Opinion

How I raised funding from my readers

Pardeep Goyal
21st Oct 2016
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Last month, I quit my job as a content marketing head and decided to something on my own.

Since I did not have any concrete plan, I thought of monetising my personal finance blog’s audience till I get some clarity about my business plan.

I tried a couple of ways to make money from my blog traffic - like running display ads, e-commerce affiliate and marketing related to financial domain products.

Although I was expecting an income of Rs 15,000‑Rs 20,000, I was able to make online income of Rs 60,000 in a single month, just from 40,000 monthly traffic on my blog.

The results gave me a lot of confidence to make a viable business around personal finance.

passive-income

We don’t even need VC funding to operate our business

I have sufficient money to sustain my business and pay my two employees without withdrawing my full market salary for at least six months. A small salary and my savings can run my household expenses till I have bigger funds in my business account.

My target is make Rs 1,00,000 by the end of December 2016. I think it is very much doable and every other entrepreneur should consider the same model to make a self-sustainable business.

There are three type of famous internet businesses:

  1. Unicorn business: Find a billion-dollar market where you can dominate, like Flipkart, Ola and Zomato. You must have to raise VC funding. Sorry, I am not addressing your concerns today.
  2. Service business: If you’re in a service business, you need to find a client to sell your services. You need hire more people and find more clients. You become an agency or consultancy company. You probably know how to do that if you ever studied online businesses.
  3. A smart bootstrapped business: Find a niche market you are passionate about. Start earning a small amount of money online. Ideate a product in your market. Rather than running behind the investors for money, fund your business and personal life with your own online income. I am interested in sharing this type of business model with you.

Don’t get confused with my bootstrapped business model and a service business. I am not talking about opening a service business where you trade your time to complete the client assignments. I am suggesting you to make a passive source of income from a business in a bootstrapped manner.

I have not spent a single hour last month in providing any service to my readers. I simply monetised my content marketing efforts because I learned how to bring traffic to my website and how to optimise conversions.

When I started working on my first startup, I learned that any entrepreneur needs the following resources to start building a startup.

  1. An idea (well, I have many)
  2. Initial users (I have over 1000 email subscribers and 40,000 traffic on my website related to personal finance)
  3. Capital (That’s what we just got last month, and we will get every month)
  4. A team (We are three passionate team members, don’t need any more soon)

However, the above mentioned points are not sufficient to make a successful company. You have to find a product/market fit, grow your audience and monetise your product.

My next step would be investing my time in making a product and testing the minimum viable product (MVP) with my audience. The good news is that I have market insights in personal finance because it’s my passion and I have been working in this domain for more than one year.

My readers love me because I share insightful articles that help them save a lot of money on travel, shopping, and taxes. I am sure they would help me make a better product by providing me valuable feedback on the MVP.

How you can use my business model for making less risky startup

If you are thinking about starting an online business, you definitely have to utilise the power of content marketing for growth. I explained in my previous article that content marketing is not limited to writing blog articles. You must have to build your audience by sharing helpful content of various types like infographics, memes, short and long articles, slideshares and videos.

Below steps will help you understand the flow.

#1. Build your audience before building your product

#2. Start making some passive income from your online efforts

#3. Invest your income in your product business

#4. Engage your audience in ideating and testing your product

#5. Leave your job when you get product/market fit

#6. Grow your startup

This business model is not applicable to potentially unicorn startups. If you want to build a billion-dollar business, then raise the money from VCs.

All startups cannot be unicorns. If everyone will build unicorns, then who will take care of rest of the important problems in the world.

Only less than one percent of startups are able to raise money. The remaining 99 percent can follow my business model to fund their business from the self-generated online income.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Pardeep Goyal
Pardeep is an entrepreneur, storyteller & content marketing expert. He writes about Entrepreneurship, PR & Growth Hacking on StartupKarma. His travel and money hacks are popular on his personal finance startup CashOverflow. You can write to him on pardeep@cashoverflow.in or connect with him on Twitter

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