Anyone interested in earning a living in the Philippines who comes here often should remember a post I did a few months back about online business in the Philippines aside from the language Learning Niche … which I consider a pretty good prospect, but is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
(By the way, unless I point out some specific difference here, every idea or website I write about is absolutely as possible for one of my Filipino readers to emulate … you absolutely do not have to be a foreigner to earn money in the Philippines. This should be painfully obvious, but I am always saddened by how many of my Filipino friends or family read about something regarding business and then shrug their shoulders, saying,” Ok for a foreigner, lang”.)
>, a business owned and operated by Thomas Nixon, a reader here who has often contributed to some of our discussions. Today I have a special treat for you. I wrote Tom and asked him some questions about his online earning efforts and he responded very generously. A lot of facts, tips and techniques are revealed here in this interview. I am very grateful to Tom for his generous contribution.
One of the sites I featured was BestOnlineHighSchools.commy questions and Tom’s answers, pretty much verbatim.
1. As I have mentioned on my site before, Tom, I note that you have a money-making venture called Best Online High Schools. Sounds like something many people would need, but it is surely not something that pops into people’s mind when they think of earning online. How did you come upon this idea?
As it happens, I had written some books about distance learning in the early 2000s and had taught some distance learning courses. I have worked professionally within online learning. I realized early on that online high schools were going to be the next big thing in education. I got lucky and was right. How did I determine this? I looked around at the growing number of online colleges and considered where the trend might go. In other words, I guessed.
2. What background or previous experience led you to offer information in the niche?
As mentioned above, I have worked in the field and had written in the field. Also, I hung out on distance learning websites. I had some street cred if you will. That certainly helps, but it wasn’t the determining factor in the success of the website.
That determining factor was the hard work put into making it successful.
You can’t just throw something up and assume people will come. Increasingly, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) are playing an important role in all of this as well.
It does help that I am a writer. That predates the websites, the books, and everything else. Content is king and someone needs to provide that content. For the most part, that is me.
3. Do you think making money this way … offering a directory and other related information on a subject is restricted only to those with prior expertise in a specific area, or could anyone who wants to do the research get something similar going?
I think it is likely best if you have experience in the particular area for which you want to create a directory, but that is certainly not essential at all. Humbly, I think I could do this in several areas where I have not worked. What I would recommend, though, is to start with what you know.
If you were a truck driver, you might want to create a directory of truck driving schools. However, even if you weren’t, you might want to do that.
If what you did in your previous work history, doesn’t work, consider other possibilities. What about your hobbies? Reading interests?
Also and importantly, don’t assume that you should do a website based on your previous work. Consider all of the possibilities.
While you didn’t specifically ask, I should tell you that directories are a great way to go. Why?
Because Google likes them. That liking translates into site visitors. Site visitors translate into money. I make money a number of ways including:
- Google AdSense
- Featured listings (paid for by schools)
- Book sales
- Banner ads
- Amazon Associate links
The key is to find a niche that doesn’t have much competition or where you would be offering a superior product. Google is your friend. Make a list of potential topics and then enter them into Google. See what the results tell you.
What wouldn’t I do? Don’t consider doing something that is already out there in force.
Another blog about living in the Philippines? While it sounds like fun, be prepared for some strong competition.
A blog about the best places for Expats to shop in the Philippines (including reviews of the stores and the staff, along with prices, and all done in a professional manner)?
That might just be a winner. Look at the niche within the niche.
In reality, online high schools is a niche within a niche. It’s very specific and I think that helps.
4. A great many people who are interested in ventures like this tell me they can’t move forward because they lose sleep over competition … and obviously there is no guarantee that someone won’t copy a ‘good idea”. Do you worry much about competition, and do you take any specific actions to combat it?
I would not say I worry about the competition, but I do pay attention to it.
The Best Online High Schools website is still the largest and oldest site dedicated solely to online high schools. I have more competition now than I did in 2007 when the site first came online. At least one site came about as a result of someone coming to my site and deciding to copy the concept. In addition, that site regularly updates their site not long after I update mine. Are they stealing from me? Perhaps.
Does it keep me up at night? Never.
Look. Life is too short. Create a better mousetrap. Create a better website. Whatever you choose. It’s good to know what others in the niche are doing, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to have a quality product.
So how do I deal with the competition? I don’t.
I do, however, act like I do. In 2010, I came out with a bunch of sister sites to the Best Online High Schools one. Sites like Best Online Public Schools, Best Online Christian Schools, and so on. I also own all fifty of the state-based online high school websites. An example is California Online High Schools. They also came online in 2010.
All told, I have close to sixty websites related to online high schools and they all point toward my main website. That is an amazing number of websites, but not as much work as one would think (at this point). Also, not as much cost to develop as one would think.
5. I believe you are based in the US right now, correct? Do you feel you could operate your business pretty much “as is”if you moved overseas? Can you share what you feel would be any major obstacles (or advantages) if you chose to do so?
I am in the United States. If I were to move overseas to, for example, the Philippines or a similar country, I would likely do better. The cost for my standard of living in the U.S. is noticeably higher than it would be in the Philippines or any number of countries.
The nice thing about a truly web-based business is that it is easily transferable now.
I rarely talk to my advertisers on the phone, but even that has become cheap.
I had two advertisers sign up this week to get featured listings. I never talked with either on the phone and I doubt I ever will.
As to the money side, I use PayPal for credit card transactions.
If I were abroad, I would need to deal with the checks (which, coming from schools, is actually the larger share), but even that isn’t much of a challenge now.
PayPal money is easily transferred to my bank. Amazon deposits in my bank. Book sales go straight into the bank. Easy.
Some advice: Don’t think that you are going to move and then start the business and live off that income. This didn’t happen overnight.
Also, be prepared to fail. My first website was a good idea, but an idea that had too many others in the niche.
My second idea, with online high schools, was a tiny niche looking for a large website to catalog it. Get your business headed in the right direction first.
If the plan was to use a website or websites to fund living abroad, I would plan on spending a year or two working on the concept in the U.S. before moving.
Thankfully, this is something that you can do while you continue to work your day job.
Friends, there you have it. Direct from someone who “is doing”. Better than many a $97 USD “Goo Roo” guide book I have come across.
I get very little feedback on these online business-related articles, but I continue to write them. Why?
because I see the standard of living in my own country dropping, daily, for the ‘rank and file” who used to be happy with a “good job”, like putting together pickup trucks for Ford, or riveting the handles onto pots at the pan factory.
Those days are gone, folks. Hundreds of millions of you out there are already out of work, a=or are going to be out of work.
You can “Occupy Wall Street” until the cows come home, you can elect whatever candidate you want to the White House, but it really doesn’t matter.
You need to do something to empower yourselves whether you are currently employed or whether you are some of those hundreds of thousands of people out there today who are burning up their 99 weeks of unemployment, fruitlessly waiting for a “job to find them”.
Ain’t going to happen. Think for yourself. Empower yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
And if you really want to move to the Philippines, great. Being self-supporting will make it so, so much easier.
Does anyone want to hear more about Earning a Living in the Philippines?