I recently passed the $50,000-a-year earnings mark for online earnings, and I now make about $6,000 online every month. I do not like to talk about money, but I find throwing out figures like $6,000 per month piques interest rather quickly.
Below are the nine steps that got me there:
Step 1. Put in the Time and Effort
When I opened up my first online consulting practice two years ago, I had zero experience running an online business. I decided to over deliver to each of my clients. Why? I genuinely cared about my clients’ success.
For instance, I would bill a client for 8 hours of work, but would actually spend 12 hours on a valuation project or three-statement financial model. When I got testimonials back from people, they praised my work. But what surprised me the most was how much they praised me as an individual.
Those testimonials from my first students led to more customers, and the rest was history.
Step 2. Provide More Value in Less Time
My online course investment banking course has a Q&A option attached to it. I could spend five hours per week answering questions. However, what if I spent two hours a week with my students on a live Q&A call?
A video would allow me to go into more detail since I would be speaking instead of typing on my keyboard. In other words, it would take me less time to provide way more value.
Do that in your own business when you can.
Step 3. Find Your Cash Cow and Spend Your Time It
Six months ago, I decided to take on new clients. I spent at least two months going out to small business conventions, creating samples of my work, and doing in-person presentations.
That was about 420 hours of work. This was a mistake, I gained three new clients. The problem was, I could have spent those 420 hours doing additional work for my existing clients. After all, I had a back-log of financial, accounting, and valuation work that clients were requesting me to complete. At $50 an hour, it was $21,000 of missed revenue over those two months.
Business is pretty simple. Stick to the 80/20 rule. 80% of my earnings come from 20% of my clients and the work that I do. I should not have tried to reinvent the wheel when I had one that was already functioning. Do not diversify too soon. Focus on one thing and maximize it.
Step 4. Done Maximizing Your Cash Cow? Start Diversifying
Let me show the flip side to this…
About a year ago, I decided to move on from online courses and try a personal finance blog. About a month after designing my website and making it live, I started earning revenue through affiliates to about $15 to $20 a day.
In other words, I successfully monetized my website in about 60 days. Doing this was a huge relief. I can rest easy knowing I am making money in multiple places.
How do you know when you are done milking your cash cow? Spend a few hours brainstorming ways you could make even “more” money with it. If you can only come up with one or two options instead of the usual seven to ten, it is time to diversify.
Step 5. You Never Know What Will be a Success
Two years ago, I spent an entire month a financial modeling guide for applicants to the private equity industry. Without a doubt, I thought this was the best thing to do for my business at the time.
It was not.
I thought I could maybe make a little money with it.
I did not.
There are a few lessons to learn here:
(1) My time could have probably been spent on something more profitable.
(2) I actually learned a lot and do not regret it even though I made zero dollars.
You are going to have a lot of choices in business. It is better to get on a train than to keep staring at the departures wondering where the best destination is.
Step 6. Networking Is a Waste of Time, 50% of the Time
Networking can feel like drinking out of a fire hose sometimes. Interacting with people ends up in a time suck 50% of the time. The other 50%, stuff happens. But do not trick yourself into believing every person is worth your time.
By all means, be courteous to everyone you meet, but invest your time wisely just like you would invest your money wisely.
Step 7. You Never Know How Something Can Pay Off Later
Remember that private equity modeling guide I spent time on? I ended up offering it for free. Three of those people who read the guide ended up being clients later.
I never expected that. You never know how something can pay off later.
Step 8. Hire an Assistant Already
One month ago, I hired a virtual assistant through Upwork to help me edit my articles. The first benefit of this is that hiring an assistant is it is like cloning yourself. You cap out at a certain dollar amount every month without help, because you only have a certain amount of hours in the day. An assistant helps you break that cap.
You want to do work every day that energizes you, and outsource the stuff that makes you vomit.