Did you hear God all wrong? Is this online business stuff not legit after all? Maybe you just don’t have what it takes to be an online entrepreneur? These are the questions that might running through your head right about now if you’ve started your online business but you’re not making money yet.
After seeing how it’s possible to make money online, you started your own online business full of the hope and promise of making thousands per month.
But the money just isn’t there.
You’re committed to this because you feel so strongly that God is calling you to do this so you can make a bigger impact while being home with your kids.
But let’s be real. You also need to make money doing it.
This post comes from an episode of the Mama With A Calling podcast.
Talking with numerous new online business owners through my coaching business, I’ve noticed a pattern – the reason these so many women aren’t making money in their online business is because they aren’t actually offering anything for sale!
Wait, what? Yep. You read that right.
I know it sounds too simple, but so many women find themselves thinking they aren’t “allowed” to make money in their online business until they reach specific milestones or they’ve earned the “right” to start selling things. This may even be you right now.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wait. You can start making money today.
I found myself in this place early in my business as well. I was praying for God to provide, and I wanted so badly to trust that He would come through. I started studying money mindset and realized I definitely functioned from a scarcity mindset in business and in life. As I was praying one night for God to bring money into my business, He showed me the reality: I didn’t actually have anything that people could buy.
How did I expect to make money if I didn’t have anything for people to pay me for?
When I saw this, I knew I wasn’t doing what God was asking me. Like you, He has called me to have a business and that means having things for sale, and even though it wasn’t intentional, I wasn’t being a good steward of that calling.
There’s a lot of talk in the online space about waiting until you have reached specific milestones (i.e. 1000 email subscribers, 10k Instagram followers, etc). And while those numbers will definitely help with selling (if you’re serving your people), it’s not required to start making money with your business.
When I started taking it seriously that I was called to have a business and not an expensive hobby, I started creating products and offers and actually started selling things – even with a small email list and low traffic.
Today I’m going to share with you the 3 simple ways I started to make money in my online business and how you can start offering these as well. Then I’m going to help you figure out which one to choose for your business (because you’ll want to do 2 or 3 of them eventually on your site).
3 Beginner Offers for Your Online Business
The three simplest ways to start making money in your business are: Services, coaching/consulting or small digital products. Each has their pros and cons so first I’ll go over each one, things to consider and then how to choose what’s right for where you are right now in your business.
Offering services is where you offer to do something for someone else as a way to earn money on your site. Here are some examples of services you could have available:
- Virtual assistant (VA) services: this is where you are literally someone else’s assistant but you help with things online. It can be anything from responding to emails to managing social media accounts for other businesses. I have made thousands of dollars as a VA, so it’s definitely a viable and easy option to start considering. I started at $25/hour and worked up to $50/hour when I stopped offering services. It was a great way for me to earn money working from home and allowed me the freedom to work on my podcast and coaching business. To learn more about being a virtual assistant, the VA Business Lounge is a great resource for learning how to choose your offer, set your rates and find clients.
- Building websites: If you know how to create a website on WordPress, Squarespace, etc, then there are people out there that need your ability. So many people get stuck when it comes to building a website and they’ll gladly pay someone to do it for them. I’ve created websites for over 10 clients at this point and it’s something I have enjoyed as part of my overall brand since it aligns with my mission to help women start online businesses. I started really cheap with a website at $150 and now my top package is $1500 (and these are actually low compared to a lot of other more experienced web designers out there). Again, this has been a great way to make money as I’m growing my coaching business.
- Done-for-you services: This is where you provide a service specifically around your business topic. For example, let’s say you have a podcast about time management for moms. A done-for-you-service could be create a customized weekly schedule for a busy work at home mom. Or if you have a business around meal planning, the done-for-you-service could be that you provide a custom meal plan with grocery lists and recipes for a client.
The pros of offering services is that you really only need whatever skill you have and you can start offering these services with little to no prep work on your end. Often, these are going to be things that people need and will pay for without question of your authority on the subject. It can also make sense to you as a way to make money coming from life in corporate where you were essentially paid based on the skill/service you provided.
The big con here is that it can start to feel like a job but instead of just one boss, every client can feel like a boss. It doesn’t have to be that way, but from personal experience, I’ll say that it’s easy to slip into that pattern.
Coaching is really to provide support, wisdom and accountability to help someone make decisions to help them make progress toward their goal. So often what’s holding people back is just not knowing what to do and being indecisive. As a coach, you can help them make that decision.
Coaching isn’t sharing your opinion but rather helping the client choose the best option for them and feel good about it. That may include your expertise on something that helps them decide, but you’re acting more as a guide than an instructor.
Let’s say you’re wanting to help moms reduce their stress. Through coaching techniques, you can help a stressed out mom see what’s really at the root of her stress, give her some ideas for solutions on how to overcome that, help her shift any thinking around this issue and hold her accountable for the action plan on fixing it. Your opinions about her lifestyle choices or whether something is right or wrong don’t come into play here. You’re simply helping her come to her own conclusions.
