It makes me sad to see people working in a job they hate simply because they need the money.
There is no reason for it. In today’s world, there are so many opportunities available for you. If you want to succeed bad enough, you can always find a way.
The first step in solving any problem is admitting that there is a problem. Denial is a killer. If you are waking up every day dreading the work you are doing, something needs to change.
Anyone can start a business. YOU CAN START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Anyone can turn their own ideas into a profit.
There are many reasons why someone may want to start their own online business, so first take a look at some of those:
- They absolutely hate working for someone else and simply can not be happy unless they are their own boss
- They have a calling to change the world or make some kind of impact
- They like their job, but feel “unfulfilled” and wish to start something extra on the side
- They have a deep passion for a certain subject matter and they would like to pursue their dreams
- They want to be rich
Which category do you fall under?
What to Expect From the 5 Day Business Boot Camp
This guide contains five chapters. Each chapter should be completed before moving on to the next chapter. These five chapters or steps are created in a specific order, so please follow these steps in the right order if you want the best chance for success.
Step 1 – Finding Your Passion – This is the most important step. Remember, the goal of building your own online business is to find a way to “Do What You Love and Get Paid Doing It.” There is no reason to quit a job that you hate so you can run a business that you hate. Besides, if you are passionate about what you are doing it won’t even feel like work. You will love what you do and you will enjoy every second of it.
Running and building your own business is no cake walk. Lots of hard work and dedication is involved. Sometimes you may find yourself wondering “why am I doing this again?”
If you are not passionate about what you are building your business around, chances are you will quit. But if you are doing something that you love doing, then getting through the challenges will be half of the fun.
Step 2 – Build a Website – This is the step that most people get stuck on.
How many of you reading this are intimidated by the technical aspects of building a website? In order to operate an online business, you need to be somewhat familiar with the following:
- web design
- social media
- search engine optimization
- the list goes on
Take a deep breath. This guide will provide you with the resources and the knowledge base to get your own website up and running without having to be a master at those skills. We will give you a crash course on the skills you need to be most familiar with.
Don’t forget, as a paying customer you always have me available to you to ask questions or help you get through any technical problems you get stuck on. You got this!
I have broken this down very simply for you. I believe in you.
Step 3 – Build an Audience – For anyone who has tried to build a business in the past without success, chances are this is the step you failed on. Here is what usually happens…
John wakes up with a great idea to sell a new kitchen appliance. He calls it “The Breakfast Pal.” John spends thousands of dollars designing and developing The Breakfast Pal. He took out a loan and acquired some debt. After months of hard work, John has 10,000 units of The Breakfast Pal ready for sale. But John has trouble selling The Breakfast Pal, so inevitably John goes broke.
We are not going to make the same mistake John made. Before you even bother with creating a product or a service, the first step is to build an audience.
It is much easier to sell a product to an engaged audience who trusts you than it is to sell a product to someone who has never heard of you.
Building an audience creates value. It shows that you are an “authority” in whatever industry or passion you are pursuing. In this guide, I will show you exactly how you can create an audience. After you build an audience, making money will be a breeze!
Step 4 – Monetize Your Audience – Most people gasp when they discover that making money doesn’t start until step 4. I understand that the process is counter-intuitive to some but I assure you, if you do steps 1 – 3 properly, the money making aspect of the business is the easy part.
If you have first built an audience that trusts you and values your expertise on a certain subject matter, converting on sales is a no brainer.
Now you can really dig into your passion.
Imagine this… You love yoga. You have built a website about yoga. You built an audience through providing value and earning trust. Now you are selling a yoga based product line. T-shirts, yoga mats, yoga pants, healthy snacks, etc. Every morning you wake up and you check your inbox and discover that you made money while you were sleeping. The best part is that you made money while pursuing your passion. After all… YOU LOVE YOGA!!! What could be better?
This is what the smart marketing method will do for you.
Step 5 – Work on The Business – Most small businesses fail or get stagnant because the business owner gets too buried in the daily “technical” work.
For example, a business owner often gets hung up on things like the packaging, the shipping, the accounting, etc, when s/he should be spending his or her time growing the business.
Once the business hits a certain critical mass, the most important step for the business owner is to designate these tasks to an expert so that they can continue growing the business itself.
This is the difference between having a steady business that pays the bills and a growing business that makes you money while you sleep!
I will show you how to do this, and together we will grow your online business.
Are You Ready To Begin??
I sure hope so. I get excited writing this. I can only image you how feel.
I know you’re anxious to get started… BUT FIRST!!! I insist that you complete a small exercise.
