There’s more than one way to skin a cat and in the online world of entrepreneurship and marketing, you don’t want to be a one-trick pony. Animal-related idioms aside, it is absolutely true that you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. At the same time, you also don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Adhere to the Pareto principle, but be smart about it.
In this way, you might start your online journey with a blog of your own, covering whatever topic or industry that happens to spark your interest. And yes, there are a myriad of ways you can monetize that blog, from banner ads to affiliate links, but it also pays to leverage your growing brand to expand it into other money making opportunities. Here are a few to consider; just don’t try to do all of them at once.
Run a Workshop
Have you established yourself as an expert in your field? Do you have an engaged audience who is interested in learning more (and are willing to pay for it)? A great way to rake in some serious cash is by running a workshop, either online or offline. An online webinar may be easier in attracting attendees from all around the world, but an offline seminar might lend a little more legitimacy to your brand.
Paid Speaking Engagements
By now, you’ve likely noticed that John spends a fair bit of time on the road attending various conferences, masterminds and other related industry events. I imagine some of these might be on his own dime, but many more could be paid speaking engagements too. When you become a legitimate name in your industry, people will pay to have you headline their events.
Consulting and Coaching
Even if you don’t quite get to that level, after your garnered up a good amount of experience in your field, relative beginners and novices will turn to you for advice and guidance. On some level, you may “pay it forward” by offering some insight for free, but you could just as easily charge for your consulting and coaching services. This can be very easy and very accessible, especially if you host your sessions through a platform like Skype.
Sell a Product
By and large, with some obvious exceptions, your blog is free to your readers. It doesn’t cost them anything to read your content unless you set aside a section of premium content. Or maybe you have a Patreon. Those aside, you can still make money from your readers when you have a supplementary product available for purchase. This could be an ebook, a physical printed book, an online course, a video series… it’s totally up to you.
More and more, we’re seeing the tremendous impact that social media has had and continues to have on the Internet. And more and more, advertisers are recognizing the power of partnering not only with the “big” names in the industry, but also with what are being called “micro influencers.” If you’ve got a few thousand or even a few hundred followers, you might be able to cash in with some sponsored social media content or brand ambassadorships. There are networks for this, as well as the opportunity to partner with brands on a one-to-one basis. Vlogging can open up opportunities too.
Not getting invited to speaking engagements? Don’t want to take on the burden of running an entire workshop all by yourself? A great way to further extend your brand and influence is by organizing relevant events for people who are interested in the same niche and industry as you. This could be as bold and as ambitious as a full-on conference or it can be as simple and straightforward as a meetup or networking event. You know the Dot Com Lunch John hosts in Orange County? Remember Dot Com Pho in Vancouver? These can forge some incredible business relationships and, depending on the kind of event you host, you may even charge for tickets!
On some level, this is the path that I took, except I started freelancing and blogging professionally around the same time. When people respect and admire you for the work you do on your blog, there’s a good chance that some of them will pay you to offer similar services to them too. This can be writing and editing, as in my case, or it could be photography, graphic design, web development, app development, social media management or any number of other opportunities.
How are you making money online outside of blogging? Are you building your brand?