Specialized Knowledge: How to Make $50 (or More) Every 5 Minutes, All Day Long, By Clicking a Few Buttons (Just Like I Did at Age 17)

Let me tell you something.

Do you want to know the first time I saw a balance of 1000 bucks in my PayPal account?

It was 2002... geez, a decade ago now, I was 17 years old. I was a senior in high school. I lived with my parents. And you know what I was doing to make my money?

Installing a link tracker plugin. I had programmed it, and people could buy it for 67 bucks (I think)... I would get 1/3rd of that money. Better than working at McDonald's at that age, right?

But the big bucks came in when someone bought that plugin... many people wanted "someone else" to install it.

5 Minutes = 50 Dollars

The price was $50 bucks per install. What they didn't know is it took me about 5 minutes to FTP up files, chmod files, create a database, import that database, create a cron job, edit a config file... in other words, my "specialized knowledge" was worth every penny to them even though I could do it fast.

As you can imagine, it didn't take long to fill up to 1k...

And that paid for college. I'll admit I needed help from my parents for the first year living alone, but never fully. They gave me "some" money for rent. I paid the rest of my rent, plus school, plus food, cable, internet, clothing, all that good stuff...

Why am I telling you all this?

  1. Because I still believe that if you're starting out, the fastest way to make money is freelancing: performing a service in exchange for pay.
  2. You can get paid more per hour if you do whatever it is you do FAST
  3. You get paid even MORE than that if you have a SPECIALIZED SKILL and differentiate yourself

What's a specialized skill? Let's think about this...

Scenario #1: WordPress Installer

How much would someone charge you to install WordPress? 10 bucks? But what if...

  • You installed WordPress on their domain
  • You loaded it up with a beautiful looking WordPress theme
  • You customized it with all the SEO, social media, discussion, and traffic plugins they need
  • You setup their blog to retweet and post to their fan page every time you made a post
  • You loaded up the blog with YouTube videos, EzineArticles and PLR articles
  • You contacted 25 professionals in their niche asking for guest blog content
  • You brought people to the site to leave comments
  • You setup their autoresponder, optin form, and popup on that blog

Now how much is that worth? 100 bucks MINIMUM... and it still takes you under an hour of work.

Scenario #2: Offline Business Setup

A few months ago I had dinner with a small business who was getting his website setup. His "coder" gave him...

  • A professional design (magazine style WordPress theme)
  • "About Us" and "Photos" pages (content supplied by the business owner)
  • A Facebook Like button (installed a plugin)
  • Business information and a Google Map to the location (installed a plugin)
  • Coupon and QR code  (installed a plugin)

That took even less time and the business owner was happy to pay over 1000 dollars for it. Just something to think about... but what about this?

Scenario #3: Membership Site Ninja

I know a couple of people who are the "modern day equivalent" of what I used to do. They are membership site installers. Their full-time living consists of:

  • Installing WordPress
  • Adding a good looking theme
  • Setting up membership site software
  • Add a simple sales letter with a payment button
  • Setup "free" and "paid" levels
  • Install a forum
  • Install backup and monitoring plugins

Average price these people ask for membership site installations: $4000. For MAYBE an hour of work if you're slow and a riveting, action-packed re-run of "Mama's Family" is playing on your TV in the background?

My head is spinning right now with so many ways you can look at what freelance services other people are providing, and put your own "twist" on it. Here are some more examples...

  • Article writer: in addition to writing the articles, you could submit the article to 20 article sites, AND login to their blog once per day to post the articles they hired you to write
  • Copywriter: in addition to writing their sales letter, you could write and schedule the autoresponder emails, setup the thank you page offer and upsell, setup the affiliate program, and contact 20 joint venture partners
  • Graphic Designer: in addition to creating someone's logo, you could create their 3D cover, affiliate banner graphics, sales letter "doodles" and minisite design
  • Product Ghostwriter: in addition to writing someone's product, you could put it on Kindle and CreateSpace for them
  • Resale Rights Seller: in addition to selling resale rights to your report or membership site, you could install the sales letter and download page on their site for them

And how do you get these jobs? Easy... contact anyone who sells a WordPress plugin, WordPress theme, article creation course, graphic creation course, copywriting course... get yourself listed in their product and download page.

Remember, that's how I got all my "$50 installation in 5 minutes" jobs came from... someone bought the link tracking plugin, and they had all the instructions to install it themselves, but that download page said: contact this guy if you want to pay 50 bucks to get it installed.

