Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle

Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle from KrissiDriver.com

If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle or own a fledgling business, you might be so concerned with the day-to-day that you forget to plan for the future. But if you don’t have a road map in front of you, how will you know where to go? It’s important to set goals for your business to keep yourself on track, especially in regards to income.

Setting income goals for your business will help you achieve sales and find clients beyond what you ever thought possible. However, if you set random goals without strategic planning, you’ll risk throwing off your trajectory. 

Here’s what you need to know about setting income goals for your side hustle. 

 

1. Set business goals first.

Before you can set an income goal, you need to know what to expect from the business itself. Where do you see your side hustle a year from now? Five years? Ten years? There’s no shame in keeping a side hustle as just a hobby for a little extra pocket money, but if you want it to become your full-time job, you need to set some business goals as well as income goals.

In order for your business to grow over time, you’ll need ways to “scale.” This is a term that’s thrown around often in the entrepreneurial world and it’s often misunderstood. When we’re talking about “scaling” a business, we’re not talking about starting or even growing a business. “Scaling” means being able to take on more work without sacrificing much in terms of income or in other areas, like time management or working yourself to death.

Brainstorm additional products or services you can offer in the future as your business expands. If you anticipate hiring other team members or contractors, how many, and when? Will you want to offer any special bonuses to your team? All of these will factor into the income goals you will need to set in order to succeed. 

 

2. Check your history. 

Next, take a look back at your business’s sales over time, if any. How much money have you been making so far? What seems realistic to expect for next month or next year if things stay the way they are? 

If your projected income based on your sales at this point isn’t as high as you hope, don’t worry. This is just an estimate of what you can expect if your business continues at the level it’s currently functioning at. Your goal should be to grow! 

 

3. Factor in expenses. 

For this step, we’ll need to look to your past as well as your future. What have your expenses been so far? Don’t leave anything out, no matter how small. Even the tiniest expenses can add up over time, costing you money and throwing off your estimates. 

Now think about new expenses that you can anticipate as your business scales. Those new hires we thought about in step 1? This is where you’ll need to think about how to pay them. If you want to rent a spot in a coworking space, how much would that cost in your area? Do some research and pull up realistic figures so you’ll know what to expect. 

 

Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle from KrissiDriver.com

 

4. Pick an end goal.

After you take those expenses into account, it’s time to think about the fun part: Profit! How much money do you want to be making from your side hustle per year in an ideal world? 

Add your profit to your expenses and factor in some leeway for emergencies. Be sure to take year-end taxes into account, too, based on your country’s taxation laws. You’ll need to pay taxes on your earnings every year.

Add all these things up and the final figure is the amount you’ll need your side hustle to make each year in order to meet your goal. 

 

5. Create milestones. 

By this point, you might have an end goal so large that you can’t imagine ever reaching it. That’s okay! Even the biggest goals can be achieved if you just put one foot in front of the other. The key is to divide your end goal into smaller milestones that are easier to achieve.

You can choose quarterly goals, monthly goals, or even weekly goals if that’s feasible for your business. The key is to match up these income goals with your business goals so you’re growing your business over time. What can you do this week, month, or quarter to find more clients and boost your income? 

 

6. Write it down.

It’s no secret that actually recording your goals somewhere makes it more likely that you’ll actually work toward and achieve them. In fact, it’s science.

Once you’ve gotten much of the background information worked out, write down your goals. I would even go as far as encouraging you to literally write them somewhere you can see them. In this day and age, it’s easy to record something digitally on a spreadsheet, in a Google doc, or an iOS note. I’m particularly guilty of this myself. 

But physically writing things down helps us to better remember whatever it is we’re trying to remember and give it more power. 

Putting these things somewhere you’ll see them often will further reinforce those goals in your mind. You’ll be even more likely to put in the work needed to make things happen. Trust me – it’s made all the difference for me in my business.

 

While setting income goals for your business can feel overwhelming at first, the key is to do your research and use real numbers in order to project the final figure. No goal is too lofty to aim for. 

As the saying goes, shoot for the moon! Even if you don’t hit your goal, striving for greatness will lead to more success than you could otherwise achieve. 

