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My name is Paige. I am 31 years old.
In this video, I'm going to go over the seven online revenue streams I've got set up in my business!
Just to give you a little bit of context on who I am and how I earn this income, let me share a super nutshell version of my backstory...
I moved abroad to Germany right after university (I met a rather charming German guy while doing my master's degree and then moved over to be with him!)
Upon landing in Germany, I quickly realized that my degrees were pretty much useless if I did not speak German. It was gonna take me at least a good year to get fluent enough to work in the language.
So I decided to start a business on the internet instead!
I had built a travel blog before, so I knew how to build websites. That got me thinking, "maybe I could be a website designer!"
So I started my web design business, and I actually ended up completely booking out my services fairly quickly!
I was already charging premium prices and had hit the limit on how many clients I could take on, and so if I wanted to scale my business even further, I would need to start considering some more passive streams of income where my dollars weren't tied to my hours!
So that is what I've been working on these past few years (and the topic of today's video!)
P.S. While we're giving life updates, we have actually since moved out of Germany and over to London, England! Oh and I married the German guy! No actual wedding yet (thanks Covid) but we are working on that!
How I earn an income online
So for each of these streams of income, I'm going to share what I do, how I created the thing, how I got started with it, and some tips for you if you're looking to get started with any of these online income streams as well!
Online income stream #1:
I got started with online courses back in 2018. I created my first course, Square Secrets™️, teaching people how to build completely custom, nothing-like-the-template, high-converting designs on Squarespace (because that is what I was doing for clients at the time!)
Then, by popular demand from past students, I got into creating my Square Secrets Business™️ course teaching designers how to build out the backend of their business to begin serving clients - basically a customizable web design business in a box.
Next, I started creating my Scale with Content Strategy course on content marketing & email list building, the exact strategy I used to scale my online business.
So basically, as I have learned things, I have created courses on those topics!
Courses historically make up about 75% of my income.
They are an unbelievable source of revenue and passive income (mostly passive...see: How passive is passive income really?).
I could not be happier to be an online course creator! Best online job in the world! (And if this is something you are also looking to get into, I have some specific ideas and thoughts on courses I share towards the end of the video!
Online income stream #2:
Digital products are honestly something I didn't really get into until very recently.
I was just doing the online course thing for literally years, totally loving it and really not thinking I needed anything else!
The digital products I do have were created because they were a no-brainer at the time. Either my audience was requesting it, or it was some sort of template or resource I had already created for internal use in my business that could benefit others!
So my first digital product was my Web Designer Client Finding Guide. We created this because we were going to be running some Facebook ads.
Normally, how you run ads is:
You pay Facebook to send people to your freebie
People join your email list
You sell them your online course
But we decided to use a different strategy by creating an SLO (of self-liquidating offer) where instead of running ads to a freebie, you run ads to a low cost product, using the revenue generated to *hopefully* cover the cost of running that ad.
People still get on your email list, and they still get an offer to buy your course, only now you aren't out thousands of dollars for your ad, and the people you do get on your list are a tad more "qualified" and have a bit more skin in the game than those who would have just opted into your freebie.
We have since stopped running Facebook ads, but the guide that was originally created as an SLO now lives as a digital product on our site.
We recently tested out launching the guide, and a simple $35 product made the business $3,500. But then we also had several more sales of our other, higher-ticket courses come off the back of that.
So just by sending a few emails, we were able to generate about $15,000. All from a $35 product. (which is insanity, and I honestly didn't expect that result!)
P.S. I'm actually getting ready to record a video sharing what we learned by launching a lower cost digital product so look for that video in the near future!
So that is my first digital product!
The second digital product I created is my Email Welcome Sequence Templates.
This is something I created because I had my Scale with Content Strategy course all about using content marketing to scale your business (basically how to create content to rank in Google and build your email list of people to be selling to)...
And I realized that rather than just telling students what to send their new email list in a welcome sequence, I could be creating a customizable, done-for-them style template!
