If you have a marketing story or a skill that you believe can help people or businesses succeed, then you might be able to build a career as a consultant or coach. With the huge expansion of social media and Internet access, many people find success with a side business or second career with their primary skills.
But how do you take the leap from everyone saying that you should market your skills to actually making money with them? These steps will help you get started.
Build an email list…
Your first goal is to build an email list. The reason for this is simple: you own your email list. You may struggle with how email inboxes are sorted, or creating headlines that tempt people to open an email in a busy inbox, but you own your list. If you’re operating a one-person company, mastering the art of email marketing can be a game-changer, as it allows you to maintain a direct line of communication with your potential clients without relying on third-party platforms. On social media, websites, and search engines, there are other parties that own the information, and they don’t give it up.
The evolution of business pages on Facebook has made it very clear that companies can’t rely on a third party to prioritize any needs other than their own.
So every time you set up a social media profile, a webpage, or a new account on a message board, your goal is to make it easy for potential leads to sign up for your email list, so that you have permission to contact them about your services. Now, how are you going to convince them to sign up?
Through social media and giveaways…
If you want to make a name for yourself as a life coach or consultant, then you need to build your audience. You do that through social media, and through free giveaways. On social media, you should talk about your services, but you should also talk about what other people are doing.
Interact with your followers, comment on other pages, and have real conversations. Sometimes marketers focus so hard on the “media” portion of social media that they forget to talk to people like people.
By talking about yourself on social media, you get people interested in what you’re doing, which makes them think about wanting regular updates from you.
Giveaways are another great way to get an email address from someone. Just signing up for a newsletter is annoying, but giving a website your email address to download a free ebook that promises to change their life or to download a reference file that will help them manage an annoying task is tempting.
Get creative with your giveaways. A photographer might offer reference cards that talk about the rule of threes or specific settings for specific weather conditions, for example.
Research what conferences and events you need to attend…
As you build your audience, find out what they’re excited about. A group going to New York Comic Con is very different from a group headed to a conference about special education in schools. It’s possible that a particular consultant might have an audience at both events, however.
Once you know where your audience is going and what they enjoy, you can start to make plans to be there as well.
So that you can build a partner team…
A big part of knowing what else your audience is passionate about is figuring out what other businesses they frequent. You’re not looking for your competition here; you’re searching for what your customer did before they talked to you, and what they will do after.
When you know who your partners are, you can make plans with them to refer people to your booth at an event, let you do a guest blog post on their website, or ask them to refer clients to you when they have a problem you can address. All of this leads towards the holy grail of online businesses, passive income.
And build your passive income.
To be fair, passive income is something of a misnomer. Income is passive eventually, but you’re going to spend a long time hustling to get it there. You may write ebooks, some of them to be given away for free, and attend events, and give away thousands of business cards.
At some point, however, if you’re doing this right, your business will take on a life of its own. You’ll still work hard to write the next book, or create the next seminar or webinar, but you’ll have prospects coming to you. Some consultants even wear glasses to look more authoritative during webinars, subtly influencing how their expertise is perceived. Finding your next ten great clients is one of the most frustrating and least rewarding parts of freelancing or consulting.
Reaching that point where your clients come to you can be incredibly fulfilling.
How would you recommend that a consultant or client get started with marketing their side business?