make money blogging

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

funnels for courses ebooks and programs.jpeg

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.

Funnel-Examples-from-PFSS.png

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.

The-Parts-of-an-Effective-Funnel.gif

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.

Example-Funnel-from-Theo.png

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.

The 6 Most Profitable Blogger Career Paths (and How to Get Started in One)

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Oh man. Listen. I 100% believe what I’m about to say and it IS big. I’m not even necessarily being the overly dramatic version of myself that I normally am. Here it is.

There are six distinct blogger career paths, which if you understand and work on, can absolutely change your world.

I’ve been down each one of these paths in the past, and it is time to share them . . . and to change the careers that we consider, pursue, and build for ourselves.

P.S. Everything below and more is available as an audio file. And here is the flowchart I reference and show.

 How do you make money as a blogger? What careers are there in blogging? Here's a resource to help.

How do you make money as a blogger? What careers are there in blogging? Here's a resource to help.

For years, and years, and years, society has been quick to teach us the traditional career paths of lawyers, and teachers, and plumbers, and even professional basketball players. We know which schools we need to go to, which judge to get an internship with, how to get certified during night school, which recruiters and game stats we should shoot for, etc.

We know that once we become a lawyer, we can look forward to either practicing law at a major firm and trying to make partner, or starting our own firm, or teaching law, or working as a public defender, or working for a major corporation as an attorney, or doing pro bono, or advising a non-profit, or getting into politics and perhaps running for president of our country one day.

Great.

But, what about career paths for bloggers? For content creators? For infopreneurs? For some of these positions and interests that are popping up, making money, and sticking around?

Just as becoming a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you money or clients, but it does provide many paths to monetize (explained above) and many specialties to focus on (family law, corporate issues, intellectual property, taxes, tort law, etc.) and is thus considered a legitimate career . . .

Becoming a blogger doesn’t guarantee income or fame by any stretch of the imaginations, but it does provide many paths (explained below and in the audio file) and practically endless specialties to focus on (food, business, travel, crafts, fitness, accounting, fashion, etc.) that make money and should thus be considered a legitimate career.

I hope they start teaching it in schools everywhere soon. But until then, may I please present my shiny new Blogger Career Paths flowchart with some explanations and notes (if you’re taking them) that I hope will blow your mind? Okay. Let’s get started.

 The 6 Blogging Career Paths

The 6 Blogging Career Paths

The first thing to understand is what is happening in any career path, anywhere, at any time, on any day. You are learning something new in one of two ways. You are either:

  1. Acquiring a skill. or

  2. Acquiring information.

Right? And, depending on which one you are doing, there are quite a few ways that your career path can develop and morph. Plus, keep in mind that you can continually add new skills or information to the mix to tweak your path as new interests and desires come up.

So, let’s break down what the 6 most profitable career paths for bloggers are, and then, you can optionally decide to listen to the audio file above where I break down these Blogger Career Paths into the two actions of acquiring a skill or acquiring information as a starting point.

The 6 Most Profitable Career Paths for Bloggers

Becoming a DFY (done for you) freelancer.

“I like to do X, so I’m going to do it for you, in a customized way.”

Ex: A copywriter for your sales and landing pages. A document designer for your book. An interior designer for your daughter's room.

2. Becoming a coach or consultant in a Dwy (done with you) way.

“I like to show you how to do X successfully.”

Ex: A divorce + transition coach. A yoga coach. A brand or content coach. Like my girl over at JenCarrington.com.

3. Becoming a speaker.

“I want to talk about X to help make it better and advance the way we think about X.”

Ex: A speaker who raises awareness of the dangers of childhood obesity. A speaker who talks with corporations about how to motivate their team members.

4. Becoming a spokesperson.

“I like to do X and talk about X, so I partner with brands that allow me to do so.”

Ex: A food blogger who is an affiliate for products and gets food brands to pay them for special recipes. A fashion blogger who gets money, clothes, and accessories because they make brands look good. A travel blogger who becomes a brand ambassador for a boutique hotel chain (yes, I actually know someone who did this and their niche is not even travel). Me, when WD sponsored me to talk about their personal cloud device.

5. Making products so people can diy their solutions.

“I want to create a way for people to do X better.”

Ex: A blogger who creates an editorial planner (haha, shameless---that's my editorial planner for sale on Amazon.com. No but seriously, the Epic Blog Planner is actually pretty great). Or a fitness blogger who creates an app to help you track your fitness goals. Or a yoga-loving blogger who creates more versatile or sustainable yoga gear or bags. Or the blogger behind the food blog Inspiralized.com who made a popular kitchen tool and cookbook.

