How To Find Profitable Internet Business Models

So, the much-hyped fibre optic cables are finally here! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for them for years… Why? The cables are very likely to change the way the internet is accessed and used in Kenya. The main benefits are going to, eventually, be cheaper and faster access to the internet. This probably means that:

  1. There is going to be a sharp increase in the number of people who access the internet
  2. There exists a big HUGE opportunity to make money online in Kenya and this opportunity shall increase as the number of internet users increases.

So, the big question (apart from reading Like Chapaa regularly – subscribe for free if you haven’t yet) is: how do you make money online? There exists big opportunity, but how do we take advantage of it? What can you do to make money online?

How To Find Profitable Business Models
When thinking of starting a business, any business, the part where most people struggle is the conceptualization of the business model. They don’t know what kind of business to start, what market to target, where the revenues are going to come from and so on. The same applies for web businesses, perhaps even more so. People often do not know what sites to create, or how they are actually going to earn money.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a place where you can go to and study, in detail, successfully employed web business models? Is there any place where you can go to to generate web business ideas?

Yes there is, and it is:

Flippa is a place where people buy and sell websites. The site has had a lifetime total of USD 24 million in sales so a lot of business gets done there! When you visit the site you will find lots of sites for sale. Obviously, some of them are not worth your time so you need a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. You can do it in two ways: click on “just sold” or “browse all listings“.

Clicking on “just sold” will let you view websites that people actually bought. These sites are obviously built on sound web business models as they would not have been bought otherwise. You can click on each site sold to learn more about it and, possibly, why the purchaser paid for and bought it.

Clicking on “browse all listings” is even better. It lets you see a long list of sites up for sale but not yet sold. The thing to do is to browse through the list and check on the number of bids. If people have actually placed a bid on a particular website, it means that they are prepared to buy it. This probably means that the website in question is built on a good and workable web business model. You can click on each listing to learn more about the website.

Now, this is where things get interesting. Since people genuinely want to sell those websites, they will give all sorts of information about them, including details of how they built them, where they get traffic from, where their revenues come from and so on. Better yet, you can ask questions about specific points and the seller will gladly respond to them. Think of the possibilities: you can learn the ins and outs of a web business and then just duplicate it elsewhere.

Just today, I learnt that you can actually be paid for offering free magazines to your website’s visitors. I sincerely do not know anywhere else where you can learn so much detail about existing businesses for free. It’s a goldmine.

I haven’t even touched on the very hot prospects of buying a web business and running it yourself, or improving it and selling it for HUGE profits. Therefore, stay tuned to this site…subscribe to receive free email updates. Or by RSS.

Have a question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

The 13 Principles of Starting a Start-Up

Paul Graham shares 13 sentences on startups. (Click the link for more info).

1. Pick good cofounders
Cofounders are for a startup what location is for real estate. You can change anything about a house except where it is. In a startup you can change your idea easily, but changing your cofounders is hard.

2. Launch fast
The reason to launch fast is not so much that it’s critical to get your product to market early, but that you haven’t really started working on it till you’ve launched.

3. Let your idea evolve
This is the second half of launching fast. Launch fast and iterate.

4. Understand your users
You can envision the wealth created by a startup as a rectangle, where one side is the number of users and the other is how much you improve their lives.

5. Better to make a few users love you than a lot ambivalent
Ideally you want to make large numbers of users love you, but you can’t expect to hit that right away.

6. Offer surprisingly good customer service
Customers are used to being maltreated. Most of the companies they deal with are quasi-monopolies that get away with atrocious customer service.

7. You make what you measure
Merely measuring something has an uncanny tendency to improve it.

8. Spend little
Most startups fail before they make something people want, and the most common form of failure is running out of money.

9. Get ramen profitable
“Ramen profitable” means a startup makes just enough to pay the founders’ living expenses.

10. Avoid distractions
Nothing kills startups like distractions. The worst type are those that pay money: day jobs, consulting, profitable side-projects.

11. Don’t get demoralized
Though the immediate cause of death in a startup tends to be running out of money, the underlying cause is usually lack of focus.

12. Don’t give up
Though the immediate cause of death in a startup tends to be running out of money, the underlying cause is usually lack of focus.

