Who’s making passive income from ebooks, courses & membership sites, and what can they teach us?
If you’ve ever Googled around for information product examples to give you that little bit of inspiration and help in choosing your own idea, you’ve no doubt come up empty handed.
Unfortunately, until now no one has compiled an epic list of the most successful information product businesses out there. Time to change all that!
In this article I’ll walk you through over 40 of the best info product businesses out there. I’ll tell you who’s making money, exactly how they’re doing it and what lessons we can takeaway. As always my focus will be on getting us to dream up our own ideas off the back of these cool case studies.
By the end you should have several really cool information products in your mind! Enjoy.
1. Minimalist Path
This is an interesting case study that you have to check out, because you should be able to relate to it.
David quit his job and started hunting out some good old passive income. He decided to hit up the minimalism niche. This was back in 2009, before the niche was insanely crowded.
Side note: although a niche like minimalism is packed, it is still attractive because big numbers show big interest and well, if you examine the average minimalist aficionado (eg me!) we often buy everrrrry single info product on minimalism we can lay our hands on; ironic as f*ck, right?! But true.
Anyways, back to the story, David created an ebook on how to simplify your sheeeeet in 31 days. A great concept for an ebook, since he was structuring information that was so fragmented around the blogosphere.
This is a huuuuuuuge point to take in before we continue; every niche suffers from information overload and information fragmentation, so if you can synthesize an unwieldy body of knowledge into something succinct and structured, you will basically create yourself a license to print money!
Hint: every single niche is crying out for one-stop shop, compilation style, structured products…just like what this very website, Real Passive Income Ideas, aims to do with the make money online niche.
I actually bought his ebook back when he launched it, and it was great.
For $10 or so, I can’t remember exactly, it was a step-by-step guide that got results immediately. I think I heard of it as I’d read about it on another minimalism blog.
So let’s talk strategy here.
Over at his site about making money online, Life Excursion, David shared the details. His big power play was hooking up with affiliates to promote his ebook. That said, he also converted many of his readers himself through his popular blog.
David said he made about $1000 in sales a month from the ebook, of which he had to pay out about $300 in affiliate fees. So $700 net passive income every month, month after month.
Not bad for an ebook on minimalism, a niche where people don’t pay much more than $10 (if anything) for ebooks.
PS I haven’t checked on this, but I’m sure as like all bloggers online, David also earns good coin from affiliating other bloggers ebooks, courses etc. in the minimalism / life improvement category. Nice!
2. Think Traffic
I thought it would be fun to juxtapose Expert Enough with Corbett Barr’s main venture, being the Think Traffic blog and it’s associated products including Affiliate Marketing for Beginners, Start a Blog That Matters, Traffic School and more recently, Fizzle (see them all here).
Wow! What a difference.
With the Think Traffic products Corbett is earning well over $100,000 a year, and that’s being very conservative, since it’s based on a post he wrote almost 2 years ago.
If you look at his student numbers and course prices these days (and I’m taking into account him paying out affiliate fees, staff wages etc here), Corbett along with his team of Caleb and Chase, must be clearing north of $300,000 a year.
Either way, he’s crushing it.
So what are these courses all about?
Well you could say he’s earning passive income by teaching people how to make passive income, but I think two things are wrong with that.
Firstly, he works his ass off, so he’s always active (arguably this work is in pursuit of building up new passive income streams to add to the empire though).
And secondly, apart from Affiliate Marketing for Beginners, none of these are true MMO or IM products, but rather more about building up a following online (as opposed to monetizing them).
Buuuuuut, truth be told the dividing line can be fine.
Anyways, looking at the Think Traffic team’s success, we can take away a few ideas.
I guess the big one is that their success mainly comes down to writing free epic content, networking their asses off with other bloggers in their niche and related niches (eg minimalism, self dev etc), and thanks to their affiliates who promote the heck out of their products.
ie epic Google friendly free content + guest posts / backlinks + affiliate program.
Oh, and hey, thanks to their quality, the people that do follow them – eg me – follow them like inebriated groupies!
Hint: groupies buy almost everything their band sells.
Oh and what about the crack cocaine business model that has worked so well for them?
Work your ass off to get every extra follower, and then drug that follower with epic free content, and then sell them the good sheeeeeet (new kickass products that fill another pain) time after time.
It’s such a great formula. And when you think about how hard it is to get every new member, then you realize you better have more than one product to sell them. Repeat buyers are at the heart of every ragingly successful passive income business.
P.S. If you’re looking for big inspiration on passive income ideas, check out their 81 Blog Topic Ideas post for a slew of cool niches you could hit up. Plus the comments section on this post is phenomenal, with at least another 20-30 rocking ideas burried down there.
Visit Think Traffic
3. Mergers & Inquisitions
If you had said to someone five years ago that you were going to create a website that taught students how to land investment banking jobs and that you were going to turn it into a $1,000,000 dollar business, they probably would have laughed their asses off at you!
But hey, that’s exactly what Brian has done over at M&I.
Back in 2007 I think, he quit his investment banking job and started writing about breaking into investment banking. Meantime he was travelling around Asia! Sounds like every bored employees dream right?!
His blog was pretty rough and ready. It looked like amateur hour. But that was great, because it meant he was doing something and actually focusing on what people wanted (communicate original hard-to-find content to interested readers), and not spending 6 months ‘launching’ his blog by going through 7 re-designs in his bedroom late at night!! Hahaha, you get the point.
At the time there was little info on the subject, so there was a big pain amongst the target audience.
Companies like Vault and Wet Feet provided generic advice that bored students to tears. Brian’s fresh and uncensored take on all things banking related was akin to the Rolling Stones rocking fresh into town.
Now he had an audience, how should he monetize it?
Well, as with any information-based website the first thing that popped into his head was to create an ebook. What did students have the most pain with? Interview questions and answers of course.
So he set about making that, and then decided to turn it into a simple online course with membership login. Boom, $97 product. Hello passive income!
Since he had written so much free content, he was building up a big email list and a huge community of students hell bent on breaking into banking. The comments section of every post served as a mini forum on the topic at hand.
This site was getting sticky and getting some serious authority in Google.
Brian continued to make a few more info products, with a mini course about networking (including a database of bank contacts drawn from public records and put together in Asia by a VA, I think that’s how he did it anyway – great idea for an info product) and about something else, I can’t remember.
Things were going great.
There are so many lessons here already to takeaway; pick a niche that’s underserved, write original content, build an audience with free content, encourage comments and build a community, then find out what they want and make it for them.
But this case study doesn’t end here. Brian found out that the one thing making students the most anxious ahead of interviews or internships was financial modeling. A very technical skill that was hard to learn at the time because real world training cost $1000s and online training was pathetic, consisting of text, screenshots and useless workbooks.
So he set about creating video-driven online financial modeling courses for different sectors of investment banking.
Perhaps the greatest thing was the perceived value in students eyes was huge and hey, he had the entire student population captive with his blog filled with refreshingly youthful advice on getting into banking.
This allowed him to charge a nice premium for the courses; so instead of earning $90 something bucks for an ebook, he was able to start earning $300 or so bucks per student. Boom!
The big lesson I see here, is to really find out what your audience is most scared of, anxious of, stressed by. Whether you find out through doing free consulting, asking questions in your blog posts and relying on comments, or doing reader surveys to your email list, just do it…find out!
Once you know their deep down pain, you can go away and create one giant freaking aspirin for them…the type of headache-curing aspirin they’re willing to spend $300 on, or even better, $50 a month on!
Visit Mergers & Inquisitions
4. Entrepreneur’s Journey
I’m focusing here on Yaro’s first product launch, but before I get into that, let me be upfront about this; this is a case study of how to make money online by teaching other people how to make money online.
Since Yaro had already made decent money online from non-MMO niches (essay editing, blog editing, card game website etc), I feel good about including this case study.
So Yaro’s first product, Blog Mastermind, was a membership site on making money from your blog.
He had two options for pricing, being the big up front $2000 style payment or the monthly membership payment of around $50. He went with the latter, but then later regretted it.
His reasoning behind the regret was that his 400 customers who signed up at launch could have brought in $400,000 (or more if he priced higher than $1000), whereas his membership take was $20,000 in the first month and then a little less each month as attrition kicked in – later leveling out at around $14,000 a month (not bad!!).
But I have a couple problems with most of us applying this thinking.
For one, most of us won’t have such epic products or loyal audiences to charge so high a price. And two, I think of the 400 who signed up at $47, maybe only 80-100 would have done a huge upfront fee of say $1,000 (ie bringing in total $80,000 to $100,000, without any future recurring fees).
Let me show you why I think the monthly membership fee can be great.
Well, as I mentioned with the $1000 one-off fee you lock out so many people from giving it a go. ie you lose the chance to give them a taste and hope they get addicted (hello drug dealer model!).
The other big reason for thinking about a membership model (eg like Corbett Barr’s recently launched Fizzle), is that you don’t need to completely finish the product before you can start selling it. I love this point.
I mean, think about how many of us have a cool information product idea, but the epic mountain we have to climb to produce it just forces us to procrastinate and never get around to it.
I know with the recruiting site I launched, that creating a beta phase where people could join for half price, whilst I was still adding content, getting feedback on what people wanted more of etc, was the best decision ever.
It made the impossible, possible.
Plus you get a big bonus from this approach; you get to test out whether people will pay money for what you’re selling, before you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into it.
If you find out after a couple months that they aren’t that into it, you just stop producing the content and refund those early beta members that bought in. You didn’t waste 3-6 more months making a course or info product no one wanted to pay for!
Visit Entrepreneur’s Journey
5. China Direct Sourcing
I remember first coming across Lindy Chen’s website a few years ago when I was researching how to import from China for a few ecommerce ideas we were stewing over.
