I’m a firm believer that if you really want to make a lot of money in this world, you really need to start your own business. Five years ago I was working in an electronics store for $6 an hour plus commissions (ended up being about $9 total). I’m not embarrassed about that, it was an honest living. That was just about the time I started to think about taking control of my finances and building some real wealth.
Back then I didn’t know the first thing about running a business. I also didn’t have a clue about what kind of businesses could be run online. I definitely didn’t know how to put a website together, let alone market one.
You Have To Start Somewhere
The seeds that grew into the online business I have now started with thoughts that I began to have a long time ago. I remember having thoughts like, “If I could just make an extra $300 per month somehow, life would be so much easier”. I had a girlfriend in college that I liked a lot, and thoughts of getting married and paying for another person honestly freaked me out. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how that would be possible.
I also saw my parents’ struggle with money, and that didn’t help me to feel super secure about my future.
Somewhere along the way I developed a desire to have a different type of life. I didn’t want to face the difficulties that other people faced. I didn’t want to have to figure out how to put food on the table or wonder how I was going to pay the mortgage next month.
However, the problem at the time was that to me, money was the hardest thing in the world to make. According to my parents it still is. I have since realized that this is only true for people who believe it to be. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to get rid of beliefs that your parents pounded into your head. For me, getting rid of those beliefs was a long and painful process. I can tell you from experience that the only way to overcome that belief is by becoming more conscious and being willing to admit that you are probably holding on to a lot of things that aren’t true.
Making money is a simple matter of perspective. The world will pay you what you believe you are worth.
I discovered that almost everyone I knew who had a lot of money, had their own business. I have an uncle who is a dentist, and some close friends who have made a lot of money with a variety of businesses. They all make way more than my other friends who are highly educated corporate types. Don’t get me wrong, I see the value of education, but my friends with businesses are the ones who make the most money.
Please don’t take offense if you’re the corporate type. You have more connections and potential than the rest of us. However, some of you will rely on your education alone instead of taking action that could produce more wealth in a faster time period.
Why I Chose To Start An Online Business
Choosing an online business was kind of like ‘love at first site’ for me. I had a friend who had a website (it didn’t make much money) and one day he showed it to me. He told me that he was making a little bit of money by promoting eBay. I was blown away by the fact that you could make money that way. The poor guy – I wasted literally half of his day asking incessant questions about it.
What I do now is quite different than what was presented to me that day, but that conversation was enough to get a lot of wheels churning.
The coolest thing to me about starting a business (or multiple businesses) online is that the world is your marketplace. I have seen online revenue because of people in India, Russia, the United States, Canada, Hungary, New Zealand, Japan, England, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, and a lot of other countries. Online, you are connected to nearly 2,000,000,000 people who have access to the internet and that opens the doors to the possibility of producing a truly awesome amount of income.
The funny thing is that while I’m pretty good at what I do, there are people who are way better. I have a close friend who has made over $1,000,000 this year (it’s September) from his online business.
The upside to running your business online is huge, and that’s what initially attracted me to it.
What I Do For My Online Business
Essentially, I run a group of sites that provide people with information. If you would like to see an example of a site that has a similar business model, you could take a look at About.com. They provide informational articles about a variety of different topics. The biggest differences between About.com and my sites is that mine are a lot smaller, and are generally built around one specific topic. I would love to have a larger site like About.com someday but frankly, it’s a lot to take on and I’m doing really well with what I have.
So, I choose single topics that I can create sites around. Where About.com has sections for Acne, Business, Cars, Pets, and just about everything else, I choose to create sites about one and only one of those topics. InstPhil.org (the site you’re reading) is one of those sites. I provide information about one topic, money. Money is actually a fairly large topic that can attract a variety of people. I can provide information about increasing income, saving, budgeting, investing, getting loans, finding deals, making smart financial choices, and a lot of other related topics.
How This Business Produces Revenue
Any web page or site that gets traffic is worth something and as long as you know how to produce traffic, you can create online revenue. There are three basic methods that I use to produce revenue:
- Google Adsense – Adsense is a free program that connects you as a web site owner with hundreds of thousands of advertisers. Google runs the whole thing and allows you to use their ads for free. You get paid when people click on the ads. Google charges the advertisers when this happens and you get a cut of it. Clicks on my websites are usually worth somewhere between $0.25 and $2 each. My sites produce more than 4500 clicks per month that are worth an average of about $1 each.
- Selling products for other people, otherwise known as affiliate marketing. I basically recommend products and services that the visitors to my web sites need and want. This is usually fairly easy because the visitors are generally already looking for solutions to their problems. I introduce them to products that solve those problems. I then show them where they can buy the products and I get paid a percentage of the sale. My sites produce more than $3000 per month in commissions of this type.
