How to Make 10k a Month in 5 Easy Steps – Pt 1
10k a month in 5 easy steps. Easy? Really?
The easy part is in the process. To borrow from Bruce Lee, we’ll “hack away at the unessential” and follow a lean and focused approach. Most goals on how to make 10k a month are complicated by unnecessary steps, detours and distractions. (Or, alternatively, they’re a little bit too simplified.)
Here we’ll cover a straightforward, step by step approach to keep you moving forward in the right direction. To make this process as useful and practical as possible, I’ve included the following:
- Essential action items to be completed in a short time-frame; and
- Examples of a product and a service, workshopped on the fly so you can see these steps in action.
Here are 5 easy steps on how to make 10k a month: 1. Identify a Profitable Niche or Problem to Solve, 2. Test Your 10k a Month Idea out in the Real World, 3. Develop a Lean & Focused Marketing Plan, 4. Maximize Scalability through Automation and AI Tools; 5. Continuously Improve, Test & Refine Your Offering
First, let’s identify a profitable niche or problem you want to solve. Don’t worry too much about how AI will help you, think more about business problems that exist, or general, everyday problems that exist. Use your own life experiences to land on this, because the closer you are to the problem, the better you’ll understand your ideal customer.
Remember: AI isn’t doing everything. It’s helping you streamline key functions of any kind of business – whether it’s marketing, administrative or customer support.
As an example, we threw another birthday party here at the house for our son. I went all over to different stores to get the supplies I needed – which was weird, because we get everything on Amazon (and Etsy for the special stuff). Just imagine all the moms doing the same thing. How you could solve this problem with a product or service?
In my business life, I’ve had several failed experiences hiring virtual assistants. Because I hired them from different platforms for both myself and my clients, I am not feeling super confident about hiring another virtual assistant in the future. It’s too much work! If you are interested in solving this problem, you must know there are customers like myself out there, as well as fresh business owners thinking about hiring a VA for the first time. Take the time to know your customers deeply – this is why personas are important.
Do the math In this step and make sure your idea has excellent profit margins. Then move on to step 2.
Essential action item #1: Come up with 3 solid 10k a month business ideas from your own life and/or business experience in under 30 minutes.
Essential action item #2: Develop 2-3 buyer personas for each idea. Include a bullet-pointed list for each that includes objections to your product or service. Have imaginary conversations with these potential buyers that inspire them to try out your product/service. What promises can you make them? Include these promises in each persona.
Once you’ve identified a problem (or three) to solve, select one that you’ll test out in the real world. This crucial step is often skipped, but you’ll want to get valuable feedback now, before getting in too deep.
You want to create a small experiment and demonstrate your idea’s viability. Find out if there’s actual interest or need in your product or service.
If you’re nervous about this, I suggest first reaching out to friends, family or acquaintances just to get it out of your head and into the world.
For my birthday party example, maybe you have a vision of upscale party supply kits that could be sold on Amazon. Before launching it on Amazon, why not talk to moms in your neighborhood or groups on Facebook? Whether in person or online, keep your message personable, short and specific, i.e. Could I get your feedback on something? I had a hard time finding party supplies for my son’s birthday party last month, so I thought, why not create my own! Here’s a photo/description and price point for what I’m thinking. I’d really love your BRUTALLY HONEST feedback – Would you buy something like this? Why or why not? A simple Yay or Nay is greatly appreciated if that’s all you have time for!
On Facebook groups, be sure to introduce yourself to the group first if you just joined, e.g. “Hey there, I’m a little new around here and wanted to introduce myself. I live in [geographic area] and joined this group hoping to connect with likeminded moms. Glad to be here!”
If I were testing out a VA business, I might run a similar test on LinkedIn, or a Facebook group. I might also reach out to individual colleagues via email.
Essential action item: Jot down 3-5 ways you can get feedback quickly from your target audience, and give yourself a deadline to collect that feedback.
