I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of talented marketers over the years.
Including my mentor, Clayton Makepeace, a legend in the copywriting world and generally regarded as America’s highest-paid copywriter…
… Jeff Walker, creator of Product Launch Formula, and godfather of the product launch…
… And now Daniel, one of the greatest email marketers and online strategists.
So I’ve had the opportunity to see the inner workings of countless online businesses.
I’ve seen firsthand what works, and what doesn’t work online, across a wide spectrum of products and industries.
And I’ve learned that while each of them may sell vastly different products – in often times vastly different ways – every one of them has started and grown their online empire using one, or a combination, of 10 proven frameworks… or business models.
It might help you to think of them as “profit blueprints,” because that’s really what they are. They’re simple blueprints for creating an extraordinary business online.
So in this 2-part post, we’ll take a look at these 10 profit blueprints, and how they’re being used by speakers, coaches, consultants, and every other expert online today.
This week, we’ll take a look at the first 5 profit blueprints, which are:
- Freelance Model
- Lead Generation Model
- Workshop Model
- Flagship Model
- University Model
First, some fundamentals…
Two Fundamentals of Building An Online Business
The FIRST fundamental truth about building an online business is this:
No matter what product or service you sell, or in what market or industry you sell it… you are, first and foremost, in the list-building business.
You may think that Tony Robbins is in the personal development business…
… Or that Tom and David Gardner of The Motley Fool are in the investment newsletter business…
… Or that legendary business-builder Jay Abraham is in the management consulting business…
… Or perhaps, that Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series are in the book selling business.
But the truth is, they’re ALL in the list-building business.
Regardless of what product or service you’re selling online, you’re fundamentally in the business of adding subscribers to a database…
… Developing deep bonds of trust and fellowship with those subscribers…
… And selling products and services to those subscribers that make their lives better.
The models that you’re about to learn are simply the vehicles for doing so.
The SECOND fundamental truth about building an online business is this:
There is no one single best way to build an online business.
As we look at each of these profit blueprints, think of them as merely one gear in a much larger profit-generating machine – the size of which is dependent upon how large an enterprise you wish to create…
… How much money you wish to earn…
… And how many people you ultimately wish to help.
It only takes a machine with one gear to produce results.
But the more gears you add, the larger and more efficient your machine becomes… and the bigger, better and faster the results you can produce from it.
So don’t think of these profit blueprints as being exclusive from one another.
Look at them all as being interchangeable, where you combine and integrate them to create a whole that is greater than its parts. In other words, keep it simple by starting off with one blueprint. Then add additional blueprints as you grow, and as you see fit.
And if you’re confused, don’t worry… this will make a lot more sense to you later on.
That said, let’s dive into the first profit blueprint…
Model #1: Freelance
The Freelance Model is fairly self-explanatory.
It’s where you get contract-based gigs in your respective market… either on a flat-rate, retainer or hourly basis.
As a freelance copywriter, this has been my primary bread and butter.
But it’s also a great way for experts who wish to eventually build a following, and sell their own products and services, to get started quickly. You work for clients while you’re building up your skill, experience and confidence. And until you either make the decision, or build up the courage, to sell that first product.
These can either be short-term or long-term contracts.
I’ve worked with clients on multi-year contracts, on a retainer basis, where I received a set monthly fee, plus a percentage of profits… on a flat-rate basis, where I designed a single training program or marketing campaign for a flat fee… and on an hourly basis, where I’ve strictly done consulting.
Whatever route you go, it’s a lucrative source of income while you’re building a business.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a skilled pastry chef. You might research online baking schools and then offer your services on a contract basis.
You agree to design a series of specialized videos for them on how to make a variety of desserts and pastries, and in return you get a flat fee plus percentage of the revenues they earn from those videos.
Two great examples of the Freelance Model (other than traditional freelance services like copywriting or graphic design) are Lynda.com and Upwork.com:
Lynda.com has a large assortment of software training and business courses. You can apply to become an instructor, where they pay you a fee for any training that you create for them. You create it. They sell it and send you a check.
Upwork.com is much more like a traditional job board. Potential clients post projects that they need completed, along with what they’re willing to pay, and any freelancer can bid on those projects. These tend to be for very specific tasks, within a specific timeframe.
Both of these are great ways to hone your skills and get all-important cash flow to fund the growth of your business.
There are plenty more out there like them. You just have to look.
Model #2: Lead Generation
You’ve likely heard the expression “the money is in the list.”
Well, this relates back to what I said before. No matter what product or service you sell, your primary job is that of building a list. Period.
With the Lead Generation Model, you give away something of value in exchange for a potential buyer’s email address.
Often referred to as a Lead Generation Magnet (or LGM), it can be a special report… a training video or webinar… a 7-day or 30-day training series sent daily by email… or anything else that provides value to your potential buyer.
Whatever it is, they get to learn something that’s immediately useable for free.
In return, you get an opportunity to establish your credibility and follow up with them indefinitely… while ultimately leading them down a proven, predetermined path to your paid products and services.
A popular term in the e-learning industry is a MOOC. It stands for Massive Open Online Course. They’re popping up all over, with major universities like Stanford, Penn State, and even Harvard offering free courses that are delivered to the masses.
You sign up… audit the course online… and if you like it, you enroll to get college credit.
You can do this, as well. Simply deliver a free course online, where anyone can register for it with their name and email address. It’s a great lead generator and list builder, so you can immediately start building a major asset in the form of a targeted email list.
You may remember real estate guru Robert Allen and his famous challenge in the 90s.
It was something to the effect of “take my cash, my bank account, and my credit… drop me off in the middle of any city… and within 72 hours I’ll have a new investment property, with cash in my pocket.”
Well you can take any successful online business owner… take away everything but their email list… and they’ll be back in business within 24 hours, with cash in the bank.
