October 7, 2018

How To Start Making Money Online

I. Intro
II. What are you good at?
III. What do you enjoy doing?
IV. What’s the market opportunity?
V. What business model is scalable?
VI. Things You Don't Need To Get Started 
VII. Things You DO Need To Get Started
VIII. Wrapping Up

I. Intro

I remember what it felt like when I was starting my 1st online business. 

It was 2015. 

I knew nothing about freelancing, direct response copywriting or making money online. 

All I had back then was the idea in my head. 

But what kind of business would I start? What niche would I pursue?  

I didn't even know what questions to ask (now I do). 

So here’s what you need to figure out before you do anything else…

II. What are you good at?

Most people spend 90% of their time on what they're not
 best at and what they don't like doing - and only 10% of their time on their best and most enjoyable ability. Geniuses delegate the
90%... and spend all their time on their "unique ability". -Dave Kekich

Click to Tweet

In other words, what are your skills (that pay da billz)?

Business is about exchanging value - you do something for me and I pay you money to get the benefit of whatever it is you’re offering.

Here are some examples of popular online skills you can use to start a business:

You get the idea.

In all these examples you’re using your skills to solve SPECIFIC problems and customers/clients/users pay you money in exchange.

It might sound pretty obvious, but if you don't have in-demand skills it’s going to be hard to convince people to pay you.

And I see this all the time.

People say, “How can I start making $10,000 a month?

And I’m like “Well what are you good at? How exactly are you going to help people?” and all I hear is crickets.

You need hard skills (like sales, copywriting, paid traffic, etc) and the more, the better. Soft skills (like reading people or being likable) are important too.

III. What do you enjoy doing?

It’s become popular to tell people they should follow their passion. This is terrible advice.

SIDEBAR: Ramit Sethi has a great explanation of why "following your passion" is a mistake.

What happens is you end up wasting years trying to “find it” when it’s not something you FIND - it’s something you CREATE.

Read that last sentence again so it sinks in...

You don’t need to do something you love.

That’d be nice, but it isn’t necessary.

Because at the end of the day it’s still WORK and that often involves doing things you don’t want to do.

You work because you think it’s a good tradeoff (and in exchange you get money, you get to buy stuff that makes you happy, you get freedom to travel, you get financial security for the future, etc.).

But you don’t need to love your work.

Just don’t hate it.

Find something you can see yourself doing for several years (where you can continuously improve) and do that.

Because it takes time to see results and if you keep changing your mind and following your latest passion you’ll never get anywhere.

Success likes consistency and all the little things you do every day have a compounded effect over time (that’s how people really become an “overnight” success).

Be honest with yourself:

  • If you hate writing don't start an email newsletter
  • If you love doing Facebook Lives or Periscopes do them
  • If you really enjoy build funnels or webinars do that
  • If you enjoy writing 3,000 word blog posts go ahead
  • If you love phone sales do it

What about the high ROI on email?

Doesn't fucking matter if you hate it.

What about using webinars for high-ticket sales?

Doesn't matter if you hate building webinars.

What about using FB groups for coaching?

Doesn't matter if you'd rather do live events.

People will always advise you to do the things that have made them successful, but they might not be the right fit for your strengths and personality.

  • An email marketer will tell you you HAVE to do email
  • A Clickfunnels builder will say you NEED a funnel
  • A YouTube expert will tell you "everything is moving to video"

Doesn't matter if you hate it and they pull you AWAY from the things you enjoy doing

"But I'm leaving money on the table if I don't do X"

No you're not

Because by going ALL IN on the things:

  • You're good at
  • You enjoy
  • That are monetizable
  • And scalable

You'll have an exponential effect.

Why do you think I do long-form interviews instead of a podcast?

Because I prefer to WRITE.

Because I prefer to READ.

And I hate watching marketing videos because they take too long to consume.

I create what I WANT TO SEE.

Which means I put more energy and care into it.

And because I'm creating what I want I'm going to attract people who want the same things.

FYI - You can outsource, delegate, automate and eliminate all the things you hate.

But you definitely don't need to do them yourself because someone else said so.

IV. What’s the market opportunity?

So you have some skills and you found something you enjoy doing that you can grow into over time.

Now what?

Now you need to do some research and figure out what the market is willing to pay you for.

