How to Start Pitching Guest Posts (Even If You Are A Complete Online Business Newbie)

How to Pitch Guest Posts the Smart Way

Psst—This amazing guide on how to pitch guest posts the smart way is by Sana Choudary (catch her bio at the end of the post). Her mission is to help humans like you build your email list and revenue by getting guest posts.

Do you feel like a total newbie online? Or maybe just a newbie to building your email list through guest posting?

Do you want to guest post but aren’t sure how you can sell influencers on the benefits?

I get it. I used to feel the same way.

I had no idea:

  • How to find the right sites for guest posting?
  • How to sell them on the benefits of my guest post?
  • What to have in place before I pitch?
  • What to research or be aware of before I pitched?
  • What to include in the pitch to make them believe my post was a fit for them? Even though I was a total newbie with no readers, credentials, or other guest posts and a site so new it still had demo content!

Then one day I realized…

All my problems boiled down to one thing

Not knowing how to sell my guest posts to influencers in a human way.

I did not want to come across as an obnoxious salesperson pushing a guest post they didn’t want.

Neither did I want them to think I was some sleazy hustler goading them into accepting a post that didn’t really benefit them.

Instead, I wanted influencers to feel excited about my guest post right away!

I wanted them to know without a doubt that my guest post would be immensely valuable to them and their audience.

If I could do this they wouldn’t care that I was a newbie.

Neither would I have to take lots of time away from building my own blog, because the guest posts I’d pitch would get accepted.

And this started my journey of figuring out how to pitch guest posts in a more human way.

Even though it took a long time and a lot of work, in the end, it was all worth it because…

Selling my guest posts in a human way changed everything

I have since guest posted at:

  • Adweek even though at the time I had just started my site and didn’t have any other guest posts
  • Well-known sites like VentureBeat,
  • Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method community which led to the invitation to speak at their 1000 person ASKLive conference

Credibility Photo Collage
These days I don’t need to pitch guest posts often.

Because the ones I do pitch get accepted– I get 4 out of every 5 guest posts accepted.

How would you like to get 4 out of every 5 guest posts accepted?

Today I’m going to show you my three best ideas to make this happen. I also have 3 very special FREE gifts to help you even further. Make sure you read all the way to the end to get those.

Table of Contents

How to sell your guest post the human way. Hint it’s more than just building relationships

How to get your online headquarters ready for pitching

How to find the right sites for guest posting

How to pitch the right way

Your next steps + 3 more gifts to guide you along

Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now? Download the full 3,600+ word guide as a pdf here.

How to sell your guest post the human way. Hint it’s more than just building relationships

The most pervasive advice about guest posting is that you should pitch an influencer only after building a relationship.

As a result, many people spend months building relationships.

But when they finally pitch, they get rejected. Or worse get ignored.

The reason?

Even though building relationships is important to selling your guest post the human way, it isn’t the only thing you need.

You also need to show influencers that your guest post is a fit for their audience.

Typically this involves:

      1. Your online headquarters
      2. Your pitch research
      3. Your pitch itself

In the next few sections, I will share the biggest misconceptions about each as well as what you should do instead.
Let’s start with your online headquarters.

How to get your online headquarters ready for pitching

The other day I was talking to my friend Tim about his business.

Tim is a fitness coach, actively trying to sell more of his online fitness programs.

Since I believe guest posting is the quickest way to build an email list that buys, I asked Tim if he had started guest posting.

He said no and then he asked:

Ok we weren’t actually doing yoga on a beach during this conversation. But in my imagination… 🙂

“Why do you think you need content on your site first to guest post?” I asked.

“Well if I have enough content, influencers I’d reach out to would realize my work is good and is likely to provide enough value to their audiences,” said Tim.

Tim’s reasoning is sound. But it comes from the flawed assumption that influencers assess your guest post fit by reading your blog in-depth.

The reality is very different.

Most influencers will never read your blog

I mean place yourself in their shoes for a second–imagine that you are a popular and busy influencer.

Would you have the time to go read the blog of everyone who pitches you a guest post?

Probably not.

The truth is influencers try to assess the fit of the guest post based on what is written in the pitch.

In the situations where they do visit your site, they are most likely only looking at your home or about pages. Because these are the fastest ways to learn about someone and what they do.

But before you go polish up those pages up check out the four critical areas influencers are assessing on those pages, so you know exactly what, if anything, you need to improve.

