I’m gonna lead off with a big ole disclaimer here: I am NOT pretending to be some kind of 6 and 7 figure online income earning guru.
All I’m doing in this article is sharing with you REAL ways that I have already or am currently working on that bring in online income.
If I’ve managed to benefit from these strategies and supplement my performer income while on the gig and between entertainment jobs, it means you can too.
So with that, I’m gonna share with you 10 different ways I make money online to support my performing career.
Before we dive in too deeply though, let’s cover some basics.
In order to be successful in online business, you need to have a fundamental understanding of some basics:
- Lead Generation
- Email Marketing
In this article, I’ll cover a bit about Copywriting and Lead Generation.
Some of the highest paid writers in the world are copywriters.
Because they know how to write in such a way as to get the readers to take action.
That action usually involves purchasing a product or service.
One of the milestones in my laptop lifestyle was being on retainer to work with the marketing department of a St. Louis, MO based software company when I was living out my singer/songwriter dreams in Nashville, TN.
When the owner and I were in discussions about whether or not I would be a good fit working for the company, one of the main questions he asked me was whether or not I would be comfortable doing copywriting for them in addition to building sales funnels and developing overall marketing strategies. To be honest? At the time, I was a little clueless about copywriting, and I even fessed up to it.
One thing I DID know though, was that all good copywriting really IS, is persuading people to take a desired action through storytelling. As a songwriter, actress and singer, I’d been telling stories my entire life. With everything else I’d taught myself about online marketing through making Google and YouTube tutorials my absolute besties, I knew I could figure it out as I went.
And I did.
Copyblogger.com is one of my favorite educational resources on copywriting. Here’s a great post to get you started on your copywriting journey. And you can request info about their Membership Community and Educational Workshops here.
2. Lead Generation
Every business needs prospective customers or “leads”. When you are a person who can procure a list of highly targeted potential customers, you can bet your bottom dollar (“Annie” reference, anyone?) that businesses will be willing to pay you for your time and know-how.
This is actually one of the easiest ways to go about pitching your services to a company. You can suggest a flat rate for an agreed upon trial period of working with you. Set a time limit and a relatively modest flat rate (that you feel is worth your time) for this trial period. (Or maybe even offer it for free.) If they are happy with the results, they will be falling over themselves for the opportunity to pay you a premium to hand-deliver those leads to them over and over again. If they’re not happy, they get their money back.
Because you have been mindful in setting up the trial period in a way that makes sense for you and your business and you have a streamlined system in place that produces great results, even if they decide not to work with you, your losses are minimal. Chances are though, you’ll deliver on your promise in a big way and they’ll be stoked to hire you.
3. Running Facebook Ads
Every business/brand large and small always needs a steady flow of customers. Facebook Ads are an incredibly powerful tool simply because of how much information it collects about its users. Because the online giant takes copious notes every time we “like”, comment on or otherwise interact with its content, it knows what we actually like in real life, (and what we are likely to want to spend our money on).
Or REALLY freaking cool in the case of online marketing.
While the user-experience for advertisers has been streamlined in a way that even the most novice of advertisers can create and run an ad, being able to set up a profitable ad that actually CONVERTS (IE, gets the reader to take a desired action like signing up for an email list, registering for a webinar or making a purchase) is a skill that requires a little more in-depth know-how. It’s all well and good to spend money on ads to get your product, service or brand in front of more eyeballs, but unless you understand how to get them in front of the RIGHT eyeballs, it’s a massive waste of money.
If you are somebody who understands how to reach any business’s ideal customer with an ad that is tailor-made to their needs, you’ve got yourself a great service-based freelance business.
(Note: One of my first adventures in freelancing in the online business world was running ads for a local Fleetwood Mac tribute band to get more people to their shows in Nashville. Since then, I’ve gone on to run and manage ads for all sorts of different small businesses. The principles and the strategy are all the same regardless of industry…Which is awesome; once you understand the game, you can profit every time.)
4. Social Media Manager
Social media is a ton of fun in general, but when you start learning how to take it beyond personal use and leverage it for business, it becomes an incredibly lucrative skill.
Understanding the different algorithms implemented by the various platforms, and understanding how users behave and interact with content helps you to understand how to communicate with them to persuade them to take a desired action. (Again, understanding the basics of copywriting is going to come in handy here.).
Using social media to create a highly engaged community or customer base is something any business looking to expand and grow their influence is willing to pay good money for.
Social media is all about relationships. People buy from people and brands they know, like and trust. If you are able to create a content marketing strategy that nurtures that know, like and trust factor it means you are priming that online community to purchase from the company whenever they release a new product or promotion.
That’s a great skill to have my friend.
One of the great things about social media is how much of the processes you can automate. (Think scheduling posts with a service like Buffer.) For anything that you’re not able to automate (like real engagement with accounts owned by real people,) you can create a system and batch tasks to streamline your process.
Social media is a time-consuming game that many companies would rather hire somebody else to handle for them. Especially when that somebody else understands how to drive results.
5. Affiliate Marketing
This is a super popular business model for bloggers and other online influencers. Affiliate marketing is where you share the links to other people or companies products and when it results in a sale, you collect a commission. Because word-of-mouth or “referral marketing” is one of the most effective time-tested marketing tactics, most companies these days have a built in referral rewards or affiliate program in place.
