How to Start an online business 

New to online business? Have a thing you make but cannot find the right person to buy it? Start Here to learn more.

How I went from some income to meaningful income

In my opening article, How To Start An Online Business, I explained what a side hustle is and how to pick one that fits. But what happens if we have a side gig of some king and we want to go from some income to meaningful income?

Let’s start at the beginning. A couple years into my hobby I started just like everyone else I saw in my niche, custom 1/64 scale farm and truck models. I made a bunch of models, would go to a toy show and set around all day hoping someone would buy my stuff only to take most of it home or sell it for average or below average prices.

What the heck!! Was I making junk? What was the deal? Here was the deal, the people coming to toys show were not shopping for the kind of thing I was selling, I needed to figure out where those people were. 

Pro Tip 1 Figure out who you want to sell to

In my imagination I began to think, who do I want buying my models? I came up with three different people; custom harvesters and the people who work for them and people that want a memory of a truck they drove. Does this mean I wouldn’t sell to someone that does not fit this type of person? No! Of course not. My goal was to think about who might pay a premium for the service I provided and think about them as I build my business.

Once I figured this I created created a vocabulary for them. In blog posts, Facebook posts and email, I began to write in a language these people used. I knew these people, we had conversations at events, we hung out in the same spaces online. 

When I would speak about the models I created I quit saying “buy my toys”. Instead, I would say “I make world class models”, “I make models your friends will fight over when you’re dead”, “I make models so real you’ll smell diesel fuel”. These are phrases this group of people would know. 

Do I care if some person looking for a $20 diecast model understands these phrases? No. I don’t want to sell to them. I want to sell to someone that understands when they see the model I created for them they will go back in time and smile at the memory. 

This is who I want to work for. 

Pro Tip 2 Teach everything you know

This was the absolute scariest thing I ever did. My whole paradigm was built on scarcity and limited shelf space. 

When I went to toy shows there other people selling the same thing I was. How the fritz can I sell my stuff when you have a limited number of buyers? Start cutting prices and keeping all our trade “secrets”. That was the proper way so I thought and it was exhausting. 

Some people need a hands on DIY project and not a soul is around to give him help due to our “secrets”. 

In 2014 I started creating videos on topics I didn’t care if someone knew the secret. Over time I started answering common questions and I noticed a pattern. The people asking questions would never buy from me anyway. They didn’t want to buy a finished model, they wanted the challenge and pride of making it themselves. And, they were not the people I wanted to work for. 

This changed the whole way I thought about what I was doing. The curious byproduct of my new knowledge is, each time I created a new video, I would get an order from people watching that had no intention of ever making something themselves. Abundance trumps scarcity.

Pro Tip 3 – Find a space online and live in that space

I found my audience is largely on Facebook. As clients would place orders I asked “can I post progress pics for you on Facebook?” This did two things, it provided value to the client as they could see their model come to life. Two, it created interest in other leads who would eventually become clients.

When you choose who you want to work for and figure out where they are online. Plant yourself in the middle of that space and own it. 

One other great thing about being online, we open ourselves up to an audience that would never find us otherwise. Once online, it is a matter of finding our audience and providing tons of value to them. 

Pro Tip 4 – Add Value that Costs Nothing. 

In Protip 3 I mentioned I post progress pics. How much does this cost me again? Nothing! It adds transparency, excitement and proves to the world I am an expert in my field. Even posting mistakes we make along the way is a good thing as it proves we are human. 

What other things cost nothing and add value to our business? What about a list of our favorite tools or vendors? Even a PDF document or video explaining how we go about making something is an excellent tool that adds value and costs us the time it takes to write it. 

Your challenge after reading this is to take one of these four protips and put in place.  Or, join the diecast lab. Not only are there step by step courses to make world class models, I have a growing section that helps people just like you go from from some income to meaningful income in your side hustle. Join now at www.diecastlab.com

Miss the first post? Start at the beginning with How to Start an Online Business