How do you make $5,000 a month buying websites for passive income if you’re a total beginner?
And how much does a website with the potential to make $5,000 a month even cost?
If you were to buy a high quality passive website generating $5,000+ a month, you’re usually looking at a purchase price of $100,000 and up, which is about 20x the website’s monthly income.
In today’s interview with Liz Raad and Lisa, you’ll hear how Lisa, an E-Business Institute graduate, bought her first passive income website for just $2,000…
And then with some strategic renovations, she increased her website’s monthly income to as much as $6,800 AUD (about $5,300 USD).
Play the interview below and/or read the transcript to hear how Lisa turned a $2,000 website investment into $5,000 per month in online income.
Liz Raad: Hello, it’s Liz here with you, and I’m joined by a very special guest, a Champion graduate, Lisa. How are you going?
Lisa: Hi. Yes, good thanks, Liz.
Liz: Thanks very much for being here with us. I’m really excited to share some of your story, because you have had some cool wins over the last few months, and I think it’s really inspirational.
Lisa started her journey of buying websites for passive income with no website or tech skills
So, we always like to hear your background. Did you start out as a tech person, or what was your goal when you started with us?
Lisa: Not at all! Nothing to do with websites anyway. I started out more in admin work and I did sales and marketing for our family business. Then we sold that off. So, I took a few years off and just had a bit of a break. The kids were getting older. I had one starting high school, and I had another one graduating.
I was just at a stage in life where I was thinking, “Okay, well, what am I going to do? Am I going to go back to work? Am I going to look for a job?” I’d prefer to do something from home that I could earn an income. So, I just started Googling things online and came across buying and selling websites for passive income. I had never heard of it before.
Liz: Yes. Most people have never even realized that this is something.
Lisa: I had no idea. So I was really intrigued about it. And when I found out about it, I was just wrapped. I couldn’t learn quick enough with it. It was really exciting.
Liz: And that’s something we always admired about you, Lisa, you are an action taker. And, speaking of action taking, today what I wanted to talk about was actually one of your sites.
Your goal was portfolio, wasn’t it? It was to build a passive income online.
Lisa: Yes. I wanted to stay at home. I didn’t want to have a job and report to somebody. I just wanted passive income so I could still do what I wanted to do during the day. If I wanted to go to the gym or go to the shops, I could still do it.
Liz: That’s awesome. So, your goal was portfolio. You’re building some sites, but then you’ve also bought some websites too. And today I want to talk about one in particular because it’s got a pretty cool story. This is an exercise equipment site. How did you find that site? Tell us the story of how you got that one.
Lisa bought her first passive income website for $2,000 and did some simple renovations to increase its value…
Lisa: Well, I was doing the Champion’s course with Matt and Liz Raad. As part of the course, we were working on due diligence, and I’d just been practicing this new digital skill throughout the year.
It was towards the end of the year, and this site popped up on Flippa. It ticked all the boxes, it looked pretty good, and it wasn’t too expensive. It was a site I thought I could work my new digital skills with, and just see how I go. I did a strategy call with you and then we started work.
Liz: It wasn’t very expensive was it? How much did it cost?
Lisa: It cost USD$2,000.
Liz: So not a big hit of the bank, which is good. I remember once you bought the website, we then talked about, “Now, you’ve got to get in and renovate”. What was your strategy? What was your plan? Because I remember the goal was always to double that income to pay it back as quickly as possible.
Lisa: That’s right. I worked through the advice you gave me on our call, and the tasks that you had given me to do. Basically, it was build the site out some more, improve the navigation, and add more content.
Liz: And you’ve just recently been on a big content push on that one, haven’t you?
Lisa: Yes, I’m in the middle of another content run.
Liz: Great, and a lot of the money that you’re making out of that site, you were reinvesting back into it to build it out some more, weren’t you?
Lisa: Actually, no. I wasn’t really doing a lot. I was reinvesting a little bit in there, but not a lot.
I actually used this income to fund another website. So, the passive income I was making from the fitness site, I was using to fund the content for another site.
I was putting articles on my fitness site, but not a lot. I would add one or two articles a month, and I would improve the user experience and content on the existing pages. The more I learned through the Champions course, the more I’d realize, “Hang on, I can tweak this a bit better.”
Liz: Right, and even just doing that small amount had good results for you?
Lisa: Oh definitely! The renovation improved the results a lot.
Then in 2020, with COVID hitting, everything just took off. But the problem was everything sold out, so it was a catch-22. You couldn’t get the products because everyone was sold out. Some products were sold out up to 3-4 months. So considering that happened, the site still did really well.
Adding good quality content helped Lisa to pay off her website in just one month
Liz: Tell us about what happened in the November, December. So this is a little site you bought for $2,000 and where did it lead to in November, December?
Lisa: I started to add just a little bit more content. When I’m saying a bit more, probably talking maybe 4 articles a month. It wasn’t a lot.
Liz: Wow, we’re not talking massive amounts, are we?
Lisa: Not at all. It was only around 4-6 articles a month, because I was busy focused on another site. So I was just drip feeding this because I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with it. And I also had other affiliate websites making passive income that I wanted to test out some more.
To be honest, I only did that content push in November and December, and then it just grew like crazy. Finally, all those little articles had been picked up by Google. I changed over the affiliate’s offers as well which also made a huge difference. I can’t even remember what it did in November now, but in December it was making around USD$2,200 a month.
