We all have the side-hobby we’d love to turn into a business. Whether it’s blogging, giving advice, or even painting, there are people making considerable profits off these ‘hobbies’.
Taking a passion and turning it into a business gives you more flexibility to work harder on your passion, dive deeper into it, and replace your real job’s income with it.
I’ve seen some amazing people build surprisingly successful businesses from their passions. Stories like these make it incredibly obvious that there is money in just about anything if you commit.
This is a popular one — yet very easy to turn into a successful online business in 2020.
One of your peers here was struggling to build an SMMA (social media marketing agency). Clients were tired of hearing the same pitches and nobody really wanted to spend $2,500/mo for some basic Facebook & Twitter posts.
After speaking with them, we drilled down their entire business model to determine their MPS. And what we found was incredible…
There was so much fluff around everything this business owner was trying to achieve, they forgot the reason they were in this to begin with:
Craft compelling social media posts and engage with their clients’ audience.
They decided to do just that. Unlimited social media posts for one flat monthly fee was the new model.
No more negotiating, no more fluff, no more contracts.
We found a 5.3x increase in leads using most of the same infrastructure that was already built out for the agency. Except this time, messaging was much, much clearer & 100x more compelling.
Social Media Marketing is one of those skills that requires very little energy but is so valuable to businesses and brands.
When you’re offering unlimited services for a monthly fee of $499, the decision is obvious from the business’s perspective and gives you the predictable profits you’ve always wanted but never got from your SMMA.
This was a very interesting one I came across.
Jessica was doing resume consulting. Similar to the SMMA model we talked about, there was a lot of unnecessary nonsense going on before, during, and after the customer handed over their money.
Firstly, don’t be fooled — career advice is always an interesting thing to sell. Contrary to what you may think, although unemployed people don’t have the best revenue, they’re also some of the most eager to get out of their current situation.
Advertising to people who want to solve a big problem is much easier than advertising to people who could simply improve their situation with your services.
Jessica would hop on discovery calls for each resume audit and then set up another call to dive into the resume itself once she determined they’re a good fit and she could actually help her client get a job or find a career.
This was far too much friction for her ideal customers.
People didn’t want to go through hours of forms and discovery calls just to get the advice that Jessica already had ready for just about anyone.
So, once again, we dove into what the actual MPS was being offered.
In Jessica’s case, it was resume & interview advice.
We turned her current offer into something much easier to buy on the spot while being able to offer the same exact results.
At $99/mo, for a minimum of 6 months, Jessica’s clients would get access to her ticketing system and bi-weekly group workshop calls.
This was a massive improvement for the business and the customers looking to get results quickly.
New clients would get instant access to the previous week’s coaching calls so they can get to work immediately and open tickets asking more specific questions that Jessica would reply to within 48 hours. When they needed more detailed answers on a live call, one would be coming up just a few days after their initial sign up that they can hop on and speak directly to Jessica.
A basic web page outlining the services provided that ushered people into a simple signup & payment form was able to get the business revenue much more effortlessly since no discovery calls or qualification had to be done.
People wanted to get their resumes fixed and they got the advice they needed within just 1 day. People wanted to practice their interview skills and they were able to do that with a skilled interviewer in just a matter of a few days.
Trimming the fat off the services and focusing on the core MPS brings in more clients so Jessica was able to make more money in her business and impact more people by getting them the jobs they desire.
Jessica knew that the average time to get a job using her advice would be just a few months. This is why the 6-month minimum was put in place to prevent users from coming in and opening too many tickets right away depleting her bandwidth.
With the nature of subscriptions, customers were remaining on their plans even after they got their new job in hopes of leveraging their current role to get even better jobs either within their current company or finding something better outside.
Public Relations is a massively needed skill for companies, governments, and just about anybody who needs to interact with the people.
While working with a consultant who was struggling to get more PR work out of the people he worked with, I discovered the reason why he was seeing such inconsistent growth with his passion — writing press releases.
Edward was writing 1,000-word press releases for $149 a piece for local municipalities.
He’d spend hours on the phone with government employees convincing them he has the voice and knowledge they need and that he can capture the spirit of what they want to convey to their citizens.
Once they were on board, they’d sign an agreement and get to work on the first two or three press releases needed.
