I’m incredibly bullish when it comes to digital real estate.
While I love physical real estate, I ended up being very successful the last 3 years house hacking, and I fantasize about the idea of someday owning a commercial building, there is something about creating and owning online assets which makes me super excited.
It’s never been easier to learn new technologies, create content, and publish your ideas and build a brand.
In this post, I will be sharing with you why I believe digital real estate is an asset class worth looking at for investment purposes, examples of how people are making money online, and what my digital real estate plans are as a part of my plan to build wealth.
What is Digital Real Estate?
Digital real estate is digital property – a domain and anything built on that domain. It is similar to real estate, where real estate is land and anything built on top of that land.
I love real estate for a number of reasons. Real estate is:
- Accessible – Anyone can buy it
- Appreciable – Can increase in value over time
- Leverageable – You can buy on margin and borrow against equity
- Rentable – Cash flow baby!
- Improvable – Through sweat equity or contracting out
- Deductible/Depreciable/Deferrable – Amazing tax benefits
Digital real estate and online assets share many of these same great properties as physical real estate.
What bothers me about traditional real estate though is the cost of entry. While there are many ways to get into real estate with little to no cash (I bought my house for only about $5,000 down), right now, the competition is fierce and the price of real estate continues to rise. For a beginner looking to invest in real estate today, the cost of entry is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
This is where digital real estate shines: I can buy a domain for $12 and host it for less than $5 a month!
4 Reasons to Pursue the Creation of Income Streams Online
There are a number of reasons to be bullish on digital real estate. Below I’ve listed 4 reasons why I believe you should consider getting online and creating, instead of consuming:
- You build a brand for yourself, on your terms
- There’s something worth clarifying: social media accounts and websites are great, but at the end of the day, you are subject to the terms and conditions of those networks. Your Facebook statuses and pictures? They might not be yours anymore.
- With your own website, you control the terms and conditions. Your pictures and content is yours.
- You own an appreciating asset
- Over time, when you add content to your site or web application, value is created.
- Many websites and applications have 5 and 6-figure valuations. Even something as simple as a picture and video messaging application can be worth billions (I’m talking about Snapchat.)
- Low Overhead and Start-up Costs
- Many people don’t have thousands of dollars to put into a business or education. Wouldn’t it be great to get started in business for a few hundred bucks?
- As I mentioned earlier, I can buy a domain for $12 and get server space for less than $5 a month. For a whole year, you could theoretically spend less than $100 and build a brand.
- Access to Millions of Users
- With traditional real estate, or even a traditional day job, you restrict your reach to those only in your city or county.
- With digital real estate, you have the opportunity to interact with people all over the world. Thousands of people are coming online each and every day. There are still 3 billion people who aren’t on the internet, and this number isn’t getting any bigger with constant advances in technology.
The reasons listed above are just the tip of the iceberg.
What are some ways of making this whole online cash flow thing work? How are people actually making money online?
Examples of How to Make Money Online
Personally, I’m still trying to figure this out, but generally speaking there are 4 ways people have generated income online. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but gives you a decent idea of what’s possible out there:
- Ads are straightforward: you display ads on your website and earn money through impressions (how many times the ad loads) or on clicks (whenever a viewer clicks on the ad).
- For my website, I use Google AdSense for ads. One downside to using Google AdSense is Google determines which ads it will display for you.
- Luckily, there are other ad networks you can apply to, and if your site becomes big enough, you will have the opportunity for direct ads (where you work with specific companies to serve targeted ads).
- Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate marketing is a way many bloggers are making money. There are numerous affiliate sites (Flex Offers – for example) which have partnered with many companies. Also, there are programs, such as Amazon Affiliates and ShareASale, which allow you to be more specific in the product you are linking to.
- With affiliate marketing, you are looking to have your viewers and users purchase through your links and recommendations. After your users purchase, you get a kickback of a certain fixed fee or percentage of the sale.
- Your own product (eBook, Merchandise, Course, etc) or service (Consulting, Coaching, etc)
- Do you have any interest in writing an eBook, selling merchandise, or creating an e-course for your viewers? What about providing a service and charging for your time? These are all great ways to make money online.
- A pay wall or subscription service
- The concept of “If you pay me $20 a month, I will give you exclusive content!”
- To successfully do this, you need to have great free content and great premium content to justify the subscription fee.
