How To Make Money Generating Leads For Small Business Owners (Plus Why It’s The Best Way of Earning Online)

March 23, 2024

To make money generating leads for small business owners, you should be a lead generation expert. Today, most people rely on Google when they need to look for products or services in their area. In lead generation, you help boost small businesses’ online presence so they can benefit from free organic traffic. This could mean a consistent cash flow for them - your clients - and you - the lead generator.

Qualified leads are important for businesses and you can earn from lead generation by selling leads on a monthly or pay-per-lead basis. If you master the craft, you can accommodate more clients and increase your earnings.

To help you achieve that, we have a coaching program that teaches you the most effective lead generation methods. Our effective yet easy to learn 3-step process can help you take your game to the next level.

If you’re wondering how to make money generating leads for small business owners, we have the answers for you.

Can you make money selling leads?

You can make money selling leads because small businesses will always need leads to survive. Therefore, leads are in high-demand because it solves a big problem small businesses often face - a lack of customers. In the United States alone, experts say that digital lead generation spending is expected to reach about $3.2 billion in 2023. Most businesses rely on a constant flow of leads for their revenue - and they’re willing to pay top cash for it. If you’re great at generating leads, you can offer your services to them. You can earn from monthly fees or on a pay-per-lead arrangement by selling directing leads or creating lead gen sites for your clients.

With the right skill, knowledge, and lead generation strategy, you can earn from generating leads for different businesses. The start-up cost is low and you can work from anywhere. You can also choose to do lead generation on a full-time scale or do it as a side hustle to earn extra income.

Speaking from personal experience, I’d definitely recommend lead generation as a business model. It has helped me quit my job, start my own company, and earn long-term passive income. Currently, I have over 50 lead generation websites and each of my clients pays me anywhere from $500 to $2,500 on a monthly basis.

The good news? Anyone - including you - can do it, too. As long as you can deliver quality lead results for your clients, the lead generation business can be profitable for you.

Why is lead generation important for small businesses?

Lead generation is important for small businesses because it allows them to reach more of their potential buyers. Through this process, they can attract interest for their products or services. It also involves nurturing and doing follow-ups with prospects to drive them towards becoming an actual customer.

Most small businesses, such as a roofer, provide long-term services like roof repair. A homeowner will only need this service once every 15 years or so. Also, the customer doesn't have that much brand loyalty like you would if you were buying clothes and always purchase Nike, for example. For local services, it’s all about convenience and affordable price which means it can be difficult to get repeat business.

This is why lead generation is important. You can’t expect more business from a customer just because you provided good service. You need a constant flow of new customers to pitch your services to, even just to pay the bills such as equipment leases, insurance, staff, office lease, etc.

Without a proper lead generation strategy, a business is practically leaving money on the table. They are losing opportunities to increase their revenue and grow their company.

As best-selling author and salesman Zig Ziglar once put it:

“You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect.”

3 advantages of lead generation

Some benefits of lead generation done right include:

  • Spreading greater brand awareness

  • Increasing a company’s credibility

  • Providing consistent cash flow and steady ROI (return of investment)

The local lead generation advantage

While there are many different ways to do lead generation, ranking a website organically is plainly the best. Through implementing local lead generation strategies, a business can enjoy top rankings on Google and gain free organic traffic.

Google is still king and so a good search engine ranking can lead to greater opportunities for small businesses. Besides, organic ranking allows a brand to gain more exposure to their potential leads and customers. Moreover, free traffic also means saving on expenses. Businesses will no longer rely on costly lead gen methods (paid ads, business marketplace membership, etc.) that charge users monthly or on a per-lead basis.

If you know how to drive a business website to top search engine results (hint: it’s achieved by implementing proven SEO practices), you can make big bucks. Numerous business owners will take an interest in your lead generation company because they know you can help expand their qualified lead base.

So if you’re working with, say, a plumbing business based in Manhattan, New York, your goal is to get a prominent spot for their website and Google Map listing. When search engine users find their links on top results, they’ll likely click and use the service. Your client will benefit from the organic traffic.

What are the three types of leads?

The three types of leads are cold leads, warm leads, and hot leads.