Everything was seemingly great since Ed now got a check for just under $500 and he was off to work. The problem was in the next month.
The city didn’t need any press releases. They had a few opportunities for a press release here and there, but they didn’t want to bother going through Ed’s process & the city’s procurement again. It was too much friction for something that was simply a nice-to-have.
Things changed for Ed once we determined his MPS and turned it into a subscription service.
For $499/mo, Edward now offers unlimited press releases to the town.
This changed Ed’s life and business not only because he has the steady revenue of a subscription, but also because he’s able to constantly fulfil work coming to him when previously he’d have to spend more time getting the work to begin with.
Ed just wants to write and get work thrown at him. His MPS allows him to do just that.
Now, Edward even said to me,
“Nick, unlimited press releases is an awful lot to promise, how can I be sure I’d fulfill all this work?”
I told him to think about any subscription he’s currently on. You probably pay a streaming service every month, right?
Some months, you probably binge watch a ton of TV while other months, you forget you have the service at all.
You probably pay for the gym on a subscription as well. I’m sure there are months you don’t utilize all of that just the same.
The nature of subscriptions is more of a service to the customer than you realize.
Knowing they have the opportunity to submit a request for a press release whenever they need, the town never used up more or less than the subscription actually covered.
One month would be a big PR season and Edward would have to write 8 or 9 articles. While other months the mayor was on vacation and there was really nothing to report at all.
Edward still got paid, the municipality still knew they had him on the hook in case something came up, and everyone was content knowing the easily packaged and deliverable agreement they decided upon.
A good friend and political consultant of mine is a branding expert.
I’d call her up every couple weeks asking about her thoughts on my colors, my website’s flow, the format on my content, etc.
Little did she realize, Michelle was operating an MPS.
Think about a lawyer. When you call them up for their take on this contract you’re about to sign, they send you an invoice for 15 minutes of their time. They’re essentially running an MPS as well.
Michelle and I discovered the simplest part of her job that we could offer at scale: expert branding advice.
Previously, she’d charge $5,000/hr for her time and offer very little until another call is booked. This worked out fine for the businesses willing to drop that kind of money for her time, but there were also little people who just wanted to send a quick text and get an answer like I was doing.
Now for $999/mo, Michelle offered up her services in a QnA ticketing system just so you could get the advice you needed without going through the hassle of an entire call.
Michelle writes out lengthy answers to deep branding questions and still ends up spending less time per response than when she was using her old model.
Just like the PR example above, we don’t need branding advice every minute of every day. There’s a critical mass of tickets Michelle gets to reply to every day since every answered ticket outlines enough work that tides the customer over for a few days.
With this new model, Michelle collected over 25 customers each paying $999/mo. Michelle’s business now earns $25,000/mo when instead she’d only receive between 3 and 4 calls per months.
Less work, more revenue, and predictable profits.
This business has a very similar result to the Public Relations one discussed above but with a very different entry-point.
Nathan was working a desk-job constantly wishing to break free and start something on his own. He didn’t really have many transferable skills as his job was essentially customer support and a lot of busywork.
However, he loved writing. He loved understanding human psychology and writing persuasive content that got people to click through and buy things.
Nathan took his passion and tried spinning up a copywriting business. It was much harder than he would have anticipated.
Much like all the consultants we’ve discussed so far, there was so much consultative set up prior to any money being exchanged. It drained his spirits.
Why can’t I just write? Why do I have to go through all this nonsense for someone to get the result they want?
That’s when we nailed down his MPS. Email copywriting.
We found a niche that needed to be served: massage and wellness parlours.
We found a service they all wanted: email marketing.
We found the sweet spot of pricing most customers would be willing to pay: $349/mo.
This MPS was a hole-in-one as massage businesses all around his area bought the subscription without hesitation.
Nathan even added a free trial on the top of his offer so that customers could get a taste for what he was offering before committing to fee every month thereafter.
The results were incredible.
In a matter of 3 months, Nathan was making over $3,000/mo writing email copy for under 10 customers. His workload was about 1 email every few days that is it.
He doesn’t have to hunt for new customers since his site sold them on the subscription by itself and all he had to do each morning was look at his dashboard to find the new tasks that came in that morning.
