thinking creatively on increasing income - ebooks, webinars, what else?

(9 Posts)
redmapleleaves Sat 01-Feb-14 19:45:18

I freelanced for over 10 years but recently went full time employed and gave up the freelance work. I'm now thinking of taking it up again a few evenings (specialist advice by phone and face to face, including internationally) to increase income and give me more options a few years down the line. But I'm also thinking rather than offering the service alone, what might I do to build passive income, possibly increase reach, cut time between first lead and takeup of service by building credibility, but would make it financially worth the development time?

Current ideas: downloadable ebook (obviously depends on the book, but at current kindle download costs and not high likelihood of bestseller, not sure whether this would be worth the effort, financially, but suppose it does increase status = fees, potentially)

webinars (maybe increase credibility, but not sure about as income generator, especially as can't imagine recording one weekly say, probably not more than once every 2 months)

I suppose what I'm really asking is relative to each other, what do you think you'd invest time in building up, - or maybe I just plough on offering the service itself alone? Or what are the other options out there?

Any thoughts very welcome. Thanks

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 02-Feb-14 21:15:12

I often think about this too.

I think the issue with these types of passive money makers is that it takes a lot of time to build the audience to sell to. I am not sure you can just produce them and they'll get picked up....The people in my field (marketing) who offer these types of things seem to spend lots of time promoting them etc.

Do you have an audience? I do know that webinars are a good way of collecting details/building a list. An editor of a major health publication told me that they had been amazed at how easily people give their details in return for access to one of their webinars.

I think it also depends on what your topic is. I read this blog by Daniel Gold a while back. He is a productivity expert who uses the GTD (Get Things Done) system and he knew that many people were using Evernote (the free organisation/work app/platform) with GTD. So he created a really simple and cheap ebook about how to do GTD using Evernote and he has sold 10,000 copies. Inspiring!

Not sure if that helps!

WilsonFrickett Mon 03-Feb-14 12:28:44

Shamelessly place marking. I reckon in another year I'll have squeezed as much growth out of my business as I possibly can - there really are only so many hours in the day - so I need to start thinking about this sort of thing.

Is what you do visual in any way? I flirted briefly with the thought of YouTube but I write so can't imagine anything more boring!

redmapleleaves Wed 05-Feb-14 20:27:36

Oops domestic emergency came up, so I took my eyes off the ball on the threed. Thank you both for your thoughts.

Margo (love the name) found that article really inspiring, but gave me a sense of the size of the market needed to make it very viable. I don't currently have an active audience though there is a clearly defined target market out there and I have been a blogger in the past, so I think there would be ways of reaching them/keeping them. Though obviously far fewer than 10 000 of them....

Wilson no its not really visual. A colleague showed me powtoon recently http://www.powtoon.com/ and I got really inspired again, - but its not my key skillset, and its hard to gauge how much time to spend on non-essentials/non immediate delivery.

Thank you both for your thoughts - any others do keep them coming. Helpful to get a sense others out there are wondering about this too!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 05-Feb-14 21:53:41

There are potentially ways to buy an audience though I guess. Google ad words, email lists, third parties etc.

A couple of other links. Not sure if you have heard of Women Unlimited. A freelance contact recommended it to me. The woman who runs it (Julie Hall) is great, she has created a women's network which is very focused on ways to grow & improve your business. There is a podcast on there about writing a business book with Joanna Penn. My friend attended the in-person session with Joanna Penn and said it is inspiring how many products/services she has spun out - books, courses, membership etc.

And was just on Social Media Examiner listening to their latest podcast and saw they offered an article about ebooks.

But what we really need is somebody to come along and confirm they did it and are now earning ££££ from it!!

jonnyelwyn Sat 15-Feb-14 16:29:50

Hi guys,
Just to add my two cents to these ideas. It's worth checking out Pat Flynn (I'm not associated with him in anyway! Although I just recommended his site on another thread too) who runs a blog/podcast/empire all about teaching people to make money online, based on a niche of their own expertise.

He's got loads of great free content (it's all free I think) and it's worth signing up to his free newsletter. His site is www.smartpassiveincome.com/

Also as plug for writing an ebook about being freelance, check out the one I have written based on my eight years of freelancing as a film editor here jonnyelwyn.co.uk/how-to-be-a-successful-freelance-creative/

Hope those links help a little!

redmapleleaves Sat 15-Feb-14 18:47:26

fab Jonny thanks so much, will take a look now. What would you say from your own experience of writing an ebook, what have been the benefits/downsides, was it worth the effort?

redmapleleaves Sat 15-Feb-14 19:44:25

Margo just to say I've now looked at Women Unlimited and listened to the inspiring podcast. Fantastic and it turns out there is a Women Unlimited group just down the road. Great tips, thank you.

jonnyelwyn Sun 16-Feb-14 09:44:21

Things I would say about writing an ebook.

1. I had a lot of fun doing it - I love writing, designing, marketing, etc. So it was fun all along the way - much more fun than I expected.

2. I was doing it all on days when I wasn't freelancing for someone so it didn't cost me any day rates.

3. You should definitely use a copy editor. My friend Jennie edited my ebook and made it (literally) a thousand times better. She wrote a post about it here jenniepollock.com/three-reasons-why-you-must-have-a-copyeditor/

4. In the first month I've sold more than enough to make back what I spent on getting it professionally edited which is great. But i expect that sales will just happen as and when people discover it and think it's worth buying! So it's more of a drip-feed of income than a deluge.

5. Even though I'm selling the book, I actually don't really care about the money! What's most satisfying is that 'someone' took a punt on the book and I'm always wondering how they're getting on with it, and if it's helped them enjoy freelancing more..

In your case you might want to start by giving away great content (how-to blogs, podcast, tutorials, small ebooks etc,) to build an online-profile as being a wise advisor - Pat Flynn would be good at these things - to then sell your consultancy time around that.

(Chris Anderson's FREE is very good on that idea jonnyelwyn.co.uk/business-2/top-5-business-books-for-the-digital-age/)

BUT that will be a lot of work for not a lot of gain at the start.

If you've been freelancing for 10 years doing what you've been doing can you contact previous clients, see where they are at now and find ways to advise them, or pitch direct to new clients (once you've made a nice online site/portfolio - with a few case studies of how you've helped people previously - as your 'shop window') and just get work straight off the bat?

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