COVID-19 is the Right Time to Start an Online Business, The Big Picture

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Summary: This article outlines various ways you can start building an online business that pays you even when you are not working. The methods I explained in this post are divided into short term, midterm, and long term. It will give you a big picture overview of why and how to build an online business.


I have known Craig for a while, but I have never seen him this upset. 

I knew something was not right.

A few years ago I got to know Craig, he took one of my Udemy courses and sent me a personal message that somehow my course helped him save his job. 

Since then we exchanged emails every now and then. I would tell him what the latest and greatest technologies I am working with and he would reveal bits and pieces about his happily married life, raising his little girl, and finding just enough time to spend together.

During the Corona outbreak, I got in touch with Craig quite a few times, wanting to know if he was doing well and being safe. His responses were positive until the last time I heard back from him.

Craig’s message felt a bit sad…

I asked him if he and his family were okay? Is it what I am thinking it is?

Craig assured me that it’s not the virus and his wife and daughter are safe staying indoors. 

So I asked him again what else?

He told me he got laid off from his job, and he is not happy the way he was treated by his superiors.

Hearing this, I did what any good friend would do.

I tried to sympathize with him, telling him that it’s going to be okay, you will get over this tough time and all that.

Craig told me it was not about the money. 

He had close to a year’s expenses saved in his bank account. 

So if it is not about the virus and not about the finances, what are you upset about? I asked.

Is this about losing your job? 

I am sure there are plenty of companies out there who will happily hire you.

After that, Craig wrote me a very lengthy email.

One by one Craig told me all the things he had done for his company.

All those long hours, reports, and meetings; going over the mile just to see his company succeed.

He maybe got off from his job at 6 but he was thinking about his company even when he was at home. He missed so many family gatherings, birthdays, and even his daughter’s school play because he was too busy in a meeting.

And after all these years of sacrifice…

He was never expecting that such a passionate worker like him would get fired on a Zoom video call along with hundreds of his colleagues.

He told me many more things in his long email but the summary is, he could never work with this passion ever in any other company in the future.

Craig’s heartfelt email was the motivation for me to write this article.

His experience is nothing new.

I am sure there are many of you out there sacrificing a lot for your jobs, but at the end of the day, you are just a number to these companies. 

At the first sign of danger, these companies will DO NOT hesitate to cut you off.

And it’s not the first time this happened.

Every time there is an economic downtime (Recession of 2008), thousands like Craig gets fired. 

Instead of giving the dedication to your employer, why don’t you give it to something you own?

It is high time you should look for ways to build your own business. 

Online business is something you will own, can work from home, and will generate revenue for you while you get to spend quality time with your family.

During this time when you are staying at home, lay the foundation of your first internet-based business, and protect your income from any future financial disasters.

The internet-powered business explained

This is the story of my student Niloy. He is a freelancer just like me.

A while ago Niloy fell sick and had to admit to the hospital for five days. 

Just like you, I also wanted to know what he was in for? But he insisted that his illness was not that important and just focus on the story.

So Niloy was in his hospital bed.

If you don’t know how it’s like, staying in the hospital is boring.

In the hospital, every hour feels like a year when there is nothing to do. Five days seemed like forever from his point of view.

Although Niloy was chilling, he could not fully rest because the idea of not being able to work and not earning money was constantly on the back of his mind. 

To spend the time he was doing what we all do…

Browsing the internet on the cell phone, Facebooking, and Instagram scrolling.

When he was catching up with the latest memes, he got a new mail notification. DING!

It was from Amazon Affiliates. 

He had just gotten the monthly payment for one of his websites he set up a few months back.

Excited, he opened his analytics to check on the sales. 

What he saw would change his idea about work forever.

He saw that his website had sold a few items for the past few days while he was in the hospital.

Thrilled, he realized that the little website he had set up is still working on its own and earning him money.

From that day onwards, Niloy continued to build these online websites that would generate his money on autopilot. 

He was very kind to share this info with me.

I got thrilled too when Niloy told me his story and the motivation behind working on his own online business rather than trading his time for money as a freelancer.

This is the true beauty of having an online business. 

You could put some work once and get paid many times in the future.

Make money while sleeping, but how?