Pro-tip: What should you do when your online headquarters is not a website? What if it is a podcast, Youtube channel, Facebook page or group? Don’t worry. Just apply the ideas you are about to read to the sections of your online headquarters that people would check out for a quick overview of you. For example, for a Facebook page, it might be your cover image, about section, story etc.

What influencers are looking for

When influencers visit your home and about pages, they are trying to assess how well you fit with them in four different areas.

#1 Who you help

The first thing most influencers do is try to understand who you help. They are trying to see if the people you help is either their exact audience or an audience that significantly overlaps with their own.

What type of people are your ideal clients? Is it specific to a gender, an age group, a life stage, or any other audience group?

For example, do you help women or men? If you help women what kind of women? Are they students, professionals, business people? Are they single or married? Are they younger women or older women? Do they self-identify with any particular groups? Eg. ADHD, introverts, extroverts, badasses?

#2 What problems you solve

The second thing influencers look for is an understanding of the problem or category of problems you help your audience solve. For example–do you help them with weight loss, career advancement, starting their business, growing their business etc.

In the back of their heads, they are asking themselves if the problem you solve one their audience struggles with? If yes, they then move on to the next criteria.

#3 How you help your audience

The third thing influencers look for is your unique method for helping your audience.

They are asking themselves is this a method that they don’t usually cover? Haven’t covered in a while? Or aren’t interested in covering themselves?

For example, the method I use to help with list building is guest posting. Since Regina doesn’t usually cover guest posting, we had a possible fit.

I say possible fit because it can all go south if you aren’t a match for the next and final criteria.

#4 Your values

The fourth area influencers try to understand are your values.

Specifically, they are trying to confirm that you don’t have any of their deal breakers.

For example for Regina it is:
Regina Values1
Given this, it stands to reason that Regina won’t be taking any guest posts from people who only care about making money at any expense possible.

Your Action steps

Influencers may only spend a few seconds on this assessment of fit.

You wouldn’t want to lose a guest post opportunity simply because the possible fit wasn’t immediately clear to them, would you? So take a few minutes to make sure it is.

Want a free 9-day cheat sheet with the specific actions to take to get your online headquarters ready? Click here to download.

How to find the right sites for guest posting

Yes, the bubble-head me loves hair bands as much as I do…

A short while ago I was chatting with Priya.

Priya is a personal finance blogger, who has been trying to make guest posting work for months.

She’s contacted over 20 bloggers. But for the most part, has been met with a miserable radio silence which in her words has sent her into dark spirals of self-doubt about her business.

I knew Priya’s content was solid. I suspected her issue was pitching the wrong sites, so I asked:

“What is the most important thing to look for when finding a blog for guest posting?”

Without missing a beat she replied–“finding a site where you can add value to the audience.”

While that’s certainly important if it is the only thing you are looking for you will get in trouble.

Found a site where you can add value? Don’t stop there!

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t stop screening a site the moment you determine you can be of value to its audience.

#1 The site may not have your ideal audience

Just because you can add value to a site with your guest post, does not mean it is a site where your ideal audience hangs out.

Let me give you an example of one of my students Leila.

Leila helps stay-at-home-moms rejoin the workforce by finding remote work opportunities.

Recently she pitched an influencer who like her was in the career advice space, but unlike her, his focus was on helping professionals currently at a job get their next promotion or a raise.

While her advice on finding remote flexible work would add value to the blog, young professionals are simply not her ideal audience. Because of this, the blog was not a good guest posting opportunity for her.

#2 The site’s audience problems might be different than those of your ideal audience

Just because you think you might be able to add value, does not mean you can solve the specific problem a site’s audience may be having.

Going back to our example of Leila for a second. Even though both stay-at-home-moms and young professionals are interested in finding remote work, the problems each audience faces in finding remote work are completely different.

For eg. stay at home mothers often don’t feel confident that lucrative remote work opportunities exist. Young professionals, on the other hand, are concerned about the negative impact working remotely could have on their career advancement potential.

If Leila were to guest post on that site, she would have to spend a lot of time and effort making her solutions work for the problems faced by young professionals. And even then she might miss her mark.

#3 You may not get enough people joining your email list

If the site’s audience and their problems are very different from your own, your guest post won’t help you attract a lot of people to your email list.

Let’s go back to Leila’s example one last time. Imagine if Leila’s guest post got published–do you think the guest post’s audience would have resonated with her story and her advice?