Before we go any further, we have to make some decisions. These decisions will be the backbone of everything we do from this point forward. It’s time to set some goals. On a sheet of paper, I need you to answer the following questions and write down your answers. I need you to put this piece of paper someplace where you will see it often. I need you to read it daily and confirm the agreement that you made with yourself.
- How many hours will you dedicate every day to pursue your passion?
- When will you have your website live on the internet?
- How much revenue do you want your business to bring in annually?
- Do you want this to be a full-time job? Or a side business?
- What are you willing to do in order to succeed?
Knowing what you want is just as important as working to get it. No more wishing, no more excuses, your future is entirely in your hands.
As always, I am willing and able to assist you on your quest. If you need consulting or still don’t feel comfortable with websites, I will help you in any way I can.
Let’s get started!
P.S. – Don’t forget to take a minute and complete your assignment. You will need it to keep you focused and motivated on your quest.
Tomorrow, your next lesson comes, so be ready!
Chapter 1 – Why Is Your Passion So Important For Success?
“People with passion can change the world.” – Steve Jobs
I know what you’re thinking. What does passion have anything to do with building my own business?
Living on your own terms certainly has its perks, but it requires a lot of hard work. If you are passionate about what you are doing, the work will be better and so will the results. If you are not passionate about your work, then you won’t be able to push through the hard times because there is nothing intrinsically motivating you to keep going.
Now is the time to cash in on your passion.
This chapter includes:
- Why your passion and dedication levels are so important.
- Can pursuing your passion and starting your own business get you rich?
- Can you turn your passion into a full-time job or career?
- Different ways to turn your passion into an online business.
Why Is Your Passion and Dedication So Important In Your Business?
There are lots of different ways to spend your time. Most people live their lives repeating the same routine and unenthusiastically performing daily tasks in order to make their living.
There are positive and negative aspects to having a full-time job. I’m not here to tell people to quit their jobs, I’m simply pointing out that if you wish, there is another way.
Ask yourself, what is the one thing I could do every day and not get sick of? That’s your passion. That’s what you should do to earn your living.
But it can’t be that simple right?
Well actually, you are right. It is not always that simple. Running your own business is hard work. It requires time, effort and dedication.
If you try to start and run your own business on a subject that you are not passionate about, you will most likely quit. On the other hand, if you love what you do then you may already be pursuing your passion without any income. Some people love to run or draw or fish, do most runners get paid to run? No, but they could.
The reason why you need to be passionate about your business is because without passion you will not be motivated to work when no one is looking. There is no boss to breathe down your neck and you need to be completely self-motivated. Without passion, you will quit.
That is almost a guarantee.
Can Pursuing My Passion and Starting My Own Business Get Me Rich?
It absolutely can. Most self-made millionaires will attest first hand that their passion and their enthusiasm is one of the main reasons why they were so successful in the first place.
If getting rich is your goal, there are many different business opportunities out there waiting for you.
Let’s be clear about one thing. Getting rich doesn’t have to be your motivation. Many people enjoy their job but feel unfulfilled and are looking for a challenge. Maybe you are one of those people and are simply looking for a way to make some extra cash. EVEN BETTER!!!
Pursuing your passion gives you the best chance to make money on the side.
Just imagine spending your free time pursuing something you love and all the while, making money from doing it. Whether your goal is to get rich or simply to earn some extra money, your passion will be as important as ever.
Can You Turn Your Passion Into a Full Time Job or Career?
Absolutely yes. This guide will give you a few different routes and options.
Everyone’s experience is different. For some people, quitting their job completely and taking the plunge is the best option. For other people, keeping the 9-5 and working on your business in your off hours may be the best approach. Regardless of your plan of action or timeline, we will address the different options in later chapters.
For now, just remember that if your goal is to turn your passion into a lucrative full-time career you can absolutely find the means to do so.
On the flip side, if your goal is to turn your passion into a part-time money maker, that is an option as well. The choice is always yours.
What Are the Different Ways I Can Turn My Passion Into an Online Business?
It may not be as simple as “creating a website.” The online business world is complex and intricate. Your ability to make money from your website is only limited by your creativity.
Every day, smart people are devising new ways to create revenue through online businesses. With that being said, there are a few “traditional” business models that we will quickly visit.
Selling a Physical Product (e-commerce) – Many websites sell products. This is not a cutting edge idea but it is very effective. We see more and more people doing their shopping online every year. Online shopping continues to grow and believe me, there is always room for more products and businesses. The key is to sell great products and create great marketing. The cream always rises to the top.
Selling a Digital Product (d-commerce) – Just like e-commerce, d-commerce requires an actual transaction. At some point, someone will pay you for a product. However in the d- commerce market there is no physical product to package and ship. The product itself is and always will be digital and is usually fulfilled via email, download or online membership.
