$100k+ Made Online in 3 Simple (*but not easy or quick) Steps
This past year I began to personally realize the potential of an online business and how really it is amazing.
I know that may sound a little cheesy or cliche but it’s true.
And at the same time it can be incredibly frustrating, whether you’re just starting out or have been “trying” to be successful online for a while.
I actually stumbled a bit into first venturing online with my business. I was a personal trainer and swim coach for a while and really enjoyed interacting with people and seeing them achieve their goals.
I took both professions very seriously and always tried to learn more as I trained and coached more and more.
Then one day a friend (John) of a regular long-time client came in to workout together. After the workout John told me how much he had enjoyed my training session but he owned a company and traveled all the time.
“Is there anyway you can train me remotely, while I’m traveling?”
This is honestly the first time I had ever even considered this as an option. But a business owner with multiple residences across the country seemed like a smart demographic to pursue in my business.
After doing some research and finding maybe one or two other trainers that were “training online” (ok this was back in 2010) I finally had a system that I could train John while he traveled.
He really enjoyed it and would comment to me, that even though I wasn’t physically there with him, he now had an increased level of accountability with me coaching him online.
Once this started going well I immediately thought, “Ok now how do I get more ‘Johns’ to train online?”
This is where most people get hit in the face when it comes to online success. Just because I had randomly found one person that wanted to train online with me didn’t make finding the second person much easier.
Now remember this was a while ago so blogging at the time was becoming really popular. (Check out one of the first versions of my website circa 2010)
So I thought “Of course, I’ll just blog a ton and get more clients that way.”
Again way easier said than done. Just because you write an article, and let’s say it’s a really amazing article, doesn’t mean someone is going to take the big leap from reading what you wrote on a screen to actually paying you money to, in this case train with me.
Unfortunately this lesson was an extended one for me as I wrote a ton and got great feedback but no real traction on gaining clients.
I felt like I was putting in lot of effort but not getting any results and just spinning my wheels.
Then I started hearing about ebooks and how people were putting together information and educational products. This sounded promising. I could write an entire ebook about my knowledge as a strength coach specific to swimmers as that was my real niche.
The ebook could then be a transition from someone reading a blog to then maybe training with me.
Even to this day, I’m not sure I’ve ever put as much singular focus and energy into a project than I did with that ebook. It ended up being almost 100 pages of pure text, along with multiple training programs, assessments and a bunch of bonuses.
And I sold it for $4.99………
And then no one bought……..
Eventually a few months go by and I sell a few here and then and actually had a few people end up start online training with me.
Fast forward a few years…………..
The online training has grown slowly but fairly steadily (mostly masters swimmers were my current clients). But I still felt I was missing something that could help take it to the next level.
It was around this time that I really started investigating more options to grow my business online and I came across the idea of hosting online summits. If you’re unfamiliar, the basic idea of a summit is you get some really great speakers, host the event for free and then allow attendees to purchase lifetime access to the content afterwards.
The speakers can make money as well based on sales. I also ended up convincing (I’m still not sure how) over 20 companies to “sponsor” the event. Basically they would promote it to their audience via email and social media.
So I decided to host the first Global Swimming Summit. I had some of the best names in swimming, both coaches and athletes. An event like this would have to attract a lot of potential clients for my online training business.
The results of the summit are still a little crazy to think about.
Remember prior to this summit I just have an ebook (that I had since raised the price to $19 and still sold at about the same rate) as the only “passive” online revenue, in addition to the online coaching but that was still pretty time intensive.
In a little over a week the summit generated almost $7,000 and over 2,000 people attended.
Ok, so let’s sit back and watch the online training applications come in.
So I waited.
Going through the post-summit surveys I made the startling realization that over 75% of the people that attended were swim coaches of some sort and NOT the athletes and swimmers I was hoping to attract for the online training program.
Talk about a weird feeling. I had worked so hard on this summit. It took a lot of hours to not only line up the speakers and do the interviews but also get all the sponsored signed up along with additional promotions.
And while yes it created a good amount of revenue and new emails, this wasn’t a model that I could sustain and do over and over every few weeks.
I still needed a more consistent revenue stream, and one that was scalable.
So I thought about what to do.
And then I’m not sure how or why it hit me but I thought – well how can I help these swim coaches?
In one particular interview with a swim coach at the summit, the biggest thing that impacted his development as a coach was back in the 80s a well known coach would mail (yes snail mail) his swim workouts out to other coaches for a yearly subscription fee.
Talk about how much work that was back then!
But then it hit me – there was nothing like that available to swim coaches in this day and age, especially when it could be some much easier and scalable with the internet!
Now that I had all these swim coaches that were obviously interested in learning more I worked on creating the “Coaches Corner.”
The concept was simple:
One featured swim coach a month.
A weekly “podcast” that discussed all the swim workouts that week and any other topics that came up.