For any of you who have researched it yourself you’ll agree with me when I say the information out there on this topic is terrible.
Most sites contain trifling bites of barely comprehensible information and almost none contain anything approaching authoritative how-to articles.
You can imagine how my ‘buyer’ buttons got pushed hard the minute I stumbled onto a professionally designed, information rich website like Lindy’s, which focused 100% on how to import from China.
So Lindy’s story is simple…
She helps businesses in Australia import from China, which means she can help you find a supplier, make sure contracts are done properly, assist with the importing process etc. A typical consultant service style business.
Lindy decided at some point that it would be nice to add on a passive income source to her business and born out of this were her information products on how to DIY import from China.
At the time I bought her book, I think for $77 or something (this was back in 2009), her offerings were sparse. But now her offering consists of ebook ($47), book + CD Rom with resources ($147) and book + DVD series ($397). Brilliant!
As you can see Lindy has pursued a premium pricing model for this information, which makes sense since true quality info on the topic – I mean all-in-one step-by-step info – is not easily available (for free) and since this is the sort of info that can save businesses $1000s and $1000s in costs (you can better negotiate, find the right supplier, not get ripped off etc).
I’ve mentioned it in other case studies, but I reiterate it here; if you can sell a product that helps people eliminate a fear – in this case the fear of getting ripped off in a foreign land – you have such an easy value proposition. Conversion paradise!
Now before we finish on this case study, let me point out how smart Lindy is with her upsell products.
So after she has first given you a free ecourse, she can then get you buying her ebook for say $97. Then once you’ve further built up trust and see her as the expert, you can buy the full course and possibly all the other things you need to successfully import from China; hello contract templates, NDA templates, purchase order agreement templates etc etc.
She offers everything from the classic NDA to the exclusive distribution template. And the prices range from $97 (eg sample order contract) to $997 (eg exclusive distribution templae). Wow!!
You know you need these templates after reading her course and you know to go to a lawyer will cost you $1000s. So what’s a novice importer to do?! Lindy’s premium offerings are a relative steal.
What a great example of a smart and non-scammy (but rather very useful) upsell path.
What other information product ideas do you know with such a beautiful upsell path?
My advice is to focus on products that serve small businesses or online entrepreneurs. eg you sell people an info product to do with copywriting for sales pages, and then copywriting for autoresponders, and then…well, you get the drift.
PS With China Direct Sourcing, Lindy also uses the info products to upsell her company’s consulting services, which is an interesting combo too, but not passive so not of interest to us.
Visit China Direct Sourcing
6. Backyard Chickens
Big regrets laughing when I heard my friend’s Dad was feverously researching how to keep his own chickens…
Because when I found out that this site, dedicated to teaching people how to do this very thing, was making an absolute killing online with 100,000+ uniques a month I felt like the out of touch one. My bad!
But wow, was I happy to hear it, because it confirms once again, that just about every niche on Earth is full of passionate people that yearn for information and will pay good money for it.
Backyard Chickens has the classic business model for making passive income; it has a ton of information rich articles on keeping chickens and within these articles (and throughout the site, email autoresponder series etc), there are of course affiliate links, sponsored ads and of course, ebooks for sale.
Since most people visiting this site are after information, obviously ebooks are a great passive income stream to pursue.
But what makes ebooks even cooler for this niche is that most visitors will be looking to start their chicken project this weekend and they will need advice on how to do everything from step 1 (fertilized egg buying) to step 33 (getting chicken and hen to knock boots to a lil Sinatra – they’re classy like that, them there chickens).
So what they are crying out for are step-by-step guides.
ie although the little Google-friendly bite-size blog articles on Backyard Chickens aren’t enough…the visitors need more, they need structure!
Think about what other niches are like this – where someone needs to complete a project, achieve a goal etc, within a limited space of time and needs to get moving.
Everything from passing the LSAT exam to creating your own urban balcony garden fits into this. Go nuts!
The Backyard Chicken website also has a gargantuan online store. They’ve put it under a different brand name, but link to it from the main site’s navigation bar.
They also have a highly trafficked forum, which obviously helps to attract that huge amount of monthly unique visitors. Maybe as good a time as any, to consider how you could build a forum component into your site and thus attract 1000s of words of free user-generated content (hello, free SEO…that also keeps growing without doing anything…passssssive love!).
Creating a relatively popular forum gets easier the more underserved your niche is (eg machine knitters) or the more sub-nichey you go (eg pre 1950s knitting machine aficionados).
7. Sweater Babe
I think I mention knitting a lot on this site. It’s just such a good example of a tasty niche, since avid knitters are always trying new things and spend weekends locked down in their own lil mini sweat shops (aka they’re homes!)…translation, they eat yarn for breakfast and buy a lot of everything!
I’ve studied the knitting niche a bit for inspiration purposes, and I’ve found that the big money makers are obviously information products (particularly video courses since they are the best way to communicate how to knit), knitting supplies, and most importantly, for this case study at least, knitting patterns (the diagrams knitters use to make clothes).
Let’s focus on the patterns for a minute.
Patterns can be drawn by pretty much any knitter with some experience and some time. They’re also super easy to sell, since you just turn them into a PDF file and sell it just like an ebook.
This by the way is a good example of barriers to entry that are high enough to keep out too many sellers, but not so high that you can’t climb them yourself and launch your own business in your spare time.
The knitting community must have some money, because these patterns sell for about $4-$14 each. Not bad for a digital product you can put together in a day or two.
Knitting patterns are indeed the main monetization strategy going on over at SweaterBabe. And although Katherine sells them on her own site, I would expect she also sells them over at a community site like Ravelry.
This brings up a cool point.
If you create a digital product, think about what market places you can also sell it on? Amazon Kindle, Click Bank, Envato, Code Canyon etc.
Market places may take a cut from your sale, but think about the audiences they attract!
Ravelry for example has an audience of 2 million knitters, who are searching for patterns every day – this built in audience is delivered on a silver platter to those designers who also list their patterns for sale on their site.
All Ravelry takes for their part is a dollar or two commission fee.
Now obviously, not every market place is so generous, eg iTunes which takes 30% cut. But even if the cut is big, ask yourself; would that person have found my product and bought it, if it wasn’t for the market place?
8. RC Powers Hobby Planes
When I was younger a friend of mine, let’s call him Vince, was a hobby boat nut! I enjoyed it too, you know, go down to the park, put the mini speed boat in the water and hoon around.
But wow, what he spent on it!
I think the average boat kit was $500 and then there were all the add ons.
Anyways, I’ve seen the near-psychotic addiction people can develop towards hobby products and so it does not surprise me at all to learn about the success Dave Powers is having with his site on how to make/fly your own flying hobby planes.
His You Tube channel just passed the whopping 97 million views mark, so you can imagine from You Tube ad revenue sharing alone, he must be doing pretty well with this.
But it’s his information products that would seem to be the major money earner, with his ebooks and online video course being the main products.
What’s interesting to note again is the dangerously effective 3-step marketing strategy; pull users in from You Tube and Google (thanks to a ton of free video and written content), then get them into the forum-focused online community on his website (make them repeat visitors for life) and then direct them out towards sponsors and affiliates, or your very own info products.
This is the strategy to go for if you really want to do serious damage.
But a dose of reality helps here. To make this work you need to semi-dominate your niche in order to build up a thriving forum.
So the big question you need to ask yourself now…
What interests, side hobbies, etc do you freaking loooooove?!
Although many people say passion doesn’t belong in the ideation process so much, I think that if you choose something that you love (and people want and are willing to pay to learn more about), then your ability to pump out content and ooze personality – the two things you need to create a passive income goldmine (see Dave!) – will be so far beyond the competition, that you’ll crush it!
9. Green Exam Academy
You’ve probably heard of Pat Flynn before, over at Smart Passive Income, and we’re about to look at his first money making venture online to see what we can takeaway…both the success lessons and the big bad mistakes.
So Green Exam Academy is a site that teaches architects how to pass the LEED exam (an exam you need to take to get a license to work on Green Energy buildings, or something). Greeeeeat idea!
I know at the time Pat didn’t actually think about any of these pointers I’m going to make, but we can reverse engineer it all and narrow in on the reasons why someone would want to start this idea.
For starters this was a real niche’s niche, since it was a special exam within a specialized field – hello open sailing.
More importantly, it was a high pain niche, since you had a bunch of architects desperate to pass an exam that was guaranteed to increase their pay by $20,000 a year roughly.
Oh and it helped that this exam has a failure rate of 60-70%.
It’s also worth pointing out that we’re nice and low on the Maslow hierarchy of needs with this idea (ie career / jobs / money), which is the kinda place where people will get their wallets out to pay for a solution.
Why else did this idea rock?
Multiple revenue streams.
Pat, and he didn’t know this at the time, could make money through the obvious like Google Adsense and banner advertising, and the less obvious 1-1 negotiated private advertising and of course through an information product on how to pass the exam.
I’ve talked about it before (maybe when looking at Backyard Chickens above), that if you have an audience looking to achieve a goal in a limited amount of time, then your blog – an unorganized body of fragmented knowledge – will never fully do it for them.
They’re going to want a step-by-step guide to solving their problem, and only a paid for info product is going to do that.
So as you can imagine Pat did well with this site.
His tireless content writing (every day for months) and forum posting (and link backs to his site not for SEO’s sake, but for referral’s sake), got the attention of architects, as well as other websites who linked back to him.
Within about a year of starting the site he was earning $1,500 a month in Google adsense and private advertising (a 4×4 ad block and banner ad). Nice!
Then he got advice through a mastermind group to write an ebook. Boom!