Cold leads

Cold leads are individuals that match a business’ customer profile but are not aware about and have never interacted with the brand. Companies contact these people through cold calling and cold email marketing. Another example for this would be Facebook Ad leads - which start off as cold leads. This ad type targets people on social media that weren't even thinking about the business or service. You then interrupt them with a catchy ad and try to convert them to a warm lead through clever marketing & funnels.

Warm leads

Warm leads, on other hand, know about the business and their products or services but have expressed no interest yet. These could be email newsletter subscribers, social media followers, or casual website visitors.

Organic leads fall under this category because these are leads you generate by ranking a website in Google for a specific buyer intent keyword like "Plumbers in Dayton, Oh". This is a much higher quality warm lead because this person is already looking for the service.

Hot leads

Finally, hot leads are prospects who have shown interest in the brand but have made no purchases yet. Compared with the other types, hot leads are the easiest to convert into customers since they’ve already been contacted by the business or may have signed up for free trials.

How to find clients for your lead generation business?

Finding clients for your lead generation business will be easy once you’ve established your system. You’ll need to pick your niche, determine your lead generation methods, set your commissions and fees, create your own lead generation website, and then reach out to business owners.

  • Pick a niche - When picking a niche, you want to be very specific in what industry you want to focus on. Look for a category that’s in high demand but isn’t too saturated. That way, you can avoid competing with bigger players, target more businesses, and have higher earnings.

  • Determine your lead generation methods - Next, you’ll need to be clear about what lead generation strategies you’ll implement for your clients. Will you be sending cold emails? Will you guide them in their Google Ad or Facebook ad placements? Also, will you incorporate content marketing services in their campaign?

    That said, SEO is the superior strategy when it comes to lead generation. Instead of actively hunting leads, a good search engine ranking leads to continuous free traffic from local prospects typing specific keywords. Compared with paid ads and other methods, organic ranking can drive more customers to small business websites.

    What we teach in our local lead generation program is to first build and rank our lead gen web properties first and start generating free traffic. Now we're able to send free leads to small businesses in the area to provide results in advance so that we can earn their trust before we even try to sell them anything. This is the best way to earn their business because otherwise you're a complete stranger to the business owner. By giving leads first without asking for anything in return, you're proving to the business owner you know what you're doing. Also, you won't have to waste your time calling countless business owners trying to convince them you're legit and getting rejected over and over because to them, you're just another random tele-marketer.

  • Finalize commissions and fee structure - After determining your methods, you’ll have to finalize your commission and fee structure. Decide on how much you’ll charge and whether you’ll charge per lead or on a standard monthly rate. This is mostly determined depending on the industry and the specific businesses you’re working with.

    To give you an idea, here’s HubSpot’s cost per lead benchmarks by industry: 

  • Have your own website - Building a business website is also recommended. Aside from showcasing your offerings and client testimonials, a website adds legitimacy and professionalism for your operations. Plus you get to set yourself apart from other lead generation companies.

  • Reach out to your target market - With your system in place, you can then start reaching out to small business owners who may need your services. Learn about their existing lead generation tactics, if any, and show them what you can offer to help them improve their campaign.

Is it hard to generate leads?

Yes, it is challenging to generate leads without high-level skill in SEO, paid advertising or content marketing. You have to master the skill of getting attention on the internet and placing your client's business in front of the right people.

Out of these 3 skills, SEO is the most difficult skill to master but this is also why you get paid the most. SEO is ranking websites organically in Google search so that you get free traffic from people that are already seeking out a service so you get in front of buyers. This is what we teach in our local lead generation coaching program.

Generating leads requires time, effort, and technical know-how. No wonder, 61% of marketers consider lead generation as their most challenging task. From the looks of it, that trend will continue in the years ahead.

As a lead generation business owner, it will be up to you to help businesses overcome such difficulties.

Common lead generation challenges for small business owners - and what you can do about them:

  • Creating engaging content. Content creation is a big part of effective lead generation. Some entrepreneurs struggle to come up with content that truly connects with their target audience. This can be a drawback in attracting attention from potential leads.