Quick question: What have you done, heard of, or plan to do to make more money with freelancing and done-for-you services?

Filed in: MindsetPersonal

Comments (37)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Getting on someone’s download page is a great idea, Robert.

    As simple as installing WordPress and a good theme like Thesis is, I notice a lot of people either can’t figure it out themselves or just don’t want to deal with it.

    I’m going to take a second look at getting more visibility installing and configuring Thesis on WordPress.

  2. Sean says:

    I’ve been doing it for years Robert. I could go down all the bullet points mentioned here and say, yep.. did it… did that… did that too.

    I think the next step for me is to focus on teaching more people how to do it too.

    Great post and yeah… my mom still thinks i sell drugs too…

  3. Sylvie says:

    My goal is to put out a free product on tracking their sales and expense easily in excel.

    The upsell will be that if you want me to do it for you the customer will be charged a higher price based on number of transactions.

    I do think this will be a nice done for you service that will save them alot of money. Chartered Accountants charge usually $1 per receipt, so it’s a no brainer to either do it themselves or have a done for you service.

    CGA (certified general accounting) student

  4. Joel Gray says:


    Excellent advice, the best kind. Simple to perform and valuable what more can you ask for in a for sure money making idea.

    Thank you,


  5. I definitely plan on changing my landing page for my translation and proofreading service after reading this inspirational article. As always, it’s very good to hear of your experience, and you have now awakened my curiosity towards repeating this in my own niche. 🙂

  6. Rich Joyce says:

    This is definitely advice worth following!

  7. Ann Marie says:

    Thanks Robert for the great ideas on freelancing.

    I am still new to a lot of this but already I am able to teach what I know “unofficially” to a friend of mine that is helping me fine tune and practice what I am learning.

    Currently we are using a membership site as you and Lance teach 😉 To communicate and keep our notes in a location we both have access to.

    There are so many opportunities, just got to tap in and see which one best fits who I am, my expertise and my niche.

  8. wayne says:


    This is the best advice I have heard in quite a while. It’s something that everyone starting out should do. Specialize in an area and sell it to others. It certainly takes the edge off of months of no income.


  9. Nando says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I’ve just added a link building service to my blog and plan to integrate those services as upsells for membership sites I’m currently promoting.

    There is so much you can do, but there are two problems most people are confronted with and those are:

    1. Biting off more than they can chew.
    2. Not taking a bite out of anything.

    Thanks for sharing,

  10. John Mauldin says:

    Your recounting of your youthful success took me back a long time. Realizing I could go into the direct mail business regardless of my age, I started my first enterprise at age 12, some 53 years ago. By the time I graduated from high school, I had over $50,000. in the bank and a new car and motorcycle, a LOT of money back then!

    Since that time, I have been heavily involved in the “go into business for yourself” field, working as a franchise consultant and business broker.

    Things haven’t changed much in many ways. People still don’t open their eyes to the endless possibilities around them, most often making it more difficult than they need to be. Your wisdom is your ability to boil down good ideas into usable information. Kudos, Robert!

  11. Mano Rame says:

    I really appreciate what you’re doing here.

    These tips will help a lot of freelancers to make some extra money without extra effort.

  12. Glen Wayne says:

    Hi Robert,

    Kudos…you have hit another one out of the park! Of course, when you are up to bat…I expect to see the ball flyin’ out of sight.

    Your teenage years reminded me of some good times for me. I was working my tail off while attending high school. I worked on and flew airplanes. When I was not at school, I was at the airport. I was a jump pilot for skydivers and got to fly to many skydiving events on the weekends. Eventually, my brother and I were contracted to build nine airplanes that were used in two Hollywood movies. Along with some years in radio and television, those were some great times.

    I am currently building an online radio network, including a membership site. Tons of the inner workings have been fueled by the brain of Sir Robert Plank.

    There, I have just officially Knighted you! (The Queen was too busy and she was not getting around to it:)

  13. Robert,

    This was an awesome post! I was brainstorming ideas that I can implement immediately to eliminate a cash crunch I’ve experienced.

    Then I read your article and there it was, an answer that I was looking for. Of course, I’m putting together my ad to showcase my specialized skill and I will make it affordable for people. It’s a win-win situation.

    Thanks again.

  14. Hazel Lau says:

    Hi Robert,

    I agree with you. I have made couple of dollars in one month on Fiverr selling my graphic design skills. I have two websites now: 1. Design Freaker – premium design services after I sell cover design on Fiverr 2. Self-Publish-Success – to help self publish author publish their ebooks on Amaozn.

