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Yes, cash flow can still feel like a big dilemma in a service based business. You have good months and you have… well, bad months.
Budgeting and predicting your income is extremely challenging. So how do you get from recurring expenses each month to recurring revenue? How do you generate recurring revenue for your online business?

In this article, I’ll talk about some business ideas – great projects that we’ve taken on ourselves at WPRiders. I’ll show you some practical, inspiring models that will help you understand how you can actually take your idea from paper to reality and build a recurring revenue business online.
Let’s start off with some case studies of clones of famous businesses, like Airbnb, Uber, Udemy, Upwork, etc, to get you inspired. These clones are for specific markets and have been built using WordPress.
9 Inspiring Recurring Revenue Business Ideas (Business Models)
As you may know, recurring revenue is a stable, regular income generated in a business (with a high degree of certainty) – generally monthly or yearly. So, when you manage to create a predictable and reliable income month-over-month, it is called recurring revenue.
If you are already running a business or you are considering starting a new business you may be familiar with the term ‘business models’.
Business ideas require hard work and persistence in order to succeed, but it’s worth it in the long-run if you manage to maintain a consistent revenue stream. Why? Because that’s what brings your business the necessary cash flow to grow.
Now let’s get to the great recurring revenue business ideas to inspire you and help you get started.
1. Industry: Online Music Lessons

This one is a great clone of Udemy.
Pianopp.com is an online platform destined for beginners who are passionate about learning how to play the piano. It presents video lessons on how to play different songs and is intended for French-speaking countries.
Client Request
Build a new platform for piano lessons for French-speaking countries.
Goal
Launch a website where students could browse through free or subscription-based piano lessons existing songs, can see free lessons, can buy subscriptions to access all lessons, can buy the lessons for one song only (for lifetime access).
Our Process & Implementation
Our work began with an analysis of the niche that helped us create a list of the requirements for the new platform. After this, we have decided to integrate the payments by using WooCommerce. This allowed us to customize the subscriptions as monthly and yearly, as well as to integrate the one-time payments for all the lessons for one song. At the same time, we have added support for listing free lessons.
For marketing and sales purposes, we have integrated MailChimp for newsletter subscriptions on the website. Since the website is intended to French-speaking customers, we have translated it to French. The platform started having sales 3 months after launching it and now they have numerous active subscriptions, as well as one song lifetime purchases.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
Recurring revenue is generated from monthly and yearly subscriptions to access the piano songs.

2. Industry: E-learning

This one is like an Uber but for teachers and students.
Askademic.com is an online platform that connects teachers to students. It is an educational website that provides several services like homework help and online video courses for different disciplines. The teachers can easily register on the website and post their classes, while students can search through them and book the ones they need.
Client Request
Create an online Learning Management System.
Goal
Deliver a competitive Learning Management System platform integrated with online payments.
Our Process & Implementation
Askademic started as a simple platform intended to help students with their homework, but it has evolved into a very complex online learning platform. This is why it required a corresponding approach throughout its development. That is, a lot of technologies were used in order to handle user registration, homework submission, online payments and bookings, adding lessons that support different types of content, as well as other custom features.
For the homework request form, we have customized the Gravity Forms plugin. The same tool was also used for online payments integration along with WooCommerce add-ons for Stripe and Paypal payment systems.
We have also integrated and customized the WooCommerce Bookings extension for allowing teachers to manage their availability for the online courses.
One other important aspect was to ensure the high quality of the courses. By integrating the MasterStudy LMS Learning Management System, the platform allows creating lessons that include videos, graphs, images, slides and any other attachments.
The learning platform also supports the virtual classroom system, integrated through the LearnCube API. This allows teachers to interact with the enrolled students in real time.
We have developed custom dashboards for teachers and students, as well as created a complex commissions system. The latter provides options to set commission values (fixed or percentage) for homework requests and virtual classes. Commissions can be applied to both teachers and students. They are automatically calculated and displayed in the dashboard of each user.
This project is a great example of how a valuable idea can be transformed into a business. We’re glad to have proven once again that WordPress is a right fit for such complex online platforms like Askademic.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform will charge a fee for every transaction from both the student and the teacher. This will work for both the virtual classes as well as for homework help.

3. Industry: E-commerce digital products

This one is a clone of Udemy but with a twist – it sells educational PDFs instead of videos and you can buy them a piece as a subscription.
Resourcefulmanager.com is an online platform that aims to educate and train managers or supervisors by giving access to various subscription-based informational resources. Mainly, the project involved creating an exhaustive system of workflows that will stimulate the existing customers to make other purchases or that will convert website visitors into new customers.
Client Request
Ongoing development and consultancy for shaping the sales automation platform using Drip ECRM.
Defined Business Goal
Increase sales by automating the business processes.
Our Process & Implementation
We have worked on this project for several months, based on an ongoing retainer plan. The primary request of the client was to receive consultancy on what are the best solutions for shaping the sales automation platform using Drip ECRM.
Our work was based on very broad research and planning because it was important to take into account all the technical details and make them compatible with the business goal of the client.
Also, it was a priority to consider the different types of customers and their behavior on the website. Once the solutions were clear, we have proceeded with developing and testing the website. For the most part of the project, we have made improvements in the following directions:

  • Setting up cross-selling Drip workflows in order to reclaim existing customers
  • Adding upselling Drip workflows for existing customers
  • Monitoring the visitors’ various events on the website and automating their conversion into customers
  • Providing support for passive customers that have bought products, but didn’t download them

The project development included customizations for the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin and very detailed automation workflows for Drip campaigns.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
From recurring subscriptions paid by customers who want to access PDF resources.

