There are a lot of people talking about niche and targeting your ideal customer lately, but here’s the thing…
…if you’re stuck on what type of online business to start, then all of that stuff doesn’t actually matter yet!
You can’t target the right customer until you actually know WHO your customer is.
And you won’t know exactly who your customer is with any kind of clarity until you know exactly what type of online business you want to start.
In this article, I’m talking about the different types of online business and what you can do to actually get started, today!
After more than 14 years of accumulating and analyzing data about growing and scaling different types of online businesses, I can tell you first hand that TRANSFORMATION is what moves you from zero to six-figure salary, not someone else’s “framework.”
Listen up, because this is important.
Transformation comes from within. It comes from knowing exactly how to uncover your unique voice and then knowing how to use your voice to amplify your message….online.
I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, from small business owners to executives of large corporations; the most successful online businesses are not created from tactics that people teach, they are created from your very own experience.
You see, YOU have experience in your life that you can actually turn into an online business, you just need to know how to uncover it.
So lets get started!
What exactly is an Online Business?
Selling a product or service on the internet is an online business.
There are different online business models based on the type of product or service that you’re selling, but all of them have one thing in common, and that is the online sales and marketing strategy.
The first step in understanding how to start an online business is to recognize that the digital business model is still a business, in other words, in order to actually make money, you have to sell something.
What differentiates how you go about setting up your online business is actually based on whether you are selling a physical product, a digital product, or a service and also whether it’s your own product or someone else’s.
Lets dig deeper.
A lot of clients that I’ve worked with in the past have said: “I’m not a salesperson, and I don’t like sales.”
It’s almost as if they are surprised that starting an online business means that you actually have to sell something.
But here’s the difference, an online business is more like “passive” sales rather than active sales.
Passive income is the buzz word that everyone likes to use these days.
In other words, passive income means that you do the work up-front so that your product or service eventually sells itself.
That of course doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. On the contrary…
There is a shit-ton of work involved.
And how exactly do you go about setting up this coveted passive income stream?
Whether you choose to sell your own services, a product, or someone else’s product, the most important part of an online business is to get your strategy and your systems set up properly.
So lets unpack this concept of strategy and systems a little further because you may have heard that you can start an online business without actually having a product or service to sell.
The 3 Types of Online Business:
Someone Else’s Product or Service (ie: Affiliate/Influencer/Commission Based)
In a ‘traditional’ business setting, you might recognize that selling a service means something like what an accountant, an attorney, or even a life coach would do…where people pay a fee for your services.
Service Based Online Business
In the past, the clients of these kinds of professionals came from the same local town or region. However now, with the digital business model sweeping the globe, clients of professionals like this can be virtually anywhere.
But that’s not all…the reality is that you don’t need to have an advanced professional education in order to sell your own services online.
Here are a few examples of online, service based businesses that have been proven to be successful even if you don’t have a formal education:
Social Media Services
If you’re great at social media, you can manage social media accounts for businesses as your service.
You can choose to specialize in one network or a few, although I recommend becoming intimately familiar with just one or two so that you can position yourself as an expert. When using Social media for business purposes, the networks are very different. A person who is good at understanding how to optimize Facebook ads for conversion doesn’t necessarily know how to leverage Pinterest for business marketing because they are two very different marketing strategies.
So if this is your desired course of online business…choose the network you like best and become intimately familiar with it so that you can offer your expertise on that particular platform.
Virtual Assistant Services
If you’re organized, you can sell your services as a virtual assistant for many different types of businesses. Virtual assistants do everything from project management to digital marketing, so depending upon what you’re good at, you can offer your services on a contact basis.
Graphic Design/Web Design/Digital Marketing
This is the fastest growing segment of the online service based industry, and if you’re a creative person, then it’s likely you’ll be attracted to this type of service based online business. The best way to get started with this kind of business is to set up your own website and start blogging.
Life Coach/Business Coach/Fitness Coach
If you’re great at motivating people and encouraging people, you can sell your services as a coach.
Any knowledge that is above and beyond what regular people have in a particular area of focus can be sold as a service online. By making your services available online, you now open yourself up to a wider audience of potential consumers around the globe, and this is what makes an online business so different from a regular business. Imagine being able to perform services for people anywhere in the world, not just your hometown.
Selling your knowledge doesn’t stop with a service based business. In fact, one of the most lucrative types of online business is to create a knowledge based digital product.
