There are so many ways to earn an income online that it can get pretty confusing. In fact, for many people, including myself when I first got started out, the numbers of ways there are to make money and all the different options available ironically is what prevented me from actually making money, for quite a long time. The most important thing for people just starting their business online (or if you’re veteran and have been in the game for awhile) is to be able to focus 100% of your efforts on what your important project is.
In this free guide, I’m going to be outlining a step-by-step blueprint for anyone who is unsure where they should start. If you follow this guide, you WILL be making money.
The most important thing for you to realize, however, is that the best and most in-depth guide won’t work if you won’t! You need to work at this and want this more than you’ve wanted anything else in life and treat it as if there is NO other way, that’s the way you will be successful with this information. Most people have a belief that earning money online is a “scam” or that it’s not possible. This is both due to our belief system and what we have heard and been taught over the years, as well as the fact that, well, there are a ton of scammers online!
What you need to realize here is that your journey isn’t going to be some ‘get rich quick’ or make overnight money type of thing. Don’t get me wrong there are ways to make money fast on the internet, but this guide will focus on helping you to build a real virtual business and will be focused on you developing a marketable skill that is in high-demand online. Making you valuable to the marketplace.
1. Pick a marketable digital skill and master it
It all starts here. The most important part of what we’ll be going over today. You need to figure out and identify what you would enjoy doing for your virtual/freelance business and then make sure that there is a market for it. Do some research on the topic and make a list of pros and cons of different fields. I’m going to save you some time here and list a few that I already know to be valuable, just to get your juices flowing and see if any of these align with you.
Web Design – Ok so everyone knows what this is and to be honest this is the backbone of all things online. If you are planning to embark on any online endeavor, you should at the very least know how to set up a website in WordPress and know some basic HTML.
Search Engine Optimization – A great skill-set to have these days. This is the one that I chose to master when I was getting started. Think about it; you’ll be able to not only use your skill-set to rank clients high and get them more traffic to their websites and businesses on the search engines, but you can use it for your own efforts. Very valuable.
PPC – Imagine being able to call or walk into any local business and tell them you can have their phone ringing this week with clients who are looking for their services. Well, that’s what you can do if you master PPC. In my opinion anyone, that’s trying to earn online should either choose one or two skills to focus on learning, either SEO or PPC. They both require an immense amount of knowledge and concentration on learning, and they are continually changing so you will need to be sharpening your skills.
Graphic Design – I don’t think we need to go too much into this one. You can master programs like Photoshop or Adobe Indesign and do design work for companies or freelance work.
You know what the best thing about learning these skills are? You can get a good foundation FOR FREE with Google and Youtube…
2. Tell friends or family that own a business what you can do for them
Now that you’ve chosen a digital skill to master, and you’ve spent a few weeks studying up on it on different places such as Google and Youtube, you MUST start applying whatever it is that you’re learning. This is the biggest separator of people online, how much are you willing to put into this? How many hours are you willing to put in every week into learning and applying your skill and becoming a real master at it? This is ultimately the only factor that will determine your success or failure.
Let’s get a bit more specific, shall we? You’ll want to take a look at your friends and family and see who has a local business that could benefit from your services (web design, graphic design) or more customers (SEO, PPC)? Do you have a friend named Joe that owns a landscaping business? Great, give Joe a call or shoot him a text and tell him that you’re learning some new skills about how to bring in more customers for local businesses online, and ask if he would be ok with you sending some him some more customers….do you think he’ll say no to that!? I didn’t think so.
Ideally, when first learning you are going to want to assume all the risk and purchase a website yourself and use that as your “canvas”. This is going to be the foundation it all starts from. Think about it, you can test out everything that you are learning on this domain, you can test your web design skills, your SEO, and even your PPC campaigns.
So, you’re going to want to purchase a generic domain for testing, something like DoneRightLandscaping.com. You don’t want to use the same name as your friend’s company because after all, this is just for testing purposes, and we don’t want people to get confused with which domain is for his business and which is for your testing.
3. Join freelancing websites and post ads on your local community boards and/or Craigslist
Ok so by now you’ve been spending time every week reading and watching everything that you can get your hands on about your digital skill-set of choice. You have also even applied what you are learning practically, on a real domain that you are using strictly for testing purposes.
Once you feel comfortable, enough it’s time to put yourself out there and start gaining clients so you can work towards turning your part-time hobby/skill into your full-time income (if that’s what you are looking to do). It’s also perfectly fine if you are seeking to keep your day job and just want to earn some extra income on the side, on your terms.
First things first. Assuming that you’ve been successful during your learning and testing process, you’re friend Joe is going to want to pay you to continue with the work that you’ve been doing. The good thing here is that since he’s a friend he’s going to feel MUCH more comfortable paying and having you work for him helping him out with this stuff than a random person calling him up from India and promising to “get him on the front page of the Google”.
At this point you should also ask him for a referral and if he knows anyone else that could benefit from the type of services that you’ve been providing for him.
Next, it’s time to step into the abyss. You are going to want to build your own website; that outlines the services that you offer where you can refer customers to. Also, go ahead and get a testimonial from your friend Joe that you’ve been doing work for to get some social proof under your belt.
Then, you are going to want to head straight over to Craigslist and start posting ads for your services on the services section. Be consistent with this step because it is going to be the single most important part in you developing your business and building a solid customer base. Craigslist is the 10th most trafficked website in the WORLD, think you can extract some of their targeted traffic to build your virtual business?
Finally, you are going to want to go to job boards, freelance sites and other sites like Craigslist and post your services there as well. This is called marketing yourself, get used to it! Here are a couple of resources to get you started:
To go along with these freelancing websites, you can easily do things in within your local area to gain new clients such as. Join the local chamber of commerce and offer your services for free to them in exchange for referring you to chamber members (very powerful) don’t underestimate this. You can also post some of the work that you’re doing to Facebook to let people know about your new skill, same thing with Twitter and Youtube. Work at this enough and consistently and you won’t have any problems at all attracting new clients, and you’ll be getting those dollar bills faster than you could have imagined and throwing money around like Rihanna.
4. Build up your client base and gather testimonials and video testimonials
Next, the most important step is building up social proof and testimonials. Always ask your clients at the end of every project if they’re happy with the work that you’ve done for them. If not you need to make sure you do whatever it takes to make them happy, if they are, then ask them if they would mind leaving you an honest review testimonial on your website or by video via Youtube.
Think of this as if you are growing your ‘Wall of Fame,’ a testimonials page that you can show future and prospective customers when they ask you if you have any referrals. You can simply show them your testimonials page, and that takes care of that, your customer feedback will speak volumes regarding establishing credibility in your client’s eyes.
After you’ve gone through the process, all that you have to do now is rinse and repeat. The more you study and learn, the more customers you take on, the more projects you complete, the more money you will earn and the better you will get at your new digital skill. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to making money online. You are only limited by your work ethic and the time that you are willing to put in to elevate yourself to the top 10% of your field, which is also usually the top 10% earners by the way.
You have to ask yourself, is this just something that you want to do as a side-project? OR is this the catalyst and vehicle that you will use to elevate yourself past your current situation and limitations and bring yourself to a position of power and freedom where you can earn and work from anywhere in the world and be your own boss….the choice is yours. What will you do with it?