This is quite possibly the most popular topic in the self-improvement space.
These types of posts always do well:
- The best side hustles to start in 2023
- The best online business model in 2023
- How to get RICH and stop being so POOR in 2023!!!! (please CLICK now or you will have 10 YEARS of BAD luck!)
I’m tired of the last example too.
All of these videos, posts, and articles lack one crucial aspect:
A big picture overview of online business.
They focus on the technical skills, models, and outreach strategies to make money as fast as possible.
As always, there’s nothing wrong with this.
I’m just here to paint new perspectives and open your mind.
The problem is that everyone wants quick results.
I did (and still do) too.
I’m here to tell you that it may not work, and even if it does, it won’t be around in the next 3 months because you’re fighting other bottom feeders that lack purpose behind their work.
Because they are in a state of survival that doesn’t allow them to even consider their life’s work.
Similar to the short-form content and ghostwriting rat race going on right now.
I get 100s of DMs and emails from people pitching the same Walmart quality reels captions (all you gotta do is learn an actual software – not CapCut – and stop trying to take shortcuts bros).
People don’t care to get good, they care to get money.
That’s a brutal mistake.
I went through the same phase as everyone else though.
Most people do.
So treat this as a seed of awareness on your business journey.
If you are chasing the quick bucks with the latest strategies, you have about 3-6 months left before you need to pivot, give up, or prioritize becoming the best.
What Is The Best Business Model?
The best business model is an actual business model.
Not a side hustle.
Not free online surveys.
Not investing your weekly allowance into crypto.
A business has to generate revenue. You need cash flow.
A business has the ability to scale, pivot, and position itself in the market regardless of algorithm changes and trends.
Half of the short-form content people will be out of a job because they don’t understand marketing (I’m not talking about a surface-level knowledge here, I’m talking about deep experience).
Money Is The Lifeblood Of Society
Like how your hand will die if blood stops flowing, so will your business, and therefore your sense of purpose.
Purpose is something greater than you.
If you aren’t making money, it means you aren’t contributing to society with the value you have to offer.
Business is how you make money, therefore it is how you contribute to society, therefore it is a valid purpose in your life.
Business is a vessel for your value and nothing more.
Online surveys, prescriptive business models (like short-form content agencies), and most jobs are soulless.
A Business Has An Offer & Traffic Source
This is a universal principle beyond business.
Offer = value
Traffic = people
You need to place a valuable product or service in front of a group of people that want to buy.
Like putting a hot dog stand outside of a music festival with a bunch of drunk people walking by.
Or, in dating, putting yourself in an environment where your ideal partner is so you actually have a chance of landing a date.
If you have an offer, but no traffic, why are you complaining about not getting any sales (or dates)?
The Dynamic Traffic Source
I’m not a fan of putting yourself in a box, and I’m bullish on the creator economy as a way of life.
It is the new economy regardless of if you care to start a business or become a creator.
Therefore, a personal brand is the closest thing to a “one size fits all” traffic source.
A personal brand is how you become the niche and eradicate competition.
With a personal brand:
- You don’t have to rely on ads
- You can talk about whatever you want (if you sprinkle in content related to your offer)
- You don’t have to rely on cold outreach (for long)
- You build an audience so you can do whatever you want
- Your business doesn’t die when you stop doing the manual work
- You aren’t cornered into a specific niche, like how Zuby not only talks about politics, but makes music and sells fitness programs (most people just can’t get out of the scarcity mindset of needing to land clients, so their content feels limited and boring).
And, you get to meet like-minded people, travel the world, and actually enjoy your work.
I just got back from a trip to see Joey Justice and Justin Scott. You won’t find the conversations we had in your everyday life.
I don’t care to convince you on this, because you will come to this conclusion eventually.
A personal brand should be considered your foundational traffic source for your offers.
Paid ads increase in authority when people know your name.
Cold outreach to your audience makes them open to talking to you (they actually respond).
You can pivot whenever you’d like if you understand that content is about value, not writing about specific topics.