Online-based assets can generate an income even when you are sleeping. The power of the internet can make this a reality. 

When you are sleeping at your bed, someone else on the other side of the world is awake and can access your digital offerings. 

Not just that, 

If your website is very popular, then hundreds or even thousands of customers can simultaneously purchase from your site without you having to be physically present to support each one of them.

Think about this, 

You are reading this article on an internet site and where am I right now? 

I’m maybe sleeping depending on the time zone or maybe doing something else but not with you at this very moment. I have set up my site in a way that it can fulfill your needs. 

The world of the internet and computers have made it possible to be omnipresent and I will teach you how you can harness this power.

Are you ready?

Things to keep in mind

I have some good news and some bad news.

What do you want to hear first?

The good news is, it’s much easier to start than ever. 

Even if you think you wasted all your years, you can still start today and become successful with proper planning and execution.

Today we have more helpful resources freely available at our fingertips that can be applicable to any situation.

Now, the bad news is…

You are not going to see an immediate result. 

You won’t be able to replace your current income anytime soon, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction. The real income from your assets will come once they mature and when you have a bunch of winners. 

So are you ready to learn some details?

Let me share a few of these online assets and a high-level overview of what we are going to do.

Established Platforms (Short Term)

These are well known established online platforms that offer users to make money from their content. Usually, these platforms work as a middleman between you (the content creator) and the consumer. 

Often times these companies make money from either selling your content or running advertisements and they offer a revenue share option. I like these platforms because they already have a large customer base and they can handle all the technology and marketing for you. 

All you have to do is to create content according to their specification and update them as you go.

These are some of the popular established platforms that came to my mind for building passive income in the short term:

YouTube Monetization

YouTube is the biggest video platform in the world. It offers free video hosting and a chance to reach a wider audience. You can also start monetizing your videos and get paid for video views via Google Adsense. YouTube has its own ad platform and they will offer you a cut for the ad revenue you help them generate. Usually, YouTube pays between a dollar to ten dollars per 1,000 video views (depends on your niche and viewer demographic). This really scales well when you have a lot of videos getting lots of views.

Other than Adsense, YouTube creators also monetize their videos with sponsored deals, affiliate commissions, selling merchandising, Patreon donations, and fan subscriptions. 

I like YouTube because it gives a chance to reach a wider audience for free of cost. You can work on a video once and get repeat views coming to that video for many years.

Requirements

  • Minimum 1,000 channel subscribers
  • Minimum 4,000 total watch minutes
  • Certain restrictions for what kind of video topic can be monetized
  • The video should not use copyrighted content including music, clips, or even images

Official Links

Udemy Course Instructor

Udemy is a popular course marketplace where people go to learn a variety of topics. If you can think of the skill, you will definitely find a course in Udemy. This platform allows anyone who is willing to teach, set up an instructor profile, and start selling courses.

I like Udemy because the barrier for entry is relatively low and Udemy does all the platform maintenance and marketing.

They also offer various courses and free services for the instructor to get better at teaching. If you can teach a skill, you should definitely try out teaching at Udemy.

Udemy offers revenue sharing and they have a payment structure depending on where the student is coming from. 

If you send a student directly from your website, you will earn 97% of the course fee. But if the student finds the course from Udemy search or from an advertiser, you will earn 50% or 25% of the course fee respectively.

Requirements

  • Meet the audio and video quality standard
  • Videos need to be in high definition (HD)
  • Total course length should be a minimum of 30 minutes

Official Links

Amazon Kindle Publishing

Kindle is the largest publisher of digital books and they offer anyone to become an author to publish their work and make money. With Amazon’s platform, you can reach the global reader base of Kindle ebooks. Using the online interface you can submit your books and earn a revenue share for every ebook sales.

Why I like this platform so much is because, if you like to write novels or short stories, you can use this platform to jump-start your writer’s career. Books are not limited to fiction, they can be non-fiction too but I have found that Kindle users love to read stories from a variety of genres and usually pay between a buck to three dollars per ebook.

Other than the monetary gains you can also use this platform to build your authority as an expert in your field that is more important when you are going to build a brand online.

