This year, I will make more money from my once side job than my other business that used to be my main source of income. So, how did I make that happen? I not only took action, and put in a lot of work, but I put effort in the right places. Doing this over time eventually brought the results I was looking for. But to be more exact, there are four main things that I contribute my success to, and here they are:
1. I made a plan to build my audience first.
Although some choose to dive straight into selling their products, being able to work on your dreams as a side hustle gives you the freedom to build relationships long before you ask for anything in return. I began building my online audience ten years ago, and it’s because I built my audience first, rather than my product, that I gained more trust for when I finally asked for a favor in return. I produced content for six years before I provided life coaching and consulting services, and it is just this year that I am asking my audience to buy my first book. Some try to sell their products first, but giving away years of free content on my blog before I went for a sale is why I can ask people to pay for my services and products and not feel bad about it.
2. My passion far outweighed my fears.
My fears told me that I didn’t want to be a consultant or a life coach because I didn’t feel adequate enough to help people build businesses or become a better version of themselves. (Yes, the guy who wrote a book about bravery has fears.) But my passion to help others helped me overcome my own fears. People will tell you that you need to find passion because it will make you happy, but there’s more to it than that. You need passion because it is the one thing that repeatedly produces bravery.
3. I put boundaries on my time.
Once I built my audience online, people began sending me tons of email. There were days that all I would do was reply to emails—maybe you’ve been there—and that always seemed to pull me away from creating my best work. So, I set up my consulting and coaching services partly to put a price tag on my time. (The other reason that I did coaching and consulting is that the startup cost is low and the return is high.) Of course, I don’t mind replying to emails that ask simple questions, but to help those who need assistance with lengthy life and business plans, my time and focus is taken away from everything else I have going on. And to do anything meaningful in life you must learn to give time away and to protect your time. (The reason that coaching and consulting is needed is that one-size-fits-all advice rarely works, and to give advice that is useful, I have found that taking the time to truly listen to one’s needs is necessary.)
I am grateful that my audience gave me my business idea, and if your audience does the same for you, make sure to jump on the opportunity to provide value to the people who have put trust in you. But also don’t forget to put boundaries on your time as well. The only way to grow your business is to put your time where it is needed most.
4. Instead of quitting, I became more creative.
Building a business from scratch is extremely difficult, even when you already have an audience. I can’t imagine what it’s like without an audience and I also can’t imagine what it’s like starting in 2017, given that I began building my online audience ten years ago. I’m guessing that it is much tougher today, but still possible. And with focusing on the right things, not only possible, but probable.
Anyway, in the beginning, there wasn’t a steady flow of paying clients, so I had to get creative with attracting new customers. So, I gave away twenty free consultations to new clients to help drum up business—and it worked. To give away things for free, when you have worked so hard on your curriculum, teachings, and products may feel like you’re being robbed in the moment, but this is only true when you put too much weight on the process.
The market doesn’t care that you romanticize the time you’ve put in; they only care about their immediate experience. People tell other people the good and the bad of their experience with you and your business from their perspective, not someone else’s prior perspective. This is why it is so important to provide value each and every day. Show up, be creative with the process, offer a great experience, and repeat.