First day, 10 sales of a $20 ebook, with absolutely no launch/promotion, other than a banner ad on the site itself. He now consistently makes $3,000+ a month from the site, and I believe the split is probable 30:70 ad revenue to ebook revenue. Nice!
Interesting to note that Pat wisely created a second version of the product and that is the study guide plus audio. I’m guessing when Pat saw how much people loved his Smart Passive Income Podcast he realized the power and perceived value people attach to audio recordings.
So the guide is now $30 and the audio + guide is $45. Awesome case study!
So ask yourself, what job-related goals can you help people achieve? Entrance exams, entrance essays, brainteaser tests, interview Q&A, networking guides/databases etc.
Remember, this is a high pain niche where people will pay great money for advice, because they know that if it pays off they will land a good paying job, or get a pay increase thanks to new qualifications etc.
ie they will get their money back 100 times over, or more!
10. DC Income
This is going to be a weird case study, but I want to include it because there are some very inspiring lessons in here.
Okay, so there’s this dude called Dr Loop. He’s a chiro, but most of his money comes from teaching other chiros how to market their business online (through social media, SEO, email marketing etc) and also teaching online entreprenuers how to make money online.
Now Dr Loop is an interesting character. He doesn’t really go into too much detail on his successful ventures (I gather this is more reserved for his coaching clients), but he does share some very powerful tips, especially with this one software product he launched.
I think you may have heard me rant about the dangers of trying to create your own online software product without having technical experience. That’s where Dr Loop comes in.
He talks about keeping things super simple, by seeking to solve a problem that annoys people and costs them 100s of hours of wasted time, but for which a relatively simple online program would satisfy.
I love that he follows up with numbers. He recently created – I have no idea what – but some sort of online program (maybe for chiros) and it basically helps them automate things, thereby saving them 100s of hours of time.
He sells it for a one-off fee of about $50-$70. Remember, the cost base is super low here, being a $400 website cost and $1000 online software app (both outsourced to people he already knows and can handle – important!).
And basically, without doing too much marketing – just some forum comments and direct ads – he is taking in just over $2,000 a month. Boom, ROI up the wazoo.
I don’t care that we don’t know what the product is to be honest, because it’s the lessons he shares that interest me. So let’s just think of it as something like a bill reminder app for chiropractors.
The big lessons from Dr Loop are…
Get into the forums in your niche and find out what people are having problems with, see if there are already automated software-esque solutions out there, be first to market (mooooooove!), engage the community where they are (in forums and your email list), offer a free trial of software in exchange for email, set them up with a 7+ day autoresponder, and well, hello 11% conversion!
By the way, for those of you not too sure what average conversion rates are for online software, it’s more like 1-2%. So Dr Loop is obviously killing it, and no small part of this would be due to the free trial paired with the trust building and uber informative autoresponder.
I think we have one of the best case studies, without actually knowing what the product was! Hahaha.
It really re-frames the whole challenge of creating your own software and makes it a much more touchable goal…just remember to come up with the simplest solution to a simple but time-consuming problem and generally K.I.S.S.
Just always be looking to first release a minimum viable product…think Google’s newest products, which are rough around the edges, but good enough…then iterate from there over time as you get more customers and work out more specifically what they want and don’t want.
One other big thing Dr Loop mentions, which I can’t agree more with, is the need for repeat sales.
ie he is busting his gut to get people into his email sign up, so he doesn’t then just want the relationship to end with a one off $50 payment. But without being able to charge a monthly fee for the software (apparently doesn’t suit this product offering), he aims to create and also promote other highly related and helpful products to that list.
If you adopt this approach things become less passive, but then the lifetime ROI of a customer goes through the roof.
And when lifetime ROI improves, you can spend a lot more money (on SEO, ads, affiliates etc) to acquire each new customer. Hello aggressive, market beating expansion strategy!
Visit DC Income
11. Zen Habits
Probably my favorite blogger going around, Leo somehow manages to continually pump out useful content on a swathe of topics related to personal development.
I love that he continues to advance himself with everything from meditation to raising his kids, but what I really love is the amount of passive income he’s generating now! Hahaha.
You knew that was coming.
I will say though that Leo has only really come into his passive income fortunes in more recent times.
I remember reading Zen Habits back when it started and although he was doing great with his first ebook and (I think, but not certain) affiliate links to other ebooks, he wasn’t really maximizing his income. He even tried ads at that time on his site.
The lessons I learnt from watching Leo expand his passive income streams were huge.
For starters, he never focused on the income. He just focused on creating fascinating and life-changing content. You can tell from his website’s design that this is still in number one focus. (You may start to understand where this site’s focus and design are inspired from :).
Selling his own information products was something he quickly realized was his ticket to freedom. Not affiliate marketing as much, and definitely not ads!
Corbett Barr has said something very similar to this (ie info product income trumps affiliate marketing income), and this is coming from the guy who literally wrote the book on affiliate marketing, the Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing!
This point alone has always driven me away from creating an affiliate-dependent blog.
But anyways, back to Leo. So it’s the San Francisco Leo Babauta, not the former Guam-living Leo, that has got me all excited. You see, Leo’s finally progressed from selling $10 ebooks to selling multi-tiered membership sites!! Our boy has become a true passive income man.
Most of his recent offerings have been monthly membership sites where there is a recurring fee, from $10 to $50. Brilliant.
And the best thing of all, the products are naturally suited to a monthly fee, because they are gradual release info products, paired with monthly happenings like webinars, forums and whatnot.
Partnering up with other entrepreneurs to create and market these info products has been crucial to Leo’s fast rise (in money terms). Like he did so successfully when he paired up with Mary to create A List Blogging. Love it. Or more recently with something like his Simple Fitness Course (which I cover later in this article).
Now what can us ordinary Joes learn from Leo?
I mean, here’s a guy that can promote a course to millions of people simply by writing a blog post and getting a few of his other friends on the net to do the same. How can we learn from him?
1. Create epic content
2. Have an A class reader experience (think decluttered, content focused…hello Real Passive Income Ideas)
3. Guest post like crazy
4. Network online
5. Create your own info products
6. Partner up with experts
And before you know it you will be crushing your own niche.
The important thing to remember is you don’t need a million readers like Leo to be successful.
I think I read it first over at Scott Dinsmore’s Live Your Legend, that you just need 1000 loyal followers to make a full time living online. ie a 1000 regular readers who love your stuff and are camping out for your next $67 ebook or $10 a month online course.
You do the math.
Visit Zen Habits
12. Microsoft Excel by Infinite Skills
Something a little different! As you can imagine this is an information product for people trying to learn their way around Excel. What you might not realize without doing anymore research is that this product sells for $99 and has sold over 24,481 copies! Buuuuu yao!!
It’s a terrific example of what can be achieved when you teach people an important skill – the kind of skill they can use to increase their earning capacity…kaching styles.
What skills do you have that would help people earn more money, get a rise, land a better job etc?
As you can see with this case study, it’s possible to crush it by teaching something as basic as Excel 2010 for beginners!
Let’s look at why Infinite Skills did so well.
First of all, the product is delivered as an online course with most of the teaching coming through video – think narrated screencasts where the presenter literally walks you through Excel. This format makes learning Excel sooooo much easier (and fun) than conventional methods like books and allows students to learn at their own pace (compared to in-class presentations).
Oh that brings up another big point; the product is a like for like replacement for expensive $1000+ real world courses.
Which makes me ask…what can you create an online course in that could replace expensive ass real world courses?
Everything from how to speak Dutch to how to cook Russian food could possibly work, as does salsa, yoga etc etc.
Best of all, this ideation technique is simple. Just Google around for real world course providers, get their course list and then go through it one by one. What can you do an online version for?
Why else did this course kill it?
Udemy. Udemy is an online platform for creating, marketing and delivering an online course. ie all you need to do as the expert is create the content and upload it. Udemy does the rest, as it provides user friendly technology and backend, and via it’s internal search engine, email list (this is huuuuuuuuuuge, just like it is with platforms like App Sumo*!) and website, it markets your course. Just like AppSumo does with info products.
* The guys at App Sumo mentioned that something like 70% of their sales come from email campaigns to their lists!!
All this stuff is done for you. Amaaaaazing. Especially for those of you reading this right now and thinking you don’t know how to do all the technical stuff like create a website, work out hosting, setup a membership plugin, integrate email marketing, setup a payment gateway, work out an affiliate program etc etc.
With Udemy you can kill procrastination brought on by fear of the unknown. You can focus on what truly matters…creating the content.
Also, what it fantastic about Udemy is that they only take 30% or even less; 15% if the purchaser is a referral from your own website/blog. Udemy has some competitors in this space such as Traindom, but whoever you go with, just get going!
PS if you didn’t do the math earlier, let’s assume Infinite Skills referred none of the 24,000+ purchasers…still, what did they make? $1.7 million!
There may have been some corporate/wholesale deals in here, but still, we’re talking north of a million for a 9.5 hour video course! Now obviously this is a massive success story. But even the more modest successes, eg a Photoshop Crash Course with 2,371 students at $40, is a resounding success.
13. Cake Decorating for Fun & Profit
Cake decorating. Yeah, that’s right. An information product on cake decorating is a profitable niche! If that doesn’t inspire you to realize pretty much any specialized knowledge you have can be turned into a profitable info product, then I don’t know what will.
This is another case study I’ve plucked from Udemy.
Jodi Schweiss I love you! Jodi is inspiring. Here she is with a full time job decorating cakes and yet she made the time to create this course. As with most things Udemy related, this course is mainly video based.
Running at just 4.5 hours it is the perfect length; giving viewers just enough knowledge to be dangerous (to paraphrase Expert Enough).
