HOW DO I MAKE MONEY ONLINE?
The Pro-Blogger Business Model.
“How do Bloggers make money?” This is the #1 question that I get as soon as I say that I help Bloggers/Content Creators turn their online following into an online business. The real question being asked is: What is the business model behind the success of Online Entrepreneurs a.k.a Bloggers a.k.a Content Creators. This post is the answer.
I am going to refer to this business model as the "Pro-Blogger Business Model" or the "E-course Business Model", because essentially they are the same thing. (Technically, a Pro-Blogger can sell many different types of products not just e-courses. The process and the business model however, are the same.)
There are several reasons why you would want to understand how this business model works:
You are thinking about starting your own blog/podcast/youtube channel and want to understand how you would be able to make a living from it.
You already started a blog/podcast/youtube channel and want to figure out how to monetize it.
You have a large social media following on Instagram or Youtube and you want to learn how to monetize your following.
You are curious on how you can earn money online. You are not interested in being the blogger yourself but maybe once you understand the business model, you can see opportunities for yourself in another role.
The exact business model that I am going to go through with you here, step-by-step, is the one being used every day by super successful Online Entrepreneurs to make 5, 6 and 7 figures a year. Now you will learn about it too and figure out a way to make it work for you.
THE CORE OF THIS BUSINESS MODEL: SERVING OTHERS.
A PRO-BLOGGER figures out a way they can help other people. That is the essence of this entire model.
Usually, the best way to help others is to teach them something you know how to do very well. This skill can be an actual skill you have from your job or a skill gained through experience or a transformation you have been through. Let's look at some examples:
You lost over 60lbs after pregnancy within a short time and with a busy schedule. You learned new ways to eat, cook and to work out while having a baby at home. You want to share this information that lead you to amazing results with more women who want to loose their baby weight.
You are an accountant and enjoy your job. You save your clients so much money by turning their businesses into S corps. You want to teach online entrepreneurs how to benefit from all these different tax codes.
Think of ways to bring value to others through your own experience, transformation, or skills.
If you are already stuck because you can't think of a skill you have, don't worry. There are plenty of skills you can learn online. For example, you can learn how to design a website and then help others by providing a website design service.
What is important now is to understand that this business model is based on serving others through what you know how to do.
The Business Model itself is a cycle: The CFP cycle.
CONTENT>> FREEBIE>> PRODUCT.
Let's start with some scenarios and numbers so we can begin making sense of this cycle. These 3 examples are based on actual Pro-Bloggers I know and follow:
1. Pro-Blogger 1 is a Career Coach.
Content: She decided to start doing YouTube Videos, giving advice for job interviews and career choosing, etc.
Freebie: After each video, she tells people they can apply for a free consultation with her to see if they are the right fit for her coaching.
Product: Her actual 1-1 coaching service is her product.
Money: She charges clients $50-100 an hour and sells monthly packages.
2. Pro-Blogger 2 is A Fit Vegan.
Content: She shares pictures of herself looking fit, of her vegan proteins, videos of her vegan recipes and her transformation pictures from overweight to Vegan-and-Fit on Instagram.
Freebie: She created a free, one-week-vegan-meal-plan.
Product: Because so many people downloaded her free meal plan, she decided to create a Fit Vegan Recipe Book (first digital product) and charge $29.99.
Money: At about 20 sales a month, she is making $600 passively because all her free content leads to the recipe book through automation.
She is working on creating a course where all the recipes are videos and including workouts. Her course will go for $299.
With just 5 sales a month, she will earn $1,500 monthly. All she has to do is keep creating appealing content, sending traffic to her automated funnels until sales go up to 10 a month, 20 a month, 30 a month... 100 a month. (This is what we call scaling.)
3. Pro-Blogger 3 is a San Diego based Wedding Planner.
Content: Through Instagram, she decided to show people the process for planning weddings, the weddings themselves and answer questions for brides to be.
Freebie: She created a free video series called "How to Plan Your Own Wedding".
