Over $300,000 From A Website About Model Trains – Ian McConnell Reveals His Online Business Success Story

By Yaro Starak
28 Comments

 

I really do love these niche site success stories, especially when they feature such passion driven subjects (and I admit it, I think model trains are cool).

Ian went from installing security fences in a less-than-safe Zimbabwe, to making his way to Australia for a better life for his family, and then managed to secure a full time living without needing a job thanks to an online business focused on model trains.

Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ]

What makes this story even more amazing is that Ian isn’t a model train expert. He hasn’t even had a train set since he was 11 years old! He managed to build the business and create content simply learning from other online resources.

If you want some inspiration to create your own success story with a niche business, this is a must-listen to interview. Ian breaks down everything he did to make $82,000 in his first year with his website, then $90,000 in his second year and then sold his business for $150,000.

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28 Comments

  • Hello Yaro,
    do you plan any transcription of this podcast?
    BR, Chris

  • $300,000 from just a website? I can’t believe, I must learn more about how he did, thanks for your postcast interview, Yaro.

  • I’m always interested in stories like this, it really does give me a kick up the butt and encourage me to work harder. :)

  • Halo yaro, I little difficult to understand about listening english….is there the ebook, or transcription of this podcast

  • Hi Yaro. This is a good story. Although, I think that if he could show two years of earnings at that level that the site could have been sold for a much higher price.

    Isn’t 10X earnings pretty standard for website sales?

    Has he started on another website yet?

    • Hi David. 7 to 10 month’s earnings is the average. I got 18 which I was very happy with…

      There are many factors involved in making a website attractive to buyers… One of those is a ‘sexy’ niche, like technology… Model trains is not a sexy niche, so that limited the buyer pool, but we still got an awesome result.

      Something I didn’t mention in the interview, was the amount of valuable knowledge I gained in the sale process… Having gone from a $1,000 sale (koi fish site via flippa) to $150,000 sale (model train site via a broker) I know exactly what the buyers are looking for and can draw on this experience as I coach others, or in building out my other websites.

      This is a valuable real life experience that can’t be found in any course.

      Cheers
      Ian

      • Hi Ian, thanks for the update. I was approached by someone who wanted me to sell via an escrow system. I felt very uneasy about it as I was not trying to sell it anyway.

        Trains many not be a super popular niche, but the people in it are fanatical and they are buyers or so I have heard.

        My train videos on YT have garnered a lot of views.

      • Ian it sounds like a great opportunity for an ebook. That experience can and is very valuable. Might be something I’d be interested in buying.

        Tom
        The Gun Purse Store

  • Jon

    Great interview Yaro! It is quite a transition to go from working day/night to being able to relax and smell the roses… I’m sure it’s not the last we hear about Ian. I think his success in the fitness industry (something he IS passionate about) will easily eclipse the train site.

    Jon
    Founder of WoodMarvels.com

  • Looks like whatever online business one has they end up selling it and start blogging about making money online. does it mean this topic rules as nothinp else?

    • Hi Anastasia.

      People usually don’t reveal how well they are doing when they own the business, because it causes attention that you may not want.

      I started inmyhomeoffice.com because it was so much easier to send people to a website… Rather than spend hours answering questions from people who want to know how to do the same.

      Cheers
      Ian

  • I like the fact that Ian talks about some of the mistakes he made and that he learned from them. Quitting a one day job that paid a decent amount is interesting because it made him demotivated. I think there is a lesson for me, as I have been planning to quit my job once I make it with my online “biznezz.” I can see that too much time in ones hands can become a demotivator.

    • Hi Joyce.

      Discipline was my problem. When I had a job I would be thinking and planning during the day what I would be doing on my online business when I got home. I knew I would only have 1 or 2 hours and had to complete the tasks that mattered. It was forcing me to focus.

      When I started getting results I thought if only I could spend 8 hours a day doing this instead of 2… I’ll get 4 times the result!

      I was wrong, because I lacked the discipline… I used to check my email first thing in the morning and we all know how disastrous that can be. I would go from offer to offer watching the videos, reading the sales letters and buying the products.

      Then I would spend days (sometimes weeks) going through all the products I had just bought… It was a never ending cycle I was caught up in. Nothing was getting done!

      I did build up a huge amount of knowledge though, but I only started getting stuff done when I unsubscribed from every list I was on. If I wanted information I would Google it, get it and implement it there and then.

      That solved the overwhelm and gave me back my day.