All the mini lessons are broken up into 1-3 minute chunks, which allows the curriculum to really look super strong. Nice.
Perhaps what I love even more about this course is the fact that you’re taking a skill that’s very hard to teach in any way other than video. So you’re truly adding value.
And given this would replace $300 cooking classes in cake making, then the price tag of just $39 seems a steal.
For those of you wondering the big question, how much has it made, well you’ll be happy to know it’s so far brought in 459 students. About $18,000. Not bad at all, for a course that probably only took a week or two to record and polish.
And since Udemy takes care of the rest, then you’d have to say Jodi’s roughly $14,000 take home money is a great freaking return on time invested! Now go write down every single skill or knowledge you have, and work out what video courses you can teach.
PS need inspiration? Go visit Udemy now and search through their different categories to see what other people have made; you’ll find derivative ideas aplenty here.
PPS I should say as a general observation the most popular courses on Udemy – the ones really killing it – are the ones to do with technology, whether it’s HTML5 or Windows 8 or Photoshop or Excel etc.
14. The Minimalists
If you’ve read Josh & Ryan’s blog before you’ll know they talk about how to live a meaningful life. Unlike most blogs the quality of their writing is at a professional writer level…and well, they are professional writers (Joshua at least is).
Thanks to their focus on pumping out high quality posts – I mean essays – they have attracted a huge audience. Over 100,000 unique visitors a month in fact.
How have they monetized this traffic?
Well, I think they have 7 ebooks for sale – half about minimalism/life and half fiction works.
Plus they launched a membership site for people wanting to write better (although I fear a lot of this is live teaching and coaching by Joshua…not passive).
Plus they’ve co-launched a digital publishing company, Assymetrical, to help other people do what they have successfully done. But I’m not too in love with their service side businesses, since they’re far from passive ventures.
What I do love and want to talk about here is their collection of ebooks.
If you’re writing a blog and struggling to come up with an ebook idea, you should follow the lead of The Minimalists. Their first ebook (or two) were basically just nicely formatted and edited blog post compilations.
I bought them for a buck or two, because it’s much easier to learn/read in a structured manner via an ebook. And hey, these guys priced this sort of compilation product correctly – just a couple bucks.
Soon after they started to get more serious.
Their Life, Meaningful Life ebook was a fantastic 6-part book, which they created and sold through Amazon mainly. Interestingly, they never really promoted direct ejunkie/PDF sales. I always remember having to click on their link to Amazon (may be wrong about that).
Maybe they were excited about the effect a bestselling book on Amazon could have for them; ie the more you sell on Amazon the more people who see your book (and also buy it) and the more you sell the more authority you have (hello bestselling author tag).
ie they may have sacrificed short-term profits from direct selling (with ejunkie you would keep 97% of profits as opposed to Amazon’s 70% they give you), in return for long-term success. All speculation.
I will say their products are low priced, around $10, which makes them suitable for the Amazon route (if you sell on Amazon and price under $10 you get to keep a much larger % of the sales). If by comparison you were selling a $47 ebook, I would definitely direct sell it.
Their books are also suitable for Amazon in terms of content; ie less technical, more life and fiction.
If you go down the Amazon route with your ebook idea, you should also follow their pricing strategy. In the first week of most of their launches they priced super low, often $0.99. This brought in heaps of sales and glowing reviews. Who doesn’t love a good product for one buck!
After week one – and 100+ five star reviews on Amazon – the book has climbed up the bestseller list and displays 5 star average rating. Welcome to the self-perpetuating nature of a runaway hit on Amazon. So even raising it to $4.99, you can get a lot of sales since the book has climbed off the back of early cheap pricing.
One more idea of Josh’s that I think rocks for any of you considering boarding the Amazon passive income train, is to make your ebook exclusive to Kindle. People will still be able to read it on their computers, phones etc, without actually owning a Kindle, thanks to the Kindle App.
And what Amazon gives you in return is the ability to give away as many free copies as you want for a limited time. As Josh said when he guest posted on Think Traffic about his fiction piece Falling While Sitting, this opened up a whole new audience to him who had previously never heard of him; 21,000 people in fact downloaded his book for free during the few days it was available for $0.
Talk about Amazon working as a phenomenal lead generation tool!! Selling products in the future just got a helluva lot easier.
15. The 300 Workout
This is probably one of those passive income ideas I would have had when I was in my early 20s. After all, think about how much time we waste on looking good when we’re young!
Anyways, the idea is simple; teach people how to get a body like Gerard Butler and crew in the Sparta movie, 300.
Leveraging off the Hollywood effect of a movie is genius. The movie is doing all the selling for you! The movie will get people searching for something like “300 work out” or “300 diet” or “Spartan work out”, whatever, and your blog on all things Sparta fitness related will reel in the traffic.
Because the area is still pretty niche, you can rank high in Google if you’re early to market with your site and have some decent content on the topic for free.
Anyways, so once you get the visitors to your site it’s not too hard to convince them to part with say $37 for an ebook on a topic their pretty damn interested in (thanks again to the movie!!).
Ebooks are particularly desired for topics like this; the person wants to solve a problem, wants a plan, want something structured (compare that to a fragmented collection of blog posts). An online video course teaching the same would be even better though.
I will say I am still unclear on the intellectual property aspects of this. I mean I know you can’t put a trademark in your domain name (eg elancetips.com), but is a movie title protected like this…I don’t think it is (mini disclaimer: seek legal advice!).
Update: I did look further into this and it seems the only time movie titles get trademarked successfully is when the studio can be bothered (surprisingly not often) AND they’ve created multiple movies (ie a series, eg Twilight). But yeah, you can never be sure without doing a trademark search and consulting a lawyer.
So anyways, this is a passive income idea I really like.
If you do a little keyword research you’ll quickly find out that over 70,000 people search for the main keyword “300 work out” every freaking month. They are huge numbers. With this site sitting at around position 4 on Google for this term, you could expect they would see 5,000-8,000 uniques a week (thanks to this keyword alone). Boom.
Best of all, if you look at their site, you’ll find only a few articles! Wow!! Talk about a well-executed health and fitness info product idea.
What movies can you leverage off to create an info product on? Fight Club Work Out, Cat Woman Diet, etc etc? And what about non-health products; fashion, accents, acting skills, philosophy etc?
Visit 300 Workout
16. Colette Patterns
A website dedicated to sewing! Oh yeah, that’s right. And wow, what a hot ass niche – crafting is one of the biggest past times in the world.
If you are a crafter, you need to be thinking long and hard about a blog, especially since your passion can drive the content creation machine. That said, as you can imagine there are 1000s of blogs on sewing alone, so the question becomes…how did Sarai, from Colette, execute on her passive income idea to beat the competition?
Well, I checked out her interview with Corbett over at Think Traffic and I scoured Sarai’s site, and here are the big takeaways.
Create a ton of high quality content that your users are searching for; tutorials, tips, how to guides, videos etc. Then you can sit back and let Google take it from there. This strategy of tireless content gets Sarai something like 60,000 uniques a month to her blog and 26,000 to her store.
Create products that are missing in the market. In this case Sarai has created stunning printed sewing patterns. This is very different to the rest of the market, as most patterns are sold in digital format on sites like Ravelry – they’re ugly and unuser friendly since people have to print them off and then pair them up (a nightmare I’ve seen unfold far too many times!).
Obviously creating a ton of free content around or related to your core product is key.
Think about your physical product ideas…can you create 10,000-20,000 words of advice related to them? That’s how I would ideate on physical products.
For example, take a highly related product; dress makers dummies (those things sewing people hang and fit their clothes on). You could easily pump out 1000s of words on how to fit clothes well, sew for your body, make adjustments etc…all things highly related to the product your selling. Beautiful.
But if you don’t think you can do this, then maybe your product idea is not a goer, eg posture braces (a previous case study we covered…I think this is a bit too narrow, compared to say posture products in general).
Getting back to Colette, a couple other things I noticed from her site; the constant links from her blog to her store (excellent), the drop dead gorgeous design (a true differentiator in any niche), and well the sheer size of it all.
Although this business produces passive income, to get your own business to this size, you’re going to be pretty much non-stop active for many years. But that’s alright if you take the long term view and realize 10 years hard work now could lead to 20 years of serious life-supporting passive income.
Visit Collette Patterns
17. Man vs Debt
Adam Baker started this site to share the lessons he learnt along with his wife, when they set about eliminating their mountain of personal debt a few years ago. The site is thus a personal finance blog, but with a focus on eliminating debt. I like focus! What’s most interesting about Adam Baker is how he grew into a real online business builder. Starting out with an ebook on how to sell your stuff for maximum profit on ebay, Craiglist etc, he’s progressed to launch a membership site on debt reduction (You vs Debt) as well as a freaking feature length movie (one I might add was crowdfunded and not so much profit oriented). He was also the co-creator of Only72, which did to information products on making money online, what Groupon does to small businesses every day – ie bundle deal site. FYI Only72 did something like half a million in sales when it launched, thanks to the power of every featured author letting their audience know about it and the fact it was a smart structured deal with everyone giving away some good content in exchange for affiliate fees and the chance of getting exposed to a brand new audience. Man vs Debt is a great information product example because it shows you how easy it is to find an idea by looking at by-product. What do I mean? Well, the guys over at 37 Signals were the first people to really bang this into my head. Look at what you’re doing right now, what you’re learning etc, and ask how you can turn that into a product. Example, this very site you are reading right now – it is simply a by-product of my many years spent searching for the next passive income idea to start. This site is basically an elegant version of all the notes I took when I was doing my research, testing and all manner of experiments. I thus didn’t spend that much extra time creating this site that I wouldn’t have already had to spend. You can see how Baker did that with something like his Sell Your Crap ebook. He would have done all the research and experiments before even thinking about the ebook. And thus in order to create it all he needed to do was pull together his fragmented notes and edit the shit out of it. Perfect! So what by-product products can you create? Just one more example because it’s a classic; a guy who ran several self-storage buildings, wanted to DIY install security cameras. For a self-storage place there is a bit involved. He spent ages researching it, thinking about it etc. Eventually he had the perfect setup in place. He then turned this into an online course – or ebook, I’m not 100% sure – and sold that to fellow self-storage business owners. The result was something crazy, like $100,000 in sales in the first year. Exact numbers allude me, but can you see how crazy valuable by-products can be…and these are the things that no one else really pays attention to or bothers to get value out of. Enjoy the ideation!!
