How to make $100 000 per month by Xmas 2017!

Let's Grow Your Traffic!

Neil Patel (cofounder of the analytics companies KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Quick Sprout), recently claimed that 'anyone' can create a business that generates $100 000 per month in 12 months. So I thought - I'll take on the challenge. Want to see me succeed? Or FAIL? Sign up here, and I'll send you the getting started [...]

The Real Reason You’re Not Making Any Money From Your Blog

Chasing Money

Chasing Money

You know the feeling.
Month after month, you’ve slaved away at creating amazing content.
You’ve created guest posts on popular blogs in your niche, that have been shared many times.
You’ve managed to attract a few followers to your own blog.
And somehow, you haven’t been able to generate ANY significant income.

Month after month, if you’re lucky, the best you can do is about $1500.
Which is still significantly short of the $10,000pm target you set for yourself.

Or maybe you’re not even close to that…

And yet, you KNOW that you can do this full time.
It’s not rocket science – but something is missing from your blog.
You can’t quite put your finger on it – but the sales speak for themselves.

First off, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Getting a blog to generate ANY amount of money is a significant step to success. And while $1000 is not really what you’re aiming for, it’s a starting point that you can leverage to get to the next level.

NOTE:
Make sure to check out my latest Income Report here January 2016 – Month 1.

Marketing (online, digital, social, inbound, content) – it’s all similar.
The individual tactics may change.
But the overall strategy remains the same.

In all cases – it’s a matter of ‘leveling up’. If you’re not familiar with the term, it comes from gaming.

Level Up

Level Up

Level Up

In most games, you get set a number of tasks.
These could be simple, like ‘kill 10 goblins’. Or ‘line up 5 gems’, then line up 5 gems twice in a row’.
Once you learn how to preform or complete those tasks, you gain ‘experience points’.
After you have enough ‘experience points’, your character advances to the next level of the game, and you typically get new powers.

Which seems awesome.
But then you realize that you’re also playing at the next level of the game.

So the game gets harder 🙂
And you have to start on a whole new list of achievements.

Well, marketing is a bit like that.
You learn a bit.
Implement it.
Once you get enough experience AND implementation done, you’ll get some rewards.
And you level up.

But now, the landscape has changed.
And to take it to the next level, you have to learn some new things.
Some new achievements.
More experience.

And of course, the game is now a bit harder.
The competition a bit stronger.
But of course, the rewards are also much bigger!

And the game goes on for a while. With many levels to achieve.
How far you go, depends on how much you put in.
But, you need to put in the right things at each level.

So, think of your blog as a game. And the aim is to make as much profit as possible.

Marketing Levels

Marketing Pyramid

Marketing Pyramid

Now – you may shout and say
“I’m not in it for the money. I’m trying to help people xxx”

And I say good for you. Now imagine you were making enough money from your blog to do it full time. Do you think you’d be able to help even more people? You bet!

A Quick look at the levels you can get to with your blog

  1. Level 1 – You have a blog, very little traffic, no list, no revenue
  2. Level 2 – You have a blog, a small list (<1,000) and some traffic. You may get your first sale here.
  3. Level 3 – You have started generating revenue (<$1,000pm), and your list has over 1000 subscribers
  4. Level 4 – revenue around $10,000pm
  5. Level 5 – revenue around $30,000pm
  6. Level 6 – revenue around $100,000pm (or $1m per year)
  7. Level 7 – revenue above $10m per year

You should note that getting to level 7, puts you in a whole different category. Not many people reach this level. Also, once you get to this point, it starts becoming a real job. You’ll have to manage a number of people to do this successfully.

There are quite a few people who have reached level 6 though, notably Pat Flynn, Bryan Harris, Kimra Luna, Brian Dean. I’m sure there are countless others who don’t publicly speak about their income.

So let’s get started then.

NOTE:
Make sure to check out my latest Income Report here January 2016 – Month 1.

What Can Go Wrong At Level 1?