Some examples might be an e-book, an online course, a music download or a computer program. There are pros and cons to d-commerce and e-commerce. For instance, selling digital products does not require storing inventory, but it usually comes with more customer service. We will visit this again later on.
Selling a Service – Every service industry needs to make relationships. That is the manner of service. You could be a restaurant, a food truck, a cleaning company or even a dog walker. In this kind of online business, the product is the service itself.
Generally, in service based businesses the purpose of the website is to drive phone calls or lead forms. There is no actual exchange of goods. In this case, the website itself provides a sales platform for you to generate new leads and new clients.
Selling Advertisement – Selling ads is often the least profitable of the online business models. With that being said, many people are still stuck in the 90’s with online advertisement. In today’s market, selling banner ads has little success because people are savvy to how websites are pushing adds on them.
But there are many other creative options.
For instance, many websites make great money by creating paid directory listings. Other sites do great by selling affiliate products. Some even use the site to collect leads and sell the leads to a third party.
Traditional advertisement will not be everyone’s best option. But for some people, selling banner ads is the way to go and will bring in good money.
By now you should have a clear understanding as to the importance of passion. In case I haven’t already drilled the point in, I’ll say it one more time.
Running your own business can be hard work. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, there is a good chance you will fail or quit.
You are your own boss now. There is no one looking over your shoulder anymore. Your passion must be your motivation. I hope by now you are convinced.
The opportunities are there for anyone who is willing to put in the work.
Up next, let’s get into some of the real “how to” and get into the technical aspects of starting your own online business.
Chapter 2 – Building the Foundation for Your Sales Engine
Obviously, this chapter will be very important in your online business journey. Without a clean, well designed, and easy to use website, your online presence will not measure up. You need to spend the time to build a proper website, or you are at a much higher risk of failure than you would be otherwise.
Your website is your foundation. It is the equivalent of your storefront, except only in a digital landscape. It is your representation to the world. You want to put your best foot forward don’t you?
In this chapter, we will discuss;
- Understanding the purpose of your website
- Should you hire a designer?
- Different options to build your own site
- Understanding user experience
- Understanding call to action.
- Understanding the Purpose of your Website
Although it may seem obvious, the purpose of websites can be very complex. Every site is different and every business needs to complete certain tasks in order to be successful.
Understanding your website requires you to ask yourself a few questions. For instance, is your site going to be an e-commerce site? Is this a portfolio site for you to show your work? Are you trying to collect leads? Are you selling digital products?
We spoke about different monetization methods in a previous chapter. Let’s look at how some of these option play out when building your site.
E-Commerce Sites – E-Commerce sites are without a doubt the most complicated and intricate form of websites. There are a few reasons why.
You have to hook up merchant accounts, build many different templates for products, collections, blogs, etc.
There is also a lot to understand about human psychology and copy writing. However, at this point the only question you need to answer is “Am I selling things online?”
If you are, then an e-commerce website is the best option for you.
Business Websites – A business site usually is selling some kind of service.
For instance, my marketing agency sells internet marketing services to businesses. The goal of my company website is to bring in traffic and convince that traffic that we are the best option for their internet marketing needs. If I do my job correctly, people will come to the site and say “these guys look like they can help me. I will give them a call.”
Lead Generation – Some websites are built simply to collect data. You may not realize this, but many of the sites you go on every day are collecting data about you and selling that data to companies.
However, it doesn’t need to be this complex. Many websites are built simply to get phone calls or lead forms. Sometimes these leads are sold to a third party and sometimes they are kept by the business for sales.
Membership Sites – Many websites sell services or products yet combine it with a community aspect. This means that the site has its own special back end that requires a login.
These membership sites give special access to members, such as VIP credentials, special content, access to webinars or even forums to members.
My favorite membership site is and always will be CopyBlogger.
Magazine or Advertising Sites – Some websites monetize simply by selling advertising. This is a common way for websites to bring in revenue. Usually, this requires a lot of content and a large social media following.
The idea is that the more traffic a site gets, the more a company would feel compelled to purchase an ad on the website to get in front of all the users the site has. Advertising is always a great place for any new blog or business to start. Millions of people make side income or great wages through monetizing their blog through ad revenue. A good example of an ad supported website is The Huffington post.
Should You Hire a Designer?
Ultimately this is a decision you will need to make for yourself. Here are some things to think about before you make the decision.
Many factors will play a roll. Here is my advice…
If you can afford to hire a designer, make sure you pick one that you trust. You can choose from our list of certified web designers if you choose. If you need recommendations for a good designer and developer, reach out to me and I will point you in the right direction.
