Rebecca Turner is a successful online entrepreneur who created a website to teach people about lucid dreaming, aptly named World of Lucid Dreaming. She’s been a regular participant in our discussion forums. After watching her openly share eBusiness tips with other forum members over a period of months, I asked her if I could interview her for my blog, so she can share what she’s learned with many more people.
Rebecca used Site Build It! to create her website. Since many people are curious about what kind of real-world results can be achieved with Site Build It!, I asked her if she’d be willing to share specific traffic and income figures from her business’ first year online, and thankfully she agreed. I think you’ll find her results encouraging.
If you aren’t familiar with lucid dreaming, a lucid dream is a dream where you become consciously aware that you’re dreaming. With practice you can learn to do all sorts of amazing things in lucid dreams — fly like Superman, wield a light saber, jump around like Trinity in The Matrix, create dream characters out of thin air, move objects by thought, defeat the Kobayashi Maru, and lots more. Erin and I are both experienced lucid dreamers.
Enjoy the interview…
1. Why did you create World of Lucid Dreaming?
I wanted to get out of the rat race. When I left school I fell into the financial sector and before long, I found myself working a stressful city Editor job. I told myself it was worth it because it stretched my mind and the money would go a long way. By my mid-20s I came to realize that life isn’t about creating stress and drama, so I emigrated to the tranquil shores of New Zealand with my Kiwi partner.
I knew straight away I wasn’t going to rejoin the rat race here in Auckland. So I decided to become self employed, trading on my writing skills. It was a much better lifestyle working for myself, but the income was sporadic. When the credit crisis turned the industry upside down, it put the nail in the coffin for my investment writing. I decided to find a new niche.
That’s when I heard about Site Build It and discovered I could build a profitable online business based on my own life experience, no matter how little technical knowledge I possessed. And so World of Lucid Dreaming was born from my desire to be financially secure on my own terms, to work a job I am passionate about, and to be free from corporate slavery.
2. Can you share some stats on how your site is doing in terms of traffic and income generation? How did these figures change over time?
My site went live in June 2008 with 20 or so content pages and averaged 76 visitors per day. By July, it was time to start monetizing that traffic. I added my first two income streams: Google AdSense (which I would later drop for more lucrative affiliate partners) and Mind Sync (a seller of MP3s which puts your brain in an optimum state for lucid dreaming). I made $60 that first month. That may not seem like much but to me it meant my website was a viable income generator. Site Build It worked!
After that, World of Lucid Dreaming grew quickly. Site Build It warned me about “the hump” – but it never came. I did everything by the book: writing quality articles, putting my own personality into the site, building an online presence, and all the rest. It helped that I loved every minute – I was creating something new and unique and if I did it right, I would never have to work for anyone else again. I couldn’t ask for much more motivation.
By early 2009, Alexa had ranked my website in the top 0.3% globally. My average daily visitors had climbed to 750 (more than 20,000 hits per month). That’s some snowball effect in just over six months. SBI showed me how to monetize those visitors and in the month of January my monthly income topped $1,000 – a landmark event for me. I knew that if I could earn $1k from my website, I could earn $2k, $3k, or $4k a month. Even if I maxed out the potential for World of Lucid Dreaming, I could create another website in exactly the same way. I was delighted.
[SP: These are excellent results, Rebecca, and you have every reason to be optimistic about future growth. By comparison it took a year for StevePavlina.com to pass $1K per month in revenue, with Google Adsense being the main source of income. One year later it hit $41K in one month. That was obviously an exciting year.
Once you get the hang of traffic building and monetization, rapid growth is possible. The key is to be consistent and keep doing what's working, while continuing to experiment to test new ideas.]
3. What specific strategies do you use to generate income from your website? Which ones have been the most effective for you?
I currently make all of my income through affiliate programs. Once I find a good value product – usually one that directly aids lucid dreaming – I test it out and write a review on my website. I use my unique affiliate link so I earn money when people decide to buy it through my site. Sometimes I can offer special discounted prices which adds further value to my readers. I raise interest in these product reviews by posting banner ads around the rest of the site. I’ve even begun designing my own graphics which is fun – the creative process never ends for me!