So my team and I turned my own welcome sequence into a template, then sold it as an add-on or 'upsell' to my already created digital course.
And in one launch alone, on top of the revenue generated by the actual course, offering the digital product as an add-on brought in an extra $4,628!
So really just gravy on top of the course sales that we did that launch!
I had never added on some sort of digital product upsell in the past, but having seen our results, I would def do it again in the future!
So online courses are still my primary thing and my main source of income, but along the way, I've created little PDFs or Google Doc-style templates that have ended up being a wonderful little boost in revenue as well!
Online income stream #3:
1:1 Coaching & Small Group Coaching Programs
When I started talking about creating online courses and the success that I was having with it (I did some talks at co-working spaces or virtual conferences online), people started asking me for coaching around that topic!
So now I have one formal coaching program called Course Launch Collective, and I also do a couple of one-on-one sessions now and again upon request.
So this new coaching program I launched is basically me walking a very small group of students (whose businesses I've gotten to know very well) through how to build out their online course idea and successfully launch it to their audience.
Being brand new, I don't have the exact numbers, but I expect it to make up about 10% of my revenue this year, and then obviously more in the future!
Online income stream #4:
Last year on average, I made $1,223 per month in affiliate revenue, though usually it ends up being quite a bit more than that!
So each year I promote a handful of courses that I love and have taken myself. Many of them weren't launching or running their affiliate programs last year, which explains why this is significantly lower than it has been in the past!
But when it comes to what I'm affiliating for, I'm generally just talking about courses I've personally taken, or softwares that I use in my own business.
These affiliate mentions happen in blog posts and videos, but I also participate in the occasional life launch promotions as well, so that is how that affiliate income is generated.
Online income stream #5:
So I have investments in individual stocks, ETF, index funds, and crypto. (Crypto makes up a teeny tiny percentage of that, by the way as I literally had zero expectations for it but had to at least give it a try!)
The vast majority of my investment money is in index funds and ETFs.
In 2021, I primarily invested in the S&P 500 Index Fund, and that had a 28.71% return, which is craziness.
Think about it this way...if you had $10,000 invested for one year, you would've come out making an extra $2,871 last year!
Now I should clarify, 28% is not actually the norm! Some years you actually lose money, but generally over the past 100 years, the S&P 500 Index Fund does a 10% annual return, which is fantastic.
I feel like investments are something women of my age don't talk about much. But it's important!
I was at a conference with a friend recently, and we were talking about investments. She's like, "I haven't done anything. I have no idea." Like, "What do I even do?"
So I showed her my investments app and when she saw how much I had invested and how much I had made, she was like, "What have I been doing? OMG I need to get in on this!"
I literally just started investing about three years ago once I had paid off my student debt and had a little extra money to start saving for retirement. That's when it all started, and honestly the returns that I've had in that time is mind-blowing.
Crypto on the other hand...total loose cannon!
I put in $2K a while back and I just watch it and am kind of entertained to see what it does. At this point its below my initial investment. You win some, you lose some! 🤷♀️ (Though it has done well at times in the past so we shall see!)
Online income stream #6:
YouTube AdSense Revenue
YouTube Adsense is blowing my mind!
I had zero expectations of it when I ticked on the setting a few years ago (back when I was only randomly creating videos here and there, no fancy thumbnails or editing, and zero strategy to my channel.)
But I recently realized that I'm actually getting the most ridiculous CPM (cost per thousand views) I've ever seen!
Last year, my CPM was $222.75 on average, which I didn't realize wasn't normal until someone mentioned to me that their CPM was $5 on average.
Turns out my videos are naturally talking about topics that YouTube advertisers love to put money behind!
I'm just naturally my business is just talking about topics, which YouTube and advertisers love to put money behind.
So even though my channel doesn't have an insane number of views, we are still making $681.54/month on average, and I see every single one of those dollars as the cherry-on-top, because I literally expected to be making $0.
Not just that, YouTube is literally paying me to do my marketing!
Normally, people have to pay for Facebook ads to do their marketing, or like me when I faithfully blogged for years and didn't get paid a single cent to do so.