What exactly does that mean?
This brings us to #2…
You obviously know what a physical product is. If you’re going to open a fashion boutique or sell a physical product that you create yourself such as a wreath or a bar of soap, those are physical products. A digital product means that whatever you are selling is available to access online, such as an ebook, a digital download, or a digital course.
For example, one of my side streams of income is my Etsy Shop. I create artwork that people can instantly download and print on their home printers. Have you ever seen a great quote in a beautiful font that you wished you could either print and hang on your wall or share on your social media feed? That is exactly what digital art is. Want to see some real, live examples? Click here to visit my Etsy Shop.
Digital products can generate income more quickly than physical products and the best part? A digital product based online business also applies to knowledge.
For example, if you know how to do something like make the best strawberry jam or spaghetti sauce on the planet, you can teach others how to do that on a video and then sell your video as a digital product.
More often these days, this is called a digital course. Creating your own digital course is all the rage right now, and if you know how to do it right, it’s the most lucrative types of digital businesses.
Inside my Online Business Coaching Program, I use a signature method to help you uncover your unique genius zone so that you can create a highly scalable online business. And I don’t charge and arm and a leg to do it!
Because I know that your business has to be based on you, and no one else on this planet is you. That is your super-power. YOUR super power!!
Simply following what someone else does isn’t going to be the key to your success; the key to your success is to take what you have to offer, your unique super-power, and know how to structure it to fit the online business model.
Are your juices flowing yet? Are you gaining some insight into some ideas for your online business? Let me know in the comments below!
Startup Costs of an Online Business
Even though an online business doesn’t have a lot of up-front startup costs like a traditional business, it still has startup costs.
And what exactly are those startup costs?
The costs are highly dependent on the type of online business you are starting. For the bulk of online business, the costs are going to be for software tools and for online marketing.
The software tools that you will use for your particular online business will again depend on the type of online business you have. For example, if you’re a creative person and you’re thinking about selling digital downloads (like the art I mentioned above) through an Etsy shop, then your costs are going to be focused more on marketing, because there is only a minimal cost to post your artwork on Etsy.
If you’re planning to teach people how to do something and sell your knowledge, for example: how to edit videos for YouTube, then your startup costs will focus more on software, both your own (video editing software) as well as the software necessary to deliver your course content. You’ll also likely have online marketing and advertising costs, and you’ll likely use software for scheduling and research as well.
If you’re planning to do affiliate marketing (i.e.: sell someone else’s product) then your cost is wrapped up in starting and marketing your blog, which includes domain, hosting, marketing, advertising and scheduling and research.
3. Affiliate Marketing (also called Influencer Marketing)
Affiliate marketing means that you blog about someone else’s product (such as a piece of clothing, jewelry, or bag) and then if someone clicks over from your blog post or social media post, then you receive a commission on the sale of that product. It’s very important to note that this kind of marketing only works well if you have a very large social media and/or blog following. Otherwise, the clicks just will not generate enough income for you to make a living.
Perhaps most importantly, the biggest cost will be investing in yourself. In order to be successful and make a full-time income building an online business of your own is having the knowledge of where to start and how to actually make progress.
If you need some help along the way, I encourage you to learn more about my online business coaching program. It’s a live program, that means you’ll get private access to me and my team to answer your most pressing questions about your online business, as well as walk you through your software and technology integrations to help you get your business up and running in the most efficient way possible.
Think of it as if it’s your own private technology help desk, with the benefit of giving you sound advice about online business too!
Not quite ready to make an investment? Join my FREE Private Facebook Group to ask a question and get help from other bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs! (TIP: The Facebook Group is focused on Pinterest Marketing techniques, but it’s really so much more!)
There is ONE Mistake You Should Never Make in your online business…
In this article, you’ll learn why your ads and posts may not be converting as expected, and what you can do to instantly change that.
Nobody wants traffic without conversion, so if you have a product, most especially a digital product, then you need to be absolutely sure you are marketing your product to the correct stage of your target buyer’s journey.
If you mess up this one critical component, you’ll never get conversions. Sound confusing? It’s really not…read on for more!
Why are my Facebook ads not working?
One of the biggest mistakes that I see businesses of all sizes make with their online marketing and advertising efforts, is that they put together an ad (such as a Facebook ad or a Google ad) and they start driving traffic to the product or service that they are offering.