6. Becoming a publisher for profit.

“I want to teach a lot of people how to do X in a clear way.”

Ex: A course creator who teaches yoga for rehabilitating a weak back. Or my friend Heather who teaches how to style a bookcase. A blogger-author who sells books on financial planning and independence. A blogger who has published multiple books and now teaches SERVE Academy, an email-list building and sales cycle program. You get the point---there are a lot of ways to publish for profit.

Oooo, when you learn by acquiring a new skill, what are the blogging career paths available to you? And what about when you learn by acquiring info?

I'm so glad you asked this question, ninja friend. I get to that in the podcast episode--I just have a few more tips for you here in this post.

But, let’s take a #secretbreak real quick. Which is, get this, a break in which I tell you a secret.

I'm desperately passionate about helping you find the blogging career that makes sense for you, your learning passions, and the people you like to talk to and help or entertain. I'm passionate about it because I have tested and seen many monetization methods in each career path (as in: there's more than just one way to make money as a "spokesperson"), and at some point in the last few years, I've done each of these careers for full-time income. 

No seriously, it was just about learning and growing.

And testing. And you know what?

It IS possible to pursue blogging as a career . . . it just needs to be approached wisely.

So, you will notice, especially as you listen to the episode and take a gander at the flowchart, one common theme that helps you monetize scalably is to figure out a process with what you do, and then figure out how to make it better (through products, or tools, or coaching/guidance), how to explain it better (through organized information), or how to present it better. These ALL deal with publishing information.

  • Visual information.

  • Written information.

  • Information as tutorials or videos.

  • Audio files.

  • There are a lot of options.

And I want to help you navigate them. I’m not gonna just leave you like “Yay. Blogging careers are real. Go find one.”

Here’s the deal. Carving a career for yourself out of this new industry requires (1) something you are passionately interested in---and p.s. you can test things out and binge-do the Internet to start finding out what that is if you don’t already know, and (2) being consistent about creating value out of what you’re passionately interested in. How to create content that wins will be a focus of the next few episodes of the #StayScrappy podcast and of the posts on this blog . . . but . . .

At the very least . . . you can start by taking our free 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. 

Then, if you’re feeling good about your setup and wanting to move forward, please feel free to check out ALL the free content here on the blog to see if that gives you what you need, or, if you're ready to super duper pursue this, you can come join us in SERVE Academy.

Regina out.

How to Expand a Blog Post (or Series) into a Book

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So, here we are, you and I . . . about to dive into: How do you turn a blog post series into a book? OR EVEN How do you turn a blog post into a book? My friend, I do not have all the answers, and I'm sure there are multiple ways to go about it, but I can tell you what I've done in this situation to expand blog posts into eBooks (like The Epic Guide to Creating a Brand Identity and The Guide to Creating an Epic Information Product in 3 Days).

When expanding on posts that already exist for free on the webs, I try to take a step back and look at the whole topic from the reader/customer perspective. This comes in the form of five questions you can ask yourself about your current post or series as well as five general idea-generating questions you can ask yourself to create an awesome chapter/content list for your book.

You can download the worksheets below (just click on them) to help you work through and record your ideas from this post.

 How to go from a blog post series to a book

How to go from a blog post series to a book

For the purposes of this post, let's take for example a series you did on car maintenance for your "modern superwoman" blog. P.S. If it is a single post you are turning into a book, break it down into the main points/sections you made.

Below, I assume it is a series, but you can change my list out for your post sections.

1st post: Changing a Tire

2nd post: Checking All Important Car Fluids

3rd post: Changing the Oil

4th post: Changing Your Air Filters

5th post: Adding Air to Your Tires

When it's time to write the book Car Maintenance: Superwoman Style, you'd step back and review these:

Five Questions to Ask About Your Current Blog Post or Series

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For each of the posts in your series (or points in your blog post) ask yourself:

1. Can I expand it with additional points?

For example: Your post on Checking All Important Car Fluids might have included transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, steering fluid, and coolant. Awesome. But now that you're creating a book out of it, you have room to expand. Can you possibly cover windshield wiper fluid now as well?

Homework: Use the accompanying worksheets to record any expansion you can do (on each post in your series) that will add value or present a more full picture of your topic.