Competency

Competency

On the face of it, it seems simple. All you need to do at this point, is create a basic website.
And while this is true, the not so obvious bit is that you have to choose your market. Most ‘internet marketers’ call this a niche. Now, choosing a niche seems like a ridiculous amount of effort. And there are whole websites devoted just to choosing your niche.

It shouldn’t be hard. It should be easy.

Why?

Because it comes down to what you know.

And the reason you want to pick something you know, is that it makes it much easier to write about. And as you’re on the web, you’ll be using content marketing to drive traffic. So you’ll be doing a lot of writing. Writing takes time. Writing about stuff you don’t know anything about takes a ridiculous amount of time.

Think in terms of an actual, living business. E.g. a restaurant. You could open a restaurant if you knew nothing about the food business, or cooking.
But you would probably fail.
In fact, most businesses fail within the first 5 years.

To make sure YOU don’t fail, you need to understand the following equation:
TRAFFIC * CONVERSION = PROFIT

You need both. Having traffic without conversion = zero profit.
The same goes for conversion without traffic = zero profit.

An example of conversion without traffic is thinking you have a great product. This is a mistake that many software developers make (myself included).

In the dark and distant past I spent years creating a product that I cared about passionately. But that no-one wanted.

You see, you build a product (because you think it’s fantastic, and who wouldn’t need this), and you get one or two friends to buy (so you have conversion), but then you realize that you’ve reached the end of the market. No Traffic. result? No Profit!

So getting step 1 right is important. The nice thing is, as we’re on the internet, and you haven’t spent money on renting a premises for your shop (yet), and refurbishing the space and putting in cool tables and a bar etc…

You can still change. Or shift. Or pivot.

Shifting your perspective on your niche slightly is sometimes a pretty good idea. E.g, instead of selling diet books, why not sell diet classes?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, choosing a niche comes down to this.

  1. Think of the big 4. That is Health, Wealth, Relationships, Hobbies/Interests
  2. Now, think through the following:
    1. What you know.
      For example you may know all about the paleo diet, and you have a background in nutrition.
      Or you may be an expert in running or cycling
      Or you know how to code, and you develop games in your spare time
    2. What you have done.
      For example you may recently have lost weight using the paleo diet
      Or you finished a recent marathon in your personal best time
      Or you just managed to get your fist game in the app store
    3. What you want to do
      For example you want lost weight using the paleo diet
      Or you want to improve your personal best in the marathon (or run your first marathon)
      Or you want to get your first game in the app store
      The reason this works well is that you can document your journey, and serve as an example to others. That’s what I’m doing with this blog. E.g. I want to build a $100,000 a month blog, I know marketing and software, so that’s what I’ll do.
  3. Match what you know to the big 4 – in this examples that’s obvious. It’s health, and hobbies.
    You want to match it with the big four so you can expand your focus. This helps when it comes to product brainstorming and pivoting later.
  4. Verify that there’s a market (do a simple search on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) and check that people are:
    1. Talking about it? (yes, loads of conversations, forums, etc)
    2. Selling products (books, meals, software, anything) – yup, lots of that
    3. Buying solutions to the problem (losing weight with paleo) – yup – many people are apparently buying

So, before you jump and say ‘No Shit Sherlock – but look at the competition’, let me explain.
When done correctly, you have NO competition. I’ll get to how that works later.
You will be in a competitive market. You want to be. If you’re not (e.g. if you’re selling one-handed knitting needles), there will simply not be a big enough market for you to make any money.

Pick The Right Market

And this is one mistake that many people make. You pick a market that’s too small, or you have no way of reaching that market.

Market

Market

Please note: All we’ve done at this point is decided on a broad market. We’re not sure exactly what that market wants. But we know 2 things:
1. The market exists
2. We can reach them on the internet

A similar process applies to any offline business, but I wont’ go into that now.

I don’t care what you’re selling, or trying to sell.
You have to make sure that there is a market for that product.
And that you can reach them.

Of course, once you’ve defined that market, you have to sell them something.
That’s the other side of the coin. Conversion.
And with conversion, you want to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.

