Teaching how to “make money online” is one of the most lucrative niches to be in as an Internet marketer, however most people who attempt to profit from this niche do not.
Some people consider making money by teaching how to make money essentially a scam. I mean if you know a system of how to make money, why not just use that system rather than sell it? That smells fishy right? Umm, no, I find that logic quite silly. Why not make money using your system AND teaching it.
So, why can a small minority of people earn big in the Internet marketing industry and the majority fail miserably? Is the make money online niche only full of scammers or those who just got lucky?
As someone who has been making money in this niche for years – and I’ve certainly climbed the ladder over time – I’m in a pretty good position to explain the subtle elements that people new to Internet marketing won’t see.
Let’s start with some common mistakes that people make when attempting to profit from teaching others how to make money…
1. You sell people products about and attempt to teach how to make money when you’ve never made money yourself.
This might seem obvious, but for those people who can only see the dollar signs and not reality, understand that credibility is a big part in converting a sale.
You don’t go to a doctor who just decided one day to open a surgery having never studied or practiced medicine, so why do you think people will give you money to learn something from you that you’ve never done or have very limited success in?
There are a few people out there, especially affiliate marketers who’ve never done anything but promote how to make money products, who can enter the make money online niche and do well, but that’s because they have a skill (traffic generation and conversion), which can be applied across any market.
It’s very likely that anyone today who has made good money in the Internet marketing niche has earned money in other niches before or still do. If you’re currently running a blog that just promotes how to make money products and that’s your strategy for striking it rich, it’s time to face reality and try a different angle.
2. You’re planning on chronicling your journey to make money through blogging and thus profit from the audience you build.
I’m certainly partially to blame for people following this path, as are guys like John Chow, who rose to fame using the phrase “I make money online by telling people how I make money online“.
I’ve had numerous people go through my blog training programs and begin the with the idea of starting a blog on how to make money. The thought process usually goes something like this…
“I want to make money online, but I don’t know what niche to run with”.
“I know, I’ll start by experimenting, and write down my results to my blog and build an audience that way”.
“As a worst case scenario, I’ll be able make money from my blog”.
That theory looks good on paper but most people have a fatal flaw in their execution.
They key to making money by writing about your journey to make money is that you absolutely must take action and try different systems and methods to make money, and then report back real results to your audience.
For example, try Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) to sell affiliate products and hopefully make at least a few hundred dollars in sales, so then you have a great little case study to report back to your blog. People want to know how to make a couple of hundred dollars from PPC, so explaining how you do it is valuable content.
What usually happens is people realize how hard it is just to do the experiments. Reaching the point where you profit from the experiments is tough enough. Adding a commitment to write about the experience as well for little to no immediate return – that’s beyond most people.
The fact is, unless you already have experience actually profiting from a business it will be very hard to build an audience by talking about how to make money on a blog. That’s why my blog, and the few similar blogs to my own will likely remain at the top. Many contenders have come and gone, and most come to the realization they just don’t have the energy to run their business AND write about it too.
3. Believing that if you make enough blog posts promoting affiliate products eventually you have to strike it rich.
This really is a newbie mistake, but it’s so common I need to point out how futile it is so you don’t make the same mistake.
If your blog only features promotions for products you will never build an audience that trusts you. Why buy from someone who keeps asking for money and never gives anything.
This is actually a huge problem in our niche, which, for the smart marketers is a golden opportunity.
It’s fair to say that the average consumer who goes looking to purchase something that purports to teach them how to make money – a business opportunity – is pretty skeptical. Down right jaded is a better label. These people are petrified of being ripped off and because so many people sell junk online using copy from the hype-machine, as an Internet marketer you have to work extra hard to build credibility.
The opportunity is to stand out from the crowd and build a sustainable business simply by not attempting to steal every penny from an unsuspecting newbie, and instead actually help them with genuine support.
If someone gets burnt once, then comes to you and very cautiously makes a decision, buys your product or a product you recommend, and then has a positive experience, you have generated some very powerful goodwill. Being an honest person in a sea of sharks and hucksters is a HUGE advantage, assuming you can figure out a way to create that perception.
The key to profiting in the make money online niche is to focus on credibility, authenticity, trust, quality information based on practical experience and sheer consistency.
Most people fail on one or several of those criteria and thus struggle to stand out as anything more than yet another person attempting to steal an unsuspecting newbie’s money and then run away.
