Episode #5: Can You Make Enough Money With An Online Business?

explore business ideas Apr 02, 2020

Making Money in the Knowledge Industry

What if we told you there were billions of dollars to be made in the knowledge industry? 

It sounds crazy, we know! But the knowledge industry has been exploding in recent years — e-learning was worth $107 billion worldwide in 2015, and it’s projected to reach a global worth of $325 billion by 2025

There’s never been a better time to start an online business. More and more individuals are taking what they know—on nearly any topic—and turning it into something others can use to learn from and grow. Thanks to advances in technology, the growth of the internet, and an increasing interest in self-learning, the knowledge industry has been able to grow and expand. 

Today, you can learn anything, anytime, anywhere! Where and how you learn will depend on your learning preferences, but here’s an idea of the kinds of learning opportunities in the knowledge industry today: 

  • You can learn things from major colleges and universities through sites like Coursera, who connect hungry learners to courses, certifications, and degrees all online.
  • You can learn things from experts in the field through videos on Masterclass or Skillshare. Learn to cook from Gordon Ramsay. Learn to write from Malcolm Gladwell. Learn to act from Natalie Portman.
  • You can learn from like-minded communities on forums or Facebook groups (like ours!) that come together to collaborate on a specific topic.
  • You can learn from individuals who have had the same problem as you previously and have come up with a solution to solve it.

In the e-learning market, there is a ton of opportunity for you to make money! People want to learn, and they’re seeking out knowledge-based products and services as a result. Why can’t they seek out your knowledge?

Do You Need to Be an Expert to Make Money Online?

Many people are convinced they can’t make money from an online business unless they’re an “expert.” But the truth is… that's not necessary. You don’t need 10,000 hours of experience. You don’t need a fancy degree. 

What you do need is an idea. With an idea and a relentless commitment to serve a niche group of people—a group that you care deeply about teaching and helping succeed—you can break into the e-learning market and make money from your online business!

How to Earn Money with an Online Business

There are dozens of ways to earn money with an online business. We can’t cover all of them, so instead, we’re focusing on some of the most popular ways to make money online. 

These strategies are all part of what’s called passive income, which is a key part of the 20 hour work week that we’ve talked about before. Passive income allows you to keep generating revenue even when you’re not actively working—and we’re here to tell you how to get started!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission from purchases that are made because your ideal audience clicked on a link on your site that brought them to a recommended product or service. 

There are three different kinds of affiliate marketing, but we rely on involved affiliate marketing. We actually use and love all the products and services that we recommend to others! 

On the podcast, we talk about two businesses that have used affiliate marketing to generate tons of passive income. One is Pat Flynn, who has been making money from affiliate marketing for more than 10 years. In January 2019, he made $2670 monthly from two affiliate links in a podcast episode he created...all the way back in 2013! 

Pat’s story shows how affiliate marketing done right can generate passive income for years to come. We talk more about Pat’s business in the episode, and you can also learn more about his income strategy with his income reports

We’ll also tell the story of Keep Your Daydream, a business that centers on a YouTube channel about living and traveling in their RV. Listen to the episode to see how they use affiliate marketing to support their business. 

Amazon is one of the most common affiliate marketing programs, because nearly everything can be sold on Amazon. But there are plenty of affiliate marketing opportunities with individual websites, which may offer higher commissions or other perks! 

The key to affiliate marketing is to only recommend products or services that you personally believe in and have used yourself. Be genuine in your recommendations!

Membership Sites

You can create a subscription-based service where you charge customers a monthly fee to continuously access your services. These are often called membership sites. 

With a membership site, you are constantly striving to understand the struggles and needs of your customers so you can help them achieve their goals. Instead of presenting all your information upfront like in an online course, you can produce (or drip) content to your customers on a regular basis, depending on their needs and how your site is set up. 

Customers can consume the information when it works for their schedule, and you can create the content and respond to their needs when it works for yours—you don’t need to be available precisely when your customers are ready to learn from you! You can serve many people at any time since everything is available online. This is the key to passive income! 

