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How to Make $50K, $100K, or $500K Online

Sarah Nuttycombe Updated on March 16, 2020

Some day, I’ll make $50,000 in my sleep.

Down the road, I’ll have $100,000 in my bank account.

In the future, I’ll build a $500,000 business.

If you have ever caught yourself dreaming up a way to earn a lump sum of money or become a bonafide entrepreneur, we have good news: you can make your goals a reality through online business.

Many are turning to online ventures to make the money they’re looking for. Some are hoping for a way out of the nine-to-five lifestyle, some want financial freedom, and still others want the money to help them reach a personal goal, like being able to spend more time with their child.

“Great,” you might be thinking, “but how do I make any of this happen?”

Don’t worry. Here, we’ll break down three entrepreneurial milestones and show you what it takes to build an online business at each level using the examples of real deals we’ve brokered on our marketplace. We will demystify the time, capital, and skills needed to get you there, so you can go ahead and just start.

Ready to know how to earn $50K, $100K, and $500K online? Read on.

How to Make $50,000 Online

If you are brand new to online businesses, $50K might seem daunting. But when you break it down and know what to expect, getting started becomes a lot easier. We’ll dissect the steps to making your first $50K online.

What kind of businesses can help you get your first $50K?

Let’s say your goal is to make $50K, but you are starting from nothing. You want to earn online without a lot of start-up capital, and you need to build something fairly simple to run.

If this is the position you’re in, consider looking into a content-based business monetized through an affiliate network, Amazon Associates, Adsense, or advertising. You can use any mix of these monetizations, as they can often be paired to diversify income streams on a website. Diversifying income streams not only brings in more money each month, but it can also boost the ROI for your content business and increase its valuation should you decide to sell on our marketplace. You can max out your earning potential with a content-based business, which is why it makes a great first step to building an online income.

There are also other options if you’re looking to start a low-maintenance, low start-up-cost business. Amazon Merch and Dropshipping are also good monetizations if you are testing the waters to making money online.

How much start-up capital might you need?

It’s not impossible to begin your online venture for almost nothing. Besides paying for domain hosting and other small fees, you can start with limited resources. In the case of this well-known SaaS business, just a couple hundred bucks was needed to set a solid foundation for launch. Remember though, if you are short in cash, then you’ll need to be rich in time, at least in the early phases.

How much time will it take?

In the case of bootstrapping your business and starting from absolutely nothing, you’ll need time. There’s no way around this.

It is a general rule of thumb accepted by most SEOs that Google will “sandbox”, or keep a new domain from showing up on the search engine results page (SERP), until about six months after it has been established. Not only will you have to clear this hurdle, but in the case of a content-based business, you will likely have to wait 12-18 months before you start seeing income. Once your business begins to generate income, it can grow and begin to snowball, but you need time to get there, likely in the 22-25 month range before the income is anything significant.

Keep in mind that if you are truly starting a business from scratch, you will have to make an initial investment of your time to create content, market yourself, and monetize your efforts. Time investment varies from person to person, but in the early days, you can expect to be pouring most of your free time into your business (if you are serious about getting it off the ground).

Still, the time investment could be done as a side hustle, meaning you can keep your day job.

That’s the beauty of online assets: they are flexible and, once created, can be run hands-off. Most side hustles require trading your spare time for extra cash, but we’ve seen a seller build a business on the side that created a year’s salary with only 40 hours of work per year put in.

He walked away with $54,000, reaching his goal of making over $50K online.

Real Deal Examples

The seller who made an extra salary on the side isn’t the only example we’ve seen.

The monetizations mentioned previously—Adsense, affiliate networks, and Amazon Merch—have all helped businesses bring in over $50K selling on our marketplace.

What’s exciting for sellers in this price range and with these monetizations, is it’s not uncommon for these deals to close fast. One family closed the deal on their affiliate business within eight days on our marketplace, walking away with $66,000. Taking just a bit longer, but with higher take-home pay, another seller sold their Amazon Merch business for $93,077.32.

In the case of this Adsense business’s sale, it sold for $69K in three hours.

Taking into account that it takes 1.5 – 2.5 years to build a business and as little as three hours to sell, that’s a pretty quick way to make $50,000.

How to Make $100,000 Online

How does making six figures sound? Many entrepreneurs hit the six-figure mark through online ventures. Let’s start with where to look for $100,000 opportunities.

What kind of businesses can help you get your first $100K?