4. Industry: Real Estate

This one is another clone of Udemy.
Ready to rent is an online platform meant to deliver housing education for those who want to get involved in the real estate field. Their website is used for providing all the necessary information about the available courses. Also, it provides options to register people for the courses.
Client Request
Improve the existing registration system on the website.
Goal
Enhance the workflow for educators registering new people for certification courses.
Our Process & Implementation
After working for more than a year on a system based on Event Espresso and Formidable Forms plugins, the team has found the registration process to be too complex and inefficient. They needed improvements and this is when they have addressed to us for help.
Our goal was to facilitate the workflow of educators registering new people for certification courses. After some analysis, we have decided that it will be better to give up on the Event Espresso plugin and use WooCommerce instead. Event Espresso is not intended for courses, while WooCommerce includes more relevant features for this scope.
As a result, we have simplified the process and automated it significantly. A major improvement is that a course is now automatically set up when the organization fills in the corresponding form. At the same time, the tickets for the course are automatic.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform charges for the tickets to attend the courses.

5. Industry: Membership-based Beauty Video Tutorials

This one is another cool clone of TeamTreeHouse.
Beautycoach.com is an online platform intended to educate make-up artists & stylists and answer beauty-related questions. It mainly consists of video content available via paid memberships but is also joined with an online magazine section that contains written content.
Client Request
Restrict access to video tutorials based on the membership permissions.
Defined Business Goal
Build custom billing cycles for memberships
Our Process & Implementation
Initially, the links to videos were embedded with Vimeo PRO and were available for view only on the website itself. However, the new members could watch the entire content that was released before they purchased a subscription. So, in this case, our purpose was to rethink the membership system and come with a workaround.
We have managed to customize the WooCommerce Memberships plugin by implementing two types of subscriptions:

  • A subscription that hides the videos released before the membership was purchased
  • A subscription that allows access to past and future videos

For the second type of subscription, we have set up a custom pricing: first payment includes a fixed price ($350) and after 180 days a recurring monthly payment is triggered ($55 per month).
Also, as per our client’s request, we have customized the Episode listing page. This implied that the episode listing should have a short description of each episode. Also, each episode has a link that redirects to an episode description & preview page with the option to purchase a membership.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform charges recurring subscriptions for accessing the video lessons.

6. Industry: Online Marketplaces
Here are two clones of Fiver.
6.1 Jobaltor

Jobaltor.com is an online marketplace meant to reunite specialists from the most sought after professional areas and industries who are able to help you get one step closer to finding your dream job.
The Jobaltor Specialists can help you create your resume both in Romanian and English, show you how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and also advise you regarding the details you need to pay attention to when applying for a job.
Jobaltor is the place you turn to when you are looking for a better job and want the opportunity to develop both professionally as well as personally.
Our Process & Implementation
When we created Jobaltor.com, we used the Listify theme.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform acts like an escrow service and charges a percentage out of all the money that is being paid.
6.2 Famize

Famize.com is an online marketplace meant to help businesses get more quality traffic and get ranked with the offers they provide.
The benefits Famize.com provides are:

  • Real Results – Results are noticeable even after first couple of weeks
  • Great Rewards – You get rewarded for your actions with funds, to even $5
  • Big Bonuses -You’ll get a related course (video/ebook) after every successful purchase.

The website also provides the possibility to explore the marketplace.

Our Process & Implementation
When we created famize.com, we used the Freelance Engine theme.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform charges a commission for every transaction.

7. Industry: Job Websites
Here are two examples of clones of monster.com.
7.1 CaregiverCareers

Caregivercareers.com is a geolocation powered caregiver jobs website. Employers can buy packages of several jobs for specific zip codes. Whereas the employees, can search and apply for jobs within their area.
Defined Business Goal
To automate the selling of job packages limited to specific zip codes.
Our Process & Implementation
The technologies we’ve used include the GeoMyWP, WooCommerce and WP Job Manager plugins.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform charges the employers a monthly recurring fee and in exchange access to the resumes of caregivers that are located in 2 zip codes that the employer needs.
7.2 AgrarJobs

Agrarjobs.ch required website customizations for a job board portal for Swiss companies from the agricultural sector.
Defined Business Goal
To adapt the website to our client’s business processes.
Our Process & Implementation
The technologies we’ve used include the WooCommerce and WP Job Manager plugins.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The platform charges the employers a fee for every listing that is being posted.

