Can a Social Network be a business? In my opinion it absolutely can. I know this first hand because as the creator of Black Business Women Online, the Black Moms Club, and Black Writers Connect I can say these networks attribute to a decent portion of my income. I'm a full time work at home mom, so my networks + my coaching + my web/banner design services is what sustains my income.
People generate income from their networks in different ways. For me the revenue comes from:
1. New Member Sign ups
2. New clients requests my web/graphic services
3. BBWO Advertising Packages
4. Affiliate Products
5. Google Adsense
When your network is large enough and people join / return consistently, there are so many ways you can generate an income from that space. Ning.com recently partnered with Cafepress.com so members can sell t-shirts and add their store to their ning website. Ning apps includes a gift graphic system, where members can send each other digital gifts (and while I have not used this one) ... I believe it can generate revenue for you. Then there is an app to place a classified board on your network, and charge people to post job opportunities. You can even turn your network, into a membership subscription site (something I did on another space).
The key to building a network that you can turn into a business is knowing that creating the network is just the first step. I've seen so many women join bbwo, get excited about the space, and inspired to create their own BUT then close the network down because they can't get people to join, they don't know how to get folks to be active, and of course with no activity, they have not clue as to how to get members to buy stuff. It takes a few minutes to setup a network, but it takes a little more time and effort to learn how to turn that network into a business.
Thank you for your response. I am really excited about starting my network and I have downloaded all of your books. Thanks for the discount code. I created the ning (after reading your ebook--ningalicious) and I did a little research on how to make a ning site into a paid subscription site, but I didn't get very specific info on setting that.
Can you start it out free and then people that you are going to start charging them (once it gets off the ground)?
How do I go about that? If my network idea is my business should I incorporate it first as a real business (before it starts) or after I get it going?
It costs 20 dollars a month to make a ning that allows you to do all the things you mention here, should I incur that cost as part of my startup fee in order to launch a really good ning or start it up with the small account, get people to join then upgrade to the better site? If it is to be my business, I want to be able to make money with it while I build it. I do understand that it will take time though.
If the answers to these questions are in any of your books, please direct me to the specific one.
Thanks in advance,
P.S. I just checked out my library of your books and see that I do not the one that you mentioned in your reply, so I will purchase this one specifically. However, if you could post an answer to my question here, I'd be most appreciative.