“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it”
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to take our expertise and skills for granted. Now, I bet, like most people, you have spent years and years and years accumulating the skills and expertise you have but your expertise has value. It’s one way you can make money from it.
Now, you may be currently running a business where you’re selling your expertise through the services that you’re providing. I see that as a service-based provider looking to scale, there’s always going to be a ceiling as to what you can charge for your expertise unless you bring a team on board. And you decide that you’re going to scale by growing your team.
If you are a solo entrepreneur, and maybe that is not something that you have an interest in, then there are other ways in which you can make money from your expertise. And it doesn’t necessarily need to boil down to you selling services. The thing about selling services is often, that model is based on a time-for-money approach, meaning you deliver the service you’re offering; there needs to be an element of time attached to that in which our service is going to be provided. And often, service-based businesses calculate the worth of what they’re offering based on that time model.
I know that the hourly rate approach is prevalent in the creative industry. Designers are often billed out based on an hourly rate. So whether you’re a junior in a design agency, your mid-level, or a senior designer, you will have different hourly rates, which will be billed to the client. It is a model that many businesses, especially service providers, use to calculate the services they’re providing. I completely understand that because you need to have something you can base it on.
Often it’s based on what your time is worth. And then, therefore, that’s what you then build out to your clients. Now the problem with that is you are very much reliant on being there working daily, hour by hour, to generate revenue for your business. In the long term, it’s not the best approach to building a solid business because the business is on your shoulders. So when you are looking at scaling, unless you can bring more people on board and build out a great team that can support you.
It isn’t easy to scale when the onus is on you to provide the services to your clients, which means you are capped on the revenue you can make. Now, you can increase your prices, which is a great way to generate additional income. But also, you risk losing clients, and you don’t want to pay those higher prices. So many entrepreneurs don’t take that approach because they don’t want to rock the boat. So then what could happen is that you end up delivering your services based around your time, but always been limited as to the number of clients you can take on. You’ll never be pushing the boundaries of what you can earn if you’re only capped or what is feasible in terms of the time and energy you have.
As a business owner, it makes sense to look at other ways to generate revenue for your business. And this starts with the mindset and almost shapes the mindset to look beyond just providing services. I’ve been a service provider of an independent business for many years. When I started in the world of digital entrepreneurship, it took me time to get my head around how else I could make money because I was used to trading that time for money. So I would be providing the service in exchange for somebody paying me for it.
It is a very different position to be in when you are looking at your business, looking at how you can make money and then coming at it from a place of providing more product-based results than service-based offerings. So it does very much start with a mindset and almost cultivating a mindset open to change. Because when you step into the role of a CEO that works in the digital space, it is a very different type of mindset because you’re building to sell on repeat, as opposed to just delivering services over and over again. So the mindset plays huge importance when providing a different approach to your business.
Now there are many opportunities available to us, especially now that we sit in this digital age. And we have more tools available to us. And we have more audiences available through social media and online. And that’s great because that does bring forward huge amounts of opportunity available to us in ways that we can generate revenue through different means. So it doesn’t all have to be from us selling our time. Because we have limited time, there’s only so much time in the day, and there’s only so much capacity that one person can take on board.
Most importantly, there’s only so much energy that you have to give to your clients. And then when you’re finished with a project, and then you start on that treadmill of having to find new clients, you’re just getting caught up on that hamster wheel of having to find new clients to keep the lights on in your business, but then having to be there to provide them with the service so that you can pay the bills. And then, once they’re done having to get back on that hamster wheel of finding new clients.
The truth of it is it’s exhausting!
It’s tiring because you’re always in this fight or flight mode. So when things are good, it’s grey, and you’re soaring. And you know, business is doing well. And you’ve had plenty of revenue coming in. But if you hit a time of the year, maybe where things slowed down, or perhaps something outside of our control happens that affects the business, that can bring in problems and challenges of overcoming those problems. And I think one thing about the pandemic, I don’t believe anyone saw that come in.
So when it happened, I think it took a lot of business owners by surprise and of course, it did affect how the business went on to trade because businesses stopped selling for some time, especially small business owners who experienced struggles because they didn’t have the customers available. And I know during that period, I spoke to many of my clients where businesses had just fallen off a cliff because people were not spending. And if people are not spending, it’s tough to have people buy your products or your services and keep the walls from the doors. So I know when things happen that sit outside of your control.
It’s almost as though it’s unexpected. If you are a business owner that only delivers a service-based offering, that can lead to problems because it means that you only have one route to market. And if people are not buying their service, because maybe they’re holding back finances because of the uncertainty they’re sitting in, then that can be difficult when it comes to generating revenue for your business.