    Solution: To create engaging content, business owners must first know the needs and interests of their target customers. Gathering relevant customer details (such as age, profession, location, purchasing habits, goals, and pain points) can be useful for businesses - and then they can proceed with content creation.
  • Managing and tracking leads. Monitoring all leads can be overwhelming for busy startup owners. However, not having an efficient tracking system means businesses will lose opportunities to convert more leads into sales. Moreover, they fail to provide contacts with satisfying customer experience - which can result in negative reviews.

    Solution: You can use spreadsheets for lead tracking. Alternatively, you can check out CRM software (customer relationship management) like GoHighLevel to organize data and improve productivity.
  • It can be time-consuming. Lead generation takes time and so it can be hard for entrepreneurs to give it their full focus. Doing outbound calls, for example, can mean contacting at least 10 people before getting a single prospect. They’ll have to endure a lot of rejections along the way.

    Solution: As a lead generation expert, you help businesses save time by providing them with quality leads. That way, they can devote their energy to what matters most - running their startup and dealing with their customers.

Does cold calling generate leads?

Cold calling can generate leads when done the right way. Although marketers have mixed feelings about this traditional approach, cold calling still has its place in today’s modern world. In fact, statistics reveal that 82% of buyers “accept meetings with sellers who proactively reach out.” Additionally, making several call attempts helps sales representatives “increase the conversion rate by 70%.”

With cold calling, businesses get to present their message directly to their target prospects. In addition, cold calling allows customers to “feel heard, as they're speaking directly with a representative who wants to understand their attitudes toward the product,” according to Indeed.

Pro tip: When doing cold calls, it’s important to use a script. Always start the conversation with “How have you been?”. It can increase your chances of booking a meeting, according to Also, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for calling prospects.

Downsides of cold calling

Of course, cold calling has its disadvantages. For example, not all people enjoy receiving unscheduled calls. “You might catch the person at a bad time or get sent to their voicemail,” pointed out Forbes. The process definitely requires patience because it can be somewhat discouraging.

How much does it cost to start a lead generation business?

The cost of starting a lead generation business depends on the equipment you have and need, along with the scale of your operations. According to Starter Story, minimum startup cost can be $62 while the maximum could go up as much as over $25,000. You’ll need the money for purchasing equipment and software, plus paying for business formation fees and website costs.

Personally, I’d recommend investing in a lead generation coaching program. This will increase your knowledge, skill, and competence as you enter the industry. You will learn about what lead generation tools and approaches to use.

2 main forms of lead generation businesses that people start online

The two main forms of lead generation businesses that people start online are 1) using PPC and 2) providing free traffic by organically ranking web properties on Google. With these models, you will be able to generate leads for your clients.

Here are some of the pros and cons that come with each option:

Using PPC


Instant results

Campaign is focused on target audience

Brand visibility is protected from algorithm updates


Some people distrust ads

Traffic stops when you stop paying

Can be more expensive in the long run

Providing free traffic by organically ranking web properties on Google


Unlimited traffic potential

High quality leads

Good ranking can last for years

Builds brand authority and credibility

Cheaper in the long run with greater ROI


Slow initial results

Takes greater time investment

Ranking can be affected by algorithm

Final thoughts: Local lead generation is the best way to make money online

While there are many ways to earn online, we’re firm about this: local lead generation is the best option out there.

With this business model, you get to work with local businesses into converting potential customer base into actual sales leads. As you rank business websites organically, small business owners will be able to gain free traffic directly from Google and earn from it. In return, you will also make a steady stream of income as you continue to deliver valuable results for your clients. 


Take it from me. I used to be a 9-to-5 employee before I finally made the jump to becoming an online entrepreneur. I’ve since explored various money-making strategies online (such as affiliate marketing and the other methods mentioned above). After several years, I’ve since discovered that it’s local lead generation that can make me the most earnings. I currently own multiple local lead gen sites and earn as much as $52,000 per month. The secret is to know SEO inside and out - and then to create digital assets that attract free search engine traffic.

If you’ve been hoping to start your own lead generation business, join our coaching program now. We’ve had over 7,000 students - and counting. We’ll teach you how you, too, can be a high level lead generation expert in no time.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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