Liz: So the site actually paid for itself in one month.
Lisa: Well and truly. And the great thing is if we were to convert that to Australian dollars, I think it was around AUD$3,000.
For this niche, usually Christmas does well and then everything tapers off. And to be honest, I was a bit disappointed because I was thinking it was going to do a lot better this Christmas. I thought it might’ve reached around $4,000, so I was a bit disappointed with it.
But then, something happened in January. A few products came back into stock. And because these affiliates pay a bit in commission, these numbers just went through the roof! So in January I did AUD$6,800 for the month, which is pretty good.
Liz: Pretty awesome for a little asset that costs $2,000. And that’s really important too, you were just consistently adding good content.
Lisa: Yes, it was definitely consistent.
Lisa used her skills of asking and negotiation to increase her affiliate commissions by 500%
Liz: Now, the other thing I really admire about you Lisa is that you ask. Your site started out using Amazon affiliate commissions, didn’t it?
Liz: But we were saying to everyone, “Okay. I think it’s time. We need to diversify and get some alternative monetization on there.” So aside from Amazon affiliates, what else did you do?
Lisa: Luckily, I’d been learning on another site how to approach people with different affiliate offers. In October we went on holiday. I was having a walk and a good think one day and I just thought, “Okay, I’m going to go back and I’m going to hit this site hard with these different affiliate offers. I’m just going to go for it and see if it works. If it doesn’t work in a couple of months, I’ve lost nothing.” And to my surprise, it worked, which was amazing.
Liz: So for commission, you’re getting 3% on Amazon. What percentage commission were you getting for these other affiliates?
Lisa: These guys pay 10%, which I wasn’t really happy with. I like it a bit higher than that. But they wouldn’t budge. No matter what I tried, they would not budge.
Liz: Still, that’s more than three times the Amazon commission. You’ve got to be happy with that.
Lisa: I just wanted more, but it is good because these are expensive products. So I think that’s where it works in my favour, because these items cost around $1,000 to $2,000+. So one sale is a nice little commission in US dollars when it comes through.
Liz: So now, tell us about January. What have you been doing now?
Lisa: Well, in January I approached one of them again. One affiliate has become a little more approachable, and are finally open to a commission increase. I had to send them a proposal of what I do and the articles I write, and they were very happy with. They thought about it for a while and they increased my commission to 15%, which was great. I was very happy with that.
My other affiliate is who I sell the most of and they have a very good converting product. For some unknown reason, they don’t usually communicate with me at all. But out of the blue, they started replying to my emails and also increased my commission to 15%.
Lisa: I’m wrapped. That’s a huge jump in profit now for doing nothing really except for a couple of emails.
Liz: That is the power of asking. I love that – all you had to do was ask.
Lisa: That’s right. And I asked a lot of times! But, in the end, it paid off. I thought, “Well, they don’t know me, they don’t see me, it’s on email so you can keep doing it.”
With increased commissions, Lisa regularly makes over $5,000 on her Passive Income Website
Liz: So, what was your turnover in January and now coming into February?
Lisa: In January was USD$5,400. And I thought that was it and it’s going to drop off. But we’re only part-way through February and am already at USD$3,000, so I’m wrapped.
Liz: That’s pretty cool. Because when you think about it, USD$3,000 a month (or AUD$5,000 a month), is a significant amount. And how much time do you spend on this website?
Lisa: I spend maybe 3-4 hours a day working on my website. It depends, and it can vary. I haven’t looked at it today, so it’s certainly not every day. I’ve got other things to do on other days!
At the moment I can see there’s a lot of opportunity to add a lot more content. Right now, the site only has around 60 articles which is not a lot, so I want to add more. For the money it’s turning over, it’s pretty low in content.
Liz: That’s awesome leverage, which is really exciting. And you’ve also got a whole lot of other sites in your portfolio now as well?
Lisa: Yes, and I was putting a lot of work into those ones. So if you mention the rate of return, there’s so much more in this fitness site than what I’m getting from my other sites. So it’s time to stop and put my focus onto that for a while and just see how far I can make it run.
Lisa’s continuing to grow her portfolio of passive income websites
Liz: What’s your future hold now, Lisa? Where would you like to go next? Are you going to buy more passive income websites?
Lisa: Yes, I’d like to get maybe one or two more good sites. I just like to focus on a small number of sites, but really grow them big if I can. So that’s my goal at the moment.
Liz: That’d be a really nice, comfortable six-figure income.
Lisa: Yes. And then maybe sell one off and see what we can do with it.
Liz: Well, congratulations, you’ve done an awesome job! And like I said at the beginning, I think your success really comes down to that consistency and taking action. Have you got one last final bit of advice for someone starting out?
Lisa: I would probably just say don’t give up, just keep doing something every day. As hard as it can be sometimes, you’ve just got to chip away at a little bit every day.
Liz: And you will get there.
Lisa: Yes, and then you get a lovely surprise out of the blue when it really takes off!
Liz: Awesome. All right. Well thanks so much again, Lisa. It was great to hear from you. Can’t wait to see your future endeavours.
Your Next Steps…
- Register For Our Free Website Investing Masterclass
If you want to learn our 3-step strategy for buying, building, and renovating websites for active and passive income, sign up for our free buying websites for income masterclass here.