Graduate students are some of the poorest people I know. I live with a couple of grad students right now in Riverside, CA. I wouldn't consider them starving students or destitute, but they watch their budget like a hawk, and it's a pity because they are almost 30 and still tied to a student budget. Anyway, I'd love to see them have more money, because the work they do is really difficult, they work long hours, and are stressed out a lot. I actually think they could benefit a lot from learning a bit about what I do.
I think they are very skeptical about my line of work, and have never expressed interest in learning how to do it. It's pretty “non-traditional” in the sense that it doesn't require an education to be able to do it, and you can pretty much teach yourself if you ask enough questions of more experienced people. So I wanted to reach out today to the graduate students of the blogosphere and introduce to you my job, as well as teach you how you can do it too. I think it's perfect for grad students of any field or personality type, and it certainly could improve your current financial situation.
You can do it from home, and all you need is a computer. It's not a scheme where you have to sell junk to friends and family or go door to door talking about an awesome doo-dad or business opportunity.
How Do I Earn Income Online?
The work I do in the broadest sense is “internet marketing”. I market stuff on the internet. Duh. Another way to put it is to start a for profit website.And I'm sure you think that sounds pretty boring, but it can actually be really interesting if you follow a few pointers I want to give you. And hey, this is serious stuff, not just some Tumblr blog or free WordPress blog like you had in highschool.
The way I market this stuff is though a blog. You are looking at one of my blogs here. I also have a blogs about different topics, but teaching people how to make money on the internet is one of the topics that I do.
Then all I do is write blog posts about whatever the topic of my blog is. If I have a blog about the paleo diet, then I blog about coconut oil and not eating bread. I'm not sure what goes into the Paleo diet, but you get the idea. If I have a blog about Podcasting, then I blog about microphones, audio editing equipment, and how to start a podcast.
There are different ways to make money from a blog, but the way that I do it is to feature products related to the niche. I already mentioned some with the podcasting example. With the paleo diet example, maybe I could promote a cook book, or some juicing equipment, or a giant tire (I think there's a tire somewhere in there….oh, wait, no. That's crossfit). Whatever. Talk about products related to the topic of your blog.
The final piece to the puzzle is that when I talk about those products or services, I link to a website that sells them. Amazon is a good example, but there are many other smaller, private ones that you've never heard of. If I'm signed up for the “affiliate program”, I get special link that identifies me as the advertiser. If anyone reading my blog buys something from that site, I make a commission.
That's what I do. Easy, right?
The Hard Part
This is obviously a new skill, and I don't care how many papers you've published about theoretical physics, learning to market your blog is going to be a challenge in the beginning. If you are a grad student, then you are no stranger to learning. Learning to make money from a blog is going to be like any other technique, skill, or knowledge. You need to put in the time, learn the basics first, and ask questions when you don't understand.
EVEN IF you aren't very challenged by the learning part, actually starting to earn money can be a challenge in itself. What happens if you get lots of traffic to your site but aren't making sales? You need to tweak your sales page maybe. How do you take your daily earnings from $5 per day to $100 per day? You need to find out where your sales are coming from. Patience is going to play a big role in your success in the beginning. This isn't like working at Starbucks where you put in your 5 hours and then go home with a paycheck every two weeks.
The Fun Part
The great part about this kind of work is that you can make a blog/website about anything you like. Think of just about any topic imaginable, and there's going to be products related to it. That spell opportunity my friend. This process of choosing the topic of your blog is called choosing a “niche”. Sometimes, internet marketing, or affiliate marketing, is also called niche marketing.
Something like swimming is much too broad. It's impossible to define your audience and write articles for them effectively. Swimming to lose weight could be a better niche. Swimming to lose weight for women would be a very targeted, very effective niche. You know the “avatar” of your reader is a fat lady trying to lose weight in the pool. Now you can “speak” to hear, write articles that resonate with her, and know what types of products she is going to go for.
Being an expert is fun. Hey, it's the internet – you don't have to be certified to dole out advice. Connect with folks that are interested in similar things as you, discuss, and have fun. You'd be surprised how much more effective an honest, real personality does online than these fake, corporate guys trying to figure out how to start a meme or make a video go viral.
The Awesome Part
Getting started is tough, but once you are rolling, it's not that bad to work on your blog on a regular basis. Post 3-4 times a week, share on Facebook and Twitter, and answer comments from visitors. That's pretty much the bulk of you work. I think you could dedicate about 2 hours per day, 5 days a week, and start seeing a profit from your site in about 3-6 months. But here's the awesome part:
When you are making money from a website, you can make money 24 hours per day. Your website doesn't' “go home” or take the day off. It's always there. And there's always SOMEONE online. I have people viewing my website from every country in the world, at all hours of the day.
I often wake up to a few hundred bucks sitting in my account because some people in Europe have purchased stuff from my site. Then throughout the day I make sales in the US day time.
And the earning potential is infinite. If you were to take on a second job, you might make $10-$20 per hour in retail. If you work 5 hours, you make $50. If you work 4 hours, you make $40. Your paycheck is directly related to how many hours you work and it never changes.
But when your blog is earning, profits can grow over time. If you get about X amount of dollars per Y amount of visits to your blog, then all you need to do is increase the amount of visitors to your blog to increase your next paycheck!
Don't get me wrong, getting traffic to a blog is another big challenge of this type of work, but let's look at an example: In 2012 I build a site that makes me $700 per month. All through 2013 it made the same amount of money, and I built another site that makes me $2k per month. Now I make $2700 per month from these sites. IF this year I build another site that makes $1300 per month, now I'm making $4k per month. Can you see the potential?
Why It's Perfect For Grad Students
This type of work isn't for everyone, but I think it fits perfectly for the grad students that I know. They work weird hours, so sometimes they leave late in the morning, and get home late at night. Other times it's early and early. I know a guy that sleeps in til 2 and stays in the lab until late in the AM every day. He works with someone that wakes up at 5AM and leaves school in the early afternoon.
The odd schedules and random events that come up make it hard to hold down a normal job. Working online like this is not a problem. Work when you have free time. I mean, the work needs to get done at some point, but you can do 1 hour in the early morning, and two hours at night. Or skip three days, and do 5 hours on the weekend to make up for lost time. Schedule your posting, and you don't have to touch your blog for a week
And once your blog is running smoothly, you can dedicate less time to it, and focus more on school. Your website isn't going to crash or lose rankings if you can't work on it for a week or two. I took a vacation to Malaysia last year and EARNED more money than I spent! Imagine that.
So the combination of a free schedule, interesting topics, and great earning potential make this an awesome way for grad students to boost their monthly income.
I have a free 5 day email course to introduce you to more of the “getting started” concepts that I didn't cover here today. It includes some training videos, and access to community of people that are already on board and trying to build profitable websites just like you. You can exchange ideas with them, ask for help, and see what they're working on.
If you have any questions, let me know below. Hey, you guys are PhD's. I'm not going to try to pull anything over on you guys, lol. Seriously, let me know if you have any concerns, and I'll get back to you.