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If you are on Facebook (and you most probably are), you might’ve come across advertisements showing pictures of exhilarated guy enjoying his new-found freedom, all thanks to a successful online business he started.
When I first saw this type of ” escaping 9 to 5 and travel anywhere you like” ads, I was skeptical for two reasons:
Reason #1: I was brought up in a family where my parents always told me that I should study hard, get good grades, go to a good college and land a well-paid job. So, the digital nomad lifestyle seems a bit scammy and unimaginable.
Reason #2: None of the people that I know has an online business, nor have I heard anyone started an online business before. My logic was simple. If it was so good, why hasn’t anyone that I know started doing it already?
But, later on I changed my mind.
So, what happened?
I met my then boyfriend(now husband).
My husband is a very entrepreneurial guy. A long time ago, he realized that he didn’t want to get stuck in a 9 to 5 job.
So, he read every book he could get his hand on and scoured the internet for all the information he could find to help him make money online.
When I first met him, he has already started an online business on the side. It was making him a few hundred dollars every month on auto-pilot.
It really opened my eyes when he told me about his online business. To make me believe what he just told me, he even logged into his PayPal account and showed me all the transactions.
That was when I became convinced that it’s really possible to make money online.
But, the truth is that it was not easy.
He put in a lot of hard work and tons of time building his online business from ground up.
He couldn’t remember how many times he had to say no to friends’ invite for drinks on Saturday nights. It was all because he had a goal in mind and he was willing to sacrifice in the short term for the long term gain.
Looking back, I am thankful that he started his side business because the extra income from his online business really helped a lot when both of us lost our jobs unexpectedly.
This unfortunate experience made me realize the importance of having diverse streams of income.
It also made my husband more determined than ever to grow his online business to replace his full time income.
For myself, I also started my own service arbitrage business on the side as well.
Fast forward three years, both my husband and I are working from home now, so we can spend a lot of time with our son and watch him grow up.
That makes all the sacrifice and hard work totally worth it.
Now, enough for our story.
How To Start Your Online Business
Today, I’m starting a new series on how you can make money with an online business. Each part of the series will focus on one type of legitimate online business you can start right now. And I will be sharing with you my first hand experience, so you know how you too can get started.
For this “Start Your Online Business” Series, we will be talking about these five different types of online business:
- Sell Advice Online
- Create & Sell Online Course
- Affiliate Marketing
- Start Online Store
How To Make Money Online By Selling Your Advice
For online courses, you probably know that you’ll need to spend a lot of time to create your online course before you can sell it.
When it comes to selling advice online, you should be relieved that you don’t have to create a 10-module course that comes with videos, audios, PDF downloads, worksheets, case studies, word for word scripts and etc.
All you need to do is to find people who are willing to pay for your advice. Then, you offer your advice to them 1-on-1 via Email, Phone or Skype.
So, I would say that this is probably the easiest online business model to start with.
Once you have some success and experience with 1-on-1 private coaching, you can move on to do group coaching, workshops, masterminds or seminars where you can leverage your time and make much more money.
Of course, you can also choose to productise your expertise in the form of an online course.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can get started selling your advice online.
Step 1: Identify A Profitable Niche
For people who are thinking of getting paid advice, there are two things that they are looking for:
- They want personal help to solve their problem
- They want personal help to get their desired results
So, when you are deciding what advice to sell, you need to think about what problems you can help people solve or what results you can help them get.
For myself, I started a service arbitrage business from scratch and grew it to a consistent 4-figure per month business. So, I decided to launch an advice business to help people who want to do the same.
In general, these are the 3 biggest evergreen markets for coaching:
For each niche, there are many more sub-niches.
Let’s take the niche “Love” as an example. There are sub-niches such as dating advice and relationship advice.
For each sub-niche, you can niche down even further. For example, for dating advice, you can specifically offer dating advice for single introverted guys.
People are willing to pay much more for specialized advice.
Let me give you an analogy.
When your kid falls sick, do you bring him to see a general practitioner or a pediatrician?
Of course, a pediatrician.
Because they specialize in offering medical care for children.
And how much more does a pediatrician charge, compared with a general practitioner?
Much much more.
The more specific problem you can help solve, the easier it is to position yourself as the go-to-expert in that niche and charger much higher for your expertise.
