To Make Money Online, As A Rank Beginner With No Prior Experience, Start Knowledge Commerce. Take An Area Of Passion And Teach Others As You Learn.
Don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner at doing business and making money online. Life is far simpler than you fear, even though the people who have achieved great success like to show off that they had to climb mountains to get there.
Of course, you can never make money online without some effort, some learning, and some dedication. But what you don’t need is a lot of experience, a lot of money or a lot of expert knowledge.
You can gain knowledge as you get on, and you can teach people that knowledge as you learn and improve at it. It’s all possible with a simple online business called Knowledge Commerce.
At Solohacks Academy, we love the special energy that absolute beginners bring to the online world of business. You are fresh and have no rigid notions of what works and what doesn’t. You are willing to work at learning new things, knowing you can make money off what you are learning. You are also not afraid of sharing your mistakes – to teach others how not to make them. Who says you need anything more to succeed in making money online?
1. What if you don’t have the first clue of how an online business works?
Building an online business is not the same as you would build a physical business. In physical businesses, you would worry about building your products first and then building your target audiences to buy them. Whereas, in an online business, you have to build your audience first, even if you have no clue what to sell to them.
You decide on a “niche” – or topic area – that interests you, in which you can get good at over time. It could be an area where you have worked before – or it could be a latent passion area. Whatever your topic of specialty, you have to attract people to read your blog, where you have to keep writing high-value articles in spate around your topic.
Whenever you write a blog article, you should posts excerpts of it on social media, so that more and more people get exposed to you and your writings in your niche.
Wherever your blog is situated – which may be often on your own website – you must also have some free downloadable “lead magnet” (maybe, a free ebook or a free email course) – which you offer. Yu must ask people to give you their names and email addresses in exchange for the free download.
You thus acquire more and more loyal “subscribers” to whom you can regularly email. You can let them know about the new blog posts you’ve written. You thus get them back to your website often and grow their following. You keep them closely bonded to you as a community.
Over time, they start trusting your growing authority on your topic and you become their go-to expert on that topic. You thus become an influential authority on your topic. It is at this stage that you see what problems your target audiences face in their lives around your topic and try to create knowledge products that answer their problems.
If you create knowledge products like ebooks or courses or memberships that answer your target audiences’ problems, they will readily buy from you – because over time their trust in your thought-leadership and quality of knowledge has been grown by bonding them with you. People online buy only from marketers they trust. And trust grows with thought-leadership displayed by regular and high-quality blogging in your niche topic.
This is the only way online marketing works. So whether you’re a beginner or an entrepreneur with experience, the proven process is the same.
The diagram below shows you the four main starting components of a simple online business.
a. Your Website & Blog – your main components of Content Marketing
A business website and its accompanying blog need to be viewed as a “brochure-cum-magazine” combination. The predominant difference between a brochure and a magazine is that a brochure never changes its content unless we go for fresh updates and reprints. A magazine is fresh from issue to issue.
The idea here is that potential customers, or even other stakeholders, would become easily bored and not be interested in frequent visits to our website, if the business information does not change often (as it won’t). On the other hand, the ever-fresh magazine style blog provides a reason for people to return frequently to the website.
b. Tying in content for Email Marketing and the Social Media
The social media – such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube – are to be viewed as traffic generators for our website and blog. When a blog post is written, we should simultaneously post short excerpts of the post to the social media, with hyperlinks leading back to our blog … so that the social traffic is led back to where people can read our blog articles.
Email marketing is another inseparable part of blogging and content marketing. Why is it important to the whole scheme of things? Here’s why.
Think what a waste of effort it would be if you posted on social media and brought lots of people to your blog and website, but had no way of then staying in touch with them to bring back, again and again, to your site? This is where email marketing becomes an invaluable add-on.
The whole purpose behind the email marketing game is to be able to create a mailing list of people who have been visitors to your site. On the website, and working along with the blog, we need to include an “opt-in form” with an enticing free downloadable “lead magnet” (as we said earlier), that asks people to supply their email addresses for the download. They then will also get your regular updates about new content on your site and blog.