Visit Man vs Debt
18. Nerd Fitness
Steve Kamb came up with a great idea. Take a huge topic, in this case health & fitness, and then niche it down not based on the topic, but rather based on the target audience. Before going any further, think about what this means for you and the topics you know. Example, say you are a financial planner, maybe instead of hoping to teach stock picking for everyone you can niche down and focus on retirees and all their associated specific needs (time horizon, risk preferences, lifestyle fit etc). This is just one of many ideation techniques out there and we go through them all in the Idea Generating Article. Okay, back to it. Here’s exactly how Steve has killed it online with his fitness website. He wrote a ton of content. He did a ton of guest posts (especially on non-fitness websites, that he knew would be read by his target audience of nerds, eg tech blogs). He created a community around the comments section of his blog and through the massive forum component of his site (hello loyal tribe!). FYI no better way to create a community than to create one around achieveing a goal and making it all for one, one for all styles. He created quality, focused, structured ebooks on 3 topics in fitness, running and strength (oh and has a great upsell technique, where for just a few extra dollars people get insanely useful bonus resources like sample meal plans). He no doubt has plenty of affiliate links in his site and ebooks to products he loves (hey, the fitness world is packed with quality products to affiliate!). And he even has an app out that helps people quickly work out whether a food item or meal conforms with the paleo or caveman diet. Brilliant. I don’t think the app is going to be a money spinner, but definitely something that could pay for a great overseas trip once a year perhaps! What a great product mix and inspiring setup for any of you thinking about the health industry for making passive income. And inspiring for anyone worried they have too broad a niche, but can’t niche down because there is not enough to write about; ie stay with your broad topic, but niche down based on audience, eg Yoga for pregnant ladies, debt reduction for college loans, etc.
Visit Nerd Fitness
19. Chinese with Mike
Oh wow! I wanted to bring you guys a language teaching example, and since I was personally thinking of doing a course on introduction Chinese Mandarin, I Googled around a bit to scope out the competition. It’s fairly smooth sailing I might say! All the sites out there are either from the 18th century, or content-light sites put up by the BBC, Chinese TV etc. The one site I came across that offered funny, interesting video lessons though, was Chinese with Mike. It’s a site led by you guessed, Mike. He’s a mullet-sporting American and a big fan on infotainment. Mike’s videos at first give you the impression he is on another planet (I like the big ass personality, because you can’t click away…hello engaged user!), but then he whips out pitch perfect tonal Chinese the next minute. Love it. Now Mike has recorded about 80 videos for the site, and as with any passive income business, all that hard work up front means he now has a site that is passively generating traffic. But is it generating passive income too? I’m not so sure to be honest. Mike seems to have worked so hard on the content, but spent almost no time working out a monetization strategy. He has an Amazon books page that probably nets him $100…a year. And he has the donation button there. And some merchandise, which I’m fairly sure is a joke. Where’s the structured video course for upsale? Where’s the $20 vocab resources using digital flashcards? Where’s the Mike sits with student and practices Chinese together (like those Teach Yourself CDs)? Where’s Mike in everyday situations speaking with someone in Chinese, and the English coming up on the screen (FYI situational conversations like this are the best way to learn, bar going in country yourself)? Where’s the affiliate links to onling Skype-based tutoring services like MyChineseTutor? Or even affiliate links to upsell students into big courses like Rosetta Stone for Chinese? Miiiike! So I have put this case study in to show you what to do; do Mike’s content and branding, paired with my few monetization ideas.
Visit Chinese with Mike
20. Harvest Eating
I first heard about these guys when listening to a Pat Flynn Smart Passive Income Podcast. I loved that Pat was finally getting to share a few success stories of making money online that weren’t to do with teaching people how to make money online! As someone who created a careers advice membership site myself, this was verrrrry refreshing. So here’s the story behind Harvest Eating. This chef, Keith Snow, decided to create a site showcasing awesome recipes for fresh local style eating. He put a ton of content up and then added a You Tube channel too – ie he was no longer just writing about his recipes, but also cooking them like a mini Jamie Oliver. He rolled the site he had into a membership site, where people paid to access all the content. Membership fees were either monthly, yearly or lifetime. He’s got over 1000 people paid up, many of whom would be monthly members at $4.99 a month. Now I don’t need to do the math on this one, you can clearly see this is generating $20,000+ a month for him (assuming half of people take up the discounted options of yearly or lifetime membership). He’s also making money through all the You Tube videos he’s done, and since he’s in the millions of views, you would think this amount would not be negligible. You can see that any niche can produce a 1000-strong tribe for it’s content creators, so whether you’re a downhill mountain biking nutjob or an ultra-marathon runner, realize it’s possible to make money from a small interest group. Two other sources of income for this e-celebrity chef are direct private advertising on his site (ie not google adsense, but rather deals negotiated with companies one on one who saw his high net worth audience was huge) and through a little ecommerce too (he sells specialty food products directly to his audience too). I did also see he made an app, but I think at a measly $1.99 it’s not going to bring in much more than say $1000 a year, so I’m looking at this as more of a distribution device for the money-making content. PS I remember Pat saying on the podcast, something like, what information can you turn into a membership site with monthly recurring fees? I think pretty much anything can fit, but one big point you’re not going to like – as a passive income junkie that is – is that in order to keep people paying recurring fees every month, you’re going to have to continuously offer something new, whether it’s new content or interactions with members, it certainly ain’t passive. You can of course get around this by just charging a one-off entry fee for your members-only website, which is the exact route I took with our recruiting information site.
21. Wall Street Oasis
How do you create a million dollar passive income business? Create a community centered around an intense pain and sell info products and services to them all. Done. Seriously, that is exactly what Patrick Curtis has achieved over at WSO. Let me give you the run down on exactly what he’s created, so you can think about what similar community sites you could create…hello Jack Russel dog training! Jack first created WSO as a news and forum site. So students interested in landing a job on Wall Street would come to read up on what was happening (funny take on the finance news) and would ask each other 1000s of questions on all things Wall Street related, from resume questions to interview hacks. This two pronged approach created a giant pool of quality, unique content…the forums alone get WSO ranking at the top of Google for 1000s of long tail keywords, eg “How do I land a job at Goldman Sach?”. And if you can’t see the beauty in getting your site to the top of Google without actually writing most of the content, then you need to be Penguin Slapped! So with this helpful community site purring along, Jack soon added ebooks to help students with things like writing a resume, answering the toughest interview questions on Wall Street, networking their way into jobs etc. These ebooks are typically 40-60 pages and sell for around $20 on average. He started to pimp up the ebook offerings with a wider range, extending all the way to VC and private equity, as well as the GMAT (a highly related problem for this target audience). He also employed the smart trick of offering bundled or higher value ebooks, eg an ebook plus digital flash cards. Later on Jack added all sorts of other cool offerings to the site from which he can generate $1000s in passive income every week. If my memory serves me right he created a video course that showed top Wall Street bankers interviewing students – providing a never before seen look into the interview room. Students were willing to pay good money to see these interviews unfold, and to hear the answers before they hit the interview room! WSO also added financial modeling training to it’s product category, but did this via a partnership (affiliate) with another company. Another high pain product – the kind of product that students desperately want to cure their anxiety and increase their chances of landing a dream $100,000+ job straight out of college. WSO also offered mock interviews and resume review services; two things you might not think of as passive, until you realize that Jack doesn’t handle any of them. He just setup the system and hooks up bankers with students. He gets the middleman fee. Same goes with the job boards you’ll find on the site. Does this all sound like waaaaaay too much work? Well, it is. But you can go for a more scaled down version. Look at Pat Flynn’s Green Academy for architects – it’s a community site based around an environmental accreditation exam. A very small version of WSO, but equally effective when it comes to time-return. Before I finish this case study, let me just say that building community sites requires a huge first push to build the membership base and thus get the forums populated and active. It’s also a kind of first to market wins type of deal. So if you’re thinking about ideas for community sites like this, think super niche. Hello chicken coop community site!
22. Samurai Sales Videos
This one page site – built probably in less than 3 hours using the Unbounce platform – sells text & image driven sales videos to online entreprenuers; eg someone launching an ebook. The cost is $499 and all the work is handled by a team of 5, leaving about $100 for affiliates and about $270 profit per video in the owners hand. How do we know all this? After I started following the site I later found it on Flippa – an online auction site for websites – and as part of the DD the owner disclosed all these juicy tidbits. So an interesting case study and once again proof positive that you can take an online service and make it completely passive, by setting up the right systems and hiring the right outsourced team. As I’ve said before, my own experience is that neither systems nor outsourcing is easy. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. But you know it’s all easily solved by buying an info product or two on outsourcing – I think Chris Ducker has some good stuff on this. Anyway, back to the idea. Such a simple idea right – text driven sales videos – and also so on trend it’s not funn! What a great market too – fellow online entreprenuers looking to increase sales of their fledgling ebooks or courses will spend up big on anything that promises them a chance of increased sales. Double whammy! One more interesting point from the Flippa DD; most traffic comes from affiliates like Think Traffic and Pro Blogger, so it’s almost fully automated marketing. Nice.
