This article is a recap of a one hour long instagram live stream I did with my business strategist (who also happens to be my sister) Amy last Friday.
Amy runs @fastforwardamy, an online coaching platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
With a masters degree in business and one of Belgium’s most successful communities for female entrepreneurs under her management she has helped me and my business in so many ways.
Amy has truly transformed the path of my career and I’m excited to share a bunch of our combined knowledge in today’s newsletter.
Disclaimer: if (online) business is your thing then this will probably all be very, very basic.
The following steps are for people who don’t really know where to begin, a place we’ve all been at I’m sure.
The problem with social media
Unless your name is Zuckerberg, Spiegel or Dorsey you don’t own a social media platform.
The problem with building an audience on a platform that you don’t own is that your eggs are in someone else’s basket.
Imagine spending years and years of growing an audience on MySpace or Vine, to then eventually see it vanish in smoke.
On top of not owning the platform, algorithms tend to decide what your audience gets to see.
These algorithms are constantly changing and seem to try and block you from reaching the people that you’ve worked so hard for to get as a following. Unless you pay of course!
Yesterday I read about an experiment someone had done to their instagram audience and turns out only 5% of their followers see their posts.
It’s simple: You want all the eggs in your own basket!
One of the most efficient ways to display your work/creations/writing/activities to your audience is straight into their email inbox.
Like what is happening right now 🙂
The key point of this whole conversation is to take control.
How to take (back) control
It’s really quite simple: Start collecting email addresses (from your followers on social media).
How? By giving people something of value and asking them to subscribe to your newsletter in return. (you don’t have to call it a newsletter by the way)
This is called a lead magnet.
My biggest lead magnet has been a one page PDF about hyperlapse photography.
It goes as follows: You give me your name and email, I send you a handy document about how to shoot hyperlapses.
Here's a great example:
The fact that you’re reading this email right now means that you’ve either subscribed to the list in exchange for one of my PDF’s or you just want to stay up to date with whatever it is that I’m doing (and are also annoyed by those pesky algorithms).
Before we move on, it’s important to realise that you can’t just make things up and expect people to believe you. You need to have some form of authority in whichever field it is that you’re in.
Mine is (quite obviously) timelapse photography, Amy’s is (online) business coaching.
If you’re not there yet, make sure to find your niche first, then get better at what you do.
Then once you’re good or great, your authority will grow.
This can come from having an audience online, publishing a book, speaking at public events, writing a blog, writing on someone else’s blog etc etc.
It is important to have authority.
Which tools to use
As we talked about in the livestream, Mailchimp is a lot of people’s go to platform for collecting data and for sending out emails. I got very frustrated with using Mailchimp at the start for a number of reasons so I went looking for something else.
Amy recommended me Convertkit. It’s not free, it’s not cheap, but it has been much more effective for me and my business.
You can create sign up forms or landing pages and automatically send out a PDF or digital download in return, all while putting the user data into an automated email sequence introducing them to you and your brand and whatever else you have to offer.
Click the following link to sign up to Convertkit and get two weeks free:
How to expand to an online business
Now that you’ve started collecting people’s email addresses you want to give them more value.
By constantly giving value you are building up the trust in your relationship.
Eventually you might want to monetise this audience.
This isn’t a trick or anything, it’s just the way online businesses work: at some point in time you might have a product that that audience might be interested in.
Not only will they want the product because they know it will be good (because you’ve already been giving them so much value for free in the past), they might also really want to support you.
It’s like that line I was told about Patreon years ago: “The only people that will give you money on Patreon, are the people that really want to give you money on Patreon.” (if you don’t know what Patreon is then keep reading)
The next step is to have a product. My product is an e-book about timelapse photography.
Amy sells courses about how to create a successful online business.
Once you have a product, you can start telling your audience about it.
Because of the previously built up trust there is a much lower threshold for them to purchase something.
It’s like Amy’s story about meeting someone at a bar and asking them to marry you as your opening line. You don’t do that.
You buy them a drink first, you ask for their number, then you go out on a few dates, eventually maybe you go on a holiday together, after which you might ask them to marry you.
The marriage is equal to selling your product.
Before you can sell the product you need to build up trust and a relationship.
Other income streams
It is very important to protect your downsides. When there’s little work or sales are slow, you still need a steady flow of income. It’s important to diversify!
Here are my other income streams (besides commercial timelapse photography and image licensing).
Affiliate income One of many ways to generate passive income. I make money from Amazon, LRTimelapse, Adobe, Epidemic Sound, B&H Photo etc. I will make a more detailed blog post about this soon.
Generated from my youtube channel and website.
It’s simple: more traffic means more money.
You have to be smart about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and make sure to have enough evergreen content (content that is forever relevant and true) to generate enough traffic.
Ideally you show up on the first page in Google for a ton of different search terms. It really helps being in a niche here. I score high on a ton of timelapse related search terms.
People supporting me as a creator. You can get early access to my content, get exclusive Q&A’s, get digital wallpapers etc. You can have a look at the platform and my profile here:
To recap the recap
- You’re on (online) content creator with an audience.
- Start collecting email addresses from your audience using Convertkit through lead magnets.
- Keep providing tons of value in the form of knowledge, entertainment or inspiration.
- Develop a (digital) product to sell to that audience like an e-book, a course etc.
What set me on this path were my goals of scalability and location independency.
What I’ve outlined above is helping me achieve those goals in a very efficient manner.
I am new to this, I am not an expert, but I can see the potential and I’m off to a great start.
Check out Amy’s article (she actually IS an expert!) with even more insights right here:
Thanks for reading, I hope you found it useful.
PS: If you’d like to check out the e-book I wrote about timelapse photography you can do so by clicking here.