Audio Version and Additional Commentary
Do you want to monetize your personal brand? Of course you do. 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 personal brand. People get ideas for blogs or podcasts and they say top themselves “I just want to have fun with it.” But building a brand 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. If you can learn to monetize your personal brand, you will give yourself more creative freedom to do the work you really care about.
These things always start off as passion projects, but unless you can monetize your personal brand, you will most likely quit.
So what are your options? How exactly can you monetize your personal brand? 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 personal brand 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 personal brand. 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 brand. 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 personal brand. 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 personal brand.
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 personal brand.
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 personal brand.
#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 brand 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…
- dropshipped 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.
Don’t believe me? Check out the interview I did with Ray Figgs from 8and9 Clothing.
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 personal brand 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 personal brand 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 personal brand 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. This is how Mark Manson monetizes his personal brand.
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 personal brand.
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, a personal brand is the most valuable asset someone can own. Even if you don’t monetize you personal brand 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.
What are you waiting for? What are you afraid of?
This is your future. Go!