Any scaled-up online monetization could earn you $100K. Most often we see Amazon FBA, e-commerce, SaaS, and well-run affiliate or Adsense businesses cracking six figures in earnings.

No matter which monetization you choose, there are two ways to go about building a six-figure online business: starting from scratch or flipping an existing one.

Starting from scratch is self-explanatory. It takes time and dedication to get up and running and a bit of skill to create an online business that will either earn $100K or is performing well enough to sell for $100K.

Flipping entails buying a business, improving the performance of it, and selling it for more than you paid. For example, you might buy an affiliate business for $65K, then increase its conversion rates and add in new revenue streams like advertising, letting the earnings climb until the business can be sold for six figures (we’ll get into the math in the next section). We call these website-optimizers Flipper Freds, and these buyer/sellers consistently return to our marketplace for a great return on investment within a short time period.

How much start-up capital might you need?

Let’s focus on the flipping approach here, since it’s easier to understand how capital input leads to profit.

It’s important to note that we don’t recommend buying a sub $50K content site without a broker, unless you’re pretty experienced, because the potential for scams is quite real. Brokers eliminate that issue through vetting.

The other risk is that these businesses get all their traffic through 1-2 money pages, which means the whole business is reliant on the rankings of a handful of keywords in the under $50K level, which is worrisome.

An FBA business sub $50K level would be okay, as it wouldn’t carry the same kind of risks.

To understand what this all means, we’ll set up a hypothetical scenario of buying a business to flip for $100K.

If you buy a business at a 30x rate for $65k and making around $2160 a month, you’ll earn $25.9K annually. Let’s say you increase conversions by 30%, increasing your earnings to $33.6K annually. You hold that business for two years, and, after accumulating two years of profit (2x $33.6K = $67k), you decide to sell the business. Because of the new increased monthly value, your business would demand a higher multiple (33-35x). At 35x, your business would sell for $98k. Now you’re looking at $98K (sale price) + $67K (two-years profit) = $165K (total earnings/profit). Once you subtract your initial start up capital—the original $65K cost—you have $100K profit over two years!

How much time will it take?

Whether you chose to start a new business or flip one will determine how much time you will need.

By flipping a business, you have an already-profitable asset, meaning you can skip all the time spent building the business up. How long until you sell the business depends on how fast you can improve the business to reach your goals. We’ve seen sellers buy, flip, and sell in a matter of months, but most sellers hold an asset for a year and a half to two years before cashing out.

If you start from scratch on an Amazon FBA business, for example, you might not have to wait as long as you would have for a content-based business to start earning; in fact,you could make a sale on your first day of launching the business. But with an FBA business, you’re going to be on the hook for investment into inventory, so all the sales you make have to catch up and surpass your initial investment to be profitable. According to Jungle Scout, 67% of sellers on Amazon were profitable within their first year of selling and 22% of respondents were profitable within the first three months.

Amazon sellers can realize healthy profit margins and leverage Amazon’s logistics for rapid growth. Jungle Scout’s study noted that 12.2% of respondents made $100,000-500,000 in profits. This data means that sellers can tap into the power of Amazon to reach their goal of making $100,000 in sometimes as little as a year.

Real Deal Examples

Don’t forget, there’s no one way to make six figures online.

Revisiting the starting-from-scratch versus flipping scenarios, here are real deal examples to help you out.

For those who want to start from scratch:

  • Doron made $100K selling his affiliate website with us after he built it from the ground up over a year and half. He laid out a step-by-step guide on his process to reach profitability and maximize his sale.
  • SaaS is quickly growing, and it’s easy to see why. A subscription-based revenue stream brings in consistent income versus a one-off product sale. We are seeing SaaS businesses in increasing numbers on our marketplace, and it’s not uncommon for them to break six figures. One SaaS business sold for $106,000 in just two days. It’s worth paying attention to the opportunity in SaaS if making six figures is your goal.
  • Dropshipping isn’t just for beginners. This dropshipping expert sold his business for $130,000 and is a solid example of what is possible when you scale and build properly.

For those who want to know how to flip a business for six-figures:

  • In this flip, Felipe doubled his investment in just two years and walked away with $345,000. His story serves as a powerful example of the incredible ROI in online business.
  • Doron has sold on our marketplace a few times now and, in this instance, he flipped an affiliate site for $136K in a matter of 16 months. He shares the nitty-gritty details of the flip in this case study.
  • Acquiring a business with a flip in mind leaves you with many options for growing your asset. It helps to add content to your new site in order to keep the site relevant on SERPs and to see an increase in growth. You could also explore adding ad revenue to your asset to raise the valuation and get a higher sale price.