- Creating my own products and selling them. This method may seem pretty difficult, but it isn’t as hard as it would seem. I usually only design products to substitute for products that I already know are selling. I don’t create any hard products, they are generally informational products that teach concepts to people who are willing to pay to learn. I actually like this option quite a bit because it’s fulfilling to create products that provide better information than the stuff that’s out there. This part of my business produces more than $5000 per month.
Managing three separate methods for making money might seem complicated, but it really isn’t that tough. Usually I start by inserting Google ads first and then work from there. Once a web page starts to produce with Adsense I know that the traffic has value and I can try to make more money through affiliate marketing, or by selling my own products.
How My Web Sites Get Traffic
There are a lot of different methods that can be used for getting traffic, but I haven’t found very many to be useful. Most of the stuff I’ve read about building traffic online has been nothing more than well crafted nonsense.
Read more: 26 ways to bring traffic to your website
I personally focus most of my efforts on building true value. In other words, I try to create the best site out there about the topics I cover. To be honest I don’t always succeed (at producing the absolute best site), but usually my sites are good enough to make an impression on the people that read them. Obviously, it takes a while to make that happen. MoneyBlogger.com, for example, is a pretty new project for me. At the time that I’m writing this article I have just started turning it into a useful resource. It will take quite a while to turn it into something that people can use and use well.
Over the next year or so, I will do everything possible to make this site as useful as possible. I’ll provide lessons, articles, and videos about a lot of different topics that help people to earn and save more money.
This approach is really useful in a lot of ways. First, I usually find that a lot of people find out about my sites through word of mouth. This aspect of traffic will only happen if you are truly dedicated to creating something that’s valuable. I find that most online entrepreneurs are looking for gimmicks. They don’t care about providing value and that’s a huge reason why people struggle to create profits from their sites.
Since my web sites are useful, I get linked to from a lot of other sites. That brings a lot of traffic from those sites, and also helps me to get a lot more traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing.
Google is by far my largest traffic source. My approach fits well with the system that Google uses to determine which sites come up first. Since people generally like my sites, they link to them quite a bit. I get links from personal blogs, company sites, Facebook profiles, and from a lot of other places. Since Google uses links as their primary method for deciding who comes up first, my sites always do well. As more and more time passes, my sites get more and more links from other people so I get more and more traffic from Google (and make more and more money). I think it’s pretty likely that my online business will eventually produce more than seven figures per year.
How I Put Sites Together
I like to take the easy approach to putting sites together – I use a free piece of software called WordPress. It’s very easy to use and you can try it out for free by signing up for a blog on WordPress.com. This setup tends to give you quite a few advantages with Google and also helps you to get people to come back to your site. Blogs generally make it easy for people to find the most recent updates and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time as an online entrepreneur, it’s that people LOVE updates.
I use a site called Godaddy.com to buy my domains (.com, .net, and .org names), and a service called Host Gator for my web hosting. They both have really good customer service and that’s the most important thing when it comes to online business. If I have a problem with one of my sites I can either make a phone call or talk to a customer service rep on live chat.
If any of you have questions about getting a site up, you can shoot me an email at damien[at]moneyblogger[dot]org.
How I Choose Topics For My Web Sites
Choosing the topics is the easy part. I create sites around topics that I’m really interested in. I love the topic of money – I like making it, saving it, investing it, and to a certain degree I like spending it. I find money fascinating and I know without a doubt that 40 years from now I will still find it fascinating. It makes it pretty easy to put together resources that teach people about money when I love learning it myself.
The best technique I know of for knowing what type of web site to start is to look at topics you like to read about. I LOVE to learn about money. I spend half of my day reading about finances and watching Warren Buffett videos on YouTube. In the last few days I’ve ordered four new books about different aspects of finance.
Since I have such a passion for financial topics, starting a site about it is a no brainer for me.
Another thing that I consider when looking at potential topics is whether there is already a profitable site built around that topic. You may think that I would prefer that there isn’t a site, it’s actually the opposite. I want to see at least one successful site that’s built around the topic. That way I know that the market is large enough to work with. If I see a bunch of sites built around a topic, then I know that the topic is probably exceptionally profitable.
There’s no secret that money is a large enough topic to work with, in fact money has several subtopics, each of which are large enough to work with. I know of profitable web sites built around personal finance, business finance, making money, taxes, asset allocation, stocks, macro, and many other topics.
My Overall Strategy
My strategy is simple. Find a topic that I love, make sure that there is already a profitable web site in that space, and work hard to make sure that my web site provides remarkable information. If you can do that, you can make obscene amounts of money.