Product: After the great response, she decides to pre-sell her first course, which will be worth $1,000. Once she gets to 5 courses a month, she will earn 60k a year. Scale that to 50 courses a month, that’s $500,000 a year! And so on.
"If you thought to yourself, wow $1,000 is a lot", here are some things you should know. The price is set by the pro-blogger. The more VALUE you can bring with your product, the easier it will be to charge more. This wedding planner knows that actually hiring her or any other wedding planner will be thousands of dollars. Through her product, the brides will a have a seamless process to follow for a gorgeous, affordable wedding. Therefore, she is bringing enough value to charge 1k. Also, there are payment plans available online so don't ever worry about charging what your course or product is worth.
Can you already start seeing the relationship between Content>> Freebie>> and Product?
THE ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR/ PRO-BLOGGER/E-COURSE BUSINESS MODEL:
I am going to put the entire business model in an example form first.
1. Topic/Niche: Someone chooses to start a blog/podcast/Youtube Channel about a very specific topic they have expertise about. Example: Dog Training.
2. Freebies: Every free blog post, podcast episode or Youtube Channel leads to a "freebie" (a.k.a lead magnet or content upgrade) which is an even more valuable or convenient free piece of content that requires an opt-in. This means in order to receive this freebie, there is an exchange of someone's name and e-mail address for it.
For example, this Dog Training Youtube Channel has videos on how to train your dog. In the show notes, there is a link where you can download a free, printable guide that goes over what you learned in the video. Once you click on link, it takes you to their "blog"/website/landing page where you can leave your name and email address to receive your free guide straight to your e-mail.
3. Over time, as the viewers/readers/listeners of the content increases, the blogger begins understanding what people want to learn more in depth about.
For example, this Dog Training Channel did videos on how to train an aggressive dog and how to train a small dog to stop barking all the time. Over time, it became clear people were more interested in the second video, not only because of views but also because the amount of downloads related to the small dog training.
4. Course Idea: Once a demand is established, a pro-blogger should draft an idea of product they can create and sell that would fulfill the needs the audience has. For example in this case, this dog trainer has an idea for an e-course full of videos and pdfs on how to train small dog breeds to behave. The dog trainer creates an outline of what the e-course would cover.
5. Once there is an idea for a product, the pro-blogger creates a smaller version of that product. The point is to further test validation for the course and gather hot leads to present the offer to. In this case, the dog trainer creates free video series on how to train your small dog. They promote it everywhere and focus on this video series heavily.
6. Pre-sell: At the end of your "product mini-version" freebie, the blogger is prepared to pre-sell the idea of their product. In this case, at the end of the free video series, the dog trainer makes a 4th video explaining that he could only cover so much in these 3 short videos but is creating a full course that will include ....and will be available in 2 weeks from that day. Because it is a pre-sell, there is a discount on what the course will go for once it is completed, there are bonuses available and it will only be available for sale for the next 4 days. Urgency, bonuses and a deadline are key.
7. After pre-selling the course and essentially getting paid to create the product, the product is created and customers are given access to their e-course. It is important that the course is effective as possible in order to collect great testimonials. Once the e-course is completed, you now have an asset and the start of an online business.
8. The Pro-Blogger creates free content that will lead to freebies that will lead to the offer of their product.
In this case, the dog trainer is constantly making videos about small dogs. In the show notes, he adds a link to download the free video series on how to train a small dog. Once a potential customer goes through the video series, they are shown video 4 which essentially pitches them the e-course. They are also offered bonuses and a deadline (software helps with this).
9. Sales are made all the time now the pro-blogger has a business.
This model is an evergreen model. Some bloggers only "launch" or "open the cart" to their e-courses a couple times a year but promote heavily leading up to it. Both models work.
The E-course Business Model is based on: The CFP cycle.
CONTENT>> FREEBIE>> PRODUCT.
