how to make money online

How to Monetize Your Brand as a Coach (without putting all your eggs in one basket)

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Not long ago I was coaching business owners and doing a few remaining freelance projects for a full-time income. While I was coaching, I unintentionally (at first) then intentionally diversified my income and added teaching products into the mix. I was part coach, part infopreneur, part freelancer--which really helped me find the place I could be most effective. But as I was learning and going and making many mistakes, I did definitely see and experience the benefits of monetizing my coaching brand in multiple ways.

If you are looking to get into coaching, or if you want to expand your coaching business through workshops, courses, books, and other passive income, this post is for you. >> Also, this 5-day email course on developing an email list that actually converts to sales 👀might be for you too, but let's get into the main course of the day: how to monetize your brand as a coach without putting all your eggs in one basket.

Let's look at this in terms of services that you can monetize as well as digital and physical products you can monetize.

16 Ways to Monetize Your Coaching Brand

a.k.a. 9 Services and 7 Products that are Super Epic for Coaches and Bloggers

1. Custom 1-on-1 Coaching Calls w/ Friendly Recaps

When you are first getting started in coaching, this will likely be one of the services that is simplest to offer. Now, don't get me wrong. I think you need to plan what it entails along with what you will and won't do, and I do still think it needs a signed client agreement. But, it's a great place to begin because you can figure out what people really want and need, what really troubles people, and where you truly fit as a coach and teacher.

With your custom 1-on-1 calls (Zoom sessions, telephone calls, or even in-person meetings), you'll typically:

  • send your client a questionnaire and/or meet with them to discover their specific needs and where you fit in

  • decide on a timeframe that y'all will work together or set up a rate per meeting or per month

  • send out an agenda before each call (if you have some general talking points for the meeting--and hopefully you do) - bonus points if your agenda is attractive and visually on-brand

  • send out client notes sheets or a link to a shared doc where you client can take notes digitally (optional, but cool) and helps both of you keep track of what you discussed

  • conduct your session (usually 30 - 90 minutes depending on the type of call--this should be clear and communicated ahead of time)

  • (with permission) record your session

  • recap your session via email (and/or send the recording/replay to your client with instructions on how long they have to download the replay to their own computer)

2. 1-on-1 Coaching Program w/ Calls, Check-ins, and Homework

Once you've done custom 1-on-1 coaching for a while, or once you have an understanding of the general steps your audience needs to go through to reach the goals you help them with, you can develop your custom coaching into a program. A coaching program is a framework in which you have the same general steps + processes that you're taking multiple people through individually.

You still check in with your clients, have calls, and provide customized recaps and help to them, but it's all based off of one system.

In a coaching program, you'll usually:

  • give your potential client an overview doc/email that outlines the program, timeline, and steps, to help them decide whether or not it's a good fit

  • have a call/questionnaire that helps you determine if the client is a good fit. You can even do this before you meet by including an integrated form (via Calendly or Acuity Scheduling) when they book their Discovery Call or first session with you.

  • send a welcome kit (optional, but wonderful) with your client's first homework assignment and an invitation to schedule their first call after the homework is completed

  • conduct your first call

  • send the next pre-developed homework assignment (w/ a recap of your call)

  • repeat this process for as long as your program lasts

Note: To fully protect yourself and your client, your signed agreement with them should outline your refund policy, and the point at which the client is forfeiting the rest of their package (ex: you haven't heard from them in 45 days and you've emailed them at their provided email address at least three times).

I once had a web project that lasted over a year because my client would never get back to me but I didn't have a helpful "forfeiture clause" in my agreement--and P.S. I had spent every dime they'd paid me, so I wasn't to keen on refunding them. Side note: The project ended up being super attractive and the client loved their site.

3. Custom 1-on-1 Email Coaching w/ Guaranteed Responses

Imagine this: either one of the options above (1 or 2), but instead of doing calls, you do emails. You can tailor the process to each client (and just agree on a certain timeframe or a certain number of email "meetings"), or you can take your email coaching clients through a specific program (with homework and pre-set steps) and provide customized responses and email support. Bam. Magic. Great for introverts. Email coaching can also help you create the written content for future programs and courses.

