Forbes just came out with its annual list of the richest people in the world. According to the list, there are 937 billionaires in the world. None of them are bloggers.
While I pride myself on publishing blogging tips that are both practical and applicable, this post is neither of those things. This is pure fun, conjecture, dreaming, and brainstorming. This post is also somewhat scattered and dense. Enjoy :)
What would it take to become a billionaire?
I’m 25 right now, and let’s say I’ll work on this billion-dollar blogging thing until I’m 75. That gives me 50 years to amass my fortune. $1,000,000,000 divided by 50 years is $20,000,000 a year. So I would need to earn $20 million a year for the next 50 years in order to become a billionaire.
That’s $1,666,667 a month or $54,795 a day.
Holy crap. Imagine making $55,000 a month!
Anyway, so we’ve got an idea of the figures we need to be shooting for. Let’s now shift our focus to HOW a blogger could do that.
How could a blogger become a billionaire?
Well, let’s start out with the bottom and work our way up! Note that I suck at math and might have inserted an extra zero in there when doing some of the calculations.
Note: This section borrows heavily from ProBlogger’s How to Make $30,000 a Year Blogging, which immediately came to mind when I thought about writing this post.
AdSense: If the average cost per click is 5 cents, we’d need 1,095,900 clicks a day to reach our $54,795 a day goal. Wow. I don’t even want to do the math of how much traffic you’d need to get that many clicks. But if we’re talking about a billion freaking dollars, let’s not nickel and dime ourselves here. Let’s cross AdSense off the list and focus on the bigger fish to fry.
CPM Ads: This is where you get X amount of dollars per thousand impressions or pageviews. If we get $2 per thousand impressions (again, that figure is stolen from the ProBlogger article), we’d need 27,397,500 daily pageviews. That’s a huge number… But how huge?
Well, YouTube apparently gets 2 billion pageviews a day. So we wouldn’t have to build the next YouTube. That’s good.
But how about the largest blog in the world, the Huffington Post? It gets an average of 2.9 million visitors a day [source] and on average, each visitor views 3.3 pages a day [source]. So we multiply the two and deduce that the Huffinton post gets 9.57 million pageviews a day. That’s bad. That means we’d need to build a blog that’s essentially 3 times as popular as the Huffington Post in order to reach our goal via CPM. So I guess we can cross CPM off the list, too.
Let’s cut to the chase here. Forget affiliate marketing. Let’s go straight to selling our own products.
Selling your own products: Let’s start out with the classic $27 for an ebook. To make a billion dollars over 50 years, you’d need to sell 2,030 ebooks a day. Wow.
Let’s go with a $97 course. You’d need to sell 565 a day.
How about a $297 course? 185 a day. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? At least that’s a number I can wrap my head around. But remember, this is every single day… for 50 years. And let’s say you’re managing 10 blogs, that’s only 19 sales per day per blog.
Let’s now go with a high ticket course, something like Product Launch Formula. I believe this bad boy costs $2000. You’d need to sell 27.4 a day, or about 833 a month. If you have 10 blogs, that’s a little more than 8 sales per blog per month. Sweet!
The problem I see with these numbers is that it would be REALLY hard to find that many new customers every day or month. So this naturally leads us to…
Big ticket continuity programs: Ok, now let’s get serious. To make big money, I think the best bet would be to go after businesses rather than end users, so let’s assume that we sell directly to businesses. Let’s say that we provide some sort of monthly blogging service or software or something for these businesses. If we charge $1,500 a month for our amazing blog software/services, we’d need to do business with 1,111 business. And if we charge $3,000 a month, we’d need to do business with 556 businesses.
So the key to making a billion dollars is… Charge 556 businesses $3,000 a month! Pffff. Simple, right?
Sell your blogs/blogging companies: Let’s say that you start blogs, build them up, and sell them. Well, earlier this week, AOL just completed its purchase of the Huffington Post (which I’ll go ahead and say again is the world’s #1 blog) for $315 million dollars. So you’d need to start and then sell 3 (and a bit more) Huffington Posts. For reference, the Huffington Post is the 120th most popular website on the internet, according to its Alexa rank.