Oftentimes, they are paying for these ads, and looking at their analytics, wondering why they are getting clicks but not getting any sales. They are wondering:
Why am I not getting any sales…how long does it take, or are the ads being shown to the right audience?
How do I know what makes an ad “good” compared to a “not so good” ad?
I’m not sure how to interpret the data.
The problem is not that your product or service is a bad idea, the problem is that you are likely marketing to the wrong phase of the sales funnel.
Most new online business owners try to follow someone else’s advice. Maybe they read a blog (or a few) or they got suckered into the online business ideal.
Don’t worry. If you’re not a professional marketer, it just means you could use a little guidance to get your online business off the ground.
Think about it. If you’ve never heard of someone, are you going to just scroll through your social media feed and then pull out your credit card as soon as they catch your attention?
Of course not.
You’re not an idiot.
You’re going to do some research first.
Look at their website.
Read some reviews. Maybe ask around.
Check out their other social media channels.
Just because they got your attention with their ad doesn’t mean you’re rushing to open up your wallet and buy…especially if what they’re offering is upwards of $500.
But listen closely…even if it’s only $50.
The Digital Business Model
The part of the digital business model that includes the digital sales process has 3 very different phases of the buyer’s path toward purchasing your product or service.
These 3 phases are: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
When you develop a digital marketing campaign, remember the very first step is to first determine who you are targeting, but what most people forget, is that you also need to determine what phase they are in.
You absolutely must only market a decision phase offer (ie: your product) to someone who is in the decision phase! This does not work on a cold audience.
Here’s the thing, you can’t market a bottom of the funnel product (i.e.: something you expect them to pay for) to a top of the funnel prospect. Top of the funnel means that they are a cold audience. Reference the sales funnel diagram below.
People whom you are trying to attract to your business….Those are cold, those are the people who don’t know you, but you’re trying to get the word out about a solution you have to their problem.
Why can’t I market my product to a cold audience?
Because if they don’t even know you yet, they don’t trust you. In order for someone to buy from you, they must first believe that you have a solution to their problem and that you can help them.
This is the single reason why so many coaches and online entrepreneurs fail miserably and lose their money on Facebook when they run ads for digital products. Because they’re running an ad to an audience that has never heard of them, they’re not ready to buy yet.
What exactly is the solution?
The better option is to market a lead magnet to your cold audience, and gain their trust by giving them something valuable in exchange for their email address. It’s a quick win for them because you’re giving them something that will make their life easier and solve a problem for them, allowing them to move forward, this proves that you can actually help them. So you gain their trust.
Next is where the nurturing comes in. Now that you have their email address, you can move them down the sales funnel to the next phase which is a warm lead, and eventually with the right automation sequence, you can feed your evergreen lead machine in a way that enables them to become ready to open up their wallet and buy from you.
See how that works? Lead first. Email them about your offer next. After some nurturing of course.
Maybe you’ve heard of a tool like LeadPages or Clickfunnels and you’re wondering what exactly it is, and how it can help you grow your business.
Think of this post as your official initiation into understanding how these kinds of tools work, and I promise you’ll walk away with a ton of ideas about how it will help grow your blog or your online business.
Now listen, I love my husband dearly, but I am a fempreneur all the way. I support women-owned business, shattering the glass ceiling, and all things #GirlBoss, especially in online business.
Clickfunnels was developed by a guy, and I’ll tell you right now, a lot of people who use this software fit into that category of men that make webinars showing their fancy sports cars (in the industry we call this “bro-marketing”).
But if you can get past their hype, you will recognize that the software really is exceptional, just don’t go to their Facebook Group with 100,000 members for support, because it’s full of arrogance and you’ll never get the support you need.
It’s not a good place for women entrepreneurs.
The software itself is magical, but I hate their Facebook group with a passion.
Ready to rock and roll?
How does a FREE half hour consulting call sound?
If you’re interested…keep reading.
So I’m going to have to talk more about Clickfunnels because it’s literally a magical landing page builder. This software is relatively “new” in the world of online marketing, as it only started in 2014, but here’s what it actually is, just in case you’ve never heard of it or you’re wondering if this post is even relevant to you:
Clickfunnels is a cloud-based software tool that you can use to create stunning landing pages for lead magnets, selling your digital products, and even webinars in order to grow your business.
