Watch me re-figure all this stuff out. Why? Because things have changed, and are changing so fast. Let me be the one who figures it all out for you.
What mistakes have I made?
In 2008 I had a great business buying domains, setting up a WordPress site, driving traffic, and then selling the domain. It was great. It was international. I was making money online. Not a lot, but I was making money.
It would take me about a month for the entire process and in the end I could sell it for between $200 and $500.
A month seems like a long time and a lot of effort to make that money but it really is not. I spent about an hour a day for the month, that is about 30 hours. Divide the money I made by the time I spent and I was making between $6.60 and $16 an hour. Certainly not a world beater but it was a good part time job. And I was working in my pajamas, at my home, at my desk, with probably way to many distractions.
Then I looked into ramping it up. So I broke it down this way. It would take me a day to setup the site. A week to really make it look good. Then the last three weeks would be spent producing content and driving traffic to the site.
What if every week I would make a new site. At any one time I would have 4 sites running at different stages. I would have one in the design stage. One in content production. One in marketing. One in sales.
I looked into it and it would double my time. Now I would have to spend 60 hours a month. That is about 2 hours a day. But I would be selling one site a week at $200 to $500 or a monthly income of $600 to $2000 a month. Now we are talking! That would put me at $10 to $33 an hour.
As I got better I would increase my revenue. Looked like I would have a business.
Killing the Golden Goose
I abruptly got back after being deported from Taiwan (ask me about the story and I will be happy to tell you). No job, no house, no car. Not a great situation. What the hell I thought, I will flip sites. I can spend all day working on it and just pumping out sites.
There were two problems. One is that I could not sit at a computer all day long building up sites and selling them. I am a great starter. What I am not good at is following through. With 4 sites going I was getting confused as to what I was supposed to be writing. What site was at what stage. Then I was falling in love with some topics and neglecting others. It was just human nature getting in the way.
The other problem was that with this model it would not always work. Some sites only sold for about $100. With my good sites I could not break $500. There was also a lot of competition. The market shifted from wanting traffic to wanting great design. I was, and still am, not a great designer.
There was another realization. People were not buying my sites. They were buying my traffic. The traffic was the key. There is a formula, which is slightly different for everyone, that can calculate how much you make on each email subscriber, or site visitor. Basically simply add up all sales and divide by subscribers and/or visitors. You get your cost per sale or profit per visitor depending on how you look at it.
I realized that is where the real profit came from. However my time was up. I was out of money and the person whose couch I had crashed on had enough of me. It was time to move on. So I moved to Miami.
Don’t kill the golden goose. Although a monthly reoccurring income of $100 to $200 does not seem like much, if your site is earning that over and over again that can be $1,200 to $2,400 a year. That is a good spring break vacation.
My business was not scaleable. In continuously looked for ways to expand. Really the only way for me to expand was to spend more time. I wanted more freedom. If I hired someone it would cost me about $20 to $25 an hour. If I really wanted to be a CEO type of business man I could probably make $5 to $10 an hour for someone doing my work. But I would still have to spend about 2-3 hours a day working on the business.
However if you have a site that is making a little money you can scale it. Even if you are only making a few dollars a month. By earning money your site, your visitors, your customers, your students, your clients, are telling you they like what you are doing. So do more. Add features. Add books, programs, courses, membership opportunities, coaching, mentoring, whatever seems right to you.
The two big lessons I learned is that I would have to spend a lot of time in the beginning building a site for free. But as time went on I would be spending less and less time on the site and making more and more money. To Geek Out on it the graph looks something like:
Once the money starts coming it takes a little while to ramp up. Once it builds momentum it really starts to grow.
So once again. Learn from my mistakes. Let me figure out the how. You just follow along, build great content, make great lessons, and soon you will be on the far end of the graph.