In 2014, I was working as a freelance copywriter, when I decided to start my own online business.
Being a freelancer allowed me to make over $100 an hour working from home. But whenever I heard about someone creating a passive income stream online, I’d think, “Why not me?”
Then reality would come crashing in, as I’d painfully remind myself that I:
- Didn’t have a business degree or background
- Wasn’t tech savvy enough to build a website, set up payment systems, etc.
- Had nothing to sell (while freelance sites like Upworkmade it easy to find copywriting clients, to earn passive income I’d need to market an actual product)
- Didn’t want to risk tens of thousands of dollars starting a business
- Had no time for daily blogging, which I thought was a “requirement”
Then, one night, my attitude changed. My 5-year old son was struggling with a challenging math problem, and I encouraged him to persevere and figure it out. At that moment, I realized I’d been setting a poor example by not persisting to overcome my own hurdles to starting an online business.
The next day, I began noticing solutions where I’d previously seen only roadblocks. Here’s what I learned …
I didn’t need to go to business school. There are online courses that can teach you how to start an online business in weeks, even if you have no experience and no clue what to sell. (I enrolled in Ramit Sethi’s Zero To Launch program, which worked wonders for me.)
You don’t need website-building skills. I was surprised to find “all-in-one” website solutions (like Rainmaker Platform) that allow regular people like me to get a digital commerce website up and running in hours, without any designing or coding whatsoever.
Coming up with a product wasn’t as difficult as I imagined.People were constantly asking me how to make money on Upwork and other freelancing sites, so I decided to create my own online course — Secrets of a Six-Figure Upworker — to teach them. I’ve learned that we all have knowledge others are willing to pay for. Why not start there?
It doesn’t have to be expensive. It cost me just $100 to create my course using PowerPoint and Camtasia screen recording software. My customers didn’t care — they loved it because it helped them achieve their goals.
Daily blogging isn’t necessary. In fact, my entire website contains just three blog posts, and my course has generated over $90,000 in revenue over the past 12 months. Quality is infinitely more important than quantity.
Using these tools and approaches greatly simplified the process, allowing me to launch my online business in just a few months — using only my spare time, very little cash, and basically zero technical skills.
Courtesy of Danny Margulies
At first, sales trickled in, to the tune of about $1,400 a month for the first 90 days.
But as I ramped up my promotional efforts, things heated up. I did some guest blogging, which brought lots of new visitors to my website,Freelance To Win. I also started offering my top five hacks for making money on Upwork — free of charge — to anyone who subscribed to my email list.
More than 6,500 people signed up, and many of them became customers of my course as well. Some wanted to earn a side income through freelancing, while perhaps eventually transitioning to full time. Some had already tried freelancing (or starting their own business), with mixed results. And others were just curious about freelancing, but didn’t know where to start.
By March of 2015, monthly sales had almost tripled.
At that point, I made the difficult decision to make Freelance To Win my full-time job. The move felt risky, especially since I’m the sole provider for my family.
But by June, it was clear I’d made the right choice, with sales totaling over$8,000 for the month. In July, monthly revenue outpaced my freelancing income, with more than $10,500 in sales. And even as I write these words, sales for October have skyrocketed to over $30,000.
My online business keeps me quite busy these days, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Not only am I earning a great living while spending plenty of time with my wife and kids — I’m also helping thousands of people learn how to make money freelancing at the same time. It’s so addictive that I may even launch another course next year.
For anyone interested in starting their own online business, my advice is to forget about all the reasons not to go for it. We all have knowledge that’s valuable to others, and as I’ve learned, sharing it is a great way to make money. And with technology and information so readily available, it’s never been easier.