Once people are on our mailing list, we have to keep an email campaign going (at an optimum frequency) so that they are reminded of us and our site, and they don’t drop off our lists. Later when we are ready with products to sell, they can be converted into our buying audiences.
2. What if you’re not really expert at anything that can become a business?
Here’s a smart trick you can use. You don’t have to be exceptionally good at anything to start with. But you do have to be intensely interested in the topic you want to become a recognized online expert in. Deep passion in a topic can be teachable knowledge if you’re willing to play the role of a guinea-pig. Even if you have a passion for a topic that you’ve never tried before, you could teach people how your fumbling experiments can help them.
A man I know had an abiding passion for playing the mandolin. But alas, his job as a factory supervisor never gave him the time to learn to play the mandolin. When he perchance lost his job, he wanted to try and build his own Knowledge Commerce business. He would have loved to teach mandolin-playing, but he couldn’t teach what he didn’t know himself.
That was when the idea dawned. He called his classes: “Follow Me As I Learn The Mandolin”. He made himself the guinea-pig. His students had immense fun learning through his mistakes, and theirs. His site now earns more than he ever did when he had a day job.
The moral of the story: people don’t only want to learn knowledge from experts. They are quite happy to belong to a tribe led by someone who wants to gain expertise and is willing to teach a pack of similar souls.
What’s more, even the experts who succeed online nowadays aren’t what you’d call “conventionally knowledgeable people”. The online entrepreneurs who seem to succeed online making money off their knowledge seem to be people who are good at offbeat things like these:
- “I’m damn good at ducking conflict”
- “I am brilliant at collecting outstanding dues from clients”
- “I’ve learned the trick of de-addicting from my mobile”
You don’t have to be an expert in some formal knowledge to succeed at Knowledge Commerce. Your forte could be some kind of informal, but eminently useful, knowledge. You should ask yourself “What peculiar smarts do I have?”
Also, many of us think of ourselves as single-dimensional professionals. Whereas, we may have many facets to our knowledge that remain unexploited. We may discover hidden expertise in a rare mix of areas if we drill down further than the surface of what we know about ourselves.
Always look a little beyond your obvious professional or interest strong points. You may be able to identify a competitive or “differentiating knowledge tilt”.
People who buy knowledge as ebooks or courses also don’t want run-of-the-mill knowledge. They want interesting expertise from someone who has an angle on information that is different or uncommon.
3. What if you have no money to start but are determined to get on with it?
Above, I showed how an online business in Knowledge Commerce works. But if you want to do it all at near-zero costs, here’s a diagram below. It has all that you need to know to make money online with a $10 per month investment. You’ll also get high profits through this method.
The steps are easy:
- Get onto Medium, a free online blogging space where millions upon millions of readers congregate daily to read their favorite authors. Create a brand on Medium. To see how read this article from Medium.
- Start blogging profusely, always keeping your unique niche in mind, and your target audience.
- Make sure you add an incentive (a free 6-part email course, maybe) that users can give you their email addresses in exchange for. Give them a link to click to a free Mailchimp form, whereby their email addresses get into your free Mailchimp mailing list. Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that has a free plan that’s good for up to 2000 subscribers. You can get Mailchimp to send subscribers a Welcome Email and the 6-part email course as a drip-fed sequence.
- When you get enough email list subscribers, you’ll have what we call an MVA – a Minimum Viable Audience. That means, at least enough subscribers to give you feedback on what products they’d find very useful if you created these.
- Now how do you sell products to these people who want to buy? Again Medium allows embeds of products. This is done through Embedly, a tool which changes a paltry $9 per month as its base plan. How to embed and sell products? Here’s an article “Sell directly on Medium” that explains the process. You use Paypal to collect money (and Paypal is free unless someone pays you, whereafter only they dock a small percentage fee from your earnings).
You don’t ever have to get off this business model. You can get by at this measly cost for the rest of your business life. You can increase profits by blogging more and capturing more subscribers and selling more products to them.