Cloud-based simply means you can log into their website from anywhere and work on your website. You don’t have to download and install anything onto your computer. It’s very robust, but super intuitive and easy to use. I use it every day. Seriously…every.single.day.
What Clickfunnels is not:
Clickfunnels is *not* the same thing as your email marketing software, such as Mailchimp, ConvertKit, or Aweber. While Clickfunnels does give you the option to use their own built-in email marketing platform, I would not recommend it.
Instead, start with a free account from ConvertKit (Click here to sign up for the FREE account!). Almost all of the newer email marketing automation providers integrate with Clickfunnels, but in my experience, I have found that ConvertKit is the one that does the job best.
MailChimp used to be the only one that was free, however, in late 2019, ConvertKit rolled out a free program, so this is actually a game changer because ConvertKit is far and away the best email automation provider. Why? Because you can see your automations visually (like HubSpot). HubSpot is an enterprise system that is best suited for businesses making over $250,000 per year in annual revenue (and they require payment up front) so many new bloggers don’t have the ability to go pro with HubSpot Automation right away, but in my opinion, the closest you can get to HubSpot is definitely ConvertKit!
Clickfunnels offers a ton of one-click templates that allow you to start with a sales page (that is proven to convert) and then just customize it with your own brand colors and photos (and text obviously!). Because they offer tons of templates, you’ll be putting up high-converting landing pages and easily sending content upgrades like a pro!
What do you use Clickfunnels for?
Clickfunnels is super robust, you can use it for a variety of tech needs. If you can only afford to pay for one software tool, this is the one, because it can do so much! Here are 5 things you can do with Clickfunnels:
1. Use Clickfunnels to Create Your Own Website
If you don’t already have a website, you can create your website pages and essentially DIY your very own website using Clickfunnels. They offer templates with menu navigation so you can literally put a menu at the top on your regular website pages and then create your landing pages without the navigation!
2. Use Clickfunnels to Host Webinars
Webinar software can be pricy, but this solution allows you to do them nearly for free by embedding either a live broadcast or your evergreen video. It’s a great option for anyone getting started with webinars so that you don’t have to fork over the cost of software like WebinarJam right off the bat.
3. Use Clickfunnels for Automated Content Upgrades
If you’ve already signed up for a ConverKit account, then you will see how Clickfunnels is an excellent solution for content upgrades because you can style your forms to match your brand. While you can also do this inside ConvertKit, the catch is that there is a limited amount of customization. If you want to grow your list with content upgrades, but don’t know how to figure it out tech-wise, Clickfunnels can help. Here is an example of an appropriate Content Upgrade for this blog post (feel free to subscribe and download the checklist or just keep reading).
4. Use Clickfunnels to Create Beautiful Opt-In Popups
There is nothing worse than a popup that appears when you least expect it. The beauty of Clickfunnels is that you have complete control over your opt-in! I like to use a button, so if someone is interested, they click the button and know that a popup will appear. I use this on my landing pages a lot, and it’s also great for giving away free lead magnets.
5. Use Clickfunnels to Create Landing Pages and Sales Pages
This is one of my favorite things about Clickfunnels. Most of the time, designing a proper lead magnet landing page or sales page on on your blog or website is difficult because many WordPress themes don’t easily remove your navigation menu, or you have to figure out which plugins will work best or even mess with the code. Instead of all this, Clickfunnels makes it mega easy. You can literally just use one of their templates and it takes 10 minutes.
How Can Clickfunnels Help Improve Your Blog or Online Business?
I like to design my content upgrades in Photoshop or Canva so that I can insert an image of the free checklist or worksheet people will receive if they subscribe (it’s more convincing) as shown in the example above (you can also click on the link to create an account with ConvertKit for free so you can do these yourself), but if you’re looking for an easier solution, then Clickfunnels allows you to easily insert a clickable button right inside of their software.
Using Clickfunnels for Affiliate Marketing with a Bridge Page
If you do any advertising or Affiliate Marketing at all, Facebook Ads or Google Ads for example, then you already know that you have to send visitors to a verified website that you are connected to, and you cannot send them directly to an affiliate product.
