How to Create an Automatic Side-Hustle
If you’re an entrepreneur, or side-hustler, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself (and your work) is to automate your sales process.
When you automate your selling you can earn money while you sleep.
We didn’t sign-on to start a business just to spend all our time marketing it. No, we want to practice our best work. We want to strategize and grow the business.
If we spend all our time networking and creating disposable content for social media (that no one may see), we can spend a lot of time trading time for money.
…but not so with automation.
Now, this isn’t some kind of magic trick. Everything here takes time and the process isn’t 100% passive.
…but you will automate a big chunk of your business.
This will give you more time to spend on the things that matter to you and less time on the repeated tasks that don’t. No more trading time for money.
It’s time to multiply and automate your side-hustle
Serve a Single Niche
We start by serving a single niche. Too many business owners try to build the ‘golden product,’ making something for everyone. The problem is, that golden product doesn’t exist.
You can’t serve everyone. We’re too different. Every customer has different wants and needs.
Instead of trying to build the Swiss Army Knife of products, we get laser-focused and dominate a single niche. The more specific your niche, the easier it will be for you to capture your audience’s attention.
Our niche becomes the foundation of our tribe. And our automated side-hustle.
When we choose a niche, we plant a flag to serve a specific group of people. We take a stand and I say, “I made this for you. Not them. They can buy it too, if they want, but I made this for you.”
When you begin a highly-specific, niche business there’s always room to broaden your audience after you prove your concept. But it’s much harder to get specific later, after you gather a random, general audience.
Go niche first.
Create Valuable, Entertaining Content
Most people read content for entertainment, education, or escape. We don’t like being lectured-to, but we do enjoy learning new things.
Look at the highest-paid people among us. Most of them are athletes and celebrities. These folks entertain us and provide an outlet to aspire to. These are the folks we return to, repeatedly, for gossip updates and escapism.
…but entertainers don’t teach.
On the other hand, we’ve got teachers. But straight-teaching can be really dry to absorb. If I’ve got the choice of opening two emails, I choose the entertaining one.
In walks infotainment. This is the combination of teaching and entertainment. We wrap a carrot stick with a brownie. The reader has no idea she’s learning something new, because the vehicle (the brownie) was fun and tasty to absorb.
This automated process will be done through email.
Email is where you’ll make the most sales to your targeted tribe. With email you’ve got a captive audience. There’s no endless scrolling, as you do with social.
Every email you send, should be designed with infotainment in mind.
Create an Easy Invite
We need to build an email list of our best people. These folks become our tribe. In order to entice them to join our tribe we need a valuable gift, in exchange for their valuable email.
This valuable gift is called your Easy Invite.
It’s easy, because the offer is a no-brainer. If you’ve targeted the right prospect and she’s got the problem you solve with your EI, there’s a high-likelihood she’ll join your email list.
Spend time creating your Easy Invite. It took me 2+ months to build mine. Your EI should be something worth money. Not just some cheap, one-page ‘blueprint’ that took you three minutes to design.
A subscriber could be worth thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars over the course of her lifetime.
You owe your tribe some valuable content in your Easy Invite. It’s worth the effort in the long-run. If you wouldn’t pay real cash for the Easy Invite you create, then keep working until you have something you would.
Ask What They Don’t Want
Once you’ve built the beginnings of your email list, use the power of automated surveys to ask your readers what they don’t want.
If you ask people what they do want (what they’re willing to buy) you won’t get an honest answer. We can’t always tell you what we want. That’s your job as an entrepreneur.
But we will tell you exactly what we don’t want, or the problems we’d like to solve to earn the life we long for.
These answers are the sweet spot.
This is how we find out what our customers want, so we don’t have to guess. Many times, the product we think they want isn’t the product they’ll buy.
Build Them What They Do Want
Once you uncover the categories people don’t want, it’s time to ship your work fast. Launch a series of products to your segmented email list (groups of people who want different things).
This prevents you from giving offers to people who aren’t interested in them.
When you build your readers what they want, you don’t have to risk spending months building products that won’t sell.
While there are no guarantees, you’ll get a lot closer a lot faster, with this model. Get people to raise their hands before you start inventing products they won’t buy.
Use Automated Email Sequences to Sell Your Work
Email is the core of our automated business. Our email will do all the heavy-lifting for us, selling while we sleep.
If you’re a writer or creator this automated process will give you more time to do your best work, spending less time chasing new leads.
With email, you can write an email once and it will serve you for years, contacting thousands of people, with only 30 minutes of work. Email is a conversation between two people, repeated to thousands.
I get daily replies from readers who think I email them directly. I wrote these emails three years ago and sometimes I have to go back and see what they’re thanking me for. These are nice problems to have.
Look at the time saved, compared to the work it takes to create new, disposable social content every day. And most of it gets lost where no one sees it. Not so with email.
When you create automated sequences, once you do the groundwork, the remaining process is automatic.
Keep Them Coming Back for More
Using your power of infotainment, encourage your reader to open your next email. Use the power of cliffhangers and open-loops.
Give a little teaser of the next email’s content.
Give so much value your readers want to open your next email. They’ve got a full in-box, stuffed with coupons and marketing material. Although they know you are in business too, we want the reader to feel as if they get emails from a good friend.
When you keep them coming back you have the opportunity to keep selling your best work.
Entice Them to Tell the Others
When you’ve built a great tribe of people who love your work, you also have the opportunity to build a word-of-mouth machine.
We love recommendations from people we trust. Readers trust word-of-mouth a lot more than they do public reviews.
When you build a group of people who love and trust your work, you actually do them more service by giving them tools to tell the others.
The brands and businesses we like are part of our identity.
When we identify with a tribe we stand behind, we’re more than happy to tell people about it. I use this method myself, as part of my automated sequence, and I’ve grown my tribe with no additional effort.
Your audience will literally be happy to help you, but you must ask.
When you do ask, be thoughtful and as non-self-serving as possible. Position the word-of-mouth promotion as a way to help bring more like-minded people in to the group, which helps benefit everyone.
Never Run Out of Things to Sell
Once you’ve got an automated email business up and running, it’s your duty to never run out of things to sell. Think about it. If you make someone happy–a person who loves your work, she’s likely to buy the next thing you make. And the next.
If all you have is a single product, you’re on an endless treadmill of new customer acquisition.
I recently bought a $2,000 mattress. The company could email me on a weekly basis with additional offers for sheets, alarm clocks, black-out curtains, eye masks, pillows, and everything. I’m a qualified buyer who loves their product.
But I’ve never had a follow-up email from them.
I’m embarrassed for them. They will be out of business soon, because they spend all their money trying to acquire new customers in the cutthroat world of mattresses. It probably costs them $100 to acquire one person (or more).
Don’t make this mistake.
Once you get a customer, keep serving them with new offers to help them.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.