    I have never really made money through other “make money online” method. They all take a little bit of time to set up, drive traffic, get trust etc. Only when I finally sit down and look like what skills I have, package and promote them, I started to make money.

    My goal now is to continue drive more traffic to my main websites so I will not have to rely Fiverr for all my busniess.

  15. Hi Robert

    Great post!

    This is something that I am just starting to do, I have put up a page on my blog listing what I can do which includes, wordpress installations, extracting audio from videos, running jv giveaways and setting up mmr/plr products.

    It has been a slow start but at least its a start!


  16. The Gryphon says:

    You make some great points, Robert.

    One of my observations is that customers who essentially demand a low price usually turn out to be a pain in the rear with their constant demands for extras that they feel should be included. If you are an expert in your field, charge a fair price, and stick to it. If people want a lower price, then politely suggest to them that they will be happier with another person.

    The Gryphon 🙂

  17. Jase says:

    Geez, mate. This came at a good time. Just had two-thirds of our bookings cancelled for the second half of the year. This is worth considering! Thanks for the great idea.

  18. Dave Doolin says:

    Part of why I’ve been invisible over the last 10-12 months is because I’m head down in developing exactly these kinds of specialized skills.

    I definitely agree with @Gryphon: charge more than the competition when your skill set is razor sharp. It’s the best way I know to weed out time wasting clients.

  19. What a great post, Robert! Thanks for all those excellent examples.

    I’ll be getting to work setting up some offers… and especially some upsells for the things I already do (including copywriting, press release writing, and more).

    I also appreciate some of the great advice in the comments section (i.e. The Gryphon and Dave Doolin) about not going after bargain hunters!

    Thanks a bunch.

  20. Mary Wilhite says:

    Robert, as usually I can count on you to give the best step by step instructions online.

    Keep up the wonderful work. I hear such great things about you and Lance out here in the IM world. Mary Wilhite The Mobile Marketing Queen

  21. Hi Robert,

    Love your list of examples. I’ve been making my livelihood through freelancing for nearly 15 years. It does work!

    Been trying to share the life with my oldest so he could duplicate you and pay for college on his own (it means so much more when you do it that way). Just sent him the link to your post.

    Now to move on from just freelancing into the world of passive income. Thanks for sharing your list!

    Theresa 😎

  22. Olive says:

    Thanks Robert,

    You gave me ideas on how to use my writing skills. Just need to figure out how to attract the clients.

  23. Nick says:

    Hey Robert,

    Great article. Really enjoyed reading it.

    I do have a question:

    I noticed you use a self-hosted mailing system. Is it possible that you give some more details about it? Like does it mail using PHP? Or SMTP, letting us set-up the headers, etc, ourselves?

    PHP is of course the most interesting. Because it doesn’t require any screwing around with rDNS, DKIM, etc. And if that’s the case… I’d really like to get this for my own business.


    What host do you use for mailing?



  24. Hey Robert,

    I worked on my ads today. Then I reread the article again. I must have missed the part where you said

    “how I got all my “$50 installation in 5 minutes” jobs came from…someone bought the link tracking plugin, and they had all the instructions to install it themselves, but that download page said: contact this guy if you want to pay 50 bucks to get it installed”.

    So now that’s the next step for me in this process. Thanks for all your help.

  25. Darrel Hawes says:


    Great post! There are so many ways to make money – online and offline – and I think the key to success is two things:

    1. Clearly defining one’s goals – either financial or lifestyle goals; and,

    2. Being willing to buckle down and do the work necessary to get it done.

    – Darrel

  26. Jeff Bode says:

    I’ve done a little freelancing in the past but now my freelancing is more like arbitrage… where I sell the service then transfer the work to someone else who’s willing to do it for a lower price.

    …It’s something anyone can do

  27. Joe says:

    Hey Robert, great stuff as usual. I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head as far as the possibilities go.

    Thanks for putting this out.


  28. PV says:

    Kudos Robert:

    Only problem is I’m missing a few critical psrts of the puzzle in each of the options above.

    Intuitively, WP Installer seems to have the most demand.

    2 things are needed then. A decent online freelancer training course & a strategy cum tactics package to get traffic to our ads on Fiverr or where ever else is best fo the freelance skill in question.

    Actually, given your background I’d suggest a certification course on backend and front end WP with special focus on cron jobs and all the cpanel razzmatazz that would make it possible to provide a pro service on the front end plus a backend maintain option for some ongoing revenue for the freelancer.