Sending paid ads to a landing page means that they only have one choice: to subscribe or leave. There are no other distractions to keep them from opting in, so if they like your offer, they’ll subscribe. If you are selling something, then you can then put them in an email nurturing sequence to eventually pitch your product. Conversion rates on landing pages are much higher than simply sending someone to a blog post, and most often, if you’re paying for ads, you want to get the best chance of conversion. You can do that with Clickfunnels!
Once you have someone’s email address, you’re able to communicate and build a relationship with them. It’s much different than if they simply visited your blog once, two weeks ago and never come back.
Online marketing is no longer an option for today’s small business owner, and if you’re trying to start or grow an online business, then Clickfunnels is a no-brainer.
With as many as 90% of small businesses using online tactics, the question isn’t when, but what tools will you use to expand and grow your reach?
Too often, business owners feel stumped by all of the options, allowing all of them to take a back seat instead of harnessing the power of the ones that really make a difference.
Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown or the overwhelm that comes with learning something new. Whatever the case, the effective use of these online tools can confuse even the most seasoned business marketer.
But the good news is this…
No matter what stage you’re in, you can reinvent your online presence, starting now! Before Clickfunnels came on the scene, I had several different software integrations all designed to work together. Even though I had been using WordPress for 14 years (and I still do) when I discovered how easy it was to create the exact type of landing pages that I wanted using Clickfunnels, I couldn’t believe how much easier the “tech” part of my online business became!
Huge BONUS just for my Blog Readers!
Vogue Media is partnered with Clickfunnels (because I love it that much!) I would never recommend a product that I didn’t personally use and love, so here’s the bonus…
If you decide to purchase Clickfunnels, make sure you click through and start with a FREE 14-Day Trial using my referral link (CLICK HERE for your FREE TRIAL) because if you do, to show my gratitude for the referral, I will offer you a FREE 30-minute phone call or video screen share, live with me, to help you out with anything you might be stuck on!
This is a huge bonus, because if you’re trying to set up an integration or a sales page, or anything…and you get stuck…I can help! But only for my referrals, so be sure to use this link to sign up, then contact me to schedule your free 30-minute session.
Questions about Clickfunnels? Let me know in the comments below!
This is certainly the time of year for reflection and soul searching. Like so many of you reading this, I’ve always been determined to juggle it all. Whether it’s juggling the household, work, laundry, groceries, pets, or working tirelessly through the night to craft the Fort Nite Bush (a DIY Halloween costume) we’re exhausted but we just keep going.
That’s the life of a mom.
But what about…gasp…our passions?
We go to college, start our career, realize the need for flexibility when we finally have a family, and we try to do it all.
If your husband has a good job and you’re fortunate enough to be able to stay home for a while, that can be a game changer. Whether it’s an extended maternity leave, even for a year or two (or three) when the kids are little…but then they go to school and you realize that in order to continue living the lifestyle to which you are accustomed, you need to go back to work.
But you need a flexible job. One that allows you to get the kids off to school and then pick them up after school, right, so you don’t have to pay for childcare. Because who wants to work to pay for childcare? That’s ridiculous.
Here we sit, ladies. Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree. Work Experience. The motivation and drive to do good, and do well. To make an impact. To be fulfilled by helping others.
We just need to do it between the hours of 9 and 3 damn it!
That’s not a “might be nice to have” that’s our reality. If the job doesn’t fit into that window, we just won’t do it.
Or worse, we settle.
We make things work. But then something suffers. The healthy dinner gets replaced with something quick. We miss a game or two. We don’t get to tuck our kids in at night.
Things are different now. Back when I started my first blog and freelancing on the side, the year was 2006.
Companies weren’t hiring for remote positions back then. At the time, I had just left a posh corporate job. At the time I was making twice what the hubs was making. I worked my way up the corporate ladder that decade, and ended up traveling around the US training corporate marketing teams. But then it happened. I got pregnant. My mom was sick. I needed flexibility. It was a significant crossroads.
You just couldn’t find a good paying job with flexible hours back then, so for me, freelancing was my only choice.
Fast forward to today and I think everybody recognizes that the dream of a corner office has been replaced with a need for flexibility. Especially among parents.
People often ask what I do for a living, because I have the coveted luxury of flexibility. To work from home. To drop the kids off at school, go to their sporting events, and even volunteer. When I tell people that I run an online business, they are always intrigued.
What exactly do I do all day?
How do I make money with my blog?
Do I have clients?
This blog post comes at a time of reflection and new beginnings. I want to show you just how easy it is to monetize your passion…whatever that passion may be.