The next key criteria, assuming you can adhere to the criteria of credibility is to find your unique positioning in the market. It’s very hard to just teach “internet marketing” and unless you find something you can specialize in, it will be hard to build a sustainable business.
In a sea of also-rans, anyone with a clear point of differentiation, a unique market positioning and a specialized area of expertise, wins. Here’s how you can be a winner –
1. Find a Sub-Niche
Most marketers who make good money teaching how to make money, even at the very top level, have some key point of differentiation, which essentially is just a sub-niche of the overall “Internet marketing” category. Here are some examples of the people I learned from and consider peers and mentors and the sub-niches they focus on –
These guys are some of the celebs in our market. If you drill down and take a look at any smaller success stories, the less well known Internet marketers, who every day are making good money in the Internet marketing niche, they still have some form of specialty.
They might focus on email list building, or pay per click, or affiliate marketing, or copywriting or conversion or lead generation or any countless parts of the overall industry. Each person has a focus that distinguishes them in the mind of their customers as the best solution to a specific problem they suffer from.
You can even go deeper than this, with some marketers taking one specialty and applying it directly to a geographic location (Sydney copywriting) or specific type of customer (pay per click for mortgage brokers) or a combination of these elements.
One of the most successful formulas I’ve seen applied well is to become the local specialist for a type of small business in your community and help them market online. Your angle might be to focus on retail stores of a certain type (say antique shops) and help them set up an eBay marketing campaign to sell their goods.
This formula of taking offline businesses online can be done in so many markets and in many ways, and is a fantastic entry strategy for any person who knows at least the basics of Internet marketing. Or, if you can become very good at one thing, for example SEO, you can make as much money practicing your craft as you do teaching it, or more.
2. Ride the Wave of a New Evolution
Specializing is vital for success, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t find your spot in the Internet marketing landscape. If that is a frustration you have experienced, you might consider leveraging the emergence of a new form of online marketing and become proficient enough in it to be one of the first experts.
My own story becoming a blog trainer is one such example of riding the wave of a new evolution. While I’m not the first blogger, nor the most prolific or the most popular, I was one of the very first to sell an information product that teaches how to make money blogging.
It helped of course that I spent time to build a blog that made money, which leveraged my earlier life experiences in business. I had the sense to realize there was an opportunity there that I could take and become one of the first to establish positioning as a blogging expert.
I also happened to be one of the only bloggers who focused on Internet marketing, so again I leveraged what had worked for thousands of other marketers and applied it to my area – blogging – which was something that few bloggers did, or even do still today.
In more recent time the example of Maria Andros springs to mind as a person who was able to ride the wave of another evolution, this time video and social media marketing, establish herself as one of the most credible experts and – here’s the key part – released a product to cement her position.
Maria had the sense to know she was in the right place at the right time and there was a market she could dominate. She took action, branded herself appropriately and then went after a market. Maria now has very little quality competition, at least in the perception of the marketplace.
3. Stay One Step Ahead of your Target Market
One key concept that I’ve had to remind my students of time and time again, especially if they are attempting to brand themselves as an expert, is to realize that you only need to be one step ahead of your target market.
You can teach how to make money if you know how to do something that a large enough group of people don’t know and would benefit knowing. As long as you are good at one thing there will always be a stream of people new to your topic who need to learn what you know.
If you combine the previous points about building trust, finding a sub-niche or riding a new wave of opportunity, and stay one step ahead of the people you sell to, you are set, even in the highly competitive and highly lucrative how to make money online marketplace.
Everything I’ve outlined in this article makes sense. It’s clear and you should be able to get your head around the concepts I’m teaching. Unfortunately most people fail to execute and thus fail to profit.
Although this article is about how to make money teaching others how to make money, the rules apply just as well to other markets.
Every market is at a different stage of its development cycle and some will have more competition than others. The current relationship between supply (the number of quality competitors in the market you are in) vs demand (the amount of money you can potentially make from customers) will dictate how much effort you need to put in place in order to make money (I promise you, there will be effort required!).
My advice to you is to get out there and experiment until you find your place in the industry. There is enough room for everyone who provides value. It doesn’t matter if you think you face too much competition, it’s not the competition that will stop you from succeeding, it’s your ability to leverage the advice I’ve outline in this article and carve out your position in the market by delivering value to a specific segment of people, that will dictate your success.
Good luck, and remember the golden rule to making money in any marketplace: The more people you help, the more money you make.
And learn how to build a better blog.