There are without a doubt several ways to make a legitimate living online providing the right content/ information to the right buyers. It’s also a numbers game, but you don’t need a lot of customers to make a comfortable living. Let’s look at a few examples.

Over at Bootstrapper, I have the first of several online business case studies: Bootstrapping an online information business. In that post, I detail how you can set up a video how-to site with little capital – but more from a business perspective, not so much a technical perspective. However, I do list numerous tools you’ll probably need – many of which are free, and others you can purchase when revenue starts to come in. There’s also a reference to Evan Margolin, a dance teacher in San Francisco whose SalsaBootCamp video site membership went up from $9 to $37/month and still pulls in $20,000/m for him. Not bad. Now, if you’re looking for a comfortable living, you need to find something you can present in how-to video and/or article format and then find the right buyers. And you can do it without spending a lot upfront, slowly increasing your toolset as funds allow.

The Potential

In the case of Margolin, he has just over 500 subscribers. Let’s look at some other examples. A number of marketing studies sites offer membership that ranges from $37 and up per month. One, I think, is about $500/yr. Imagine, if you could find just 100 members, that’s $50,000 per year. Several SEO sites offer premium content memberships, one of which is about $39/month. A couple of SEO sites offer access to either private forums or to tools/ scripts at $100/m. Just 50 members generates $5,000/month. However, some of these sites have 100-300 members.

Now, maybe those are out of your skill range, so let’s look at more examples. I’ve come across a few sites that for $97/mth offer access to hundreds of limited-edition, original articles that you can use in any fashion you want. Each release allows only, say, 200 members. If they’re actually selling out membership to the point where they’re offering new phases, then they’re making at least $97 x 200 = $19,400/m. If they’re then selling another round of 200 memberships, well, do the math.

So if you are a skilled writer that can cover a number of topics well, with proper research, and you work fast, you could presumably set up a similar service. You could partner up with other writers, to cover a range of topics. But maybe you want to keep the effort down to keep the quality up, limit the number of memberships and charge $49/month. If your articles are good and cover the topical demands out there, then you can probably find buyers.

However, this still doesn’t address the average person who wants to earn a living online. That brings us back to the how-to. If you can explain how to do something, either in text or video format – preferably the latter, with a bit of text – you can probably find buyers. And if there is enough interest and you can keep producing text and/or video content, you might even gain a few subscribers. If you only want to produce one-time content, then you might consider a single e-book or video set.

Revenue Streams

Or you could mix up your revenue streams:

  1. Blog for yourself – earn advertising and affiliate revenue.
  2. Blog for others – earn either a flat per post rate or a percentage of their monthly revenues.
  3. Write reviews – earn a flat fee per review.
  4. Build and flip sites (websites or weblogs).
  5. Buy an income-earning site.
  6. Buy/ register, hold, and flip domains.
  7. Offer free teaser reports as an enticement to visitors to purchase an ebook.
  8. Offer free teaser videos for your how-to series.
  9. Offer access to tools, reports or reusable content on a monthly subscriber basis.
  10. Offer services on a project or monthly retainer basis.

The beauty of working online, besides the obvious, is that you can use tools like PayPal or Google Checkout to handle the payment processing. The integration is relatively easy and allows you to focus on the content or services.

Got a skill or service that can be offered online but not sure how to do that? Feel free to drop me a comment here or use the contact form. With your permission, I’ll try to do a no-cost case study on these pages. If not, then my reponse time increases. I may not always have answers, but I will respond to you as promptly as time permits.

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