Probably not.

Mothers resonate with Leila because in her they see another mom who has already gone through the doubt and rejection fears they face. They see in her someone who despite these challenges figured out a way to make remote jobs work.

Would a young professional resonate with the same problems and story?

Not likely. And because of this Leila would not have gotten too many people joining her email list from that guest post.

So what should I look for besides my ability to add value when finding sites for guest posting, Sana?

I’m glad you asked.

What you should look for when finding sites for guest posting

I recommend my students look at four different areas when researching sites for guest posting.

Audience fit

Take a few minutes to understand who the site is focused on helping and then confirm this includes your ideal audience. For example, let’s say you focus on helping introverted entrepreneurs. A site focused on entrepreneurs (particularly one that has a more human brand) likely includes introverted entrepreneurs, and so is a good site for you to guest post at.

Values fit

Confirm that you agree with the influencer’s most passionately held core values. Personally, I think it is unethical to guest post with an influencer if you know you don’t agree with their core values.

But even if you keep that aside for a second, posting at a site where you don’t agree with influencer values is unlikely to bring you the list building returns you really want.
For example here are some of Regina’s core values:
Regina Values2
Say for some reason you happened to disagree with these values but somehow miraculously still managed to guest post with Regina. Because most of Regina’s audience agrees with her values, chances are your post would not attract a meaningful number of people to your email list.

Even if they did join, the moment they would notice you don’t have the same values, they would immediately unsubscribe.

Strong audience relationship

Confirm the influencer has a strong relationship with their audience.

To an audience with a strong trusting relationship with an influencer, your guest post is seen as the influencer’s endorsement of your brand. This alone would inspire them to join your email list.

But when an influencer does not have a strong trusting relationship with their audience, your guest post will not lead to any list building returns.

One of the best signs of strong relationships is the level of engagement with their content. Fortunately, that is very easy to figure out using online tools. Here is a screenshot of Regina’s engagement on one of her articles using Epicbeat.

Evidence of promotion

Confirm that the site you want to guest post with promotes the author’s site and/or giveaway gift.

If you don’t, you might end up like Sam, with a hit guest post that does nothing for you:
Talk about anti-climactic!

Protip: The reason why some sites don’t promote your site or giveaway is not that they are purposefully malicious. They simply assume your main reason for guest posting is credibility, not list building. This is why you should look for evidence of promotion and avoid guest posting at sites like that.

Your Action Steps

When it comes to guest posting for list building, guest posting with the wrong site is one of the most time-consuming mistakes you can make.

So take some time to make sure you have the right site before you pitch.

Want a cheat sheet of the action steps my students use to find the right site= for them? Click here to download the free 9-day cheat sheet for this post.

How to pitch the right way

Around two weeks ago I was conducting a pitch makeover session for my student Logan.

Even though Logan has a lot of success in helping her clients end relationships compassionately, she does not feel that she has the right credentials to sell influencers on her guest post.

To compensate for this she has been packing the first 3 paragraphs of her pitches with all the credentials she can.

Her hope is that doing so will show influencers that she’s really legit so that they should let her guest post.

But her pitches have been falling on deaf ears.

I’m not surprised because time and again I’ve seen credential packed pitches backfire.

Why credential packing your pitches does NOT work

Even though most people think that packing a pitch with credentials, is the best way to logically sell the influencer on the value of their guest post, that approach rarely works.

Before an influencer can assess your pitch logically, their emotional brain needs to greenlight it first. And unless you know that your credentials have a personal meaning for the influencer, you can almost bet that it won’t.

The reason? A busy influencer’s emotional brain sees your credential packed pitch as yet another distraction from their important goals. And that can kick off a fight, flight, or freeze response. For your guest post pitch that could mean being harshly rejected, silently ignored, or placed in a deal-with-it-later-pile.
Fortunately, you can avoid this by using what I call the mouthwatering pitch cake.

What should you include in your mouthwatering pitch cake

A mouthwatering pitch cake has 3 core layers.

#1 Solid Rapport Base

The first layer of the mouthwatering pitch cake is building a solid rapport base.

You can do this by showing how you are like them. Did you happen to go to the same school? Live in the same place? Have a similar annoying family member? Struggle through a similar life experience?

You can also build rapport by showing genuine empathy and interest–What do you most resonate with about the influencer’s journey? Their advice? Their teachings?