When I say the market, I’m talking about the group of people who are willing to buy from you.

  • Maybe it’s health nuts who buy supplements.Maybe it’s avid travelers who want to learn how to speak Spanish.
  • Maybe it’s freelancers who want to discover how to get consistent high-paying clients.

Either way, you need to find out who those people are and understand them really well.

It may sound obvious, but a lot of aspiring business owners skip this step.

Startups are notorious for this!

They’ll build an app or piece of software just because it sounds like a good idea, but they never get a firm grasp of who they’re selling to.

Then they run out of money and go out of business because they were trying to sell something nobody wanted in the 1st place.

You don’t want to end up in that situation.

V. What business model is scalable?

When you’re thinking about a business, think about whether it can scale from $2k in profit to $200k, whether you can potentially support millions of customers, and what your best case potential might be.

If the business has little room for growth, think about entering a different business.

-The Millionaire Fastlane

The amazing thing about online business is global reach. 

Whenever you businesses like street vendors and food trucks, they're limited by time and geography. 

If you're selling tacos, you can only sell them to people that are near your taco truck. 

You're also not able to work 24 hours a day and you'll probably have little to know customers late at night or early in the morning. 

With the internet, you don't have this issue.

Freelancers tend to hit a ceiling around 3-4 clients (or the $30,000 monthly revenue mark). You literally run out of time to work with more clients.

Once again, this isn't bad.

Maybe you're happy making $30K a month. 

Or maybe you're happy working with 3-4 clients. 

On the other hand, marketing agencies, e-commerce companies like Amazon and Zappos and software companies like AWeber, Netflix and Spotify are examples of scalable business models. 

VI. Things You Don't Need To Get Started 

I know the temptation is to do a bunch of things. Don't. 

Here's a list of things that are completely unnecessary as a beginner:

  • A VA
  • A logo
  • A website
  • Paid traffic
  • An email list
  • A ton of money
  • A vision statement
  • A mission statement
  • Social media accounts
  • Fancy proposal or invoicing software

VII. Things You DO Need To Get Started

  • A target audience (with a problem)
  • An offer (your solution)
  • A way to find clients/customers
  • A way to close these customers (sales)
  • A way to communicate your message (copywriting)
  • A way to collect $$ (like Paypal)

If you're focusing on anything in the 1st list, I just saved you a shitload of time.

Time you can be using to make money.

I've made a lot of those mistakes myself because you tell yourself that you're starting a "business" but let's be real - it's not a Fortune 500 company.

One day? Possibly. But not right now. 

You just need to find customers/clients who'll pay you money.

That's it.

Without sales, you aren't going anywhere.

Worry about all the "formalities" later when you have consistent money coming in.

If you're just getting started and you're "working on your business" you're probably working on a lot of the wrong things.

You need to be OK with saying "No."

You need to be OK with not doing certain things (for now).

You need to be OK with ignoring a lot of stuff other businesses have and do. 

Also, don't waste time with a business plan.

Especially in the beginning, you have no idea what you're doing.

You're going to experiment and fail constantly.

Which means your "plan" will also change constantly as you adapt.

Here's what you DO need:

A simple MARKETING plan. 

And it doesn't have to be a 10 page document.

Just a few sentences that tell me:

  • What are you selling?
  • To who?
  • How?
  • And why should they buy from you?

VIII. Wrapping Up

Forget about all this formal business stuff you THINK you need to get started.

  • Think small
  • Think fast
  • Think scrappy

You need sales and you need to build massive momentum.

  • Constant marketing
  • Constant conversations
  • Constant audience building

Rinse and repeat.

You're going to do the same exact marketing activities every week.

For most of you, that means:

- Creating content or sending cold emails
- Talking to potential clients/customers
- And... that's it

That's all you have to do.

Remember: Business is SEQUENTIAL.

In other words, you need to go through growth stages.

Walk before you crawl.

Because certain things are important at certain stages while other things are less important.

Like math, you're not going to learn advanced concepts unless you've learned the fundamentals.

And every stage of your business builds on the stages that came before it.

If you're doing activities that don't DIRECTLY impact sales, you should probably cut them out (for now).


Freelance Foundations
The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco
Mastery by Robert Greene
Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment by George Leonard

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