And in EVERY SINGLE CASE – the biggest bang for your buck, is to sell something to someone who HAS ALREADY BOUGHT FROM YOU!

Math for this is simple.
Assuming a lead costs you $5 (typical for many industries).
If your conversion rate is 2%, you get to sell a product to 1 in every 50 leads. So the cost of selling that product (assuming no other costs) is $250.
This means that you need to make at least $250 per product just to break even!
So you’re probably selling the product for $500 and making a $250 profit.

But let’s say you already have those leads. E.g. you’re selling to someone ALREADY on your customer list.
Guess what. You’re suddenly making $500 profit on every unit sold.

Nice?
You bet.

The point I’m trying (probably badly) to make here is that conversion optimization is not just about improving the number of people who click on your buy button. It’s also about increasing the total value of goods that you sell to every individual in your market.

So you can’t make money just selling an ebook. Or being an affiliate for a paleo ebook.
That may be a start. But you have to have plans to scale to the next level of the game.
You have to Level Up!

NOTE:
Make sure to check out my latest Income Report here January 2016 – Month 1.

Conclusion

So, I’ve covered that basics of getting through Level 1 successfully. It’s not hard, but it’s important.
And it’s even more important to understand that you don’t get to level 5 or 6 without putting in the work.
You have to slay those goblins before you get to face the dragon.
And this is a good thing.
Dragons ain’t that easy to kill 🙂

Complete Tasks

Complete Tasks

All these ‘overnight success stories’ you see? There’s a lot of work behind each of them.
Now – you can accelerate the process.
That’s what I’m doing with this blog. I’m going to run through these levels as quickly as I can.
So you can see exactly how it’s done.

So, if you’re struggling to get to the next level, remember.
It’s a game. The game has rules. The game has achievements. The game has levels. But it’s just a game.
So you can learn to play it.
And you can learn to play it well.
At least well enough to get to level 6.

Please leave me a comment below. I reply to all of them, and would love to hear your thoughts.
Oh, and please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

19 comments… add one
  • roundkart

    We are at level 1.
    Wonderfully written. Looking forward to climb these levels however am not any good help. Local Help is very important.

    Reply
    • Alexander James

      Thanks very much! Glad you enjoyed it. I plan to expand on the levels a bit in a future post. Or maybe a webinar. Still deciding. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by local help. Could you explain?

      Reply
  • Chris

    Nice introduction on how to get started and some good general thoughts that one should consider before taking actions. I have started my own blog in January and the first month was ok (13,5k Users, 20,3k Pageviews, 108 email subscribers), but it’s still level 2. Hope to get more insights from you, keep up the good work. Cheers, Chris

    Reply
    • Alexander James

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the kind words. Impressed with the level of traffic you’re generating. You should be able to get to Level 3 soon, if you can increase your list sign-up rate.
      I’ll keep following – it looks pretty interesting. I recently read a comment on another forum from someone that had a large list in the gaming niche, but couldn’t monetize it. Which I find strange. The key is to understand what the audience wants, then give it to them.
      Keep it up.
      Alex

      Reply
    • Lloyd Phillips

      Chris, that’s an insane first month. How on Earth did you manage to get that level of traffic?

      Reply
  • Mike Appleton

    Hey Chris,
    I found your blog when you followed me on Twitter and love the concept and the way your executing it.

    Will definitely be following your journey and you imminent rise to blogging stardom.

    Best of luck!
    Mike

    Reply
  • Robyn

    Hi Chris,

    Loved this post. Easy to read, easy to follow and you made your point very well. Thank you for sharing.

    I am at level 0.5 ? and that’s ok for now. I have a steep learning curve which includes trying to work out what it is I know, that I can share. So at the moment my posts are very eclectic. I like the idea of perhaps picking one of the big 4, then seeing if I have any knowledge that will fit that sector. Something to work on for me, that’s for sure.
    I believe you when you say anyone can do this. I also totally get it when you identify this process as being just like a game – that makes so much sense.

