Training Video "6-Step Guide to Start Membership Websites" Join Free Webcast
Top 5 Ways to Make Money From an Internet Business

Let’s start by saying this is not a get-rich-quick article. We will be sharing five proven business models that can generate enough additional revenue to make a difference in your life and, if you do it right, enough to allow you to retire and work full-time for yourself.

Chances are, you have a full-time job and are looking to move up the company ladder in order to improve your financial situation. The problem is, your future is in somebody else’s hands.

  • What if the manager who was going to promote you leaves for another company?
  • What if there’s a merger?
  • What if your company experiences massive budget cuts?

All these scenarios are out of your control. This is another reason why more and more people are turning to online businesses as a means of generating passive revenue.

Passive revenue allows you to carry on working full-time while money continues to flow into your bank account from your other business activities. Here are five internet business models for directory and membership websites that are currently growing in popularity.

1. Niche Business Directories

What are they?

A niche directory is a website dedicated to promoting professionals from a specific industry. This could be a directory to help people find a muralist, a shoe repairman or an English tutor.

How do you make money from this?

A niche directory requires its members to pay a monthly or yearly fee to be a part of the website. The directory owner provides the service of connecting members with customers in exchange for the recurring fee.

Why is this model so great?

Just as your phone company charges you on a recurring basis, you get to do the same with your members. This means that when you make a sale, it becomes an ongoing business, so you don’t have to make an entirely new sale with someone else.

Insider Tip

The more specific you get, the better. Stay away from general directories with broad, competitive categories such as lawyers and doctors. Narrow it down. Go for divorce lawyers or physiotherapists instead. This way, your members will feel the directory is meant for them, and you’ll also rank much higher in Google when people search for those terms.

2. Local Business Directories

What are they?

A local directory promotes businesses in a specific geographic area. The current trend is for local growers, local shops and yes, local directories. Internet users are less interested in using sites that cater on a national or global scale – they’re beginning to look for websites that specialize in what they’re looking for near where they live.

How do you make money from this?

A local directory is very much like a niche directory. The model calls for recurring billing subscriptions – either monthly or yearly. You can always increase revenue by selling banner space on your website, or by promoting “featured” businesses on your homepage.

Why is this model so great?

Opening up a local directory means that all your potential members are based nearby. You can go door to door, make personal appointments, and invest in advertising that actually makes an impact. A national directory casts such a large net that without a massive budget and a huge team you’re unlikely to succeed in generating sustainable passive income.

Insider Tip

The smaller the locality, the easier it is to sell. Chances are, if you live in a town of under 100,000 people, quality websites dedicated to promoting local businesses are very few and far between. Once you get your website up and running, city officials may want to jump on board and help promote your business since you are trying to make a positive impact on your community.

3. Members Only Websites

What are they?

A members-only website requires someone to log in to access the information that is located on the website. Popular members-only websites include dating sites, coupon sites, job board sites, financial investment sites, corporate websites and so forth. Basically, any website that contains information people would pay to see.

How do you make money from this?

If you start a job-board site where people post home renovation projects for contractors to bid on, you will essentially hold information that contractors would be more than willing to pay for. The only way a contractor can bid on that project is by signing up and logging in to his or her account. You exchange information for a service fee, which can be a one-time fee, or a recurring monthly or yearly fee.

Why is this model so great?

This is a relatively new industry, which means competition is light. The sooner you launch and make a name for yourself, the harder it will be for anyone to come along later and take away any of your business.

Insider Tip

It’s key to develop two separate business strategies. You’ll need to figure out how to entice people to leave content on your site that others would pay to see. You’ll also need to attract paying members to your site. It’s a bit of a dance at first, but once things start picking up, you’ll be on autopilot.

4. Events Websites

What are they?

Events websites promote events in your local area. They can be local events sites, or national events sites, depending on your resources. People who are looking for something interesting to do would visit your website to find out what’s going on.

How do you make money from this?

Organizers are always looking for effective ways of advertising their events. This is an industry that understands you must spend money to make money. You can sell spots to movie theaters, bands, bars, theaters, stand-up comedy venues, book readings, marathons, sporting events, swimming lessons for kids and much, much more.

Why is this model so great?

You can charge by the event. This way, you can make it free for people to sign up, and possibly even allow them to advertise the first event for free. Your members would then be required to pay to advertise further events on a pay-as-you-go model. And with the “first event free” approach, you won’t have any issues signing people up.

Insider Tip

Although a general events website is great, a niche events directory may be even easier to sell. You may want to focus entirely on events for kids, or sporting events, or the nightlife in your city.

5. Classified Websites

What are they?

Classified websites help people find items or services in their local area. Craigslist is the most popular directory of this type; however, there is a growing need for industry-specific classified sites specializing in anything from heavy machinery and logistics, to art supplies and pest control.

How do you make money from this?

This is the perfect pay-as-you-go model. You’ll be able to charge your members for each classified ad. Just like the events model, you can offer the first ad for free, and charge members from there on out. You can even sell “packages” where members can purchase ads in bulk at a discounted rate.

Why is this model so great?

Classified sites cast the biggest nets – anyone who’s looking to sell something is a potential customer.

Insider Tip

Start off with limited categories. If you launch your website with hundreds of classified categories, the user experience will be poor, and it’ll be harder to gain traction in your market. Having less categories makes it easier to “fill” each category with real content.

The Elevator Pitch:
Why Choose Brilliant Directories

We'll make it short and sweet:

  • We Know Membership Sites — We've taken care of all the heavy lifting so you can focus on growing your membership community and getting users signed up.
  • Access to Expert Support — We know you have questions... Our dedicated support team works 'round the clock to quickly resolve any technical issues.
  • Trusted by 20,000+ Websites — With over 10 years of experience, we understand the unique needs of online membership communities.
Membership Website Facebook Group

Do You Run a Membership Site?

Join our exclusive Facebook group – FREE – to access proven strategies for growing your membership community. Space is limited, so join today!

Join the FACEBOOK Group

It's all about service and community!

After working with the Brilliant Directories team for the past 5 years, I've enjoyed building our websites and learning new ways to improve. Having access to a responsive support team has been very important for our success. Thanks to everyone at Brilliant Directories for guidance, constant improvements, Facebook groups and interactive webinars! We've already built one directory (, launched another ( and have more ideas to implement very soon.

Erik K. — New Jersey, USA Read More Reviews

Questions Before Getting Started?

We're always happy to chat about your goals and explain what comes with your Brilliant Directories website. Contact us or call to speak with a friendly team member now: 1 (800) 771-9332

Send a Message

Fill in the Form to Launch Your Free Website

  • Learn how to setup membership plans, connect your payment gateway and generate revenue
  • Tour the features that will help you manage your community and maximize productivity
  • Experience how members will view, edit and self-manage their personal accounts
  • Customize your demo site to match your brand
Safe & Secure. Try it free for as long as you like.

Start Your Free Website Now

Create a free account for instant access to launch your website

Safe & Secure. Try it free for as long as you need.

Fill in The Form to Send a Message



Register FREE for instant access to start your website

Safe & Secure.

You’re Almost There!

Enter your email below to watch the webcast
“6-Step Guide to Start Membership Websites”

75% Complete

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your information safe.