Now that you have a solid idea of how to make $100K online, let’s raise the stakes and explore how to make $500,000 through online business.

How to Make $500,000 Online

Half a million dollars may seem like a lot, but we sell businesses in this range every day. You can build $500K online through building a business yourself, flipping, or investing in online assets.

What kind of businesses can help you get your first $500K?

Like those in the $100K range, you’ll see the same monetizations—SaaS, Amazon FBA, e-commerce, and large content businesses— frequently in the $500,000+ range. The only difference is that these businesses will be operating on a much larger scale and likely be earning through multiple monetizations at once.

How much start-up capital might you need?

This one is a bit hard to narrow down, so we’ll approach it from a few different scenarios.

Could you start a $500,000 online business with little capital? Sure. Is it likely? Not so much.

For a high-performing content business, you could start with negligible investment but in order to scale it to the high six-figures, you would have to pour some serious capital into writers, SEO specialists, a virtual team, etc., to support operations. For the e-commerce options, you’d have to buy inventory upfront, not to mention figuring out the logistics (and cost) of getting that inventory into your warehouse.

The short explanation here is it takes capital to start, but how much capital differs widely between businesses.

The good news is, at this level, you have options for how much capital to invest to grow a business to $500,000.

In the $500,000 and up range, more investors are deploying capital and buying businesses at a rapid pace. If you are looking to make $500,000 but don’t have the initial startup capital or additional capital to push operations to this level, a partnership with outside investors can give you more options. You could have an investor inject your current business with a $100K investment that could propel your business to your $500,000 goal. Or you could come to the table with the experience needed to run the business and minimal capital, using a larger investment from private equity to support the business. You may have to settle for a smaller share of equity or profits in this case, but it would allow you to play in the $500,000 space where you were unable to before.

How Much Time Will It Take?

Again, the time to reach this amount of profit will differ between monetizations. You could be profitable with FBA within your first year of launching and make $500K or slowly build a content site for seven years before making an exit for $500K.

The time varies to get there, but keep in mind the amount of time needed to run a business at this level.

Running a business earning 500,000 is no small task. This would likely be your full-time job, unless you have a team in place helping you. In fact, most businesses at this level have to have a team in place to handle all the different aspects of operations. Considering most entrepreneurs get into online business to escape being tied to a 9-5 job, they tend to focus on having a great team and great systems in place to minimize their workload. Oftentimes, they can step away from major operations and contribute less than 10 hours per week to running the business.

So if there is a silver lining here, it may be an undefined amount of time needed to reach $500K online, but once you reach that level, you can outsource most of the work. That’s massive difference to trying to earn $500,000 through traditional 9-5 work, with the online option rewarding you with freedom of time AND money.

Real Deal Examples

Making $500,000 online takes time and capital investment if you’re planning to do so through just one business. Thinking like an investor can help you here. By approaching online assets as a series of investments, you can create a portfolio of businesses that, together, make you $500K or you could have equity in different businesses that would allow you to reach your goal. Online investor Lucas Carlson has mastered the online portfolio strategy and his story can help you learn about online investments if you’re new to the game.

Private equity and other online investors are a force to be reckoned with if you want to play in the $500,000 online space. To better understand investing at this level, we’ve explored the online business models investors love, building portfolio investments, and how to go out and raise capital from investors.

Entrepreneurship for $50K, $100K, $500K, and Beyond

Whether you want to make 50K or 500K, it helps to know that the processes required to run a business stay pretty much the same at each level. Tried and true concepts like good marketing, seamless operations, and solid SEO will always help you reach the profitability you’re looking for.

What differs across the board is the initial start-up capital and your ability to bootstrap a company by yourself or have a team of investors to support you.

Capital investment shouldn’t deter you though. An entrepreneurial drive, as cheesy as it sounds, is key for reaching any of these financial milestones. With that drive, what could start as a $50,000 online venture could turn into a $1,818,182.80 exit or a $100 million portfolio.

There is no one way to reach your goal. If you’re excited by the prospect of business ownership, you can reach out to our business analysts to discuss your buying criteria. If you’d like to cash out on an online business you already own, then we are here to help you plan your exit strategy.

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