23. Hollywood Physique
First heard about this product through Derek Johanson, an online entrepreneur who creates and co-creates products for his fellow online entrepreneurs (eg course on copy writing, course on information product creation and now a course on fitness.). So it seems to me Derek would have advised Clay – the fitness expert – on how to create this info product, and in doing so I think they’ve created something pretty cool. In a niche that is saturated with info products on how to build muscle, get ripped and generally become a world beating mofo, you can imagine the challenge of launching a successful passive income stream in it would be tough. But here’s what I think the guys have done right. First up, coming up with the idea for the course; they’ve done so well to finesse the idea away from simple ‘get ripped’ to more of a ‘get the Hollywood look in 12 weeks without killing yourself’. Nice! Drawing on Hollywood for any fitness product is genius in my opinion, which you may have seen me rant about when talking about the 300Workout. But perhaps the coolest thing to learn from this case study has to do with the way they sell the info product. Unlike the majority of info products out there, they haven’t resorted to some bang up eyesore of a sales page packed with all sorts of hypnotic sales devices. Instead, they have a funnel like this. Authors, like Derek himself, share their success story on their personal blog, and this is a nice plain text and a few photos type of article (so not overly salesy). People then click through to the sales page, which is surprise surprise, fairly similar looking to Real Passive Income Ideas…ie minimalist, focus on writing, photos used sparingly etc. You’re not reading a sales page, you’re reading a long article. You get to here the origin story of how Clay came up with the idea (PS Origin stories are one of the best ways to open a sales page). Moreover, they keep things simple and just keep throwing proof-of-concept in your face with transformation photos of people you probably already know, eg Derek. When your product is great AND has already chalked up results, this is THE strategy to pursue. What I also love about this sales page is the string of screenshots of users emailing in with their thanks and success stories. Brilliant. If you ever bought the M6 Method (a now defunct $2,000 info product that Derek co-launched), you’ll see the formula used on their sales page of what + origin story + how it works + what it includes + proof of concept (in this case transformation photos) + qualifying reader + CTA + FAQ + further proof of concept (screenshot email testimonials).
24. The GMAT Coach
I’m 99% sure this is Lee Burrel’s site, which created after being inspired by the Four Hour Work Week AND I’m 99% sure he’s making a million plus a year from this based on a video testimonial / case study he submitted to the Four Hour Work Week Blog 1 or 2 years ago. So with that unreserved success established, let’s take a look at what he did and what we can learn from it. So my understanding is that Lee was no GMAT genius when he decided to launch this site. What he did was team up with a GMAT tutor. Already that should be setting of massive alarm bells for you…what ideas do you think would be awesome to launch, but you’ve always held back because you don’t think you’re an expert enough? Can you find an expert to team up with? For example, I might be doing something in the sewing niche soon – an ecommerce site drop shipping a particular item every good sewer needs (think 14,000 searches a month and almost no competition) – but I have no freaking idea about sewing. Well, I’ll find a knowledgeable sewing blogger who knows the subject, but maybe is not so good at monetizing their blog and so would love to earn money from creating content for the niche. Boom! Anyways, so that is what Lee did here. Initially they did in-person seminars and in the first few months earned $15,000 or so (based on his comments in a 4HWW forum back in 2008-9). Not very passive though. Soon enough he turned it all into a video course and pumped it out on DVD. I looooove it. If you’re a presenter and do seminars, you should be turning that into a DVD course ASAP. Even today Lee still sells the course as a DVD course, which gets mailed to you. Old school you might think, but the perception of value that comes from DVDs is delicious and allows Lee to charge $199 for the entry level course pack. Prices rise to $399 and $599 with more goodies; book, questions library and also with some 1-1 services (not passive, but given he’s not doing them himself, they’re pretty freaking passive from the online entrepreneur’s point of view). Once again, I want to hammer home the point; Lee is a systems builder, not a GMAT teacher. If you take this approach you can turn almost any business on earth into a passive income empire. This approach allowed me to turn a web design & digital strategy company into a passive income business for example. So get inspired into thinking outside the small box of info product or affiliate marketing. Think big! A lot of you will be thinking this is impossible, I don’t know what I need to do. And for that I have an awesome awesome awesome link for you. Click on this link and read Lee’s post back in 2008 when he was just getting started…he didn’t know how to tie his digital shoelaces at the time and look how far this man has come. Lee is nothing short of an inspirational cases study!
25. Evernote Essentials
An ebook on how to use Evernote. $160,000 passive income (net) a year. Oh yeaaaaaaaaah baby! Round of Pina Coladas on Brett Kelly, the author of this puppy!! I first read about Brett on the Four Hour Work Week blog and more in Chris Guillibeau’s $100 Startup Book, and was blown away. What a great idea!! Find a hot product that is complicated and then create an all-in-one plain English guide on how to use it. The better your instruction – think screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and best of all, videos – the more you sell. The key for me is finding something where the company behind it has not created the greatest support system or how to guide. Or where their guide is not comprehensive enough for power users. This is always something you need to check. I mean, take Optimize Press – a complicated WordPress theme that pretty much everyone online is using to sell info products. It is complicated sure. But James Dyson’s video tutorial library alone covers pretty much every issue I ever encountered, and then some. And he backs that up with a treasure trove of PDF tutorials and what not. You couldn’t make a dime releasing an Evernotes Essential type product for Optimize Press. So be careful. Anywas, back to Brett. So he created an info product on a technology product, which means he does need to update it year to year (annoying a bit). But hey you can’t win all your passive income battles. So Brett’s ebook (or online course?) has gone on to sell over 18,000 copies at the very smart price point of $29. Oh yeah, you should realize the limits on your pricing when you create an info product on how to use an inexpensive technological program for which there is already a lot of free information available on. One more thing we have to learn from Brett’s example, is how hard he worked on creating the ultimate guide. If you too can create a guide so comprehensive and understandable you too will no doubt kick some ass. Brett’s guide was so good that Evernote hired him!!
26. No Meat Athlete
Very similar to Nerd Fitness, in the sense that Matt has taken a very broad niche – running – and niched down based on target audience, in this case marathon running vegos! For a while last year I was training for a marathon fuelled 90% by plants and you can imagine my instant attraction to this site as a result. Which brings up a bigggg point! If you niche down a topic (running to marathons) and a target audience (runners to vego runners) you create a site that people who fall into that sub-niche fall in love with. A site they identify with. A site where they don’t need any convincing – they’ll bookmark it, sign up to your email list and even read 10 articles on their first pass!! Why? You are speaking to their very heart. The information is oh so freaking relevant. I remember my experience with NMA was that I landed, read for 1 hour, came back to it the next day and bought the ebook. Boom. Most sites see a 10-30 day trust building cycle, in order to convert people from first time visitors into purchasers/tribesman. I was joining up for this tribe within 24 hours. I’d hazard a guess that Steve Kamb over at Nerd Fitness experiences something similar, as would so many niched up minimalist bloggers (eg minimalism for families) for example. So ideate on all that goodness for a bit. How does NMA generate passive income? Obviously he has the ebook-cum-online course, which includes training plan, marathon guide, meal plans and other great resources like worksheets and checklists, plus mp3s (for perceived value boost). It sells for $37, which is pretty cheap. I could have seen this going for $69 given the niche within a niche nature of his site. Even with a drop in sales, the increase profit should be a net plus. But I haven’t experimented/split test with this site and this audience, so I have no idea to be fair. But what Matt also sells is merchandise. If you read the 43 Best Passive Income Streams & Opportunities article you’ll know I said merchandise is strictly for blogs/websites that have strong beliefs which resonate with a certain type of audience, eg a soccer blog on Arsenal, a political blog etc. Well, No Meat Athlete fits this perfectly. Trust me, vego marathoners are a rabbid one-eyes bunch with strong shared values and no one loves telling the worl who they are moreso than a vego, let alone a marathoner haha. So it shouldn’t surprise you that NMA sells tshirts etc for people with the logo/brand on it. Apart from info product and ecommerce, NMA also has affiliate links, for example a link to Leo Babauta’s Simple Fitness Habit ecourse. Nice.
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27. Ready for Raw
Jennifer is so freaking bubbly, I love it! She’s the teacher of this online course on how to cook raw food – and the author of what I imagine is her SEO-friendly and lead capturing blo, Learn Raw Food. I think this is a great case study as we get to see a super niche topic – raw foods – in action. It’s interesting to track Jennifer’s progress and realize she first published a cook book on the topic, before making this video course / membership site. Now, what a great lesson that holds for us. Publish a book to get authority (even if you don’t sell much it looks good – FYI she sold over 100,000 copies of her first book), but not money. Create a video course to make money to live on! I mean, put them side by side; her 3 books sell on Amazon for about $10 each, whilst her video course sells for $175 (per year). Aside from the business side of it though, a video course is a much richer user experience, especially for a topic like cooking. Look at Jamie Oliver; where would he be without TV…his books are just references, whereas his shows create the personality, the brand, the buy in. Also, with Jennifer it’s an interesting case study in how to use Youtube to generate a ton of passive income. She has over 700,000 views on her channel and Youtube adsense going on there, plus lots of links to her blog and course. Now she’s also done a great job of connecting her readers with products, and you’ll find a ton of affiliate links spread throughout her web properties. In a niche like this, where it’s not easy to find what you’re looking for, these affiliate links are win-win. A lot of you might be thinking, oh but she’s a niche celebrity chef, I can’t replicate her success! Quit your dilly dallying son, we don’t need to replicate her success and earn millions. We’re just looking to make a living through passive income. So analyze your passions, think about what you know a lot about and get teaching with a blog and Youtube channel. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it needs to start ASAP, otherwise you’ll be back here in a year still wondering what to start.