4. Group Coaching Program w/ Calls and Homework

Remember that one time, long ago, when we were talking about 1-on-1 coaching programs (#2 above)? Okay, now imagine that, but with more than one person. The client homework would go out to a group of people to complete individually or with accountability partners, and you would also:

  • conduct group calls or video conferencing via Zoom

  • provide recordings to clients who missed (optional, but super kind)

  • choose to focus on one or two people per call (hot seat style) after the main portion of the call has been presented, or choose to address everyone's needs in each call

  • provide a community or means for people to connect outside of your group calls (optional, but epic) such as Slack or Facebook

  • provide recaps, updates, and more homework via email or in the group coaching platform/community

5. Masterminds

Imagine everything we said above, but instead imagine that each week/month has a specific focus (growth, strategy, etc.) or that you are more of a facilitator and cheerleader than you are a direct coach.

You can provide a mastermind group that allows people to benefit mainly from others' ideas and knowledge, but also from the regular accountability, and your presence. Masterminds are hugely popular for good reason. The peer support helps people grow and allows you not to have to provide all of the interaction.

6. In-Person Trainings or Workshops

Think of all the things you coach online 1-on-1 or in groups/masterminds---can it be applied or shared in real life as well?

You can create small workshops, pop-up events, and live trainings to help people with the goals you coach on.

7. Speaking Engagements

This ones pretty self-explanatory, eh? You can definitely decide to speak on the topics you coach on at different events, organizations, and conferences. It's a great way to start to be seen as more of a teacher or "thought leader" (as they say, but if you ever catch me calling myself a thought leader in my bio. . .), and it's a great way to meet new people---some of them might even become your coaching clients

8. Office Hours

Office Hours have quickly become one of our favorite methods of providing coaching, group interaction, and an entry-level price point for new people to work with us.

Perhaps people aren't ready to commit to a coaching program, or perhaps someone really needs some targeted help with this one particular thing that you happen to be epic at, or maybe one of your audience members really wants the opportunity to "pick your brain." Well, that's where office hours come in. You can offer your time and expertise at a rate that's comfortable to you, per hour or per day.

Office hours allow you to help people, make income, address audience pain points directly and swiftly, and keep your ear to the ground about people's current needs and frustrations---which helps you know what packages and products you should offer. The questions asked in Office Hours are a great way to gauge what your audience is interested in for future trainings and offers.

9. Custom Audits or Reports

Often times, your potential clients will be in such a state of overwhelm/confusion, or in such a new place that they feel lost as to how to begin to get out of where they are to move to where they want to be. Also, you may have clients who just feel a slight bit off or frustrated with the current state of things and in need of some direction.

Doing a custom life audit, brand audit, situation report, or other type of organized document/delivery that outlines current areas that need improvement as well as current areas that are doing well, can be a rewarding, simple, and fun type of coaching.

Custom audits and reports are also often a way for you to provide services to people who can't afford your 1-on-1 rates yet.

10. Communities

An online (or real life) community can be an add-on to any of your other products or services, but a community can also easily be its own standalone product. Providing partners, support, a venue, structure, and built-in friends for people who are all at a similar place in life/business is a seriously valuable thing that many people would be happy to pay for.

What is something you've had to struggle through on your own? Learn on your own? Do without support? Would you have enjoyed a community of people in the same position? Would you have paid for it?

Think of a community structure and virtual/physical meeting place you can provide for people. Is it something you'd be willing to add to your offerings? You can consider a Facebook group, Slack workspace, or an ongoing Zoom call as your community platform.

11. Online Workshops w/ Live Q+As

Hosting an online workshop (either with or without cohosts) with Live Q&A allows your audience to interact with you and get real time feedback on their questions. Like in Office Hours 👆🏽, you can also record these workshops for future use and use the questions asked in the sessions to develop further trainings and offers.

12. Pre-Recorded Workshops, Bootcamps, or Conferences

Packaging previously-recorded workshops or bootcamps together as paid products is genius and will help to fill out your standing course library, if you plan to build one.

13. Online Courses

Seriously. Online courses are some of our favorite things in the world. Learning that can happen from your couch, or your cubicle on your lunch break, or during your commute, etc. #Epic and #Accessible

And think about it. You'll be able to package your knowledge, coaching skills, and experience together in a packaged way that allows you to help more people at once, creating more impact.

You can also structure many of your courses in formats that will be almost entirely passive (little to no maintenance) income once you create them.

