Recently, 59% of small businesses reported being in fair or poor financial condition, according to the Federal Reserve Banks’ Small Business Credit Survey.
Despite the economic environment, my financial education company just crossed more than $500,000 in revenue with upgraded services I originally offered for free.
Here are five tips to help you start monetizing your knowledge as a side hustle.
1. Pick Just One Social Media Platform And Double Down
The average American spends about 145 minutes on social media every day. I coach a lot of entrepreneurs who say they hate social media, or feel overwhelmed by thinking they have to be everywhere online.
Rather than try to be on all the social media platforms, pick the one your audience most frequents and choose consistency over omnipresence. An active social media profile circumvents the need to build a website and allows you to share with your existing professional network quickly when you’re in your growth phase.
The first meetings I charged were for requests to help people with their resumes. I started posting weekly tips about writing resumes and interviewing on LinkedIn to let my network know that I was willing to share knowledge on this topic.
Then once a month, I also included a call to action in my posts to encourage people to reach out via e-mail or direct message if they personally wanted help with their resumes. I only started posting to Instagram and Twitter when it made sense with my offerings.
2. Don’t Charge For Your Time
As the expert, you are unlikely to pay for this service, since it’s something you probably do more efficiently than most people. This is the step where most people get stuck because there is a propensity to base the pricing off of what you would pay for it.
Instead price the financial benefit of the problem you are solving by considering:
- How much time, money or energy are you helping people save?
- What could people gain if they were to implement what you teach them?
- What do they stand to lose if they don’t execute on your knowledge?
I wanted people to get 10 times the value of my service and set $400 per meeting as a target price. That might feel like a lot to charge, but when you assess what someone would gain from the meeting, it feels fairer.
I rationalized that most job seekers looking to improve their resumes sought to increase their pay by at least 10%. If a client made at least $40,000 in salary, then a new resume would be worth at least $4,000.
3. Test Your Minimum Viable Product Before You Sell At Full-Price
Coming from the tech industry, I learned startups don’t wait until they have a perfect product to start selling. They start with a minimum viable product or MVP. For a side hustle, that might mean a landing page, a detailed invoice or a one-page PDF describing your offer.
I didn’t quite have the courage to charge $400 for a meeting right from the beginning. But I gave myself permission to charge lower in exchange for piloting my process and testing out whether people did gain value from meeting with me. I started with an introductory price of $29 and let people know I was in the pilot phase.
Particularly in the content creator space, I see too many new entrepreneurs selling courses or consulting before validating their results. Testing an MVP builds confidence in your knowledge and helps identify trends across the ideal clients you want to serve.
4. Document What You Delivered To Make It Tangible
Once I had several MVP meetings, I noticed the first 15 minutes of every session was simply to gather information. I took five to 10 common questions, added them each to my meeting email confirmations as a questionnaire and asked clients to complete them before our session to reinforce it as a professional meeting versus a personal favor.
After every meeting, I provided a post-meeting summary highlighting our discussion and up to five key takeaways or action items the client was most excited about or offered the highest value if they followed through.
It also was a great way to entice someone to provide accountability and potential for another paid interaction.
5. Refer Resources To People Who Won’t Or Can’t Pay
In the beginning, it felt really awkward to decline those who asked and weren’t expecting to pay. But if you are someone who genuinely enjoys helping people, saying yes to everyone is a surefire way to burnout and self-care alone won’t cure it.
The hardest mental block for many entrepreneurs is limiting your availability. For those who were not willing to pay, I offered them free resources including my podcast, written articles and content on social media. Some eventually turned into customers months or even years later when they were ready.
Don’t be discouraged if people aren’t ready to being a paying customer yet. You can still serve value without burning yourself out, and nurture the relationship with them as future clients.