I have been coming across several websites lately with a unique, but increasingly common, back-story: Often down on their luck or overworked, an intrepid soul finds they can make money—or build a business—online and have more time for their life too. Now they are sharing what they learned and often turning that teaching into another income-producing stream as well.
Being in the website field, I follow these blogs to help stay ahead of ideas that my clients might benefit from. But, hey who doesn’t dream of creating a business that brings in income even when you aren’t working?
Here is a look at five of people who have made a livelihood understanding the internet and who share their acquired knowledge in their blogs:
The story: Marcus started a swimming pool company in 2001. Due to his blogging and inbound marketing, the company grew to be one of the largest in America. Now, as a HubSpot Partner, he trains others how to use these tools to find success at their company.
The blog: As well as consulting and speaking, Marcus’s weekly blog posts offer insights into harnessing the power of content marketing. He cajoles you to blog early and often about your products and services. By answering thoroughly your customers’ questions, search engines will love you, people will trust you and your conversion rates will soar.
My take-home: His blog posts are savvy about how search engines work and how to maximize the chances for your post to be found. He understands that the internet is a different playing field, success doesn’t go to the most impressive but to the most informative. I like his message about complete transparency: tell the truth, even if it doesn’t always show your business of in the best light.
Recommendation: For the business owner that want to build their site audience.
The story: A web designer from Vancouver Island carves out his own career path by staying true to himself.
The blog: Less a “how to get rich” than inspiration for following one’s vocation while being an independent professional. Weekly articles talk about finding meaning through work and how to overcome the obstacles that confront the creative person. He is now offering a free email course that follows along with his recent book, Write & Sell Your Damn Book.
My take-home: I gotta love this guy. He is a web designer like me but a cooler, tattooed, vegan version. Following his blog won’t make me richer or smarter but it does remind me to focus on the important and not on the urgent. What I look for are the occasional deeply felt and very personal blog entries that share the struggles and joys of living life on his own terms.
Recommendation: For the creative freelancer who wants to keep dreaming big.
The story: Ryan built his first web site back in 1999 to promote a sideline personal training business. He grew that into a “massive empire” spanning health and nutrition to software and membership which now generates a seven-figure income all from his virtual office, e.g., Starbucks.
The blog: Ryan offers to teach you how to make serious money as a “lifestyle entrepreneur” His blog gives advice and resources for the internet marketer.
My take-home: Ryan promises to teach you “how to build an online empire..from a coffee shop “with no employees, customer list, or product. So what am I selling? I’m not sure and a link to the “Lifestyle Business System” is not working. You may need to attend one of his courses to figure it all out. It seems the product are digital training courses on exercise, diet, etc. In this busy world people, myself included, are longing for a healthier more fulfilled life and are willing to pay for help getting there; sometimes you just need someone to tell you what to do. But developing my own original courses would take a lot of work and I can’t see the value in selling someone’s else courses. What the blog offers is more of a community for motivated entrepreneurs, it is directed to those who are already in the business. But I am interested in the idea of monetizing my passion, as Ryan did, and am looking forward to learning more.
Recommendation: For the emerging internet entrepreneur.
The story: Pat Flynn, from Southern California, got laid off from his 9 to 5 job. While unemployed, he learned to make passive income from the internet, and now makes more money, works less, and gets to spend time with his family.
The blog: A behind the scenes look at how he makes his money, including a detailed monthly report on how much he made and spent. He backs it up with a step-by-step on how to get started earning passive income.
My take-home: You have to like someone who lists exactly how much money he makes and how he made it. I admire that transparency (plus his healthy bank account!) plus his honesty letting you know that earning passive income is not easy. Much of his money is earned by selling digital resources that he created, such as learning guides for help passing the LEED Green credential. It took hard work and and a year and half to develop the training. And build the website. And attract an audience. But that has been followed by years of income earned mostly hands-free. Other ways to earn income are article writing for revenue sharing sites and affiliate marketing, e.g., the money you make when people click on ads on your site for, say, Amazon. This is opening up a whole new world. I want to know more. You have to dig around but there are a lot of resources on his site, such as podcasts and a webinar on keyword research.
Recommendation: For big dreamers, who want to get started earning an income off the web.
The story: Overweight small-town computer geek who can’t hold a job in the IT world turns his life around, loses weight, gets married and makes a killing with a ringtone business, an eBay affiliate marketing service, and Google ad commissions.
The blog: News on Jeremy Shoemaker and his businesses, advice on internet marketing, upcoming seminars and Free Shirt Friday.
My take-home: The site seems more about how to make Jeremy money not how to make yourself money. The site design is the in-your-face hard sell that turns me off ,with flashing ads, pop-up windows, and bold claims like “How I Made $15,000 a Month Just by Tweeting”. There are probably some good resources here but I get dispirited with the hard sell and the focus on getting rich (not that I am against that). Okay, maybe that is an unfounded and uniformed reaction to this chaotically organized site, but I think I will listen to my gut and steer away from this one. What Jeremy has done has worked well for him, but I don’t see any toehold to get started here as a newbie.
Recommendation: For established internet marketers who want to keep connected to their peers.