This weekend I was invited to join Sophie Cliff at her Kickstart 2020 event to discuss how I kickstarted my online career. One of the questions an attendee asked was, ‘is it too late to build a career online?’ followed by, ‘how would I even go about doing that?’
It’s an interesting one because I can totally see from the outside that many people who don’t currently have an online presence could feel like that ship has sailed. That if they wanted to build online platforms so they could launch a business or a career, that their time is gone.
But I think that’s wrong!
Firstly, I think a huge stumbling block for those of you who haven’t begun building an online presence based business yet is knowing what the actual fuck that actually means.
Lots of people say to me that they want to work for themselves because they want the freedom and want to make money online but that they have no idea how or in what way.
So I thought I could share my route into it and my experience and then if it sounds like something you might want to explore, I can fill you in on how!
There are many different ways to make money online…
Affiliate sales, advertising, digital products, influencing, services, webinars, courses… the list goes on!
To me though, first and foremost, it’s about building an online presence.
In my head, and experience, the route to making money online goes a little something like this…
Define a niche > Build an audience > Serve great free content > Create amazing paid content > Launch a service.
Within that comes blogging, influencing, advertising, affiliate sales, products etc
But the key is first building those platforms so that you have an engaged audience to eventually sell to or one that will at least support every endeavour from here on in.
Side hustle or career?
Many people build an online presence as a part time job or side hustle for extra income – it is totally doable!
Others though wish to build a career from their online presence. Perhaps as an influencer, a coach, a speaker, an author, a retail endeavour or many other things.
And often, when you set out to build an online presence, you never know what career you could fall into.
I set out to be a dating blogger and now I’m an online educator! Sophie Cliff set out to run a lifestyle blog and is now the Joy Coach and Victoria from Apartment No4 started off with an interiors blog and now teaches manifestation.
The best bit about building an online presence is that as long as you’re serving great content and building an engaged community – the world is your oyster!
That audience could be your first 2 orders for your floristry business, your first 5 photography clients, your first coaching client or your first 100 beauty product sales.
So where do you start?
Again in my experience you start by setting up an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page and website and then you get building from there!
When you set up, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to invest tonnnnsssss of money.
But there is a catch.
You do have to invest tons of passion, energy and time.
You don’t have to get it perfect from the off. You might decide to build an online presence as a lifestyle influencer and then a year in decide to pivot into something else – like online educating (hi, it me) or a physical product business.
If you are going to treat it like a business though, some amount of thought and planning does need to go into it – but is that too much of a trade off for the possibility of a lifetime of freedom?
I have my platforms, now what?
I do really recommend doing a little bit of reflecting, dreaming, wishing, planning and getting to the core of WHAT you want to bring online.
Do you have a desire to help people with their marketing? Or are you passionate about vegan skincare? Whatever it is that sets you alight inside, that should be your niche (even if you change your mind later).
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start creating content around your passion – a.k.a the fun bit!
You don’t HAVE to attack every platform. Perhaps your blog and Instagram is enough for you. Or maybe you’d rather start a podcast or get into video – you don’t HAVE to do it all.
Choose your preferred or strongest platforms and then get to work building your community…
Why do I need a strong community for business?
Put it this way, if you can get 100 people spending £100 with you, you’ve made £10,000.
Now think about how your life would change if you could get 1000 people spending £100 with you – either through physical products, digital products, services, affiliate sales and to an extent – supporting sponsored content!
Look at your platforms now – how far off is 100 engaged and connected people? How far off is 1000?
Your dream of building a career online doesn’t seem too far off now does it?
Alright, I’ve got my idea, niche and platforms set up but I’m not making the money I need to turn it into a part/full time career, so now what?
This is where strategy comes in.
It’s not just enough to pump out content and chat to people in DMs, you do need to learn a little bit of strategy. And this is where you need the passion and time!
Whether that’s mastering Pinterest so a wider number of people are hearing about what you do.
Or growing your Instagram so that you can earn more via sponsored income.
Or learning about SEO so you can drive traffic to your website and make a killing in affiliate sales.
Growing and scaling those online platforms so that you’re constantly building an engaged community and expanding your online presence does take strategy (why do you think we built Grow & Glow) so if you really are serious about building a career online you do need to get working!
I’ve not got time, energy or the money to invest in this…
Rephrase that to ‘building a career online is not my priority’ and then we can continue!
Listen, I see and hear it every day. People like you who think they want the freedom to work from themselves or to build an online presence so that they can launch a life they love but they just don’t have the passion for it.
That’s OK! It might seem like a dream lifestyle but you just might not be in the space for it and honestly, just because Tom, Dick and Harry are doing it – doesn’t mean it’s for you.
But if it IS and you REALLY WANT IT, you’ll find the energy. And if you’re time poor, you’ll reprioritise those Netflix binges. And if you can’t afford to be a Grow & Glow member (less than a Starbucks a week, c’mon) or invest in starting your own business by learning the strategy somewhere else – then just admit it’s not your priority at the moment!
I DO have the passion, energy etc etc HELP ME
I mean, that’s what Grow & Glow is for. But I didn’t have G&G 2 years ago when I was trying to make things happen so this is what I did:
- I re-niched into something I was passionate about
- I brainstormed all of the different revenue streams this niche could facilitate
- I tried the ones I thought I wanted
- I sacked those off and tried some more
- I took over £2,000 worth of courses on social media marketing, content marketing, coaching and digital marketing
- I built an engaged audience through my channels
- I worked on weekends
- I worked in the evenings
- I read every book going about becoming an online educator/entrepreneur
- I listened to podcasts such as GoalDigger, Amy Porterfield, Gary Vee, Starting the Conversation with Alice Benham
- I went on Alice’s retreat
You don’t have to do ALL of these things – I have an unquenchable thirst for learning and creating.
Knowledge vs Action
Often another huge stumbling block in building a career online is absorbing so much knowledge on how to do it – reading every article about the algorithm, hiring coaches, ALL. THE. BLOG. POSTS. that sometimes it’s too much guffff.
The key is taking action. Is absorbing the knowledge, learning the strategy and then IMPLEMENTING IT through daily, weekly, monthly tasks designed for building that presence.
We’d all love a hand to hold us through all of this wouldn’t we?
So what’s holding you back?
Hopefully you’ve learned through this blog post that it’s never too late to build a career online and hopefully you’ve also learned the route towards getting you there.
So now I want to know what’s holding you back? Come and chat about it on Instagram with me, I’d love to dive into your blocks with you!