Q&A session with the audience as a follow-up on the main interview “How a Dog Saved a Man. A Story of One Online Business”.
Six concrete steps you can take to start making money of your blog. Twelve strategies to make time to work on your idea. A secret formula to have a right start with your online business, and much more. An online entrepreneur Chad Thompson answered your questions.
Last week on True Stories Chad Thompson, an online entrepreneur, a copywriter and a marketing consultant, shared his story how by rescuing a dog that was about to be put down and simply by trying to be a responsible dog owner he ended up creating $100,000 online business around dog training.
A couple of weeks earlier, I asked my readers whether there is something they’ve always wanted to ask an online entrepreneur. Usually, I include the answers in the main interview, but the questions were so profound and the answers Chad gave were so thorough that I simply had to give this part of our discussion a separate spot light.
So here are, dear readers, the answers to your questions.
|Q1: How do you go about advertising on your blog? How do you choose the products that suit your blog best?|
Chad: In terms of generic advertising, the easiest way is to get a Google Adsense account. This will automatically generate ads on your site based on what people have searched for in previous browsing sessions. All you have to do is to simply add a piece of code to any page you want an ad on.
Based on my experience, this simple method generates about $300-$1000 a month in additional passive revenue from around 1000 to 5000 visitors a day with 1 ad click per 45 visitors in average.
If you are generating good traffic (10,000 visitors per month) you can also approach people in your industry offering ad space, but you will start getting requests from people who want to advertise on your site as well.
In terms of specific products, there are many ways to find what suits you. You can look at Amazon’s best sellers in your niche, or use ClickBank and click on Marketplace to see all the products being sold in your niche and how well they are selling.
If you like one, you can sign up as an “affiliate”, sell it yourself and get paid a 50% or more commission.
You can also do Keyword Research (I’ll explain how to do that on a practical example in the follow-up post), which will show you which products people are currently searching for and which keywords they are using.
I recommend creating your own product. That gives you full control, and you can offer it in different formats.
I have video and audio products, ebook as well as physical products. You can actually develop additional products simply from reformatting from, say, video to audio.
And you don’t need technical knowledge. There are sites like oDesk, People Per Hour and Fiverr where you can find qualified people that will do the work for you for an affordable price.
|Q2: How can I make the most of social media platforms? Do I need to have accounts on all of them or should I just concentrate on one?|
Chad: In today’s world, you should have at least a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
But with niche businesses, it’s much better to focus on being active on blogs and on forums of your industry or niche.
To find the forums in your niche, simply type “(your niche) + forums” into the search bar (for example, “dog training + forums”).
It’s much better to be active on a forum than it would be to have a Google Plus account or a Pinterest account, because on forums you are speaking directly to your target audience.
Also, you want to minimize distractions and todos. So instead of casting a wide net on Twitter, you can communicate directly with the people who are looking exactly for what you provide. And each forum has a profile section. When you give people great information, they will click on your profile and see the link to your site.
The other social media accounts are useful and can be added down the road, but to start, you want to be right where the target audience is.
|Q3: Do I need to consider registering with a professional blogging organisation such as ‘blog her’?|
Chad: I never have. But that’s not to say they don’t provide value.
I personally like to keep it simple. People can get caught up in signing up for a variety of sites and services, and neglect the main thing: creating valuable information.
If you are putting out good content regularly, people will search and find you. Once you’ve established there are people interested in what you are doing, you can certainly move to content aggregators.
I registered with simple article directories like goarticles.com and forums that will allow me to post content based on what the community is looking for. I can read a question and simply reply directly to a person who asked it providing the information I know for sure they were looking for.
Blog Her, on the other hand, is just an aggregator of diverse content. So while they might get a lot of traffic, most of those visitors are not interested in your content or niche, so you will be taking time focusing on something that’s no better than a best guess.
To summarize, instead of signing up for something like Blog her, sign up for a niche specific blogging sites and forums.
|Q4: My blog is currently just a personal hobby, but I want to start making money from it. What would you say are the next steps I need to take?|
Chad: If I was your marketing consultant, these are the steps I’d suggest:
- Create a product of your own. There is power in owning your own product, as you have full control of what you offer, to whom and in which formats.
- Find advertisers that are interested in reaching your readership.
- Add Google Adsense to the site in places that don’t disrupt the readers’ experience. Nobody likes ads, but when they are placed effectively, they can add revenue to your blog.
- Search Clickbank and Amazon and find products your readers would be interested in. You can sign up as an “affiliate”, which means that you post an ad for a particular product on your site, and when someone clicks to buy it, you make a commission between 50% and 70%.
- Use blend of advertising: your own product(s) and affiliate products. Affiliate products are helpful when you just don’t have the time to create your own product. But it’s absolutely worth it to make time to create products of your own.
- Make use of Private Label Rights. You can actually buy an eBook, video course, etc. on almost anything, put your name on it (simply add it to a correspondent file) and sell it as much as you like.
No fees or royalties, just the $5 you spent on the product. It’s like having a ghostwriter create a product for you. I always take those and edit them to make them even better, ans it’s a decent shortcut for those with limited time.
Just google “private label rights ebooks”, for example, to find websites where you can buy these products.
|Q5: What do you do to make people register to your email list, apart from giving away some free information?|
Chad: That’s exactly what I do. I offer my subscribers premium content I could actually sell for free.