Email Alchemy is a perfect example of the Lead Generation Model in action.
Right now you can download a free copy of our special report “17 Proven Strategies for Lead Gen Marketing On Fire.” Plus, you’ll be registered for a free 60-minute training webinar with advanced strategies on email marketing.
Sign up here now and you’ll be able to see it all in action in real time.
Another great example of the Lead Generation Model is Hubspot.com.
Hubspot is a marketing technology company. But you wouldn’t know it at first glance, with all the free marketing training they offer in the way of webinars, PDFs, and white papers. All of which are ultimately just a pathway to their premium marketing software.
They generate an enormous amount of leads through their various LGM’s. So far as I can tell, it’s their number one marketing strategy.
Model #3: Workshop
The Workshop Model is often called the Bootcamp or Clinic Model.
It refers to live, pre scheduled training classes delivered over a series of days or weeks.
For example, you might have a 3-day weekend clinic or “marriage retreat” where you deliver specific content, mixed with hands-on assignments and a discussion group each day.
Or you might have a 4-week workshop, where you meet once a week to deliver two hours of content, followed by a live Q&A session and a take-home assignment that they’ve got until the next session to complete.
So there’s a real-time training experience, coupled with an offline component.
It’s also a great way to offer what’s called “blended” learning, which combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods.
There are all sorts of different formats you can use to deliver a high-value training. This includes webinar tools like GoToWebinar, WebinarJam or Google Hangouts… or teleseminar tools like FreeConferenceCalling.com or InstantTeleseminar.com.
Plus, you may choose to connect a community to it – whether it’s a private Google Community or a Facebook Group – where you can interact with your students, and they can interact with each other in between your live training sessions.
Either way, a workshop is an ideal platform for launching new products.
So for example, say you’re running a 4-week training program. You outline your training in advance, but you don’t fully develop the program until you actually start getting into the training, week by week.
Then as you start to get feedback from students, and they’re telling you what they like or don’t like about what and how you’re teaching it… or they have more detailed questions about a specific strategy or tactic… you can tweak the next week’s training to accommodate, thereby delivering even more value the next week.
You get immediate feedback to create a powerful training, which you can then transform into an “on demand” product that you can sell long after your workshop is over.
One of the best examples of the Workshop Model is a 3-week live workshop that Jeff Walker ran when I was on his team in 2013 called the “Seed Launch Deep Dive Course.”
The “Seed Launch Deep Dive” was structured as 2 live training classes per week for 3 weeks (roughly 2 hours per class), which were then posted in a private Facebook Group. The trainings were accompanied by a whole host of bonuses, such as session mind maps… cheat sheets… action guides… and other support material.
And since we only sold it to his internal list, there was no long drawn-out sales letter or sales video. Just a simple 7-minute video explaining the details of the training and asking them to register. It was simple to market, simple to create, and the attendees loved it.
It’s great if you’re just getting started, because you can literally go from zero to revenues in a matter of days, and build your training program “on the fly” session by session.
But it’s also perfect for you if you’re an established business that needs a revenue boost, or simply wants to launch a new training program.
Model #4: Flagship
The Flagship Model is where you have one major product that drives the business.
You may have other products and services also, but your primary focus is on developing and enhancing your one major product.
By enhancing, I’m referring to the process of offering new-and-improved versions.
So you may launch your business with a 1.0 version. Then next year you come out with a 2.0 version. Then the next year a 3.0 version. Your can either give your members a free upgrade to each new version, or charge a small upgrade fee.
A major benefit to having a flagship program is the freedom to put virtually 100% focus on developing and improving one killer training program… as opposed to trying to create a suite of products or services, where it’s all-too-easy to spread yourself thin.
Being laser-focused on making one product truly great can help you to quickly develop authority and gain “thought leader” status in your niche. It also greatly simplifies branding and marketing, your back-end systems, and even your customer support.
When I think of one of the best examples of the Flagship Model, my former client Jeff Walker again comes to mind.
Product Launch Formula has been Jeff’s flagship program for well over a decade. Every year he improves upon it, making it better and stronger, and opening it up to new members roughly every 12-14 months.
The rest of the year he focuses almost exclusively on servicing his product launch formula owners and his high-level mastermind members.
Consequently, he’s known in online circles as the expert’s expert on product launches.
Model #5: University
The University Model is where you create an assortment of training courses and programs spread across a variety of topics related to your market.
In essence, you’re setting up a complete online school.
Your plan right from the beginning is not just to have a single flagship product, or even a single membership program, but to develop dozens of courses on different topics. So it’s ideal for markets with a variety of popular areas of interest.
For example, think of web design and all the different topics related to it.
It’s the same with any number of hobbies or careers.
Cooking or baking… automotive repair… novel writing… computer repair… tax and accounting… running a small business… sales and marketing… the list goes on. You could spin any one of these markets into a variety of topics and courses.
You can also vary the delivery of your courses and programs.
You might deliver some of your training in a live webinar format, like a bootcamp… or offer a teleseminar or “on demand” video courses… or even email-only courses. In short, you can give people lots of options to choose from.
DigitalMarketer.com and MarketingProfs.com are great examples of the University Model. They both offer a variety of webinars, seminars, training courses and programs.
Now It’s Time to Start Mapping Out Your Online Fortune …
So there you have it.
The first 5 profit blueprints.
In my next post, I’ll share the other 5 with you. Plus, I’ll give you a disarmingly simple formula for using these blueprints to reach any profit goal you desire, both online and offline.
For now, we want to hear from you. So tell us…
Have you ever considered working as a freelancer as a way to launch your online business?
Does the concept of using “interchangeable” business models simplify the process of building an online business for you?
Which of these online business models have you personally used?
Please comment below and let us know…
Until next time, happy selling!