13. Deals fall through
It’s very dangerous to morale to start to depend on deals closing, not just because they so often don’t, but because it makes them less likely to.

How I Made $150 in Two Hours

At the moment there are an awful lot of people online who are not making money online! In fact, it is reasonable to assume that there are a significant number of people who lose money on the internet, daily – by not making enough to cover their bills (website hosting and suchlike).

Making money online may seem like a daunting task indeed. I can testify that it can be a long hard struggle especially if you have to learn everything and do not have the means to either enlist the help of friends or anyone, really. So the question is can you make money online?

Yes you can, but it is not easy. Some so called ‘gurus’ may tell you that you can become rich overnight. This is indeed possible but usually, however, it is not possible to amass riches overnight. Sometimes it can take months or even years and in extreme cases maybe never!

All that is needed is not just hard work and determination. One is required to work smart. For example, many people online try to reinvent the wheel – they want to make money in a unique original way. While this is fine, even commendable, it is not necessary when you are just starting out. As regards making money online, there is usually a basic tried and tested system. Usipuuze hii system, follow it carefully and diligently and sooner of later you will reap from your effort.

Another is honesty. I personally feel that you cannot go very far if you try to lie and cheat.

Anyway, so how exactly can you make money online?

There are many ways to make money online. Some of these are: drop-shipping, affiliate marketing, selling your own products/services, selling adverts etc. They are different ad require different approaches but, to me, the business principle in each is on: use the power of the internet to create connections.

Seth Godin puts it best: “Make money: not by building an internet company, but by using the net as a tool to create value and get paid. Use the internet as a tool, not as an end. Do it when you are part of a big organization or do it as a soloist. The dramatic leverage of the net more than overcomes the downs of the current economy.

The essence is this: connect.

Connect the disconnected to each other and you create value.

* Connect advertisers to people who want to be advertised to.
* Connect job hunters with jobs.
* Connect information seekers with information.
* Connect teams to each other.
* Connect those seeking similar.
* Connect to partners and those that can leverage your work.
* Connect people who are proximate geographically.
* Connect organizations spending money with ways to save money.
* Connect like-minded people into a movement.
* Connect people buying with people who are selling.”

Read the rest of Seth Godin’s writing here.

Some people describe it this way: find a niche market in which some need is under-served in some way and fill that need.

An Example (How I made $150 in two hours)

I used to actively run this website: (I got busy and semi-abandoned it). I worked at it for a few months and managed to collect about 300 emails of people who had voluntarily agreed to receive emails from me whenever I updated my website. The site used to earn me about 500 a month from adverts but now it averages a few shillings. This is because I don’t really update this website anymore because of my tight schedule, but I still have that list of emails. So, I sent an email to some of my list, telling them of my current web host’s nice web hosting package, and enticing them to host their sites with my webhosts. I sent this email and went to sleep. When I woke up, I found that in the space of two hours some of them had signed up to the web hosting deal and I got paid a commission for the sales I had driven to my web host.

What can you do to make money online?

  1. Get as much information as possible on this subject. Pay for it if you have to. Perhaps you’d like to bookmark this website because we teach how to many money online here
  2. Decide how (specifically) you want to make money
  3. Make a plan
  4. Follow your plan and stick to it no matter what
  5. Never quit until you get what you want

God bless you, and good luck.

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Making Money Online : A Comprehensive Guide

The following is the last of a series of posts. The introductory post is here.

FACT:The internet, through new media, is where all the money is heading to. All other industries, traditional or not, will be affected by the internet. The good news is that there is enough money to be made by everybody from the financially muscular types to you me, and the man on the street. But how?

Making money anywhere can be done in various ways. The internet is no different. You can integrate your already existent business with ICT to reduce on costs, improve efficiency and perhaps, introduce some revenue streams. This is undoubtedly one of the major ways the internet helps people make money. However that is a story for another day. Let’s talk about making money from your internet venture: your site (or blog).

A Word of Caution
It is true that numerous millionaires have been born and will continue to arise from the internet. Moreover, many more people make enough money to live off the internet. However millions more are trying to make enough money to live off the internet. Yet, millions more are trying to make money online without any success at all (or just enough pocket change to buy some gum and, perhaps, a cup of coffee). Contrary to popular belief, the internet isn’t a path to overnight riches (though it can be). Making money online is just as hard, probably harder, than doing so anywhere else. Like anywhere else, hard work pays.