Once you’ve gotten enough Hell, yeah — we need that! feedback, ask yourself, What does the scaled-down version of my product or service look like? How can it be tested by customers without requiring too much time and investment?
For our birthday party example, you could source materials from suppliers that have low-minimum requirements that also meet your standards of quality. You could then create a single product offering of your upscale party supply kit and launch it on Etsy and/or Amazon.
Whichever platform(s) you’re using, you’ll want to quickly optimize those pages and possibly run some ads to get your product visible right away.
Keep using social media and other marketing channels to reach out to moms who are planning birthday parties. Offer influencers the opportunity to test out your product. Collect feedback from these early adopters and use it to refine your product or service further.
For our virtual assistance service example, I would probably set up a quick WordPress site and run an ad on LinkedIn. My website would answer every possible question a prospect might have, include three pricing tiers with benefits of each, and an irresistible offer (e.g. a risk-free, 30-day money back guarantee).
Marketing Tip: I recommend getting feedback from your customers in this early stage, for two reasons: you’ll want social proof in the form of written reviews, and you’ll want it built in now so you don’t have to worry about collecting feedback later. For service-based business, set up a Google Business account and direct them there; for product-based online businesses, the platform itself (Amazon or Etsy) can be used for feedback.
Essential action item #1: Give yourself a reasonable deadline to launch your product or service.
Essential action item #2: Launch your product or service by that deadline!
Now that you’ve tested out your product or service in the real world, launched your MVP, and collected feedback from actual customers or clients, it’s time to put your marketing tools to work. But first, we need a marketing plan.
Didn’t get enough Hell, Yeah! Feedback? Go back to Step 2. You can either improve your first idea and run it through the testing phase again, or try another business idea from your list. You may even come up with a better idea that’s inspired from your experience.
Back to our marketing plan.
As much as I love a good marketing strategy, they tend to conjure multi-page documents with everything from SEO to TikTok to landing pages, to goals, milestones and… well, it can be a bit too much. We don’t need or want all that. Instead we’ll keep it lean and focused, and continue building a solid foundation. Let’s start with your value proposition.
A strong value proposition is simple yet impactful – in essence, it tells your prospects how your product or service solves their problem better than anyone else. A couple examples:
More party, less hassle. Party supply kits from a mom who feels your pain.
Totally reliable VA services for business owners who often wish they had a clone.
These immediately get attention. Why? They’re based in the real world. They say what people are already thinking. Moms throw a lot of birthday parties. We know what’s involved. They’re fun but exhausting. Can you deliver more fun and less crazy running around? Sign me up!
As a business owner, do you get that I have a ton on my plate but it’s too much extra work for me to hire someone I’m not sure I even trust, let alone give them access to my Quickbooks account? I think it’s safe to say business owners often wish they had a clone or an extra 10 hours a day. Maybe take it a step beyond needs and tell them how nerdy you are about documenting operations or engaging with Instagram followers. Give them something to salivate over.
A good value proposition will take you a long way. It’s worth putting some thought into this, because it can literally set the tone for your whole business vibe. Is yours the creative, fun, down to earth brand, or is it stodgy and safe and boring? One approach is easy to ignore, the other isn’t.
Essential action item #1: Write your unique value proposition.
Okay, now we’re on to the five thousand ways to market your product or service.
As you can probably guess, I’m going to suggest choosing just a few channels among all the many choices. A good approach is to base these marketing channels on the ones you’ve already used.
In our party supplies example, maybe you’ve already made some connections on Facebook. In this case, a Facebook page, and even your own Facebook group makes sense. You’ll share party planning tips, but also keep engagement high by asking questions. Remember your value proposition and consider your brand tone – lively, fun, down to earth.
Pinterest is also an ideal platform for sharing party planning ideas and tips. Even if you offer some DIY party supply ideas, your product is an excellent “easy” option – they can get your perfectly packaged version delivered, saving time and hassle.
YouTube and Instagram may be great options as well, as long as you can repurpose content rather than spend a bunch of time creating video content.
