I started Danger & Play as a hobby. A lawyer who enjoyed writing, I’d vent my spleen a little bit before going back to work. I never got into the online stuff and knew zip about making money online.
My ignorance was costly. It’s hard to say how costly, but I’d estimate my opportunity cost is in the low six figures.
I accidentally discovered how to make money online.
(That’s not some marketing angle. It really was an accidental discovery.)
At this stage of my life, I won’t do anything that’s not fun. “Fun” doesn’t mean taking body shots off of hotties. Been there, done that.
Fun means something I personally find interesting or rewarding. Danger & Play is fun. Helping people is fun. Writing about whatever interests me is fun.
I goofed off with Fit Juice. Fit Juice was a fun website for me.
I wanted to keep track of the research on health and juicing. I wanted to find out if juicing really would give you diabetes because fructose is the devil.
You can keep track of your “notes about life” on a website, and that’s how Fit Juice started off.
I have obsessive habits. When I want to know something, I want to know everything.
I shared my information and experiences on Fit Juice. I didn’t spend more than a few minutes on a post or review. I threw out what I found (often sloppily) and put in some affiliate links.
Fit Juice earns thousands of dollars a month. That’s not a good month. That’s a typical month.
I have posted less than 7 times in 2014 and yet the page views kept coming in. They money came in while I did nothing.
The social media engagement came in.
Fit Juice has 4,200 Facebook likes. These are all organic likes and there’s no pop-up.
I didn’t even realize how many likes it had until I looked at it the other day.
What was my biggest money-making mistake?
I didn’t have a product for sale.
That seems really duh now. Have a product for sale. Duh, Mike!
Yet how many people do I see with massive Facebook or YouTube audiences who don’t sell a book?
How many of you reading this have a product for sale?
Realizing I was throwing away money, I had a friend of mine put together the best juicing books out there. Now I do nothing while sales come in.
A website I don’t care about makes me more money than a rental property would have.
I spent 0 hours on the juicing book and should have sold them two years ago. Based on current sales, I’ve left massive amounts of money on the table.
I have also left considerable consulting income on the table. Every person who buys a copy of a juicing book wants to know more about health and fitness. You could “upsell” each person who buys you ebook on a health and fitness program.
Some people earn as much as $200/month creating diet and nutrition programs for people. Sign up 100 clients on $200 a month and suddenly you’re making decent pocket change.
That’s more active income, and right now I’m looking for fun income, but you get the point.
Your Lucky Number 7 Steps to Making Money Online.
1a. Create a product as soon as possible.
Yes, you need to build an audience to your website. Yes you need to give away content while creating a product. But passive income only follows from active work.
Get your books out asap. Robert will show you how to do this.
1b. Affiliate market other products.
I’ve probably sold more copies of Body of a Spartan with this review than anyone other than Victor. But I didn’t sign up as an affiliate. (Victor ended up helping me out in other ways, though, so the ledger is more than even.)
If you find a great book or product, sign up as an affiliate. Write a review. There are guys making money every month as a Fit Juice affiliate.
In fact, if I never make another sale by myself but instead have to give out 50% commissions to my affiliates, I’d be happy man.
(If you’ve signed up as an affiliate and left a review, let me know.)
2. Offer consulting services as an upsell.
Sales gets a bad name and “upselling” is the dirtiest word in sales. Upselling, when not done in an overly pushy way is great. (Some sales people won’t leave you the fuck alone, which is sleazy and annoying.)
People buy your book because you’re an authority on a subject. Some of those people want, need, and deserve your individual attention.
When people buy your book, drop them an email. Don’t spam them. Don’t add them to all of your email lists. Just let them know you’re there to answer any questions they have.
You can do individual consults, exclusive podcasts, or conference calls. Offer a monthly conference call. I could do a monthly Q-and-A for $14.99 a month. This is affordable for anyone and would allow my to scale my knowledge in an efficient and profitable way.
3. Create a mailing list and have an opt-in offer to increase subscriptions.
Facebook and Twitter are great, but only you own your list. If Facebook or Twitter decides you’re a bad person, that’s it.
I personally know two people who had Facebook pages with 500,000 and 1,000,000 likes who were booted from Facebook with no explanation given.
Plus, as anyone who uses Facebook knows, a page with a lot of likes does not mean a lot of people will see your posts. Instead, some small percentage of people who have liked your Facebook page will see your posts.
145 of the 4,000 people who like the page will actually see a post.
If you have a mailing list of 4,000 people, the email goes out to all 4,000 people.
If you’re very good at what you do, 50% of your subscribers will open your emails.
If you’re only as good as I am, 42% will open your emails.
2,000 to 3,000 people open my emails, which is way more than who see my Facebook posts.
