As you’re likely well aware, every entrepreneur and their mother has started making millions with a coaching business. If you have an expertise, why wouldn’t you monetize it with a no-inventory, high-margin digital business like coaching?
Here’s the truth: You can — but you’ll have to spend far more time and resources on building up your personal brand and attempting to profitably market than you will on creating your coaching program or working with clients. Let’s just say it isn’t 100% passive unless you consider managing a volatile advertising account with fluctuating rules and erratic CPAs passive.
Nonetheless, I know multiple entrepreneurs who’ve made a killing (up to multiple 8 figures) in this space, and as someone who’s dipped my toe into this arena years ago with some fast profits, too, I can tell you it’s possible.
That said, maybe showing your face isn’t your forte, but you still love the appeal of a no-inventory, 100% digital somewhat passive business. Have no fear: Affiliate marketing is here.
I was recently watching a pretty compelling video sales letter from a successful affiliate marketer (that’s not what he calls himself) who so eloquently outlined why this venture is such a no-brainer:
- You don’t need a personal brand
- You don’t need to start with a following
- You don’t need to invest heavily in creating any product or services at all
- You can succeed at this with the click of a few buttons and a meager budget
Sounds like the panacea, right?
Well, sure, maybe it is for those who love keyword research and tinkering around in ad managers until they find the products, platforms, and ads that convert. Not too bad, though, right? It wouldn’t be, though of course those ads and platforms will invariably fluctuate and constant monitoring of conversions, rejiggering of budgets, and iterating of sales funnels will be necessary.
For some people, they won’t be satisfied peddling other companies’ products for a small fraction of the profits. They’ll figure that if they’re going to spend their days and nights optimizing ad creative, copy, and sales funnels, they may as well get a bigger piece of the pie. Those people might turn to e-commerce.
Some people believe e-commerce is dead and only a matter of time before big-name brands spend small entrepreneurs out of business with their massive marketing budgets and undercutting prices. Nonetheless, I know an unlikely entrepreneur who’s recently built a multi-million-dollar e-commerce venture in a highly competitive space he knows nothing about. He’d argue that if you can dominate social media ads and SEO, this is the place to be, especially if you want to build a standalone brand you can flip in a few years (that’s his plan).
However, many people will return to the fact that rising ad costs and decreasing conversion rates (coupled with a horrific economy right now) make e-commerce look a lot less attractive to get into. Some of those people likely think that if they’re going to have to create all this marketing and customer-attracting content anyway for what might be a short-lived product, trend, or industry, why not create a pure content brand instead?
Those people turn to the content creation and influencer world as their get-out-of-work-free card, eliminating the need for ads, big budgets, or sales funnels (at the beginning).
For those who don’t mind the attention, enjoy being on camera, or simply enjoy the artistic side of creating engaging content that draws a crowd, content creation or the influencer path can feel like the panacea. If done right, it can enable many of the aforementioned ventures to flow profitably that much faster and easier. However, there are a few major downsides to this option:
- It requires extreme patience for most
- It’s an ongoing grind that few would consider purely passive
- There’s no guarantee of success, and with increased competition, only a very small percentage of content creators make it big
But then again, why not bank on a more timely opportunity that doesn’t require years of free labor just to hopefully get some followers and hopeful dollars to follow? If that’s more your jam, then new product development around a timely trend might be the key.
Some people made millions off masks; others have made millions off of artificial intelligence plays. You get the gist: Building a new product around a timely invention or newsworthy trending topic seems like the shortcut to attracting prospects and churning out a 7+ figure idea in a few short weeks.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues here:
- It’s a race against the clock (and you might be just too slow to catch the trending traffic)
- The competition will likely be at an all-time high
- You could be left holding the bag as the trend moves on or technology swiftly changes, leaving your invention promptly obsolete
While I’m not suggesting that pursuing flash-in-the-pan opportunities is a dead-end road, it is a temporary one that typically has a finite expiration date. Still, it is possible to gain success and perhaps even find a way to improve and prolong your venture’s longevity…but possible and likely, easy, and enjoyable are all very different things.