The Do It Yourself Guide to Building Your Own Business Website
Studiopress and Genesis Framework – StudioPress.com is the best place to find any pre built WordPress themes.
If you are going for a service site, magazine site or even a general business site, a StudioPress theme is your best option. It will require some back end knowledge, but StudioPress provides in depth guides to walk you through the process.
StudioPress runs on the Genesis framework which makes it very easy for Google to access your site and will help you with SEO.
Shopify and E-Commerce Liquid Coding – If you are building an e-commerce site, I always recommend using Shopify. My personal store, New Lyfe Clothing is built and hosted on Shopify.
Shopify makes it very easy and understandable to build a professional and user-friendly online shopping experience. The store has a built in merchant account so you can process sales, a built in inventory management system as well as marketing tools that help you sell your products online, on Facebook, person to person or even through email marketing.
Shopify is always my first and only choice for e-commerce.
Understanding User Experience – It is very easy for designers and marketers to lose sight of this, I have made this mistake myself. It is easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of online marketing.
Line graphs and keyword rankings and other metrics make it easy to forget that the internet is a form of human interaction. It is critical to always remember that you are building websites for people.
- How does this website make someone feel?
- How easily can a person navigate through the site without getting lost or confused?
- How quickly can someone find the information they are looking for?
- Does your site quickly explain what you offer?
- Could someone describe the purpose of your business in three words?
There are a few key indicators to a good user experience.
White Space – Design is a hugely important factor in user experience. Be sure to give your user room to breathe when he or she is navigating your website. Be sure to leave space in between images and text. Be sure that the text itself is easy to read. Keep and eye out for clutter and avoid it at all costs. Minimalist designs convert to the best user experience. However, there is a balance.
Through design, it is just as important to be able to catch the users attention. These “highlighted” areas are also critical.
Be sure to use bold points, headers, bullet points directional cues and quotation makes when highlighting something important? Think about making those points red or yellow.
User Experience and Navigation – Nothing will drop time on site like a confusing interface. You must be sure you are making all the information easily accessible and easy to navigate.
The easiest place to lose site of this is through the navigation bar. Keep your navigation short and simple, and be careful of creating too many dropdowns.
An easy to use navigation will be the difference maker in people interacting with your website or simply coming to check it out and leaving.
Sales Funnels – We will talk about this further in this guide. However, when you are making your site, you need to be careful to plan ahead.
REMEMBER! The purpose of your website is to make money and to make a profit by doing work that you live. In order to do this, you must properly bring users down a sales funnel and convert a user into revenue.
Generally speaking, the first step is to get someone onto your website by drawing their interest through a piece of content or an ad.
The site itself will bring the user down a sales funnel or use storytelling to show the user how your product or service can help them.
At the end of the funnel. You still need to “close the deal.” Shopping cart abandonment is something we all must deal with, but a good sales funnel will make a huge difference between the amount of people who bought from you and the amount of people who “almost” bought from you.
Be sure to think about this before we get started.
Understanding Call to Action
To finish up this chapter, let’s give some more attention to “closing the deal”. Remember, the point is to convert traffic into sales. Without the sale, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive hobby.
Let’s assume that everything is working properly.
Your website is bringing in new visitors, the traffic is engaged and people are enjoying your content. Maybe you even have some sales pages built. But could we be doing better?
The final question to ask yourself is about call to action.
Many people make the mistake of avoiding salesmanship for fear of coming off too “salesy.”
It is understandable why people feel this way, but without a proper call to action, you will spend time and money on building and marketing your website only to have a low return on your investment.
The way to solve this problem is through effective call to action.
Don’t be shy about your intentions. Don’t be manipulative. Be honest and forthcoming in letting your users know how your services or products can help them.
Understanding call to action and how to use language to sell your products or services is an art form within itself and we will revisit this in time.
Chapter 3 – Why the Audience First Mentality Will Virtually Guarantee Sales, Revenue and Profits
This is the step where most business owners fail.
If you remember in the introduction of this guide, we talked about the critical mistakes that John made. John spent all of his money developing his product, “The Breakfast Pal.”Once he finally brought his product to market, he quickly discovered that he had to start all over in regard to building an audience and actually selling his product.
The idea behind building an audience is that it is infinitely easier to sell a service or a product to people who have already giving you their attention.
That is the key point behind this entire chapter.
In this chapter we will discuss:
- The best ways to build an audience
- Understanding the real power of social media
- The importance of engagement
- Why email is your new best friend
- How to attract audience members through addictive content.
- What is the Best Way to Build an Audience?
Content. Content. Content.
Anyone who has done even a little bit of research about online marketing is bound to come across the concept of content marketing.”
Everything is content. However, for clarity let’s break it down into the three subsections of content.
