$2000 a month for 5 minutes work & $40

Money money moneyWell seeing as this blog is about sharing and learning I am going to cover a small change that I made a few months ago as I now have sufficient stats to back up the full effect of what I did and how it has played out. Maybe not directly useful to you but perhaps the sentiment may apply to other sites.

I don’t know if any of you lot do actual sales online or whether your all predominantly bloggers or? However I tend to do a bit of everything, me being me 😉

I’m not really into drop-shipping or selling physical goods as really there is only so far you can go without taking on staff and giving up my home office which I enjoy so for actual sales I decided to get into e-sales, orders that can be taken and completed online, you have to love the internet!

The product
My e-sales of translations is basically taking a service that was already out there (translation of names & words) but I did it bigger by offering many languages from the one website so you could order ‘Angela’ in Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi & Gujarati from me in one quick transaction. I found professional translators from all across the world and orders are generally completed online within 24-48 hours.

The opening
This was actually a hole in the market that I spotted due to the fact most large translation companies have a minimum order value, so even though they are $0.05 per word the minimum order value is $50. That left the door wide open for me to offer the ability to translate a name for say $10 and plug a gap in the market.

The idea
I had an idea that I had stupidly sat on for ages, a lot of my potential customers like the idea of getting a tattoo translation but don’t always know what phrase to get, they hang around my site looking for inspiration. Put that together with the fact that once someone orders a phrase and I pay my translator for it, if it is ordered again in the future then that’s 100% profit to me. My idea was that I should list some previous orders on the product page. Not a eureka moment, not likely to change the world, but if anyone saw something on that list they liked and ordered it I would

  • make a sale I might have lost
  • make 100% profit on the sale
  • be able to complete the order straight away offering a fast efficient service

Sounds good but for some reason it took me weeks, nae months to finally look at putting it into action as I am not a coder. I went to the support forum for the shopping cart I use and sent an email to someone who obviously does a lot of mods to the cart and seeing as it was a simple job was quoted $40, just $40 to display some phrases & text that I had already done. That was implemented in February and within a week the pages were spidered and bringing in more traffic!

Not easy to see on the graph but the traffic to an average page in the translation area went from 400-500 per day up to around 600 per day so a good 20%+ increase in traffic.


The payoff
That’s free traffic that catches long tail keywords which I have been pretty impressed with for a $40 investment, so what about income from esales, well they shot up over 30% 🙂 that’s like $2000 up so that idea and $40 investment really has paid of with sales moving from ~$4k to $6k a month.

There are plenty of services out there that are available online and sometimes it really is as simple as putting them together in one convenient place and re-selling, if you avoid the comparison site type if angle and actually look to sell online you can make a better markup and once you establish yourself you can get better rates for buying services, it is important to get the best people, if you can offer quality products that are delivered in a fast and efficient manner you can carve an opening.

An angle may be better speed or quality or it may be better choice than is currently available, I’d like to think I cover all 3 of those with my sales, I can only speak one language so as with most of the things I have done it is not outwith the reaches of any of you to do the same.

The lesson I learned as always is to use your visitors to help create content, use what they are searching for, use what they have searched for, analyse everything! …oh and don’t sit on your bum if you get a good idea!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. Another excellent post Scott, i guess the key thing here is to experiment until something works, your worked first time.

    Have you tried varying the phrases shown? Or perhaps they already are?

    • They do update each day Ash so new names, words & phrases appear each time the pages are spidered giving inspiration and new search traffic.

  2. Seperating just 1 degree from what you normally do is a great way of making extra cash. A friend I worked with created a mobile phone unlocking site which took off real well doing about £60k in sales per year. That has since dropped with the later phones not being able to be unlocked. However, he opened up in to other similar services like screen repairs, unlocking via post which has kept a great income for him.

  3. As a coder, I tend to sit on ideas until I can personally do them (which is less and less often, with a two year old in the house). Thanks for the reminder that hiring coding out can be inexpensive and rewarding.

  4. The real value added with your mod is how you can now produce a result that requires minimal input and can therefor be leveraged to its fullest capacity. This is the aspect of internet business that is making so many of these ideas possible. Any of these ideas in a physical shop down the road would have minimal value, but placed in the hands of 6 billion people and a small improvement can have dramatic results. I hope I find the same inspirations on my own sites with as much good fortune.

  5. Great post, very inspirational. Care to link drop the site? I’d like to check it out, I think it’s great that you found the hole in that market.

  6. Nicely done Scott. Would it be worth investing this new profit into translating your current list of words and phrases into additional languages?

    • Great minds 😉 I did recently added Thai as a new language Ryan so I can offer 10 languages now.

      • So when you add a new language, do you actually have the translator go through and translate all of your previous requests into that new language or just start fresh with new requests? I guess what I’m asking is if you have the same phrases/words duplicated in all languages…just curious.

        • No I tend to just get them translated when ordered, you get the same names and phrases often so I can build a database of translations quickly, for example thanks to celebrities like Victoria Beckham “I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine” is quite popular in Hebrew, $30 a pop 😉 and I must have been asked for that at least 40 times.

  7. I like the way you managed to spot that gap, really needs a proper business brain to get it.

    However I was wondering if you have a specific reason for not using subscription method rather than one-off payment.

    But that was a great investment…well done

    • Morning Abdul, people usually want single translations so this service is more product related and fits better, I pay the translators per order so can build that into the cost per item.

  8. Nice One Scott Since the article about the $5,000 dollar hour or something like that I have started to test new things with amazing results. Not as complex as your example though 🙂

  9. This does get your brain buzzing trying to think of something new and profitable.

    About 7 or more years a go a mate and me wanted to start a shop online and was trying to think of the perfect one to run.

    Ruling out cloths because of returns and Books and CD’s because we didn’t have a chance with Amazon etc. So I had to be cheap small, (storage) and fun.
    In the end we plugged for a Joke / Magic / Masks Shop 🙂

    Mark up was huge and fun to run. We had JOKESHOPFUN.com / .co.uk but with having a Full time job it did take it’s toll, printing, packing, posting, emails, babies etc we let it go and sold our stock to some guy in Scotland on ebay.

    I still have the .co.uk but are doing nothing with it really. Anyone else done a shop or service on line they can share?

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