14. Email Coaching Program (w/out Custom Support)

So, instead of framing your materials as a course and delivering it on some epic, 3rd-party system such as Teachable, you could also frame them as email coaching (sans the custom replies).

"A new coaching session in your inbox each Monday for 8 weeks!" sounds pretty epic. And, it's scalable, because those same sessions can be sent out to 10 people at a time or 10,000 people. #SuperEpic.

Pssssssssst. If you want a free training on creating an email list that actually gets you paid, you can sign up for it right here. 👀

15. eBooks

A digital file that can be automatically delivered to your customers as soon as they purchase it? Yes, my friend, that's about as close to passive income as it gets in this coaching world---and it's a smart way to make additional income while helping your ideal audience who needs items at different price points than your coaching programs and courses.

16. Printed Books and Workbooks

Yessssss. You can use printed books or workbooks with your clients as you take them through your coaching program, you can sell them separately on your site, or you can sell them through Amazon.com and get them fulfilled for you, so that you don't have to ship off each order or accept + process returns. That's brilliant, my friend.

So, if I'm not being too nosy, may I inquire how you currently monetize your coaching business? And how you plan to monetize in the future? I hope this post helped, and I'd love to hear what you've got poppin' in the comments below.

Create a Feel-Good Facebook Ads Funnel for Your Course, Workshop, or eBook

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Long before I could even begin to define a Facebook ads funnel, from the moment my first $3 sale showed up in my eCommerce dashboard for an eBook I'd written out of pure necessity (to help potential clients plan their brand fully before I started working on their website), I was amazed at the magic/science of someone who doesn't know you one day, purchasing from you and passionately sharing your stuff all over the web the next day.

I made up my mind to get a Ph.D. where I could research the factors that go into the purchasing decisions of consumers buying from infopreneurs, influencers, and "authorities" online. Still working on that whole Ph.D. thing, but until that time, I have some 80% nerdy, 20% hip, but 100% mind-blowing examples and trainings for you if you want to start selling your programs, services, or digital products online . . . on autopilot . . . while remaining very human and in touch with the people you are serving.

We're gonna get into actual funnel examples, and so much more . . . you're ready, right? And more on these mysterious sheets in a second.

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First, it's time to briefly review what a funnel is and why I go through an intense period every 2 years or so where I desperately try to think of a different name for "funnels" because of the way people abuse, misuse, overuse, etc. the term.

What is a funnel, really?

A funnel is simply one or more of your ideal audience members being drawn in by an amazing resource or gift you offer, then being taken through a series of content pieces or interactions that you’ve created, in which each step is meant to:

(1) educate and motivate your audience to act on something helpful to them, and
(2) accomplish a specific brand goal for you.

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My belief is that even though your funnel may have one general goal, the most feel-good, customer-centric, and sensitive funnels are ones that are highly valuable even if someone doesn't purchase anything and/or ones that have a few stop-off points for people just in case your end goal is not what they need.

Which is why I'm always trying to rename the dreaded f-word — "funnel" . . . people in the online marketing space seem to love to abuse the word . . . by offering little value, lots of pressure, and only high price point resources. Funnels don't have to be ridiculous. They can be some of the most amazing experiences for your audience . . . something that you get thank you emails and fire 🔥emoji tweets about.

Back to the point of this article . . .

Let's get to an example funnel, eh?

We can take the example of my totally real friend (I didn't make him up or anything) named Theo to illustrate extremely helpful funnels. In this content series, Theo is not only selling his $35 guide to being a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen, but he is also dishing out essential, valuable information for people who might only need a few additional details or for people who can't yet afford his book.

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That funnel looks super sexy and helpful, right?

But you may have noticed a very key thing is missing. "Traffic" as the marketers say. Humans as I like to call them. How are human-actual-people going to become aware of Theo's amazing free video on "A day in the life of a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen" to begin with? In order for a funnel to work, you need a flow of new people being introduced to your brand or offer.

Getting people to the start of your funnel . . .

There are countless ways someone can become aware of Theo's video (or his free checklist, or his workshop, or his email training series, or whatever he chooses to share):

  • Theo might share a link to his video in a Facebook Group for digital nomads that he's a part of

  • Theo might share his link on Instagram

  • Someone might tweet out about Theo's video/resource

  • People could find his video from a pin on Pinterest or a Facebook Live video

  • . . . and so on

BUT. How can Theo create a consistent stream of the right kind of people landing on his resources? People who are interested in travel, digital nomading, living abroad, doing freelance work on the Internet, etc.?

