Do you want to make an extra $4000 a year?

If you could make an extra $4000/year and it would only required 40 hours of work a year, would you do it?

I like to ask this question when I meet people because most people say Yes; of course, we want to make more money with little effort. The vast majority of people probably will never even start because they are scared to fail. I'm not perfect. I've failed. I've had false starts. Currently I'm sitting on a project called ContextKick because I don't really have time to work on it and the user feedback on the idea has been mixed. So I'm scared too, but I'm also considering the opportunity costs of not working on products that have a large opportunity for Happy Herbivore (my wife's primary business). Our $4000/year business is PasstheMBE.com, and I wish I could say that this was our first real business because it would make for a better story. Lindsay had already sold 1 or 2 eCookbooks via the fledgling Happy Herbivore, which made PasstheMBE our second business. Our experience with PasstheMBE is interesting because we didn't have a built-in user base.  But we still needed to sell the MBE study guide so I started to make a list of what we needed to do to make this a successful business. Here is a list of what I had to learn just to published and start selling our study guide for PasstheMBE.
  • Research what platform we should use (wordpress, blogspot.com, etc)
  • Get a Logo Designed
  • Learn about Google Adwords
  • Learn how to write marketing copy
  • Write Ads and select relevant keywords
  • Design a website
  • Create custom buy button
  • Find and setup an electronic delivery service
  • Setup merchant accounts for Paypal and Google Checkout
There's a chance I'm forgetting things too because it's been about 4 years since we started that business. I did all this work with no guarantee that we make enough money to cover  our start up costs which was about $150. It wasn't just time I had to sacrifice; I also knew we'd have to spend money on advertising to sell the study guide. We worked on it for about 3-4 weeks, and BAM success. It was so fucking exciting! I probably forwarded the first 100 sale emails to my wife as I received them. Our household income at the time was over $100,000 a year so I wasn't excited about the extra money. I was elated that I'd built something that worked. If you aren't happy with your job or want to make extra money, give it a try. Find an audience, find a painful problem you can solve, and create a product. I've volunteered to help my friend but no one has yet to take me up on my offer.

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Tags: Marketing

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