The Perfect Side-Hustle: Use Other People’s Money to Get What You Want
Paul McCartney is quoted as saying, “Somebody said to me, ‘But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.’ That’s a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now let’s write ourselves a swimming pool.'”
Now you can write yourself anything you want too. And you don’t have to be a Beatle to get there.
McCartney saw the world through the eyes of abundance. Instead of turning his pockets inside-out, panhandling, and scraping the couch cushions for change, he sent the bill to his fans. McCartney wrote himself a swimming pool.
The Beatles printed money from nothing but the ideas in their minds.
This is what we’ll do today. Instead of worrying whether or not we can afford something we want (using a scarcity mindset), we’ll flip-the-script on ourselves and operate with abundance. This isn’t about going all-in and maxing-out your credit cards either. Instead, we’ll use the leverage of the people we serve.
With the right-sized tribe, you literally have unlimited earning potential.
Or this example:
When a well-known celebrity wants to donate a bunch of money to her favorite cause, she doesn’t write the check from her personal account. She auctions some valuable personal items, sells limited-edition merch, locks of hair, autographed memorabilia, or starts a charity. Celebrities put their faces (and the might of their audience) behind charitable giving, not their personal wallets.
The money comes from the celebrity’s tribe.
The godfather of direct marketing, Dan Kennedy, used to say if you want to buy something “send it to the herd.” Meaning, have your audience/customers pay for the things you want in life. Think about this statement a minute. It’s powerful. With the right-sized tribe (and an offer perfectly-tailored to match the tribe) you literally have unlimited earning potential.
Build a tribe around a single, big idea. Help them solve their own problems. Give them a valuable, tailored offer they can’t refuse.
We don’t have to wait for good fortune to come to us. Instead, we bring ourselves to our good fortune.
Let’s write ourselves a swimming pool, shall we?
…or a new car.
In my tiny publishing business, I offer a simple product to my email list, automatically. This one little offer pays all my annual business expenses in a single month. At the end of a year, I’ve got 12 years of business expenses covered.
You can use this method to get anything you want.
This is the perfect side-hustle. You can operate this business from anywhere. Once you set up the infrastructure, you can operate most of the business from your phone. No more competing for ad space. No more killing ourselves on social. This is the gig-economy 2.0, using 1.0 tools.
Instead of looking at my pile of monthly expenses and wondering, “how can I afford this?” I think, “how can I write myself all my monthly expenses?” I send the bill to my tribe.
You can frame this technique to work for almost any niche.
This is the gig-economy 2.0, using 1.0 tools.
This is how we operate abundantly — by creating new offers for our tribe when we need to pay for something. We start small, adding income as we grow our following. This isn’t some sneaky, black-hat trick either. This product-creation method is the process of being a digital entrepreneur.
As Zig-Ziglar, the grandaddy of person-to-person sales teaches us, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
We don’t have to go into debt to buy the things we need and want. We don’t have to deceive or cheat people to benefit ourselves. Instead, we start with the people we serve. We help our tribe get what they want first (through our digital products as solutions to their problems) and those folks will help us get what we want, later.
The process benefits both sides of the transaction.
Write yourself a car with this six-phase side-hustle:
- Choose who you want to serve — This is your tribe. These are the people you’ll help with your products, books, and services. If you want to ‘write a new pool’ you’ve got to start with your niche. We want to positions ourselves as the go-to person in a particular genre. Whether we fix cars, code apps, collect sneakers, work-out, or write books, we choose our niche before we take another step.
- Develop a valuable, free opt-in offer — I call this your Easy Invite (EA). Your EA is a single solution to one of the big problems of your tribe. Notice the word ‘valuable.’ If your customer isn’t willing to pay money for your free offer, you haven’t tried hard enough. How much value should you give in your free offer? Give until it hurts, then give a little more. Not only will this approach help you get more subscribers, faster, but you’ll also encourage your subscribers to buy your paid products, thinking, “If the free stuff is that good, the paid stuff must be amazing.”
- Build an automated email list — Using one of the many available email service providers, create a landing page and automated welcome series. This infrastructure will serve each new subscriber in a prescribed, measured sales process. Not only will your subscriber get your valuable Easy Invite, but you’ll also send them measured, scheduled emails with free, valuable, entertaining content, combined with additional offers, over time. As part of this automated email sequence, you’ll gently ask your readers what they want, using surveys and single-question emails (“hey, hit ‘reply’ and let me know what you think about…”)
- Send traffic to your landing page — Using social posts, content marketing (i.e. writing articles), and any marketing method available to you, add a link to your landing page. Engage your new readers with a continuous stream of scheduled email content (weekly to daily). Be entertaining and informative. We call this content infotainment. No one wants a lecture and cat videos won’t make you any money. The gold comes when you combine the two. Celebrities get paid the most. Think about that. Educate and entertain.
- Keep your current readers coming back for more — Just as we do with our lead-generating content, we give until it hurts until we give a little more. Frank Kern tells us to follow the oldest trick in the book, “show you can help people by actually helping them.” You want to build a tribe of die-hard fans you can contact at a moment’s notice. We help them get what they want first. Later, we’ll get what we want. The process is slow in the beginning, but it’s a flywheel. Once you get your tribe engaged, the momentum of list-building grows faster.
- When you’re ready to buy a new car (or pay you cell phone bill, dig a new pool, or add a wing to your yacht), create a targeted, valuable, digital product to serve your niche. We build a list, ask them what they want, and sell it to them. Email your tribe and tell them how your new product will improve their lives. When you build a tribe of people who love your work, there’s no hard-selling required. It’s the perfect side-hustle. When you’re ready for that new phone, present the offer and say “if you want to know more tap this link.”
It’s time to write yourself a new car
If you build your list carefully, comprised of the right people, you can earn money every time you send a new offer. The size and quality of your list, plus the quality of your offer, will determine how much you earn.
Email is far from dead.
This simple (but not easy) model will allow you to operate a one-person international business you can run from your pocket (I do. I’ve got customers in 80 countries and I run my tiny publishing business primarily from my phone).
What can you offer your tribe?
Think of a digital product you can create once and sell repeatedly, forever. These products include books, courses, videos, templates, blueprints, memberships, newsletters, movies, test-training, self-help, and anything else you write or create once and sell to many.
Ask them what they want and give it to them.
Everyone starts their list with a single subscriber (themselves).
By focusing on the people you wish to serve, ignoring everyone else, you can build a sustainable, digital business that will feed you and give you the vehicle to afford anything you want. Start with the people first. Ask them what they want. Show you can help them with your free content. Later, using your expertise and experience, build a great product and sell it to them.
You can operate this business as a side-hustle while you have a full-time job. Scale the operation big enough and you’ll never have to work again. Or, use this method to create extra income when you need it and let it rest when you don’t. The entire process starts with your email list of people you serve. Ask them what they want and give it to them.
Selling information is the ultimate, mobile, scalable tool of the gig-economy.
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 more 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.