Round Out Your Social Networking Portfolio…With Your OWN Social Network

Dec 19, 2008   //   by Julien Sharp   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  4 Comments

Many people became successful from the “first wave” of internet businesses. But a whole new wave of opportunity has just begun to flow, and early-adopters of the newest technology and Web 2.0 have got an incredible opportunity to reach the heights of professional and financial success.

People around the country – and in many developed countries – are rebounding from the lack of ‘community’ that has occurred over the last generation. This has resulted in an explosion of online networking communities. Originally begun in the form of message boards or forums, they now abound, and while the big players (social sites such as MySpace, Facebook, etc., and business sites such as Linked In, Ecademy, Fast Pitch, etc.) are very established, there is still ample opportunity – and easily accessed technology – for new communities to be built for profit.

What many people do not realize is the complete ease at which they can start their own “niche” online networking community as a revenue-generating enterprise, thanks to the proliferation of user-friendly platforms for business owners now available at a fraction of the price of the need to hire a software developer or team (which for a long time was the only option).

An online networking community is a superb revenue-generating business, as more and more people are looking to become a part of something in an increasingly disconnected society. With the options now available, just about anyone how to get a networking site up and running in a single week (and often in much less time), as long as they do a bit of homework to learn everything one needs to know about the hosting of the site, the software or platform needed, how to generate traffic and membership, and how to build advertising and other passive revenue streams.

Entrepreneurs who do not necessarily have access to significant startup capital need have more affordable avenues now available to build and grow an online community. These options allow these savvy startups to start – and stay – lean, in terms of staff, use of freelance or contract workers, office space, web hosting and software, office equipment and supplies, and advertising and marketing.

With the right tools, knowledge, self-discipline, and perseverance—starting an online networking business is one of the coolest new ways to achieve financial success through the internet, and to become the master of your own professional universe.

Julien Sharp, founder of Stylo Creative Communications, is a writer and social media communications consultant whose love of the written word has taken her across the globe. Her work has appeared in national and international publications. Julien is a contributing author to the latest in the best-selling Masters series by Ivan Misner, PhD and Don Morgan, MA, MASTERS OF SALES: Secrets From Top Sales Professionals That Will Transform You Into A World Class Salesperson (Entrepreneur Press, September 2007). Her first solo title, Design and Launch an Online Networking Business in a Week, is due to be published by Entrepreneur Press in spring of 2009.
© Julien Sharp

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  • Dennis Edell says:

    A fantastic opportunity, if you don’t mind being tied to one business forever. Speaking for myself, money aside, I have far too many diversified ideas to do anything like that….to make it work even a pinch of what MS & FB do, you really need 28hrs a day for it…I think I’d go nuts. :)

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..Free Permanent BackLinks: Are You A Subscriber Or Follow Me On Twitter?

  • John Dilbeck says:

    I agree that creating your own social networking community is easily possible and can be profitable, if you choose the right niche.

    I also agree with Dennis. Everything we do takes more and more of our precious time, so before starting a community, we should be aware that it takes a lot of effort to start a community and shepherd its growth until it catches on.

    Last year, I started six communities on Ning.com and they were all going well until I was notified that we could not post commercial links on a community hosted on their service unless the community creator paid for the “control the advertising” premium option. That would have cost me about $120 per month, and the sites were not bringing in enough revenue to do that at the time.

    So, I closed all six of them.

    Then, after thinking it over, I reopened my Squidoo Marketing community. It is slowly growing and I’m enjoying sharing with other members of the community.

    In 2009, I’ll open a new community for my town, Murphy, NC, and use it to help promote local businesses and to interact with people who live here and those who want to visit.

    It takes time, effort, and money to build a popular community. As mentioned in the article, it also takes advertising and/or sponsorships to pay for what we have to put into the community to build it and keep it going until it becomes profitable.

    If it’s a hobby, you can do it for free at Ning.com as long as there are no commercial links. If it’s a business, be sure to pay for the “control your advertising” premium service before you sink your time and effort into creating a community.

    As with a forum, the right community for the right topic can be a lucrative addition to your income.

    Act on your dream!

    JD

    John Dilbeck’s last blog post..Is Squidoo a part of your marketing mix?

  • Julien Sharp says:

    Hi Dennis – believe it or not, you don’t have to be married to this business to make it a go. In fact, a lot of successful ventures were either 1. One of many different sites or businesses or 2. Started while the founder was still at his/her “day job”.

    It’s all in the planning and organization. Once you get the community grown and vibrant and interacting, it is just a manner of doing some moderation. Once the ad revenues start coming in, it is easy to hire a community manager. In fact, many colleges now offer social media programs, and there are many students looking for internships/practicum experiences who could handle the community management for the owner.

    Thanks for you comments!
    Julien

  • Sire says:

    I remember many years ago I used to own a BBS (Bulletin Board System) and I really enjoyed that as you could keep tabs on everything that was happening on your board as it was happening. Unfortunately the internet virtually killed it which was a shame as I had over a hundred contributing members.

    I almost started an online blogging community but decided not to as I didn’t think I would have the time to give it 100%, and so I devote my spare time to blogging as an escape from the real world.

    Sire’s last blog post..Can You See The Human Apparition In This Splash Of Water