One seriously epic way is to invest a little time learning how to target, and scale with, Facebook ads.

And I have some seriously cool examples for you in this article. But first, know this: I used to be so epically scared of Facebook ads. I was 100% sure (in my state of ignorance) that they were going to waste my time and money.

Then I started paying attention to various friends of mine online. Like Aby Moore, second from the right in the image below---she drove hundreds of dollars in sales on a workbook from $130 in Facebook ad spend. Or like the amazing Kimra Luna, on the left below---her love affair with Facebook ads started when she spent $400 and got 1000 people signed up for her first business webinar. 

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I watched how my friend (and former client) Courtney Sanders absolutely blew up online---the good way. She didn't start testing out thousands of dollars. She started testing out a $100 ad spend and getting back $196 in sales of a 7-day challenge---as she explains in the slide towards the left above.

And of course, I've been watching two people I admire a ton, Verick Wayne (my friend since undergrad)---as he got more and more passionate about Instagram and Facebook and paved the way for me to use them more effectively, and Andrew Hubbard---a genius Facebook ads strategist who works with course sellers, event hosts, and more.

And after all these examples and lessons, I decided to give Facebook ads a serious try. The results have been kinda magical, and today I want to be a ShareBear and share as much as possible with you. Cuz you know, sharing is caring.

Facebook ads funnels aren't scary, and they can be totally human and warm.

We're going to get into four super clutch examples based on four pretty common product/business models that you might be pursuing or considering. 

You may be selling:

  1. Courses and eBooks

  2. 1-on-1 services like consulting and freelancing

  3. Masterminds or group coaching programs

  4. Tickets to live and virtual events

We're going to take some examples from a book I created on funnels, example avatars---one for each of the product models above---and trace out a full, epic, profitable funnel that starts with a targeted Facebook ad. Today we're starting with Facebook ads funnels specifically for course creators or book sellers.

How to Create a Facebook Ads Funnel to Sell Your Course or eBook on Autopilot

Let's revisit this Theo character from one of my books. Remember . . . he is selling a digital guide (eBook and an accompanying video or two) on living and working internationally in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Theo is getting a Facebook ads funnel

Theo is getting a Facebook ads funnel

Step 1: Create a Compelling Offer to Start off Your Facebook Ads Funnel

The start of a Facebook ads funnel

The start of a Facebook ads funnel

Theo might start with a simple Facebook ad that he targets at anyone who has similar habits (on Facebook) to his website visitors---he can do this by installing a piece of code on his site (a Facebook pixel) and then creating a "lookalike" audience in his Facebook ads account.

In addition to the fact that the people he targets "look like" people who already visit his website, he might also make a condition of his ad that it's only shown to people who also like a popular digital nomad Facebook page, are between the ages of 23 - 38, and use Gmail as their primary email provider.

His Facebook ad can be a simple 90-second video (maybe where he's simply holding his phone on a selfie stick and walking around key spots in his city during the day---with good light---sharing 2 or 3 key tips about being a digital nomad).

His video ad can direct people to a landing page on his website where they can sign up (with their name and email address) for two more videos in his series---one that explains the ways you can make money as a digital nomad and one that explains the basics of living internationally.

Pro tip: Theo can use the "thank you" page after people sign up for his free videos to lightly (or fully and directly) mention the $35 guide he sells. This can help sales trickle in immediately and pay for his Facebook ads. But, since he's still giving free value, it won't turn off most (reasonable) people to get a special offer of an affordable digital guide.

Personal story side note: I've used this "redirect to special offer" method before to drive over $10,000 in sales of an online course immediately after people signed up for a free workshop series.

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Step 2: Follow Up with a Reminder and Some Helpful Info/Resources

Since Theo recently collected people's email addresses, he can send a follow-up email, 3 days after they initially signed up for his list, re-linking to the videos (in case his subscribers missed them), and giving some new, relevant information to his audience.

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course on Autopilot

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course on Autopilot

^^ In this email, Theo is combatting a common objection/fear he hears about moving abroad through a well-researched government report on the low crime rates in the city he lives in. He's also giving people a chance to check out a free podcast series he created with some amazing fellow digital nomads, or to join his free Facebook group and/or buy his $35 guide.