In other words, you write content based on ideas, not topics, and articulate those ideas from the lens of a relevant goal or problem. Topics help with idea generation.
Nobody cares about the topic, they care about how anything and everything will benefit their life.
The Experience Model
I’ve talked about personal brand strategies many times in the past, so I’ll leave it at that.
Instead, I want to focus more on offer creation.
Most people think they need:
- The perfect customer avatar
- The perfect system, curriculum, or coaching structure
- A fancy physical product with perfected supply chain management
- Prior results (when you need to actually work with someone to get results)
In reality, you need to know more than someone who is one step behind you.
See: the terms “age of information” and “attention economy”. Knowledge is king.
Everything in this world goes through developmental stages.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the globe and its seasons, progress in society, or you reaching a new level in life.
Business is no different, and if you haven’t started, you aren’t going to hit level 10 in 2 weeks making $1 million a year.
This is common sense but most people set that expectation thanks to human nature, social media headlines, and the collective quick-fix mindset.
We have to start small.
The Minimum Viable Offer
I’ve talked about this briefly before in The One Person Business Model letter, but I want to give you the dirty deets.
A minimum viable offer revolves around a single skill or interest.
Charging big bucks takes time, experience, and multidisciplinary skill acquisition while building in the real world (not reading about working with them).
With your single skill or interest, you immediately turn it into a relevant freelance, coaching, consulting, or tutoring offer.
When I say “skill,” I mean anything like:
- Email marketing
- Web design
- Facebook ads
- Brand design
- Anything else from the $1 Million Dollar Skill Stack
By “interest” I mean anything like:
- Health and fitness
- Performance and productivity
- Personal development and spirituality
- Relationships or dating
Those are skills, yes, but I want to make the distinction here to help frame what we are talking about.
Packaging Up Your Offer Fast
With a skill, it should be fairly obvious.
You would either sell website design, landing page design, email marketing, sales page copywriting, or a brand design service like a profile banner, profile picture, and ebook cover design.
In essence, you can take a beginner level course, watch some YouTube videos, and start selling (remember that you aren’t trying to charge insane amounts here… you have to develop your offer, and you can’t develop what doesn’t exist).
Anyone can pick up one of these skills fast and start landing clients from your personal brand.
I’ve written plenty of letters on this in the past, but there are 10+ courses and 180+ strategies in Modern Mastery to help you do this. Or the Digital Economics masterclass to productize yourself with my personal systems.
For Coaching, Consulting, Or Tutoring Offers
First, understand this universal principle:
- Goal (where your customer wants to be)
- Path (your unique way of getting them there)
- Problem (what they are struggling with now)
In a nutshell, that’s all that marketing is.
You are selling a transformation that either you have achieved yourself, you have helped others achieve, or you want to start helping others achieve.
Remember: freelancers gain experience by working with clients first. Most of them don’t have a business to do it themselves first. They just learn the skill and start selling it to their ideal customer. You don’t have to have prior results to get started… because you get results by helping yourself or helping others.
Coaching and consulting offers are fairly obvious, you help them with an interest like fitness, productivity, or something else in their life.
For a tutoring offer, you will be teaching them the skill instead of doing it for them. Think of it like you are walking them through a course one-on-one.
- Teaching them how to write an email newsletter
- Teaching them how to edit YouTube videos
- Teaching them how to write social media content
- Teaching them web or graphic design
This is an alternate option to freelancing. You teach them instead of doing it for them.
This works incredible for targeting beginners. More people should create a tutoring offer (if you are beginner or intermediate, I would do a tutoring offer and skip the pain that comes with freelancing… it also helps you write about anything you want to beginners in your content).
And the results you get transfer over into a digital product / course much easier.
The reason you are doing this, instead of a course, as a beginner is because:
- You can charge more (and increase prices to $2,500+ after a few clients)
- You don’t have an audience (traffic) to bring in consistent course sales
- You don’t know what gets results yet (even if you think you do, you don’t), that’s why you work 1-1 and refine along the way
- You can use direct outreach methods or different strategies to acquire clients
In short, it’s “easier” to make a $1000 sale instead of ten $100 sales.