 

5 Things You Can Do to Support “Black Lives Matter” as an Expat

5 Things You Can Do to Support

As an American expat living outside the US, I’ve felt so powerless and unable to support “Black Lives Matter” movements. 

As a foreigner living in South Korea, the laws about participating in protests is gray at best: Depending on the circumstances, I could risk deportation for taking part in protests – peaceful or not – and the threat of the pandemic has concerned me because of the impact it may have on my job.

I have agonized about what to do and how I can raise my voice and be an anti-racist and an ally for the #BLM movement. I want to be an advocate and I want to participate in an active way.

And the more I thought about it, I realized that though I’m living far away, there are ways I can actively participate in this important time.

Over the last 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve come up with 5 ways I can support “Black Lives Matter” as an expat living overseas.

 

1. Ensure you’re registered to vote in the next election.

So many have (rightly) said in the last few weeks that the best way we can collectively effect change is by using our voices to vote in the upcoming election cycle. 

This has never been more true than now.

For once, it’s so important to know who is on the ticket, what they stand for, what’s in their public history, and whether or not they will truly be the voice of the people.

If you’re an American citizen, check whether you’re registered to vote at Vote.org. They say it takes 30 seconds to check if you’re registered or not… and they’re right. I did it. Thankfully, I’m registered and didn’t need to take any additional steps.

If it turns out you’re not registered, register with your state the Overseas Vote Foundation. The instructions are straightforward (for the most part) and you can take the first steps to ensure you’ll get an absentee ballot.

The one thing I felt was a little confusing when filling in my absentee registration information was which addresses to use. Be sure to carefully check the PDF with your regurgitated information for accuracy and update it immediately if you spot an issue, otherwise, you’ll have to do it all over again from the beginning as the download link expires within 15 minutes to protect your personal information.

Here’s my main advice on this point: DON’T. WAIT. Do it now. With mail taking longer to trek across the globe, none of us can afford to take our time. (I paid to send my absentee registration via express mail because it was the only option I had. It was expensive but I was glad to pay it.)

 

2. Call your state representatives to voice your approval or disapproval of bills working their way through Congress.

Sometimes we forget how easy it is to place calls back home. 

You might ask, “Well, why can’t I just send an email or a letter instead of calling? I live halfway across the world and my hours don’t match up with Congressional business hours.”

In some ways, I’m inclined to agree with you. In others, I disagree. Here’s a great article from the New York Times detailing a few points but the one that sticks out to me most is that it’s far more difficult to ignore a ringing phone than it is to ignore an overflowing email inbox.

 

Calling isn't hard.

In the day and age we live in, it’s no more than a push of a few buttons and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to make a trans-Atlantic or -Pacific call. Even if you have to pay a bit more for it, it’s worth making a small investment to stay connected.

To keep your costs down, consider buying Skype credits to call and text internationally. The cost per minute is incredibly affordable and you can spend as little as $5-10 (before any VAT costs). This small credit top-up will be enough to cover dozens of calls to Congress.

Alternatively, you may be able to use your cell phone minutes included in your mobile plan from your host country. For example, I have 5 hours of talk time to landlines and cell phones in Korea included in my annual plan that I literally never use. However, I downloaded the OTO Global app for iOS (also available from the Google Play store) which allows me to call US mobile and landline numbers for free and pulls from my mobile plan minutes here in South Korea. Like Skype, OTO Global also sells credit packages to place calls all over the world.

If you’re not in Korea, chances are there’s a similar app in your host country that will allow you to use your local mobile minutes to call internationally. Google it and see what you come up with before spending money.

 

How to Call Your State Representatives and Senators

Once you’ve figured out how to call back home for a reasonable price, you can actually start calling the people who represent you at home. Here are step-by-step instructions for calling your state Representatives and Senators.

 

1. Start by determining who your state Representatives and Senators are. 

If you’re not sure who your state representatives (both in the Senate and House), you can look them up via the United States House of Representatives online directory or the United States Senate directory

I wasn’t before I started writing this, honestly, who my Representatives in the House were. I know Ted Cruz is one of my state Senators because I voted against him in the 2018 midterms – I was a Beto supporter and bought a shirt to prove it!…  Aside from that, I haven’t lived at home for a while and have actually never resided at my “permanent” virtual address, so I had to do my homework. 

