It’s the dream of many people: To be able to work location independent, and even better, to work on your own. To live in a country like Thailand, to travel to new places every few months and once or twice a year go back to your home country to catch up with family and friends. And there are more and more people who actually live this dream lifestyle.
But the question is: What is the best way to make it happen? In other words: What is the most lucrative, reliable and sustainable way to make money? Let’s start by looking at the bigger picture.
Making Money Offline vs Online
It’s not really necessary to have an online business to become location independent and at the same time make enough money to create your dream lifestyle.
You could open a restaurant, build it up for a year or two and then leave all the tasks you previously handled to a skilled manager that you pay a fair salary so he doesn’t let you down. And arrange with him that if anything „major“ comes up he should contact you via phone. Or even better, to just send you an email because you might be relaxing on a tropical island and at a different time zone.
Unfortunately, this scenario of automating an „offline business“ where you create systems to have other people do 99% of your previous work is harder in reality than it sounds. Your manager might ask you to come to your office, shop or whatever physically to assess the situation and make decisions. Or call you more regularly than you hoped and you’ll get interrupted during your massage on the beach.
This is why so many people try to make money online by creating passive income streams that allow them to run an almost completely hands-off business and to be able to work on it and make it grow whenever they feel like.
But most people fail making money online.
I think the single most reason why most people find it so difficult to make a living online or even fail to make any money on the internet at all (except from selling cell phones on ebay) is because it usually takes a lot of time, trial-and-error, fail-learn-from-it-and-keep-going experiences before you have your first dollar come in and to get things going, to create momentum and boost your motivation.
Look at one of the most simplest offline business models: Buying fruit on the market and selling fruit shakes at your small shop. Unless you seriously mess things up or can’t figure out how to use the mixer, you are definitely selling at least a couple of fruit shakes a day. It’s a different thing if that’s actually enough to make a living but at least you make some sales, some money. In other words:
With most offline businesses it’s not the question if you make any money, but how much you make.
It’s different with making money online, where you would often create websites and try to monetize them for weeks or months without anyone buying from you or clicking on your damn Google Adsense banners or affiliate links.
It’s those frustrating experiences and not seeing any results or even receiving direct feedback on why exactly their website isn’t converting or how they can get more traffic (the only two things you need in most online business models) that make most guys give up before they succeed.
On the other hand: I don’t know anyone who made their first 2,000 USD through affiliate marketing or client SEO ever go back to a 9-5 job. Instead most of them are continuously growing their businesses to five or six figures a month. Sure, some fellows become too comfortable once they earn like 5k a month, think they can stop working or maintaining their business only to lose their momentum and income streams sooner or later. It’s never 100% passive. There is always some work involved, including monitoring and adjusting to keep things running (even if it’s just extending your domain and hosting provider every 12 months or pay your virtual assistants every month and give them instructions).
But then even those guys who go from 5k a month to 0, they have the right mindset and skills in place to work and come back to the point they were at before. They know what it takes and what to do to get back up there.
How YOU can start learn what it takes and what works in the make-money-on-the-internet industry
It’s different when you first start out and just hear people around you saying „SEO is dead“ or „all profitable niches are already too competitive“. It’s easy to believe them when your first couple of sites just won’t rank after a few months (Affiliate Marketing) or you get no one saying yes to your free ranking offer from the 240 businesses you cold called in two weeks (Client SEO).
Instead you should simply learn from your failures and experiences what doesn’t work and adjust, target different keywords (Affiliate Marketing) or consistently split test your facebook ad campaigns or change the introduction line of your cold calling script (Client SEO).
It’s the combination of working persistently and readjusting your approach on the little findings you make along the way.
Example from Client SEO: You have a facebook ad campaign leading to your $20 one keyword ranking trial on your website. Your cost per click is ridiculously expensive at $3.22. Action: Instead of having one campaign at $10 USD a day, create two campaigns for $5 a day each with exactly the same advert settings except one difference (i.e. different image or different headline etc.). After 7 days, compare which of the two converts better and eliminate the other and test another angle. Repeat this process (split testing) several times and you should definitely get to a better click through rate (CTR) and much lower cost per click (CPC).
Now that you have more people coming to your site from the facebook advert, you figure there is still no one buying your $20 trial offer. Action: Next your would work on the sales page, again split test and change your headlines, add a video, change the location of the Paypal payment button etc. Little changes can make a huge difference, even if it’s just a different font or color of the headline in the sales page. Just don’t sit there and say my page is not converting so people aren’t interested in the service.
Next you may have some people buying your $20 trial offer. But you have trouble delivering the promised page 1 ranking. Action: If they are in a competitive niche, no need to rank them for terms like „realtor miami“ but rather for a specific page they have unlike most of their competitors like „title insurance coverage miami“. Even easier and often suggested are terms including their suburb and zip code, i.e. „realtor miami coral gables 33146“ but then you are running the risk that the client will say „no one is searching for that term“ (which is true). Try to give them value to earn their trust, but don’t overdo it and attempt to rank their most competitive keywords during the trial in just a couple of weeks.
Now that you have got your leads (from facebook ads), trial sales (from your sales page) and delivered them the initial page 1 ranking (using your own PBN or simply outsourcing it) you may struggle with the final point: Making them commit to pay you upwards of $750 monthly for your SEO services. They might say they believe what you do but it’s just too expensive. Action: Read the SPIN Selling book (no affiliate link) or be a little patient because I will write a separate article on how to close SEO clients as it will take a lot more time and text to cover everything that I want to share with you in order to succeed.
But again just like before it comes down to two principles: assess what didn’t work well and try a different approach. Just keep going! Like Thomas Edison said:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Another nice and true quote is (no idea who said that):
Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s part of it.