You start to realize that you are in full control of your income.
Coaching, consulting, or tutoring offers consist of a few things:
1) A structure for what you are going to teach or help them with.
Think of where they are now (point A) and what you help them achieve (point B).
Now, create a soft outline of the necessary things they need to learn and do.
This does not have to turn into a curriculum, because you will be walking them through everything on a call.
Most coaches, consultants, etc are selling programs that are direct teachings from their courses or book.
Yes, the exact same thing, because that’s their method for getting results. The difference is 1-1 help and accountability.
If you want to structure your teachings well:
- Define what point A is (where they are now and the problem they are experiencing)
- Befine what point B is (the desirable point in life that you can help them reach)
- The path to get there – outline chapters of a book or modules in a course – you can use others’ books or courses for inspiration to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
- Fill this in as you see fit. You can incorporate multiple interests if you’d like… you don’t have to limit it to one specific interest and be the same as everyone else. Think of how a book synthesizes multiple teachings to get to one outcome.
2) Weekly calls to answer questions and teach them what they need to know.
I recommend selling a pack of 4 calls. One every week.
You will be teaching them exactly what they need to know and answer any questions they have.
Start with 4 calls, because that allows you to charge more at the start.
And, you probably won’t be able to get them to their desired end result (point B) in one call.
4 calls allows you to create a more enticing offer than just “I’ll get on a consultation call with you to help you with whatever you are struggling with.”
You are marketing a transformation.
3) Weekly Action Items & Text Access
After every call, you should tell them exactly what they should do.
You can create worksheets, tasks, or projects for them to complete.
If you are selling health coaching, have them track their food and weigh themselves each morning.
If you are selling design tutoring, have them create a first iteration of a social media design.
You should have a way of communicating with them outside of calls, like on Telegram, Whatsapp, or just texting on your phone.
Charge $500-$1000 At The Start
For a single-skill freelance service OR pack of 4 calls (coaching, consulting, or tutoring) you will start at $500, increase to $1000 after the first few clients, and continue improving your offer from there as you go through this course.
Even better, I would recommend helping people for free.
If you are a creator and are networking with other creators, offer them a few calls for free.
As you both grow, their testimonial will increase in value.
A testimonial from me at 500 followers is worth tens of thousands of dollars when I have 1 million followers. People will buy the product just because they see my name associated with it.
Testimonials from creators are appreciating assets.
Don’t only try to land big fish because you are desperate for money.
Slow and steady.
You Can Either Scale Your Client Business Or Productize
As you are growing your brand, getting client results, and refining your offer through skill acquisition (never stop learning)… you have 2 options.
- Create a more compelling offer and increase your prices.
- Turn your curriculum into a cohort-based course and use your audience to fuel it (only works for coaching, consulting, or tutoring)
I, of course, recommend the second option.
It gives you more free time, less stress, and more leverage.
Leverage leverage leverage.
The main downside is that you will need to be consistently growing your audience to fuel the cohort. That is difficult, but oh so worth it instead of getting trapped in a feast or famine freelance cycle.
Then, once your cohort gets results and testimonials, you can productize further into a self-paced course.
Now, you don’t have to do any work, and can spend your free time building higher ROI projects.
As we discussed in the last letter, you desaturate the market beneath you.
The creator economy cannot get saturated.
Scale To One Million
$1 million becomes inevitable if:
- You don’t stagnate with one underpaying offer
- You continue growing your following (yes, this is possible, don’t stagnate and blame the algorithm for your lack of knowledge of social media)
- You evolve, your offers evolve, and you increase your income while decreasing the time you spend on work
The route I took to do this was with a personal brand, digital products, and endless iteration.
It took me 3 years (with a bit of prior experience).
Hopefully, my content can help you get there faster.