So just to test the waters to see if it was truly possible to start over from scratch and create a new business with little up-front investment, I started something that is seemingly unrelated to my work, but actually, it’s not unrelated at all.
Who would have thought that anybody, literally anyone, could create a stream of income working from home…selling motivational quotes? I have my freelance biz, and my clients, why would I need to do this?
Because I wanted to show a class of students how incredibly easy it is to monetize your passion.
But then I realized that I can make a huge impact if I teach other women to do this. This can be a game changer for them. For YOU.
Confidence Girl. You Got This!
This.is.it. This is why I get out of bed in the morning. Because I know that I have what it takes to help other women realize their dream of creating income the way I do. Are you ready to create a life you love? Your dream business?
If so, you might be interested in my new Pinterest Marketing Course. (Want to get a preview of my videos? If you haven’t seen my YouTube channel, you can go there and preview some of my favorite videos about running an online business) but I’m reserving the good stuff!
That’s right…no fluff for the public YouTube channel, just step-by-step directions for my most loyal friends and fans. Actionable videos that will help you get your online business started, whether you’re just in the idea stage, or you’re ready to move ahead full throttle.
I decided to package it all up and call it: The Pinterest Business Plan
I always feel confident when I have a stream of income coming in, so why not find a way to help other women feel that same feeling?
So there are actually various different ways to start an online business without much up-front capital. Starting a business today is not like starting a business 10 years ago. You don’t need to go to the bank and borrow $20,000 or more…unless you’re actually setting up a physical store.
Online business is different. You can get started for very little. In fact, you can start a blog for less than $100. You can start an online store for less than $100. You just need to know where to begin.
Want to know how to do it? Well you’re in the right place! Keep reading!
Working while raising a family is so much harder than I ever imagined.
Who are these women that make it look easy?
One of my dear friends commented that she thought I made it look easy.
But what she doesn’t see is when I’m laying in the fetal position on my bathroom floor with a migraine while my kids are packing their lunch and calling their aunt for a ride to school. It’s okay. I took some heavy duty medication, so I’ll be back to normal in an hour. But that’s my normal. It has been for 25 years.
When my kids went to school, I tried going back to work.
I wanted predictable.
A predictable income, every 2 weeks.
I tried to be a hard worker, a dedicated employee that never complained. For years, I consistently showed up an hour before I was scheduled to be there, I worked through lunch, and many days, meeting ran over so I just stayed another hour after my workday was supposed to be over. Just in case I had to come in late because I had a migraine.
I had an unfortunate encounter when the digital marketing agency that I worked for decided they were going to discontinue offering digital marketing services and instead focus on mobile app development. That sounds a little techy, but it really just meant that I was out of my “full time income” and back to freelancing.
Okay, well I’m the eternal optimist, so no big deal.
It just means that my income was a little less predictable. But wait, it actually meant so much more than that. You know the cliché, when one door closes, another opens.
You don’t need any special skills to start an online business. You just need the drive to create your own opportunity.
I’m going to show you how. How to monetize your passion…whatever your passion may be. Because in order to be successful, you need to be willing to pivot.
When I had a full-time job, it always felt so linear. Like that’s what you’re supposed to do. My ego felt important because the work I was doing for clients was important, but my soul was completely misaligned. It paid the salary, but it didn’t make me feel fulfilled. Plus I was missing out on my kids, I was gaining weight because I couldn’t find the time to work out, and I was serving scrambled eggs for dinner because I didn’t have time to get to the grocery store.
So lets create some opportunity out of nothing, shall we?
For the boutique, I simply curated a selection of adorable blouses and fabulous clothing and set up a very simple online storefront. Which I run from the comfort of my computer. And I invested nothing but my time.
Now granted I’ve been creating websites for 14 years, but I’m telling you right now….setting up your website is not the hard part. All you have to do is follow my instructions, step-by-step. I’m about to make it very easy for you!
Whether it’s starting a blog, starting an online boutique, selling your knowledge expertise as an online coach, whatever you’re passionate about doing, my Pinterest Marketing course will help you turn your passion into a thriving online business!
Are you making this mistake with your side hustle?
Coaches, Consultants, Experts, Service Providers…listen up. This post will help you make sense out of the online business model. Whatever your passion is, whatever you’re good at, I’m living proof that you can monetize it online, but there’s a catch…you’ve got to follow the formula.