Now is the time to share what you most relate to and its impact on you.

Pro-tip: To increase the chances of your pitch success, do rapport building pre-pitch. This is especially important when you are pitching busy influencers who are bombarded by a lot of asks.

#2 Quantifiable Demand Icing

Persuade the influencer’s emotional brain of the value of your guest post by showing them quantifiable demand.

Your goal here should be to show the influencer that the audience demand your guest post fulfills is a big one.

This is important because even if you are absolutely certain that your guest post fulfills a big audience need, they may not think so. Showing them their audience’s demand eliminates this problem.

One way to do this is by asking their audience directly within the communities they nurture their audience.

Not sure how to ask their audience? Check out how I did it for this post below.


#3 Distinguished Credibility Topper

The final layer of the mouthwatering pitch cake is what I call the distinguished credibility topper.

The distinguished credibility topper shows them why you are the best person to guest post with them on your topic.

Here is where you should use your credentials. But don’t pack in lots of credentials, instead focus on a maximum of three.

Make sure these credentials are the highest value credibility markers you have. For example, you could include names of well-known companies you have written for or worked with.

Pro-tip: haven’t worked with any related well-known companies? Replace these with one or two strong testimonials of results you have bought your audience.

Your Action Steps

My students tell me that figuring out the right angles to build rapport and the best credibility markers to use is one of their biggest challenges when it comes to selling guest posts.

Do you relate? If you do, click here to grab the 9-day cheat sheet where I help you find the best rapport angles and credibility markers for you.

Your next steps + 3 more gifts to guide you along

In the last few sections, I showed you how to start pitching guest posts, even if you are a complete online business newbie.
I covered every part of proper pre-work including:

      • What to improve on your site
      • What to research about the influencer AND
      • What to include in your successful pitch

But you know that these ideas will only help if you put them into action.

To help make it as easy as possible to take action, I have created not one but three special gifts for you.

First, I’ve put together a PDF version of this post that you can print out to jot down your biggest takeaways and ideas on.

Second, I’ve created a 9-day cheat sheet with the specific actions steps you can take to get your online headquarters ready, research your influencer, and craft your successful pitch.

Third, I’ve put together a list of The 8 ways to find the time for guest posting while building your own blog (even if your business isn’t at a full-time income yet).

Click here to download all three gifts and use them to pitch your first guest post this week!
Gift Mockups 2 1

Sana’s mission is to help humans like you build their email lists and revenue by getting guest posts. She does this by writing guest posts like this one, fueled by so much tea she might create a worldwide shortage. Download her free 9-day cheat sheet so that you too can sell your favorite influencer on the benefits of your unique guest post (and write funny bios on their site).

16 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Streamline and Scale Your Business

16 Things You Can Do to Help Scale Your Business This Weekend

Just in case at any point this year you’re sitting around wondering if there’s a unique weekend adventure you can embark on to help scale your business, I recommend bookmarking and saving this article. There’s lots to come back to. And if you experience a slow point with your business, you can use one of these activities to make sure you’re still growing and building.

P.S. This post was originally published in January 14, 2014, but has since been revamped and republished.

P.P.S. If you want a book version of this post with 36 more weekend activities (so yes, 52, one for each weekend of the year), please sign up below and I’ll send it over when it’s ready—which will be early January 2018.


16 Ideas You Can Choose from (This Weekend) to Help Streamline and Scale Your Business

1. Launch the MVP (minimum viable product) version of your course.

If you want to test out a course/training idea before building the full thing, then creating a landing page and minimum viable product version of your course is your new best friend.

Check out the checklist below for an idea of what goes on your MVP course landing page, but also check out the video directly below (ignore my voice that sounds like I’m fighting allergies—I was) that reviews some of my favorite MVP landing pages people made (some, in just one weekend) during a challenge I hosted.

The MVP Course Landing Page Checklist
Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand or do:

  • working title for your course
  • URL for your landing page
  • rough outline of course content
  • optional: hashtag for your course
  • trademark check and Google check 
(this is a good idea because you will be using this course name and brand in commerce)
  • bonus freebie related to your course topic 
(think: checklist, tutorial, workshop, challenge, mini-course, or other resource you can send via email to interested audience members in exchange for their email address)
  • mockup of your bonus freebie
  • professional email address 
(this can be at your main business domain or your new course domain)
  • marketing email delivery platform (such as: ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or MailChimp)
  • high-quality photo of a scene related to your course topic or of you
to use on your MVP course landing page and/or in your marketing emails
  • content idea list related to your course topic 
(you can use this to send out engaging resources and keep your audience members engaged before your course launches)
  • optional: info packet about your course
  • optional: link and payment method to reserve a spot

2. Make a plan to crowdfund something.

Crowdfunding is kinda what it sounds like—a crowd (whether 10 people or 10,000) funding your idea. You can use sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to run your own crowdfunding campaign (which usually includes “prizes” for people who fund you, since the money is not a loan, you don’t have to pay it back).

