Before I get deep into this post, I want to first explain what I believe a lifestyle business is.
A lifestyle business is simply a business, (it can be your main source of income or a “side hustle” which earns you extra money) that helps you to live the life you want to live on your own terms.
I prefer to create blogs and base my business around content and niche sites. My business partner prefers to create e-commerce stores and sell tangible goods.
Either business model is capable of starting to generate a good income within a few weeks.
The screenshot below is from an e-commerce site that was less than a month old:
This one is a 3-month-old site, both are cash positive (i.e you receive payment before you purchase stock).
Do you think that either of those would help you build a business that could replace your 9-5 or allow you to earn extra money?
I'll say it again: a lifestyle business isn't just about earning money, it's about providing you with the life you want.
What's Your Motivation?
When I started online marketing I wanted to spend time with my daughter and having a busy corporate job didn't allow that. I came home after she went to bed and left before she woke up. If I was lucky, I saw her on Saturday and Sunday. I had divorced friends who saw their children more than I did.
I replaced that life with the one I have now by building my online businesses. It allowed me to work from home and to be there to watch my daughter grow up. Now that she's an adult and has her own family, my motivation has changed but it still drives my business.
People have many different motivations for building a lifestyle business. Some want to leave a dead end job, some want to be able to buy their own home without a mortgage. Others want more time to pursue a hobby or even to get a better work-life balance.
It doesn't matter what your motivation is. You just need to know what having a successful business would mean to you and that it will allow you to live the life you want.
NOTE: I wouldn't advise anyone to do what I did and leave your job before you even have an online business!
Finding your motivation for your lifestyle business is the first step to living the life you want.
[bctt tweet=”Finding your #motivation for your lifestyle business is the first step to living the life you want.” username=”m_j_thompson”]
If you want motivation, how about a cool $1 million in 11 months?
Good News, It's Easy!
Despite what you may think, building the type of online business that gives you the freedom to do what you want is relatively easy.
It simply involves finding something people want to buy or want information about.
As I focus on blogs, I am going to use these as examples, however, I could just as easily be talking about ecommerce stores. The niches can be anything from how to cook a salmon to how to build a chicken coop or relieve back pain. Ecommerce stores can be anything from nail art to essential oils to dog collars. The world really is your oyster when it comes providing information.
Once you have your niche, you need to create content that educates the reader and answers any questions they might have. Next you must get traffic to the content. Without traffic, there are no sales. Finally, you need to monetize the site so that you can generate an income.
Content – Traffic – Monetization. Nothing too complicated there.
Told you it was easy!
So now let's look in-depth at the 3 main pillars of an online business based around content marketing:
- Great Content
- Targeted Traffic
- Relevant Monetization
If you have all 3 right then you will make money on a long-term basis.
If you get just 1 wrong then you might struggle to make money.
1. Great Content
Your content should be interesting and relevant to your target market. It should also address the question(s) that readers had before they came to your site in depth.
Don't mistake in-depth for heavy. People like to be entertained. Look at the success of viral news sites like BuzzFeed. The watch word for content is infotainment: information coupled with entertainment.
When I first started in internet marketing, many marketers went after health niches. Short articles with headlines like “How to Cure Acne in 7 Days”or “How to Reverse Your Diabetes” were everywhere. Do you really think that you have the knowledge to help some angst-ridden teenager cure their acne outbreak 7 days before the prom in only 300 words?
I still see people writing articles like that… don’t! Leave content like that to the professionals.
A much better article would be something like: 7 Makeup Tips to Disguise Your Acne. You could still sell the same acne cure plus you could sell makeup but without making claims you can't support.
In fact, here is an article that Buzzfeed did on the same topic. If you read the article, you'll see there are lots of affiliate opportunities in that post and the information is actually helpful and will be shared. On top of that, it's simply a curated post using videos from YouTube.
How simple would it be to create an article like that? The longest part would be to set up relevant affiliate accounts.