Written Word – What you are reading right now is written word content. It can be short, it can be long, it can be informative or funny. Written content is always valuable because of its potential to rank in search engines. For me, written word is always my go to. However, video is becoming more and more important every day.
Video – The statistics behind video content are astounding. People are watching more and more video content every day. More so, we are watching video on our mobile devices. YouTube continues to be the major player, but video is crucial in other areas such as Instagram, Snapchat, Vimeo and Facebook. Anyone trying to build an audience should immediately begin getting comfortable in front of the camera. It is crucial.
Audio – The rise of the mobile device has brought audio into a new stratosphere of relevance. Podcasts are a great way to build an audience. The great thing about audio is that it can follow your user while they travel or do other things. It doesn’t require our full attention. For instance, we can consume audio content while driving, while cleaning or while working out. It is a form of content that doesn’t require you to stop what you are doing and look at a screen.
Image – Pictures, drawings, doodles, photography, artwork or visual content of any kind can have a huge impact. Good photography is an extremely valuable asset for any business or brand.
The Most Important Step
We are not creating content for the sake of it. The entire purpose of creating content is to create something of value. You have to use your content to improve someone’s life. There is a big difference between content and advertising.
There is a time and place for advertising and we will talk about that in the next chapter. For right now, we want to stay focused on audience building.
If you are asking for someone to give you their attention you must provide them with something that will improve their lives. Or else why on earth would anyone pay attention to you? Always remember, when creating content, your user should come first. What are their needs? What can you do to solve someone’s problem?
Keep the audience first and your business will grow.
Understanding the Value of Social Media
I like to look at social media in two ways. First, know that every social media platform is really an advertising platform. It is important to understand the reason why social media platforms exist.
Again, we will get into the advertising aspect soon. For now let’s look at the other side of social media and what I believe is the true value.
The real power behind social media is community. After all it is “social” media.
Most people and brands make the mistake of using social media as a promotion tool. Yes, social media is a great way to promote your content, but your main objective behind social media should be to engage with people. We engage with people because that is the best way to build an audience.
Do you think that people are more inclined to give their attention towards a brand that pushes content in front of them or a brand that asks questions, interacts, provides value and engages with their followers?
Obviously, the correct answer is the latter.
The Importance of Engagement
If you do not engage with your audience, you will slowly lose your audience.
You can’t expect people to follow you for no reason. You have to keep them engaged. How do you do this?
- Reply to their comments.
- Invite your audience to email you and reply to their emails personally.
- Reply to their snaps.
- Stay and shake their hands after an event.
One more time. the power of social media is community. You are trying to build a tribe. You are creating a community of people with like minded interests that are willing to trade their attention for valuable content. Don’t over complicate this. It’s that simple.
Why Email is Your Best Friend
I love social media. For branding and community purposes, social media has tremendous power.
With that being said, I would trade a high performing email list for a large social media following any day. Here is why.
You Don’t Own Your Social Audience
A few years ago, Facebook changed their algorithm that controls how they display content. It drastically reduced the rate at which business pages were able to be seen by the people who follow their pages. What this did is force businesses into advertising with Facebook if they wanted people to see their content, products or brand.
For those of us who spend years building our audiences on Facebook felt this the hardest. Suddenly, and without warning, Facebook said “you want to reach your followers, you have to pay for that now.”
And what could we do about it? None of us actually have any control over Facebook.
You have to understand that your Facebook audience is still owned by Facebook. At any time, they can completely change what happens on their site or how people are allowed to interact.
This is never the case with email.
With a solid email list, you own your data. You own your audience. It is yours and no one can ever take it from you.
Email is Still the Highest Performer for Selling
If someone opts into your email list, it means that they are choosing to let you market to them. They are interested in your product or service, in fact they are looking forward to your content!
If you can build an email list full of people who are interested in receiving your content, then you are building an army of loyal followers. These people will love to receive updates, coupons, discounts and new releases from you.
How to Create Addicting Content
People love a good story.
There are some fascinating studies that explain why people are storytelling machines. It has a lot to do with our evolution as a species. Throughout our history, it was evolutionary advantageous for us to tell stories because it gave it context.
Stories taught us to be afraid of the rustling in the bushes because it might be a saber-tooth tiger!
You can leverage good storytelling to build a following that will hang on your every word.
There is a lot to know about good storytelling. You can tell stories through written word, through video, through audio and even through pictures.
Chapter 4 – 7 Strategies that Put Cash in Your Pockets
Just because your website is getting lots of traffic does not mean that it will be bringing in lots of revenue. In order for a website to make money, you have to actively pursue making money.
By now I’m sure you’re wondering exactly what you have to do to make money. This chapter is completely dedicated to teaching you the different ways to turn your website into money. This is very important so play close attention.
