Want to Make Money Online But Not Sure Where To Start?
Most side hustles and online businesses have similarities.
We've dissected the similarities and created this guide to teach beginners how to make money online, even if they've never made a dollar outside of a real job.
DISCLAIMER: The advice I'm giving is if you have an area of expertise that you want people to pay you for. Some good examples are: how to lose weight, how to do sales, how to cook, how to knit puppies out of yarn.
Why Should You Start Making Money Online?
Here are 3 Good Reasons
You'll Hedge Your Risks
It's easy to learn this lesson during Covid 19. Millions of people are filing for unemployment. The fear and uncertainty is stifling. If you have the knowledge and confidence to take an idea and QUICKLY validate it by getting a few paying clients, you'd be in a much more comfortable position. You wouldn't be watching the news every day hoping a vaccine was discovered so you could go back to work or apply for a new job.
This is what it means to diversify your risks. Your future and the financial security of your family isn't in the hands of someone else.
It's up to you.
You'll learn a new skill and gain confidence.
My first REAL online business was editing photos for people. I signed up for an account on Upwork and put up my photography profile.
I loved editing at the time, and I thought it would be a cool way to earn some extra cash.
I was SOOO pumped when I got my first gig.
The client sent me over some photos and I quickly turned them around and got about $100 deposited into my account. This was the first time someone I never met sent me money online.
I was hooked.
Since then, I've made money editing videos, doing digital marketing, selling online courses, consulting, high ticket phone sales, and hiring and scaling teams.
Right now, I run 4 successful online businesses. ]
And to think, this all started with me putting up a profile on Upwork to edit some photos in Photoshop.
As you start your first, second, or third business online, you learn and carry skills forward in life, you will grow and become more empowered.
Doing something new and growing consistently has a positive side effect we rarely acknowledge. We fill up our confidence tank along the way.
Once you realize you can CREATE your own narrative and another source of income yourself, you empower yourself. You are the creator of your own life. You've just never realized it until you started going through the actions. As that confidence grows, so do the opportunities and income you attract.
You'll destroy your limiting beliefs as you scale your rates and offers
How much we charge for what we do is a direct correlation with how we perceive our self worth.
Think of a time you put in a LOT of effort and received a pittance for your work. How did you feel?
In 2010, there was a massive blizzard in Washington DC.
I came up with the bright idea to make some extra money shoveling people's driveways with 2 of my friends.
We put up an ad on Craigslist and quickly started getting requests for our services.
I wasn't sure how much to charge, so I thought I'd just throw out a number.
We charged $60 for our first job. The woman on the other end of the line JUMPED at the offer and asked when could we start. This should have been a flag.
When we arrived, we were given a few shovels and we got to work.
With my first scoop, I realized we got the short end of the deal.
I was standing on what I thought was about 2 feet of snow.
About half a foot in, my shovel hit solid ice. The entire driveway took the 3 of us 3 hours to clear. And we walked away with $20 each. This came out to a little under $7 an hour of hard manual labor for each of us. Needless to say, we increased our rates dramatically on the next job.
What's the lesson here?
When you dictate your own prices, you have your finger on the pulse of what the market thinks of the value you provide.
When you first start, a common mistake is to overvalue the amount of value you provide.
This realization will hit you like a bucket of cold water.
If people aren't willing to pay you what you want for your work, then your work isn't as valuable as you thought.
But that's ok.
This is something you can fix.
What can you do to increase the value people receive?
Can you add more services?
Can you take on a partner that offers something additional?
The first goal of ANY business is to find people who love what you do or sell and are willing to pay for it.
Once you find people willing to pay for your service, start to fine tune how much you charge.
As you witnessed with my snow shoveling story, your intution will kick in if you aren't charging your worth.
What should you do?
Keep your services the same and INCREASE YOUR RATES.
If you're getting hired 100 percent of the time, then you're charging too little for what you do.
Aim to get hired by 4/10 people you pitch to.
This is a good rule of thumb to find what your fair market value is.
As you do this repeatedly, your self worth and confidence will NATURALLY grow. You'll feel reassured by the people referring their friends to you and hiring you again and again.