At this point, I’m sure you are wondering, all of this theory is great, but can you provide me some examples?
Who are Some Examples of Successful Bloggers and Digital Marketers in 2018?
There are a number of bloggers who come to mind who are successfully making money online in the personal finance niche, I’ll feature 4 and you can check them out for yourself.
- Millennial Boss
- J is a Pinterest Expert and makes around $2,500 a month on the side of her day job each month on her blog. Her bread and butter is creating product pages which are optimized for conversions, and then getting targeted traffic from Google and Pinterest to those pages.
- Millennial Money
- Grant made over $400,000 in 2017 on his blog, Millennial Money. He did it a number of ways: direct ads, consulting, courses, and affiliate marketing – very inspiring!
- ESI Money
- A veteran marketer and blogger, ESI has owned many digital properties over the years, and now is primarily focused on growing ESI Money and Rockstar Finance.
- Millennial Money Man
- Bobby is an amazing social media marketer – and now has his own course for you to learn how to do what he does best. In January 2018, he made over $150,000 in revenue after launching his course on Facebook ads. That’s crazy!
There are so many amazing bloggers, entrepreneurs, and marketers who I could list here… I’m lucky to have met a number of these people, and am inspired each and every month reading their content.
Why I Believe Digital Real Estate is Worth Owning
I’m not naturally a good writer or artist. Growing up, English and Language Arts were two subjects I didn’t really like and it showed in my grades. I don’t have a big vocabulary, and still don’t really understand or care about how to properly structure a sentence. In addition, as a natural introvert, I had to focus on becoming an effective communicator.
Coming out of college, I was okay in terms of technology. With 2 math degrees, no formal education with computers and how the internet works, and no experience with marketing, there weren’t too many reasons why I should have been interested in starting a blog or online business.
I didn’t care – you could say that these were all reasons I needed to get online and work on these skills.
At the end of 2016, I started The Mastermind Within, and 14 months later, there are 200 people coming to this site daily. By January 2018, I made $86 through this site – $86 where there was nothing before.
In the course of this website’s life, I’ve learned and improved upon a number of the following skills:
- Marketing Skills
- Email, Paid Ads, Social Media
- Front-end web development skills
- Management and business skills
- Negotiation, time management, prioritization of tasks, networking
- Go read some of my early posts and some of my more recent posts to see how much writing can be improved upon over time 😉
Humans naturally overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do in a year.
This foray into digital real estate with The Mastermind Within has me incredibly excited for the next few years.
My Plans in the Digital Real Estate Space
I have a ton of ideas for which I want to try and implement to create cash flow online through digital real estate.
For one, I will be continuing to post regularly on The Mastermind Within, with a podcast posted on Tuesdays.
A number of other ideas involve full stack development and the creation of web applications.
I’m looking to learn everything from the creation of an HTTP server, how to serve static and dynamic content, manipulate and save data from forms online, build sites from scratch, and everything in between.
With this knowledge, I want to build many different applications. A few off the top of my head right now are:
- A newspaper-like site which dynamically serves today’s best content in a given niche
- A lightweight bookkeeping application
- Getting the debt destruction tool out of Excel, and onto the web, would be one of the features 🙂
- Social media analyzers and bots
As I learn more and more, the possibilities are endless. I wish I had discovered this 5-10 years ago – web development is what I now believe is my true calling.
The Ultimate Goal for My Digital Real Estate Endeavors
My ultimate goal would be to create a number of applications, communities, and websites where I could be cash flowing a few thousand dollars a month across my portfolio.
Getting 10 applications to each spit out at least $100 a month? Is this doable? I don’t see why not!
Interested in starting a blog or website? Check out this guide on how to get started online.
With housing prices skyrocketing all around the United States and Canada, traditional real estate investing is becoming harder and harder.
Starting a business online, building a digital brand and product, or creating content has never been easier. For the most part, all it takes is a computer, an internet connection, determination, and a few hundred dollars to get started.
There are so many ways to make money online and build wealth with digital real estate.
I’m bullish on digital real estate – and as more people come online in the world, what we create now in 2018 will only be more valuable over time.
2018 is a year for building, growth, and creation. Will you be getting online and creating?
Readers: do you invest in traditional real estate? What do you think about investing in digital real estate? Are you a creator or a consumer?