Are you wanting to monetize your business? Of course you are. Who wants to work on something all day and not get anything out of it?
We all have limited time on this earth, so we want to make the most of it.
This is why I believe fully in having a monetization strategy for your business. People get ideas for blogs or podcasts and they say top themselves “I just want to have fun with it.” But building a business takes work, so let’s get a reward from it.
It’s a lot more fun when you are getting paid to share your thoughts, your ideas and your content. Money is freedom. Once you start making money from your audience, you will give yourself more creative freedom to do the work you really care about.
So what are your options? How exactly can you monetize your business? Let’s get started!
#1 – Sell Advertising
Advertising is the most straight forward monetization method for your business.
One of the great things about putting ads on your website is that it is very easy. You don’t need permission and you don’t need a sales process. You just pop the ads on and boom, you’re making money.
There are two basic ways to sell ads on a website. Both have pros and cons.
Google Adsense – This is Google’s automated advertising platform. To get started, you simply take the code that Google gives you and paste it on your website where you want the ads to appear. This is a great option for anyone just getting started, but at the same time, it is almost guaranteed you won’t make much money. Google has terrible rates and you will need to drive millions of hits of traffic in order to truly monetize your business through Google ads.
Selling Custom Ads – This is the better of the two options. For one, when you sell ads to businesses, you can reach out to organizations that are aligned with your business. If you have a fashion blog, it’s only natural that you would reach out to clothing brands, make up companies, or other fashion blogs to try and sell them advertising. The downside is that selling is real work. You need to constantly be reaching out to new prospects, marketing your press kits and promoting your company. It doesn’t come easy, but the hard work might pay off big time!
Selling ads is not always the best solution. Most of the time, I would argue that it is the worst way to monetize, but it’s a straight forward way to build some momentum.
#2 – Coaching
Coaching is a perfect business option for people who have a valuable skill set.
I can personally attest to the power of coaching. I myself have hired a business coach and my coaching services have been a great addiction for me to monetize my business. Coaching is a great option for people who thrive in relationships and can easily communicate their message and their ideas to people.
To be an effective coach, you must be an effective listener and teacher.
Also, a great coach must have great time management skills. Once you start to build a real client base, it case be difficult to manage all your coaching sessions and if you miss a coaching session, you can really upset your clients who pay you their hard earned money.
People are more and more open to working with coaches because the best way to learn these valuable skills is to learn from someone who has already been through the process.
Not to mention, a successful coaching business can establish your entire career and provide you with enough money to be completely self employed! That’s the dream right?
#3 – Sell Your Services
Selling services is such a straight forward and great way to build a business because it doesn’t require a large cost of entry.
My own marketing company is a great example of this. When we decided we wanted to start a marketing company, our only up front costs was the cost to build our website, the cost of hosting our website and the labor it took for me to write blog articles.
Many times, this is a slow process, but it’s a great option because if you manage your books, you never have to burn cash to build your business. You can always be running on a profit.
Stodzy’s first client was a women only healthcare facility in Ft. Lauderdale. We charged them $2000 a month, which basically put us at break even. We used the small profits from that account to help us build more content around our website. Eventually we would get picked up in search traffic which lead to another inquiry and another client. Soon we had about $10,000 in revenue and were able to hire our first employee.
Rinse and repeat. Now, we have two offices, 12 employees and work with a half dozen contractors all over the country. What started with $2000 a month turned into a million dollar agency.
This method is also how Juliana builds her business. She uses her blogs and her fitness videos to build an audience and then people reach out to her wanting to hire her for her personal training and nutrition services. It is a great way to monetize your business.
The downside to this strategy is that it takes time. Building an audience is a commitment. But if you are willing to live with delayed gratification, this method could easily build you a multi million dollar company.
#4 – Sell a Membership Program
This is one of my favorite ways to monetize a business.
I love the idea of building online communities because if you get enough people engaged, your members will essentially turn into brand advocates and do much of the marketing for you. A successful membership community is a win win for everyone. The members get to be part of something they enjoy, and you get to build a great business that provides value to people.
One of the reasons why I love this model so much is because membership communities are very scaleable.
Let’s compare this method to #3 up above, which is to sell services. When building a service based business, you will always have trouble scaling because every time you bring in new clients, you will have to hire new employees to services those clients. With a membership program, there are up front costs to develop the program, but you can leverage technology to host your community. You don’t need to grow expenses at the same rate of growing your revenue. A membership program has the potential to scale revenue on an exponential rate.
However, one of the downsides of building a membership program is that it’s very difficult. First off, building a website that has the functionality to store usernames and build member profiles is no easy feat. Second off, getting a membership site started is difficult because very few people want to belong to a community that has no members.