For a VA service, I’d keep posting on LinkedIn – sharing all the ways businesses can save time and money, and grow their business with those extra 20-40 hours a week lifted off their plate.
You’ll want to include case studies that show clear ROI; how this one small investment of hiring a VA resulted in upward spikes in growth, increased organization and peace of mind, and quality of life because the business owner has more time to spend with family.
As for what to share on LinkedIn and elsewhere, I would recommend my favorite AI tools, offer time-saving tips, and describe in detail the actual services I offer to reiterate the ROI from case studies or actual clients. Similarly with our party planning content, people can choose the easier option – which is to hire you!
Essential action item #2: Choose your marketing channels. Sign up for free marketing tools (Mailchimp for email, for example) and create social media accounts using the same social handle (@+yourbrand) across channels.
In both cases above, my marketing plan pretty much wrote itself. You won’t wonder what to write about, or where to share this information: you just share what you know on the channels that make sense, and keep asking questions among your followers.
By the time you’ve reached this step, the bulk of your efforts should start to pay off. You’ll be earning some income from product sales or services, and you’ll begin to see areas of inefficiencies or parts of the business you want to offload.
The goal of this step is reach a wider audience and generate more revenue with the help of AI tools.
I caution against hiring freelancers at this stage, because you’re still getting to know your business and your customers or clients.
Here are a few tools I recommend:
- Jasper for social media captions, email marketing
- Scalenut for SEO-optimized article writing (blog posts, etc.)
- Tidio for customer service chatbot tool
- Ahrefs for keyword research and SEO content planning
- GetResponse for service-based sales funnels
- CartFlows for ecommerce-based sales funnels
- Stamped for ecommerce-based reviews
Essential action item #1: Identify the activities you need help with most right now and sign up for free trials. Even if you don’t keep those services, you may learn what’s needed to make them work for you down the road. Automation often requires a fair bit of upfront setup and knowledge of your customers.
We want this 10k a month business to last, right? Even grow beyond 10k?
For our party supply kits, you’ll want to lower any material costs associated with the MVP to improve your profit margins. Can you find higher-minimum suppliers that meet your quality standard requirements? Are you happy with your e-commerce platform(s)? Fees associated with fulfillment, credit card processing, etc.?
For our VA services business, have your ads paid off on LinkedIn? Do you need to modify those ads, post more frequently, ask more good questions, consider a special (2 weeks free) offer?
Are your automation tools working? Are there still questions unanswered on your website? How can you make the signup process as effortless and irresistible as possible?
As you gain more customers, you can expand your offerings and add new product lines or themes. You can also look for partnerships with other businesses in the party supply industry to expand your reach.
For service based businesses, you can offer customized services, 1-on-1 consulting, downloadable guides or cheatsheets to help save them time/money/frustration.
For our party supply kits example, subscriptions could be a great way to deliver truly effortless party planning to your customers while growing a steady stream of passive income. The subscription box model usually includes discounts and other perks to subscribers.
For our VA services, consider offering clients a premium version of your service that provides additional value.
Take good care of your first customers and clients. Consider rewarding your earliest customers with either a free extra, or an unexpected free upgrade. Referrals tend to flow more naturally from very happy customers!
Partnering with other businesses or influencers can be an excellent way to expand your reach and bring in new customers.
Essential action item: Keep a spreadsheet like this one to track your income and expenses. Reviewing and updating a simple income and expense tracker this can help you stay the course and evaluate what’s working and what needs improvement.
The key to making 10,000 a month online – whether using AI technology or not – is to focus on a product or service that will solve problems for people, and provide them excellent value for their investment. Then, you need to make that solution searchable online.
Just remember, the real gems are in the process, not the $10k a month. Don’t rush these steps. Enjoy the process and you’ll be open to opportunities you may not know existed.
Still looking for inspiration? Check out 11 Proven Ways on How to Make 10k a Month with AI.