I’m signed up with about a dozen affiliate programs for World of Lucid Dreaming. These include brainwave entrainment recordings, “how to” books and videos, and natural herbs to increase awareness and dream recall. My first e-book (Lucid Fiction) is underway and should be selling on site by July. I also plan to distribute this via affiliate marketplaces like ClickBank, so that other webmasters can do the selling and help me reach a wider audience.
My best selling products are brainwave entrainment MP3s created by affiliate partners. Binaural beats and hypnosis really helped my early quest for lucid dreaming and these MP3s have numerous other applications as well. Through my affiliate partners, you can buy MP3s for deep meditation, astral projection, out of body experiences, ESP, remote viewing, chakra healing, manifestation, and so much more. The seller tracks all links from my site for up to 90 days, so I earn profits from any future sales too.
Crucially, I don’t stock or sell any tangible goods myself. An online business is about making money with minimal ongoing costs. A traditional business might have to fund staff salaries, growing office space, wholesale goods, storage, packaging, posting, and resolving customer queries. In contrast, an online business like mine can generate high margin profits simply by recommending products and taking away a commission. Once I publish a product recommendation, the profits come in on autopilot, earning me passive income 24/7.
[SP: I discovered that a similar strategy works well for me too. Today most of my income is from sales commissions from product recommendations. When you have high traffic and can generate many sales for your partners, you can also negotiate custom deals for higher commissions and better terms, especially if your partners have strong back-end sales and don't need to see a high profit on the first sale.]
4. Why did you use Site Build It! to create your business? What has it done for you?
I chose Site Build It because it takes away the scary technical bits about website building, and leaves me in charge of the creative stuff. Before World of Lucid Dreaming began, words like RSS, pings, trackbacks and SEO meant nothing to me. The idea of starting an online business was all too overwhelming and not worth the risks associated with technical failure.
Site Build It virtually eliminated all that risk, because it told me exactly what to do, day by day, in order to build a profitable website. First I used the brainstorming tool to find a profitable niche, based on a number of my own passions and life experiences. Then I planed my site structure, researching article ideas with the optimum keywords. Then I designed my custom template with SBI’s point-and-click tools (although I would later get a re-design by Cre8ve Media). After that, I learned how to write for the web, how to pre-sell, how to create value, how to monetize visitors, and many more tricks for success.
I could go on about Site Build It for ages! Suffice to say that if you’re thinking about starting a website or blog – and you don’t already have the extensive knowledge required to succeed in online business – then make this a serious consideration. During the 10-day course I learned everything I needed to know in order to succeed. SBI simplified the whole process and even outsourced the most technical bits for me, like submitting my site to Search Engines, or pinging them when I posted a new article. And since I was committed to the project, it guaranteed my success. So Site Build It is not merely a blogging platform like WordPress or Blogger. It’s a complete guide to successful online business. (And it caters to internet dummies!)
5. Why did you select lucid dreaming as your site’s main focus? What related topics does your site address?
I discovered lucid dreaming when I was 14 and have been consciously exploring my dreams ever since. But I wasn’t what you’d call a natural lucid dreamer – I had to go through a process of learning, making lots of mistakes along the way. And that gave me tremendous insight. So now I know what rookie mistakes people make and how to avoid them. I know the coolest things to try in your first lucid dreams. I know what reality checks work better than others. I understand the potential of lucid dreaming and how it can affect our lives. That is my edge: inside knowledge – and passion.
So when Site Build It told me to write a list of all my hobbies, interests and areas of expertise, lucid dreaming was pretty high up. I also considered making a site about stock market investing as well as numerous travel related sites. I plugged all these potentials into Site Build It and each niche idea was given a score, based on the extent of my knowledge, passion, popularity and monetization potential.
Lucid dreaming came out top – and from then on I knew I couldn’t go wrong with it. Most bloggers don’t even consider this kind of concept examination, they just pick a topic that “feels right” and start writing. Unfortunately, not all niches are a good idea; they may be oversaturated or too obscure. Lucid dreaming is perfect for me because I am very enthusiastic about it and the concept is timeless – meaning people will still be searching for “how to lucid dream” in 5, 10, or 20 years’ time.
What’s more, the concept of lucid dreaming stems from a host of other subjects. I can write on a range of subjects while staying true to my niche, including human consciousness, dreams, psychology, self awareness, altered states of consciousness, meditation, astral projection, out of body experiences, dream yoga and Tibetan philosophies. While I fulfilled my original site plan some months ago, I am still struck by new article ideas all the time. It’s a wonderful topic of exploration.