4. What is this Knowledge Commerce and why is it perfect for beginners?
This advice I am going to give you is not just for beginners. It’s good for anyone in a business online. Hear this: You need never have a huge company with lots of hired employees to make loads of money. Solopreneurs (i.e. single-person businesses, that remain permanently so) are now a huge part of the working market, and especially online.
MBO Partners’ 2019 Report indicates that 41 million Americans are building solo businesses. Research also shows that solopreneurs in Knowledge Commerce are going to be earning #325 billion by 2025. That’s how big this business opportunity is.
Being “solo” needn’t mean “small” … many solopreneurs in Knowledge Commerce earn in millions.
Besides, if we have to count the many more benefits for beginner solopreneurs in Knowledge Commerce, here are all the attractions that may interest you immensely:
You can soar on your strengths and manage your weaknesses:
Strengths are your abilities that consistently produce “positive outcomes”. They make your mind feel very clear and in harmony with the tasks you do. The more you rely on your established or latent skills or knowledge you have, you can become an exclusive expert in that area of authority faster. So focus and grow the areas where you are already strong – and don’t waste time trying to fix your weaknesses.
You can start lean and mean on a shoestring budget:
The more effort and time you are prepared to put in yourself, the less money you need to start and run. So shed the sluggishness, and get ready to do all your own work without hires, tools, or outsourcing. Knowledge Commerce can cost you next-to-nothing for as long as you wish. Where resources are small, resourcefulness has to be big. So keep your eyes peeled for chances to get by without spending a cent.
You can gain the expertise you need easily and quickly:
The secret to becoming an expert in any niche – including your own – is to set apart some time for daily reading. Read up a lot around your topic of interest. Read the best-of-breed experts in your space. Read the latest research and scan the horizon for technologies that can affect your space. The more you read, the more your expertise grows deeper and broader – and reflects in your own writing. All you need to do is discipline yourself to make daily reading a sacrosanct habit.
You can enjoy being your own boss and work on a topic you love:
You can work at your own pace and “follow your bliss”. But some solopreneurs suffer initially when there’s no one else they are accountable to. They can’t seem to be strict enough on themselves to get enough work done to make their businesses succeed. There is an easy way to develop motivation without a boss, though. It is to love your work, your niche, and your daily process so much, that you want to excel without being told to.
You can be any type of solopreneur and still succeed:
There are so many different types of “solopreneurs” out there now, all in online businesses. You have mompreneurs, homepreneurs, gigpreneurs, sidepreneurs, propreneurs, authorpreneurs, couplepreneurs, laptopreneurs, blogpreneurs, studentpreneurs … whew! The important thing is that any “solopreneur” can trade knowledge for money very successfully. There is no need to be looking beyond one’s own unique expertise to set up up shop to sell anything else.
You can earn passive income streams by productizing your knowledge:
What is passive income? If you were to try to impart the knowledge you had, one-to-one, to a number of clients and customers, there would be a limit to your time and the number of clients you could handle and earn from. But if you were to “productize” your knowledge – as ebooks or courses or membership sites – then your business could handle any number of clients 367x7x24 – and earn endlessly, even as you sleep. Solopreneurs have limits to how much work they can do in a day. But if you use that time to creating passive-income products – as most knowledge products are – you create just once, but earn without limit.
You get to keep all the money you can make – often it’s close to 95% profit:
The beauty of a solopreneur business is that you can earn less and still profit more. Say you earn just $150 in a day but get to keep almost $140 of it as profit. Isn’t that far better than earning $300 a day and having to pay out $200, leaving you with a profit of just $100? Most people don’t realize that there is less pressure on a solopreneur to earn a lot, from a lot of customers. In Knowledge Commerce, especially, where all your products are digital, there no loss really even if you don’t sell in droves, because your products cost nothing to create.