Crowdfunding campaigns are not just good for the $$, but also the exposure. Several products have become somewhat to all the way “Internet famous” after a crowdfunding campaign.

Why? Friends, and even people who don’t know you, are motivated to share your brand and your campaign if they connect with something about it. You can use one of these sites to launch/re-launch a business, a book, a product, a product line, a creative project, really almost anything. 90% of the projects that I’ve supported are by people I don’t know at all.

Crowdfunding even allows you to get out there and start providing consulting services if you want to. Two examples for you: (1) A woman I know in real life “sold” $1000 consulting packages as some of the prizes for supporting her book release. No seriously, look at this thing. She raised almost $12,000. (2) A couple who wrote a children’s book also listed $1000 consultations, among other prizes, for the release of their book and raised over $10,000.

Raise money through crowdfunding and get clients

3. Create an online quiz with helpful results or a “prescription” of sorts.

Create a Feel-Good Facebook Ads Funnel for Your Course or eBook

Facebook Ads Funnels for Courses and eBooks

Long before I could even begin to define a Facebook ads funnel, from the moment my first $3 sale showed up in my eCommerce dashboard for an eBook I’d written out of pure necessity (to help potential clients plan their brand fully before I started working on their website), I was amazed at the magic/science of someone who doesn’t know you one day, purchasing from you and passionately sharing your stuff all over the web the next day.

I made up my mind to get a Ph.D. where I could research the factors that go into the purchasing decisions of consumers buying from infopreneurs, influencers, and “authorities” online. Still working on that whole Ph.D. thing, but until that time, I have some 80% nerdy, 20% hip, but 100% mind-blowing examples and trainings for you if you want to start selling your programs, services, or digital products online . . . on autopilot . . . while remaining very human and in touch with the people you are serving.

We’re gonna get into actual funnel examples, and so much more . . . you’re ready, right? Oh, and I told you about the free case studies and masterclasses to help you learn Facebook ads from scratch, right? More on that later. And more on these mysterious sheets in a second.

Facebook ads funnel examples for an online business owner

First, it’s time to briefly review what a funnel is and why I go through an intense period every 2 years or so where I desperately try to think of a different name for “funnels” because of the way people abuse, misuse, overuse, etc. the term.

What is a funnel, really?

A funnel is simply one or more of your ideal audience members being drawn in by an amazing resource or gift you offer, then being taken through a series of content pieces you’ve created, in which each piece is meant to: (1) educate and motivate your audience to act on something helpful to them, and (2) accomplish a specific brand goal for you.

The Parts of an Effective Facebook Ads Funnel

My belief is that even though your funnel may have one general goal, the most feel-good, customer-centric, and sensitive funnels are ones that are highly valuable even if someone doesn’t purchase anything and/or ones that have a few stop-off points for people just in case your end goal is not what they need.

Which is why I’m always trying to rename “funnel” . . . people in the online marketing space seem to love to abuse the word . . . by offering little value, lots of pressure, and only high price point resources. Funnels don’t have to be ridiculous. They can be some of the most amazing experiences for your audience . . . something that you get thank you emails and fire emoji tweets about.

Back to the point of this article . . .

Let’s get to an example funnel, eh?

We can take the example of my totally real friend (I didn’t make him up or anything) named Theo to illustrate extremely helpful funnels. In this content series, Theo is not only selling his $35 guide to being a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen, but he is also dishing out essential, valuable information for people who might only need a few additional details or for people who can’t yet afford his book.

Example Funnel from Theo

That funnel looks super sexy and helpful, right?

But you may have noticed a very key thing is missing. “Traffic” as the marketers say. Humans as I like to call them. How are human-actual-people going to become aware of Theo’s amazing free video on “A day in the life of a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen” to begin with?

Getting people to the start of your funnel . . .

