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A few years ago on a typical weekday morning, I was rushing around trying to get my three girls off to school. As I dropped two bagels slices in the toaster, I heard my iPhone chime, letting me know that I had just received an email. I quickly glanced over to scan the email subject line to see if the email was important enough to read right now. The subject line read “How I Made $33,000 selling eBooks” and it was from a woman who taught blogging courses online. Let’s call her Sally. I was like, “What?! $33,000!! How in the world did Sally do that?” Now, back then, I was shocked that someone could make $33,000 selling an eBook. But I was also shocked because I knew Sally. Sally and I weren’t BFFs or anything like that but I knew her well enough to talk business.
Standing there thinking about making $33,000 selling ebooks, I almost burned the scrambled eggs trying to figure out how that could be possible. Because at the time, I had an eBook that I was trying to sell to no avail. I mean, in all honesty, I couldn’t give my eBook away. I wanted to know how Sally was so successful in selling her ebook. So as soon as I dropped my girls off to school and returned home, I called Sally. We chatted for a bit and then I asked her about her $33,000 ebook. Sally laughed and then she said something that rocked my world. Sally said, “Marcella, you’re doing too many things for free. Raise your prices, charge your worth and then you’ll start making bank.”
I was sitting at my kitchen table with my mouth hanging open. I couldn’t say anything because Sally was right. I was giving my services away for free or next to nothing because I wanted to get clients. I actually had a client snipe back at me when I gave her a reduced rate for my website design services. She said, “You can give me the real price for the website. I don’t need a discount.” And I realized that she was actually offended that I was giving her a lower price for my services than she expected. My husband had long been telling me to charge or charge more for my services. Now I was realizing that he and Sally were right.
Right then and there, I purposed to start charging for my services and get paid for what I was worth. Shoot! I didn’t stay in school all those years for nothing. Slowly but surely, I began putting things into place so I could profit from my blog. And guess what? I started earning money from my blog and it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. So, If you too are trying to figure out how to stop that vicious cycle of doing things for free or get pair your worth, keep reading, I will show you 7 steps on how I did it.
STEP 1: PERMISSION
Give yourself permission to follow your dreams and passion. Now, this step might seem a little crazy but trust me, everyday I interact with women who want to blog about something or start a business but talk themselves out of it because they don’t think they can do it. They think that too many other people are doing it, they won’t be able to make money doing it or are just too afraid to do it. Don’t be afraid to follow your passion. Your dreams were given to you by God for a reason and it’s your job to fulfill your purpose. So stop trying to talk yourself out of it. Allow yourself to follow your passion today.
STEP 2: PURPOSE
Ask yourself what is your purpose and who do you help? Who would use your products and services? A man? Woman? Tweens? An empty nester? Take a moment and really think about the person you are trying to serve and how you can help them. If you don’t have a clear vision of who you are helping, you’re not going to be able to sell anything. Take a few days to think about your ideal customer. Really flesh out what they need, what they are looking for and how your products and services can help them.
STEP 3: POSITION
Put yourself in the position to command the highest rate possible for your products and services. Are their certifications or training that you need to be seen as qualified in your field? If yes, then get them. Yes, you are gonna have to put in some time and money to get that education, certification or training. But it will be so worth it in the long run. Some clients won’t even consider working with you if you don’t have the standard certifications or training. I would never get a pedicure from a nail technician who was not board certified by the state. I don’t care how much you know or how many YouTube videos you’ve watched. Go get certified.
Once you get that piece of paper, you can look forward to charging (or charging more) for your services.
STEP 4: PROFESSIONALISM
If you don’t come across as legit or are unprofessional, clients will be hesitant to give your their money. I recommend putting 3 these things into place quickly to get professional:
- GET A BLOG – Do this today! You should have an online presence working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A blog is amazing because it’s always advertising your wares, skills, services and products. Therefore, in order for your business to be profitable, creating a blog that attracts clients and paying clients is the first step. If you don’t have a blog, no worries! Click here to learn how you can start your own blog in about 20 minutes.
- GET BUSINESS CARDS – Yes, we can exchange phone numbers, text and follow each other on Facebook but business cards will never go out of style. I never leave home without mine. But business cards? Why? Well, they are not high-tech, easy to use and you can take them everywhere. Now, some people fight me on this one but I stand by it. You may have a blog and an online business, but you still need to get out there and meet people who can help you or you can help. Attending conferences, trade shows, conventions, workshops, hang outs, meetups, and other networking events are a must to grow your business. Nothing beats personal one-on-one contact. And remember, everyone you meet and personally connect with may not be tech savvy or want to give out their online info. Always keep your business cards handy, in your purse, backpack, gym bag or whatever. I cannot tell you how many business cards I have handed out at Target, Walmart and the supermarket. When you are out and about, talking with friends and meeting new people, what you do and your business is bound to come up. Be ready to hand a business card to interested clients with all your contact info on it.
