You’re in a slight predicament. You know you want to work remotely; that the Untemplater lifestyle is the life for you. You also know that you want to start a passive income stream that gradually turns into a river. What you don’t know is where to start!
The web is a gold mine for savvy entrepreneurs like yourself. In this article, I will walk you through a couple ideas to get your juices flowing: the obvious, the not-so-obvious, and hopefully maybe give you some angles you hadn’t thought of previously. This article is best suited for people who might be newer to the web game but want to start generating some ideas on how to rake in the dough like leaves. This is not a comprehensive guide of every possible way to monetize a website, just a starting point for the young bucks.
Like any paper you’ve turned in for school or any big decision you’ve ever made, the starting point for your new web venture should be research. Before hopping into any business venture, you should thoroughly research the market. But marketing research for web ventures is a-whole-nother topic that I will cover in a future article. For now, I just want to present four different ways to start a streaming income online:
If you’ve never made a website before, blogs are great to begin with. A saying exists in the blogging community that “content is king”. Don’t take those words lightly. You should always remember that you can’t even think about monetizing a blog without visitors. And the way to retain visitors is through quality content that is relevant to a certain topic.
There seems to be a misconception that to make a lot of money blogging, you should blog about the most popular topics. I would almost always advise the opposite way. With general topics comes lots of competition. The best thing to do is pick a small niche and become the authority of that niche. For example, maybe you’re interested in real estate. Instead of blogging about real estate in general, maybe just focus in on real estate in Denver, Colorado (still a very large niche but stick with me for this example). This will help you become an authority for this niche and inevitibly also help your search engine optimization.
When it comes to monetizing your blog, you can choose a variety of ways. The main thing is getting the traffic. Once you have the critical mass, you have a few options. The most basic model is supporting your blog with advertising. Sell ads directly on your blog – sell text ads, banner ads, sidebar ads, whatever. You could also write an e-book and sell it to your blogs visitors.
If you’re an expert on Denver real estate, write an e-book about it, show that you’re the number one authority. The third way to monetize would be joining an affiliate program. Join a national network of realtors and gain a commission every time you refer someone. This is the method I chose when I started my gifts for guys website in college. Finally, you could start a premium subscription section to your blog. Reserve the best content for your paying members. Each way has its pros and cons, but all can be very effective ways to monetize a blog. Here’s a website template you can check out to start your site.
Are you an expert at a critical skill? Start a consulting business. If you work in Pay-per-click advertising, become a consultant on the side. You never know how long before you will have enough clients to spin off your own business. The same applies for if you work in SEO, social media, web design, programming, or anything else. You should start with small local clients and build up your portfolio. As your testimonials grow, build out your website and expand to larger clients. Maybe if you’re an SEO consultant, you could team up with a PPC guy and a social media gal and operate under the “online marketing consultation” banner.
Consulting is not easy work. It’s not completely automated income; it takes a lot of time and offline work. It doesn’t really allow for an automated income stream so I was hesitant to include it to this list. However, if you are a well respected consultant, you could be paid for very minimal work or just being on retainer for multiple companies.
3. Lead Generation
Lead Generation can certainly be one of the most lucrative sources of automated income. The three things to think about when creating a lead generation are:
1) What kind of leads will you be generating
2) Who will be willing to purchase them?
3) How much are they worth?
You can generate leads for nearly anything. Typically, the financial niche will supply you with a great volume of leads and great margins. But if you think the lead business stops at mortgages and insurance sales, think again. Leads can be generated for anything. Take medical procedures for example. Why not start a lead generation service for people suffering from sinusitis?
Pick a great domain and create a homepage with a strong call to action for a lead form. The goal is to connect people needing sinus surgeries to surgeons who can perform their needed procedure. The great thing about generating leads is that once a website is set up, it is pretty hands-off. The only thing you really need to work on is advertising, SEO, and keeping a good relationship with your buyers. After the initial set-up process, lead generation could truly be your gateway to a four hour workweek.
Selling a product might have one of the most difficult set-up processes of all of these income stream techniques, but the pay-offs can be great. So great, in fact, that selling product is the model of choice by Tim Ferris in The Four Hour Workweek. Your goal is not to compete with the big dogs. Determine the barriers to entry for a given product idea. Instead of selling CDs in general on your website, just sell French rap CDs. You might think a particular niche is too small to produce results, but you’d be surprised how many sales you can reap as a market leader in a tight niche. Bon appetite!
A great way to break into selling online products is reselling from wholesalers. Until you get the working capital to develop your own original product, wholesaling is not a bad start. To fully automate your product flow, however, you will need to set up a drop shipping agreement.
Drop shipping, for those who aren’t familiar, is effectively a fulfillment company handling the shipping of your product. It might lower your margins paying others to ship for you, but the time saved is what the Untemplater dreams of. While it may seem impossible to streamline the selling process when you’re dealing with a product, there are companies available to handle every single component. A great product idea for a solid niche has great potential to put your income stream on autopilot.
Well there you have it, my four ideas to steer you in the right direction of starting a successful web-based business. What experiences can you share when it comes to monetizing a website or starting an internet business?