Should You Monetize Your Site?
Is that even a question? Not every website or blog is suited for making money. Think about it. Does making money fit in with your site’s goal(s)? How will your current users react when you introduce schemes to make money? Why do you have a site in the first place? For example if your site/blog is meant to support of an already existent business, making money off it will be tricky. Similarly, some of its users may not appreciate your efforts to monetize it. Every site is a different case. Think about whether you should monetize your site.

Traffic: the Holy Grail
Quite frankly, if no one visits your site then you will not make any money online. This is the golden rule of online money making. How do you generate traffic to your site? There is only one sure way to do this: provide a useful service or content from your site. In the business of making money online, the user comes first. Period. Build your site and make it as useful or entertaining as possible then, much later, think about using your established user base (and traffic) to make cash. Though not conclusive, the following tips may help:

  • Create valuable content that your users will appreciate.
  • Create original content – don’t just copy or report what others are doing. Make your site the users’ final destination. For example, if your user is looking for information on cakes, give him all the information he could ever want!
  • Provide timeless content that can be useful for years.
  • Remember that your users are human. Do not get carried away by the technical aspects of your sites, such as SEO, nor treat your users as statistics. Build your site because you have something to offer, and offer it the way you want to offer it!

Your Digital Cash Cow
Hopefully, all of you are still with me. Finally the fun part: how to actually monetize your site or blog.

  1. Advertising – having established your site and gained a sizeable following, your site ought to attract people or organizations wishing to advertise. Basically, you put up their advertisements and then they pay you. For example, if you join Google adsense they will give you some code, which you paste it on your site. You then get paid whenever anyone clicks on these adverts. Indeed, many thousands of websites make their money this way. Why shouldn’t you? More oon this here.
  2. Sponsorship – this is whereby company x or organization x pays you to mention or promote their products or services. For example, Bank x may sponsor you to write a series on the importance of banking – and casually ‘mention’ their banking products.
  3. Affiliate Products – helping to sell others’ goods or services. If you can join an affiliate program such as Amazon or click bank, you will get paid whenever you help sell their goods or services. For example, you can market books for Amazon and they’ll pay you a commission on every sale you make.
  4. Merchandising – Some sites gain so much of a following that their users are willing to buy T-shirts, mugs and other branded merchandise. All you need to do is build up a following of users passionate about your site. Once you’ve done this, it gets as easy as pie. Café press helps you design and brand stuff, and then sell them. Your goods will be sold in your own virtual shop at café press. Whenever someone orders a mug or cap, café press will print your logo, girlfriends name or whatever on it and ship it to the buyer – for a cut of your selling price. More on this here.
  5. Subscription – You may also choose to have your users pay to get access to your site or parts of it. Just ask your users to pay to become ‘members’. Even blogs are increasingly going this way!
  6. Donations – Pass around the collection cup and solicit funds to ‘support’ your site. Unless you have users who love you to death this can only work on sites that support ‘noble’ humanitarian efforts. Surprisingly even blogs can substantially earn this way: More on this here.
  7. Finally, you can resort to selling/flipping your site. More on this here.

A Warning
Lately site monetization is increasingly turning disastrous: many people are frustrated with meager incomes: some lose their sites once impeccable reputation; others forget all about the user and become obsessed with money. Do not get trapped in the downwards spiral towards oblivion. Keep in mind that:

  • When people visit your site, they want useful information and/or to be entertained.
  • Additional adverts or sponsorship information should add value to your site. They should never visually, or otherwise, obstruct but blend in and enrich.
  • Never sell or help sell things that you do not believe in. Do not let your users get duped you always lose.
  • Your site’s user is your master and commander. Make sure your site has some stickiness.

Note: Making money online is an extensive undertaking. This post is just a summary introduction. I recommend the following for more information:

John Chow
Pro Blogger
The Lazy Business Owner

Now, to burst some jargon
New media – new communication technologies such as sms, wap, gprs.
ICT – Information communications Technologies.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation.
Stickiness – ability of a website to retain visitors for longer and making them coming back for more.

