From 0 to 1K: How to Make Your First $1000 with a Web Directory, Authority Site or Online Community

If you are still trying to earn your first 1K online, or are trying to stress test a new niche directory idea, I’m going to be leading a short challenge/course (90 days) where everyone participating, SHOULD be able to go from zero (no income ever before) to a minimum of 1k, using the online directory, authority site, marketplace or niche community marketing model.

I’m doing this in conjunction with an Amazon book that will be published next week as well – outlining the 3 best strategies (in my view) for going from going from scratch, to a full time living, using web directory/LAUNCHiT! business model.

Simultaneously, I have a live project that is being developed in a local market that I’m only tangentially involved with (just advising the 2 people who are running it – one tech support person and one entrepreneur – with an ownership interest in the directory + agency that is running it) – and they will be working on this with a goal of 10k (rather than 1) from scratch – using the same approach.

I’m primarily going to be promoting this offer through Amazon (through some ads, and through the book itself, which will have links to the challenge) but if you are interested in taking part in this – let me know. (ianrhollander@gmail.com

The core elements are things I’ve covered here many times in the past, but we’ll be focused on 3 monetization strategies:

1. Overwhelming value for “premium” listings (a Core set of 7 enhancements to the “basic” listing that makes NOT paying for a listing feel foolish and potentially costly)
2. Agency offers (building back end agency style offers as the primary monetization model)
3. Authority Site as Asset (seeking out buyers/flipping the authority site to ideal audience)

There is absolutely NO doubt that the LAUNCHiT! style marketing model – be it local directories, niche communities, user generated content portals, multi vendor marketplaces, whatever you can conceptualize from a deep interest standpoint (local, lifestyle or niche specific) can be monetized FAR more easily, FAR more ethically, and FAR more viably, than just about any other online business approach I know.

Most stuff is challenging. For example, my primary focus these days is writing books and creating courses and selling digital downloads and similar stuff to people. THAT is difficult. That isn’t easy. THAT has me scratching my head sometimes and saying – why aren’t I back at PayLess Shoes in the Moorestown mall. I could be regional sales manager by now. In charge of mens loafers. And eating Cinnabon for lunch everyday. Instead, I’m typing furiously with far too much cold brew coffee pumping through my veins watching Wolf Blizter yell “BREAKING NOW” for hours at a time.

Good grief. Who knew writing books for a living was such a challenge. Hemingway was always happy. Wasn’t he?

Anyway, authority sites and web directories and marketplaces and all of that stuff is SO MUCH EASIER.

It’s also the back up business and firm foundation that allows me to stare at a blinking screen all day trying to pick the perfect prose and missing wildly and not panicking too much day after day.

It’s the 1 online business model that stacks the deck in your favor – that allows you to do what you know right NOW (not need to learn anything new) and offer tremendous value in an ethical way, to people who truly will benefit from your acumen.

Don’t believe me?

Take a quick look in your local community, right now – in any niche you’d like to dominate.

Look at 10 random sites.

Can you:

  • A. Make them better? or
  • B. Do they all look perfect as is?

If you answered B, you probably ought to also consider Payless shoes like me.

If you answered A – that’s all you need to know that the struggle is real – the opportunity evergreen – and your time to step in and step up is right NOW.

If you want to join in – give me a shout and i’ll share the details.


20 Great Tools for Makers, Marketers & Phone Sex Operators

Here is a list of some really useful tools for those of you who are writing, making, creating, teaching, training and self publishing content.

20 great tools for writers, makers, marketers and phone sex operators

As a quick side note, out of this list, 1 of the little known tools I really love and use often is authorapp – which is free (I use the paid version, but it’s not necessary) which makes converting content into a myriad of mediums really easy, expedient and elegant as well. (there is no better formatting tool for creating beautiful presentation quality content, and then repurposing that content in a hodge podge of super useful ways – even if you are a design dunce like me)

(you can see an example below of authorapp’s cloud based service as well – which is great for teachers, and in some ways, could be a replacement for a Teachable style school – you would need to take payment up front – and then host your content in “secret” folders on the authorapp cloud – it’s not something I’ve done yet for my own stuff – but for text based content, it’s really a beautiful way to create high converting web pages (they have awesome templates) and COURSE content, too. I’m using the most BASIC example below, but for INTERVIEWS (something I recommend all authority site owners and directory marketers use to add premium offers to your members) authorapp has super sweet templates that turn dull, dry text into an interactive landscape of high end magazine style content – which your members will LOVE to share – meaning more free traffic, more interview requests, more income and more agency cache as well)

Check out authorapp here – and the full list of 20 tools below.

