How to Make Money From Home with an Offline Business
It was 2007, I was 29, newly married and burnt out from my chosen career. Yes burnt out before I even turned 30. I had sold mortgages for the last five years and I was miserable. In my heart, I knew I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life. Heck most days I wondered if I could do it for the next five minutes.
As I sat in my office creating marketing flyers I found myself having more fun at work than I had in months. In fact, I realized the only time I was enjoying mortgage work was when I was working on the marketing. I started to show my ideas to other Loan Officers in my office and they asked if I could create materials for them. I started to think I could make money from home offline.
Before I knew it I had a business. Automated Marketing was born in May of 2007. I had taken my love for design and copy and turned it into a small business for myself.
When I started, Facebook was in its infancy and only for college kids. MySpace was still ruling the internet airwaves. Online marketing was cheesy at best and scammy at it’s worst. I spent my time going to local mortgage and real estate offices drumming up business to create postcards, flyers, and brochures.
Then in what seemed like a flash, everyone was online. Everyone needed a new website. Facebook pages needed to be created. Online marketing strategies needed to be developed. I was in love with this new medium for my clients!
You see, when I was in college the Internet was new. Email was a new form of communication and people connected in chat rooms. But I saw the potential for business even in those early days. It was during those years I knew that I wanted to build a business on the Internet. With this new idea called digital marketing it seemed like my dream would come true!
After working with local clients I realized if I wanted to grow I would need to go after a national audience. I was also for some reason itching to write. I wanted to combine my love of online business and digital marketing with my traditional offline business. In November of 2014 I launched my first blog, Marketing Ideas for Agents.
On Marketing Ideas for Agents, I wrote about all things marketing for the real estate industry. I wrote about traditional marketing ideas like open houses. I wrote about digital marketing ideas like email marketing and social media.
By month four I was seeing incredible growth on my blog. I had created a network of Realtors on Twitter and started to get to know my audience better. I was getting noticed by major industry players. My content was getting shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I was getting a lot of guest posting invitations.
Most importantly I was helping Realtors with new marketing ideas. I was getting emails daily thanking me for my writing and my ideas. I was in heaven!
But the number one question I was asked all the time was “I love your writing, how can you help me?” I struggled with an answer for this. You see by this time I had fallen in love with writing. I started blogging and gave it three months to see if I liked it. I didn’t just like it, I fell in love with it!
I didn’t want to go back to creating websites, designing flyers, or writing copy for other people.
Yet this was the very thing my niche was begging me for. So instead of going back to doing everything myself I assembled a team. When I was hired for a new project I would hire contractors to help me do them. I have a copywriter who writes fantastic copy and handles project management. I have a website developer that works on creating WordPress sites for Realtors. I have two different graphic designers that work on making everyone look good.
I realized by having a team to work on the projects we could grow and I could do the thing I loved to do. Write.
First Passive Income
Then in 2015 I had an awesome opportunity that I turned into an online course. I had gained a lot of email subscribers for my blog by guest posting. When I did guest posts I had a bio that sent people to my landing page. This strategy gained me thousands of email subscribers in only a few months.
I knew that Realtors were tired of paying big bucks for leads. I knew they were frustrated by not getting leads from their own website. And here I had a way that I was getting leads from my blog that I could translate to real estate.
In April of 2015 I created my Looks to Leads Real Estate Landing Page Course. Finally, 15 years later my dream of having an online business came true! I had combined a traditional in-person service based business into an online business. The class sold over five figures in 2015 which was amazing! It helped a lot of Realtors learn how to actually get leads from their website. I was overjoyed!
There are two big takeaways from my story.
Focus on a niche
The most important lesson I learned in 2015 is that you must focus on a niche. If you try to help all service based businesses you will fail. There are too many to focus on and your message will get watered down. By focusing on only Realtors I was able to talk to them in their language.
I was able to show them I understood their problems. Most importantly I was able to show them I was the person to help them solve those problems. If I would have been too generic in that message I would have failed.
Combine offline with online
In my business, I successfully transformed an offline business into an online business. I think too often we focus on “how can I make money online” and ignore the people who are right in front of us. Look around your community for traditional service based businesses you can help. Then reach out to them and offer your services.
Once you have a grip on what you are doing move into the online space. Build your platform whether it’s blogging, podcasting, or something else. Then grow it into a national or even international business!
I think in our mad dash to make money working from home we forget to look at the opportunities in our own community. Check out the local companies in your area. Look for ways to help them.
Can you offer copywriting, web development, social media, blogging, or graphic design services? There are many companies that want this help, but don’t want to hire someone full-time to do it. Or they want this help but have no idea how to find someone who offers these services. Go traditional, create a flyer, and visit your local businesses.
Once you have a few clients then create a plan to take your offline business online and scale it up. By combining the traditional in-person business into an online business the opportunities are limitless!
What kind of offline business would you be great at?
Jen Snyder has taken her love of digital marketing, blogging and online business into her newest venture Women Winning Online. Jen teaches women how to start, grow, and prosper from their blog and online business. If you are looking for a list of businesses that need your help, services you can offer, and how to approach them click here to get “The Ultimate Guide: How to Make Money From Home By Working With Service Businesses.”