How To Get an Online Job

Imagine a world where you work from the comforts of you own bed. No getting up early, no shaving – heck, you can have breakfast while briefing your boss or serving customers. Just imagine. (No this isn’t a samsung ad!)

That world could be yours for the taking. Similar to the familiar off-line employment, this involves getting an online job, that you can do from the comforts of your bedroom or wherever. Some of the jobs include: chat room moderators, webmasters, data entry clerks, email processing, and customer service.

Basically, look at yourself and identify what you can do well and then sell yourself to prospective employers. Typically, it would pay if you have some fairly well developed skills as such skills are probably needed by someone somewhere – that’s good for you. I would advise that you treat online employment as a form of freelancing, as it is improbable that you will find very long-term employment online. This implies that, like all freelancers, you are a one-person team and should therefore strive to develop all-round skills needed to operate in this way. That is, you need to do your own marketing, accounting, management, and so on.

Naturally, this means that you should go ahead and create you, the brand. This brings in an amount of professionalism and paints a good picture of you making you seem credible, reliable and professional. Possible employers will definitely be impressed as there are many, many shoddy freelancers out there. But there are also very many well polished freelancers so you best do yourself a favor by being thorough. You will need a brand name (your name or something else), logos, business cards and a website. (If you’re serious, the website is essential.)

Great Freelancing resources can be found here.

Getting Work

Don’t quit your day job yet, getting well paying online jobs can be challenging! The best(and safest) source of online employment comes from your family, friends and/or associates. Identify those amongst your contacts who may be interested in hiring someone who’ll work from home i.e tell people you are now available. However, as this blog is about the internet I won’t digress and go into that. 😉

You can find online jobs at:

1. Right HERE. I’ll periodically surf through the sites below and post truly online (work from anywhere) jobs on this very blog. You may want to subscribe to my blog or sign up for free email updates to make sure you don’t miss anything!

2. Craigslist
3. Pro Blogger Job Board (blogging jobs)
4. Rent a Coder (programming and tech jobs)
5. Get a Freelancer
6. Krop
7. 37 Signals Job Board (or gigs)

Tips & Advice Regarding Online Jobs

  • Be professional. Apply with a resume and cover letter just as you would do when applying for any other job.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – you are now a freelancer and should strive to have as many options open as possible.
  • That said, do not expect $50000 per year – it probably won’t be that much. Therefore, be careful when deciding to quit your day job, only do so when you already have a reasonable online income. After all, you don’t even need to quit your day job as you can do both, at least for a while.
  • As I said earlier you need to develop all-round skills and be prepared for quite a bit of multi-tasking. You are a one-man team, remember? Since you can do all that, alone, why not create the job yourself? Setting up your own business, in my opinion, is the best way to go. Think about it – no deadlines, no boss…
  • As with all other things, do not forget about your family and friends. Get off the computer once in a while and spend some time with real people. This helps, trust me.

Getting Paid

Unfortunately, chances of getting scammed online are pretty high. Chances of getting problems receiving your payment are even higher. So, how do you deal with this? I’m no expert but I have identified two simple ways:

  • Make sure everything is clearly defined and understood from the very beginning. That means your obligations(what are you doing and to what extent or quality) should be clear and the employer’s obligations(how much to pay and when) should be clear as well.
  • Keep extensive records of everything. These can be handy if things turn ugly as you can point out to agreements in black and white. has discussed this, in detail, here.

More resources:

How to Make Money Online: Introduction

The internet is undoubtedly all the rage as far as money-making goes. There is lots of money to be made. Making money is a good thing, so we should all jump in and try our luck. However, before rushing in like a fool, it would be prudent to think about what one is getting himself into. How best can one do it? Is it for everyone? Is it worth it?

There exists a preconception about the internet that is, indeed, a misconception. The internet is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Making money online is just as hard(or easy) as it is offline. You have to work and work hard. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty!

The fact that you are still reading this means that you are probably serious about making money online. Perhaps serious enough to take the next step: planning, extensive planning. How exactly are you going to make your money? Do you need a website? You need to do some research and find out how others are making it online.

This is the first of a series of posts. The rest of the posts are

How to Get an Online Job

See How Easily you can Avoid Online Scams

Why Free is the new pink

How to Make Money Online : A Comprehensive Guide

Some Great Resources:
John Chow
Pro Blogger
Dosh Dosh