Our most valuable possession is time.
If you can capture other people’s time and attention, you can build a business around that. How do you get people’s attention online? Create valuable information (articles, tutorials, videos, podcasts, resources) designed for a specific group of people, and offer it to them for free. (There are a number of ways to get your target demographic to find your content) If that information is good enough to blow their minds, they are likely to give you more of their time and attention.
In return, you earn trust, authority, and credibility. From their perspective, you become a resource and an expert. You build brand value and recognition. The more time they spend consuming your information, the stronger your positioning becomes. In time, you slowly become THE ultimate resource for your specific topic.
From this position, you unlock a wide array of opportunities. When people truly trust your opinion, and look up to you for advice, you can recommend products or services. You can sell advertising on your site. You can create training courses or books. There are many opportunities for the online entrepreneur.
Have you ever wondered if it would be possible to make money by creating content online? Maybe you have specialized training and experience, or perhaps you’re just truly passionate about something and you want to help other people learn about it. Whatever the case may be, you just might be able to turn it into something that earns you a decent side income, or replaces your full time income altogether.
It is possible, and I did just that. I built a website and YouTube channel that teaches people how to use a 3D modeling program called SketchUp. In early 2014, I built up enough income from my business to quit my day job and work from home full time. I created OnlineBusinessTech to help others overcome the technical challenges with building an online business.
Your ability to earn a decent income from sharing content online depends on many factors, including the subject you’re going to be teaching, and how much time and effort you’re willing to put into it. So what exactly does it take to earn money online?
What it takes to earn money online
I believe the best approach to earning money from your specialized knowledge online is to build a loyal following (a group of people who read all your new articles, videos, and follow you on social media). If you can create a tribe of raving fans, who love your teaching style, and follow you online, you’ll find that the making money part is much easier. How do you go from having a desire to make a living online, to actually doing it? There are many steps along the way, but here is a general overview:
- Research a topic – Before investing your time and energy building an online presence, you need to first determine if your area of interest has the potential to make money, and if people are actively searching online for what you are going to offer.
- Build a Website – Your website is your “home base”. This is where you’ll publish new articles, tutorials, how-to’s, tips and tricks, etc. You want to create a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the subject you’re specializing in. Over time, your content will be shared by your followers, and it will start to show up in search engine results pages on Google. You don’t need to be a programmer to know how to build a website! If you can use Facebook, you have the necessary skills to build a website these days. Using WordPress, a free web design platform, you can create an amazing website fast and easily. All you need to do is purchase your domain name, and a hosting package (the hosting package is where your website “lives”, and allows you to log in and make changes and updates.)
- Interact on Social Media – You’ll also need to be active on at least a few social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+. What does it mean to “interact” on social media? Share new content you’ve created. Share content from other people that you know your followers will find helpful. Interact with your followers (Comment on their posts, answer their questions, be helpful.) Network and build relationships with other leaders and content producers in your niche.
- Produce amazing content – Once you’ve built your website, you need to add content to it on a regular basis in order to establish it as a leading resource in your field. Not just any content, but the most amazing resource on that particular topic found anywhere! You need to make every article the best it can possibly be. The more value you can provide, the more people will view you as an expert, the more likely your content will be shared, the more likely your content will rank higher in search engines. This all equals more traffic = more authority = more opportunity to create income. Writing articles isn’t the only way to produce content. You can create videos for YouTube, a podcast, write ebooks/guides, apps, etc. But for just starting out, you should focus on writing excellent articles for your site, and seriously consider creating videos too. (Don’t be intimidated, I can show you how to create great tutorial videos.)
- Build an Email List – Your mailing list is going to become one of your most valuable assets. This is your lifeline to your most loyal fans. This is the most direct line of communication with them. You’re going to send them updates about once a week, you’ll share your new content with them, and you’ll interact with them. Ask questions, and respond to them when they email you back. These are real people, who have taken the time out of their day to email you. You’re going to learn so much from these people about what they want to learn, their feedback is truly valuable and will help you choose the right path when you decide to create and sell your own product/service.
- Monetize – All your hard work of creating amazing free content will start to pay off once you learn how to monetize the traffic you’re generating. This can come in many forms, including selling advertising space on your website or videos, selling your own services or products, selling someone else’s services/products, offering personalized training, creating a premium membership site, writing ebooks, paid product reviews, etc. There are really a ton of ways to monetize.
Those are the main elements required to earn a living online by sharing information with people. It takes a huge commitment of time and energy to build your brand to a point where you start to see a decent income, but you’ll find it incredibly rewarding along the way because you’ll be helping so many people with all the great content you’re creating. This definitely isn’t a “get rich quick” business. It takes time. It takes work.
How long will it take to make an income?
There are many factors that will determine how fast you will be able to see an income from your business. It mostly depends upon your choice of topic, and how much time you’re willing to commit to your business.
- How large is your market? – How many people are searching for what you’re teaching online? The more people searching for your subject, the higher the potential traffic you can generate. More traffic always means more potential for income. You should do research and make sure you find a profitable niche before you begin.
- How likely are they to spend money? – The most profitable way to monetize is by offering training, services, or products that relate directly to the subject you are teaching. (There are other ways to make money, but they are typically not as profitable.) But you first have to determine if people would be likely to spend money on it in the first place. If no one spends money in your subject area, you’ll have a really hard time earning a decent income from your efforts.
- How much time are you willing to commit? – The rate of growth of your business will largely depend upon how much time you are willing to commit to creating new content, interacting on social media, and networking with other leaders in your niche. If you have a full time job, a family, friends, (you know… a life), you should expect to commit at least an hour a day to your business, and aim to produce at least one piece of content every week. If you can do more than that, great!
With all those factors aside, you should still expect it to take months, or even a couple years before you see a significant amount of traffic coming to your site where you can leverage that traffic. But it is worth it! All that hard work really pays off! In time, you’ll get to enjoy the pleasures of working online. You can choose to work from home, set your own schedule, and choose what YOU want to work on next. You’ll also get the intense satisfaction of feeling like you’re really leaving an impression on the world. All the great content you’ll be creating will be helping thousands of people from all around the world. It’s a very rewarding feeling.
Ready to get started?
- Choosing a Domain Name – Before you can start building your website, you need to decide what your domain name will be.