    Hanging on your every word and looking forward to reading/learning more. $100K here we come dude.

    Robyn

    Reply
    • Alexander James

      Hi Robyn,
      Glad you enjoyed it. Thinking of it as a game and leveling up is a very useful concept. It certainly helped me with exercise – going from a confirmed couch potato to running a half-marathon and actually enjoying it 🙂 Your site looks great BTW. Not sure if you plan on pushing the writing angle but that’s probably a good one (falls into hobbies / make money) type thing. Especially as you have recently started. So you can demonstrate your journey to others. I.e. teach as you learn. Which is similar to what I’m doing here. Just a heads up – your ‘free manifesto’ link on your home page is broken. Or the target page is anyway. Glad to have you along. Let’s all strive for that $100k!

      Reply
  • Adeel Akhter

    I wonder can we take this $100,000 challenge while trying to provide (or offer) some services from the same website. For example a challenge to earn $100,000 with a blogging site about e-commerce marketing along with offering e-commerce marketing solution too.

    Reply
    • Alexander James

      Hi Adeel,
      Yes you can. What you can do is only limited by your imagination. And the amount of work you’re willing to put in. So as long as your blog is complimentary to what you’re selling on your ecommerce site (e.g. blog about running and sell sportswear, running shoes etc) that should work just fine.

      In fact – I’m going to be doing the same thing here soon. I’m just in the process of putting my first product together.

      Best of luck!
      Alex

      Reply
  • Adeel Akhter

    Hi Alex,

    I wanted to share that I tweeted thrice but did not received any response from you on twitter. There is a great possibility that with 7000+ followers you might have missed my tweets for you. But I want to suggest that please be responsive to your followers. After all it is about relationship building. I had put 2 to 3 question in separate tweets.

    Anyways looking at your updates 🙂 Let me know FB advertising is helping you more or Twitter advertising to increase SUBSCRIBERS. How many of twitter followers converted to subscribers out of 7000. Excited !!

    Reply
    • Alexander James

      Adeel,
      My apologies for missing your tweets. Twitter is tricky when you have many followers (And get new ones daily).
      I need to establish a process for not missing messages like this, but with everyone’s ‘welcome’ direct messages it’s bit tricky, as there’s a lot of noise.
      Glad you used the comment box to reach me though – as I cant’ miss these.
      Of my Twitter followers, about 5% convert to subscribers. I don’t have a number to compare that to, but I think it’s pretty good.
      I don’t yet run FB campaigns to gain more subscribers. The cost is prohibitive unless you have a way to offset it. I’m working on that, so stay tuned.

      Thanks for following.
      Alex

      Reply
      • Adeel Akhter

        I completely agree the level of noise there will be on your twitter 🙂 And that is what I mentioned too but you really need to develop any system for responding. we are desperate to see what is happening and we want more and more updates.

        5% subscribers. Tough job my friend. that makes around 350 people. I wonder if we need a 5% conversion of sales than how much subscribers we will need and how many twitter followers !!! Long way to go :). I thought dividing the advertising budget between Facebook and Twitter to compare conversion would be a better option at initial phase. What is your thought?

        Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Alexander,
    I enjoyed reading your post and mainly the level thing. I was just assuming myself that on which level i am and which level i will be reaching.
    Thanks for sharing amazing post.

    Reply
  • Shannon

    Hi Alexander! Thanks for your follow on Twitter! I do have a question for you. Our blog is a book review blog, how would one go about earning money from that? I’ve wondered if it was possible, but can’t figure out how, aside from charging authors to read their books.

    Reply
  • Anka

    Hi, Alexander! I like the way you’re putting things together, it looks so simple to make money in the way you present it. I’m at level one and you convinced me that I have to speed up to get to the next. Very inspiring, thank you!
    I tried to sign up to your list, but I haven’t got any message from you (I put the email again as you told me in the first message, but nothing happened). I bookmarked your site to come back – eager to see your progress! 🙂

    Reply
  • Anka

    Update! I tried again and it worked – now I’m subscribed!

    Reply

Leave a Comment