So I have to say, of all my passive income streams, YouTube Adsense is probably the one that I get most excited about because it takes absolutely no effort on my part (besides creating great content, which I would be doing regardless) and so it's just simple easy, gravy-on-top money!
Online income stream #7:
Yes. I know that sounds lame.
And honestly, it doesn't even make up that much money, but again, it's another simple thing that brings me joy!
Back in the day, my bank account made me no money at all. Like maybe a cent a day. But then I moved over to a bank account with Revolut.
I am in love with this bank!
I cannot say enough good things about it. They have an area inside of their bank account, which is like these different spaces that you can put your money into ('vaults' is what they call them).
So I have a separate place for vacay savings, emergency fund savings, and the funds I use to pay myself as a business owner and the funds I save up to pay for my business taxes etc.
At one point I figured I'd move this tax savings fund into a high interest bank account to get it to make a bit of money for me while it's just sitting there, but then it was always a hassle to be shuffling money around and figuring out when you needed that money back by and would you be penalized for taking it out before the long term savings term had ended.
But thanks to Revolut's decent interest rate included right inside my regular account, I don't have to be shuffling my money around or locking it in somewhere for a certain amount of time. So it literally makes me money just sitting there.
So over the course of building all of these different revenue streams, I've learned a thing or two about making money online!
Online revenue lesson #1:
1:1 services is the perfect place to start
So the first thing I learned is that if you want to start an online business, offering 1:1 services is a fantastic place to start!
As I shared about the different revenue streams in my business, you might have been thinking...
"K, cool for you, Paige...but all of those income streams require an audience. Which I don't have."
And it's true! In order to be successful with the 7 income streams I shared, you can't get around needing an audience (A.K.A a decent sized email list! But more on that in a minute...)
But when I got started online, I also had no audience.
I also had no email list.
I had no subscribers on YouTube or anything!
I think that 1:1 services are a perfect place to start because all it takes is you starting a conversation or building a relationship with just ONE person in order to land a project worth a couple grand (if you're a web designer for example!)
So with 1:1 services, you truly don't need some massive audience to be making truly fantastic money!
Online revenue lesson #2:
The unpaid time spent building your audience is worth it!
When you detach your time from the amount of money you can make, you can scale like crazy.
The problem with that though, is that in order to pay the bills, you often need to continue offering 1:1 services while you are doing the work of building your email list, which is no doubt a lot of work and honestly a difficult time.
When I was first blogging and creating content, the only income coming in was from any paid web design projects I was taking on. So there was truly nothing to be made from my blogging efforts for quite some time. But then suddenly, the traffic started trickling in, snowballing and snowballing until I had the audience size needed to make all these other revenue streams possible!
Online revenue lesson #3:
Online businesses are way easier and less expensive to scale
We truly live in the most incredible time!
Internet businesses really can completely explode your income and are so, so scalable.
When I look at restaurants, shops, or other sticks-and-bricks businesses, I feel like I stumbled upon an absolute gold mine by being part of the online business world!
You can just scale them so easily if you can create some sort of digital offering which could be served to the masses (like a course or a product or affiliate income or whatever) and NONE of these were possible even just a few years ago!
Online businesses have exceptionally low costs compared to other industries.
I was chatting with a few friends who each own different businesses, but businesses in the more traditional sense! And let me tell you...
Profit margins are a completely different ball game!
You can make so much more profit when you are running an online business!
Online revenue lesson #4:
YouTube is the best online marketing platform (IMO)
YouTube is an in incredible content marketing platform and IMO has a serious upper hand on blogging and podcasting because of the monetization options.
Fun fact: Did you know I had a podcast? It was super fun to create and actually got enough traction to where we had people pitching us to be a sponsor on the show!
But when we really thought it through, we realized the work involved in bringing on a sponsor was going to be way more trouble than it was worth!
We'd have to have them sign a contract, figure out what they want me to say in their little podcast ad spot, record myself saying that, get them to approve it, make sure it gets edited into specific episodes they want, and then make sure all those episodes are released on time!