This is one way to build confidence and self worth. But providing value to others and receiving positive feedback for it.
If people JUMP at your offer, you aren't charging enough.
You can get anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want
Where Should You Start?
If you're still reading, you're probably ready to get started. The most important question to ask yourself is this:
What am I offering?
If you have an idea for what you want to sell, skip this and go to the next question.
If you don't, I wrote an article of my favorite side hustles ranked by 3 factors that I use to evaluate every opportunity. You can read it here.
If you want to brainstorm some ideas, let's go through an exercise I learned from Ramit Sethi.
If you don't know who Ramit is, I highly suggest you check him out.
I've learned so much from him and he continues to put out a ton of very valuable information on his website: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
What Do You Already Spend Money On?
If you follow what you spend money on, you'll find what is important to you. We only spend money on the things we need, the things we want, and the things we find valuable.
What do you spend money on now that might be something you can turn into an online business?
Examples: Every buy anything online?
Maybe you can Sell things on Amazon or Ebay.
Ever bought an online course?
Maybe you can help other people create outlines for their online courses.
What Skills Do You Already Have?
What do you ALREADY know that you feel confident doing?
You don't need to be an expert, you just need to know MORE than the people paying you.
The movie Catch Me If You Can told the story of a con man named Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo di Caprio) who posed as a teacher at BYU and taught a class. He even collected a salary teaching there.
Once, he was asked how he tricked everyone into believing he was a teacher.
He said all he had to do to fool the students was just be one chapter ahead of the students.
Now, what he did was FRAUD.
So don't impersonate anyone.
But what skills do you have that you’re great at — and people want to pay you to teach them.
You don't need to know EVERYTHING bout that subject. Just enough than the people who want to learn from you.
Here are some examples of skills you can use IMMEDIATELY to start teaching people for money:
Fluency in a foreign language, programming, SEO, cooking skills, etc.
What Do Your Friends Say You're Great At?
If you're having trouble coming up with ideas, ask your friends and family that now you really well. This is an exercise I've heard Gary Vaynercheuk and Pat Flynn mention.
Ask them this: "What's a unique skill or trait I have? What's something you would ask my advice for?"
Examples: Workout routines, relationship advice, great fashion sense, etc.
What Do You Enjoy Doing When No One Is Looking?
What do you do early in the morning or late at night when no one is looking? This is incredibly revealing. I started my passion for photography and videography because of this question. I could spend HOURS getting lost in taking photos and editing videos.
Here are some examples:
Reading about stocks, working on your car, creating fun IG stories, etc.
Who Is Your Ideal Client?
Now that you know WHAT you want to sell, it's time to learn WHO we're selling to.
This is the NUMBER ONE problem most entrepreneurs have when they start. They try to sell to EVERYONE.
When you try to sell to everyone, you sell to NO ONE.
Imagine if you woke up one day and had a THROBBING toothache. The kind where you drink a sip of cold water and your tooth shoots a needle into your brain. So you throw your flip flops on over your socks and run out the door in your pj's to the corner CVS. As you're get to the pain killer section, you find two options.
Option A is a pain killer for every type of pain you can think of:
- sprained ankles
Option B is a pain killer SPECIFICALLY designed for throbbing toothaches:
This is the best over the counter pain killer for toothaches. It has a special formula that hinders the transmission of pain by blocking nerve signals from the tooth to the brain and reduces inflammation by up to 75%.
Without Thinking, which one would you pick up?
This is why it's so important that we need to know who our ideal client is. So we can slice through the noise like a warm knife through butter. If we do the work NOW, we will know how to attract them and how to sell to them.
Here are some questions to get crystal clear on who your ideal client is:
What Are Their Desires?
Who is the type of person who needs what you are offering and what are their desires?
What is something they:
- Don't have at all?
- Desire more of?
- Want fixed (because it feels broken)?
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs will help you understand people's desires.
Every thing a person desires or wants fixed falls within Maslow's hierarchy of needs (picturd above).
Depending on where they are in this pyramid, their biggest desires are going to fall in the realm RIGHT ABOVE where they currently are.