A Pro-Blogger is someone who has a service or a product to offer and creates content for the purpose of generating new leads, and guiding these leads toward their products for sales.
The product needs to be related to the free content you create. All your free content leads people back to your product. However, there are freebies and funnels in between Point A: which is your content and Point B which is your product.
Now that we understand the overall business model, let's go over each part a little further:
WHAT IS CONTENT?
Content is literally any type of media that you are sharing via social media or a blog. Instagram posts, tweets, IG stories, IG lives, Facebook lives, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Instagram captions, Snapchat stories....I mean ANYTHING you create is content.
Just because it is considered content, does not mean you need to have it super polished with an entire video crew and post production to get it done. No. You mostly just need a phone and some apps.
Once you understand your purpose and how you want to help people using your own experience and knowledge, then you can start PURPOSELY CREATING CONTENT with the purpose of helping people, ABOUT YOUR TOPIC.
Anyone can be on any social media platform posting but a Pro-Blogger/ Content creator understands that anything they create adds VALUE to their audience - whether that audience is 100 people or 100 million people. Over time, that bit of value from every piece of content, becomes a TON OF VALUE, and like-minded people will start loving and sharing your content.
Let's get an example going:
You are a personal fitness trainer at a gym. You love helping clients transform their bodies. You have maybe 300 followers on Instagram, mostly friends and family, and they know you work at the gym but that’s as far as it goes.
After asking yourself how you can can help others, you decide you can help by educating people about how to work out, how to eat, and how they too can transform their bodies, just like you help your clients do 1-1.
Next you decide to really tackle one platform that you already use, which for you is Instagram. You ask yourself, “What kind of content can I create that will help people learn how to work out, how to eat and how they can transform their bodies?”
You decide some easy content to create would be:
1) Filming a couple easy beginner exercises your clients are doing.
2) Filming a couple face-to-camera videos explaining how to start working out.
3) Posting motivating before-and-after pictures of you or past/current clients.
The content doesn’t have to be hard to create, it just needs to add value and be about your topic. Slowly but surely, you start to gain authority and trust by those who follow you.
WHAT ARE FREEBIES?
The mistake most content creators make is that they keep on creating all this amazing free, valuable content, but they don't create a way to have direct contact with their audience. They simply rely on social media algorithms to show their content and host their audience. This is a huge mistake.
You need to have an email list. The larger your email list is, the more leads you have for your products and the more sales you will have. Your email list is the blood and oxygen of your online business. Almost everything you do, should be done with the ultimate purpose of gaining email subscribers.
One of the best ways to constantly grow your email list is through your freebies. Also called “content upgrades” or “lead magnets.” The point of creating free content is to lead all the people consuming your free content to your email list. We call this converting website visitors or “eyeballs” into subs or subscribers.
Whether you are just starting out OR you have been creating content for a while, you need to sit down and create your FREEBIE (or multiple freebies).
Part of me wants to say that you should create your freebie from day 1, but I think having a little time just creating content around your topic, will really help you to see what mini-topics people are interested in more than others.
For example, to continue the example above:
You are a personal trainer and there are so many topics you can cover. After about a month of deliberately creating content with a purpose, you realize that your audience is mostly interested in learning more about the way you convert bad foods into healthy versions.
If you had started off with a freebie instead of with content, you might have not realized that would be a popular topic. It's always best to listen to your audience!
**THIS IS THE KEY: You believe that you can create a full blown course on how to turn bad foods into healthy versions. You sit down and brainstorm and think, “Hmm, I can show them 10 breakfast, snacks, lunches and dinners. I can write down recipes and film videos. I can maybe do some grocery lists or list of which brands I use and where I shop. I can even write some actual meal plans. This sounds cool!”
BEFORE YOU CREATE A PRODUCT THAT YOU DON'T KNOW WHETHER PEOPLE WILL BUY OR NOT, you start by creating a MINI VERSION of that idea of the paid product. For example, you decide to create a FREE recipe guide on how to turn 1 breakfast, lunch and dinner into a delicious healthy version.
