This is the second post in the Online Business 101 series.
Finding your profitable sweet spot is one of the most powerful ways to build the foundation of a successful business. Why? Because you’re offering people who want to buy from you exactly what they want AND you’re exactly the person to give it to them! It’s a win-win.
Why You Should Earn More Money, Instead of Ridiculously Cutting Back
There’s a reason I want you guys to learn and build confidence in earning money online. Let me give you a gander at the money situation happening around the world. People who are rich look for more ways to MAKE money. People who are middle class or below look for every possible way to SAVE money. Do you know what that does? It makes the rich richer and the poor more deprived. Making more money has potentially unlimited potential, while, on the other hand, you can only cut back so much… I mean you can’t live a rich life if you’re cutting back on the things you actually want in life, the things that actually make you more happy (like a night out with friends or a really fun family outing).
I recently adopted this new motto by Ramit Sethi, “Spend extravagantly on the things you love… as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” (CLICK TO TWEET) Doesn’t that just make complete sense? Why choose to cut back on the things that actually make your day, your week, BETTER? Because (surprise) happiness makes you more primed to succeed.
This is WHY you need to earn more on the side and WHY you need to find your Profitable Sweet Spot to do to exactly that.
Because if no one wants to buy the work you’re offering, well then buddy, you got yourself a hobby. As my buddy, Paul Freet, would say…
Now, what makes a Profitable Sweet Spot?
What are the actual pieces that make a profitable sweet spot, well, profitable and sweet? As you can see in the gorgeous graph below, it takes Natural Skills + Talents, Passions + Likes, What People Are Delighted to Pay for, and, a’course, Purpose.
Natural Skills + Talents – This revolves around what you’re instinctively good at. What natural skill do you have? What’s your talent? Are you good at talking to people, convincing people to try different things, or helping people connect with the right people? Take a peak into your childhood, what came easy to you? If you can’t think of anything. That may just mean you haven’t taken the time to explore who you are and you just need to experiment to determine your strengths.
Passions + Likes – In terms of the actual work you do, there’s a difference between a skill that you’re good at vs a skill that you’re good at that also lights you up. In terms of market and industry, where do you want to help? What kind of people do you want to help that will light you up? Do you want to work with business owners, kids, women. What area do you want to help them in? Health, marketing, fashion, design?
What People Are Delighted to Pay for – Again, I’m not trying to help you create a hobby to just pass the time with. I’m trying to help you make some money. The key here is you don’t want people who simply NEED your service, neither do you want people who WANT your service, you want the select people who would feel it a privilege and DELIGHT to work with you. Yes, that’s fewer people than targeting the whole entire world, but this makes you money that’s great and consistent. Otherwise, you’d be wasting time trying to convince people that they even need your service/product. And, guess what, people like that won’t respect you and you’ll be miserable working for people who are completely ungrateful to you. So, yeah, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Purpose- The most pivotal thing! As you can see, purpose holds everything else in place and keeps everything united and strong. Nothing floats away when you have a solid purpose. Having a purpose is so important when starting your business because it gives you something to hold onto when you feel like quitting or if it gets tough. It’s even important when you’re super successful because it gives you that sense of fulfillment everyone craves. I explain the importance of having a purpose and answering your WHY in way more detail over here.
So, the basic formal is: Purpose + Something you’re good at + Something that makes you feel alive + Something people beg to pay you for = A Profitable Sweet Spot
How to Find Your Profitable Idea
Now you know what makes up a profitable sweet spot, it time to actually talk about how to find that winning idea. These are the steps:
Step 1: Set Your Goals
Alright, I lied. The real first step is taking on this endeavor. Do you have the guts? Once you know you do, it’s time to set a realistic goal. How much do you want to make? $200 in 1-3 months is a realistic goal for just starting out. Once you get the hang of it, it can exponentially increase to numbers like $500 in 3 months to $500 in 1 month, etc. What do you want the extra money for? Do you want to pay off debt or save up for a car?
Action Step: Come up with your goal mission statement, write it down and post it on your wall in front of your computer.
Here’s an example: “My Mission: Make $200 in side income in 3 months to help me start paying off my 20K student loan debt.”
Step 2: Spew Your Ideas
Time to come with with a list of ideas. Notice how I used the word “spew,” meaning this won’t be (and shouldn’t be) a graceful or intensive thought process. We’re just going to spew, or throw down, some ideas on the page. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense and ignore any objections that might come up in your mind about what you write.
The best way to do this is to make a list of a few categories, which can include hobbies, skills, topics you like to read about, applications you like to use, and websites you loving to go to. For each category, list as many answers you can come up with. For each answer, translate it into a possible service. Remember, this is all about getting ideas down. Nothing needs to make sense right now.
Here’s an example: Skill (category) -> Writing (answer) = Copywriter (service)
Another: Applications I Use (category) -> Photoshop (answer) = Graphic Designer (service)
Action Step: Brainstorm every single idea you can come up with that you have the least bit of interest for. Throw down around 40-50 ideas on paper. Use the PDF below to help you out.
Step 3: Test Your Idea
Now, it’s time to narrow down and test your ideas. I need you think of each idea in terms of what makes up a profitable sweet spot (as we talked about above). Your idea must answer these questions: Who would pay for this? Would that person even HAVE the money to pay for it? Would they be DELIGHTED to pay for it? Are you willing to provide this service? Are you capable to provide the service? Would this kind of work ignite something in you that would make you feel more alive? Is there a greater purpose that you serve by doing this work? Answering these should narrow down your list substantially. Of the remaining few, pick the one you think is best. Go with your gut.
Action Step: Narrow down your list to one idea. Ask 10-20 people who are in or near the industry what they think of your idea and collect their feedback. Weigh in with their insights and decide on one idea.
Step 4: Nail Your First Sale
Once you know you have a legitimate idea that passes each of the questions above, it’s time to find a clients. Approach them with your services, whether for a limited amount of time of free work or a straight up paid position (hourly or based on the project). A hard, yet worthwhile endeavor is to make a list of 100 potential people you want to work with and offering your services to each of them. Maybe out of the 100, only 10 reply, which is pretty realistic. Of those 10, you get 2 clients. That means you have a 2% conversion rate. Again, this is pretty realistic. That means if you’re gunning for 4 clients (in this scenario, you’d contact about 200 potential prospects to secure these 4 clients) at $50/project, you’ll hit your $200 goal! Once you start seeing patterns, you’ll know exactly how to approach prospects and get them as clients. Intense, but it works. Also, once you get a good rhythm going, there are a few other tricks that you can implement that will help you later in the game.
Action Step: HUSTLE and get your first client.
I know this post is a bit intense, but it’s a good run though from going to idea to client. Next time, we’ll talk about how to gain experience when you don’t have a lick of it.