'Get Paid To Be YOU' - Two Ways to Turn Your Existing Expertise Into a Minimalist Business

'Get Paid To Be YOU' - Two Ways to Turn Your Existing Expertise Into a Minimalist Business

GETTING PAID TO BE YOU is an exciting possibility. In this post I'm going to explain how it's not just a marketing platitude, but teach you how I did it. In fact, I'll share with you two ways I used my existing knowledge to create a thriving minimalist business (MB).

The Rapid road to consulting

Consulting is the fastest way to create a MB that uses your existing knowledge and expertise. You can literally set up shop in a few minutes and call yourself a consultant.

When you consult, you're essentially doing something very similar to your old corporate job for other companies. When you perform the same job or service for an individual, it's called coaching.

How I Started Consulting

In my case, after I was laid off from my corporate position, I started consulting immediately. I worked for a large corporation and routinely with business partners from other corporations as well. As a result, I had a numerous contacts within the industry with which to network. 

I started by filling out my LinkedIn profile to an all-star rating. You can view it here as I've left it intact and only changed the most recent positions to reflect MinBizAcademy. I still get job offers and am contacted by firms interested in my past consulting work based solely on this profile.

Then I asked all my LinkedIn contacts for a recommendation. Many were forthcoming and I arranged them according to the projects that I worked on with my employer. This gave any potential client a sense of ease that I wasn't just playing at being a technical proposal manager, but that I was an established professional.

I then calculated my rate. I took annual annual salary and divided it by 2080 (the number of hours a full-time job includes -without factoring in overtime). I then added 40% to cover travel, insurance, and taxes. That gave me my starting hourly rate. I've raised it significantly over then pas three years and I suggest that you do the same.

I created a simple website using WordPress. It included pages for consulting and a blog. I even wrote a book for the industry (you can't stop me from writing books it seems) and sold it from then site as well. Today, my consulting site is embedded within a general writing site on this page. I keep it minimal as I don't actively look for that type of consulting work any longer.

I created a Twitter account and then started letting people know I was available. It took a few weeks, but I soon had my first consulting gig for large corporation via a former colleague. 

Why You Should Consider Consulting 

For many, consulting is a great solution for immediate cash flow or even a method of generating extra money. If you're ready to leave your corporate position and consulting seems doable, then it can be very rewarding.

For consulting to work for you, you need to love the work that it requires. If it isn't the work you really like, you'll get bored and soon look for something else. 

I recommend reading and working through my brief book, Your Most Meaningful Work that's subscribers can download for free. It will guide you toward the work that is most meaningful for you. If that happens to be what your career has included, all the better for you!

The link between consulting and coaching

When you get paid for your expertise by a company, you are consulting. When you get paid by an individual for your services, you’re coaching.

Consulting is generally done for a corporation. You might also perform your services for an individual but that is usually in a training format and that's referred to as coaching.

For example, when I edit and write technical proposals for my former employer, I am consulting. But when I help an individual become a better proposal manager or proposal writer, I'm coaching.

The difference is that coaching can often be done over the Internet with phone calls, video chats, and email. Consulting usually requires an in-person appearance and can involve travel that you will need to fund up front and then bill your client for later.

The Downside of Consulting

Consulting can be cash intensive. It often requires travel paid for in advance by you, the consultant. You can bill your client for the travel expenses via your invoice but most will not pay for your travel up front. You'll need to have a readily accessible savings for travel expenses like airfare, lodging, meals, and incidentals. All of these should be reimbursed by your client via invoice and attaching receipts.

Corporations are slow to pay. In my experience, most corporations are slow to pay invoices for consultants. They will cite various reasons that don't make much sense to me, but they never pay in rapid response to an invoice. It would be a mistake to think you'll get paid even within 30 days. This further requires access to working capital for the consultant.

If consulting isn't something you wish to do, then a subscription program can be a very profitable income stream for your MB.

the consistency of Subscription programs

Subscriptions are commonplace in our lives and they also represent a great way to generate recurrent revenue. In a premium subscription program, you deliver your expertise via a regular recurring medium (email, video, coaching, etc.)

I've had a lot of experience with free and premium subscription programs and have even written a book on the topic that I'll be releasing soon here on MinBizAcademy in early 2017.

How a premium subscription works

In a premium subscription, a targeted audience pays you each month for a specific type of knowledge or service. Because the knowledge is usually delivered electronically via email, downloads, or video, the size of the audience can scale up along with your income.

I know several MB owners who are making over six figures with just a couple of evergreen and short-term subscriptions.

Types of Subscriptions

There are two types of subscription programs: short-term and evergreen.

Short-term subscriptions are similar to a course taken online. Each week a new lesson or block of information is delivered and the collective lessons lead to a specific outcome.

Evergreen subscriptions on the other hand are ongoing, like your Netflix or Spotify subscriptions. A subscriber pays you the same amount each month and you deliver your ongoing service or membership perks.

my experience with SUBSCRIPTION programs

I've run several successful subscription programs, both short-term and evergreen. I think it's a fascinating business model and one that is familiar to most consumers. 

I've run evergreen business coaching programs that were $49/month and generated a handsome income as well as several short-terms subscription programs that taught a specific curriculum for subscribers to achieve a specific outcome.

My book, The Bullet Journal Power User Guide started out as a short-term subscription program and I delivered the lessons weekly. I've since converted it into a book that is downloadable immediately upon purchase. 

WHy you should consider a Subscription program

A single, well-planned subscription program can generate a very healthy income. Depending on the material, audience, and your experience and expertise, you can earn in excess of $150k-$250k per year.

If you have 500 subscribers who are willing to pay you $30/month for your expertise, that's $15,000 per month in revenue. Not bad, right? Given the right material and an audience of hunger, motivated subscribers your income is only limited by your creativity and ability to scale. 

More book on subscription programs 

As I mentioned earlier, I've completed a book on the topic and will be releasing information about it early 2017. It's going to teach you the nuts and bolts of creating, marketing, and sustaining a profitable subscription program based on what you already know. 

Subscribers to the blog (click here to join us) will be notified in advance of the book's release and will be invited to a special video presentation that will include a code for a significant discount on the book and training.