Just because someone advances in the pyramid DOESN'T mean they can't fall back. People are moving up and down the pyramid throughout life.
Also, many needs are MULTI MOTIVATED, meaning they're motivated by several factors. One example is that you want to make a lot of money to take care of your basic food, water, and shelter, but ALSO to belong to a "higher income tax bracket" which comes with it's own badges of success and recognition. This one need is motivated by all 4 of the first levels of Maslow's pyramid.
At the very top of the pyramid, the self actualization need is the only need that is not motivated by a deficiency.
This means, people are are driven by a desire for growth and change at this highest level. Not because they are lacking something as they are in the lower levels.
I will show you how I went through this exercise and where I am right now in Maslow's hierarchy of needs:
Something I Don't Have
I don't have a fully automated business that is giving me the absolute freedom to pursue my own personal growth while also taking care of my family and the people I care about. (Safety needs)
Something I Desire More Of
I desire more time with my family and friends that inspire me. I really want to start a large project with several inspiring friends and mentors to create real change in the worl. (Love and Belonging needs)
Something I want Fixed
I want to fully surrender into accepting who I am and not being influenced by the fear of other people's judgments of me. (Esteem needs)
If you look at my answers, I'm in DIFFERENT LEVELS of the hierarchy based on the different areas of my life.
Once I've achieved financial freedom for myself, I've dropped back down in the lower part of the pyramid because my goals have changed. Now I want to take care of my family and the people I care about WITHOUT working harder.
Also, being recognized by my peers doesn't motivate me anymore. Being recognized and loved by myself is the highest motivation for me.
Once you've established where you are in the pyramid, begin looking at this pyramid through the lens of the people you want to work with. And go through the same exercise.
Where Does Your Ideal Client Hangout?
With those answers in hand, ask yourself where do they go when they want to look for a solution to their problems online?
This exercise will help you discover where they all congregate to talk about the problems they're experiencing and communicate with other people with similar goals.
If you tune into the conversations going on here, you'll be able to discover the exact information you need to create a solution everyone wants and offer it in a way that cuts through he noise by highlighting the benefits they actually want.
The best solutions are marketed to people in the exact words they use to describe their problems.
My FAVORITE place to learn more about my ideal client are Facebook Groups:.
Here are the steps I go through to learn more about my ideal client in FB groups:
Search inside the group for these phrases:
- “why is it”
- “when can I”
- “what are the”
- “what is the”
- “how come I”
- “need help”
- “please help”
- “I need”
- “help with”
Start replying to these comments with your advice and expertise.
Doing this throughout several groups will allow you to begin building a presence as an expert.
When you spot people who are your ideal clients, offer to get on a call with them for a free consultation call. This call is to give value, demonstrate your knowledge, and get them as a client if it's a good fit.
I'll talk about how to sell later on in this post.
Prefer to Watch?
I made a quick video of the steps above in case you wanted to see the exercise in action.
I purposely went through this in under 5 minutes because this should NOT take a lot of time if you know what to look for.
Use the search terms I gave you and start lining up some calls!
Additional Places to Explore
Aside from FB groups, you can also do the same in Linkedin, Instagram, reddit, etc.
I am only going to go over FB for now because it's easy to get overwhelmed if you have more than 1 option.
Plus, FB groups is the best in my opinion.
Where are They on Their Journey?
Most people think their journey is a direct path.
Let't take digital entrepreneurship for example.
If you haven't started yet, you probably think you're at Point A trying to get to Point B.
You just need to pick one way to learn how to make money online and then focus on it until you're successful.
In digital entreprneurhsip (as with everything in life), it's a LOT harder than it may seem.
I remember when I was just about to start learning about how to make money online.
I was skeptical.
I saw all these internet gurus livnig all over the world working from their laptops and supposedly making millions. Was this real? or was this all a scam to get me to fork over a couple thousand dollars.
The first step of the journey for me was actually believing this was a possibility. That you could create an income online WITHOUT scamming people.
I was scared.
Would I be able to do this? I didn't know anyone who had made any money online. What about my career? If I tried this, would I be wasting my time and slowing my growth in my career I've been focused on for the last decade?
