- Two good ways to make money from a website
- A potentially better way: Creating an online knowledge-based business
- A step by step path to getting your knowledge products up for sale
- Does passive income exist?
- How to vary the knowledge model for ad-based or affiliate revenue?
- What makes the knowledge model effective?
- The importance of having a mentor
- Take the next step…
I saw this question on a forum recently, and the advice given ranged from freelancing to doing small jobs on the side in the community to launching a website.
Two good ways to make money from a website
The advice given was that if you do not absolutely need to start making money right away then blogging and possibly affiliate marketing could make you money. The downside is that takes time (and search engine optimization know-how) to rank a site to appear organically in the search engines, as well as generate the traffic needed to begin to earn, and the money using that approach will not be that much initially.
Other advice was given about starting to make larger amounts of money sooner, by figuring out what you enjoy doing that other people will pay for, then have a website built and advertise your expertise as a service. That is also great advice, that may also take time, but you can speed this up by advertising locally rather than purely relying on website traffic (visitors).
A potentially better way: Creating an online knowledge-based business
The advice is a good start, but I’d suggest a more focused plan that will set you up to bring in income MUCH sooner, like as soon as 4 weeks if you dedicate some focused attention to getting your business off the ground. I think most people can launch a knowledge-based business, drawing on passions or skills; you just need a blueprint. I’ve created blogs that have earned money from AdSense and affiliate links, and the truth is they do take a while to gain traction IF you’ve done your niche market research right and have chosen a good niche. The problem is to earn money from advertising banners, you need a popular consumer-based niche that generates a ton of traffic (tens of thousands of monthly visitors or more). The earnings per click on those kinds of ads don’t tend to be very high, so you need more visitors. I’ve launched sites like this in the fashion, science, and self-development markets. The other model is a site targeting businesses, which tends to be more lucrative with less traffic. However, there is another model you might consider…
A step by step path to getting your knowledge products up for sale
Instead of randomly blogging without direction and hoping the visitors and money will come, here’s a quicker path (note, some of these tasks are sequential; while others happen in parallel, but there IS a method to the madness AND what looks like a lot of steps is actually accomplished with a few strategic activities and tools) :
- Do a life self-inventory (our free road map shows you how to do this).
- Choose what industry and niche (group of targetable customers with specific needs or desires you can fulfill) your business will focus on.
- Create a topic blueprint that will form the basis of your business – products, programs, services, content
- Make your first giveaway product; a digital manual that thoroughly explains how to solve a pressing problem in your market. Make it super valuable.
- Set up an optin page to give it away and collect emails.
- Write an email/post/video every day (easier than it sounds).
- Develop your first digital product (make it simple, but incredibly valuable by solving the most urgent problem your market faces).
- Put it up for sale
- Promote your products, services, and site on 3rd party platforms
- Use an online scheduler to make yourself available for 1-1 consulting.
- Use a service like freeconferencecall.com to deliver 1-1 coaching or set up group coaching calls.
- Create your online platforms (website, blog, social media) to build an audience and get your first customers
- Ask them what they need
- Make it for them and deliver (product, course, consulting, coaching)
- Track and adjust your marketing results
- Rinse and repeat
But what if you don’t want to make products for people? What if you want something more “passive”? What are the options…
Does passive income exist?
Well, we can debate what exactly passive income is (e.g. some say only stocks or possibly real estate investments are truly passive), but it’s true that some forms of income generation require less hands on work or direct contact than others, which might be more your cup of tea.
One of my most profitable sites earned money from AdSense banners and then I later flipped it for a small profit, when we needed the money to pay some urgent household expenses.
How to vary the knowledge model for ad-based or affiliate revenue?
Everything in the above blueprint from the first bullet point up to building your email list is the same.
The difference is that, instead of creating your own digital product, you will look for the quality products of others to promote through email and your web platforms and write pages that guide people to buy those products.
An alternative model to this is to promote other people’s lists and you get paid when the sale is eventually made over the course of a campaign. Judging by the number of emails I get from marketers asking me to grab someone’s free gift or webinar (and thus join their list), this is an incredibly effective form of joint venture/affiliate marketing.
The third alternative is to put up advertising banners and get paid for each click. However, to earn from advertising, you either need a TON of visitors every month, OR you are a business to business (B2B) site with high cost per click (CPC) banners that promote software, memberships, training, licensure, etc.
In most cases, though, once you find a banner location or type of ad is effective; you’ll make more money by promoting affiliate offers (where you can earn 50% -100% commissions or a good flat dollar amount, e.g. $20-50 or much more per sale).
What makes the knowledge model effective?
The key to this model is getting your buy buttons out there as soon as possible. If you don’t have a product, program or service to sell, you don’t have a business! Even an ad-based or affiliate model is based on selling other people’s products, which means you’ve done your market research and create content that directs people to the sale.
Don’t forget about pricing!
One additional point I’ll add is on pricing. Once you get going and build up your list and first customers who will help you create the products and content that your market really wants, it’s important to not undervalue or undercharge for your products. It does no one any favors; people spend too little and never implement your teaching because there is no commitment, no skin in the game (thereby wasting money).
Do you have a value problem?
if your worried that your product is not ‘worth’ it, you have a value problem. Make your product more valuable by giving your clients everything they need to achieve what they want or solve their problem. Alternatively, if you provide a lot of instruction for a problem that’s not really severe or important to your clients, you also wont’ make money. Add more value and you can charge more.
It also makes your marketing more efficient. Conversion rates for ads and traffic are in the single digits (like less than 5%). In order to make significant money on products that cost less than a hundred dollars, you have to advertise to thousands a month (expensive), get them on your list so they know, like and trust you, then close through your email or content marketing.
However, the more you charge for your products (because of the insane value you provide just sharing what you happen to know in a certain urgent area or desired outcome that others don’t know about), the fewer visitors you need to make a good living. That means less spent on advertising and scattershot marketing, and more attention on serving.
There are other strategies to make your marketing super efficient; please ignore all the so-called “traffic” software and training, out there. In addition to publishing daily content to your email list/blog/YouTube, there is a handful of low cost, effective ways to build up your audience (which will lead to more customers).
This isn’t the only path
Now, there are tons of other legitimate ways to earn some money on the side, from freelancing sites like Upwork to eCommerce to dropshipping, or selling books on Amazon (all of which I’ve done at one point!). However, the beauty of the knowledge business model is you can create a real business (build your own assets that you control, e.g. customer lists, products, online platforms, and the custom systems you develop to regularly bring in new leads and make sales and profits) that you can continue to grow, without huge startup costs or overhead, and work on your own schedule. However, you have to be willing to put the focused up front work to get going, periods of intense activity (e.g. creating a new product or launch a coaching program) and daily writing and maintenance (e.g. 30 minutes a day) to maintain your business, and the tenacity to persevere.
The importance of having a mentor
The main challenge is that people thinking about starting a side business have tons of information (freely available online) but don’t have a plan, or know which plan will actually work for them. For that you don’t need a software or a homestudy course that dumps more information on you. You truly need a coach or mentor who has been there and helped others to guide you through the process, provide shortcuts, templates and tools, timely feedback and accountability.
Take the next step…
If you want a more detail on the model I describe above (what I call a Knowledge Business), along with the tools I suggest you can use to help you get started, then opt in below for the free road map I’ve written to creating steady and abundant cash flow.