If you make a good part of your living by selling your time, you probably realize that it’s always a balance. Sometimes you’re busy working and other times you are busy marketing and networking to find new clients. This can make it difficult to maintain a steady cash flow.
If you want to get off that roller coaster and add some real stability to your income, then follow along and discover how you can leverage what you already know, what you already do and what is already proven to make money for smart, creative folks like you.
Sell What You Know, Create Buckets of Knowledge
I love the leverage of having a product to sell. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a good living selling your hours but you can make a great living selling things instead of or along side of your hours. If nothing else, why not supplement your consulting fees with product sales revenue too?
What can you do to start your own small perpetual cash engine?
The Secret to Having a Great Product to Sell
You have to create it yourself. And it has to be good, really good or else no one will buy it. Marketing is expensive and I suppose with enough marketing you’ll probably make some sales but not the gusher of cash you really want.
I am not a fan of hype. I realize that my words can sound like hype such as my use of “gusher of cash” above. But I am not trying to sell you anything. Instead, I am trying to get you to see a different point of view. My job is to overcome the fixed thinking many people have about money and about making money. What can you do to start your own small perpetual cash engine?
No Matter What You Do, You Have A Product In You
I have a friend who consults by the hour. Jake was a big-time marketing guy years ago but he left that behind and instead pursued other interests. Now he’s semi-retired and wants to find a way to make some money but not get back into a full time situation. So what can someone like Jake do? Actually, quite a lot:
Jake consults with his clients over the phone. I would recommend that Jake record his sessions and choose the best, most insightful twelve sessions all with the same theme. Now, he can package those sessions as a product. “The 12 best Marketing Consults I’ve ever done!” would be a fantastic product to offer to his new clients as well as existing clients. He can price the product high with a page on his website (as proof it’s an expensive product) and then use this product as a give-away or discount it to his subscribers. He can record just about anything he does with clients, always knowing those sessions can become products for future sale. If you try this, and a specific client objects, move on to the next client, but I bet most clients won’t mind.
What Other Products Can You Create?
- Create an ebook, self publish it on Amazon
- Teach an interactive course using a membership site like TalentLMS
- Deliver a webinar.
- Conduct a one-day live workshop, record the event, make it a new product
- Host an advanced live workshop to sell attendees of your “level one” live workshop, record the event, you get the idea
Jake can do everything above in a relatively short period of time which, cumulatively will establish Jake as a thought leader, as an expert at what he does. This alone is a reason for Jake to do these things and raise his social currency with each person who comes to know him. You can do the same.
When You Finally Have a Product, Tell the World
Actually, I can’t stand Twitter. It’s a time sink that sucks you into an endless stream of mindless distraction. Yet, people find interesting nuggets of insight and they might as well find your Tweets too. Create nuggets of insight from your existing work, spread the word and post often. Most people will ignore your tweets, but a small percentage will read them, and an even a smaller percentage will buy something from you, eventually. The key to success is to get as many people as possible onto your subscriber list so you have an audience to send information about you and your products. Spread the word by doing things that promote you and your services:
- Write blog
- Record a podcast
- Record a YouTube video
- Seek out others who will include you in their podcasts, make the offer to others in your field to do the same for them
- Find others who already speak to your clients and work something out to talk to their client base
I realize these are somewhat obvious ways to get the word out, but they work.
Facebook is the most visited site on the web for finding out about people, products, and companies. Anyone can have a page on Facebook about their business and you should too. In all your communication, invite people to “like” your page. The reason is that every time you post an update, those who “liked” your page will see your update when they log into Facebook.
But here is the advanced way to use Facebook. Beyond doing the simple stuff and getting on Facebook, there are tools you can use to really spread the word to like-minded prospects, it’s called “custom audiences” which are ways to find people just like the ones you already know are interested in what you do. If you are really interested in working professionally with a Facebook marketing consultant, let me know and I will hook you up.
Is there a service you would be willing to perform for five bucks that does not take much time yet showcases your skills and abilities? Would you do it if a certain percentage of those five dollar clients signed up to your blog or made a purchase down the road? Give Fiverr a try. Make a list of everything you can sell for five dollars. Remember, these are things you might have given away to a sales prospect anyway. Instead of giving it away, get $5 and be paid for the leads you generate instead of buying them.
Here are a few examples of things you can do for $5.00
- A free evaluation of their current slogan and an idea for a new one
- A short conversation about their advertising or marketing strategy
- An idea of how to make their product better
- A trusted opinion about their position in the marketplace
- If you sell SEO or web services, how about a free homepage evaluation with a heat map
You get the idea: offer as many things as you can think of that you would do for free if you had the chance for meaningful interaction with a new prospect. Better yet, the whole experience may actually help you figure out what people really want and are willing to pay for. Would you give it a try, or do you have an excuse that stops you from trying? Go take a look at the site and see what others are giving away (I mean selling for $5) and you will be inspired. Even a five dollar sale can be increased by adding more services, increasing the speed of delivery or with other options you create.
Build an Amazon Store!
Let’s say you don’t have a product yet to sell on Amazon. Not a problem. Draw on your personal passions and expertise instead.
Some of you may know that I am a passionate photographer and have traveled the world with my camera documenting my love of nature and landscape. You can see my photography at www.LensTraveler18.com. While I have not set the world on fire with page views, I still get about 500 a month. On that site is a small Amazon Store I built for my photographic gear. The point of all this is to show you that even a small effort can yield a small but steady and growing revenue stream. Believe me, it’s not for the $100 a month it pulls in, it’s my passion. But every so often, I get some surprisingly large checks.
If you add a “recommended reading” list to your website, you can create a storefront and have that generate cash for free. If you like that idea, you can turn it into a side business but that’s not for me.
The Most Powerful Selling Proposition Ever Invented!
Ultimately, this is all about you being free of the ups and downs of the billable hour. In the end, I want you to get leverage in everything you do. I wrote once before about leverage and this is just one more example of how to get it, but with a different perspective. Everything being equal when it comes to promoting yourself, the best, most powerful selling proposition ever invented is HELP. I mean helping another. There’s nothing more powerful than helping someone accomplish their goal and having them recognize your contribution. As you accumulate accolades, these act as your social proof that you can do what you say you can.
Help people, tell other people about the people you’re helping and offer them your services. Then create products that can be used to help others and you have begun creating freedom from the billable hour.
Get Help Selling Your Hours While Building Your Product Suite
If you get too busy selling your own hours, get someone who can sell for you and pay them 20% of your hourly rate. Suddenly, earning a living becomes less stressful. If you go this route, keep working on your products anyway. Everything you do can be done with the intention of creating a product. If you know someone else who sells their hours, work together and hire a salesman. I wrote about how to hire sales superstars, maybe this would work for you too.
You know you will need something to sell so get started by making a list of possible products and then actually plan to execute the first one. If you have any difficulty thinking of a product or getting started, let me know, I am sure that together we can come up with a brilliant idea!
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