It’s usually easy to earn some extra money on the side with small tasks and errands, but to earn higher and scale up really is a different ball game. It takes better strategy, time, effort and intention.
In this article I write about how I build my 7-figure businesses, six-figure paychecks and my client list.
- 2008 hustled by freelancing ($5K+/month) and worked my way up to a 10+ person business (5-6 figure business)
- End 2014 / early 2015 my business got acquired for 7-figures valuation – it was a nice exit for us, on top of our 6-figure dividends. We fully exited that business end 2017 because we were done with buyers and finished our moratorium agreement.
- January 2018 – June 2019 I took a sabbatical
- June 2019 to today – I joined my wife’s business, took a small stake and build it to be a high 6-figure (should be crossing 7 figures soon), also with 6-figure paychecks with more growth in the pipeline (we should be able to hit $2-5M within next 5 years).
- Other side businesses are still being built
That’s a simplified snapshot of what I learnt and did with freelancing to scaled business growth.
The first time we drew a six figure dividend was…interesting. Until it became a norm.
The first time we got acquired and paid a nice payout…was interesting too.
You’d see that this process happened over a period of time. During that process, I learnt many things, which included
- how to get more and more good clients…and keep them
- how to get more good freelancers…and keep them
- how to grow more good locations…and keep them
Anyone can earn a quick extra $25-50 bucks running some errands or renting out some room space…but it’s an entirely different machine to build six-figure payouts and acquisition-friendly businesses
This article is about leveled up money making ie scaled entrepreneurship, one of my passions.
Many people tend to see and make decisions that RIGHT in front of them. They can’t envision 3 years, 5 years, 20 years down. They don’t think enough of what’s the impact of their decisions for the future.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Start An Online Business
- 2 Start an offline subscription (recurring) business
- 3 Level up yourself and your skills with up-and-coming stuff
- 4 Understand what your clients want
- 5 When your side gigs above start to grow: double down and get 10X more serious
- 6 Get a pay raise
Start An Online Business
This is my #1 recommendation today to all I meet who ask me what they can do to earn extra.
- First, keep your day job for stability of income (and sanity with hot water, roof, food etc)
- Then outside your 9-6, work like hell to build your side online business
Learning to build an online business is a learnable skill. When done right, you’d have 2 simple outcomes:
- A profitable online business that works 24/7 for you and your clients
- A proven skill building online business that you can either pass on to your loved ones/friends, or teach
That’s why there is a big move online where people want to learn how to make money online and make money blogging. It’s really a cool thing to do to be able to share what you know, helping others in the process and get paid for it – really awesome.
Truth of the matter is that there is more and more information and misinformation out there that’s being created every single moment that you can ever consume, and this overwhelms people. With conflicting information, it can paralyze people and eventually these people become lost and then they don’t know what works and what doesn’t work.
When your answers actually work and it helps people to get an outcome they want to achieve be it
- get a pleasurable outcome
- remove a painful experience
you will be paid profitably for it.
Basically solving a problem profitably.
Of course, you will need to first build your understanding and expertise, before you can sell this expertise be it as training, consulting or specific products to solve their problem.
The bigger or more urgent the problem, the bigger the payout
Also, the more you help someone, the more money you can make eg
- the more you help someone lose weight, the more weight loss clients you can get
- the more you help someone make money, the more people who wants to make money will turn up for you to help
Start an offline subscription (recurring) business
Without a rental expense. Think of
- massage therapy
- carpet cleaning
- house cleaning
- picking up pet poo in the yard
- grass cutting
These are services that people tend to use on a regular basis, be it weekly, once every 2 weeks or monthly ie recurring clientele with recurring revenue.
Do a pretty good service together with pretty good client management, and typically clients will stick with you for months if not years. You can give loyalty programs ie quarterly or annual discounts for prepayments to lock clients in for longer periods.
Finding loyal freelancers and keeping them will be key to growing your business.