There are countless ways someone can become aware of Theo’s video (or his free checklist, or his workshop, or whatever he chooses to share):

  • Theo might share a link to his video in a Facebook Group for digital nomads that he’s a part of
  • Theo might share his link on Instagram
  • Someone might tweet out about Theo’s video/resource
  • People could find his video from a pin on Pinterest or a Facebook Live video
  • . . . and so on

BUT. How can Theo create a consistent stream of the right kind of people landing on his resources? People who are interested in travel, digital nomading, living abroad, doing freelance work on the Internet, etc.?

One seriously epic way is to invest a little time learning how to target, and scale with, Facebook ads.

And I have some seriously cool examples for you in this article. But first, know this: I used to be so epically scared of Facebook ads. I was 100% sure (in my state of ignorance) that they were going to waste my time and money.

Think Twice About Your Online Course’s Refund Policy

Why self-serving refund policies make me cringe.

P.S. For you fellow Drake fans, I was considering titling this post, “If you’re reading this, it’s not too late” but then I realized you would have no idea what the article was about.

P.P.S. I am seriously open to debate on this topic. I will present my views but I am deeply interested in learning from the way other people see the world.

There is one reason (you—if you’re someone who is busy building a meaningful business) I was inspired to write this, and I have a few quick illustrations below to show my reasoning. Hopefully you won’t hate me when it’s over.

Why I’m strongly against online course and digital product refund policies that make people do X amount of work or jump through fiery hoops to get a refund.


I write this blog for you. I create tools for you. I stay up at night dreaming, scheming, and creating for you. Not just in the “I say this because this is how online marketers are supposed to talk” way, but in the “No, literally, I relate to where you are and who you are, and where I had to come from to create various businesses and products I love” kinda way.

Refund policies that make clients submit worksheets, and modules, and proof of this and that and the other rub me the wrong way.

If your entire audience consists of people who don’t care about money at all, then cool.

If you have people in your audience that care about spending their money on things they get value out of, or who are on a specific budget, or who may, despite your wishes and requests, spend their last dollar on your program, then hmm.

How to Start a Profitable Online Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less

How to start an online business for $50, in 3 months or less. Want to start freelancing, coaching, or selling infoproducts online? This is your guide.

This post is for your eyes only if you are currently trying to start an online business (a profitable one) from scratch . . . and you want to do it in three months or less . . . oh, and you only want to spend about $50.

Whereas this post (originally published in April of 2015) used to link to a podcast episode on this topic, I decided to completely revamp the post. Why? I think the first chapter of my newest book (which you can find out more about at the bottom of this post) might inspire you and help you to create an amazing online business this year. Ready?

Let’s only assume 3 things as you start your business:

  1. You have access to a computer and the Internet a few times per week.
  2. You have access to a smart phone (yours or a friend’s) that can take pictures and connect with social media.
  3. You either have your closest friends’ and family’s email addresses, or you’re connected with them on Facebook, or through some other electronic means. As in: You can get in contact with your people—whether that be 10 people or 1000, for me, it was more like 10 when I first started. Or, if you’re not connected with friends and family, you’re okay with building a presence online and engaging with strangers (who will totally become your friends, don’t worry).

Now, let’s get into the first chapter.

Chapter 1 of Build Your Freedom Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less: How to Start Coaching, Freelancing, or Selling Information Products Online

“What have I gotten myself into?” you may be asking. A lot of things. But the main one is discovering a new system for starting a business you love. Really, a way of thinking and moving through the very involved, and intricate, and amazing world of creating a profitable online brand or empire.

After years of creating various businesses, years of creating websites for clients and personal projects, and most recently, years of creating and running online businesses full time, I can without doubt tell you I’ve failed a lot.

Wait, what?

Yes. I’ve failed miserably, I’ve failed publicly, and I’ve failed my way to success. Let me explain. Because I believe the lessons learned can help you create your own business online with less stress, fewer headaches, fewer sleepless nights, fewer mistakes, and less time. It will still be a lot of work, but man will it be worth it.

Let’s explore.

The Internet created a whole new world of possibility and completely changed the way we (1) get information, (2) make purchasing decisions, and (3) operate businesses . . . among other things.

The online space as it is today makes it possible for people like my friend Erika, a mother of three adorable kids, to make a living online training people how to provide better customer service. The Internet allows my friend Mike to provide coaching for mind, body, and emotional health. It allowed my friend Kelsey to create and sell planning templates to busy women for a full-time income until she decided to also show people how to design their own (which gave her another full-time income). My friend Ivan sells design and brand strategy work online. My friend Aislinn markets and sells her freelance writing skills online for a living. And I could go on . . .