Personal story side note: Theo's funnel is very similar to how I've sold a graphic design course in the past. Facebook ad >> to workshop >> to helpful email chain with more videos/info >> to purchase. The course was priced at $175, and even though only a small percentage of people purchased it, it was enough to pay for the ads and make a nice profit. Having a smart email list-building strategy is sooooo important that we created a full 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you . . . And it's free. 

Step 3: Re-Target People on Facebook AND Send Another Educational/Motivational Email

Here's where some next level cool stuff comes in. You may or may not know that most entrepreneurs and businesses online are getting open rates on their emails between 17% and 25%. No, I'm serious. Check out this report (updated in 2017) by MailChimp.

That means that for every 100 people you send your emails to, 80 of them don't open it. That's serious.

But, it's not the end of the world. There are almost 2 billion people on Facebook, so it's a good bet that a lot (if not all) of your ideal audience members are on Facebook.

So, instead of relying solely on email to deliver your funnel (let's say it goes out to 1000 people one month . . . you want more than 170 or 200 people getting it, right?) . . . why not add a Facebook ad into your funnel?

You're increasing the chances that the right person will see your content at the right time. So, let's look at what Theo does and see if it can give you some ideas.

We know that Theo already had people landing on a "thank you" page on his site after they signed up for his video series that they learned about through his Facebook ad (and/or some other means---he can always share his series using free methods as well).

Let's call that thank you page TheoTravels.com/video. Someone would have only landed there if they'd signed up for his series.

Theo can go inside his Facebook ads account and now create an audience (basically, a group of people to show ads to) that will only include people who've seen that specific page on his site . . . so the audience consists only of people who signed up for his offer.

And here's where he goes NEXT LEVEL.

Here's how to set up a hack to create a Facebook Ads Funnel

Here's how to set up a hack to create a Facebook Ads Funnel

Theo can create that audience out of people who've been on that page at least 3 days ago, but no longer than 10 days ago. Or whatever numbers he chooses. Why would he do this?

If he knows he's about to spend money to show an ad to people in his funnel, why not make sure they signed up for his resource at least 3 days ago (meaning they've had time to watch the videos and "warm up" to Theo) but not longer than 10 days ago (so he can keep the audience relevant and fresh---someone may not remember him from 33 days ago or may not be as concerned about the topic anymore).

He (and you and I) can essentially then spend money on just the people who have already shown a high level of interest in what we're talking about. And because of the way Facebook "Audiences" work, people will automatically be added and removed from the group of people we're showing ads to based on the conditions we set up.

So on Day 11 after signing up for Theo's resource and landing on his "video" page, that person will no longer be shown the ad for the second piece of the funnel (let's say piece #2 is a case study). If they haven't taken advantage of it by then, why spend money trying to make them? Also, Theo can add a condition that this audience he's showing an ad to on days 3 - 10 doesn't include anyone who has already visited the case study's landing page.

#Brilliant.

So to summarize, 2 - 5 days after someone initially signs up for a resource from you, you can start targeting them with an ad that takes them to the next content piece in your funnel. Simultaneously, you can schedule another email that also takes them to the next piece in your funnel. Adding in the *hopefully* high-converting ad to your email plan will increase the number of people who actually see your next funnel piece.

The second ad in your Facebook ads funnel

The second ad in your Facebook ads funnel

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course

Step 4: Continue to Use a Combination of the Custom Audience "Hack" in Step 3, and Funnel Emails Spaced a Few Days Apart, to Deliver a Few More Resources

Remember, Theo still has a blog post on how to get great Internet speeds in Playa, his own case study of how he lives and works for under $1500/month, and a lesson on getting the proper visas and permits to stay legally in Mexico.

Example Funnel from Theo

Example Funnel from Theo

He can choose to create an ad for some, none, or all of his remaining funnel content pieces (videos, articles, podcast episodes, and more)---pieces that always link or invite people to purchase his guide or a different resource/course he sells. And, he can definitely, for free, create an email to go out every few days for the rest of his funnel content.

If he's using email software like ConvertKit (the one I use), then as soon as someone buys his guide, he can make sure they stop receiving funnel emails to promote the guide---all of this is done "automagically" with no extra work from Theo after he initially sets up the action/reaction in ConvertKit.