Once you have created your freebie, you continue creating awesome, free valuable content - except now you add your freebie to that content. For example, you end every free video or post with “If you want to learn how I...then download my FREE GUIDE.” You need to promote your freebie to everyone and attach it to all your free content.
For example, but I am serious, if you are already blogging and now your wheels are turning on how to monetize, download my FREE Guide below to have a step-by-step Guide on Exactly How to turn your Blog into a Business.
ARE YOU READY TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT?
The only way you get to the product phase, is after you have created a small, free version of your product idea and found out that at least 1,000 people are interested because they downloaded it!! This is PRODUCT VALIDATION. That is the smallest amount I would go for, and the more the merrier. Your email list is the lifeline of your online business.
If you see that less people have downloaded, but relative to your audience number, a lot of people have , then it just means you need to continue creating free content, building your audience and your downloads grow.
If however, you already have a fairly large audience, say 50,000 followers or more, and you see that at least 1k people did not download this after putting out there with all of your free content, then it's time to re-think this idea. Try listening to your audience’s needs again and create another freebie.
Let’s assume that you did get about 1,000 people to “opt-in to your lead magnet,” techy terms to say that 1000 people put in their email address in exchange for your freebie. Now you have successfully validated that you have a good idea!
NOW YOU ARE READYYYY, to sell your first program and then automate it. I will dedicate other blog posts to this process, but what I want you to understand is:
If your question is, “How do you make Money as a Blogger or How do you make money online?” here is the the first part of the answer. You create content with a purpose >> you create free mini-versions of your product ideas>> then you offer your paid programs, if the demand is there.
The second part of the answer is:
YOU MAKE MONEY BY CREATING AND SELLING YOUR OWN E-COURSES!
There are several ways to make money online. When it comes to using this business model however, where your free content leads to your paid offers in an automated way, I think the best product to offer is an e-course. I will cover e-courses in depth soon, but for now here are 3 reasons why the best way to earn money online can be through e-courses:
Premium Pricing: A course always costs a lot more than an e-book or an e-guide. Courses should start at $295 minimum price because courses are videos and pdfs!
Automation: Once you create your course once, you now have an asset that you can sell in an automated way. There is software that helps your free content lead to freebies, which lead to your e-courses, all in an automated way. This process makes e-courses semi passive income.
Scaling: How many courses you sell depends on how large your audience is. At the beginning, you might only be selling 3-5 a month. However, as you start focusing on audience growth, collaborating with other influencers in your space, and getting into paid advertisement such as facebook/instagram ads your audience will grow. As your audience grows, your sales grow.
Truthbomb: Although it is absolutely true that online entrepreneurs/pro-bloggers earn millions of dollars a year selling e-courses ( you would need to sell 1000 courses at 1k each/ or 500 courses at 2k each, for example), these entrepreneur's email lists are LARGE. I mean a few hundred thousand people. (One person I know did hit a million with under 20k people on their email list but still, 20k)
That does not happen overnight. Even getting your first 1,000 email subscribers can take a long time. Creating the amount of content it takes to build that sort of trust, also takes a long time.
When I first heard about e-courses, I felt like I had to create mine right away but I didn't understand that I needed an audience first. Below I have put together some ideas to help you determine if this is right for you or not.
WHAT DO DO NEXT, AFTER READING THIS:
1. If you have been thinking about blogging (or podcasting or Youtube) or you just started one of these, hopefully now you understand how you can turn that into a thriving online business.
If you are comfortable with the process taking some time to grow your audience and you have other means of income for the meanwhile, then I'll be happy to help you brainstorm your idea to get you started. Just click here to get started.
2. If you have a large social media following and now interested in monetizing it through your own e-courses, then let's talk about working together! I thrive on helping others turn their following into an online business. Click here to get in contact with me.
3. If you want to start earning money online much faster and aren't interested in being the actual blogger, then you should read my post on 3 Online Careers you never heard of.