    Perhaps training to include Drupal and Joomla for a technical blog installer certification?

    In any event the skill level should be more specialized than a VA or someone that writes articles out of the Philippines for a living.

    As it is I have trouble dealing with htaccess files and plugins if they break not to mention configuring some of the more complicated premium themes with all the widgeting.

    I have been very impressed with your level of expertise in all things web technical, especially php so I know you are the right person to do this.

    I beg you to make it a One Time Payment bearing in mind that the people you train are fairly desperate (like moi) and do provide a forum.

    Finally, I’d like to distinguish this new course from a customer service offering.

    As I believe cpanel is here to stay for a long time to come I’d like to be something like a WP (cpanel) technical engineer or something along those lines.

    Thanks for this inspiring post and best wishes from Yokohama, Japan.


  29. This is a great post. I haven’t been following Robert for very long, but I’ve gotten some great tips already.

    I started out as a freelance writer in 2007, and while I could make a decent wage, I didn’t like working directly for people – while they made all the money. Offering a setup service never even crossed my mind!

    I know I could have made SO much more if I’d been offering to submit to article directories or blogs, or to write full info products and put them up on websites!

    Now I’m building a couple PLR selling sites, and while I’m not going to try to set anything up for people right now, I have thought about offering a setup service for people and then hiring a freelancer to do the actual setup for me. (Jeff Bode also mentioned this.)

    I got the idea from a couple big IMers that I follow, and thought it was brilliant. 🙂

    Robert is right – there are a hundred ways you can make money with specialized knowledge. Thanks for the great post.

    — Lindsey

    P.S. My parents didn’t think I was a drug dealer – but they did ask if they could get into the new business I’m building. LOL!

  30. Hi Robert

    As always you are right on the money.

    This is what I really struggled with when I first came to internet marketing. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other “me too” marketing out there.

    One of the easiest ways, as you say, is to offer a done-for-you service.

    I know 2 guys that both offer this type of service and both never actually do the work – they both outsource to freelance experts in other countries. Now, you need to be working with those freelancers who can turn round their services in quick-time (as you pointed out) but when you have found them you can afford to pay premium prices for good service, or even put them on retainer!

    The ‘brokers’ just take their cut of the fee charged to the client. They never have to do anything other than take the job from the client, and then deliver the job when done. The freelancer ’expert’ only ever works with one person, and never gets to know who the client is – so there’s no danger of the freelancer approaching the client to cut you out.

    Nice business model that could be rolled out over a number of areas / niches / services. And all you do is act as a broker! This let’s you start a business, like you’ve described, even if you know little or nothing about the subject (although it would be handy!)

    There must be a product in there somewhere:-)


  31. Shane says:

    Thanks for such a great article Robert.

    Sounds like a great way to start online.
    Would love to know more about it.

    Is it possible to listen to a replay of the September 1 2011 webinar on this subject?

    Shane 🙂

  32. Gary Ambrose says:

    I helped you put the first $1,000 in your PayPal account… nice. 😉

    The funny thing is… the first $2,000 day I had was a result of installing scripts at $50 a pop myself.

    And for those wondering, the real key to making this work is getting a link the download page of a paid product. In this case, as Robert mentions, people had already paid $67 for the script… so, they had incentive to have it installed.

    Think about all the WordPress themes, plug-ins, etc out there that you could install in 5 minutes, for $10 or $20.


  33. henry says:

    You are very right. You just hit the nail on the head. I call this method “Click and Grow Rich”. Internet Wealth starts from having the right idea and clicking the right buttons till a download page. Keep it up.

  34. Rose says:

    This is the best blog I think I’ve ever friggin’ read! I stumbled across this blog from another blog (forgot which one), because I was thinking of selling $7 reports as my first business. I had recently trashed my idea to do the freelance website set up thing. I was afraid of the current competition… this post right here has inspired me to go for it! You gave me some ideas for a great extra service I could offer to clients. I’ll start setting the business up right away. Thank you sooo much for the amazing blog! Your abundance of useful ideas is inspiring.

  35. Robert Plank says:

    Hey Rose, glad to hear it… what’s the niche, where can we find this report and how soon will it be online?

  36. These are genuinely fantastic ideas in regarding blogging.
    You have touched some fastidious points here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  37. It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks! Right now the time has come to enjoy my present, an e-cigaret from Health eCigarette, a surprise coming from my father to quit
    smoking. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Back to Top