2. Can I focus on a different aspect?

For example: Your post on Changing a Tire might have taken a wonderful and in-depth look at each step in the process, but could you maybe focus on which tires are less prone to go flat? Or what you should look for in a spare tire? Or checking your car to make sure you have a spare? Or where to get a premium tool kit for tire changes?

Homework: Use the worksheets to write down different viewpoints/aspects of each post or point you've already created.

3. Can I give more background information?

For example: You may have told us all about Changing the Oil, with high-res images and everything, but might we also be interested in the background of the different types of car oil and which types are best for certain cars? And with all your great instructions on Changing a Tire, might we still need you to clarify that if we're changing our tire on the side of a highway, there are different sets of concerns we need to address? And yes, we can check our car fluids, but are there Three (Non-Fluid) Checks You Should Do Before You Drive Your Car Each Day?

Homework: Decide >> what are some additional background points you can make (or chapters you can create) that will help your audience? Are there possibly some things you're assuming your audience knows that they might not know? Try to talk with someone who would be an ideal reader and figure out what background information they might appreciate. Write down your ideas on your worksheet in the appropriate section.

4. Can I make it apply to a segment of people?

For example: You told us all about Changing a Tire and Checking All Important Car Fluids, but were those just general tips or did they apply to those who live in severe cold temperatures? Are there different concerns for a certain segment of people? Those who drive in the cold or in extreme heat? Those traveling great distances vs. those who only drive a few miles at a time? Those who only use their car once per week or once per month?

Homework: Think about each type of person who might want or need your book. Is there content that doesn't fit for them? More importantly, is there additional content that you can add and create a completely different and more amazing experience with?

5. Can I write the follow-up content?

For example: You did an amazing job educating us on Changing a Tire, but now that we've changed it, what can/should we do with the old one? Recycle it? Donate it? Make a tire swing out of it?

Homework: Think through each post in your series (or each point in your post) and ask yourself if you followed the point all the way through? Is there something that comes afterward that your audience will consider useful? I, for one, have no idea what to do with a tire after I change it, so if there's a way to easily donate or recycle it, I'd love to know.

Use your worksheets to write down your expansion ideas. Then, use your worksheets as you contemplate:

Five Idea-Generating Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Topic

1. Why does my ideal reader want to learn about this topic in the first place?

Our car maintenance blogger should ask: Why would my ideal reader want to learn about car maintenance? Is it because she drives an older car and doesn't ever want to be stranded on the side of the road? Is it because she's finally purchased her dream car and wants to keep it pristine?

This might inspire some new chapter ideas:

Chapter Idea: Tips and Tricks for Both Old and New Vehicles
Chapter Idea: Preventative Maintenance: How to Upkeep Your Baby on the Regular Chapter Idea: The Basic Tools Any Savvy Superwoman Should Have on Hand Chapter Idea: The 10 Checks You Should Do Before a Road Trip

Homework: Ask yourself why your reader is interested in your topic. When you write down that answer (or those multiple answers), see if it inspires any topic/chapter ideas you don't already have written down on your worksheets.

2. Where does my ideal audience member need to start?

Our car blogger should ask: With my blog post series I just jumped into changing a tire, but is that the beginning? Where does my reader need to begin their knowledge of car maintenance as a whole?

This might inspire some new chapter ideas:

Chapter Idea: The Parts of a Car and How They All Work Together

Chapter Idea: Knowing the Lights on Your Dashboard

Homework: When you knew nothing about this topic, what would have been most helpful to know? What order would you explain this in to someone in the seventh grade? To a young child? To someone who knew almost zero about the topic? To someone who has never heard of your topic before? Write your content ideas down in the correct column of your worksheet.

3. What are additional concerns my audience might have that I have had before, heard before, or can relate to?

Our car maintenance blogger should ask: What are the things I've been doing so long (or have known so long) that can be real roadblocks to someone encountering them for the first time? What questions and comments do I hear when hanging out (online or in real life) with my ideal readers or people like my ideal readers?

This might inspire some new chapter ideas: 
Chapter Idea: When to Take Your Car In (and What to Look For in a Mechanic) Chapter Idea: When to Sell or Give Away Your Car

Homework: Consider surveying your friends + readers, or simply thinking through past conversations or your own experiences to develop a list of additional concerns, thoughts, or needs that might be a good fit for your book. Add your ideas to your worksheet.

