First let me start by telling you I am indeed making very good money in short order with site rentals, or as I like to say lead generation. As for prior experience I have loads of it in sales over the years, but zero IM, SEO, or website design experience before January 2012.
I stumbled onto this 'rent a site' idea mid-January 2012 after seeing some crazy overpriced webinar on it, something tsunami, I forget exact name (they wanted $997). I began to do research as the concept seemed very valid, and I do enjoy talking with business owners.
I gathered a lot up from various places including what I learned from the overpriced sales webinar, learned as much as I could about SEO (the real time sink), bought a bunch of domains after picking a niche, I chose a service business, started an LLC, opened a merchant account, and a virtual phone number account. *GO*
I then started pumping out sites, surely a lot faster than I should have and in the end learned a lot from it (such as can't have dupe content etc, I had zero programming experience) and then re tweaked the ones I had first put up to fix that. Initially I was targeting some of the lower searched keywords in order to get ranked easier, but it did not take long for me to say to myself "Umm I am not getting any calls here, no way can I feel right about leasing a site that is not getting at least 15-20 calls a month".
So I decided I had learned more about SEO by end of February and gave a go at adding the primary more competitive keywords for my niche in each city. So instead of getting a piece of 30-50 searches a month from the less competitive keywords, the keywords I was after combined were closer to 2k+ searches a month. I started to see decent results, the phone started to ring.
That is when I stumbled onto Dan's WSO a few months ago, bought it and instead of relying on every step Dan walks you through (and he does a great job btw) I picked out the nice tidbits to add to what I had already learned on my own, including the one piece of education I felt made the WSO worth it, the ping.fm, pixelpipe, online classified ad parts (and now onlywire, hello.txt and others I use also, plus I place adds all over the place for my clients). You should use all the information you can find from all sources and put it all together, find what works for you. For me it was the webinar, forum postings here and elsewhere, Dan's wso, as well as a few pm's to people on this forum, MRomeo09 & EmmaPowell. Most importantly though you MUST have the desire and motivation to succeed, without out it all the info in the world will do you no good.
I do prefer to set up a site, and get calls in a selected niche/city prior to trying to market the site, but I know some people do well with finding the client first, I just prefer it this way.
Let me stop myself before I get side tracked here I could ramble all day... End result Now is this...
I currently have 72 sites live, 50+ on 1st page of all engines, and have 22 live clients at $197-397 a month (I have been creeping up the price, depending on call count). I sign up on average 1-2 new clients a week and here is the key... I Wait until I have a Minimum 12 calls in one month for (service)(city).com BEFORE I try and sell it.
So if you care to hear, my main advice is this ( I'm no expert btw)...
1- If you are lazy, or not willing to put in a lot of work both in site development, and ongoing in client acquisition (telemarketing whatever)... Just friggin stop RIGHT now and go find something else to do, this business does not run itself. You get what you put into it!
2- OWN the phone number. Set up a phone dot com, ring central, something. Use a local instead of a toll free for the area you are targeting. This way you can generate calls before you sell it and if the client leaves you, just re-rent it.
3- Do not try to target just one keyword and get #1, #1 is nice for a rarely searched term, but trust me #1-7 for 20 WELL searched harder keywords will bring more organic traffic and that's what you need after all, Rank does NOT matter, CALLS do.
4- Do not focus so much on the website with the client, focus on the calls. Let them hear some voice mails of the calls, even give them a lead or two for free. Proof is in the pudding, this simply closes deals for me, end of story. DO NOT LIE, if you are not getting calls yet PLEASE do everyone a favor and do not try to sell it yet.
5- Deliver some value here, do not put up total crap websites, but they do not need to be 2000 page authority 'gems' either. Just put up ORIGINAL CONTENT on each one, and do not be stupid in the way you backlink it, balance things out, have good structure.
6- Advertise the Service (not so much the website) along with your owned virtual telephone number (I like Phone dot com). This helps generate CALLS directly and takes away some of the reliance on Google, which lets face it, could change the entire game in one day if they wanted to, and have proven they love to change algorithms.
Also after the site is rented, Continue to advertise every month, spend 10-15% of the money you are getting from the client to increase the service/number expose via ad's everywhere. It's worth the effort, you will retain clients.
7- Build Relationships. Do not just treat your customers as a number, or a site. Build a long term lasting relationship with them, you will maintain very long term clients this way. Every one of my clients has my cell, and I would be happy to answer it. If something goes wrong with a site, tell them about it do not wait for them to tell you. Explain in English what you plan to do to fix it, don't panic. People buy YOU not a website, trust me on that.
8- Diversify. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket, especially when a large part of why this business works is the organic search engine traffic. Do not dabble in 14 other things when you are starting this, but once you have it rolling, use your head man. Get into something new, one at a time until you have it down, that is different not dependent on Google so heavily. That way if one ay everything changes you still have a paycheck.
9- Slow the F**K down... Rome was not built in a day. I had to tell myself this and am glad I did, take it easy and do it Right the first time. The site rental/lead gen business is not some get rich quick scheme, it is a genuine business. Funny thing is, if you do it slow and proper, within a year the you will be seeing very good money *Recurring*.
There is likely more but this is what came off the top of my head, and the post is already too long *Sorry* lol. I hope this helps some of you that either may have doubted the model, or perhaps you are trying it without success. Treat this like a get rich quick tactic, and you will fail miserably, then come here to complain on warrior forum that it does not work Treat this like a real business, and you very likely will be rewarded with great success.
Do not take any shortcuts!
*** update 5-16-12, Had a nice run since posting this forum and leased some of my newest niche sites to several people at the 497/mo. and one at 697/mo as a try at a higher mark. Over 8k a month recurring now, shooting for my first goal. I hope you all are doing well also.