By learning from what we’ve all been through the pandemic and applying those lessons to our business, I believe lesson number one, must be to build a business that doesn’t solely rely on you. It doesn’t depend on you solely being there to deliver the service day in and day out because what happens if you get sick? Or have other things to prioritise? It becomes very challenging to keep a business going when your head is not in the game and so, for those reasons, I think it’s vital to look at other ways to bring revenue into your business. Because we live in a very digital age, trading online is becoming more common.
If you’re a service-based provider, there are many ways that you can make money simply by sharing your expertise. I’m going to share my top 5 ways to start monetising your expertise. I hope it gets you thinking about your business and how you can strengthen your business model by starting to consider diversifying your revenue streams.
The more you make money, the stronger your business will be because you’re investing in an asset, and your asset has value. But it only has value if it’s making money.
5 ways to make money online
Approach 1: Affiliate marketing
This has two approaches to it.
The first approach is to become an affiliate for a tool or service you are using. If you are using a tool that your business heavily relies upon, then why not become an affiliate for that tool. Simply referring other people to that tool, you can then generate money or cashback when someone signs up.
Now, some tools will provide it in credit, but some will give you cash back, and it’s worth looking at the tools you’re using to see if they have an affiliate scheme you can join because if you’re using a tool and find it useful to support your business, then why not share it amongst your audience and let your audience know about it.
The caveat here is that you have to believe in the tool you’re recommending. It’s about having the integrity behind your actions and your motivations. Only recommend a tool if you are using it for your business.
The other affiliate method you could take is that if you have a programme or an online course that you sell, then why not create an affiliate scheme for your students?
If you bring your students on board, they can promote your course or programme on your behalf. Now affiliate schemes are a great way to bring ambassadors and who best to bring onto your affiliate programme. The people that have taken your course, or they’ve taken your programme because they will be your cheerleaders.
They have first-hand experience of what you have created and the benefits that it’s made to their life. So why not reach out to them and ask them if they want to become an affiliate, and then set up an affiliate scheme where perhaps you give them a small amount of money every time somebody signs up to your course or your programme, or it could be in line with a credit of some kind.
Approach 2: Membership
The second idea for making money online is creating a membership site.
Membership sites are where people sign up for something that has a reoccurring charge. The membership must provide them with value of some kind. So what can you create in your business that can offer a membership?
For example, if you are a creative and design a lot of templates, could you create a membership site based on templates that people may need in their business?
Not everybody can create well-designed templates so there might be a gap for you to step into to create reoccurring revenue for your business. There are so many membership sites online so it’s worth researching what other people offer.
If you’re a fitness company, you could offer a membership for online coaching, perhaps where they get fitness plans or nutrition plans, or they get something that your audience will want in exchange for being a part of your membership.
Membership models are great because they enable you to grow your audience and bring in consistent revenue. And if somebody were to leave your membership, you’re not going to feel the effects. Because it’s a volume-based model, you’re looking at building up volume members to make it lucrative. So it could be a low-, high-value offer that you provide your audience, but it brings them into your funnel to nurture them further and give them some great value as well.
Approach 3: Video Series
So my third suggestion is about creating a video series online that you sell. So if you make many how-to videos in your business, then why not create a video series that you can package up and sell online.
Approach 4: Creating Templates
Now my fourth suggestion is about creating and marketing templates.
Marketplaces like Etsy and Creative Market have made it easy to create shops where you can sell templates, workbooks, and resources that help other entrepreneurs. So if you find that you have a lot of templates that you use in your business, and they would be of high value to other entrepreneurs, then why not consider setting up a shop on Etsy or Creative Market and selling them that way.
And you can do well because they bring in high volume traffic. So if you approach it correctly, it can be pretty lucrative for your business.
Approach 5: Online courses
And of course, my fifth and final suggestion is digital online courses.
This is a great way to package up and leverage your knowledge and expertise by creating an online course that can help your audience achieve something. So that’s something could be a skill, it could be a way of thinking, it could be how to do something that will be valuable to their life or business.
So what could you create an online course on? If you facilitate a transformation of any kind, then you can create an online course. And they are compelling ways of building up that passive revenue in your business. They also help strengthen your business model by giving you something to sell.
God forbid anything to happen again, such as the pandemic. If you’re a service-based provider, you could go about selling your online course online because you can focus your energy online instead of selling your services. And that helps you to diversify your offering. So if you haven’t considered it already, I encourage you to think about how you can monetise your expertise and package it up and provide value to your audience whilst diversifying your revenue streams.
Enjoyed this article?
Why not listen here to my podcast episode: #4 How to monetise your expertise online