And that my human friend, is how someone can use Facebook ads to sell a course or eBook on "autopilot." Cool, right? Want more examples like this? And pssssst, if you liked this dive on funnels (I know this lesson was pretty detailed), you might just love our email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. . .  Just saying. I know this lesson was pretty detailed, but I break down the process of smart email list-building in bite sized pieces here.

I'll see you super soon for Part 2 of this series. Excited? Leave a comment below with a funnel idea you have for your own content (no matter how rough an idea). I want to hear about it.

Regina out.

35 Ways to Find Your First Clients

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Okay, let's be serious for a moment, ninja friend. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, the act of going out and "pushing" your products and services on a stranger is not necessarily your favorite activity. Sure, to "get your name out there" some active recruiting methods may be necessary at first, but you're probably also interested in setting yourself up with a long-term strategy of clients coming to you. I feel you. So, the list directly below shares 15 ways to get your first customers through active recruiting; the second list below shows 20 ways to begin to get customers to come to you.

Active Ways to Get New Clients

1. Get the word out to family and friends in a meaningful way.

I had a friend launching a business + blog who chose a method that I now love to use and help other people use: she wrote (actual) personalized + purposeful messages to each person. This may sound very "duh" to you, but make sure each time you reach out, you include:

  • a personal note that lets someone know this is not the same canned email/message 300 other people got; make a connection on a hobby, interest, desire, or need of theirs

  • a brief description of the type of work you are doing now and why it's so important to you

  • the ways in which your friend/contact can help you (Do you want referrals if your friend knows someone in need of your services? Do you want people to share your message?)

  • a clear way for people to practically do what you're asking/hinting (for example: if you're asking for people to share your brand on Facebook, give them a brief description and picture "if they so choose to use it" . . . or if you're asking for referrals from a good friend, give them an idea of what they could email out to others--and perhaps even give them a sweet freebie to distribute)

  • a sincere "thank you" for the person's time in reading your message and in helping you any way they see fit

Are you at a loss for where to pull personal connections from other than your phone's contact book and Facebook friends list? Think of people you may know through:

  • volunteer work you do

  • organizations you belong to (clubs, a church, associations, sports)

  • your spouse or family connections

  • former workplaces

  • friends of friends

  • former school buddies or connections

In general, people have a desire to help you in whatever ways are understandable and convenient for them. Your close friends will probably even desire to help you when it's not convenient. Either way, give people as many tools as possible and show how grateful you are for their time and whatever action they may be completing on your behalf.

2. Create a social crowdfunding campaign.

Sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter are not just good for the $$, but also the exposure. Several products have become somewhat to all the way "Internet famous" after a crowdfunding campaign.

Why? Friends, and even people who don't know you, are motivated to share your brand and your campaign if they connect with something about it, or to simply support small businesses that provide something meaningful. You can use one of these sites to launch/re-launch a business, a book, a product, a product line, a creative project, really almost anything. 90% of the projects that I've supported are by people I don't know at all. Crowdfunding campaigns have a way of bringing out strangers and making them friends.

Crowdfunding even allows you to get out there and start providing consulting services if you want to. Two examples for ya: (1) A woman here in Austin "sold" $1000 consulting packages as some of the prizes for supporting her book release. No seriously, look at this thing. She raised almost $12,000. (2) A couple here in Austin who also listed $1000 consultations, among other prizes, for the release of their book raised over $10,000.

Raise money through crowdfunding and get clients

Raise money through crowdfunding and get clients

3. Team up with an established brand/provider in the same field to tackle a larger project together.

Offer your services up to them as an independent contractor. For example: if you're a WordPress coach/developer, work with another WordPress consultant who may be able to use your help on a huge upcoming project.

4. Team up with an established brand in a complementary field.

If you're a social media strategist, team up with the WordPress coach in the example above to help clients with a full online presence.

5. Pro bono part of the project.

So, you want your clients to pay you, obviously, but what about making part of the project free? If you're teaching someone how to use social media for their business, why not charge for crafting the action plan and report you develop, but make all your check-ins and scheduled calls free for one month. Or, if you're coaching clients through home births, how about creating the plan for free and recommending the equipment they'll need, but then charging for the day of delivery?

Doing work pro bono is not a long-term strategy, simply a way to get paying/reviewing/excited initial clients in the door; people who will spread the word about you and help you add to your portfolio.