In all my service business, I give a high revenue-sharing amount to all my freelancers with the same contract for everyone and sort out all the business, finance and back-end support.
Level up yourself and your skills with up-and-coming stuff
Skills are always rewarded, and the more valuable or indemand, the higher the revenue and income you can make. On top of having more opportunities and control over income.
These skills you can use for
- future careers / day jobs
- side income businesses
- full businesses
Sales & Persuasion Skills
Sales and persuasion will likely NEVER go out of fashion.
It may look different from offline to online (can anyone say “copywriting?”), but let me say it as it is: wherever there is something that needs to be sold for income, there will be roles for sales.
I learnt to sell, market and communicate myself and my businesses to
- key vendors
- front desk
to bring across what change and growth that I’d like the business to achieve.
Digital Marketing: SEO
As an entrepreneur, I learnt about most things as “far and wide” aka generally to ensure I know a little bit of everything end to end.
One of the things I dived a little deeper was SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, and even with this, I dived even deeper ie niche-ing down to focus on long-tail keywords technical keyword-rich article marketing.
My fugly (fucking ugly) sites would be so ugly that almost everyone who talks to me about it will tell me that
- it’s hard to navigate
- it’s ugly
- blah blah
But I can tell you…it constantly brings in leads and sales worth more than 6-figures a year.
I think it can be improved further, but sometimes I dare not change what is already working haha!
This skill I continuously improve it and apply to my main business and my side online businesses to earn even more income using the skills I’ve already learnt.
Understand what your clients want
This is diving deeper to sales as I mentioned earlier – the golden question is this:
what does your client really want?
Once you can answer this, you can get to what you want.
And it’s applicable in so many situations, the clients can be:
- your client
- your boss
- your vendors
- your freelancers
- your kids
- your spouse
Think about what’s their pain points.
What drives them forwards.
What drives them nuts.
Generally across the board:
- people want to feel and look good, earn more money, have more sex
- people don’t want pain or negative situations and want these relieved as soon as possible
So if you can help in either of these #1 and #2, you will do fucking well.
I spend a lot of time thinking and communicating to help my clients to show the good of what they’re doing, this is to lead to sales of the price points I want. Doing this will also help you if you’re afraid of losing clients, because you’d be clear of what value you bring to the clients and the table.
Understand your clients (and deliver of course muahaha) to get paid what you’re worth.
When your side gigs above start to grow: double down and get 10X more serious
Remember the online business and the offline service business I mentioned earlier?
When they start to grow in traction and revenue, it’s time to get fucking serious. I call this the 10X mode.
It’s time to launch your own business and grow it “more” proper and well.
Depending on which part of the world you live in, you can register it and then separate your business assets from your personal assets (it’s a protection thing). Lots of benefits including
- tax protection
- expensing business expenses
- legal protection
- get paid more
- able to sell it (get acquired for certain multiples)
Get a pay raise
I kept this for last because frankly I’m an entrepreneur at heart – I have not found anyone who I truly want to work for.
Most of the time, I enjoy working for myself, creating jobs for my team etc.
But I am aware that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It’s brutal and grueling (I typically work 7 days a week, but it’s more flexible pockets of time) and some just isn’t cut out for it, and it’s perfectly fine.
For those who work for others, the fastest way to make more money is to get a pay raise – get paid more to do what you’re already doing (it’s much more easy to max out what’s within reach).
If you’re a competent individual who brings good value to the company, usually most companies with reasonable bosses will typically want to retain their good workers. You should use this leverage to your advantage.
First, find out if you’re underpaid and can be paid more. This is quite straightforward – check with salary sites (glassdoor, salary.com etc) to compare your current role and experience, are you being paid up to market rate? If not, it’s an easy sell especially if you’re competent.
If you’re not competent enough, do not ask for pay raise first. Speak to your boss with regards to how to get a pay raise, so that they can give you action-specific items that you can do before asking for your pay raise.
Armed with your research, then speak to your boss and ask for the raise but do give them time (they usually need time to think or speak with others first).