You’ve heard it before…
Take what you know.
Sell it for $2k or more.
Use a Facebook ad, a video, and an email sequence.
That’s the formula.
It’s really simple.
But, actually, it’s not that simple.
Easier said than done…
Because you might be thinking,
“What exactly is my offer?”
“Would anyone actually pay $2k, $5k, or even $10k for it?”
“That’s what I charge.”
“Well, I think that’s what I should charge.”
“But, nobody’s ever heard of me.”
“I don’t have an email list.”
“I have case studies but they’re not written up yet.”
“I don’t have a video for my business.”
“And syncing the software?”
“Exactly what software should I use?”
“What’s the difference between a Sales Page and my regular website?”
“What if I don’t even have a website yet?”
“Plus, what about ads?”
“I’m not sure if I can write the perfect email sequence.”
“And I’d rather not do phone calls, either.”
“Maybe I’ll buy a course.”
“Or try to find a freelancer to help me.”
I’ve got a better idea.
Read this first.
There are some important lessons to learn if you want to create a profitable online business.
How do I know this?
I worked in corporate marketing for a Fortune 500 for 10 years. I traveled around the U.S. to train regional marketing teams. After that, I worked for a digital agency for a few more years. When the sales guy at my agency invoiced a client $10,000 for a report that I wrote myself, I finally decided it was time to stop giving away my expertise for peanuts.
But…with that…I had to start over. I started at the same place where everyone starts when they’re starting a new business…at the very beginning. So this is a culmination of advice that I both gave to clients of our agency, as well as garnered myself from starting over.
Lesson 1: What is Your Offer?
The very first step to monetization online is to get crystal clear about what exactly your offer is. Who do you serve? What is the problem that you solve? And most of all, why does it matter? In order to be successful with monetization online, you have to focus on the transformation you can provide for people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s crafting hair bows for gymnasts or writing paleo recipes, your focus has to be clear.
A lot of times people want to start a blog but they aren’t quite sure what they want to blog about because they have several different passions. While Lifestyle Bloggers can definitely monetize and become successful, the real key to monetization is to start with a narrow focus.
Are you making this mistake with your side hustle?
When you cover too many different topics, such as motherhood, kids, fashion, and email marketing, people will be confused about what it is that you are an expert in.
I often see women start off blogging about motherhood, and then all of a sudden they are an “expert” in SEO and they are selling a course on “how to start a blog”.
Listen, I don’t care what anyone else tells you…that isn’t a sustainable way for you to make a full-time income as a blogger. It will never happen. I’ve seen people fail, and fail again. You’ll be wasting your time with affiliate links to other blogger’s products that have nothing to do with your blog.
If you worked in marketing for the last 15 years then start a marketing blog, but if you didn’t, then stay in your lane.
Get out of comparisonville, don’t regurgitate other people’s blog posts, and get back in your lane.
Stick with what you know well.
If you’re going to create a video or blog about a topic, make sure you have experience in that topic. Nobody wants to learn about how to grow a YouTube channel by someone who has 3 videos on their channel with 10 subscribers and 20 views.
I once clicked on a Pin on Pinterest which led to a blog article about advice on starting a YouTube channel. As I read through the article, I was becoming skeptical because the advice was counter-intuitive to what is being taught inside the mentorship program I belong to. (In case you didn’t know, I’m a mentor inside of the private groups for YouTube Influencer Sunny Lenarduzzi’s YouTube for Bosses and Authority Accelerator Programs).
We teach people how to be successful on YouTube.
But do some due diligence.
Check out my YouTube channel. It’s not huge, but it’s acceptable. If you like what you see, don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there.
So the moral of the story is….stick with what you know.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
Because that isn’t going to give you a full time income.
Want to learn how to be successful with YouTube so that you can grow your biz like the real GirlBoss that you are? Start here:
Lesson 2: Your Purpose
Creating content is all about focusing on your purpose. Sometimes, bloggers can’t articulate their message, and this ultimately makes it harder to monetize.
Try thinking about this statement:
I help [specific person] to [specific problem you solve] so [specific result they want].
I help driven women entrepreneurs go from feeling stagnant in their business to standing out as leaders so they can fast-track more high-ticket clients and share their unique message with the world.
You definitely want your message to be high level, but also speak to a specific pain point that will get your audiences attention.