[SP: It's awesome to create an online business based on something you're passionate about because then you have even more reasons to "play." For example, I can now justify my crazy growth experiments as research.
You raised a key point when you mentioned timeless content. If you focus on creating timeless content, your archives will retain their value. If you create mostly time-bound content, your archives become obsolete as they age. It's best to create assets that won't depreciate.
It's great that you picked a niche that gives you room to grow horizontally. You can also go vertical by producing your own books, home study courses, DVDs, teleseminars, webinars, and even live events, should you so desire.]
6. What are some key lessons you learned during your first year of running World of Lucid Dreaming?
The single most important lesson that World of Lucid Dreaming has taught me is this: anything is possible. I never dreamed that I could earn a living this way – I always thought that real money came from a stressful office job and you couldn’t have one without the other. While this thought was always niggling at the back of my mind, I stayed true to the lessons of Site Build It. I kept moving forward, delighted by the little things that showed my site was becoming a success. Too many people give up on SBI because they get bored or lose motivation. I couldn’t let that happen to me. And now that I’m earning my living from it, doing something I love every day, I have gained proof that you CAN have your cake and eat it.
I learned many new skills through Site Build It, like writing for the internet – something my job as an Editor never taught me. It’s a completely different way of relating to people. And it’s actually very easy. The ground rule is: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS). If you read my site you’ll see I’m hardly Shakespeare. I just write like I’m talking to a friend, and that’s all. SBI has a free e-book called Make Your Content Pre-Sell which explains this technique in detail. I think this is also what makes my site accessible to a broad audience – I have everyone from teenagers and retirees writing to me, and they all “get it”.
I also learned that I am not Wikipedia. I started out writing generic factual articles, indistinguishable from hundreds of other “how to” web pages. So I sat down with the SBI e-book on writing for the web, and I began injecting my own personality into my words, introducing real life experiences. It really brought the site to life, helping me connect with my readers better.
[SP: Something I learned in Toastmasters was the adage, "Make a point; tell a story." It's best if the stories are your own. This helps you create content that appeals to both left-brained and right-brained readers. Some people just want the straight-up information; others prefer to extract their own insights from stories.]
7. What have been the major contributing factors in making your online business successful?
Traffic, traffic, traffic! Without people landing on my website, it would be nothing. No-one would benefit from the value I’m creating, and in turn I wouldn’t benefit from their custom. It would be a 100% failure.
Thankfully, I learned how to generate plenty of free traffic through SBI’s techniques. I dabbled with Google AdWords (pay per click advertising) but without becoming a PPC guru, I had no hope. It was better to focus my efforts on free traffic techniques and that is where all of my website traffic comes from today.
I should add that you need to pick a high demand concept to begin with. Traffic doesn’t materialize out of nowhere; people have to be looking for you in the first place. Lucid dreaming has that strong demand, and catches the imagination of quite a broad spectrum of people. When I tell someone they can become self aware in their dreams – so that everything looks and feels as real as waking life – most people respond with “Really?? How!?”
That leads to the second advantage of my site concept. Everyone thinks lucid dreaming sounds awesome, but not many people can actually do it. I can tackle that with a “how to” approach on site and teach people what they want to know in order to improve their lives. Having that practical element encourages people to return to my site and learn the next step. It also opens plenty of doors for monetization.
Motivation is also a major contributor to success. I’m the type of person who has a great idea and gets really excited about it, but then gets bored because it takes too long to finish. I can’t tell you how many novels I’ve started writing and left off at chapter four! And so the concept of Site Build It is to give you a step-by-step framework without feeling overloaded, which is an enormous advantage. I could never give up when I had the next day’s instructions right in front of me. Ultimately, Site Build It made the difference between a barren two-page blog that I would delete a few months later, and a profitable online business that has changed my life.
8. What is some of the most popular content on your website? What value does it offer people?
Many people are keen to learn about brainwave entrainment and how it can help them improve their lives. I have several articles explaining how binaural beats work and reviewing my favorite CDs/MP3s. My readers trust my opinion because I only recommend products that have actually helped me achieve lucidity. I also make a lot of sales of other entrainment tracks like astral projection and meditation MP3s. This is excellent because practicing one often helps the other. People who meditate regularly (i.e. enter altered states of awareness on demand) improve their ability to relax deeply, visualize dream scenes, communicate with their inner voice, and question their self awareness. It’s ideal practice for lucid dreaming.