20 great tools for writers, makers, marketers and phone sex operators


Don’t Drip Your Course

I’ve never really had a strong feeling one way or the other about “drip” courses. Years ago, when email marketing and mini courses were the only real way to teach something for free, they were pretty much the norm.

Today though, there are many EASY options. (without having to wrangle with membership plugins, etc)

The other day, I stumbled on a thread on the Teachable private forum (actually the FB group if I remember correctly) where a whole bunch of folks were opining on whether or not to “drip” courses (time release) or just DUMP courses, (all access immediately).

My own experience is that DUMPING (and adding) is the best way – simply because I’m disorganized, and my best work is rarely a sequential, methodical crescendo building thing. I’d rather stick a whole bunch of content in one place and then refine what is available to learn, based on what folks want, need, ask for, etc.

So here is where my opinion on drip content, or courses, has become uber crystalized this week.

I’m running Amazon ads for a book promotion.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

So, I signed up for a few courses on Amazon ads.

The courses are pretty good.

But they are all “drip” courses.

I want to learn what to do – and do it. On day 1. I don’t want to wait a week to run a stinking ad. And yet…..all of these courses are too coy by a quarter. (Joe made 9876.12 on his first book promotion. We’ll cover what he did……tomorrow!”

Fuck tomorrow.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Who is with me?

Let’s learn today, baby.

Tomorrow may never come.

And I’ve got book sales to make.

Now I’m stuck here refreshing my screen hoping it’s going to be Friday, faster.

That can’t be healthy.

The moral of the story is.

Don’t drip your courses.

(if you are a decent human being)


Everything You Want to Know About Launching a Web Directory, Authority Site or Curation Community

Trying to build a web directory and having a hard time tracking down all of the advice, audios, videos and recommendations i’ve written here?  So am I!  To that end, I’m putting all of my videos, audios and visualizations in one spot – as a “membership” style resource you can access anytime, for free.

I’ll organize these much better as time allows – (this isn’t my priority time wise these days – but I do want to offer all of this up in one central spot – for my sanity…and for yours) – and you can ask questions, etc – as you need, from within the course interface.  (if there is demand – 100 + people or so – I’ll add a private interactive community where folks can interact with each other, share ideas, etc – all around the directory marketing model.  I have this set up for premium clients – but if enough people want it – i’ll do it for free folks, too)

What this is:  A growing collection of content and resources for directory site marketers, authority site owners, brand builders, online agencies, and aspiring online entrepreneurs who want to build BUZZ for your blog, brand, books, business and bank account….using the hyper profitable “authority” site marketing model.  The authority site marketing model (in my parlance) refers to the following types of sites:

  1. A web directory (hyper local,  niche based or special interest)
  2. Curated content community (largely clipped, snipped, culled and collected content – a travel or destination based newsletter, for example – or a trip based recommendation site based on aggregated content)
  3. Video portals (niche based or otherwise)
  4. Curated NEWSLETTER style sites (very easy to launch, a lot of fun and WAY underrated and underutilized by folks who want to stress test a niche or idea.  ProductHunt, for example – started as a curated newsletter, and there are many examples of this model that work wonderfully well and can evolve into something very lucrative as well)
  5. Marketplace style sites (multi vendor stores in the Etsy model)
  6. SOCIAL and mobile based communities oriented around PASSION, purpose and “network effects”
  7. Classifieds/Job boards/etc (not my preference, but certainly can fall into the authority site purview)
  8. COURSE communities.  (a collection of content and courses – multi author – being sold in a central spot to the public who shares an interest or passion for the niche or topic)
If you have questions about any of the content – get in touch!  My passion is helping enlightened entrepreneurs do what they LOVE for a living…and make a difference in the world.And if you have specific questions you’d like answered, feel free to ask them and I’ll record videos, audios and info based on what folks most want to know.


