How to assess an online money-making idea

By Editor December 2, 2015

KenCPhoto.jpegAccording to Google, in December of 2012, 1.44 million people searched on some variation of the phrase “make money online.” Maybe you even found this blog post by searching for that phrase yourself. If you’re reading this, you’re at least probably interested in it.

I’ve been in the business of Internet revenue generation for years. I’ve done the research myself to see what type of answers Google gives you when you search on such a phrase. Often, the business models that come up with that search promise a lot of money right out of the gate—from a few hundred dollars a month to a whopping $50,000—with the use of this or that platform.

I want to give you a little bit of expert information about the sort of platforms we’re talking about—and some stern advice. The way these platforms work is to provide a product or service that is marketable. Usually, there’s an existing parent company that offers to let you use their product and their platform. In return, you provide the marketing muscle to make the sales.

In the online business world, marketing is almost always about creating an email opt-in list. Email addresses are gold in the Internet marketing business, and there are various ways you can go about collecting them, most of which rely on content. You might put out a newsletter with compelling subject matter or create a series of video blogs (vlogs). Content is the lure that hooks those email addresses right onto your list.

Once you have amassed a decent-sized opt-in list, the next step is to send out marketing emails directly about the product you’re selling. With any luck, a certain percentage of those people will bite. Sounds simple, right?

If you read the testimonials of other entrepreneurs who have used the platform you’re considering, they probably sound pretty spectacular. But before you make a commitment, I urge you to do just a little bit of due diligence. Look at the testimonials of other entrepreneurs who have gone down this path before you, and contact two or three of them. Ask them these three specific questions:

1. If you don’t mind sharing, how long did it take you to build your marketing list before you started making money using this platform?

2. How much money did you make each month, once you started to profit?

3. How did you build your list?

The answer to that last question is the most important, because often, entrepreneurs invest in a business like this with an opt-in list already under their belt—one they poached from another company or bought off an email list ‘dealer.’ With this advantage, they may have started making money a lot sooner, and avoided the hard work of building the marketing list.

If, on the other hand, these seasoned pros tell you that they built their own list from scratch, and they’re making decent money, then you know that it’s a good platform with a decent chance of netting you a pretty healthy profit.

Ken Courtright, speaker and author of multiple best-selling Internet marketing titles, is the founder of Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC)–a two-time Inc. 5000 designee–that launched TGC/Income Store partners with individuals, companies and private equity firms/fund managers to procure, develop and manage revenue-generating websites at two times earnings. The company’s portfolio currently boasts over 600 websites that are seen approximately 200 million times each year. Ken may be reached online at