Everybody’s Gone Surfin’ – on the Web

Here’s a rather sobering statistic from the U.S. Small Business Administration – 85% of people starting a business today will be out of business in 2 years. The fact of the matter is, most start-up companies operate in the red for two years and then go belly up.

Why? Because most start-up businesses are under-capitalized and these so-called “business owners” don’t know how to handle money, employees or customers – skills that aren’t taught in school.

Let’s get real. Traditional businesses take a lot of seed money   and a lot of know how   to get started.

In order to start a McDonalds hamburger business, for example, you have to have $300,000 of your own money sitting in the bank, plus you have to be able to secure a $1 million line of credit or you don’t get a franchise. Then you have to go to Hamburger University, in Oakbrook, Illinois, to learn the hamburger business. Sheesh!

What we need is a business model that anyone can take advantage of.

Just because Kobe Bryant and LeBron James can make millions playing basketball in the NBA, doesn’t mean we can.

So how can we build our own financial ark? By building a non-traditional business.

Where do such businesses exist? On the Internet.

There’s Plenty of Money in Cyberspace

According to Forrester Research Inc., by 2013 there will be 2.2 billion Internet users in the world. Between 2000 and 2008   the last full year we have figures for   Internet usage grew an astonishing 342%.

Combine that with the growth in e-commerce – expected to top $3.2 trillion next year – and you have a tremendous opportunity.

As a business consultant, I’ve spent the better part of my life analyzing businesses and figuring out how to make them more profitable. I look at businesses all the time.

One of the best business models I’ve ever seen is a money-making website.

I asked AWAI VP and Director of Online Marketing Rebecca Matter about them.

She said a money-making website is an information site that is focused on a single niche topic. It’s an extremely simple business model that has you writing targeted content over time, which ultimately attracts free traffic through principle search engines like Google.

I like the free part. That means, unlike a traditional business, we don’t have to spend a lot on advertising.

Rebecca went on to say that once you have hundreds or thousands of people coming to you site each day, you can use a few marketing techniques to monetize the traffic so it actually creates a passive income stream for you.

That got my attention.

Do it Once and Get Paid Forever

She explained that two of the most commonly used techniques are contextual ads, like Google AdSense, and affiliate marketing programs.

Contextual ads are ads for products or services directly related to whatever it is your site is about. If one of your readers clicks on that ad, you get paid for the click. That’s why it’s called passive income – you don’t have to do a single thing to make money.

It’s the same thing with affiliate marketing. If you mention an affiliate’s product or service on your website, and one of your readers buys that product or service, you get a commission. Once again, more passive income.

Over time, this passive income can really add up.

Out of curiosity, I asked her how much someone could realistically expect to earn.

She told me about Nick Usborne, whose site, CoffeeDetective.com, is currently earning him about $50,000 per year. And that’s only one site! He has others he’s working on too.

But the best part is that the money keeps coming in year after year – even if Nick decides to retire from writing – because it’s his asset. He owns the site and all of the content.

So Simple Even the Technologically Challenged Can Do It

Remembering my NBA basketball player analogy, I asked her what it takes to launch one of these money-making websites. Is it expensive? Do you have to be a techno-whiz? Is this something anybody can do?

Nope, Nope, and Yup.

It’s not expensive at all. Rebecca said a couple of hundred bucks or less would do it.

And if you’re technologically challenged and don’t have the foggiest idea how to build a website, there are services out there that can help you.

Rebecca said with many all-in-one services all you have to do is buy your domain name, put your website together using their site building tool, and then get it online.

She said, “There are so many options … heck, you can even use Wordpress to build your website. If you can work in Word, if you can copy and paste, you can do this.”

A Perfect Business

What we have here, then, is a perfect way to build your financial ark and develop some serious passive income. It is a perfect business model with:

  1. Low start-up cost – You don’t have to invest all of your savings or go into hock up to your eyeballs with bank loans.
  2. Low overhead – It doesn’t cost a lot to run and maintain.
  3. No inventory – Unlike a traditional business where inventory is the biggest expense.
  4. Set your own hours – No 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week.
  5. Global market – There are no restrictions on territory. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing.
  6. No employees – No payroll problems and no benefit programs to administer.
  7. Passive income – You do the work once, get paid over and over.
  8. Unlimited income – Not limited by the number of stores.
  9. Recession-proof income – Not dependent on the seasons or the economy.
  10. Willable and Sellable – You own the asset.

So, despite the global economic slowdown, worldwide growth in Internet usage and e-commerce continues unabated. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger! And that presents us with a unique opportunity.

People who position themselves properly are not going to have financial worries. You don’t have to be a millionaire or technology guru to profit from this. You just need to recognize your opportunity … and then take action.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: August 11, 2009

1 Response to “Everybody’s Gone Surfin’ – on the Web”

  1. Great points, Tom. It's the approach I use (specialized niche websites), and it's really working nicely.

    Thanks for the insight, and I really enjoy your writing style.

    Tony

    Web Copy SpecialistAugust 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm


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