The easiest way to build an online business? It’s not blogging. It’s not writing ebooks. And it’s not selling affiliate products. (although each of those, can in fact work wonderfully well as a piece of the puzzle)
I believe that the most exciting and challenging part of building an online business is using agency style offers or selling high value services to folks who will benefit from your experience and expertise. You don’t need to be a guru. You only need to be a wee bit better than your ideal audience to really build a big business of passionate people who love what you do.
The challenge of course?
How to start. And how to differentiate yourself from the avalanche of other people who are throwing enthusiastic elbows in your niche, market or industry and angling for your audience.
I’ve written about this plenty of times in the past, and i’ll repeat it here:
The easiest way to attract an audience for your high end, agency style offers?
Position yourself as an expert in your niche, market or industry with an AUTHORITY site that offers instant value to your ideal audience, and then approach that audience directly with ways to bring them more business BEFORE you sell a thing.
If you want to build a hyper local online agency or business?
Start a local business directory and invite your ideal audience to submit a free listing. Start a local community site using something like Mightybell (a killer app I’m using on several communities) or use Buddypress.
Both are free, and both give you the APPEARANCE of authority, even if you are just getting started.
You can do this for either a hyper local and super specific niche (let’s say…..real estate agents in your town USA) or just generic your town USA – or just real estate agents everywhere. (although in this example, you’d be best doing either hyper local generic or hyper local and niche specific)
Or – if you want to build out a bit with your agency style offers, target a larger niche that isn’t geo specific, but include geo filtering (directory, product or service based searching on the site itself) and launch a marketplace style site where folks can sell themselves, their products and services on your community.
Why would you want to do that? Because if you are offering agency style offers, and one of those offers is something like help people in your niche or industry build BUZZ for their own sites and services, when you build an authority site in a niche that “owns” a certain amount of eyeballs of THEIR ideal audience, (people in the public looking for X – real estate, or financial services, or yoga teachers, etc) you are powerfully positioned to sell your own premium based services to the professionals who need help.
In general, in my experience, if you invite 100 people to get listed in a niche specific directory, you’ll get about 20 responses, 10-15 listings and 3 or 4 “premium” listings (folks who will pay for premium placement) and 1 or 2 people who are interested in your agency style offers.
(all of this contingent upon how well developed your authority site appears at the time you invite them, which is the challenge when first launching…..but we all go through it)
4 ideas for an authority site you can launch for under $100 on WordPress or similar platform in a weekend?
- A niche directory. (check out LISTIFY and this article on how to build and choose a WP directory, but please ignore my obviously obnoxious inebriated intuitions about pastries and purported pastiness 😉
- A marketplace. (check out couponhut on Themeforest, or one of our example directories we are building in the mindfulness market for a course)
- A social network in your niche, market or industry with YOU as the thought leader or resident expert, or your team as the agency advisor. This can be buddypress community. (any BP theme will work, but take a good look at extending BP with BUDDYBOSS, they have great complete combos of popular integrations that work wonderfully well) It can also run on something like MIGHTYBELL, which is uber impressive, full featured and 100% free to launch as well) Check out OWNIT.com or HAIRBRAINED.me to see 2 of these communities in action. God bless cool, creative people who build stuff for the rest of us.
- An online school or compilation of content and courses by teachers in your niche, market or industry (using somethings like Teachable, Thinkific or even WooCommerce + Sensei you can launch this for under $100, and solicit people in your industry to sell their content and courses on YOUR platform.
- If your online agency specializes in helping folks teach? Guess what? You can offer your course building services to the cacophony of clients who would LOVE to teach a fee based course, but have no idea how to start)
Build a Quora based Q and A community.
I’ve been talking about this for 5 years plus….and it’s a great way to establish the appearance of expertise in a niche, although it’s a bit more of a nuanced thing to use this to monetize your market if strictly selling agency style offers.
You can build a video community, a curated newsletter featuring the professionals in your niche, (think theSkimm for your industry) etc – the ideas are endless, and your ability to turn your passion into perpetual piles of profit, while doing what you love and sincerely serving others is truly only limited by your imagination.