The second step of my journey was working up to courage to go AGAINST everything I was working for my entire life. Go against the advice of my friends and family. In all reality, this was the hardest step for me. This step took me over a year to go ALL IN. And this is what it takes to make real progress. To go 100 percent in. You can't dip your toe in and expect to completely change your life.
Figuring Out What To Do and How Much to Charge
This step was a bit easier for me because I've had a lot of experience in sales. The first way I made money online was to create a profile on Upwork to edit photos and videos for people.
I figured out what most people were charging online and priced myself cheaper than them for the first couple of clients to get reviews. After that, I slowly raised my rate and started outsourcing the labor.
I would charge $5-10 to edit a photo and I found really talented Russian editors to do the work for $1 a photo.
Most people will do the work themselves and think that's the best way.
Your most valuable resource is your time.
I strongly believe you need to be an expert in what you do before you build out a team to help with the workload. But most people get stuck doing the work themselves and are never able to multiply themselves and consequently their income.
I went from photo editing to video editing to copywriting to creating sales funnels with videos to affiliate marketing to PR.
Make sure to keep trying new things if you AREN'T 100% happy with what you're doing.
It's so much easier learning, getting better, and making money doing something you LOVE than something you hate.
This was an uncomfortable step for me because I've always had trouble asking for help.
However, this step has made the biggest impact in my life.
When you work with a mentor who has created something you can barely even fathom (examples: make 7-8 figures a year, work a few hours a week, have homes all over the world), it SMASHES through your limiting beliefs.
I realized I had constructed an invisible ceiling to what I could hope to earn in my life. It was constructed based on who I knew and grew up with. But when I started getting mentored by people who's lives EXCITED me, I realized they weren't much different than me.
They all have 2 eyes, a braind, and a couple hands and feet.
The only things that separated them from me were:
- What they said no to and how protective they were of their time
- Their belief in how much they were worth
- How high they set their goals
- How adamant they were with working with people better than them
My journey will be different than yours.
Your journey will be different than your clients or the people you teach.
But we don't learn from walking a well lit path from A to B. We learn from running into obstacles and carving our own way through the forest.
We learn how to survive and move forward DESPITE the obstacles.
And as we carve our own way, we can now act as guides for everyone that hasn't started or hasn't gotten that as far as you in their own journeys.
If you get laser-focused on guiding your clients forward on their journey, you'll find fulfillment and success as you continue building your business online.
Make The Sale
Ask for the sale
This step can be pretty nerve racking for people.
I believe it's because we are vulnerable.
We've decided to get out of our comfort zone and go on this journey to create a better life for ourselves.
We've done the work to learn what we are selling or providing, understanding where are clients are in their lives and how can better serve them.
When we ask someone to hire us or buy from us, we are vulnerable because they can say "NO".
For some people, this NO is personal.
This NO can be another sign that you made the wrong decision and should have listened to the people who know you.
You should never have gone on this journey.
This is just another step towards a slow, agonizing death. A few more no's and you'll be humiliated and need to crawl back to your old life.. head hung in shame.
Another notch on your failure belt.
It's these fears and thoughts that put so much pressure and "needy" vibes into you when you ask someone for the sale.
When you get to this step, you want to pay attention to the type of energy you are coming from.
Beforee you ask someone to hire you or tell someone how much you charge, take a mental note of your energy.
If you're like me when I first started selling, I sold from scarcity.
- Your breathing becomes shallow
- Your chest tightens.
- You have a pit in your stomach.
You're afraid of them saying no before you even ASK.
THIS IS NOT THE ENERGY WE WANT TO PUT OUT.
3 Types of Sales Vibes
There are three main types of sales vibes most people give out when they sell.
"You need to buy this or I'll die."
This energy comes from scarcity and neediness.
Scarcity vibes are our fight or flight automatic response.
It's our body nonverbally communicating to people that we REALLY need this sale.
This is the fastest way to not sell anything.
"You need to buy this or YOU'll die."
This energy comes from the same source as scarcity, but you're using it to manipulate people.
You're communicating, I have this secret and you don't.
I have what you need and I am going to sell it to you because you don't know what you're doing.