8. Industry: Physical Product Delivery as a Subscription

This website is a great clone of dollarshaveclub.com.
Farrer’s Coffee is an English online shop that sells several varieties of coffees and teas. Their main intention is to provide a next-level experience to their customers by offering subscriptions for coffee delivery to match the tastes of all the coffee enthusiasts.
Client Request
To create a step-by-step coffee subscription configurator.
Defined Business Goal
Allow customers to easily choose a coffee subscription plan, including options for the coffee range and type, client-configured bundles, and gifting the subscription.
Our Process & Implementation
In order to match the client’s initial request and design, our main goal was to create a dynamic and user-friendly subscription flow. With the user’s experience in mind, we’ve broken the entire process into detailed steps. This helped with creating a page where customers are asked to choose their subscription options one at a time.
With each selected option, the user is presented with other relevant options. This process helps the user to focus and choose the most suitable subscription to fit their needs and taste. The entire flow is built based on WooCommerce product information such as ranges, attributes, and prices.
We’ve also integrated an interactive calculator that lets the user choose the number of coffee packs and what delivery periodicity is best suitable, based on the number of consumed coffees in a week. At the end of the selection flow, the user is presented with the summary of the order and the option to continue with the checkout.

Another great feature of the coffee subscriptions is Gift Subscriptions. They are meant for providing the customers with the option to send coffee subscriptions as a gift. This option implies that the recipient’s email address is provided at checkout. We have integrated it with the help of the Gifting for WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
The backend of the website is provided with the option to create pre-configured bundled products. This implies selecting options like the amount of bags the bundle contains, brew and grind types, subscription length, and the delivery interval. All of this is processed via a custom WooCommerce product options tab. These bundles are then available to choose from in the subscription flow, letting customers purchase subscription quickly, by clicking on only 3 buttons.
The client needed a complex pricing scheme for the subscriptions, with prices depending on the amount of coffee bags or pods being purchased, whether the subscription is for a bundled product or a gift. We implemented this using custom coding and the WooCommerce variable products and variable subscription product types.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The website turns one-time coffee shoppers into regular subscribers. Coffee is being delivered to their door and their credit card is automatically charged. This is very convenient for the clients because they don’t have to worry about buying their favorite coffee anymore. Meanwhile, for Farrer’s Coffee, the subscription model creates predictable revenue streams.

9. Industry: WordPress Plugin Development

This example isn’t exactly a clone since it’s a model used by many businesses around the world, big and small.
WP RSS Aggregator is brought to you by a remote company called RebelCode. It provides a suite of WordPress plugins (a free core plugin and premium add-ons) for importing and displaying RSS feeds on any WordPress site using some very clever automation. They already had the design of a new website and we helped develop it based on the Genesis framework and the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.
Client Request
A fast and effective website based on the Genesis framework and Easy Digital Downloads.
Defined Business Goal
Increase sales with the new website.
Our Process & Implementation
The team approached us having the website design done and requiring an effective team to perform the coding and speed optimization. For these purposes, we have developed the website based on the Genesis framework as it is acclaimed for its wide possibilities and top SEO performance.
During the process of development, we have used the Susy toolkit – a low footprint responsive library that plays a big role in the loading speed of the website.
How the Business Generates Recurring Revenue
The website is selling WordPress plugins with a yearly subscription option. At the end of each year, the subscriptions are set to automatically renew unless cancelled, guaranteeing that existing customers do not forget to renew their license keys manually every year.

To check out more of our case studies and get inspired, visit the WPRiders website.
What’s our mission? To empower your online success. And with that in mind, let’s have a look at some key elements that can help you build a recurring revenue business.
Important Elements to Focus on when Building a Recurring Revenue Business

These key elements have helped us, and they might just help you, too:

  • Always hire and work with dedicated, lifelong learners
  • Start with an MVP
  • Partner with the right people/companies
  • Have realistic financial expectations
  • Be well rooted in reality while making plans
  • Know your competitors
  • Know your USP
  • Smoothly integrating marketing and sales
  • Work hard
  • Enjoy your journey
  • Learning from other people’s mistakes and be better
  • Value integrity and accountability
  • Focus on personal growth
  • Share your know-how and inspire others

FREE Guide – 5-steps to Validate Your Business Idea
Do you want to learn Download our 72-page long guide with the 5-step framework to validate your business idea.

Conclusion: The Benefits of Recurring Revenue
Buyers are simply more attracted by small businesses that have recurring revenue. There’s just more interest shown in businesses that can prove reliable revenue streams.
Recurring revenue models provide businesses with:

  • the flexibility to quickly deliver new offerings that satisfy customers
  • an easier way to retain customers since they’re constantly in contact with your business
  • increased brand loyalty
  • provide lifetime value
  • predictability and stability
  • reduced risk
  • easier scale
  • growth potential
  • automatic renewal – which is a great way of generating timely revenue without late payment issues

So, regardless of the type of subscription, these are some great benefits you can get from recurring revenue as opposed to one-time payments.
The bottom line? If you’re not already running a recurring revenue model, now is probably the time to start.


About Marius Vetrici
Our daily mission at WPRiders is to make your online business more successful. We’ve helped over 500 entrepreneurs launch and expand their online marketplaces, subscription and membership websites. So, we know what works and what doesn’t.

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