Another popular page is lucid dreaming techniques. These are all scientifically established methods of dream control, so I create value by explaining what works best for me and why. I also present the techniques in a user-friendly way – with no technical jargon or esoteric interpretations of the dream world. I haven’t found a free collection of lucid dreaming techniques like this anywhere else on the net. To get this kind of insight, you’d have to surf several different sites or buy a book on lucid dreaming. I give this all away for free to build further credibility with my readers.
[SP: This is a great example of creating value. Making ideas accessible can be a powerful benefit.]
9. You also have a second website called Improve Vision Naturally. Can you tell us about that site and how it’s been developing with traffic and monetization?
I was so excited about the success of World of Lucid Dreaming, I launched my second website, Improve Vision Naturally, in November 2008. I made it using all the principles of Site Build It, planning my site structure in advance, using effective pre-selling techniques, and putting my own personal experience into the site. I had been doing eye exercises to cure my nearsightedness earlier that year, so I already had a monetization strategy in mind – to sell the 30-day vision training course, Rebuild Your Vision.
The first month averaged 55 visitors per day and generated my first trickle of income – $32! Like World of Lucid Dreaming, it proved early on I had a concept that worked. Today, just over six months old, it generates $500 per month from one-off sales of Rebuild Your Vision and recurring monthly sales of Ocu Plus Formula eye vitamins. This website has so much potential but scaling up two websites at a time is proving a little too much for me. So I’ve decided to focus all my energies on World of Lucid Dreaming. In the meantime, Improve Vision Naturally continues to be an ongoing passive income earner.
[SP: The nice thing about having an online business is that it can generate income month after month even if it just sits there. There's no rule that says you have to work on it full-time.]
10. What are your expectations for the road ahead as online entrepreneur?
I want to advance both my websites as far as possible, creating value by translating my personal experiences and passing on the lessons I’ve learned. Now that I have taken the Site Build It concept and replicated it twice, I feel confident about my future earning potential in online business. I have ideas for my next infosite and am really excited by that. In time, I hope to have a fleet of SBI sites to my name, each delivering their individual income streams on autopilot. This will leave me free to pursue all the goals I want to in life, without worrying about having a steady 9 to 5 job or where that’s taking me.
[SP: Sounds like an awesome plan, Rebecca. There's no substitute for directing the course of your own life. :)]
11. What advice would you give to others who’d like to create their own online businesses?
Educate yourself in online business. Building a profitable website is not something you can do going in blind. So many people start a blog with the best intentions but when the traffic (or income) doesn’t appear, they let it fall by the wayside. If you want to start your own income generating website, I totally recommend Site Build It. You will learn everything you need to know to earn your living from it. In fact, if you follow the instructions and are motivated to keep going, I believe you can’t fail.
Lastly, check your personal beliefs about income generation. Most of my friends don’t know how I earn my living nowadays and if I told them I don’t think they’d believe me. It’s that kind of limiting belief that could break your spirit and make you give up before you’ve even started. Becoming self employed and earning a steady income from the internet is not an impossible dream. You just need to know how to succeed – and that’s exactly what Site Build It taught me.
[SP: As you discovered, some people have huge misconceptions about making money online. For example, people often get stuck fussing over the minor costs involved, trying to go as cheap as possible, but those who are succeeding think of those costs as no-brainer investments because they earn back many times more than what they spend. Perhaps the best advice is to learn from those who are already succeeding and ignore the opinions of those who've never done it.]
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview, Rebecca. I’m sure many readers will find your success inspiring. I certainly do!
SP: If you want to learn more about lucid dreaming, World of Lucid Dreaming is an outstanding place to visit. The site is filled with great articles and tips to help you learn this amazing skill.
I also highly recommend using Site Build It! for building an online business. Rebecca certainly isn’t alone in achieving positive results with it. SBI is a great service that provides all the education, tools, and support you need to create a profitable online business. Watch the free video tour to learn how it works.
Where would you be today if you’d worked on your goals during the past year like Rebecca has done? Where do you want to be a year from now? It’s never too late to get started.