None the less, if you can push through the upstart costs and difficulties, a membership program can bring in boat loads of relatively passive income to help monetize your business.
#5 – Sell Products
Creating an e-commerce store is a great way to build a business.
I’ve written a lot about my experience building and selling a profitable tee shirt company, and I truly believe that anyone can create a business around clothing. Obviously some will be more successful than others, but it is a great place for anyone to start.
It doesn’t have to stop at clothing.
You could sell…
- drop shipped items from amazon
- wedding products
- wrapping paper
- home made bird feeders
- anything you can think of
One of the reasons why creating an online store has become such a valid option is because Shopify (and other e-commerce platforms) have made it so easy for regular folks like you and I to create an online store.
Before these platforms existed, we needed to figure out how to build a website and then connect it to a merchant, and then connect that merchant to a gateway. We needed to learn how to manage inventory. We needed to learn how to create a system to ship our products and also track them.
There were so many moving parts. That isn’t the case anymore. If you build your store on Shopify, you will have everything you need built into the platform.
You can also sell digital products. What does that mean exactly?
A digital product is any product that requires a transaction that doesn’t need to be shipped. For instance, selling courses and eBooks would be considered digital products.
Online courses are a great way to monetize a business because there are unlimited niche markets that people will spend money on.
I am part of the teachable Facebook group. Within that group, people give personal testimonials about how their courses are selling and we help each other out. Just the other day, I read a personal testimonial from someone who made $120,000 last year selling courses about Greek mythology.
I spoke to another woman who made almost $200,000 selling courses in knitting.
If you have a skill that could be considered valuable, people will pay good money for your knowledge. Courses are great.
But let’s not get it twisted. Monetizing a business through selling products is no cake walk. You need to learn some serious marketing skills. Most notably, you need to learn how to build high converting ads and create funnels through landing pages that will ultimately build your audience and help you sell products.
With that said, there are countless of articles and YouTube videos that can instruct you on how to properly build a sales funnel. If you are willing to put in the upfront work, selling courses could be a great option for you!
#6 – A Paid Newsletter
This is such an under utilized monetezation method.
If you are able to truly establish yourself as an expert in your niche, then people will gladly pay for access to premium content. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a subscription based newsletter. Paid newsletters make it easy to monetize your business and they provide an option for people who don’t want to get bogged down by the hassle of selling courses, or selling services.
Paid newsletters are the best option for people who want to find a way to monetize their content, without the business hassle that comes with it.
In my view, there are two ways to do this.
Create a memberful account – Memberful is a third party application that allows you to put certain content behind a paywall. What this allows you to do is keep your blog content free and available to the public. Then you can use your blog content to sell memberships to your newsletter. If someone signs up for you newsletter, memberful will automatically add them to a mailing list of your choosing. That way you can keep your free content and your paid content separate.
Create a Substack account – Substack is a brilliant new platform that makes it easy for people to build a paid newsletter. The advantage of substack is that it is a turn key system. You don’t need to create a blog and add any applications. You simply create an account on substack and you are off to the races. When you are ready to publish a new post, substack will give you an option on whether this post is available to everyone or if it is for paid subscribers only. It’s a great program. I recommend it to anyone. You can signup for a substack account here.
#7 – Book Speaking Gigs
For many, a speaking career is the holy grail of how to monetize a business.
What could be better? You get to fly around the country (or even the world) and get on stage to share your thoughts and your message in front of crowds of people. Better yet, for many people, speaking engagements can be highly profitable.
Even a moderately sought after speaker can demand 5 figures for an engagement.
Let’s be real about expectations here. Only a select few build their brands to the point where they can build a real business around speaking. You have to truly have a unique message that stands apart from the rest and resonates with people on an emotional level.
But is it impossible? Of course not.
The key to building a successful speaking career is to touch on a subject matter that doesn’t have competition. For instance, when I book speaking gigs, I rarely attend online marketing conferences because that is an overly saturated market. Rather, I seek speaking gigs about addiction and recovery, or about entrepreneurship for troubled youth.
You have to choose a message that resonates yet doesn’t have a lot of “experts.” Your experience is your calling card, so choose wisely.
Get Started Now
A year from now, you will wish you started today.
In my view, an online business is the most valuable asset someone can own. Even if you don’t monetize your online business directly, building an audience is a great tool to bring in opportunities in the future.
I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come my way, simply because people like my work, they like my view points and they trust in my work ethic. Over time, my content has started to develop more linear revenue streams, such as my coaching and my academy.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. What’s important is that you get started. Even if it’s one post a week, one newsletter a week or one video a week, you will be amazed by how much momentum you can build with some consistent action.