4. What additional resources will enhance my audience’s understanding of this topic?

Our car blogger should ask: Are there certain topics or sections that won't work as simple text? Does any of this fit better as videos, links, worksheets, downloads, a list of tools/resources, etc.?

This may cause new ideas such as:

  • Resource Idea: (Video) How to Check Your Tire's Air

  • Resource Idea: Links to all the best resources to estimate what your used car will sell for

  • Resource Idea: (Worksheet) Car Maintenance Checklist for Cars Over 10 Years Old

Homework: Review the ideas you've had thus far on your worksheets and figure out whether something other than text is necessary to convey your points effectively. Write down your ideas for additional resources or materials that can complement your book.

5. Which of these topics and ideas fit together as one book and which ones could be expanded on later or made into separate books?

Both you and our car blogger should ask: Is some of this too advanced for where my ideal audience is at? Will certain chapters overwhelm my audience? Can I create additional streams of income and more specialized content by breaking some of this into mini-books, workbooks, a class, or other content?

Homework: Pull out any ideas that you want to save for a later project and set them aside. Flip back to the first page of your worksheets and record all your final chapter/content ideas. Use this to make your official outline for your new book.

 

So yes, there are definitely ways to use blog post content, but make it more full and more useful as a book. I think you simply focus on developing the important things that you know will really make a difference for your audience, and then plan out your current book (and any follow-up books) to address the needs and immediate interests of your readers. If they are your primary motivation during the process, you'll likely see great content ideas naturally form, and meh ideas naturally fade.

So tell me good friend of the Internet, will you be creating a book or product out of some of your blog posts? Have you already done so? Do tell . . .

And pssssst, if you liked this lesson, you might just love our email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. . . because if you plan on selling books, you’ll need an audience. Grab the course here.

How to Create a Mini-Course in 12 Hours

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If you have a moment, I want to help you create a course (an epic “mini-course” to be more specific) that you can give away or sell to your audience, and I want to help you for free. Like seriously, I have a 20-page workbook and 5 training videos waiting for you, but I must start with the brief story of a time, long ago, when I created an entire mini-course in 12 hours.

The story begins in the distant past known as . . . two days ago.

11 a.m. - I woke up // Don’t judge me, I got a late start.

11:15 a.m. - I remembered how I really want to create a quick, free Blog School this weekend to help people plan + create their blogs.

11:17 a.m. - I thought it would be fun to invite other friends across the globe to create their own short courses with me.

11:18 a.m. - I thought, “Maybe I can make it a bit of a challenge and post updates throughout the day.”

11:19 a.m. - Made up my mind and then posted a graphic announcing my plans on Instagram.

 Mini Course Challenge Announcement

Mini Course Challenge Announcement

I started posting YouTube updates as I was creating my initial product (a blog school), which I still plan to finish soon, but then my path morphed a bit. I realized (somewhere in Hour 3 I think) that the mini course I was actually creating was a course on how to create mini courses. Yeah. Very meta of me. It took me a minute to realize it. But see, #whathadhappenedwas:

I was working and posting videos and updates on one thing, but I constantly wanted to develop worksheets, resources, tips, and more for everyone else who was following along and creating their own mini courses.

Shocker, right? If you know me at all, then you know that I live to create and do adult homework. So the day I had so carefully planned out (translation: had not planned out at all really) morphed into the creation of a short course that I want you to be able to take for free.

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And here's the thing, you don't have to jump through any flaming hoops (unless you're really keen to) . . . you get complete access right here. Would I be mad if you tweeted the short tweet below? Not at all.

And, would I complain if you put up with me as I share a few more shots of the workbook? Nope. It was a lot of fun to create.

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So, what's in this "Create a Course in 12 hours" workbook?

The workbook has 20 pages that cover the various sections of the mini-course. Between the five training videos available for free on Youtube and the worksheets, you'll find materials to help you as you:

  • Decide on your topic

  • Identify your people (audience)

  • Create an outline for your course

  • Select the format for each part of the course you are creating

  • Decide on the delivery methods for your course content

  • Think up course promotion ideas

  • Edit your course

  • Format your course documents/videos (+ my secret tip for creating materials quickly)

  • And more (such as a Launch Checklist and lots of videos of me in my Jimi Hendrix shirt)

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Want to take this course for free by watching it on Youtube or right here at the bottom of this post? Don’t forget to grab your workbook right here.

 But let’s be totally up front and honest. Creating a mini course won’t do any good if you don’t have an email list of people interested in your content. . . Want our free email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you? Grab it here

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.