For those fighting tooth and nail to catch up every month in today’s inflationary economy, you know that something is going to have to give. More and more economists are prediction a period of stagflation. For most, the solution is simple. You don’t need to work harder. For many, that is impossible. You need to work smarter. And when it comes to applying yourself and finally becoming that person that you’ve dreamed of, working smarter usually involve developing new online businesses. If you want to look face to face with an example of what is possible, you only need to look at this CNBC interview where you will meet Graham Cochrane. In 2009, Cochrane was laid off from his full-time job and finding work during a recession was difficult, so I took on freelance gigs and worked on my music blog side hustle. And, that changed everything. Today, Graham Cochrane works just five hours a week and makes about $160,000 a month running his blog and business coaching company. Here are three types of businesses you can start today for $0:
1. Start a Consulting Business
Is there something your friends always ask you for help on? Cochrane says that one ofhis clients teaches people how to fix motorcycles at home. Another makes recordings of English word pronunciations for native Japanese speakers. Cochrane says the key is to reach out to your existing network. For example, “I’m offering one-on-one coaching slots for [X group of people] who struggle with [Y concerns] and want to achieve [Z outcomes].” Then set aside time to meet with clients via phone or a video call. Discuss their pain points and coach them on how to move forward. Cochrane says that over time, you’ll develop a curriculum based on the problems you see most often. Grow your customer base by asking clients for referrals. Post customer testimonies on social media and on your website.
2. Promote a Profession Service
Whether it’s graphic design or video editing, Cochran says plenty of websites make it easy to promote your existing professional services. On Fiverr or UpWork, for example, you can create a profile, list your services, and get discovered.
- To stand out, be specific in what you can offer. For example, a long-form YouTube essay video editor might have less competition than a general video editor.
- Write a customized proposal for each job posting. Don’t say “To Whom It May Concern” or write like you’re applying to a traditional job. Explain how your skills and experiences can help solve their problems.
- Ask questions about the project at the end of your proposal. This shows you’re already thinking ahead and gives the other person a clear reason to follow up. More dialogue means more opportunities to win them over and land the job.
3. Start a Creator Business
Cochrane says that as a “Creator”, there are four (4) ways to make money.
- Earn advertising revenue
- Earn affiliate post revenue
- Sponsor posts and brand deals
- Selling digital materials to your audience
Cochrane says, “Create content about a niche topic you know a lot about. You can post on accounts you already have to leverage your existing network. Don’t worry about getting all your ducks in a row. The key is to just begin and post every day.” For Cochrane, YouTube is his favorite platform to start with because it has an advanced search function that makes content more discoverable.
“You don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers. One of my clients who teaches pastors how to preach better sermons has 7,000 subscribers on YouTube, but earns over $150,000 a year. And I made a deal with one of my biggest affiliate partners back when I only had a few thousand followers.”
To join the YouTube Partner Program and make money off ads, Cochrane says you need just 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 watch hours in 12 months or 10 million YouTube Shorts views. It’s tempting to copy someone else’s style, but you’ll stand out more by incorporating your own twist. People gravitate toward unique personalities, so let yours shine.