Some popular affiliate programs to get started with are:
- Amazon (Physical and Digital Products)
- ITunes (Music, eBooks, Apps etc)
- ClickBank (Digital Products and Subscription Based Products)
6. Building Online Sales Funnels
We’re getting a bit more technical now. Because this requires more specialized knowledge though, this is one of the most lucrative online income generators around.
Building sales funnels combine sales copywriting, web design, and the technical understanding to connect all of the moving pieces of a payment processor, product delivery, email marketing software to create a smooth customer experience that converts (I.E. results in a sale or desired outcome like signing up for an email list or making a purchase…. Are you starting to notice a pattern here?)
To get an idea of what an online sales funnel is and how it operates, check out the graphic below:
If you’re serious about learning how to make money online, I would STRONGLY encourage you to familiarize yourself with online sales funnels. Some of my favorite online tools I incorporate into funnels are:
- ConvertKit (email marketing)
- Sumo (pop ups And opt-in boxes)
- Gumroad (distribution of products, both physical and digital)
- WordPress (web building)
- ClickFunnels (All in one sales funnel tool from optins, to payment processor integration to product delivery. A bit on the pricier side, but definitely a convenient option)
- LeadPages (landing pages)
7. Building Websites
The good news is you don’t necessarily need to be a hot shot at writing html code to build a website anymore. (I mean, bonus points if you are… it certainly doesn’t hurt.).
There are many drag n’ drop web building tools available now that simplify the entire process. Even still, a lot of people are still intimidated by the idea of building a website and will gladly pay you to do it for them.
There are plenty of platforms to choose from including Wix, Squarespace and my personal favorite WordPress. (This site is built on wordpress, as is my online performer portfolio site leighcaraentertainment.com.)
One of the reasons I love using WordPress.org (NOT WordPress.com) self-hosted websites is there are so many plugins available to customize your site however you like. You can almost always find a YouTube tutorial or a blog post somewhere describing exactly how to troubleshoot common issues with sites on this platform as well. Once you familiarize yourself with the backend “dashboard” the software provides, (see screenshot from this website below) it’s pretty easy to navigate and find any plugin for just about any customization you can imagine.
If you are somebody who has an area of expertise, people will be willing to pay you for your input and advice.
One of the great things about running a one-on-one consulting business with clients in your particular industry is you start to see patterns of where people tend to get stuck and what they need help with. When you are able to solve people’s problems for a profit, (which, in essence, is the definition of being an entrepreneur) it will position you as an authority and your bank account will thank you for it.
The one thing about consulting that is less than ideal though is you only have so many hours in a day you can work with clients, which means there is only so much money you can make. The great news though, is that when you’ve worked with enough clients to recognize those patterns, problems and pain points they have and you develop a systemized approach for solving them, you are able to productize your process and scale your business in a powerful way.
Which brings me to #9…
9. Creating A Product or Membership Community
This is more time and labor-intensive, for sure, but the rewards can be much greater than doing small freelance projects for your customers.
I believe that everybody, regardless of the background or education level has something to teach. We live in an exciting time where anybody can package their knowledge and with proper marketing, profit greatly from it.
Check out this info from Teachable, an online course platform that illustrates how much more quickly and easily you can monetize a course over most other online business strategies.
Another similar idea is to create a membership community where you are continually adding valuable information to an archive that your members pay you for in an ongoing subscription in order to have access to. Maybe you host this in a Facebook group, or maybe you use a plugin like MemberPress to host it on your own website.
Many teachers and influencers give their members direct access to them by being able to ask questions in the membership community. You create time and space to monitor the group, respond to any questions and provide added value (perhaps live trainings).
One of the cool things about membership communities is not only can people get advice and answers from you, they can get help from other like-minded individuals in the group.
A course and membership community is often an attractive monetization strategy to bundle together. These elements together are perceived as being hugely valuable.
10. Network Marketing
This is one of my favorite ways to generate extra income, and while it’s not exclusive to online business, digital marketing can certainly uplevel your income potential with this model.
Network Marketing was my introduction to the entrepreneurial world and it seriously blew my world right open. It showed me that it was possible to generate extra income from wherever my gigs took me, whether that was in a theme park in Japan or from a cruise ship in any given corner of the world.
One of the things that makes this business model so attractive is it is “turn-key” or as some call it, a “business in a box”. Your responsibility is to find and educate prospects about your product or opportunity and invite them to get started. The company handles everything else like:
- Product Distribution and Shipping
- Customer Service
- Creating Educational and Promotional Materials
And so much more.
Because you are building this kind of business as part of a team, you are able to leverage the efforts of others and profit from them. There is a popular saying in this business model:
“You are in business FOR yourself, but not BY yourself.”
One of the beautiful things about this business model is the ability to “earn while you learn”.
Because you are a part of a team, you don’t have to be the expert and can always call upon the knowledge and expertise of a team member should a question come up you don’t know how to handle. This actually works in your favor because it shows the prospect that should they decide to get started with your products or opportunity, they will be part of a reliable support network to hold their hand through the learning process.If you are interested in learning more about Network Marketing, head over here.
What jumps out at you most of the ways to make money online in this list? What are you most interested in? What are you likely to try first?
Have you had any success with these strategies? Have you had success with any strategies I didn’t cover in this post? Let me know in the comments.