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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:
How To Make Money Online By Selling Your Expertise & Knowledge
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 your expertise & knowledge 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 in 5 simple steps.
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 problems 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 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, what you can do is to 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
Now, let’s use dating advice for introverted men as an example.
let’say, from your research, you 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.
Once you have decided on your offer, the next step is to create your sales page.
A sales page is like your top “sales person” who works 24/7 and never sleeps.
A good sales page makes it a no-brainer decision for your client to join your coaching program because you have the right solution to their specific problem.
When I was working on my sales page, it helped me a lot by asking myself a list of questions because it gave me clarity on exactly what I should put on my sales page.
So, here are the same questions you can ask yourself and help you put together your salespage faster and easier:
- 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?
In any good sales page, you will see the following five elements:
- Demonstrate a good understanding of your client’s pain and challenges
- Give a clear description of your offer (price, duration etc)
- Address all the possible objections and concerns
- Display testimonials/case studies of your past clients (if any)
- Answer all the frequently asked questions
When you are creating your own sales page, you can use the checklist above to make sure that you are missing out on any of them.
Step 3: Find Potential Clients
Once 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 your plan to get client.
You first need to build an email list of interested buyers.
How you build your email list is by creating a landing page with an attractive “opt-in bribe” (i.e. lead magnet).
When people arrive on your landing page, they would agree to sign up to your email list in exchange for the “opt-in bride” 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 one of my opt-in bribes looks like:
Once you have created your landing page and lead magnet, your next step is to drive traffic to your landing page and put your opt-in bribe in front of as many interested people as possible.
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 platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Quora.
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.
Here’s what I did when I just started out to build an email list.
I became very active on Quora and leveraged its traffic to get my first 1,000 email subscribers.
Now, I am also working on growing my blog to build my email list by publishing consistently high quality content that my target audience will like to read and share.
If you don’t already have a blog, you can easily set it up in a few minutes by getting a domain name and a web hosting plan.
Both are good and reliable web hosting companies that offer very affordable hosting plans for people who are just starting out online.
With Namecheap, you can get a web hosting plan at just $1.44 per month for the first year. And you can register a domain name at as low as $8.80.
And what’s included in the hosting plan is more than enough for your online business at the start.
Once you have your website all set up, you can start learning about SEO and also guest posting to drive more free organic traffic to your blog.
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.
This 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 should only start selling after you have demonstrated 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 gain some insight as to 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.