Million Dollar Business Ideas When Disabled article update April 2014.
I watch TV programs like the Apprentice, Dragon’s Den and How to Be a Billionaire and it is quite interesting to see some of the money making ideas that almost anyone with hard work could put into practice.
I unfortunately have a disability that prevents me from doing a standard 9-5 type job and so many (most) of the ways I could make a lot of money, make my easy millions are just not an option, see Working with Long Term Disabilities.
Making Money Online When Disabled
When I permanently dropped out of University on medical grounds over 20 years ago I had to find a way to make money. Spent a couple of years claiming disability benefits (which wasn’t enough money to have a good life with a young family) before finding something I could do without working for an employer (no way I’d get a job without being able to sit/stand).
Here’s a run down of what I’ve tried online to make money.
I Build An Online Ecommerce Store
I came to the conclusion I should sell something online and after a lot of research discovered lingerie/adult products had a decent markup, some items you can buy for £1 and sell for as much as £10, average markup over 100% and has a big market.
At that time (around 2001) I had ZERO web design/HTML abilities, but needed a website for sales, but couldn’t afford to pay anyone to make do web design. Bought a terrible ecommerce shopping cart software called ShopFactory and began adding products one at a time from a company called Rimba (they sell really erotic/BDSM type adult products). After a few months had an adult ecommerce store up and running with over 2,000 products and was in business (self employed).
At first it went quite slow, but after discovering SEO and a black hat SEO technique for gaining links called comment spamming**, traffic to the site peaked at 8,000 visitors a day and I sold £80,000 worth of stock in a year (personally made £25,000 that year).
** If you care about long term SEO success do not use comment spamming or any other black hat SEO technique, it will cost you long term.
However since I used a blackhat SEO technique Google eventually penalized the ecommerce site and the traffic reduced significantly. I saw this coming in advance (I realized the SEO mistake too late) and despite the potential of opening retail shops etc…(if it wasn’t for my back problems) it was hard on me packing stock etc… (had to sit to pack orders and that hurt like hell) and so before the Google penalty hit for link spamming I had been working towards offering SEO services*** so I could close the adult store.
Google Shit Hit The Fan!
With the Google penalty I had the choice of starting again with a new domain to sell adult products: I didn’t like selling adult products, returns are no fun and my suppliers (had 2 by then) was getting slower at delivering stock on time (at all for some items!) causing big customer services headaches for me. So another adult store wasn’t my first choice. Or I could put all my eggs in the SEO services basket and hope I did well.
I went with the latter and offered SEO services and quickly took on quite a lot of long term SEO clients (I’m VERY good at SEO) who paid a monthly retainer fee for SEO advice and in under 6 months was making more than the adult store business (which I’d put in moth balls, took no orders) without having to sit in a chair :-)
So within the space of a couple of years had started a successful online adult products store, ruined it by using a black hat SEO technique, but had a backup SEO business far enough along to keep the money rolling in. Things were going quite well.
SEO Consulting is Good Business
Over the next 8ish years my SEO business remained stable, though it got harder to keep new clients happy due to how Google had adapted to the SEO services industry. Basically what would take an SEO consultant 3 months to get ranked well for pre 2004, now takes 6, 9 and even 12 months!
SEO clients expect a lot for their money and since I didn’t lie to potential clients about what to expect I was spending more time dealing with SEO quotes from potential clients that rarely resulted in a long term client, (they don’t spend when you tell them it could take a year) than dealing with clients real SEO problems: I enjoyed the thrill of solving SEO puzzles, don’t enjoy sending out pointless SEO quotes.
For the above reasons I’d not been actively looking for new SEO clients since 2008 and completely shut the SEO business down in 2013. Always found it easy to find SEO clients, I could start up again and easily take on a dozen clients within a couple of months.
Will WordPress SEO Themes Make Me A Millionaire?
Started selling WordPress SEO themes late 2007, but it’s never really taken off in a big way. My current best WordPress SEO theme is awesome, nothing else like it exists yet in sales terms it makes very little money.
Fortunately I didn’t make Stallion Responsive to sell per se, like I said above my income comes from a network of sites and they run WordPress, so I built the WordPress SEO theme primarily for me. I released the current version of Stallion in February 2014 and less than 2 months in my sites that’s I’ve modified to work with the new Hummingbird SEO features are generating more search engine traffic and revenue.
Over the years I’ve tried a few affiliate schemes and have made some extra money from them. Using Amazon’s XML datafeed I created around a dozen Amazon affiliate stores covering various niches.
I setup accounts with Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, but the UK one didn’t make too much. The Amazon.com affiliate stores however did very well.
Between March 2005 and June 2008 I sold 21633 Amazon products for a total of $407,412.81 which equates to $32,767.49 in affiliate income.
That works out at around $10,000 a year, but the majority of it was in the first year-
Between March 2005 and March 2006 I sold 17195 Amazon products for a total of $299,477.44 which equates to $25,517.63 in affiliate income.
Between March 2006 and March 2007 I sold 3329 Amazon products for a total of $79,488.93 which equates to $5,421.91 in affiliate income.
Between March 2007 and March 2008 I sold 899 Amazon products for a total of $21,542.72 which equates to $1,405.82 in affiliate income.
See more Amazon payment proof.
As you can see started with a LOT of promise, I was planning a lot more Amazon stores long term, but Google penalized them all by the end of 2007 and now the money made is from click thru traffic from my own sites (the stores get hardly any search engine traffic now: since first writing this I’ve deleted all the Amazon stores).
This sort of problem has repeated itself over all affiliate programs I tried that involved using the affiliates content. Google hates thin affiliate sites, a thin affiliate site is like my Amazon stores that just copies content already supplied by the affiliates original site. Google’s approach is why list 20 versions of Amazon.com when there’s Amazon.com to list, so over time thin affiliate sites are dropped from the index.
I’ve also tried single affiliate products from Clickbank with mixed results, so far only found 3 products that actually sell! Those three products have made me roughly $2,500 over the last 12 months, this is from 3 product type pages (they review the products) and a few supporting pages. This info is out of date and Clickbank doesn’t show long term sales, so can’t show up to date info, I think my best year was around $10,000 selling Clickbank affiliate products, but because of my health I didn’t put much effort into it.
If this could be repeated over 30 products I could make $25K a year, but so far not found any other products that sell! The 3 that sell it also helped that I understood the market, other areas I’ve tried I went in cold with little knowledge.
As you can see there’s potential in affiliate marketing, but you have to get the right products and using the affiliates content is doomed before you start if you rely on search engine traffic.
NO Million Dollar Ideas So Far :-(
Unfortunately nothing I’ve tried so far has the potential in itself to make me a Millionaire, in combination I make a very nice living.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining since in 12 or so years I’ve gone from claiming disability benefits with no chance of ever getting a 9-5 job to being able to purchase a large ex-guesthouse with a £36K deposit (in 2006) and have it paid off in full in around 5 years and still have significant savings in the bank.
Just started trading UK shares and my first two trades are just over £9,000 each and these are testing the water trades. Reality is if I continue with what I’ve been doing business wise by the time I retire I’ll be worth millions anyway, so I guess I don’t really need a million dollar business idea.