With a guaranteed turnaround of 48 hours, he always had enough lead time to make sure each customer was being served in a timely manner.
Now, think about how this model helps Nathan make money and helps his customers happy with the service.
Since many businesses don’t want to blast out multiple emails per week, the critical mass of potential work Nathan could possibly have to deal with is entirely manageable from the start.
Nathan gets to focus on the portion of the business he loves: writing.
Oliver left his software sales job since he figured he was such a solid salesman he could do this on his own and sell his own products and services.
He wanted to start selling but didn’t want to commit to just 1 product or service. So he turned that into his MPS.
Every single business on the planet could use more sales. The customer-base Oliver was going after was certainly there. But how did these customers want to hire salespeople?
As it turned out, many agencies needed sales, but couldn’t afford to hire an entire sales staff. They essentially needed the hustle of somebody cold-emailing but without the funds to hire people full time.
Oliver used his MPS of cold emailing and setting appointments to get these customers very easily. They were more than happy to pay his monthly subscription of $1,500 for him to send 50 emails per month.
The workload on Oliver’s part is merely prospecting and reaching out to 50 cold contacts per month which he schedules all in the matter of one afternoon.
After Oliver gets just a handful of customers, he’ll be making $6,000 with very little effort. His customers get the satisfaction of knowing they have a salesperson on their team while only paying a fraction of what someone full time may be.
This is one of my favorite MPSs because it is so unexpected.
Henrietta paints murals on storefronts. She’d typically come by the same store 7 or 8 times a year to change up their paintings for each season, holiday, promotion, or whatever other current events the store wanted to promote on their windows.
The problem was, Henrietta could only ever use her talents here as a side-hustle since she’d have to spend way too much time sourcing new customers and pushing her existing customers to update their windows. There was too much friction for each sale which took away from the painting itself.
This was her opportunity to turn the window painting into her MPS.
1 painting per month.
$750 per month.
3 rollover painting max.
Updates with a min of 7 days apart.
This model established an environment with her customers that gave them the flexibility of updating their window painting once a month without the hassle of having to track down the artist nor the artist having to sell the establishment once again on her services.
With the maximum of 3 rollover painting, it prevented restaurants and storefronts from banking up a ton of paintings and using them after they’ve unsubscribed from the service. Henrietta also implemented a system where your rolled over paintings would expire 30 days after you terminate the service.
Henrietta also had an opportunity to spin up a second business using her crafty skills.
Wedding planners get in touch with her constantly for things like mirrors with art on them and fancy handmade nameplates with cursive and expensive ink.
This was a perfect situation to implement an MPS for nameplates.
Wedding planners would organize at least 2 weddings per month that seated, on average, 150 people. They need nameplates for all of them and Henrietta would love nothing more than to be their dedicated nameplate crafter.
Another monthly subscription cost was easily digestible by the wedding planner since some months (especially during summer) they’d need enough for 4 or 5 weddings. While the off-season, 1 or 2 each month, would be much slower. The subscription cost easily averaged out over just a few months and Henrietta created 2 sustainable and profitable businesses.
Jack was stuck programming for a large organization.
A skilled professional who knew he had more to offer and that yearned for new projects to work on, Jack was growing tired of the monotony of debugging the same large application day in and day out.
The idea of spinning up an entire development shop was too daunting as he had no desire to deal with the contracts and negotiating that would come with a company like this.
Instead, Jack found his MPS. Writing tests for PHP applications.
This MPS allowed Jack to work on many applications, with different organizations, and always have new work to fulfil instead of glaring at the same old boring application he always worked on at his job.
At a whopping $4,950/mo, Jack’s MPS was making him 5x his salary while doing even less work simply because he drilled down his duties and served his MPS as the main service.
Driving traffic and customers to his business was simple since the cost was greatly justifiable to any software company as a full-time employee for the same task would be considerably more expensive.
Finding Your MPS
Now, if you found these examples inspiring and you’d like to see how you can find your own MPS or tweak one of the businesses above to make your own, I’d like to invite you to a free 70-minute training where I walk you through how I built Broker Buffs (a 5-figure/mo MPS) and how I’ve assisted in the businesses you learned about above.
I discuss the major things we did to build up from nothing and how I got our MPS out to the masses without spending months failing and draining our bank accounts.