Thu, 12 February 2015
As a kid, I loved the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book series. It featured a magical and resourceful lady who lived with all her children in an upside down house. When money was tight for Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, she would send all of her kids through the house to find hidden treasures.
That story stuck with me from the moment I read it. As a kid, I felt ready for any moment when money came up short—I’d just go on a treasure hunt! Does it surprise you to learn that my perspective hasn’t changed, even now that I’m an adult? What's more, I no longer wait for the “running out of money” moment before I set out on a treasure hunt. Not when I have a five-step treasure map that leads me right to the gold.
As an entrepreneur, there are going to be times when cash is tight. It’s natural for you to feel the squeeze when you’re just starting out. Even after your business has liftoff, you might feel strapped from time to time. Or maybe you are looking at investing in some kind of new business tool or business opportunity and you need a little cash before you do so.
Running your business means living through cycles of financial growth and…dormancy, shall we say? If that’s where you find yourself now, these hidden money opportunities will definitely speak to you. I’m going to reveal five very specific hidden money opportunities that I’ve used in my own business to bring quicker cash flow.
The key to a good treasure hunt is knowing you have gold hiding somewhere. And you do! Let’s go on a treasure hunt together, and find the places where your gold is hiding.
Opportunity #1: Finish Your Online Training Program
You might have an online training program, nearly finished, waiting in your digital library. Maybe you've tinkering with it, fine-tuning the details. Or maybe you just have a growing list of ideas for programs that you know have huge potential…once you finish them.
So what are you waiting for?
This not-quite-finished training program has money hiding under it.
Seth Godin has a great term for this occasion:
It's the online marketing equivalent of Nike’s motivational slogan “Just do it.” Get your program out there. Don’t keep procrastinating under the "it's not finished yet" excuse.
Instead, release it as a beta test, and get some feedback from people. As it happens, I’m doing that very thing right now, with a Facebook Ads program I created.
Believe me, I understand the temptation to keep tinkering until your program feels ready to join the really “pro” trainings already out there. But that’s not where you need to start, especially if this is your first online training program.
Start with something simple; call it your “introductory product.” Include a few videos, transcripts, maybe a PDF of your slide decks, some supporting documents, and that’s it. The point is to get it out there and get some feedback to develop your product, while at the same time creating a little buzz for yourself.
If you’re ready to get aggressive about claiming this hidden money, set a completion date to get that online training program. Get it user-ready in 30 days. Take another 30 days after that to promote it. Then release. It doesn’t have to be a perfect or a huge launch.
My business dramatically changed when I finally just got a product out there. It was a program to help authors launch their book online—it had nothing to do with what I ended up becoming known for. I just had some expertise in helping authors in this way, and knew that I had something to offer.
I so wish I had released this training sooner! Once I put it out there, I got great feedback, learned a ton about my target audience…and found out that I didn’t love that topic enough to grow in that direction. Releasing that program was a huge help in moving forward with the business I really wanted.
You’ll never move forward if you don’t get something out there. And you definitely won’t make any money from a program that’s never offered to the public.
Need Help? It’s Free!
Maybe you've never attempted to create an online training program. In that case, the “hidden money” doesn’t exist for you…yet. But if you're ready to start developing in this direction, I’ve created a free PDF giveaway that is just what you need.
It’s called A Course Creation Starter’s Guide, and it's going to get you moving in the right direction for your program.
This freebie is great even for those who are already working on online training programs. If you’re looking for some ways to be a little more efficient in how you deliver this program or how you create it, skip to the section called "The Seven Power Tools." This is something I use with every single online training program I create, and you can easily incorporate it into your existing workflow.
Get "A Course Creation Starter's Guide"
Listen to Episode 46 to get all the details on how to make the most of hidden treasure in your business.
Opportunity #2: Do a Mini-Promotion and Make an Offer
There are three ways you can access this hidden treasure:
1. Create A Webinar
If you’re a regular follower of my content, you know about my love affair with webinars. Take it from me—they are a great way to build your business. And contrary to popular belief, creating them is neither overwhelming nor stressful. First, you choose an existing program, product or service and decide what you want to say about it.
Spend some time outlining the content, bearing in mind how long you want this webinar to be. (My webinars typically last for about 90 minutes, and the first 45-60 minutes is me presenting my content.) Your goal is to teach participants something they can apply as soon as they walk away…and then offer your program, product or service for sale to anyone who wants a jump start on what you just taught them.