Make your purpose clear, specific and results-driven. Ultimately, you want to move people to take the next step in their journey.
Now, if you don’t already know this, your bottom line is highly dependent upon your ability to “do social media” correctly. What does that look like you’re saying to yourself, what exactly does it mean to “do it correctly?”
I think it’s easy to get so focused on building your product that you forget to build your audience. Before you can monetize, you need to have people to sell to. In other words, if you don’t have an email list or a very big social media following, you’ve got to work on that.
Monetization is twofold: it’s about creating your own digital product that will help move your audience closer to their goal, and also suggesting helpful products and services (affiliate links) that will also move your audience closer to their goal.
You can’t monetize your passion if you don’t have someone to sell to. Think about it this way, just because you put your product out there on your website doesn’t mean people are just going to start flocking to it. The social media fairies don’t work that way.
Plus, and this is important, here’s the reality: you’re probably not going to make a huge affiliate income on the day you publish your first affiliate link. People are not going to open up their wallet and buy something they’ve never heard of just because you recommended it in a blog post.
Is it possible to make an affiliate income the moment you hit “publish?” Of course people may read your post, get really into the product you’ve recommended, and buy it. But in my experience it hasn’t been an effective strategy and I wouldn’t rely on it.
And here’s the other thing you should know about affiliate income: it’s inconsistent. I wish affiliate links were a stable way to make an income, but the reality is that there is nothing truly stable about making money by promoting other people’s products. It’s not uncommon for a company to close down their affiliate program, change the terms, or go out of business altogether.
Lesson 3: Your Audience
Herein lies the final key to being successful with monetization. I’ll say it again because it’s so important: You can’t monetize your passion if you don’t have someone to sell to.
So even if you don’t have a product yet, you want to start building your audience from day one.
Regardless of what your background is, believe me, for the last 14 years I’ve been working with people from college educated to physicians to craftsman to students, and when it comes to online marketing and digital advertising, everyone is in the same boat. Your leadership, drive and ambition isn’t about your educational background, it is about your motivation to accelerate your business forward and that is what will make you successful.
Now there are ways to accelerate the process of building your audience. You can use paid ads to get in front of your exact target audience, but there’s a strategy that you need to follow to make it all come together.
Savvy shoppers are now what the Harvard Business review is calling “mobile supershoppers” they know just what they want and they know how to find it.
The question becomes, do you know how to market to them? The success of your online business in the 21st century depends on whether you know how to do it right.
Lets talk about value. Measuring and delivering what your consumer really wants, that is value.
When a customer evaluates a product or a service, they weigh it’s perceived value against it’s asking price, but zeroing in on what they REALLY value can be difficult, because psychologically it’s complicated.
How does that all play in to getting people to buy your product or service online? Well, to make your product valuable, it needs to contain 4 elements:
and provide social impact.
When optimally combined, these 4 elements will increase your customer loyalty and your revenue growth.
But if you’re clueless about the digital business model, tech integrations or how to connect online marketing back to revenue for your business, and nothing else has worked…
And you’re sick and tired of trying to do ALL.THE.THINGS.
Maybe it’s time to outsource the entire scope of the project to an expert with an unparalleled commitment to serving your needs.
Here’s an alternative option for a very limited time…I currently host a Free, private Facebook group where you can ask questions, get solid advice, support, and collaborate with other social media influencers, bloggers, and online entrepreneurs. In early 2020, I will be changing this group from free to paid, so if you would like to get in now, for free, click here to join! Once I officially launch my Masterclass Series, I will only be inviting those who have paid for the course. Why? Because it takes time to answer questions of course and I can’t keep working for free! 🙂 Join now!!
On another note, here’s my best advice for Small Business Owners: Start with a digital audit. I can do a mini-audit of your website and social channels, and then plan a time to talk it over with you, one-on-one in a 1-hour or 2-hour session. I also offer a full-scale digital audit which provides you with a written, step-by-step Action Plan tailored to your business model to help you get you where you’re going. You can implement the plan yourself, hire us to do it for you, or seek out freelance services yourself using Upwork, Fiverr, or Bark.
When you have a written plan, you’ll know exactly what you need to do, and perhaps most importantly, how to communicate it properly in the right ‘industry lingo’ so that you, someone on your team, or a hired freelancer can get it done quickly and efficiently.