I also let them know that by joining my list, they will get exclusive content delivered right to their inbox. I’ve added other things as well like the ability to email me with questions, discounts on products, secret links to unpublished products with big discounts, free membership for one month into a training program that sells for $97/m.
If your offer on the opt-in to join the list is compelling and you’ve explained the benefits clearly, that’s usually the reason why most people sign up.
The more you offer, the more likely they sign up.
A very important point: You should have a sign-up form on every page of the site. You never know when someone will read something that makes them say “Yes, I need to stay updated with what they are writing about and offering.”
|Q6: At what point in your business you need professional help to manage your business web page rather than trying to manage everything yourself?|
Chad: I do it this way. As soon as the site is profitable, I take that revenue and hire someone to manage an aspect of the business.
Usually I’ll first hire another writer to produce high quality content since that takes up more of my time. If I have additional money, I’ll hire a Virtual Assistance overseas for roughly $5/h to handle emails and administration tasks.
It seems cheap but these people are highly educated and talented. And based on their location, that hourly wage is a good rate for them.
Currently, I am starting a new site that provides training on how to find your niche, how to create products and how to launch your business, but also how to fully automate your business so that you can work on the things you enjoy and outsource the other tasks to capable people at affordable rates.
That’s when it gets fun: When your business pays for help, and you can just work on things you love to do the most.
|Q7: Is it possible for somebody with two full-time jobs and a family to build a successful and prosperous online business?|
If it is, how could it be accomplished if quitting or cutting back on the jobs, or kicking the family out of the door are not viable options?
Chad: It is possible. My business partner started his own website brokerage with a wife, two young children and a full-time job. He would set aside time at lunch, in the evenings and on the weekends.
That’s the best part of all of this, if you are passionate about the topic, it doesn’t seem like work, but like a hobby. The main challenge here would be to find time, but this is a question of personal organization skills.
These are a few organizational strategies I’d suggest using to ensure you create enough time to work on your business.
- Think of activities that are a waste of time and use this time to work on your business. For me, it was watching different TV shows for no particular reason, just because I’ve always been watching them.
- Are there activities you enjoy, but believe creating an online business would be more enjoyable? You can make time to work on your idea by replacing one enjoyable activity with another, more enjoyable.
- Create a calendar of your spare time. Create a plan that identifies times and days that you could work on your business.
- Wake up 30-60 minutes earlier every day.
- If you have a family, tell your significant other about how important this is for you and see if they can also help create some time. Maybe they’ll agree to take the kids out for 2 hours twice a week.
- Be protective of your time. I found out that if I said “no” more often to things I didn’t want to do anyway, I was able to find more time.
- If you read to relax, start reading books or articles on internet marketing. If you are passionate about it, it won’t seem like reading boring work documents. It’s a great way to learn while still giving yourself time to relax and decompress.
- Use Google Boomerang for your emails. It will allow you to go through your emails more quickly, because you can make an email disappear from your list till the day or time point you’ll have time to deal with it.
- Set hard deadlines. If something usually takes you 2 hours to do, set the deadline of 60 minutes. You’ll be surprised how efficient you can become.
- If someone else can do it, delegate it.
- Get a $5/h Virtual Assistant if you can afford it. Give them all the admin and mundane tasks you do daily, like sending emails to people, putting documents together, reading something and writing out the “cliff’s notes” for you, etc.
- Organize your daily activities in a way that makes you efficient. Can you pick up those 5 things at one store instead of three? Can you finish the chores in less time or push them off to another day? This is a perspective you should be always looking at things from.
Maybe you have an hour or so at an upcoming doctor’s appointment where you know you always have to wait a certain amount of time to get in to see the doctor. Maybe you travel for work and spend time in airports or on planes.
You can look at your month or next 90 days and see which days you’ll have time to work on the business. Then add those to your calendar as “working hours” each day.
So for example, if I want to read this blog post on the plane on Thursday, I’ll “boomerang” it till then. And I don’t have to search through emails, it doesn’t make my email cluttered, I don’t have to resend things to the top of my inbox so I remember them, etc.
As you move forward, you’ll see that you have more time than you actually think.
If you work on creating that time using this kind of “calendar microscope”, you can slowly build your business and hopefully replace at least one of those two full-time jobs with your new online business.
Something to keep in mind: A website that produced just $500/m for over 6 months can be sold for $10,000.
I’m not making those numbers up; I see it happen every day as I look for businesses to acquire. A common rule of thumb is to take your average net monthly revenue and multiply it by 20 to get your sales price.
So even working on a side business and getting it to produce a few hundred dollars a month can result in a decent payday and add to your retirement savings or just your nest egg.
But it’s important to really think through if you want to do the hard work, if you are interested in learning about online business, and if you are happy to be working on it even if it just ends up making $100/m.
If you aren’t like me – someone who wanted to pursue online business as a career – but simply like writing about things you enjoy offering help and your knowledge to people, it can just be a fun project you enjoy doing that’s also fulfilling.
But those who are willing to do the hard work to see their business succeed I’d like to leave with my secret formula to start with in simple terms:
- Find a problem people struggle with
- Find out what would make these people’s lives better or easier
- Create or find a product that solves their issue
- Find where these people are searching for answers and provide valuable insights by answering their questions. No sales pitches. You’ll be more successful just by giving them advice that works.
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