Have you ever been told you need to spend money to make money?
Many of us are not fed with a silver spoon, handed a pile of cash, or given any break on life. To me, this is not a bad thing, it actually builds character and gives us the tenacity we need to become who we are.
We begin to develop a callus to adversity. It gets easier every time. With everything that life throws at us, we can figure out how to weather the storm.
We are the Builders.
Since we all started from the bottom and we are not yet at the proverbial “here”, we need to find a way to get to millionaire status. If you are looking to build wealth quickly, having a pile of cash would be a much better start. But, if you are willing to build something, through thick and thin, then you have the ability to become a millionaire.
Becoming a millionaire doesn’t mean you need flashy cars, fancy clothes, and a diamond pinky ring. You need to have thoughts, ideas, and drive, to make the tough decisions. I am going to show you examples here of how to become a millionaire without much startup cash.
Becoming a millionaire with a low cost and no effort is a tall task. It is rare to build something to millionaire status that does not require upfront work. So, by keeping that in mind, we can understand that this road is not easy. But anything that is not easy, is usually worth it.
The internet is going to be a big player here. That is because it is pretty cheap to start your own website. It’s actually ridiculously cheap. Less than a few bucks a month.
1.) Start A Blog
Unless you’re a celebrity or public figure, there’s not a way to get rich quickly with a blog. You can’t set up your website, hit publish, and people will magically appear. I’m not going to lie to you. Blogging involves a lot of work. Hours and hours per week to make it successful. But for the $4 a month startup cost, you can build it into a million dollar business and beyond.
The ROI (return on investment) becomes your time, not money.
There is a laundry list of bloggers who you have never heard of, making a million dollars a year. There are even more making six figures per year.
First, I’ll break down how someone actually makes money blogging. The average Joe thinks that you write posts and hit send, that’s it. Bloggers would laugh in your face if you suggested that is all they do. Here’s how you make directly from your blog:
A. Affiliate Marketing
This is promoting a specific product or service on your blog. Usually through affiliate links. You get a specific link from the company you want to promote. You then embed that link into the post. This is a great strategy, especially when you already use the product.
B. Affiliate Ads
Affiliate ads are the advertisements you see on the sidebar of posts. Usually run by Google AdSense or a similar site. These ads are completely hands off but don’t make much money, unless you have lots of traffic.
C. Products (I.e E-books, online courses, etc)
Products you create, can also be a huge revenue driver. This can be anything from an e-book, webinar, or online course. Once you build credibility, these products can really boost your sales.
There are also indirect ways to make money from your blog.
Many business leaders and thinkers start a blog for the sole purpose of landing new speaking gigs.
E. Writing for other publications
Blogs are a great resume to show off to other publications. I would have never been able to start writing for AOL if it wasn’t for my blog. If you’re an aspiring writer, then a blog is a must.
Consulting is another great way you can earn money indirectly from your blog. Blogs can portray your skills in many areas beyond your topic. From internet marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and building sites. The sky’s the limit!
Many bloggers become coaches in their specific niches. For example, if you have a nutritional blog you can offer one hour sessions with readers who strive to have a more balanced diet.
Some bloggers focus on one revenue stream, others focus on multiple. That choice would be up to you and how you see fit for your readers. From experience, focusing on a few revenue streams is the best way to go. The internet can shift on a dime, and you need to be able to recover when ready.
Google can change is algorithm tomorrow and many blogs will lose 50% or more of their income overnight. So diversify, diversify, diversify.
If you go into blogging with the intention of helping others, you will gain readership and attention. Once you gain trust by consistently producing quality content, you can implement some of these strategies. Help others first, then treat your blog as a business. You will be well on your way to a profitable and rewarding blog.
Let me show you a few examples of million dollar blogs:
The Points Guy
The Points Guy is a travel blog that teaches you how to maximize your rewards travel. They make their money by recommending different credit cards to their readers, and helping them understand the pros and cons of each card as it pertains to travel rewards. They now produce well over a dozen articles a day, with a fleet of writers and contributors.
The Blender Dude
The Blender Dude is (you guessed it) a blog that reviews blenders. They produce videos, articles, and recipes while reviewing every blender under the sun. They make money through affiliate sales from each blender company. They also make money from their banner ads.
Digital Photography School
Digital Photography School is a blog that teaches people how to take beautiful pictures. They make money by linking to cameras, equipment, and lenses, on Amazon affiliates. The founder, Darren Rowse, actually has two million dollar blogs! The other being Problogger, which is a blog about blogging.
Making Sense of Cents
Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income is a blog that teaches others how to create online businesses. Pat Flynn, the founder, is one of the most helpful people on the internet. He posts his monthly income reports as well. Last month alone making $151,137.88!
These examples should give you an understanding on how a blog can become a multi-million dollar business. The amazing thing is, they cost less than $4 a month to start. You can be up and running in under an hour! I use Bluehost, who has great support, gives you a free domain name, and a professional email address.
2.) Start a Niche Site
If you’re like me, then you have more hobbies than time to dedicate to them. This is a great problem to have for someone looking to build a niche site. A niche site is a website that offers courses or information in a niche market.
