How Green Exam Academy Makes Money
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 obvious1-1 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 productand 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!