Same goes for blogging (ie. travel blogs or beauty blogs where you typically see ads being shared right inside the content).
But I have found since stumbling my way into the YouTube world that it literally takes no work at all for you to be getting paid for people to be placing ads!
You just have to have the minimum number of views needed in order to qualify for Adsense, then you just switch on the monetization settings and watch the passive income roll in. Again, you are basically being paid to do your own marketing, which you would have had to do either way!
So yes, you can definitely monetize other types of long form content, like blogging or podcasting, but the coordination and hassle that took wasn't fabulous!
Online revenue lesson #5:
It's not what you make, it's what you keep
Could I have a business that brings in $100K in revenue each month?
Sure! If I wanted to throw a huge portion of my income at ads.
But I've had a bit of an epiphany in recent years...
I'm not here to have the biggest online course business in the world. I'm here for living a good life, and consciously running my own race.
Don't get me wrong. When I started my online course business, I 100% was all about domination my niche. I wanted to have the best, most popular courses in the Squarespace world and on becoming a website designer.
And I successfully did just that!
But I ended up costing myself a fair bit of stress and late nights in the process.
At one point my husband literally called my business the third person in our marriage (and he was right!)
After I rose to the top of my industry, I realized...
"Why did I wanna be the best in the first place?"
"Why do I only feel successful when I'm better than others?"
Now I focus on what I want, insulating myself from the noise of the online world. I am not on social media.
I determine the amount of money that my family needs to live the life that we wanna live, and I am chasing that goal. Not shiny objects of massive annual revenue only to take home a pittance of it because I ended up spending most of what I made on ads so I could hopefully make more money. 🤷♀️
My focus is:
Running my own race
(And I could not recommend that enough!)
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As an expert in online entrepreneurship and digital marketing, I've had firsthand experience in building and scaling various online revenue streams. With a deep understanding of the concepts and strategies involved, let's delve into each of the income streams discussed in the article:
- Leveraging expertise to create valuable courses.
- Understanding audience demand to tailor course topics.
- Utilizing platforms like Squarespace for course creation.
- Implementing content marketing and email list building for course promotion.
- Recognizing audience needs and requests.
- Creating digital products based on existing resources or templates.
- Incorporating digital products as upsells to courses for additional revenue.
1:1 Coaching & Small Group Coaching Programs:
- Transitioning from course creation to coaching due to audience demand.
- Offering personalized guidance and support.
- Launching coaching programs to assist clients in specific areas, such as course creation.
- Partnering with trusted courses and software.
- Promoting products that align with personal experience and audience interests.
- Generating revenue through affiliate links in blog posts, videos, and promotions.
- Diversifying investment portfolio with stocks, ETFs, index funds, and cryptocurrency.
- Understanding the potential returns and risks associated with different investment vehicles.
- Utilizing investment platforms to manage and track investments.
YouTube AdSense Revenue:
- Leveraging YouTube as a content marketing platform.
- Monetizing videos through YouTube Adsense.
- Maximizing revenue by producing content on topics attractive to advertisers.
- Exploring alternative sources of passive income, such as bank interest.
- Utilizing online banking platforms with features like high-yield savings accounts.
- Leveraging separate accounts for various financial goals to optimize savings and returns.
Furthermore, the article highlights essential lessons in online revenue generation:
- Starting with 1:1 Services: Building initial revenue streams through personalized services before transitioning to scalable online products.
- Investing in Audience Building: Recognizing the value of unpaid time spent on audience building activities like blogging and content creation.
- Scalability of Online Businesses: Understanding the scalability and lower cost structure of online businesses compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
- Utilizing YouTube for Marketing: Leveraging YouTube as an effective marketing platform with monetization options and minimal effort.
- Focus on Profitability: Prioritizing profitability and personal goals over simply maximizing revenue.
In essence, the journey outlined in the article showcases the diverse opportunities and strategies available for building a successful online business, from initial service offerings to passive income streams and strategic investments.