      Cheers
      Ian

  • Ann

    Model trains, those were the days, you dont see them anymore

  • Olga

    What a great, inspiring podcast! Thanks to Yaro and Ian for putting it together and sharing such an inspiring success story! Also, Ian has such a great attitude. Some of the other podcasts have speakers who are arrogant or whatever. But Ian certainly has a great attitude. It was nice that he shared the different things he did, the challenges he encountered, successes, and his words of encouragement. I, too, immigrated from a challenging country to another country (to the U.S. in my case), and certainly can relate to Ian’s words about looking for better life, establishing a life in a new country, and growing. As another comment: Ian said at the end of the interview that it was his first interview. Amazing, because he is so articulate, coherent, relaxed, and also focused on the subject. Thanks again!

    • Thanks Olga, you made my day and I sincerely appreciate your comments :)

      I remember reading Yaro’s post some time back about public speaking and it took me back to the first time I spoke at Toastmasters… I was incredibly nervous and had the complete out of body experience. I haven’t done the 2nd speech yet but after that post I definitely intend to.

      When Yaro suggested the interview I had the same rush of fear and it would have been so easy to come up with reasons not to do it. But, I remembered that public speaking post which convinced me to do it and I am so glad it did.

      Sometimes there are things in life that happen to point us in the direction we need to be going (or so I believe). If Yaro hadn’t written that public speaking post (which was awesome) I probably would have made an excuse not to do the interview and then wouldn’t have got your comment, which will motivate me even further… :)

      Also Yaro’s interview style is far superior to anyone else, because he gets you to explain your journey and successes along the correct timeline… Which makes you think, forget that you were nervous and stimulates happy emotions as you recall the successes.

      And Yaro doesn’t interrupt and go off on different tangents. Yaro rocks :)

      Thanks again Olga

      Cheers
      Ian

      • Olga

        Ian,

        I looked through your InMyHomeOffice website. So much great, useful information! Really impressive!

        But no podcasts or videos? Come on :) You’ve got a talent, man!

        Come on :) at least a couple videos would be great, to start with – so that folks can see the real human being behind all the materials. It makes it more personal. Podcasts are great in that one can listen to them while driving, walking, exercising, etc. And they, too, give some idea of the real human being involved. I usually download 5-7 at once from Yaro’s and some other websites onto my iPhone and listen while driving or exercising. Then if I liked what I heard, I listen to them again (e.g., listened to yours twice) and go back to the website to check out the website(s). I am sure lots of other people do the same.

        Both Yaro and you have this “likable” way of presenting. That’s a talent and a huge plus!

        Thanks again, Ian! Olga

  • Great interview, I decided to mention this in my last blog post on choosing a niche to operate within. The fact this niche isn’t “hot” or “sexy” and that it’s seemingly “too narrow” only proves that your niche doesn’t matter, as long as it’s your niche.

    • Hi S.K.

      Great comments and that’s exactly right. Model trains is a hobby for predominately male’s, who are mostly over 60 years old, and they are not used to buying ebooks… Although this is changing rapidly with iPads, etc.

      They can also buy a glossy magazine every month for around U$8, while we sold a $27/mo online membership.

      Most of the experts would tell you not to touch the niche but yet there is money in the niche… It makes me wonder how many people have missed out on success because they didn’t test their niche thoroughly.

      It reminds me of that great book “Acres of Diamonds”… Many of us are looking for those diamonds far and wide, when we should just be looking at our feet…

      Cheers
      Ian

  • Very inspirational. If only I liked model trains :O)

  • I think the MP3 version is great, I mean as ‘Olga’ said we can download it in our cell phone and even listen it more than once and that too even while we are doing our daily workout or just traveling. Anyways this is really inspirational audio.

  • Hi,
    this is an inspirational story. I was having impression that we need to be expert (programming is not enough) in marketing to make a dime online. I came by google search.
    regards
    vinodh

  • What a wonderful podcast – thanks Yaro and Ian. Who would have believed people would pay to be a member of a model train site? Thanks for detailing out your success! I highly recommend this podcast.

    Kent

  • This is why I truly believe in blogging about something that you’re passionate about. Blogging about something boring will get you boring results. Blogging about something that you love will get you lovely results ;)

  • […] It’s true – the man was recently interview by Yaro Stark – His name is Ian McConnell and he went on to make over $300k from his model train website – […]

  • Joe

    Just listened to this after coming from Ian’s site.

    Really like it and can’t wait to start making some money.

    Thanks guys.

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