This is episode #35 of The Goodness Squad podcast. Today, I’m sharing the 3rd step you need to take to turn your side hustle into a full-fledged business.
If you’ve been listening to the podcast, the first step is that you need to provide a solution to a problem for a very specific group of people. And step number two is you need to have an email list. Step number three is what I’m going to be talking about today.
I recorded this podcast episode a long time ago. This was originally going to be the very first podcast episode of season #2 of The Goodness Squad podcast. But I decided that this episode needed to come just a little later. So here it is, but I don’t want to rerecord the entire thing.
I needed to give it a new preface to make it tie into these steps.
You need to have something to sell.
The original title of this episode was going to be “5 ways to earn money through a content marketing business,” but it could just as easily have been titled “5 things you can sell as a content marketer.”
So today we are going to be discussing different things that you can sell.
- You can sell your influence.
- You can sell a physical product.
- You can sell a digital product.
- You can sell a service.
In today’s episode, I am going to discuss that with you but in the bulk of the episode, I’m not going to keep mentioning that this is step number three. So just remember that this is step number three. As I went back and got better organized in this season, I decided to include this episode as step number three.
5 Ways you can monetize your side hustle or hobby
All right, as promised, let’s jump into the five ways that you can monetize your business.
#1 – Ads or Sponsorships
Essentially, you are selling your influence. This is what most of us think of when we think of monetizing a website or a content marketing business, especially if you’re brand new.
When I talk to my friends and family and they ask me, “how do you make money? Do you just maybe sell ad space on your website?” That’s the number one question that I get.
Ads and sponsorships absolutely are one way to earn income on your website. They have pros and cons, and we’re going to get into this in a future podcast episode. But the number one concern that I have with using ads or sponsorships as your monetization method is that it can take you a long time to get there.
And honestly, I’m afraid that you may burn out before you have enough influence, meaning followers or email subscribers, for people to pay you what would be a fulltime rate for your time.
#2 – Create a Physical Product
This can be a fantastic option for those of you who are really afraid of the tech. You can sign up and use programs, like Etsy or Shopify, that are fairly easy to use. There’s a low barrier to entry there, and create a product. Especially if you are creative and good with design.
The downside to physical products is that you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to ship them out. And as you grow that can become quickly overwhelming. Now, as you grow, you can also afford to hire help. In order to help you do that. So the second option is our physical products.
#3 – Affiliate Marketing
Now affiliate marketing can and sometimes will be grouped into the idea of ads or sponsorships, selling your influence. But I like to pull it out because I have a slightly different take on affiliate marketing.
If you do affiliate marketing well, you are going to treat the product that you are recommending just like you would treat a product that you yourself have created. You will know it inside and out. You will be able to answer questions about it. You will be able to build funnels around it, meaning you create free content that makes people want to purchase that product.
You create email freemiums and lead magnets that encourage a deeper understanding of the product so that people will want to purchase it. This is the way to do affiliate marketing. The benefit to this is that you do not have to invest any time or any money into creating a product whatsoever. It’s already created for you. All you have to do is teach other people about it and get excited about it and encourage them to use it.
Just like you would not create a product that you don’t believe in, you should not recommend products that you don’t firmly believe in and understand. Also it’s important to know that there’s very little barrier to entry here. You can begin selling or recommending affiliate products from day one, and this can be a great way to hit the ground running in your business.
The downside to affiliate products is that you don’t earn 100% of what you’re charging for them. So if you were to create a digital product, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later, you would earn 100% of whatever that product costs minus some minor overhead. But with an affiliate product, you only own a percentage.
Now, if you are recommending high-quality digital products, that’s probably going to be somewhere in the 30 to 50% range. That’s pretty awesome considering you’re not going to have much overhead and you don’t have to spend the time or money to create the product. So affiliate products are a great way to go.
#4 – Services
Again, just like with affiliate products, there’s very little barrier to entry here. If you have a skill that you can offer as a service – photography design, coaching – you can jump right in without having to invest an enormous amount of time and money in creating a product.
This can be a very great place to start. The negative side with services is that you’re trading time for money directly. You can only scale so much because you only have so much time. And if you’re actually having to spend time with each and every client that pays you, that can eventually become very overwhelming and time-consuming.
#5 – Digital Products
Digital products are going to take you a little bit of time upfront to invest in, but typically not as much money as a physical product would take you. You’re going to have far less overhead. You aren’t going to have to worry about the shipping that comes with physical products and that side of things.
Typically, it will take a little bit more tech know-how to be able to figure out how to create and then deliver that digital product. But this is extremely scalable. It’s very different than a service. You create that product once and you can sell it again and again and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. This is a fantastic way to scale and grow your business.
2 Questions to help you figure out the best way for you to make money with an online business
There is nothing wrong with any of these five options. There are situations where all are good choices, ads or sponsorships, physical products, affiliate products, services, and digital products.
But, you need to ask yourself two questions in order to determine what the best option is for you right now.
FIRST – Where do your current skills live? Do you already know how to set up physical products? Have you had an Etsy shop? Do you get how to do that? Do you have your friend who can help you? Do you already have a service that you can provide? Where do you have a lot of influence, but you’ve never really monetized?
Do you have a big following on Instagram, but you’ve never done anything with it? Well then maybe ads are the choice for you. I want you to think through that question. What can you get up and running quickest based on where your personal skills and interests lie?
SECOND – What does your audience need? How do they consume content? What is going to most benefit them and truly help change their lives? Ask yourself those two questions and then decide on how you would like to monetize your business moving forward, remembering that this will morph and change and grow over time.
You may end up having your foot in multiple different revenue streams. That is actually a really smart strategy, but for now, choose the one that will most benefit your clients. And that will be easiest for you to get started with right away.
If you would like more help digging into the different ways that you can make money online, to the different things that you can sell as a content marketer, I would invite you to join my email list right now. You can head over to TheGoodnessSquad.com/join and you’ll sign up and I’ll give you a free gift.
Now, if you are already on my email list, you simply need to log in at Members.TheGoodnessSquad.com and you already have access to all my previous gifts.
In the next episode, we will be discussing the 4th and last step that you need to take to really turn your hobby or side hustle into a full-fledged business. For most people, this step is the most difficult one.