Do you think that you can’t make money online?
You need to read this interview that I’m going to share with you guys with an unlikely entrepreneur that makes decent money online.
I always do my best to reach out to successful folks to learn from them. For example, I posted a case study on explosive blog growth where I spoke to Adam Baker about growing a profitable site.
I decided to reach out to Bryan Alvarez of F4WOnline many years ago to chat with him about the work that it takes to run a highly profitable niche/subscription site. For some odd reason I never got around to posting this interview. Since starting an online business is one of my favorite topics, I figured that today was a great day to post this interview.
What’s the background story here for making money online?
Bryan Alvarez runs a site dedicated to prowrestling/MMA. Him and the various contributors post articles, podcasts, newsletters, offer an exclusive message board, and update the site many times per day. They offer one flat membership fee option of $10.99 per month. Free users still get access to daily news updates and the occasional podcast.
The story here involves individuals that have chosen to cover a niche that they’re passionate about and would follow for free if they had to. If there are enough fans, there will always be paying customers that will help you grow a business.
Time for the interview on making money online.
Just to make the interview easy to read, my questions are in bold and the answers are posted immediately below in regular font.
How many hours do you work in an average week?
I don’t keep track but no less than 40 and probably closer to 80. Most days, with the exception of things like eating and going to the gym or jiu-jitsu, I feel like I work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.
What is the worst part of running a subscription site?
There is no worst part to be honest. I can’t complain. There are things that are annoying such as people freaking out over goofy things or people being massively confused about simple matters, but I’m not usually the one who has to deal with that anyway.
How did you arrive at the monthly rate of $10.99?
We started at $5.99 when we launched, since that’s what most subscription sites were charging (and there weren’t many), then jumped to $6.99 and $7.99 as we added more content. We needed to raise the price when Dave came on board but didn’t want to go above $10.99, so that is where that number came from.
Even though you run a subscription site, how would you say your income is spread out? (i.e. Google, subs, book sales)
95% online subscriptions. Add up everything else and you might get the other 5%. And of that 5%, pretty much all of it is online advertising. Google, book sales, etc. is all essentially nil in the grand scheme of things.
How have you been able to establish yourself as an authority in your niche?
I’ve been doing it for 15 years now and Dave is going on 30+. Basically, if you do anything for a long enough period of time and do a decent job at it you will be considered an authority. Dave is far more an authority than I am, but I do the best I can.
How long did it take you to get to the point that you were earning a living doing something you love?
Well, I never lost money at it or went into debt, but I had to have another job to support myself for five years or longer. I forget when it was that I was largely making a living through the newsletter. Probably around five years, and at that point it still wasn’t much of a living.
What do you want people to know about making money online?
It’s not easy. The website was a huge success from day one, but it wasn’t like we started from nothing. I had been doing Figure Four for 10 years and Dave had been doing the Observer for 22 years. All we did was move the model online at the right time. I heard someone once say that it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.
What can you make legitimate money online?
I recently wrote about why right now is the best time to make money online because I really do believe that there’s unlimited potential on the web. You don’t have to create your blueprint because there are many great sites out there that you can learn from.
I also wanted to stress one important point. As Bryan indicates in the interview, his business isn’t about chasing passive income. If you get realistic and start doing real work, you might be able to make money. If you blindly chase passive income, you’ll be in the same position forever.
I hope that the key takeaway point from this article is that you can do anything imaginable for money online these days. There’s no niche too small or industry too competitive for you to get started. It took Bryan MANY years before he saw any results, but he still continued on. You too can find something that works for you.