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28. Paleo Plan
Love at first sight. I’m not a paleo nut at all – I like a me some pasta! – but this site is just stunningly designed and what a smart setup in terms of content and products. Paleo Plan is the sort of site that reminds us that in order to success with any passive income idea, you need to go all in on it and pour your heart and soul into it (at least for a few months). That sort of up front crazy-as-a-fox kind of work is what brings about a site like Paleo Plan. You’ve got wonderful multiple streams of income going on here, from the one-off ebook sales of $37 (or more for extended licenses) to the monthly membership to their meal plans and fitness workouts website (around $10 a month…recurring). The niche itself is great. Paleo is a massive trend of the last 5-10 years, being the younger cool nephew of Atkins, and given it’s ability to get results, seems here to stay indefinitely. In a similar style to P90X, Paleo Plan helps users solve both food and exercise problems, which pretty much doubles it’s income or ability to charge. I mean compare an ebook on six pack abs versus this. If we ideate on this case study for a minute we can of course see all sorts of directly related ideas; you could do Paleo Plan style website for all sorts of health niches, from gluten free to vegans to fruitarians, whoever! Going a bit more outside the box, I remember a company that goes a step beyond meal plans and actually delivers alkalinity-balanced food – it’s a Tony Robbins thing, go Google it – straight to people’s doors on a weekly basis (a lot of work to setup this kind of company and systematize it, but hello recurring revenue). My biggest takeaway from this passive income case study is the easy-to-use resources. People pay for things they can use straight away. Things that don’t require them to read a 200 page ebook. Meal plans tick that box. And like we talked about with the whole software v info product thing, people put a higher perception of value on a functional thing like software over and above a body of knowledge they first need to learn and then painstakingly apply. So ask yourself, what immediately-useful resources can you create to boost the perceived value of any info products you are thinking of making? I know with the careers advice site I created, that the things students loved most were the fill-in-the gaps style templates and the samples they could just copy, paste and tweak. They could have their resume or cover letter done in minutes and know it’s great. Beats reading a 60 page ebook anytime…there’s a kegger to get to after all!
29. Snowboard Addiction
Another very cool Four Hour Work Week success story!! Nev’s story is great. Snowboard enthusiast moves to Whistler. Becomes snowboard instructor. Works nights at a restaurant. Gets laid off from BOTH jobs. Gets handed 4HWW by a friend. Creates DVD course on how to snowboard like a pro. Busts guts to spread word. Fast forward. Site makes over $240,000 a year. Probably pays about $70,000 (my guess) to his outsourced web developer and personal assistant to keep it running whilst he travels the world. And who knows what the break up is amongst the few other contributors to the site. Either way, hells yeah!! There’s so much to learn from this case study. The niche is fantastic since there are so many things to teach about snowboarding, from upside down crazy tricks to basic downhilling. And then the related products!! Oh dear, you can affiliate so much stuff. And even make your own training aids like Nev has done – he sells a branded bar to practice your balancing. It’s also the kind of target audience, where once you sell them one product (eg beginners DVD), you can end up selling them a handful of other educational, training and performance products through some smart email marketing. Brilliant!! One big takeaway from Nev’s video on 4HWW; offer a 110%, or in his case, 120% money back guarantee on your products!! I know this strategy worked for our web design & digital strategy agency, but this is a service and you know the customer – compare to info products bought by strangers. But Nev says it increased sales drastically and didn’t result in mischievous returns. Interesting for sure. One other smart thing I noticed on Nev’s nav bar were the country flags indicating all the different languages he has had his courses translated into. That’s a great idea for a niche like this, which is pretty much standard around the world; ie they don’t snowboard differently in different countries –compare that to say a site on the bar exam (different in every country/jurisdiction). I’ve cited this example to many of my friends in the sports and fitness world, but like I add when talking to them…you can only successfully execute this idea by creating interesting content that people enjoy and turn into big results.
30. Live Your Legend
I’ve followed Scott for a couple years now and seen him grow from just another blogger to become a Barr-Babauta lovechild in both his awesomeness and authenticity. What I love most about Scott is the depths he goes to punch out a post. None of that 400 word musing shite. No way! Instead almost every post he launches is a 2000+ word essay of epic proportions. This quality is what has helped him build a passive income empire. Now before we go any further, Scott would be the first person to slap me across the face with a dueling glove Homer style and say “It ain’t passssssive man!”. Well, we can debate it all we want, but for me it’s simple; Scott creates a piece of content, whether that’s a blog post or info product once, and then benefits from it over and over again without doing much if any extra work. Although he keeps adding new content all the time, that doesn’t make the older content any less passive. I guess the better, more correct term to use is residual income then. But we’re getting into Monty Python territory here. Okay, so let’s look at what Scott’s done to generate – I believe he recently reported – something like $100,000 a year from his blog. First up, Scott promotes a lot of quality products, often of his personal friends, eg Corbett Barr’s Fizzle, or Leo’s Sea Change. Plus he promotes other products he believes in and uses (you know the usual suspects). Now don’t be confused. Scott is not in the make money online niche. He straddles it, but he’s not deeply in it. What he teaches people is how to quit their shitty jobs and work on something that matters. Admittedly, for many of these people starting a blog themselves and making money online is the idea. But not for everyone. And if you look at Scott’s two info products you’ll see they ain’t MMO at all. One is for people looking to quit their jobs and pursue their passions, and the more recent one is for people looking to learn how to connect with anyone. So career and networking advice if you will. As you can imagine if you’ve ever read his blog, the products are freaking huuuge. Packed with a ton of information, resources and video. It shouldn’t surprise you that Scott’s corresponding pricing policy is premium. The Live Your Passion course sells for $197 for example. Anyways, I just want to share a few more lessons from Scott’s case study. He came up with all his product ideas by looking at what he knew a lot about already – he created by-products of what he had already worked hard to become good at…ie goals/passion and connecting with people. I love this. As I keep saying, think about what you already kick ass on and spin it out into a blog and associated info product. Boom! PS for those of you with jobs saying I don’t have the time to pursue anything like this, remember Scott has done it all whilst running a six-figure investment fund, being happily married and keeping super fit & healthy.
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31. Sheet Music Plus
A marketplace for digital downloads of sheet music. You can find everything from Metallica for Alto Sax to Florence and the Machine for Cello!! To be fair this marketplace business model is a big ask of most people. To really crush it you need to create a very advanced website where users can submit their wares for sale etc etc. And you need to of course get the traction in the market to become the leading central depository of all things related to your niche. But ask yourself what smaller niche you could become the marketplace for? Eg Chihuahua clothing! Obviously something where the product is digital is best, eg sewing patterns. Anyways, back to Sheet Music Plus. You’ll see there is a very high asking price for this type of product (niched sheet music). I mean just looking at something like Best of Metallica for Alto Sax…the digital download is $11! In a world where music is pretty much free – or streamed on sites like Spotify for next to nothing – isn’t it wondrous that Metallica sheet music, being the specialized hard-to-find thing it is, can fetch what record companies could only dream new release albums still could!
Visit Sheet Music Plus
32. Canadian Personal Will Kit
A very simple site by an attorney up in Canada, that shows us how easy it is to turn your expertise – something you consult with people on – into a product. Think about it…every lawyer uses a template. All they need to do is get a website created, whack it up and then market with some free articles on will kits for Google. Autopilot!! And anyone out there thinking, “Oh, but I charge $3,000 for a will, why should I give it away for $35?”. Simple. The people buying your will kit were never intending to pay a lawyer $3,000. You’re not losing customers to your cheaper option, you’re just gaining new customers you would never have had before. And for absolutely zero extra work per client! Now obviously the will kit is a very simple and readily available product out there, hence it’s very meager $35 price tag over at Canadian Personal Will Kit. But let your mind wonder for a minute. What are harder to find templates and also involve helping people save $1000s on lawyers fees and help them protect their life’s assets? Hmmmm, separation agreements perhaps! I’m working on a site in this space now and it’s going to boom! Here is an area where existing templates are crap and the instruction on how to fill them out – essential – even poorer or non-existent. Imagine how an A grade template along with 1 hour video course will go in this market. And since it’s not readily available info and will save people $1000s, the price tag can jump from $35 to $200! That’s how you make money. But to make even more, as always move towards templates that the business world needs…because for them it’s never an expense, as much as it is a necessary investment. Businesses all around the country would love to save $1000s on things like setting up an LLC, a joint venture, incorporating in another state etc etc. There’s templates for all this stuff. And moving beyond laywers, what other professions can offer template versions of existing rip off services?