One of our favorite membership site examples is that of Tricia Callahan, who runs a site called Once a Month Meals. For $24.99 a month (or $20.83 if you purchase a full year), you get everything you need to shop, prep, and cook most of your monthly meals in just one day! (You then freeze the meals until you want to eat them.) 

Once a Month Meals works for several reasons:

  • It gives people knowledge about meal prep and cooking, something many people find difficult.
  • It provides everything people need for healthy meals, including a shopping list, recipes, and meal planning.
  • It helps people save time on cooking so they can find the time to do things that really matter—like we talked about on last week’s episode

Tricia also offers a free mini meal plan to give prospective subscribers a taste of what they would get by signing up for her service. This is a great way to grow your member list! 

On this week’s podcast episode, we’ll also tell you about Karen Cinnamon, who runs the membership site Smashing the Glass, a resource for Jewish brides-to-be. You’ll see how there are opportunities for an online business in any niche!

Online Courses

We learned a lot about the possibilities for online courses from Amy Porterfield. She is the queen of creating online courses and has helped many students successfully launch their own course! 

Online courses package knowledge and action steps to help customers reach a specific goal. It doesn’t provide continuous access like a membership site, but you can still make a good income from selling online courses. 

One story we love about online course success is Jennifer Allwood, who created a video-based online course on DIY painting for cabinets and furniture. After packaging and selling these videos, Jennifer earned over $100,000 from these videos alone in just 14 months! 

And that’s just one part of Jennifer’s online business—she has multiple revenue streams that all contribute income on a regular basis. You can check out her podcast episode about it here

Listen to the episode for another story about online course success, where one woman made $280,000 in just 10 days with her online course launch to elementary school teachers.

The Bloomdocking Revenue Strategy

Our services are centered around helping you start and run an online business—and what makes us unique is our 20 hour work week approach that allows you to spend more time on the things that really matter to you, like visiting with friends and family, enjoying nature, and exploring new places, food, and cultures! (Once the era of social distancing is over, of course!) 

Our revenue strategy is simple, and includes all three methods we discussed earlier. Here’s how we’ve set up our online business to make money through multiple revenue streams: 

  • Online Course: Once you have a business idea that you know is feasible and profitable, our online course guides you through every step in establishing your online business...and we mean every step! You’ll learn in just a few weeks what we learned through experience over four years.
  • Memberships: After you complete the online course, we provide ongoing support throughout your business implementation and as you mature as a business owner. You get support for any questions or struggles you face.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Our affiliate marketing strategy has two components:
    • Connecting you to experts with specific knowledge of other parts of running a business, like bookkeeping and web hosting. With Kajabi, our web hosting partner, we make a lifetime commission of 30% for any new signup. Just one signup could yield us $1,000 a year!
    • Recommending products and books we love. Darren is a super nerd when it comes to product research, so we only recommend the best products for our community. 

As we continue to grow, we plan to add additional revenue streams. Up next is mastermind services, which helps customers get through very specific struggles in order to meet their goals. This service is customized to your needs and problems. 

For example, we know a lot of you are still struggling to come up with a business idea. What are you struggling with specifically? What roadblocks do you keep running into? 

We are here to help, but we can’t help unless you tell us about your journey. Joining our 20 Hour Work Week Facebook group helps us better understand your struggles so we can grow to help YOU! 

Down the line, we may also be able to add website ads and sponsored podcast episodes to continue to diversify our revenue streams. But the most important thing is for us to be flexible so we can cater to your needs and wants. 

This week’s episode gives even more detail on our revenue strategy and how it’s working for us, so be sure to listen!

Listen to Episode #5 Now!

We’ve shown you how much opportunity there is to grow and make money in the knowledge industry. E-learning is growing fast, and with passion and knowledge, you can be an expert that makes money in this field. 

We hope you’re inspired by the examples of real online businesses that we shared with you—and by our own revenue strategy that’s empowering us to live out our 20 hour work week.

Go ahead and listen. Then leave a comment on our private 20 Hour Work Week Movement Facebook Group to help support everyone in this movement.

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Catch up on our past episodes here!

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