Occasional “bonuses” such as webinars or other materials I find or create.
For the low price of $29/month, no contract so they can cancel at any time.
Within just a few days of announcing the Coaches Corner I had over 20 sign-up.
The great thing about this was that if I did my job well in getting great content to the coaches it’d grow and I would generate more revenue without having to “work more” to achieve that increase.
To help promote the summit a few weeks prior I had resurrected my podcast. (Oh yeah I forgot to mention around the time of the ebook coming out I started a podcast too. With pretty much the same results as the blog – a ton of work with no real results to speak of so I finally stopped doing it, even though some of the episodes were widely popular!)
Back to the podcast getting started up again. I realized that I could just interview other swim coaches (essentially a scaled down version of the summit) to help produce good content for coaches to share and then hopefully draw them in to try the Coaches Corner.
This time it really worked!!!
I have really done no additional marketing other than just promoting the podcast and the Coaches Corner has grown to over 150+ members in less than a year!
The best part by far about the Coaches Corner and the membership model in particular is that it’s so scaleable. I basically do the same amount of work now at 8X the size from when the Coaches Corner started.
It’s also great to know I can pretty much count on the recurring revenue in month and it’s only continued to grow with consistent efforts that don’t require a lot of extra work. No more trading my hours for dollars any more!
But that’s not even the craziest part of my journey.
So I went back to the ebook…..
This time because I had seen the response from coaches specifically wanting more information.
The ebook had a ton of stuff in it. What if I repurposed the content into another format?
Like an interactive, in-person seminar?
But even better???…….
What if I record the entire seminar and then turn it into an online product with additional programs and bonuses?
Talk about leveraging your time. I had already created at least a skeleton of the content for the seminar with the ebook. Now I just needed to iron out the schedule and hire a camera crew to film the whole thing.
I figured I could at least double the revenue generated from the in-person seminar through the online version.
Having an audience that was already interested in this topic I was able to just about sell out the in-person seminar so it more than covered my costs of the camera crew and other elements needed for the online version.
And here’s the last part of this story – launching a product.
After training so long for 1-on-1 and small groups, essentially trading my hours for dollars, having the ability to launch products and get recurring revenue is an amazing addition to my business.
It’s a ton of work to make sure everything is set-up and that you maximize the opportunity. But there’s not a lot of moments in my business that are comparable to watching a product that I’ve worked so hard on, generate well over $10,000 in just a few days. Easily tripling the income I generated from the in-person seminar event. And then I still can count on residue sales of the product in the months and years to come.
It wasn’t that when I wrote my ebook or first started online training that I wasn’t a competent trainer. It was I simply didn’t know how to execute in the online environment to be successful.
I didn’t really have a launch of any sorts to build momentum towards what I was offering. But then again I didn’t have an audience to corral to bring to the launch.
This is why you need to really go in order of these 3 simple steps to find success online:
1) Find your niche
– What are you really passionate about, what do people already ask you about, what do you like to learn about?
2) Grow your audience
– Do this mainly through email but social media is great too, the main thing is that you can “get the attention” of those that already know and trust you when you have something to share.
3) Launch your product/service
– Have a well planned out launch to roll out any new product or service, the sense of urgency and the little things like offering incentives and bonuses really helps people purchase and greatly increase the success you’ll experience.
My goal in writing out this incredibly long post is not to brag, but to offer you hope if you’re struggling with making your online venture a success. Or maybe even open your eyes to the possibilities that are out there in an online business.
I look back and realize that I did learn lessons from all the struggles I went through.
But you don’t have to struggle for as long as I did! And if you’re not having the success you’d envision it may be as simple as a few tactical changes in your approach.
I’d like to point out too that I didn’t generate all of this revenue by targeting a huge market. I mean seriously how many companies are searching out swim coaches and/or swimmers as their target?
The average swim coach makes around $40,000 a year, so it’s not like I’m selling business tactics to online entrepreneurs and high-rollers. This isn’t an easy niche to make money in. Nor did I make this money selling others on how to sell others like you see so often.
It comes down to finding a niche that you’re passionate about and then providing them value. And doing so in a way that follows some basic tactics that will help you succeed online.
We are more connected now than ever and that means more opportunity for you to connect with others that have your same passion. No matter how big or small that niche is. You have no excuses not to do what you enjoy and are passionate about and generate money from it too!
But remember that there are so many things that you “could” do when it comes to your online business. Stick to these few steps (and in order!) to really see progress:
1) Find your niche
2) Grow your audience
3) Launch your product/service
Even if you “know your stuff” and are an expert and passionate about your particular niche, there are still specific steps you need to take if you want any sort of success online.
Don’t experience the frustrations and the spinning your wheels feeling that I had for so long!
Interested in hearing more about those steps and the details of exactly how I generated $10,000+ in about a week, not once but twice and in total generated over $100,000 in ADDITIONAL online revenue for my business?
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