2. Targeted Traffic:
Now that you have your great content, you need to put it in front of people who will find it interesting. For the article above you could try a few different options. For some niches different types of traffic works better than others. I would always recommend testing different traffic methods to find your best source of traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
In other words, getting traffic from google. If you incorporate enough topically relevant keywords in your content, Google will index your site for multiple keywords for that article. I've recently seen 800 word articles rank for thousands of keywords. You can see multiple examples in the recent webinar I recorded about how SEO has changed over the past year https://thelifestylemarketer.co/seo-workshop-replay/
The problem with Search Engine Optimization is that it takes time. It's probably going to be around 3 – 6 months before you start to see traffic from Google coming to your blog. I believe SEO should now be a key strategy for every blogger and online business owner but it initially should be used in conjunction with paid traffic.
Paid traffic scares people, they are afraid that they will spend too much. The fact is you can get targeted traffic all day long for 10 cents or under per click. The key word there is TARGETED.
This is an example of the cost of some of the traffic you can get. Both of these campaigns generated a 300% return on investment.
Targeted traffic converts and conversions mean money.
With the right traffic, you can easily average over 3 times what you spend in profit.
Spend $10 make $30
Spend $30 make $90
Spend $90 make $270
With cheap traffic, you can test and tweak your sites and ensure the perfect balance of income and subscribers.
I would recommend sticking to 3 types of traffic to start with and seeing which works best for you.
Facebook, native ads and Adwords.
Keep in mind some sources work best with different niches.
You may not have heard the term native advertising, but I'm sure you've seen it. It's basically advertising that is “hidden” on the site because it fits in with the rest of the content. It may be seen as an article or video but it's main function is to promote a product.
Here's an example of what native advertising can look like.
If your ad ran on celebrity gossip sites or sites like POPSUGAR, then they would appear in front of your target audience. As you only pay for the clicks you get, you would be getting traffic from highly targeted people.
You can display your ads on thousands of sites and on Google by using Adwords (this is the ad publisher side of Adsense). When someone searches “how to hide acne scars,” or “get rid of acne in 7 days,” your ad will appear on Google.
If you target keywords that have low ad competition, the cost of having your ad appear should be very low. As well as having the ad appear on Google, you can ask for it to show on third party sites. Once again you'll just be paying for clicks and if your ad is appealing, then you'll once again have targeted traffic.
Facebook can be a source of very cheap traffic. It can also be the source of extremely expensive traffic so you need to do your research and target the right interest and demographic groups from the start. Facebook does supply lots of tools like Audience Insights and Custom Audiences so make sure you make use of these.
One thing that Facebook does very well is creating what's called “lookalike lists” from your custom audiences.
This simply means that it analyses the traffic you already have on your site and creates an audience that is very similar to that. Therefore, if Facebook detects that the traffic you already have is 22 – 26 years old, likes Game of Thrones, Wendy's and Justin Bieber, it will show your ads to people that it knows have a similar profile.
As I touched on in the traffic section, there are various ways you can monetize your traffic using long term or short term methods.
When starting out you may want to generate as much income as possible, there is nothing wrong with that.
However after a while, you may decide that your priority should be building a list and focusing on long-term income.
Alternatively, you may split your business up and have a series of sites and articles generating cash and others focusing on building your lists.
While AdSense and display advertising seems to be the default method of monetizing a site, I would urge you to use it as a last resort.
There are many more profitable ways of monetizing while keeping the traffic on your site and not sending it elsewhere.
In the simplest terms, if you spend $0.10 getting a person to your content then they click away via an ad, you've made maybe $0.30 from that person. However if they sign up for your list then you can generate far more over the next 6 months or so.
Remember a click on an ad is a one-time income source. Subscribers can become a long-term income source.
I strongly believe that your primary objective should be to get visitors to your site onto a list. That way you can get them to return to your site multiple times and market multiple relevant products to them.
Putting It All Together
If you've got this far you may be thinking that it all sounds too easy and there must be more to building an online business. Well there is… PERSISTENCE.
You will have problems, and you will feel like giving up at times. This is when successful marketers come to the fore.
Unfortunately most of you will lose heart and give up. Please don't! The rewards are truly worth it.
The thing I first talked about in this post was motivation, if you know your motivation that shouldn't happen to you.
If you don't give up, create your content, find your traffic and get your monetization right then you can't fail to be successful. You then have an asset you can scale up and grow or sell on for 25-30 times the monthly profit. It all comes down to getting those 3 pillars in place.
That my friends is the beauty of a simple lifestyle business. You can do what you like once you have your 3 pillars in place.
- Your Life
- Your Lifestyle
- Your Lifestyle Business
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