Don’t worry if you don’t make money with your first website projects. Most people don’t. The ones who do are usually the guys who are passionate about a certain topic and start a blog that they commit 100% to, post valuable articles on a regular basis and often they don’t even have the goal to monetize their blogs when first starting out.
But when it comes to areas like Affiliate Marketing, Client SEO, E-Commerce or E-Product Sales, most people who first start out fail. Like in Affiliate Marketing they try to target too competitive niches (like skin whitening) with too small resources (just about to start building a small PBN), in Client SEO they don’t focus on one industry or location and lose clients to the „industry or local experts“, in E-Commerce they would choose a mass-market product that is too competitive in one area (i.e. fans in Australia) and with product sales they write about a topic that has already more than enough free information on the internet (i.e. how to optimize facebook adverts, things look a little different if we talk about sub-topics of that like how to optimize your retargeting on facebook).
My recommendation: Don’t start out with product or software sales or E-commerce. There may be a lot of money to be made, but those are rather advanced techniques and you need a lot more time and investment to get started with them.
Even affiliate marketing can be a discouraging experience for starters as picking the wrong keywords or underestimating the competitor’s sites can result in absolutely no income and thoughts like „I can’t do it, those guys must have some secret formula that they share with no one or just a lot of cash to make these sites appear on top of Google“. So they stop and are out of the game. (And discourage other people they meet from attempting to make money online just because they had some bad experiences and didn’t succeed with their first 2-3 website projects).
The best way to start making money on the internet as a beginner is Client SEO. Means you would approach local businesses and offer them to rank their websites on Google for keywords related to their business. Local business owners are busy and have a lot of better things to do instead of worrying about their marketing every day.
There are many ways to get clients and one of them is you simply pick up the phone (or more cost effective: Skype). Don’t be scared it only feels uncomfortable during the first 2-3 days, especially if you write up a script. So you could cold call 20 solar installers a day that rank for their keywords from pages 2-10 (Tip: always scroll down to the footer to see if they have already another agency „maintaining“, „designing“ or „developing“ the site. Also, avoid websites that simply suck. You’ll know what I mean.) This is what I did and still do almost every day Monday to Saturday, takes me like 30-45 minutes for me to call and offer them a free page one ranking.
You would then go ahead and look for a keyword that they currently rank on the second or third page and point a couple of PBN links to their site (usually 2-4 will do) or you simply outsource it for 30-50 USD. Once you got them the page 1 ranking you call them up again and ask if they are interested in an ongoing marketing partnership at $750 a month (at least) to rank them for 10 other keywords like „solar installer in (city)“, „solar panels (city)“, „solar panel installation (city)“, „commercial solar panels (city)“ etc. $750 may sound like a lot, but remember you would only target businesses where the average customer value is at least $1,000. So in the case of solar installers, if you can get them only new 1 customer per month with your SEO services that would result in an additional revenue for them of easily $10,000 upward. So you could actually charge a lot more, but I found from my own experience when you first start selling SEO to businesses it just makes it easier to get them as a customer when you start with relatively low prices.
Of course cold calling is only one way to get SEO clients, there are plenty of other ways to generate leads and I will discuss them in another post.
The great thing about client SEO is that once you have ranked the client for his keywords (usually 3-6 months depending on the competitiveness of the keywords) it takes you very little effort to maintain the rankings because you would just add another couple of links every month. Means while you make some investments building up the PBN during the first few months, the money that they will continue to send you after you got them the rankings will be easily 80% profit.
You can then repeat the process, get more SEO clients and scale this up as you like. Once you have that more or less regular and reliable monthly income stream from your SEO clients, then you can start investing money into affiliate website projects. If you earn 10k a month you can well afford 2k to „test things out“ and still have more than enough to live your dream lifestyle and save up for future (business) investments.
What to do next?
Continue reading on Stefan Redcat and apply everything I say. Simple.
Just kidding, even though I do hope you get some good value and useful ideas from my site, reading and studying alone is not quite enough to guarantee your success in the online world.
You will very likely fail a lot of times before you succeed making money online. You will call 100 businesses and they all hang up or say I’m not interested. You may get a trial client but you cannot close them as a regular client. You build 3 affiliate sites and after six months they still barely get any traffic and make $0 revenue.
JUST KEEP GOING.
Analise what went wrong and do it different the next time. Embrace failure as valuable lessons. Keep taking action and success is inevitable. Every guy having a successful online business will be able to tell you of experiences where he wasted a lot of time and money on projects that ended up bringing in nothing. But he kept going, gained experience and over time decreased the percentage of unsuccessful projects compared to their successful ones.
You can do it, just like anyone else who did it. But you need to have a burning desire to life your dream lifestyle and be persistent in taking action every single day.
One final tip
Whatever you decide to start off making money online (again I recommend to begin with client SEO) I would highly advise you start your own blog around a niche that you have an interest in. Make that one merely a hobby to experiment with and don’t think about monetizing it just yet. So if you do like traveling, don’t be scared of all the competition. The wonderful thing about blogs is that they often end up somewhere completely different from where they first started. You might start off with a backpacking blog and two years later niche down on food blogging in Vietnam (great and highly potential niche by the way).
The point is, you will be able to outsource literally everything effectively when you know what you are doing – including copywriting. However, writing is one of the most valuable skills to have for every online entrepreneur. Of course you don’t have to waste your time writing articles for your PBN sites but down the road you really should be able to create your own content for your sales pages, affiliate sites etc and again there is still (and always will be) a lot of potential and many untapped niches for people who commit and are passionate about blogging.