This method unfortunately DOES work. But it uses people's desperation to separate them from their money. This is the type of sales technique you hear about when people get scammed out of their money or buy something they end up regretting later.
You have everything you need inside of you. I'm just here to assist you into unleashing it.
This is the best energy to sell from in my opinion.
This doesn't smell of desperation and it's not manipulative.
You're a guide to people, like Yoda was to Luke Skywalker.
How to Sell From Power
One of my favorite movies about selling is The Wolf of Wallstreet with Leonardo Dicaprio (I'm using a lot of Leo examples today).
In this scene, Jordan Belfort (Leo's character) is teaching his employees the Straight Line Sales Method.
Now Hollywood dramatized Jordan's Sales Method and showed how it can be used in the super sleazy immoral way to scam people out of their money.
As mentioned before, we will NOT be using these powers for evil.
I was intrigued about learning the real technique so I bought the book Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort
I ended up learning his sales method and it gives a VERY good blueprint on how to navigate a sales call. To test it out, I crash read it in a few hours and used his sales techniques for an entire month. I ended up sellig over $40,000 in online course sales over the phone in a month. I was on the phone an average of 12 hours a week for a month.
That's equals $3,333 in sales for every hour I worked.
The Three Tens
The number one thing I got from Jordan Belfort's book is called the Three Tens.
The Three Tens says that you need to have whoever you're selling to at a 10 (on a scale of 1-10 of certainty) in three areas before you are able to make a sale.
The Three Areas are:
Product or Idea
The prospective client NEEDS to believe that whatever service, product, or idea you are selling will absolutely give them the transformation they are searching for.
No amount of sales is going to convince someone to buy something they don't believe will do anything for them.
In ADDITION, the prospect needs to be at or close to a 10 in trusting you understand their pain and trust that you are the right person to help them get the transformation they want.
If they don't believe you are the right person or they don't trust you, your chances for the sale drop DRAMATICALLY.
Finally, if you work for a company, the prospect must be at or close to a 10 in trusting the reputation of your company.
For example, if you come into the conversation and you work for a very well known Fortune 500 company, the prospect will already be at or close to a 10 because of the reputation of your company.
Conversely, if you work for a company with a questionable reputation, they will be entering the conversation with you at a far lower level.
If you're able to get whoever you're talking with to a 10 across all 3 areas, you have a really good chance of selling them your product or getting a new client.
The Product, Idea, or Concept
Notice I said you have a good CHANCE. It's not a done deal.
Sales is NOT getting to the point where you can close 100 percent of everyone you talk to.
Sales is the art and science of increasing the probabilities of a close.
This means, sales is the skill to get people who are ON THE FENCE to make a decision and hire you.
I've used the Straight Line Sales Method to sell tens of thousands of dollars online in 30 days.
However, I've had a LOT of sales experience before I discovered this method.
I cold called people for 5 years selling insurance and annuities when I was in college and in my 20's.
In my 30's I cold called people to sell their homes and was very successful doing that as well.
My point is that there is NO perfect technique for selling.
It's a skill that you can improve by picking up different techniques the more you do it. The more you do it, the more your confidence will build and the less likely you'll come from a place of scarcity or manipulation.
And that's how you sell from a place of power:
- Your service / product actually helps someone get the transformation they want
- You believe in the benefit and value of what you do
- You've had enough experience to know what they need to hear to get them to the Three Tens.
Once you have all three of these things checked off, you will finally be selling from a place of power.
What Are The Next Steps?
Now that you havea game plan on how to get started making money online, let's summarize everything so you have your next steps.
Learn who your Ideal Client is, what their desires are, and where they are in their journey. Search FB groups to hear exactly what they need help with.
Finally, you need to get used to asking for the sale. Don't be sleazy or needy. Come from a place of power.
This crash course is the exact steps I use everytime I start a new business. The goal is to get small wins to build momentum.
Start with something small, but start TODAY.
If you want me to go over anything else or you want me to go into more detail on certain things, just drop me a comment below.
I'll keep updating this post as long as the requests keep coming in.
Last Updated on February 6, 2022 by Hanson Cheng