You can deploy email automation smartly to reduce work and convert customers:
There are some parts of business that not even big teams can successfully do – but automation can. Imagine having to track the buying behavior of all those who visit your site, segmenting them according to their interests, and then selling the right products to them, that are most relevant for their needs. Solopreneurs score over larger businesses because they learn early on how to use free email marketing automation, to sell the right offers to the right people.
You can speedily change your business model to get better results:
The marketing word for businesses that can chop-and-change their business model in a cinch is “pivoting”. Solopreneurs in Knowledge Commerce can do this at any moment, without batting an eyelid. If your current business model is not turning out to be successful, even after a good run, how long does it take really to get it onto a new trajectory? No time at all. Everything you created is digital and has no inventory to get rid of or lose money on. Much of it could even be re-purposed and re-used perhaps, with a bit of adroitness.
5. What minimum skills do you need to get started in Knowledge Commerce?
There is just ONE SKILL you really need, to make money online as a beginner in Knowledge Commerce. It is the skill of “writing”. But if writing isn’t your skill yet, wait, don’t start closing this blog article. Think about what I’m going to tell you.
What do people come online for? What do you go online for? Invariably it is to get information and knowledge. Even if you went to shop online, you would do a whole lot of information-shopping first, wouldn’t you? You’d want to read reviews of products, compare them, see what others have said about them, see what brands are saying about themselves … the whole online world lives and breathes knowledge and information.
Almost all of it requires reams and reams of good writing. To earn any sort of money online you have to write to create information products. You have to write promotional information to proliferate your visibility. Then you have to write marketing information to sell your wares.
To blog, you have to write a lot and regularly. You want to make videos and podcasts, you still have to start with written scripts. See how information and knowledge drive the whole online world? If you want to earn handsomely in this online world, you absolutely have to know how to earn money by writing.
A lot of beginners feel daunted by having to write because they feel as if their writing has to be classy, compelling, precise, and full of big authoritative words. In fact, that is exactly not the way to write for an online audience. Did you know that online audiences are believed to be no more intelligent than fifth-graders at school? That means your simplicity, authenticity, clarity, short sentences, easy vocabulary, and casual writing style will work best.
Write exactly as you would talk. If you’re not sure how to do that open and use the free dictation-software that’s on every computer – or if you like, get Dragon Naturally Speaking, a pro-qualty dictation software. Then talk out what you want to say. The computer will put it into text. Tweak the sentences around slightly, if you wish, and correct the spellings. You will be good to go.
The real polish in writing comes from polished ideas. It does not come from polished words and sentences.
That said, there are some free and excellent tools to help you polish up your writing skills …
In the image of the Hemingway App shown above, everything is self-explanatory. Type in your text directly, or copy-paste from another document. Using color-codes, the app tells you where you are using fussy sentences, weak adverbs, and passive voice. Till you correct the sentence, the colors won’t disappear. Finally, when you have pared it all down to meet Mr. Hemingway’s high standards, all your text will be black on white. That’s when you’ve done a good job. Isn’t this a fabulously easy way to keep to the high standards of a man noted for his depth of vocabulary and smart communication of ideas?
Grammarly declares itself to be an “AI-powered application to help people communicate more effectively.” Millions of users rely on Grammarly to make their writing clear, mistake-free, and impactful. The free version is more than good enough for most writers. If you just install Grammarly’s free browser extension, it will help you with all your online writing – on your website or blog, your emails, your Word documents, your Powerpoint presentations, and so on.
Grammarly not only corrects your grammatical mistakes but also makes your writing more understandable. In addition, it is able to check the tone of your writing, and it makes synonym suggestions to make your text more readable and precise. I find it to be invaluable because it underlines every word or phrase that looks or sounds wrong – and it gives me alternatives that I can just click to use instead of the words I originally tried out.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
This post is part of a series that elaborates on “How To Make Money Online Without Investment For High Profit“.
Other related posts you may like to read are these:
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- How To Make Money Online Freelancing In Knowledge Commerce
- How To Make Money Online On The Side Via Knowledge Commerce
- How To Make Money Online By Writing For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Make Money Online As A Student Via Knowledge Commerce
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