a few more weeks, I’ll have more tasks and more hours but for now, I keep him at 10 hours per week to see if he’s worth it. I am better off saving my time working on other projects than coaching and interviewing candidates. This is why I’ve hired rapidly but started slowly to train the VA the way I want him to work with me.
There is a reason why my VA was so effective on day #1 of his employment: I designed a clear and clean process on how to perform the task I asked of him. For each task, I send him a Word document with a step by step method to apply. I even provide him with examples to make sure he knows exactly what is being required. It does take some time, but it helps a lot to manage both his time and mine. By going through the process in detail, I must pause and think about each thing that needs to be done. This is a great moment where I can add value to my process and make sure I am taking the right actions.
I already know which tasks he will be required to do in the future as they were designed in the attack plan done in Step #1. The only thing left to be done is to design each process and to create a calendar of tasks to send more and more things to be done by your VA. In a few months, this guy will most probably work 40 hours per week for me if he keeps doing such a great job.
TADA! A valuable VA hired within 30 minutes of my time!
My VA had successfully passed the two week test. I asked him to complete three different tasks (web research, blog commenting and article writing). During this test period, the VA showed me that he was able to follow my processes from A to Z, to complete web research rapidly, write smart and good English blog comments and write informational 400 word articles.
If he had failed to meet my standard, I would have simply wasted about $60 but not much time spoiled. I would have simply fired the guy, reposted the job, hired another one that make sense in 5 minutes and hoped that it worked out this time, that the VA would do the job. By using metrics such as 1000 + hours worked and over 4.5/5 rating, you increase you chance of success significantly!
Once you found a great VA, you don’t want to stop there. If your VA stops working for you after a year, you will be left with an awesome working process, but no one to complete it. This is why it is important to build a team of three VAs able to do each other’s work. I would rather have three VAs working 10 hours a week for me than having 1 VA at 30 hours.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get 3 VAs at 30 hours and it will be worth it!
I you have any questions, please go ahead, I’m sharing as I’m learning with my new virtual assistant!Google+ Comments: 4 Read More
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