6. Do some good ol' fashioned advertising.

  • Facebook and Instagram ads (which can be targeted to a person's location, habits, interests, and preferences)

  • Google/Yahoo!/Bing

  • Craigslist

  • magazines

  • swag and promotional items such as vehicle magnets, if applicable

  • blog/website ads

  • etc.

7. Search Craigslist for people looking for a service in your area of expertise.

Don't just use Craigslist to list your services, use it to find people already looking for someone like you. A lot of the work people need can be done virtually, so search a few cities.

8. Contact past people you’ve done similar work for.

At a past job, or for a friend, or as a part of a former business idea, you've likely done work related to your current passion. Contact the people you've done this work for and check for three things:

  • referrals (to others that may pay you for your services)

  • testimonials (that you can add to your website or other materials)

  • new work from the person you're contacting (you can always phrase your communication as if you're only seeking referrals or testimonials, but you can also let your contact know what you currently do and show off your shiny new website and packages or free download in the hopes that they'll hire you for something new--you can also just outright ask if they need any new work done)

9. Update your personal social media circles in general.

So maybe you don't feel comfortable sending a personal message to everyone you know. Maybe you're like me and overwhelmed by the thought of emailing mere acquaintances about your new business. Well, update your social platforms with status updates viewable by anyone. Include a snippet of what you do, who you serve, and why you do it, along with pictures, freebies, and links to related resources and services on your website. Do this with the following platforms:

  • LinkedIn

  • personal Facebook page

  • Google+ page

  • personal Twitter profile

  • . . . and so on

10. Consider joining "online deals" or "specials" sites and programs.

Most sites like the ones above will send out discounts/deals to your products and services to a targeted list of consumers (who've expressed interest in your category of "stuff" and/or who live in your area). Make sure to include constraints on your offer such as a limited quantity so that you’re not overwhelmed by the response.

11. Send old fashioned and attractive mail.

If you are marketing to businesses or neighborhoods that you can easily look up addresses for, consider some purposeful and attractive mail pieces--flyers, invitations, offers, letters, a brochure/book of your services, etc. Below are some mail pieces I designed for this exact purpose.

Get new clients through mail pieces

Get new clients through mail pieces

12. Ask for feedback when the answer is “no.”

If people decline your services, asking "why?" can allow you to clarify anything they're fuzzy on or present a more compelling case (or talk to a better audience) next time. But, you'll often find ways to make a sale (even if it's a less expensive package) to people who are hesitant to try something new at first.

13. Find online forums, sites, and groups where your ideal clients hang out and strike up conversations with them or answer their questions.

Forums like Quora, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn groups are a smart way to answer questions and provide value to your ideal clients, as well as to expand your network.

14. Email people with an "openable" subject line.

"I want to work for you for free," and "I'd like to give you a free website assessment," or a less-spammy version of the same, will likely grab someone's attention. Once they're interested, or once they have their free product/service in hand and love it, why would they not want to hire you?

15. Give free consultations at a local coffee shop or your potential client’s place of business.

Once you get "the sit down" with a potential client and prove you know your stuff and can think of ways to help them, you'll get more and more paying customers.

Ways to Set Yourself Up So Clients Will Find You

16. Give away a lot of value.

Whether you're attaching some freebies/downloads to your emails in #14 above, responding to prospect emails, writing a post on your blog, drafting a tweet or an Instagram post, or creating an epic image for Pinterest, build in a ton of free value. It is the stuff that makes people remember you; it is what makes people want to share you; and it also makes people want to buy from you instead of someone else who doesn't create as much value.

"If he/she is this helpful for free, what would their paid products be like?" <-- Is what your audience will think. Giving away value is your best marketing tool and best way to turn onlookers into participators and buyers. Not only does this make smart business sense in the long run, but it’s also just a great way to be a helpful human.

17. Create social media accounts and connections for your business or update your online presence for the ones you already have.

Having a branded Facebook page, Instagram account, and Google+ page is way different than overwhelming your friends with constant business posts on your personal profiles. So, you know, make it happen.

If you already have business pages/profiles, write some new more compelling social media bios and descriptions, spice them up with professional graphics, make sure they all work together cohesively.

For your personal social accounts, update your bios, create/add new pictures, a new email signature, a new LinkedIn job/position, a new Gmail chat status, a new Twitter background, etc.

Be active socially. Be where your clients are and don't be silent. (pssst. We teach how to create these graphics in our epic Visual Arsenal 3.0, which is only available to our SERVE Academy members.)