Chapter 5 – Work ON the Business. Not IN it.
Look at you go! You have come so far, yet there is still so much work to do.
This next crucial step will be the deciding factor in determining whether your business fails or succeeds. For many people, this final step is the hardest of all because it requires giving up that one precious illusion.
We have spent the last 4 chapters digging in deep to what is required to build your online business. You have been in the trenches, you are working hard and essentially doing every job yourself. In the beginning, this is certainly required. The next step is to get out of the way.
Once the foundation is built it is essential that you begin to replace yourself. The importance of this can not be understated. It’s time to stop working in your business and start working on your business!
You Can’t Do Every Job in the Company
That’s just a fact. As your business grows, it’s not sustainable to think that you can manage every job title. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s imagine you have started a tee shirt line. In the beginning, you may have to create the designs in Photoshop, you will need to order the garments and order the print job. Once the shirts actually come in you have to take pictures and market your product. Once you started making sales you have to package and ship the tee shirts. On top of everything, you have to manage customer service and deal with the issues that pop up with every tee shirt line. There is always someone who wants to return a shirt because it is not the right size. That’s the nature of the business. You are just getting started so you do what you have to do.
In that one paragraph, I just listed several departments.
- Content creation
- Social media marketing
- Shipping and customer service.
As your business grows, it’s just not feasible that you can handle all of these responsibilities on your own. That is, not if you want to grow your business at scale. (Remember that freedom of lifestyle we’ve been talking about?)
The problem is that you believe “no one else can do this the way you want it to be done.”
You’re going to have to get over that.
Putting together procedures and documentation teaching your new employees how to properly handle an assignment is part of being the boss. If you care about your customers, then you need to assign people to handle tasks.
Knowing What You’re Job Really Is
You are not doing yourself any favors by trying to be the “jack of all trades.” Your job as the business owner is to grow the business. That is your only job. Staying on the outside and hiring staff to handle the day to day operations is all a means to an end.
The end goal is for you to be completely independent of the day to day operations and work on the bigger picture.
What does the bigger picture entail?
- Bringing in new sales
- Building teams and hiring new employees
- Creating documentation so new employees can easily learn what to do
- Monitoring your marketing and the results on that marketing
- Staying up to date on real time accounting metrics
The list truly goes on and on. What separates the real business operator from the mom and pop business is allocation of responsibilities.
The business owner needs to maintain a safe distance from the day to day so they can focus on growing the business.
Without this mentality you are doomed to fail.
Understanding That You May Not Be the Best Person for the Job
Everyone has skills. As we said before, when first building your business you need to be able to do every job in the company. But that doesn’t mean you are ultimately the best person for every job.
Speaking from my own experience, the first responsibilities I always push onto someone else is accounting. No matter how much I practice, there will always be people who are better at accounting then I am. I rely on these people to direct me and guide me.
This guidance allows me the time to allocate my time on growing the business. That is what I am best at. There is no reason why I should spend my time doing accounting when I am definitely not the best person for the job.
This type of self-awareness can be humbling. It is not easy to give away control of something that you are so passionate about. It is simply a matter of priorities. Is your biggest priority to be the accountant? or is your biggest priority to grow and operate your business? The answer to this question should be obvious.
Learning How to Trust the Process
There is no doubt that replacing yourself can be a stressful process. Entrusting someone with such important work can cause a lot of anxiety. As the business owner, the responsibility falls on you to make sure procedures and protocol for each position is laid out in detail.
If you hire an accountant, it is your job as the business owner to explain in detail exactly what is expected of the accountant. Which kind of reports are important to your business? What are the dollars that need to be tracked with the most accuracy.
Bringing a new employee in does not mean throwing that person to the wolves. If an employee is not clear on what their responsibilities are, that’s your fault. Part of accepting the role as the business owner is accepting blame for everything.
Before you hire an employee, you need to create employee handbooks that simply explain what those job responsibilities are. It is dry and tedious work, but the upfront labor of creating these systems is the key to freeing up your time in the future.
Creating handbooks for employees to use as a reference could be the deciding factor on where your time is spent. Remember, time is your most valuable resource. Treat it as you would with your business capital. In fact, treat it with even more care than your capital because time is the only resource that we can never get back.
Now Get To Work!
You have gotten through the entire boot camp. The sky’s the limit. If you follow these steps, you will succeed.
Nothing replaces hard work and perseverance. Every business goes through obstacles and keeping composure in high pressure situations is a requirement of any business owner.
There will never be a replacement for hard work. However, the technical steps required to build and operate a profitable online business have been laid out in detail in this guide. Feel free to refer back to it if you ever get off track.