33. Exchange Server Pro
What a great case study! Here we have Paul Cunningham, an IT dude who handles Microsoft server work for a big mining company in Australia. At some point Paul realized that all the knowledge he had gained during his job could be handy to other people. So he setup a blog and started banging away on the keyboard about how to do what he does; setting up, migrating and maintaining Microsoft Exchange servers. Brilliant!! A boring niche for any of us non-IT people, but a great example of something that just works. I mean think about it. Who is he selling to? Well, he’s selling to fellow IT workers who are scratching their head and busting their guts trying to migrate an Exchange server, but just can’t get it to work. Fellow IT workers who let’s not forget, are under huge pressure to make sure they don’t lose data or generally f**k shit up – and fellow IT workers who have been given a budget of about $2 to learn how to do it. Step in Paul with his content-laden blog and his info products! Now let’s quickly look at his info products. He has a video course – or as he calls it, a Bootcamp – with about 9 hours of screencasts showing exactly how to work with Exchange 2010. He sells 2 packages for this course, one of which is interestingly free, whilst the other is $59. I love the free offer, because it allows people to see the quality of the video before they buy the premium version – drug dealer model. But I personally think the $59 is underpricing the course, given the results this course delivers for IT workers (ie saves their ass at work). Arguably he’s leaving at least $40 on the table. Paul also offers ebooks on how to migrate from an old version of Exchange to a newer version. Another great idea, and just perfect in it’s niched down size. This goes for $37 I think. One thing about Paul’s business is of course the changing nature of technology. That means he is always going to need to update his products with new info. Every time Microsoft upgrades Exchange, there will be new things to add to his courses – and things to remove. And if you’ve seen Microsoft’s transition from say XP to Vista to Windows 8, you’ll understand that this could prove a big stumbling block for Paul living any kind of passive income dream! But the upside is people who bought his earlier works, will want his new works in order to cope with their own change. So in that sense Microsoft will keep Paul in business indefinitely. So yeah, pros and cons to this case study. But definitely interesting to ideate on how to turn work knowledge into an info product!
34. Fluent in 3 Months
Benny the Irish polyglot! Yeah, that’s pretty much the brand of this personality-driven website that teaches students how to learn any language in just 3 months. I freaking love this passive income example, because it shows you exactly how to create a kickass muse. First, let’s look at the idea. Benny doesn’t teach languages. He teaches people language learning systems. So in that sense it’s kind of like all those courses out there on things like improving your memory, optimizing your thinking etc. What a smart angle. I mean, think about it. There are already a ton of resources out there on different languages – it’s crowded. But what about rapid language learning as a whole? Not so much. This is really Tim Ferriss for languages. Best of all, instead of only having a target audience of say people wanting to learn Spanish, Benny can capture the entire language learning world!! And his course is complimentary, not substitutive, to products like Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone etc. Great positioning. It shouldn’t surprise you that from this market position, Benny has about 500,000 monthly readers! Enough of that though, how does he make money? Obviously this is an info product driven business. Benny has focused on creating one macdaddy course, as opposed to multiple ebooks etc. The course is mainly video driven, but comes with guides and resources too. If you check out Benny on video, you’ll see why people buy his product. They buy him! He really makes language hacking fun. One of the biggest lessons you can take away from his sales page is video + proof. In his 10 minute video he explains the course in 8 different languages. I’m sold. It’s all over. I don’t even need to read the sales page. Think about how you can convince people to buy your product within minutes (hint: proof that you’ve achieved what you are about to teach, and in video format, wins!). But Benny also earns money from affiliate products. Remember how I mentioned his teaching is complimentary to all those other language teaching products out there? Well, then you can probably also see the world of opportunities that opens up, eg affiliating $400+ online language courses offered by the likes of Rosetta Stone! And the less rewarding affiliate products like language books. Plus Benny also affiliate markets online language learning services like italki – and as you know, when you affiliate something that is a recurring revenue stream, you too can often get a lifetime recurring affiliate payout (just like web hosting!). Benny takes affiliate marketing up another level by also promoting things semi-related to his niche. For example, he promotes travel insurance, which is somewhat – but not directly – related to language learning. This is a great example of thinking a tiny bit outside the box. A few other notes: Benny has really created a movement in a sense, and he’s backed this up with free tools and a forum for readers. And oh yeah, one more thing. I noticed Benny, like many info dealers, uses Optimize Press for his sales funnel and membership course. I personally used this to create my careers advice info product and have to say it is brilliant at what it does. Basically it is a WordPress Theme built specifically to help people sell info products and deliver the info via a membership site. So all you need to replicate Benny’s setup is WordPress + Optimize Press + Wishlist Member (+ ejunkie and PayPal of course).
Visit Fluent in 3 Months
35. Management Consulted
This site is aimed at students and young professionals looking to break into management consulting. It’s another great careers advice site with a slew of info products on offer. The model with MC is simple; tempt students in with great free content, then put them through a free ecourse, and then once enough trust and desire has been built in the content itself, offer the paid-for comprehensive and structured version. As with pretty much any career advice info product, this one benefits from the fact that students are in desperate need for the product. They’ve just spent $100,000 on an education and now need to beat 100 other students to one spot. We are talking desperate times. Can you see how easy it is to sell a quality info product on getting recruiting into your dream job? Well, then think about it…what information do you know, that can help people land a better job, improve their prospects or generally help them make more money? I’ve always been a big believer in doing any info product that either makes people money or saves them money. Because when you can show that as a probable result of buying your product, you can frame the product in the most convincing light; invest $97 now to potentially earn $100,000 in one years time. Boom! It’s all over. Anyways, back to Management Consulted. Their info products cover every stage of recruiting; introduction to consulting, resumes, cover letters, interviews and even networking. And the resources they’ve developed for these stages are phenomenal. From collections of 300+ case studies and Q&A, to a database with over 2000 contact emails and numbers of recruiters! You can see why students would spend $100s on this stuff. Smartly, they also offer their info products as bundles; so instead of paying $95 per product, you can get all of them for say $197. The big takeaway there though is the usefulness of the info products. They aren’t just writing ebooks on how to break into consulting. Instead they are creating immediately useful and engaging resources; eg the database or Q&A library. That’s super important, because students are lazy and 200-page ebook doesn’t have quite the engaging ring to it. Management Consulted also over a bunch of coaching services, which is passive income…for the founder of the site, since he outsources the work to fellow consultants looking to earn side income from a few hour long telephone conversations or resume edits. Nice setup, right?!
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36. Simple Fitness Habit
Collaboration is the name of the game here. SFH is a joint venture between 8 or so experts in the personal development and fitness niches. You can imagine what this means. Content is created in weeks. Marketing is done with some simple blog posts. Product looks amazing. Sold! Sure you have to split the sales, but still. What a great project. Who can you collaborate with on an idea? This is a great example of bringing multiple skills to the table and producing a product that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. SFH is a membership site, which allows people to join up for 3, 4 or 6 months, depending on their seriousness or time requirements. But to make the pricing strategy really sing, they include more and more features the more months you sign up for. Bonuses include things like tracking spreadsheets (insanely useful), ebooks (often existing ebooks by contributors to the JV) and a Q&A component. There is a lot to learn from that, especially when you realize how cheap it is to add bonuses like that (digital downloads that already exist) and how high a perceived value people attach to monthly webinars or ‘ask the expert’ services. Admittedly, things like live webinars and monthly Q&A are less passive, but the increased income they can bring in can tempt even the most feverous 4-hour worker into adding them into the mix. If you pop over to Simple Fitness Habit you’ll notice how simple the site is. I mean, it’s elementary in design. A lot of the minimalist elements in the design fit with the simplicity brand, but either way, I want you to see it to understand that content rules. You don’t need a flashy site. You just need quality content. That should make you excited about the possibility of launching your own membership site in the next few weeks, as opposed to next few months. Also, one other thing; see how simple the sales page is for this course. It literally sells itself in a few plain text paragraphs. And the simple “Here’s the problem and here’s the solution” copy, is brilliant. No BS sales page crap. People are getting way to smart for that stuff. As you’ll notice with this very site itself, I go the plain English like-the-content-or-not approach. It’s all about delivering real value to the reader, without any BS or distractions.
37. Make iPhone & iPad Games in 1 Hour
Can you think of a more enticing title for an info product? Nup, me neither. It really speaks to people’s pains of wanting to get into software development, but fearing that it’s way outside their reach. Perfect pitch. So this course is offered on Udemy, which I’ve talked about before – it’s a platform for creating and selling courses. Check it out to learn more. So what I love about this info product is that it’s so smart in it’s focus. It’s not teaching people how to develop all kinds of apps; it’s just focused on games. This is different to 80%+ of the other courses out there that hope to teach everything and end up teaching nothing. There is also that idea of people saying ‘this is exactly what I’m looking for’ when they see a very specific course like this; you sell them in seconds. And the way John Bura delivers the course – in true Udemy style – is 100% video. Nothing beats teaching people technical skills than how-to screencasts. With a whopping 10 hours of video in the course, the value is also super clear to users…this isn’t some crappy 30 page ebook. I also love the Udemy approach to selling. The sales page has a couple of plain English paragraphs talking and problem-solution and what’s included, and then every single tutorial is listed below it. Since Udemy encourages course creators to break lessons up into tiny video lessons, it also means that the course looks gigantic! I implore you to jump over to the sales page for this course now to look at the ‘table of contents’ if you like – seeing that level of info can convince people in the blink of an eye that the course is worth taking a punt on. For any of you who’ve looked into creating your own apps, you’re probably aware there is a huge collection of courses out there on the topic. So why is this one killing it? How has John sold 2387 copies of his $100 course?! Well, we talked before about the idea being intelligently focused, and not too broad. But you also have a great price point in $97. Plus there is the big fact that John is an expert in his niche, with his company having produced over 100 popular games, including Apple Store #1 ranking games. This is an important point. Whatever niche you choose, make sure you are an expert and can demonstrate your expert status. Tim Ferriss wrote an interesting chapter in the Four Hour Work Week on how to achieve expert status in a super short amount of time…read this! If you can prove this you can print money, because the average info product creator is either a faceless person (think tacky sales pages) or some underachieving douchebag (think low quality, poorly lit, web cam recorded sales videos!). I’ve also ranted about Udemy in other parts of this site, but seriously, if you are looking to quickly launch a video course this is THE way to go. You could even use it as a testing platform for a small course, and if it proves successful, launch a bigger membership site style course of your own elsewhere.
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