That said, even if only 10% of people open your emails, you’re still doing better than you would be on Facebook.
4. Know what you are talking about.
I should have put this first, but I assume most of you aren’t scum bags. Sure, some of you are in that 4-hour workweek mindset of ripping people off, re-writing articles, and pretending you’re not a copycat and thief. You will fail or be exposed, sooner, or later.
How can you prove you are a subject matter expert?
Pictures speak a thousand words. When people see your pictures, they know you are the real deal.
I take my own gym and juice pictures.
I took it after I made the damned juice. Having those pictures were nice, too, as I didn’t need to re-take any images for the juicing books.
I have around 10,000 photos on my iPhone to use for my websites. Get used to taking a lot of pictures if you’re going to be in this online game.
5. Do YouTube videos, but not for the ad money.
YouTube ads pay jack. The going rate is around $1,500 per one-million views. One-million views is massive, by the way. My Sam Biddle bullying video went viral, even making it to the front page of Reddit videos. The video received a bit over 100,000 views. (There’s no typo; that’s one-hundred thousand, not one million.)
There are a few YouTubers who get millions of views with each video, but they are rare. They are also part of ad-networks, which take a cut, and most YouTubers make far less than the media claims.
YouTube is a way for you to sell something else.
If you have a juicing site, make some juices. If you have a fitness site, post some training videos. If you give great life advice, post some great life advice.
But ultimately YouTube is just a way for you to attract new clients and customers to your actual products.
6. Start a podcast.
My information is for intelligent people, and data shows podcast listeners are far more likely to buy books than YouTube viewers are.
This makes sense. TV is escapism and entertainment and sometimes education. People don’t watch the History Channel instead of reading books because TV is superior. They want entertainment they can rationalize as education.
Podcasts are for intelligent people who seek information. People who listen to podcasts also buy audio books.
My potential clients and customers are going to be found on iTunes rather than YouTube. The ROI of a podcast far exceeds the ROI of videos.
But that’s not universal. YouTube is great for health and fitness people, as there’s no better way to show you know what you’re doing than to prove it in the weight room.
Also, obviously juicing videos would lead to more sales than a juicing podcast.
Be strategic and open-minded. Find out what medium will lead to the highest ROI. It may be podcasts, videos, books, or something else.
7. Believe in yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable charging money for your information, you have low feelings of self-worth.
In fact, the biggest mistake people in sales make is a mindset breakdown.
I used to be insecure about putting marketing information on Danger & Play. I felt it seemed to salesly and thought it might upset some readers.
What I found out was pretty cool. Those who are “put off” by marketing and paid products are parasites. I don’t want parasites reading Danger & Play or listening to my podcasts, so the marketing stuff got me paid and got rid of the dead weight.
Yet why shouldn’t you sell yourself?
Who is anyone to tell you your knowledge, skills, and experiences aren’t something money can put a price on? Let the market decide if what you have to say is worth money.
If you believe you have value, then you believe people should pay you for your information.
Of course there’s a line between sell-sell-sell and not selling at all. Some people are too pushy on their websites.
It’s a balance you can strike only by making mistakes and crossing lines.
I think I’ve found the perfect balance, if I do say so myself.
How to make even more money online.
In fact, this is how Real Money is made on the Internet.
Once you have a proven track record of making money online, you can charge others to make money online.
All of you guys who re-write “life hacking” articles are making a big mistake. There’s no money in life hacking.
The real money is in helping professionals make more money.
Can you build a website from scratch? Can you set up a mailing list? Can you send out newsletters that receive high engagement?
Great. Go sell your services out to doctors, lawyers, dentists, real estate agents, personal trainers, and others. They are too busy making money as professionals to learn all this online marketing stuff.
I turn down more consultants than I take. (I don’t do consults, though that may change in the future.)
Go out there, build something for yourself, and then help others build something for themselves.
I did not use clickbait by saying I accidentally made money online. I honestly had no idea what I was doing.
The secret to this making money online stuff, of course, is to get started. Victor Pride, who is the man who helped me start figuring out this online stuff, has a free ebook you can download.
Just plug away. Figure out how to set up a Mail Chimp or aWeber account. Learn how to embed newsletter subscription forms. Learn how to write email headlines people will open.
You’ll make a lot of mistakes as you go along, and that’s proof of progress.
If I couldn’t look back at my earlier work and say, “Wow that was dopey,” then I couldn’t say, “Holy shit, you’ve come a long way, man!”
Once you have online marketing figured out, go sell yourself to other professionals.
Or build your own little web empire.
I’m far more interested in getting my message out far and wide than in helping doctors get more patients, but I’m sorta of an idiot when it comes to making money.