Once you’ve determined what your content will be, focus on the way it flows inside your webinar. Get specific and strategic about how you move from content to a sales promotion. You don’t want to just put a bunch of text on a slide. Believe it or not, the kind of images and number of slides you use makes a huge difference in the number of conversions you get from your webinar. For example, 20 to 25 slides for a 60-minute webinar is not nearly enough.
People get overloaded easily when there’s too much text on each slide. Overloaded people hit “pause” or start multi-tasking, and wander off. When you lose attention, you lose a lead. For a 60-minute webinar, you want at least 80 slides, each with minimal words on it, plus imagery. Your goal is to use your slides to simply punctuate your point; you don’t want your entire script on the slide. Keep your audience’s attention by constantly switching slides, and using great imagery and lots of it. (Note: avoid cheesy stock photos.
There are some great sites out there where you can find really beautiful imagery. BigStockPhoto is my personal go-to.) Another part of creating good flow is aligning your content with your sales offer at the end. You’ll spend 45-60 minutes of your webinar on content; the final 15-20 minutes is when you transition into talking about your program, product, or service and what’s in it for them. A great way to make this transition is open up a Q&A session.
For example, I’ll say “For the next 15 minutes I’m going to take some live Q&A,” and I have a few questions (and answers) ready, in case people aren’t jumping forward to ask questions.
I also make it worth their while to take action now. I don’t want them to get off the webinar and think about it later. That’s why, in between questions, I’ll say “For the next 15 minutes, if you buy while we are on this webinar, you get this fast-action bonus.”
This could be a cheat sheet, a checklist, anything related to what I just taught them.
Finally, it is extremely important to follow your webinar with an email series. I typically send out a replay as my first email, linking to the webinar so they can watch it again, and ending with a pitch about the program I’m offering at the end of my webinar.
After this, I send a series of three more emails, talking about the benefits of the program, giving case studies, showing them they can’t live without my program or product. See how that works? Believe it or not, this is something you can do within a week, especially if you already have a program or product you want to promote. You can do it all live, or you can do an automated version called “evergreen.”
For this, you record the webinar in advance and then let people sign up for different dates and times.
Right now, I'm running an ad for a free webinar called "7 Strategies to Get Your Business Up and Running on Facebook" and in it, in addition to offering 45 minutes of highly valuable content, I promote my Facebook 101 program, Jumpstart Your Facebook Marketing." If you want to see my webinar sequence in action, you can sign up for the webinar here.
By using Facebook ads to promote it, this webinar is generating an average of $1,500 a day as well as helping me grow a very quality email list. Bottom line: webinars work really well.
2. Create a Live Mini-Training
This is something you can truly do next week if you already have a program, product, or service ready. When I say “live” I don’t mean in person; it’s a live event. You “sell tickets,” record yourself doing a live event, then release the recording to buyers. You can do this alone, or with a partner. About a year ago, David Siteman Garland and I collaborated on a two-hour live training. Anyone who bought tickets could attend the event or simply receive the recording, along with a PDF of our slide deck and some support documents (cheat sheets, checklists, etc.). We spent a week creating the event. We both emailed our lists and promoted the training for another week. All told, the event made us about $70,000…all for just a couple weeks of work!
3. Set Up a 30-Day Challenge, Followed By an Offer
The best kind of mini promo I know of is the “30-day challenge” variety, where you get people enrolled in a kind of movement with you. They opt in to go on this journey with you for 30 days, and then at the end you promote whatever it is you want to offer. Here are some highly successful examples I know about:
Opportunity #3: Creating a Four-Part Email Sequence That Leads to an Offer
You don't need a big list for this one to work. In fact, it’s better to try this one when your list is still small, because you’re going to get better and better at it as your list grows.
These sequences consist of four emails that get sent over a short period of time. Your goal with them is to paint the picture of a challenge you know your audience is facing…the solution to which is, of course, your program. What makes this opportunity so powerful is that people on your list might have already received an opportunity to buy your program, but chose not to.
After all, we all buy at different times, for different reasons. So don’t be afraid to put this out in front of people who have already seen your program promotion. This may be the moment when they make the decision. In the first email, you are easing people into the idea that there is a challenge and you have the solution. Get their attention by letting them learn something, and assure them that you are there to offer value. The emails that follow will be a little more aggressive in terms of selling the program—not in a spammy way, but demonstrating the features and benefits of your program.
Make the email about your audience, and tell the story of what will happen to them when they buy your program. Use case studies and examples, images, and screen shots from inside your program.