18. Add "shareability" everywhere for your brand.

Use services like ClickToTweet.com (which makes it simple to pre-compose an exact tweet for a reader, for free), or encourage people to "pin a post for later," and add simple share buttons on your blog site so that people will be reminded to share and will have an easy time sharing your brand. For WordPress users, you can also use the premium plug-in Social Warfare to make it even easier to share (and track shares for social proof).

19. Give free/affordable seminars on your topic at local colleges, community centers, meetings, or other venues of your choice.

I originally started doing seminars as a way to share my passions, but I started getting lots of referrals and clients from people who attended these events.

20. Give free online trainings in your area of expertise.

Bonus points if you subtly make it gateway content into some of your valuable packages or paid products. Consider using Zoom and/or YouTube to host these for free.

21. Build an email list and send regular, helpful emails.

You know, the kind where you give tips, encouragement, and resources that people aren't really going to find elsewhere . . . or that people won't find elsewhere in such an organized and humorous format. Writing regular emails that people actually want to read is one of the best time and skill investments you can make. Building an email list with a smart, human way with people who will actually buy from you is so important that we created a whole free 5-day course about it.

22. Create some online listings for your business.

Consider free places such as:

. . . also consider paid sites in your niche (if you think they'll be effective, but remember to track this through actual website analytics), or other free sites where your clients are likely to look up service providers or businesses.

23. Host a challenge/competition that gets people motivated to make strides on a goal that's in your area of expertise.

Make a group (on Facebook, Google+, or some other network), or host a challenge from your blog. Give participants resources, encouragement, and camaraderie as they accomplish their goals. If you're a personal trainer, think "ab challenge," or a diet coach might do a "cleanse group" while a social media manager might do a "Twitter Superstar in 30 Days" activity.

24. Host a plain 'ol giveaway.

This will spread your brand name, awareness of your services, and provide you with a lucky recipient who may hire you once they receive their free goodies and love you.

25. Guest post on related blogs and sites where your clients hang out.

This helps you reach an audience that you might not have otherwise gotten to speak to. When your audiences's favorite bloggers start to host you on their blogs, people are probably inclined to trust you (at least a bit at first) and like you.

26. Craft and release a social press release.

Which is like a regular press release, but done online and made to look amazing. Looking for ideas? Try pitchengine.com or pressitt.com.

27. Attend conferences and classes your clients are likely to go to.

It's certainly dandy to attend conferences where you meet people like you and get to grow and learn with others in your field. It can help you meet people for points 3 and 4 above, but, your clients typically aren't hanging out at these places. Go to the conferences your customers will be at.

28. Join associations or meetups your clients will be a part of.

Ditto above. The benefit is, you'll usually be the only person in your field who is at the meetup.

29. Use the power of social search to find people looking for the things you offer.

Search Twitter for a few key phrases and start interacting with (and helping) people who are saying these things. If you're a business consultant, you might search for people saying, "I need to start my own business," or "I hate my job," etc.

30. Develop a well-designed and well-written services page and PDF (to attach to emails or print out for potential clients) that clearly explain the benefits of working with you.

31. Build your testimonials collection and portfolio, constantly.

32. Write an informative and attractive blog post on your new services and/or your new business direction.

33. Become a sponsor of a blog or two that your audience frequents.

Bloggers will often promote you through unique posts (like DIYs), links in their sidebars, posts from their social media accounts, their newsletters, and even their videos.

34. Sponsor related events or events that your clients are likely to attend.

They'll get to see your brand name and meet you. Bueno.

35. Make a big deal out of your launch.

Throw a party, write a blog post, host a giveaway, do a month-long special sale and online event, put on multiple webinars, create stunning graphics for all your social media accounts, etc. Just be the big deal you are, okay?

P.S. The methods on this second list work so well to begin bringing customers to you because these actions are items that:

  • prove your willingness and strong desire to help others

  • show that you're an effective educator

  • prove you are a giving person and likely an enjoyable person

  • establish your expertise

  • get people excited about your paid products

  • give people joy in sharing such a useful resource

Whereas you want to use some of the methods in the first list above that lead directly to paying clients, you'll also want to establish a long-term strategy of building a brand that makes people come seek you out, that pops up in people's social feeds (in a good way), and that sticks out in online searches and accounts that your clients regularly use.