This seems like the best route to take if you want to become a billionaire blogger. Start up a bunch of massive blogs and then sell them to AOL. Piece of cake! [Insert wide-eyed emoticon here]
Start one MASSIVE blog or blogging company: Of course, the “easiest” option might be to just create a single huge blog and sell it for billions of dollars :) Which leads us to…
How do you build a billion dollar blog?
I found a great article on Forbes.com about how to start a billion dollar company. The content for that article is lifted from a book called Blueprint to a Billion (there’s also How to Build a Billion Dollar Company from Scratch if you’re interested).
Here are the main points from the article. In other words, these are the main ways you build a billion dollar company (or in our case, a billion dollar blog):
“Get a big idea”
There are 3 types of billion dollar ideas:
1. Shapers of the new world – Microsoft, eBay (create a new type of business)
2. Niche shapers – Starbucks, Nike (redefine old worlds)
3. Category Killers – Staples, Autozone (new business models that run old businesses out of town)
“Find a marquee customer”
In other words, find fanatical customers that will evangelize for you.
“Embrace Big Brother”
Piggyback off of the existing success and recognition of big companies.
“Master the inside/outside dynamic”
This essentially means partnering with the right person(s). The “inside” refers to one person in the partnership being responsible for things inside the company, like operations and innovation. The “outside” refers to the person that focus on how the outside world interacts with and perceives the company. So that means marketing, sales, etc.
“Put billion-dollar experts on board”
This one’s pretty self explanatory. Put really good people on your board of directors!
I’m not going to go any deeper into this; I just wanted to present the information because I thought it was interesting. Feel free to apply this more directly to a blogging scenario. Leave a comment or write a post about it (being sure to link back here, of course!).
Bloggers as writers
But after all of that, I guess the big question is still this: Is it possible for just a blogger (and not an owner of a company that provides blogging goods or services) to become a billionaire? Well, when it comes down to it, bloggers are writers. And the world’s richest writer right now is Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. And according to Forbes, she’s worth $1 billion.
So in order to truly become a billionaire blogger, I guess you’d need to sell millions and millions of copies of your ebooks … and then get them turned into Hollywood motion pictures :)
Let’s be realistic
Yes, I realize there are flaws with all of this. I haven’t taken into account taxes, inflation, or any other costs of any kind. I’ve kind of blurred the line between “blogger” and “person who runs a company that sells blogging products.” I’ve also assumed that making a billion dollars equals being a billionaire. But all of this was just a thought experiment to see what kinds of numbers we’re dealing with here.
Moral of the story? It would be freaking HARD to make a billion dollars blogging.
Further reading, part 1
Honestly, I find this all pretty dang fascinating. I came across some more really cool articles on the subject, and figured you might enjoy reading them, too.
Just be sure to leave a comment here and retweet this post before reading any of them:
- Build a Billion-Dollar Business
- How to Create a Billion-Dollar Company
- J.K. Rowling and the Billion Dollar Empire
Further reading, part II
I also created a short FREE ebook that you can download. It’s called Billionaires on Blogging, and it’s an ebook containing 20 quotes from the 5 richest people in the world. I’ve applied each quote to blogging. In order to get a copy, you’ll need to click the button below the image and share the post via Twitter or Facebook.
[^^ I’ve never used this pay-with-a-tweet thing so it’ll be interesting to see how it works… If you can’t see the button because you’re reading this in your email or RSS reader, you’ll have to come to the page on the blog]
Just so you know, I will become the first billionaire blogger :) But I welcome competition. I think there’s room for a few of us on the “Richest People in the World” list.
But tell me…
- Do you think it’s possible for a blogger to become a billionaire?
- If so, when do you think we’ll see the first billionaire bloggers?
- What do you think the best path to blogger billionaireship would be?
- Do you have a billion dollar blog idea?
And again, please comment on this post and share it via whatever social networks you like :) Also… I switched my web hosting company. The blog is now SIGNIFICANTLY faster; have you noticed?