Don’t be afraid to serve it up—these are not short emails with a link to your sales page. These are meaty emails that paint the picture. The final email is going to be the one that introduces scarcity.
You can say that you are running a special promotion with a discount or free bonus when they purchase by a certain date. Make it very time-sensitive: “By Friday, this offer is going away. You are not going to get another opportunity to get this bonus when you purchase.” Click here to download this week's valuable freebie, "A Course Creation Starter's Guide."
Opportunity #4: Offering Your Services to Your Audience
Caveat: I’m not a huge fan of the service model of business if your goal is to create a more automated system. I am passionate about teaching you how to build a business that does not rely on trading your time for dollars.
This is a temporary, special opportunity, offered to a small group on your email list. Choose a special skill or a knowledge base that you have, and create an opportunity to offer your time and services to this select audience for a premium. Again, this is temporary.
This is not something that should take over your business and derail all your other projects in the meantime. This is a little bit on the back burner for some quick extra cash. Maybe you are a nutritionist and you can help people make a 30-day meal plan. Maybe you’re great at hacking website-building platforms and can offer your expertise to others.
In my first two years of business, I set up an opportunity where I would review others’ Facebook marketing strategy. I would review people’s Facebook pages and profiles, interview them about how they were using Facebook, and about how their program or product came into play. Then I would create a report—I’d made a template for it, so it wouldn’t take me hours and hours. I would create the report to offer you insight in ways you could make your Facebook marketing better, how to brand your Facebook Page in a different way to get a bigger impact, all that good stuff.
I knew Facebook so well that this didn’t take tons of time and energy. But it was really valuable to my audience. Taking on just a few of these projects per week provided instant revenue, in the midst of building my online training programs. Just think of your niche and decide what you can offer that help boost revenue for a short time as you get things going.
Opportunity #5: Becoming an Affiliate to Somebody Else’s Program or Product
I saved this one until the end because you can use it in tandem with Opportunities #1-4. Webinars, 30-day challenges, mini live promos, four-part email sequences…all those can all be used as an affiliate.
You’ve heard of this before, I’m sure. But have you actually done it? Have you done it right? I have been an affiliate for many years for different programs and products.
For instance, you’ve probably heard me talk about my B-School Bonus. I am a proud member of B-School and I promote it any chance I get because I know it changes lives and businesses.
This is a huge part of my affiliate revenue. I am also an affiliate of Lead Pages. They do amazing things and they have changed businesses quickly based on how easy their tool is.
But I don’t let it take over my business and I definitely never want it to make more money than my own programs. The idea is to let it complement all of the stuff I am doing on my own.
Three tips for smart affiliate marketing:
1. Believe in it.
You have to have used the program or product you’re helping to market. You must know that it works, have your own results that you can talk about, and be so excited to sing its praises. You know you’ve made a good affiliate marketing partnership or connection when you tell everybody about it even if you’re not going to get money for it.
2. Build a funnel with your affiliate.
Webinars, four-part email sequences, and mini trainings all work for this. For example, if you click here, you’ll find an affiliate promotion that I did a training for. I literally walk you through how to use Lead Pages. For B School, I have an entire B School bonus experience: five bonuses you can’t get anywhere else, including the live two-day event, including a special Facebook ads program, including my new webinar program that’s not even out yet. You only get this stuff in B School when you use my affiliate link.
3. Read this article
My good friend, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, wrote a post on his blog “Smart Passive Income” called Five Ways to Unbox the Mystery and Increase your Affiliate Income. It’s a really smart strategy for affiliate marketing, especially for those just starting out. Definitely check that out, along with his other great article, How to Stop Hoping and Start Earning.
One Final Tip
These are all ways for you to find hidden money that can add to your cash flow. But an equally helpful action is to find the hidden places where you are losing cash. I can almost guarantee that you are paying for something right now that is not necessary to your success.
We all have been guilty of this. To find the leak and make it stop, spend 20 minutes right now going through your latest credit card statement and checking account statement. Make a quick list of everything you are paying for monthly for your business: apps, tools, subscriptions, etc.
Are you using everything you are paying for? If not, stop paying for it. You’ll instantly start saving cash. Voila! Instant money that you can start spending where it will actually work for you.
Get "A Course Creation Starter's Guide"
Make sure to listen to the entire episode for more tips and personal insights from my experience in hunting out hidden money opportunities.
And don't forget to download this week's valuable freebie, "A Course Creation Starter's Guide" for creating your own online training programs. Click here to download it now.