I have friends doing everything from teaching yoga, and selling interior design or architecture services, to creating fabric patterns and selling cookbooks online. I myself write and publish books on business and marketing, plus create courses on starting and running a business, getting better at conversations as an introvert, and using yoga and movement to increase your flexibility, durability, and range of motion as an athlete or gym rat.

How is it possible to make and sell the types of products and services all of these people are creating? How can you really create significant extra income each month or perhaps even work for yourself full time online?

There is more than just one way to accomplish this goal, and in this book, you and I are going to explore the “system” I’ve used to create a full-time income online in the following ways: through freelancing, through online coaching, through self-published books, and through online courses.

Please be mentally prepared that this process is not easy and will require consistency from you, and that the “system” I’m showing you is a solid framework that you can modify and mold to fit you.

Here’s an overview of the system that we will dive into deeply within this book:

Step 1: Start with PASSION.

As cliché as it sounds, I think that the passion you feel for a hobby, a cause, a people group, a certain subject, or a specific skill will be a key driver of creating something meaningful and awesome.

In this book, we will get into a questionnaire to help you discover some of your true passions plus a list of 1001+ niche topics to help you pinpoint what interests you, what you want to talk about and create content on, and what you love.

As an example, for the purposes of this overview, let’s take a woman named Frankie who is a yoga + fitness instructor, a woman named Ingrid who is passionate about the uniqueness and strength of introverts, and a man named Paul who has transformed his health and body by becoming vegan and eating an amazing plant-based diet.

Meet Frankie, Ingrid, and Paul. Your friendly avatars will help us process all this epic information on starting an online business coming at you.

Frankie identifies her passion as helping people get fit.

Ingrid identifies her passion as helping introverts embrace + use their personality traits and succeed in life.

Paul identifies his passion as the power of veganism to transform your internal health and your body.

Step 2: After identifying your passion, identify your PEOPLE.

Part one. When you have a specific topic/niche in mind, it’s time to start imagining the basic details and habits of the type of person who will be interested in your topic or who needs help with what you provide content on.

Paul might assume that women (and a few men), between the ages of 24 and 50, who have had digestion issues or who are having a hard time losing weight or staying energetic throughout their day might be in need of his information.

Frankie might start to realize she really wants to work with martial artists and other athletes in need of strength and agility. She might then assume most of her clients or audience will be between the ages of 20 – 40, and she might also assume that many of her clients will be men.

Ingrid might realize that most of the people she’s ever talked to about extreme introversion are women, between the ages of 25 – 50 who are tired of being made to feel like their personalities are weird or bad.

Part two. Once you have the basic details of your people in mind, you can head to the Internet (and to in-person events, hangouts, or organizations) to actually find these people and engage with them. In fact, you may already be involved in groups either online or in real life that hold your ideal audience members.

Part of creating a successful online business is narrowing down and/or deeply understanding your audience--the people you want to help.

Ingrid might find a Facebook group or another type of online community for introverts and join it. She might also start reading the comments on top blogs about being an introvert.

Paul might find a Facebook group for people trying to lose weight or struggling with digestion issues (there are groups online for all types of needs, people, and interests).

Frankie might connect with people in her gym or people who regularly comment on a popular MMA Instagram account or a men’s health magazine’s Instagram account.

Part three. After you’ve engaged with your people a bit, it’s time to learn more specifically how to help them. This may include working with them pro bono, providing free content to them, or even creating some low-priced services or products to test the waters.

Paul might offer to coach one of the women in an “Overcome IBS” group online through a plant-based diet for 30 days. He might also create some free meal plans and share them with his friends on Facebook.

Frankie may decide to offer a few free sessions to a martial artist at her gym who she has seen lifting in such a way that will slow his progress towards becoming more quick and agile. She might also decide to do a “10 Days of Basics” series, where she covers some foundational lifts, exercises, and principles for people who want more speed and agility—then she might share her videos or pictures with an online group she is a part of and invite people to ask any questions they may have.

Ingrid may start asking questions in the “Introvert Power” Facebook group she found about what people’s biggest struggles are or where they feel most misunderstood. She might then create and share several new blog posts that address the topics the other women have brought up.