Requirements

  • The ebook should be a word document formatted in a specific way

Official Links

Why you should not solely depend on established platforms?

Established platforms like YouTube and Udemy are great for getting your foot in the door and get your first taste of passive income but you should not entirely depend on them. This is because when you use their platforms, you have to abide by their rules and you won’t own your content. These platforms are notorious for changing their terms and conditions overnight and cut down the revenue streams of content creators. 

Finally, when you use these platforms, you won’t actually own your customers, they own them. So if you want to ultimately build a sustainable revenue stream for the mid to long run you have to look for other ways.

Your Own Platform (Mid Term)

Once you have earned some money from the short term methods, you should start working on your own platform as soon as you can. Your own platform can be a website, an app, or a mailing list. 

Building a platform can be too expensive or technically challenging (app) but if you are a beginner you can easily start with a blog website

With a blog website, you own your content and can directly interact with your customers. It costs just a nominal amount to set up and maintain the platform. Most of all, the technical side of setting up and running a blog website doesn’t require any coding skills. If you have ever used Facebook or Twitter then you can run a blog. With a blog you have the following revenue generation methods:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way to recommend other people’s products or services and earn a commission from each sale. Many online products have their own affiliate program where any web publisher can sign up and start promoting.

Why I like this opportunity so much is because we as humans love to recommend great products to our friends. By making these recommendations we don’t usually get paid anything, but affiliate marketing can make that happen. 

When you sign up for an affiliate program, they will give you a unique tracking link. When you are recommending the product on the internet, make sure you share your unique link. Once someone makes a purchase using your unique link, you will be credited as the referer. 

Let’s say the product costs $100 and the affiliate program pays you 50% of the product price. You will receive $50 for each time someone buys the product through your affiliate link.

With your own platform (your blog website) you are free to write recommendations and product reviews that include your affiliate links. You will then be able to reach a wider audience and automate the entire process. 

With a manual recommendation, you can earn the commission only once (your friend buys it) but with your blog set up, you can earn every time someone comes across the review and uses your tracking link.

There are so many different kinds of affiliate programs out there and each of the programs operates differently. I have used affiliate marketing as a great source of revenue in my blog just by recommending the services I use on a daily basis. Bluehost web hosting, Divi WordPress theme, and GetResponse email marketing are just to name a few of the amazing programs I use. Even this article I am sharing with you has a few of these affiliate links. When you make a purchase following my recommendation, you won’t be charged extra but I may receive a percentage for being the affiliate. That’s a win-win for both of us!

Requirements

  • A blog website for promoting the offers
  • PayPay or Payoneer (US Bank Transfer) payment method
  • Affiliate disclosure
  • Terms vary from affiliate to affiliate

Display Advertising

While affiliate marketing requires you to write honest and updated recommendations that are trying to sell something, however, you can run display advertisings alongside your general web content. 

Let’s say you are running a blog to share useful information and you are receiving a lot of visitors every day. Display advertising puts relevant ads in your pages and they pay for every 1,000 ad views or from ad clicks (similar to YouTube).

Google Adsense is one of the most popular display advertisement solutions out there and supports small blogs. You can create ad slots from Adsense and put the ad code inside your website. Google Adsense will manage the ads themselves and they will display the most appropriate ads depending on your website category and viewers.

Display ads are truly the set and forget type passive earning method so all you have to do is to make sure your blog is getting new visitors every day.

Requirements

  • Your blog must have a number of good quality text content
  • The site should be on your own domain

Official Links

Website Flipping

Blog websites can be a fantastic digital asset that can be sold to other people. Once you have a blog website that is getting regular visitors and you have monetized it with affiliate links and display advertising, you can flip the site for a one time sum. Often times the sum is 20x or even 30x the value of its monthly revenue.

My student Niloy told me the story of selling his first niche website. He had a website that was earning him $150 per month in revenue.

He went on to sell his site and got a whopping $3,500 for the digital asset. 

The great thing is, you don’t even need to spend five years to build and flip these kinds of sites. If you know what you are doing, you can start, earn, and flip a site for as soon as six months.

This is the beauty and the true potential of digital assets. You can build a site that earns you monthly revenue and then if you decide you can sell it for an instant payout.

