How do you start generating income when you’re first starting out and still building your platform?
Ideas abound, but actually having the time and bandwidth to invest in creating products and services for your business when you’re still creating the foundation – your platform – that’s tough!
But there are ways to supplement your income outside of product and service creation in the beginning.
Essentially, the question becomes:
“What are some ways I can start making money right now that won’t take me a ton of time so I can still focus on building my business?“
In the 6 months following his launch, John was able to generate $10,000 in income, but it wasn’t easy. It’s fact: when you first start out, you’ll find yourself in a constant battle between:
- Investing monetarily in yourself in order to get the knowledge and tools you need to create your business;
- Investing time in actually building your platform to help support your business; and
- Investing time in creating products and services that may take more time to create, but that will scale and pay big later: your long-term game.
Several businesses launch and within days start beating themselves up about that last point: “What products and services can I offer my audience in order to start monetizing?”
But chances are, you haven’t put a lot of the core building blocks of your business in place yet in order to help support you in creating those products and services, like defining your avatar, building relationships, gaining credibility and authority, and creating systems and processes to help you automate certain aspects of your business.
It’s pretty plain and simple: generating income through your own products and services shouldn’t be your focus if you’ve just launched your business.
That’s why I created this post: to share 3 ways you can start generating income now that will give you a longer runway to be able to create those products and services that can scale once you’ve built your platform.
3 Ways to start generating income
1. Affiliate relationships
Becoming an affiliate for products and services that you believe in and know can help your audience can create passive income that will allow you to focus your time and bandwidth on building your own business.
Being an affiliate can benefit you in other ways, too
1) You get the opportunity to build strong relationships with those who you create an affiliate relationship with; and
2) You start to earn trust and credibility with your audience through offering them products and services you know can help them.
How to start an affiliate relationship
Start by identifying potential affiliate opportunities.
If you’ve tried a product or service – or several people who you trust have tried a product or service and have raved to you about it – and you feel that product or service can be of benefit to your audience, then that’s a great affiliate opportunity.
Because you value the product or service AND you believe it can help your audience, your next step is to reach out to the creator and ask if they have an affiliate program.
Then, once you confirm that an affiliate program exists, sign up to be one of the people who promote that product or service to your own audience.
How do you share your affiliate links?
You might email your list about the specific product or service if it’s time sensitive (the product or service is a course or a one-time offer), or you might create a widget or an entire Resources page on your website to promote it on an ongoing basis (the product or service is always available).
If you don’t have an email list yet, then start growing one today.
To dive deep into figuring out what types of products and services you should look for, check out our post on monetizing through affiliate relationships.
If you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business, then you’re already well on your way to becoming an expert within your industry or niche in others’ eyes.
Offering coaching can benefit you in other ways, too
1) You get the opportunity to intimately understand the biggest pain points and struggles straight from your avatar (your coaching client), which will help you know what types of more scalable products and services you might offer them in the future;
2) You’ll start to earn credibility and authority in your industry and niche through your coaching services; and
3) Once you have a few case studies or testimonials, you can start to charge a premium for your services.
How to start a coaching program?
Really focus in on what it is you’ll help your clients achieve.
What’s the one thing you can help them accomplish over the next 6 weeks (or however long your coaching program will run)?
Draw up a rough outline of what your coaching program includes (X amount of calls that last Y amount of time each month for Z amount of dollars), along with exactly what you’ll help your clients achieve by the end of the program.
How do you share your coaching program?
Once you know what it is you have to offer, create a services page on your website or as a standalone page (leveraging something like LeadPages) and start driving traffic to this page via Facebook advertising or through content creation. You might write about your services on your own blog, or guest post on others’ already established blogs to gain exposure.
Now I know that in a lot of ways a book may be considered a product, and it’s definitely scalable, but it doesn’t have to take you months and months to create if you already have a focus and a topic to write about.
Self-publishing can benefit you in other ways, too
1) Allows you to continue to gain credibility and authority in a specific niche;
2) Gives you access to the Amazon platform to reach millions of people with your content; and
3) Helps you spread the word about your business and the value you provide via calls to action throughout your book.
How to start with self-publishing
Identify what specific knowledge you have to share with your target audience that will benefit them. What is their biggest struggle, and what information do you already have that you can share with them to help solve that struggle?
Once you’ve settled on a topic for your book, start creating your outline. Pat Flynn published an incredible video that will help with this step: How to Write a Book – The Secret to a Super Fast First Draft.
How do you share your book once it’s published on Amazon?
Social media is probably the fastest and easiest way to share your content with a wide (yet targeted) audience. Hopefully you’ve already started growing your social media channel(s) of choice, and are providing your followers with consistent value (not just your own, but from other leaders in your industry or niche).
You can also ask for guest appearances on podcasts or guest posts on others’ blogs to help get the word out about your book.
A lot of people have super in-depth, drawn out processes for self-publishing and making it to #1 on Amazon’s Best-seller list. But if you’re trying to put valuable content together in order to start earning income on the side while you build your business, then you can start writing about what you already know and sharing that knowledge with people who will pay for it.
Wrap up on generating income while still building your platform
I hope this post gave you a few ideas for how you can start generating income while still building your platform.
Once you have the foundation of your business built and are ready to grow your audience, coming up with ideas for creating long-term products and services that scale awaits.
If you’re wondering what that foundation for you business even looks like, and what the exact steps are that you need to take to start creating and growing your business today, join us on The Fire Path! To start, you’ll get a free download that walks you through each stop on The Fire Path.