So, what specific problem can you help people solve?
Step 2: Craft Your Offer & Write Sales Page
Once you have decided on what advice you want to sell, what you do next is to craft your offer.
The key to putting together a good offer is to understand what your clients really want.
This is where customer research comes in.
If you already have an email list of subscribers, you can email them and ask them to fill in a simple survey for you.
Below is one survey I created to gather customer insight for my Service Arbitrage 1-On-1 Coaching Program where I give advice to people on how to start their own service arbitrage business.
If you don’t have an email list, you can go where your target audience hang out and find out what is on their mind.
Here are some good places to start:
- Forums for your specific niche
- Amazon Book Reviews
Let’s use dating advice for introverted men as an example.
From your research, you might find out that they are having trouble talking to women and asking them out for dates.
So, your coaching offer could be to help them get better at talking to women and get more dates with women.
Now you have decided on your offer.
Next, you write your sales page.
The purpose of a sales page is to help you sell your coaching offer.
To help you create your sales page, you can ask yourself these few questions:
- What are their pain points (in their own words)?
- What results do they want to achieve (their dreams/desires in their own words)?
- What challenges do they face?
- What is your coaching program and what does it include?
- How is your coaching program going to help overcome their challenges and help them get results?
- What are some success stories of your coaching programs(if any)?
- How much is your coaching program?
- For how long will they be coached by you?
- What are some of the frequently asked questions they might have about your coaching?
A good sales page makes a no-brainer decision for your client to join your coaching program because you have the solution to their specific problem.
Step 3: Find Potential Clients
Now that you have your coaching offer and your sales page ready, what you do next is to find potential clients for your coaching program.
Here’s our plan.
We need to build a list of interested buyers.
How we build our list is by creating a landing page with an attractive opt-in bribe. When people see the opt-in bribe we’ve created, they would give us their email address if they are interested.
For people who are not familiar with the terminology, an opt-in bribe is something we have created to entice people to give us their email address in exchange for the “bribe”. This “bride” can be an eBook, Template, Case Study, Cheat Sheet and etc. It should be related to your coaching offer.
Here is what an opt-in bribe looks like:
Next step is to drive traffic to your landing page and put your opt-in bribe in front of interested people.
If you already have a blog with a sizable audience, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to get traffic for your landing page.
What if you have no blog or email list?
What you can do to get quick results is to make use of social media websites.
Here’s the good news.
It only takes one viral post or video to get thousands of visitors to your landing page.
But, it might take you some hard work and creative thinking to create viral content that gets many shares and likes on social media sites.
Step 4: Sell Your Coaching Offer
Now, you have an email list of interested buyers.
The question now becomes: how do you get them to join your coaching program?
What you can do is to write an email sequence to sell your coaching program.
That is a series of emails that are specially written for the sole purpose of getting sales for your coaching offer.
Before we move on to talk about email sequence, we need to understand how we make our buying decisions:
- We only buy from people whom we trust and like
- We only buy from people whom we believe can help solve our problem or get the results we want
So, how do we create trust in our potential clients?
How do we make them believe that we have the solution to their problem or we can get the results they desire?
Here is where a powerful email sequence comes in.
When done right, your email sequence can be your top sales person working 24/7 for you.
In other words, your email sequence will help make money for you even when you’re sleeping.
How awesome is that!
Now, how do you create your email sequence?
A good email sequence will offer a lot of value for free in the first few emails.
At the start, you will not be selling anything. You are just giving away great content for free.
It serves two purposes:
- Establish your authority in the niche
- Gain trust from your potential clients
If you start selling right from the start, you will face a lot of resistance. Because they don’t really know who you are and what you can do for them.
You only start to sell after you have shown that you can help get the results they want.
Step 5: Optimize
Finally, we’ve come to the last step.
If you have done everything right, you should have gotten at least a few sales. But, our goal is to tweak our system to get as many sales as possible.
How do you do that?
You get feedback from people who have gone through your email sequence but never bought the coaching program.
Ask them for help by sending them a short survey to fill up.
From their feedback, you will get an idea why they never take up your offer. So, you know how you can improve your offer to get better conversions.
Then, you optimize your system until you get a conversion rate that you are comfortable with.