Consulting is a little different in that it’s really telling the person your expert opinion.
Examples of this might be if you’re an expert organizer and someone wants to book a consult with you so you can tell them exactly how they should organize a space. Or let’s say you’re a web designer and someone wants to book a consult to ask a bunch of questions about how their website should look if they want to do it on their own. You simply give them your expert opinion.
I’ve made money with both of these as well. Coaching my main offer in my business right now.
Both coaching and consulting simply require you to let people know you offer them by putting them up on your site or simply telling people these are available.
The biggest pro is that there’s little to no prep work. All you need is a way to accept payments. Ideally, you’ll have a booking software, like Calendly, where clients can schedule a call time and then meet via Zoom for the actual call.
A con is that coaching is often more expensive so people will likely need to build a relationship with you before they invest in coaching, but having the option to book coaching with you is key because there are some that will want to jump straight in and start working with you.
Small digital products
These are small products that help your people start implementing whatever it is your teaching so they can get a quick win.
Examples would be a a quickstart guide, a short mini course to get people started, a spreadsheet, a printable binder or planner (I’ve sold quite a few of these), lesson plans, bible study, etc.
So many ideas here.
The idea is that you want to help them implement something that they’re struggling with that will really give them the confidence to move forward with taking the action they need to succeed.
Pros to offering digital products is that these are passive income streams. Once you start creating content (i.e. podcast episodes, blog posts) and start marketing your site (i.e. Pinterest, social media), then people will start coming to your site without ever directly interacting with you. A digital product is a nice way for them to test what you have to offer without the larger investment of something like coaching.
Cons are that these are often lower priced (<$50) so you need to sell more of them to make a decent amount of money. You also have to spend time actually creating the product.
This is one of my favorite ways to make money online. I think it’s the teacher in me, but I love creating a product that will help people work through their problem in a self-paced manner. All I have to do is identify their need and create a product to solve that solution and often that involves teaching them how to do something.
I started selling digital PDF planners on my site when I had less than 500 on my email list and less than 2k pageviews a month and I sold few each month.
Choosing which to offer
So how do you choose?
Consider what your person needs and what is the best thing to help them with where they are right now. At some point, you’ll likely have all 3 and other income streams.
To decide, I’m going to say something that you may not hear a lot of business coaching say, but this is key: Pray about it and really go with the one that feels like it resonates and start there.
This doesn’t mean pray and then sit around expecting your business to create itself. God is calling you to this business so follow where He’s leading and direct your effort and your work on those things.
Be mindful of fear turning you away from what you’re supposed to do. If you’re feeling like a mini course would be the best idea but you’re terrified of video, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, right? This is about doing what God is calling you to do and how to help your people the most.
Where are people engaging with your content the most right now? What’s really encouraging to them? This is a great place to start, too.
Keep in mind, you can do this for multiple areas of your business. Most of you are going to have multiple categories and topics you cover in your business. This is just the start. In fact, you’ll likely have multiple products going on in your business which is great because it’s more ways to serve your people and more ways to earn money.
What Requirements are Needed Before Offering These In Your Business?
These don’t require a certain email list size, subscriber number, listener size, or traffic size. The beauty of these offers is that you can start offering them as your starting your business.
Yes, it’s going to be easier to know what exactly your audience needs help with once you have gotten that feedback (i.e. they’re signing up for your lead magnet, showing up for your challenges, engaging with your social media post, or consuming your content). Even still, you can create offers before you know what people want by thinking about what your people need, how you can create an offer that can help them accomplish that, and listening for God’s direction on what you should be creating.
Here are the things you need:
While a website isn’t required, it’s highly encouraged. There are ways to work around needing a website, but it actually makes it harder and you’re not as professional looking. If God has called you to start an online business, then you know having a website is a must. It can be scary and overwhelming, but it’s actually not as hard to create or even to have someone do it for you. You don’t have to have the full site ready to go for these 3 offers.
Email Service Provider
Definitely for the digital product but you also want to be able to collect emails and start growing a list of people that are interested in what you’re offering. It’s illegal to simply email people through your Gmail and collect a bunch of emails. You have to have an email service provider (I recommend Mailerlite for their free plan). You don’t need it in place to start accepting payments for coaching, but it really helps automate and streamline parts of your business to have it.
A way to accept payment
You can simply use Paypal. A lot of times, email service providers will actually have an option where you can sell things and they use Stripe.
I hope you’re convinced that not only can you start making money at any point in your business, but you actually should be. To make it simple, I’ve shared with your 3 offers that you can start with this week and have the potential to start generating sales this week.
Now, you just have to pick one and get it set up ASAP.
If you need help figuring out which offer makes sense for your business or have any questions about how to get it all set up, I’d love to help you on a free breakthrough session.
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