3 Book Marketing Tips & Updates (June 2017)

  1. Viral book launches, giveaways and contests.

I’m trying a whole slew of different popular services for promoting our books – my books, old pen name books, and some test books that others in our orbit have recently written.  (mostly first time authors in the helping, healing and services spaces) Experimenting with advanced copy giveaways using software (and services) running our own viral contests and some other interesting angles I’m excited to explore for the first time.  (knowing that many of them won’t work as well as advertised as well)

NOTE:  if you are an author with an existing book, or have an upcoming launch, check out the viral book launch service.  (or send me an email)  I’m excited about using these to promote my own stuff….and our clients content (courses, coaching offers too) – and after a few false starts, I think I have a really good template in place that ought to bring huge ROI to authors, marketers, teachers, trainers and folks who want to build a big list on a bootstrap budget.

  • Amazon Ads!

I just started running Amazon ads over the weekend for an old book (written in a pen name with a partner for a niche i’ve been covering the “curation” series of posts) and I’m hoping to see some good results from these campaigns…with the understanding that I have no idea what i’m doing.  I’ve managed to suck at Google Adwords, been pretty succesful with FB ads and if can fall a little bit closer to the FB success spectrum than I’ve been with Adwords, i’ll be a happy self publishing camper.

  • The best book marketing traffic strategy

For me, thus far…..has been Youtube.  It’s crazy how effective Youtube is for traffic, and using the Q and A model (12 questions about doing X answered in 12 days in under 2 minutes) –  is an amazing way to get free traffic, literally from day 1.  The directory marketing videos i’ve made with my MindfullyTV account  (mostly theme reviews – like Listify vs Listable, or Using Sharetribe or Listingpro directory review, etc…..are now some of the most active sources of referral traffic to my blog everyday, even though I could really care less about the topic longer term.  (i did these posts mostly to accomodate the folks who were looking to build authority sites and were looking for the right THEMES, frameworks, or doing comparisons between several)  These videos are easy to make and have great “legs” insofar as for the 10 or 12 minutes they take, and use the “complimentary” content model which is great for fostering relationships with professional peers as well.  (e.g. – reviewing a theme with a video has led to shares, emails, introductions and thank you’s from folks I wouldn’t have met otherwise)

As I focus my own efforts on book marketing, I’m looking to scale up the youtube component, and excited about some of the possibilities there as well.

If you are looking to do a book launch giveaway, check out this example copy – and this offer, or email me – i’m happy to help!

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How to Make Money with Your Listify Directory (Without All the Expensive Plugins)

Here is a really quick visualization of some quick and easy ways to monetize your Listify directory without having to spend a small fortune on all of the various plugins and extensions to make it work.

Most folks, in my experience anyway, really struggle with choreographing the perfect monetization flow when launching a directory, and if you are doing this on WordPress in particular, that perfect process simply doesnt’ exist. (for example – if you are trying to pick the perfect plugins to do X or Y – faciliate peer to peer marketplace functionality, lets say – or allow people to BOOK a service, and pay for it, and then split the commission, or attach products to listings in a smooth and sexy way, using Vendors extension in combination with WP job managers products plugin, combo….etc and so on)

This all sounds smart when you are drawing it up, but it never quite works out as well in the real world. There are lots of reasons for this (many i’ve covered in the previous 20 posts + videos + Audios) but the primary problem, is that WP is not really designed to run this sort of site. Yes, there are innovative products (Like Listify + Listable + all the analogs) that WILL do all of that, but it’s a slog and a challenge and it’s really not worth it, in my view, to launch with that sort of set up.

(if you NEED a marketplace style site – just start with SHARETRIBE.com, as they are designed for that specific use case, are affordable, and you CAN do everything you need without making a mess out of your life)

That said, you can do a lot of the Listify style “ideal” functonality with other less expensive plugins. You can, for example, use WPCOUPONS.io to create listing specific coupons (much like the use case above) and apply them on a per listing basis, and do it for 25 bucks, rather than 250. (someone signs up for free listing lets say, and you offer them the ability to UPGRADE, to include an offer/deal/coupon in their listing, and in their listing specific SIDEBAR, if they upgrade for X amount a month or a flat fee for a year.

(i’m doing exactly that right now on a hyper local directory we are building as a small team – (using VANTAGE 4.1 – which i’m really starting to love and recommend again) – offering a beta launch to members – $25 per month to offer deals/coupons – or $99 for the year for a whole slew of offers like the ones in the visualization above.)

I’m going to do a video of this – hopefully tonight – and will post in on youtube over the weekend. (i’ll add it here as well)

in the meantime, download this visualization if it helps inspire some ideas on yours – i’m happy to help!


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