This post was guest blogged by Barbara Ling .
It had to happen. There I was, the calm, cool, self-contained entrepreneur who was happily building several sites simultaneously, writing my profitable blog posts and dashing off the “Why My Son Should Be In Mr. Wrangler’s 2nd Grade Class” when Honorable Eldest Daughter gently removed my brimming coffeecup from the chair, sat down and said in all seriousness, “Mom! Don’t you think I DESERVE an iPhone?”
Figuring that the “Deer in the Headlights” look didn’t quite convey my bemusement, I responded, “Of course you do! And I will be the first person in line to cheer you on when you’ve earned the money to buy it!”
Not being daunted in the least (my kids have the persistence of a Twitterholic who has just spied the latest and greatest Twitter App), she assumed the long-suffering persona of Bambi and assured me that “Oh mom, my allowance doesn’t cover an iPhone!”
Ah hah! Thought I. Here’s a chance to stop the conversation in its tracks! Cleverly pretending to muse upon her woes, I finally said, “Well you know, you can always empower yourself (Mom is big on
empowering, you see, it frees her from being blamed for things like “Gosh Mom, you forgot to set my alarm clock and now I’ve missed finishing (or even starting) my 17 page essay that’s due today!”) and make money on the Internet! Heck, I’ll even walk you through every single step required.” I figured the concept of “using the Internet NOT for watching anime” would be soul-searingly devastating enough she’d back down and let me resume my work.
Oddly enough, she rose to the challenge…and thus was born a brand-spanking new entrepreneur.
And here’s how I did it. If you have children capable of working online, this could be quite profitable for you too!
Step 1.) Consider the source.
Sure, while it’s easy to tell your kids, “Hey kid, go research a targeted audience! Find out the problems that are craving solutions! Write an ebook that sells the solutions! Sell sell sell!”….in reality, that’s not optimal at all. You want their first entrepreneurial adventure to be a success – for that to happen it has to:
- Engage their interest
- Be easy to do
- Be easy to monetize
I settled on blogging for the above reasons. You can blog about anything online, it’s easier than melting ice cream in an oven to find content on a daily basis…AND, due to eBay, it’s easy to monetize as well.
Step 2.) Decide on the project and choose the look/feel
For the reasons stated above, my daughter decided to blog about something she loves – Advanced Calculus and Differential Equations. Okay, no, that’s her mom. She’s blogging about The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 instead.
To blog, one needs a domain name and hosting. GoDaddy offers them cheap, and you can get free hosting at places like http://www.doteasy.com . Sure, she could have put her blog on the WordPress.com site, but I firmly believe if you’re going to make money, you want to be professional about it.
For the look and feel, I showed her how to research SEO-optimized themes to help with search engine visibility. ‘Course, she was sold instead on how ‘engaging’ a visual theme was. Can’t win ’em all.
Step 3.) Sign up kid for eBay, Amazon, CJ and Adsense affiliate programs.
These are by far the easiest way to monetize blogs. As you can see on eBay, there are hundreds of Sims items for sale. Amazon.com also offers great deals as well! And don’t forget about t-shirts, coffee cups, other SIM-related games, virtual reality, Second Life, etc.
In almost all cases, you’ll find the same thing regarding your child’s chosen niche as well.
Step 4.) Add the above affiliate programs to the blog template
Many SEO-optimized blogs are also adsense-optimized as well. It only takes a few line-tweakies to change the Adsense to eBay code to Amazon code and back again!
Step 5.) Install the following plugins
Blogs grow by word of mouth, so make it easy for your kid’s blog readership to increase. Add social networking plugins, CommentLuv, and especially anti-spam plugins like BadBehavior, Angsuman’s Referrer Bouncer, Simple Trackback Validation, and Spam Karma. This will help make it easy for people to tell friends about the content they find.
Step 6.) Teach your kid to install a Feedreader and find 20+ related feeds
Blog posts don’t need to be fresh and unique every day – your kid can also pick up on current niche-related news and write his or her impressions about it. Go to Google News and set up a keyword alert, and then proactively search at both Technorati and Boardreader for targeted blogs in the same niche. Have your kid add those feeds to the feedreader.
Step 7.) Blog and Network!
Here’s where your kid starts to actually post. I recommend posting at least once a day until the search engines start to pick it up (my posts are now indexed generally within 10 minutes of publising them).
Once the first posting is complete, encourage your kid to comment at other niche blogs so as to generate a backlink to their personal blog. The more traffic generated and the more visitors that persue the site… the greater the chance of affiliate earnings.
Now, what else can your child blog about? How about targeted niche products on Amazon.com, complete with their affiliate link? Or they can search on Clickbank for niche products (did you know there’s over 26 Clickbank products for World of Warcraft?), contact the authors and ask for a free copy to review (I did that with my World of Warcraft blog). Once reviewed, they can include a direct link to the product with their hoplink used as the URL.
Once they’re comfortable with the whole online adventure, they can add in an optin autoresponder, write up a free report, create an ebook and do any of the other activities we consider normal for
making money online.
The above are some ways you can start your child on the road to making money on the Internet. But! Before you do this, you MUST educate him or her about predators online…and how they must NEVER EVER EVER give out their email addresses, real names, addresses and the like. ‘Matter of fact, I’d recommend having all site email be sent to you first so you can clear out all the porn and other undesirable ickness that comes with the territory.
More resources for kids online safety include:
- Kid Safe Kids Rules
- Wired Safety
- Business and Games
- Social Networking Sites: A Parent’s Guide
- Stay Safe for Teens
Kids are no longer restricted to lemonaide stands and Girl Scout Cookies to earn money – give them the self-confidence (and profits!) that come from building, maintaining and growing a world class site. The benefits they’ll receive will far encompass more than mere monetary satisfaction…for a long long time in the future as well.