- GET THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION – To operate legally as a business, you must follow the specific guidelines of your state and submit the required paperwork and documents. For starters, you’ll need a business bank account. Please don’t try to skip this and mix your business money with your personal money. It is a recipe for disaster! Also, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID number from the IRS. If you need a business license to operate, get that too. Each state is different and may require different things to set up legally as a business. So you’ll have to do some research to find out what documentation is required based on where you live. But the bottom line is to get legit or no real power players are gonna want to deal with you.
If you want businesses and clients to pay for your services, then you need to be as professional as possible. It doesn’t take much to get started. Please start working on the above 3 steps today.
STEP 5: PATH
Here is where you show people how you can help them. More specifically, the Path is not just a great show on Hulu (ha ha!). It is the way you show your readers how your products and services solve their problems. People are coming to your blog because they have a need to fill, a problem to solve or they are in some type of “pain”. In my case, mommies come to my blog because they need help starting or monetizing their blog. As a result, my blog has information that solves the problems my readers face. Likewise, your blog should answer questions that will help your readers solve their pain and fill their needs. Your blog should also answer questions that your customers are not asking, but should be.
The best way to serve your customer is to educate them first. However, while on your blog, readers should find products and services that solve their problems and fill their needs. I want to stress that you are not blogging just for fun. You are ultimately blogging to make money. For that reason, your content should be keyword optimized so that your blog will rank higher in Google. The higher your blog ranks in Google, the more readers will come to your blog. When those readers visit your site, your goal should be to convert them into paying customers. Understand the difference. A reader is someone who will frequently visit your blog, read it and leave. A customer is a reader who TRUSTS your message and pays for products and services that HELPS them, fulfills a NEED or solves a PROBLEM they have.
Therefore, it is very important that you tell people how they can work with you. Do you offer products or services? Tell what you offer. The key is that you always give your reader the opportunity to make a purchase because research shows that 25% of people who come to your blog are ready to buy on their initial visit. Hence, you need to have products and services available for those “25 percenters” who are ready to make a purchase. You don’t want to leave any money on the table. Go get that money! Therefore, each blog post and page on your site should have information clearly stated on how to acquire your products and services.
STEP 6: PRICING
Price your products and services. Then add a “Hire Me” or “Services” page. Make sure you write out your services and your rates clearly. Then if someone asks you to speak, coach, consult, etc. for them, just refer them to your website where they can view your rates. Remember to go high and don’t skimp or shortchange yourself. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but do it. Charge your worth. However, be careful not to be greedy or gouge your prices. That’s just not cool!
STEP 7: PROCESS PAYMENT
Once you start getting paid work, make sure that you have a way to get your money. I recommend taking down payments for your work and having clients pay through PayPal. You want to make it as hard as possible to get stiffed for your services.
If you want to start getting paid, you must provide a way for your customers to pay for your products and services. Cash always works and personally I am a little wary of checks. However, I prefer having a easy way for customers to pay online. I recommend PayPal. PayPal lets customers make an instant payment to you from their bank account or credit card. You can use PayPal to setup one time or recurring payments (like if you have a membership site where members pay $39 monthly or $99 a year). PayPal also takes donations and can be integrated with other online retailers like Amazon and eBay. It takes a few days to set up your PayPal account because they verify each user and their bank account. So don’t hesitate. Go and setup your PayPal account today.
I also highly recommend taking a down payment for your work. Do NOT do any work until you have received some money. I have learned this many times the hard way. People will talk a good game and say that are going to give you money and then never do it. Don’t waste your time starting a job for someone until you get some money.
GO GET THOSE COINS!
Today, determine that you will start charging fees for your services. You can go on forever doing things for free in the name of getting more experience and exposure. If you are afraid to ask for money, you’ve gotta get over that, quick! You are the only one who can make the transition to start getting paid for your worth and time. Above, I’ve outlined a 7-step plan that will get you on the path to earning income. Don’t expect to complete these steps in a few days. It will take some time to get all of these steps in place and complete, but that’s okay. Having a business is a journey. You are worth it and the time it takes to complete these 7 steps is worthwhile. But before you run off and get those coins, leave me a comment below letting me know where you are at in the 7-step process.
Dr. Marcella Wilson