As an example, let’s say you scored perfect on the SAT. You could start a niche site that discusses the tips, tricks, and studying you did to achieve that perfect score. You can sell study guides, books, and printables to people who are searching for advice on taking the SAT.
The cost to start a website is again almost nothing. The price you pay is your upfront time.
Niche sites CAN become a set it and forget it system. Once you have a strong reach, you can reap the rewards with very little amount of work.
Here a few examples of great sites:
Parrot Secrets is one of my favorite examples. Parrots are extremely difficult birds to deal with. The founder realized this (he’s never owned a parrot by the way) and created a niche site to teach others how to solve the problems they were facing. He read every book on Amazon about parrots and viola, Parrot Secrets is born. The site sells 15-20 eBook sets per day, seven days per week. Using the low end of that range is 5,475 copies per year, for gross sales of $437,726.25. This from a website that costs less than a few dollars per month. They make additional revenue in affiliate income and other education materials. There is a great write up on the details of Parrot Secrets here.
Food Truckr is a cool idea that took advantage of the food truck trend. They are a site that shows people who want to start a food truck everything they need to know. They sell courses, guides, and other materials.
Kitchen Knife Guru
Kitchen Knife Guru sells everything from knives, cutting boards, and sharpeners. Similar to The Blender Dude they have videos, articles, and tutorials on how to use their knives.
3.) Create a Product
Products are easier than ever to create. You can get in touch with real manufacturers almost instantly through sites like Alibaba. The competition on these sites makes creating your product very inexpensive.
Creating products is not as inexpensive as a blog or niche site, but can take up less of your time in the long run.
Products don’t have to be sold on a website (although it’s a good idea to have one), they can also be sold through third parties like Amazon FBA (fulfillment by amazon). I love this option! Here is how it works:
1. You create a product with the manufacturer.
2. The manufacturer sends the products to Amazon.
3. The customer orders from Amazon.
4. Amazon ships your product from their warehouse.
5. You collect 70% of the profit.
The beauty of Amazon FBA is that you don’t have to sit in you garage with a thousand yoga mats. They handle all the product, shipping, and returns. It is basically like hiring a full time fleet of employees (without all the headaches).
Your startup cost for something like this can vary. Obviously, if you’re selling bluetooth speakers, your initial cost will be much higher. If you can find a product that is cheap to create, you are in business.
Here’s one of my favorite examples:
Zen Active Yoga
Zen Active Yoga is a product that was created by a student right out of college. He figured out how to rank high on Amazon, and built Zen Active Yoga to a million dollars per year in sales. He eventually sold Zen Active for well north of a million dollars.
Savvy Infusion is one of the best sellers on Amazon. It is actually in the top 100. They make water bottles that you can add fruit to give your water a “hint” of flavor.
When selling Amazon FBA there are three keys:
- Lightweight – Makes the product cheaper to ship.
- Durable – Results in happy customers with less return.
- Cheap to manufacture – Keeps your cost low.
Create your own product – $1,000 – $3,000.
4.) Creative Real Estate
Creative real estate is something that many people don’t realize is an option. You may be able to buy real estate for little to no down payment one of two ways.
A.) Find a Hands Off Partner
A hands off partner is someone who invests the money as a 50-50 partner. You, in turn, earn your keep by managing the property, finding tenants, and fixing any issues that come up. You come to the closing table with no money down, but own 50% of the property (This is also known as a sweat equity partner).
Search sites like Bigger Pockets and let the forums know you are looking for a cash partner in “X” zip code. Finding your partner will take persistence and time. But if the first deal works out, you may have a lifelong partnership.
B.) Seller Financing
Seller financing can be a great way to purchase a rental property with low to no money upfront. Essentially, the seller acts as the bank. You pay them the monthly mortgage payments with interest, and you keep the cash flow.
If you bail on the property, the seller retains ownership of the house. If you pay the loan off, the house is yours. It’s a win-win for both parties. The seller continues to earn monthly income from their investment, and you get into a property for a minimal down payment.
Here is a few ways to find these deals:
Driving for Dollars
Drive through neighborhoods and look for houses that seem to be in distress. Maybe the grass is too long, the paint is chipped, or there’s a patch on the roof. Compile a list of addresses that fit this criteria in your target zip code. Once you have that list, send yellow letters to those houses with your contact information. Let them know if they ever want to sell their house, they should call you first.
Call For Rent or Craigslist Listings
Look for properties that are for sale or for rent. Ask the landlord if they would like to sell the property. If they do, tell them you would love to work on a deal where the property brings them the cash flow.
Call Local Property Management Companies
Ask local property managers if they have any owners who they know are looking to sell. Maybe they have owners who are having issues with tenants in a specific area and just want to get out.
To find creative real estate, you have to get a little more creative yourself. Many people are not aware of say seller financing for example, so when you get a call back, make sure you clearly understand how it works. Otherwise you may hear a dial tone.
Creative Real Estate – $1,000 – $5,000.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to build a million dollar business. What you do need is the consistency, drive, and willingness to give your time, in order to make up for your lack of investment capital. For creating your million dollar business, you’ll need to put in a ton of effort and stay consistent. But, the benefits will be worth it. So, go on and execute the strategies that I’ve shared in the article.
Do you have any other cheap million dollar business ideas?