I was introduced to the concept of virtual business (making money on the internet) 3 years ago. In the last 3 years I’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort experimenting with different virtual business models.
Needless to say, I wasted a lot of resources in the process of all this experimenting and today I want to help you to avoid making the same mistakes that I did.

I haven’t made a fortune through online business but I’ve made enough money to know what’s possible (and making a fulltime income through virtual business is definitely possible).
I’m going to generalize my experience with virtual businesses into 3 categories and I’ll share what I’ve learned with you.

1) Niche Sites

A niche site is a website dedicated to providing information (and usually a solution) for a specific problem.
The idea with a niche site is that you find a problem that people want a solution for, and you provide enough information to get that person to convert (either buy a product you recommend or opt-in to your email list for future promotions).
Niche sites are generally created with a limited amount of content and are then not updated regularly. Once the niche site is built, the aim is to get that niche site ranking for a specific keyword or key phrase in Google (and the higher the ranking, the more free and targeted traffic you get and the more money you make).
A niche site can be super specific and focus on only one problem or it can focus on a number of related issues in one industry. E.g. focusing on getting six pack abs v.s. focusing on bodybuilding, fat loss and healthy eating.

You can literally build an entire niche site in just a few days. This means that you could build dozens of niche sites (spread out over different industries to minimize risk) in the span of 12 months.
Once you have top rankings, maintenance of the ranking and site is minimal and profit is virtually on autopilot.
Even if your site is not making money, you can easily flip your website for $200-$400. This means that you can make a living by flipping niche sites that you build (even though I think it’s very tiring to constantly build sites and sell them)
If your niche site is making a constant monthly income, it’s automatically worth a multiple of that income (12-24x monthly income is about the norm). That means if your niche site is making $100 a month you can sell it for $1200-$2400 if you’d like to do that.

Finding profitable niches to build your site around is not that easy because there is a huge amount of competition.
The site’s success depends heavily on its ranking in search engines, so you need a good understanding of SEO to get the sites ranking or you need to have a budget of a few hundred dollars per site to outsource the link-building to get rankings.
Obtaining high rankings can take anywhere from 3-12 months, depending on your niche and keyword.

2) Blogging

Blogging is a type of virtual business that many people get into, thinking it’s going to make them rich quickly. Unfortunately, this is not the case…
Although there are dozens of bloggers who make a full-time income from their blogs, they have usually either spent years building their blogs up or they were lucky enough to be pioneers in their industries.
A blog’s success depends largely on its subscribed audience. The more loyal followers you have reading your blog, the more money you’ll make when you recommend products through affiliate links or when you sell your own products or services.
Blogs usually focus on a general industry and constantly provide new content on specific issues related to that general industry. E.g. if the blog’s main industry is Internet Marketing, the content of that blog would be about many individual aspects and elements of Internet Marketing.

A blog allows you to integrate your personality and your own story into its industry, which creates the opportunity to build a large loyal following.
A blog gives the advantage of being able to connect with and influence thousands and even millions of people. You’re able to make connections with people who could become business partners or even lifelong friends.
Once a blog gains momentum it will grow at a parabolic rate (the more readers you have, the more people will share your content, resulting in more readers…etc.). Once a blog gains momentum, it requires minimal maintenance to keep that blog going (even one post per week will suffice).
A blog takes a long time to build up so that it makes enough money to support you.
A blog requires a lot of effort, passion and persistence. If you don’t enjoy writing then blogging is not for you.
If you put all your time and effort into a single blog in the wrong industry, you could end up with no financial results for all that effort.

3) Product Creation and List-Building

This is a type of virtual business model that I have personally seen my friend use to build a mid 5-figure net income in just 12 months. He followed the advice of various big players in the IM industry and combined various strategies to get to where he is.
In essence, the model involves choosing a niche that you’re passionate about, have decent knowledge of and most importantly, a niche with people hungry for a solution to their problem.
Once you have decided the niche, you’d go about creating a high-quality information product (like a pdf guide or video series) that you sell for a low price ($17 or $27) to bait people into buying from you. In this low-priced product, you’ll already have an upsell product ($67-197) that goes into more detail about the subject.
The aim is to set up a high-converting sales funnel that goes along the lines of:

Opt-in to email list > free content > more free content > low-priced product > upsell. 

Once the whole product and sales funnel is set up, it’s just a matter of driving traffic. This can be done through paid traffic or just by forum posting and promoting on social media. Another plus is that once your email list gets to a decent size (a few thousand subscribers), you can start doing joint ventures with other similar sized email list owners and then watch your list grow much faster.

You’re building a real business and helping people improve some aspect of their lives.
The bigger your email list gets, the faster you’ll grow and the more money you’ll make.
Once the initial work of product creation and setting up the sales funnel is done, you can focus on marketing and promoting your product. Even this can be outsourced, so once the initial work is done, maintenance becomes easier.

You need to understand how this model works in order to make it profitable. This means you need to do a lot of reading and research or have the capital to invest in training from guys like Brian Dean, Jeff Johnson etc.
If you don’t know how to drive traffic to your sales funnel, you either need to invest the time and money to learn how to do it, or you need to have the capital to outsource driving that traffic (paid traffic or hiring a virtual assistant to post on forums and engage with others through social media).

The Bottom Line
All 3 of these virtual business models work and can make you substantial money, but you need to choose one that matches your personality. Not everyone is suited for niche sites or blogging or email list building and if you’re not passionate about your business model you’re likely not going to be very successful with it.
I highly recommend focusing your efforts on only one type of virtual business. Focus all your time, resources and efforts on that one business model and keep going until you achieve success. Don’t let other models distract you and don’t give up if you don’t see results within a few weeks or within a few months.

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