How to Assess an Online Money-Making Idea

StrategyDriven Alternative Selection ArticleAccording 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:

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About the Author

Ken CourtrightKen 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 procure, develop and manage revenue-generating websites at two times earnings. The company’s portfolio currently boasts over 400 websites that are seen approximately 100 million times each year. Ken may be reached online at

Can You Really Turn a Hobby into a Business? part 1 of 3

The whole hobby-to-business proposition is a little misleading—primarily because we need to rethink the word “hobby.” When we hear it, we think of those fun, voluntary pastimes that bring us enjoyment and help us make the most of our free time: reading, collecting stamps, community theatre – they’re all things that we do because we enjoy doing them. But is simply enjoying stamp collecting enough to translate your hobby into a successful, thriving, and sustainable career?

What we’re really talking about here is ‘passion.’ When your hobby becomes something all-consuming—that thing you think about all day long during work and jump right into as soon as your time is yours again – that’s more than a hobby; that’s a passion with potential. And that passion is what represents something that can be both personally and professionally sustainable.

Here are a few areas to consider before taking the leap.

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About the Author
Nick Goode is the Global Commercial Director of Sage One, Sage’s cloud accounting and payroll solution for start-ups and small businesses. He is accountable for the commercial, channel, product and marketing strategy for Sage One worldwide. Nick was previously Head of Sage One for Sage UK, and prior to that, Head of Marketing for the Accountants Division at Sage.

7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Running a Family Business

Entrepreneurship is rarely easy but also having family in the mix can add multiple layers of complexity – barriers and challenges that your competitors may not be burdened with. That said, the unique dynamics of a family-run business can also result in extraordinary success as evidenced by Wal-Mart, BMW, Ford and Tyson – all highly accomplished family firms. For this reason and others, the ‘family business’ trend is flourishing. In fact, recent reports reveal that family-owned companies comprise between 80 and 90 percent of businesses worldwide, generating a staggering estimated $6.5 trillion in annual sales – “enough to be the third largest economy in the world (behind the U.S. and China)” as cited in the report.

What’s also fascinating is that The Global Family Business Index, a compilation of the largest 500 family firms around the globe intended to exemplify the economic power and relevance of family firms worldwide, found that 44 percent are owned by fourth generation or older family members. These companies are in it for the long haul and have clearly realized the kind of sustained success needed to withstand the test of

One major component of long term success among family businesses is simply knowing how to navigate and circumvent personal relationships in order to work together effectively, while also maintaining positive perceptions and overall integrity with non-related staffers. Achieving all of this, while tending to “standard” business issues, can be daunting at best and a death knell for far too many.

With this in mind, here’s a list of seven pitfalls to avoid—all of which can cause an assortment of strife: from uncomfortable family friction to completely tearing a family and business apart.

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About the Author

Brian GreenbergBrian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has founded and now spearheads multiple online businesses. He currently co-owns and operates three entrepreneurial companies with his father, Elliott Greenberg, which have each flourished for over 10 years:, and

Developing Your Strategic Proficiencies

There is certainly no shortage of articles, texts, and resources dedicated to the subject of developing business strategies. I myself am guilty of adding to this information pile, having just released a book on this very topic. But as we all attempt to decode the magic formulas and frameworks behind best-in-class business strategies, we should also take a little time to understand the skills that are required of the people who create those strategies.

The process of developing business strategies is a creative one¬ – not unlike writing music, painting a portrait, or designing a new architectural masterpiece. Creative endeavors produce creative outputs; and the success of those outputs will be driven not only by skills, but also by some level of proficiency in those skills. Using this terminology, it is useful to think in terms of four “strategic proficiencies” that can be mastered in relation to developing successful business strategies. They are:


In and of itself, this mnemonic of ARIA may appear to be yet another catchy little arrangement of words to help sell more books! And while there may be just a shred of truth to that statement, there is actually both a rhyme and a reason for my line of thinking behind this approach.

When assessing strategic proficiencies, I like to refer back to the four main questions that have formed the very foundation of strategic theory for centuries:

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About the Author

Bob CaporaleBob Caporale is the author of Creative Strategy Generation: Using Passion and Creativity to Compose Business Strategies That Inspire Action and Growth (McGraw-Hill, 2015) and the President of Sequent Learning Networks. His goal is to help business practitioners infuse more passion and creativity into their jobs. You can learn more about his work by visiting

To Outsource Is To Grow: Why It’s Good To Hand Over The Reins

One of the major problems faced by business owners all over the world is knowing when to let go. There are plenty of reasons why. As a company owner, you are used to making the decisions and there is a good chance you like to keep things under your control. As much as you like to think you are running a tight ship, if you are lending your hand to every aspect of your business, there is a very good chance you are spreading yourself thin. And at that point, it’s time to give yourself a break.

To Outsource Is To Grow: Why It's Good To Hand Over The Reins
Photo courtesy of Flazingo

You can’t do it all

You are right when you think you are the best person to lead your business, but you just can’t do everything. Delegating to a trusted employee is a perfect fit for the day-to-day running of your company. But what about those times when you have a special project or need help to explore emerging technology? Outsourcing to professional services may be the quickest and easiest way of handing these situations.

Specialist knowledge

Specialist companies will have a much deeper understanding of their industry than you can expect your employees to have. Sure, they know your business inside out but they may not know how to maximize your opportunity in particular areas. Let’s say your current in-house software system is bogging down from a recent influx of customers. In this case, IT outsourcing is likely to be better for you than leaving things to your under-pressure support team who may be challenged by their current workload.

The money

There are financial factors too, and your operational costs may be lower when outsourcing. Let’s say you want a new website designed. The investment required to find, employ, and train staff to do so often outweighs that of the one-off cost you would pay a freelancer or a small web developer company. There are offshore markets to explore too. Many highly skilled developers can be found in emerging markets such as India, where costs are far lower. Making use of modern communications technology makes it easy to share projects and get the same quality of work as you would get from your local town. And all for a lot less money.


At the end of the day, it’s all about resources: if you don’t have enough of them, you can’t possibly expect to grow. You may get a surge of new customers but if your team isn’t big enough to handle it, the influx could strike a serious blow to your business. Outsourcing at the right times and in the right areas mitigates your risk and opens up new possibilities. If you don’t free up the reins, stagnation – and possible implosion – is likely to be waiting for you at the next corner.