digital real estate creation

The Case for Digital Real Estate and Creating Cash Flow with Online Assets

Erik Entrepreneurship, Thoughts of a Mastermind 14 Comments

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN PAID AND/OR AFFILATE LINKS.

I’m incredibly bullish on digital real estate.

While I love the physical real estate, ended up being very successful the last 3 years house hacking, and 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 for 2018.

What is Digital Real Estate?

real estate First, 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 real estate.

What bothers me about traditional real estate in 2018 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:

  1. You build a brand for yourself, on your terms
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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 internet 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 generate income online. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but gives you a decent idea of what’s possible out there online:

  • Ads
    • 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 of 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 OffersAffiliate Programs 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.

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

digital real estate creationLet’s rewind a few years.

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. Last month, I made $86 through this site – $86 where there was nothing before.

In the past year, I’ve learned and improved upon a number of the following skills:

  • Marketing Skills
    • Email, Paid Ads, Social Media
  • Front-end web development skills
    • HTML, CSS, Javascript
  • Management and business skills
    • Negotiation, time management, prioritization of tasks, networking
  • Writing
    • Go read some of my early posts and some of my more recent posts to see how much a year can make 😉

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 for 2018 in the Digital Real Estate Space

I have a ton of ideas for 2018 which I want to try and implement.

For one, I will be continuing to post regularly on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays on The Mastermind Within, with a podcast posted on Tuesday.

A number of other ideas involve full stack development and the creation of web applications.

In 2018, I’ve set out to read 2 books and month and post my reviews of those books. This month, February 2018, I haven’t finished a book, but I’ve been working through 2 Javascript books in preparation for the next coming months:

node express web development bookreact js web development book

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
  • 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.

Conclusion

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?

Erik

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Comments 14

  1. You’re true inspiration, Erik. Just keep doing what you’re doing. One day I’ll say “I knew him when.” Never heard of the concept of digital real estate before. Thank you for making me a little wiser. And thank you for giving me plenty of stuff to ruminate on. Great freakin’ post, my friend.

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      Author

      Thanks Mr. Groovy for the comment – All I can do is look to become a little better each and every day.

      I don’t think digital real estate is a thing… but it makes sense!

  2. Great read, Bro! I have learned so much from my 3.5 months of blogging. How did you learn CSS? I want to learn that next. Last year I started learning the underlying logic behind JavaScript but I ended up quitting. Will try to set aside an hour a day to learning some basic programming

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      Author

      Check out Code Academy! It helps a lot… and is FREE!!

      Also, just doing web design here and there over the last year (nothing too intense) always helps!

      Thanks Jerry for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for writing this. I appreciate the topic quite a bit but I’m struggling so hard with creating my content. I try but it seems as if nobody is watching, nobody reading, and nobody caring. I’m not even going to post the link here because it feels too embarrassing most of the time.

    I am genuinely happy for the bloggers, YouTubers, and entrepreneurs I read about making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month but it is also completely dispiriting at the same time.

    I realize that everyone starts somewhere but I also think that we have to acknowledge that for every $50,000 per month blogger out there there are 100 more trying to break into their niche and getting crushed by hundreds of hours of work for $0.11 in AdSense revenue.

    I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon. I am just so dispirited that it feels like I shouldn’t even bother trying. The noise is so great that it seems impossible to get your signal through.

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      Author

      Hey JD – I feel you and I wish you would have linked… like you said, everyone starts somewhere…

      It’s been 14 months, I’ve written 200+ posts, over 150,000 words, and at the end of the day, I’ve only made $300 in revenue (and spent about $1,500)

      I published this post today – and it was read by less than 30 people.

      I have those same feelings man, and but at the same time, I know that what I’m learning and doing right now is going to pay off. I don’t know where, and I don’t know when, but either in my relationships, my wealth, or in just general happiness, it will pay off.

      Erik

  4. Nice post Eric. I get a little down at times like JD. It’s a lot of work for what appears to be little financial return. For us 99%, I think you have to find some other enjoyment. The challenge, the learning, the joy of writing. If you can’t find some satisfaction in those things, blogging becomes a short term endeavor for most. If you can, maybe the financial return will follow some day. Tom

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      Author

      Thanks Tom – I think there’s a lot to be said for the community as well! You get to hang out with some awesome people all over the web 🙂

  5. Great post. The best thing about digital real estate is that it’s a great way to test out a business idea without major risk / expense. I am constantly amazed at the folks who make financial killings doing it – some great examples cited above.

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      Author
  6. Hi Erik,
    While a lot of people know about house flipping (thanks partly to cable TV shows), not many people realize you can do the same thing with websites and online real estate. I’ve actually never bought a website, but I have sold several that I built myself. There’s one guy that has bought several sites from me and what he does is a virtual version of what many people do with traditional real estate. He buys quality web properties when he thinks he can get a good deal, manages them for a while and makes money each month, and then looks to sell them when he has a buyer that is willing to pay a good price.

    My experience has been with building blogs, membership websites, and ecommerce sites. There’s definitely a growing market for selling virtual real estate, and of course, you always have the option to hold on to it and keep making money from it.

    This part comes down to personal preference, but if you’re looking to build out 10 different revenue streams, make sure you don’t spread yourself thin. That’s something that I fight constantly. It’s always tempting to pursue a new project or idea, but make sure it doesn’t take away from your focus in other areas.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Marc,

      Thanks for the advice – the last year, I’ve spread myself pretty thin, and now am finally getting back to a point where I have things in place, and can just focus on my core things (while adding a bit to my skills).

      I think I’m going to fall on your side – building things is the fun part – and if those can turn into something profitable, then it’s a great situation! There’s so much to learn…

      Erik

  7. Great post Erik. I’m just beginning and trying to grow. The problem I have is trying to find time to get all the things done for a blog. I’ve heard it gets a little easier once you fall into a workflow.

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      Author

      Thank you Millennial Doc – one thing I’ve learned is that I don’t have to do everything myself. Sometimes spending $20 to have a quick fix (via fiverr or a friend) can do wonders!

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