February 9, 2015
Every day, entrepreneur Sean Lee makes another $1,000 from his online video subscription service, HD Piano – with no marketing, and without touching a video camera himself.
Lee is a digital nomad, and he spoke on Saturday at the Nomad Summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a hotspot for remote workers. It may seem like he’s living the dream, but it wasn’t always that way – he actually started HD Piano in 2008, but didn’t see much growth for the first few years.
Lee started with a YouTube channel, where he shared simple piano lessons (à la Guitar Hero) that he had recorded to teach pop songs. At the time, he was doing everything and it was a tedious process – he hated editing the videos so much that it deterred him from recording new ones.
Finally, he figured out three simple steps that got him from zero to $30,000 a month:
1. Build a team
Lee’s first hire was a video editor, whom he paid a cheap rate per hour. Eventually, he also brought on a piano instructor (who was better than him) who agreed to work for a percentage of the profits. He used your typical sites to find talent – Elance, oDesk, and Fiverr, as well as Facebook.
2. Build a website
HD Piano uses a freemium model. For any song – from Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” to Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin” – you can watch the first tutorial video for free on YouTube. Then, if you want to learn the rest, you have to sign up for HD Piano’s $60-a-year subscription.
3. Market on YouTube
Lee grew his audience organically through YouTube, with no paid advertising – although he may experiment with some in the future. He now has 240,000 subscribers and about 1-2 million views per month. Subscribers and sales really jumped when he increased his output, uploading three awesome videos per week.
“Video is one of the best ways to make a passive income in 2015,” Lee said. So what are you waiting for?
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