Requirements

Official Links

Check out these online marketplaces where people are selling their niche sites.

And of course, this is not the limit of what can be done. If you really want to get to the next level, you have to go for the long game by building your own brand.

Your Brand, Your Audience (Long Term)

The previous step informs you to build your own platform (your own blog website) that is going to enable you to build your own brand and audience. With your own audience, you can sell your own products, keep a large cut, and get to serve them over and over again. However, in the beginning, you won’t have a large and loyal audience to sell to, and building a product really takes some time and investment. This is why I suggested you start your platform and sell “other people’s” products as an affiliate and grow your loyal userbase. 

It may take a few years to finally find your mojo and a unique voice to fully delight your audience base. 

So if you are just starting out, here’s an overview of what can be done when you will have your own audience.

Sell Your Own Product

You have your brand, you have your audience, now it’s time to create a product. A product can be a simple ebook, a video course, or even a tool/software. Rather than selling other people’s products as an affiliate, you will get to keep a large share of the income (sometimes 100%) of the product price. 

When you sell to someone once and make them your loyal customer, you will get to sell to them again and again. You will have to find new ways to add value to their life that how you can help them achieve more.

The product can be any type even a physical book, but I am emphasizing on digital goods because you can make millions of copies of a digital item without any extra cost. 

Your own product is the holy grail of making money online and with your own brand and audience, you can easily replace your job income, maybe even more.

If selling your own product brings you a one-time income, you can take it one step further by adding recurring revenue with membership websites.

Membership Website

A membership website offers continuous value to your audience. Instead of selling a product and getting paid once, you can get paid every month when you offer memberships to your users. A membership solution could be an inner circle, access to use a software tool, or an ongoing coaching/consultation.

The main thing is, you get to add recurring value to your customer base and for that, you earn recurring revenue. 

A monthly subscription is the most popular payment plan for membership services. Think about how many other services you are subscribed to and paying monthly? Now think how many other customers they have and earning recurring revenue? 

The good thing is, you can too build your own membership solution once you have your own audience and you don’t have to spend millions to have that kind of setup. 

Sponsorship Deals, Joint Ventures

Once you have your own brand and audience, you can monetize them in a variety of ways. Sponsorship deals are when you become a partner of another popular brand and they pay you to become their ambassador. As a partner, you can earn a large signing bonus and you don’t have to deal with any of the technical setup, promotion, or customer support. You are giving that other brand access to your own customer base.

Joint ventures act like the same way, but in this deal, you are collaborating with another blogger with their own brand and audience. Oftentimes you can achieve great results by teaming up with other experts in your field.

There is so much potential when you start thinking about “your own” business rather than working for someone else. These were just the tip of the iceberg of the world of online business and I am sure that you are more intelligent than I am and you can think of more ways to generate revenue once you get the hang of it.

Where to go from here?

Now that you know what is possible, I suggest you Google search each of the methods mentioned in this article and get an overview of each of them. If possible take action right away and start working towards building your own home-based online business. 

The internet is full of information and sometimes all this information can overwhelm anyone. 

Be warned that there are make money online scams all over the internet so I suggest you not believe anyone who says you can make a life-changing amount of money by pushing a few buttons. An internet-based business is after all a business and it takes years to build your audience and a sustainable business model, so always use your gut feeling and be skeptical.

While you are researching on your own, you keep an eye out on my blog blogkori.com as I am going to publish supporting articles in the coming weeks. 

I also started my passive income journey with you and I am going to be sharing my experiences and tips over here.

A note to my Bangladeshi readers

It is possible to earn a passive income from Bangladesh even if you are living in a village. All you need is a stable internet connection and electricity. Nowadays it’s much easier to build a business online and receive the money in your local bank account. There are a few more steps involved when working from BD, so I will try to do my best to keep my countries perspective in mind.

Final Thoughts

We just only scratched the surface in this post. Once you start laying the foundation for your online-based business, there will be more things to cover as you go. So keep an eye out on my blog as I will be posting more information detailing each of the money makers. Remember, it’s about taking action.

Now I want you to take these actions:

  • Start a blog and begin your journey
  • Comment on this post and let me know where you are at
  • Share this post with a friend who might benefit from it

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