There’s no shame in not knowing, my friend. But do your due diligence and get informed.

 

2. Find the right phone numbers to call.

The same websites where you looked up your Senators’ and Representatives’ names will provide you with the right numbers to call to reach their offices directly. 

To make it super easy for you, click here to find contact information for your House Representative’s office. Alternatively, click here to find contact information for your state Senator’s office

If you’re having trouble with that for any reason, you can call the capitol switchboard directly at (202) 224-3121. The switchboard operator will get you sent to the right place. (You’ll need to know who you’re calling for, obviously.)

 

3. Call your state Senators and Representatives.

This is a little nerve-racking, but once you’ve done it once or twice, it will start to feel totally normal. There are a few things to remember when you’re calling:

 

Know exactly what you’re calling about.

State Rep and Senate offices field hundreds of calls every day so it’s vital that you know exactly what you’re calling about. 

 

Have a script ready to help you make the right points.

There are a number of different sources for scripts and many associations who lobby Congress on the regular offer scripts or talking points for free, such as the American Psychological Association. You can also get scripts from organizations like You Lobby and 5 Calls, among others. Google, google, google to find more.

 

Ask to speak directly to the staffer responsible for the issue you’re calling about.

Let’s face it: You’re not likely to speak directly to your Senator or Representative. Instead, you’ll speak to the next best thing – their staffers. There are multiple people who work in your state Rep’s or Senator’s office and not all of them handle all the issues. Your best bet is to speak to the person in the office who fields calls and messages regarding the specific issue you’re calling about so your message doesn’t fall on partially-deaf ears.

 

Don’t request a call back.

According to Refinery 29, it’s better to say you don’t need a reply from your Senator’s or Representatives office so “they can tally you down without having to go through the extra step of adding you to a response database.” This keeps phone lines open and frees up more time to tally down constituent concerns. 

 

Still have questions about calling your state peeps? Check out this helpful article from Vice. 

 

3. Support “Black Lives Matter” financially and donate to worthy causes.

This is obvious: Give away your money. 

There are plenty of worthy causes out there and often, we’re bombarded with reputable opportunities and organizations where we can donate. Right now, though, the #BlackLivesMatter movement needs funds to continue the fight.

You can google “donate to black lives matter” for a long list of charities and organizations or you can simply go give some money right now to the actual organization behind the “Black Lives Matter” movement, ActBlue Charities. Alternatively, check out this extensive vetted list from New York Magazine for dozens of good options.

 

5 Things You Can Do to Support "Black Lives Matter" as an Expat from KrissiDriver.com

 

4. Listen to black voices everywhere you can.

PAY ATTENTION, FELLOW WHITE PEOPLE: It’s not black people’s job to educate us on white privilege or race relations. We need to do better about educating ourselves.

Read books by black authors. (Thanks to our girl, Oprah, and her people for this list.)

Listen to podcasts by black podcasters like “Gurls Talk” hosted by Adwoa Aboah.

Follow black influencers with strong voices on social media, like Rachel Cargle, Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, Charlene Carruthers, and others.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, start subscribing and listening to more black entrepreneurial voices like Rachel Rogers and Chloe Hakim-Moore

This should not be hard. We all need to make an effort to diversify the voices we listen to on a regular basis. I am making this effort myself and have followed all the women I’ve listed above in an effort to open myself to more diverse voices and points of view (read: not white).

 

5. Talk to your family and friends about what you’re learning and doing to make a change.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and wrote my parents and sister a very long email about how I was feeling and expressing that I wanted us to talk about the #BLM movement as a family. 

I  pointed out the glaring fact that we didn’t talk about race in our home when I was a kid because we didn’t have to talk about it

I acknowledged that, unknowingly or not, we are very privileged as white people. 

I want my little brothers – ages 16 and 20 at the time of this writing – to understand the role they play as young white men in society and that they subsequently have voices that carry in our society.

 

We need to talk about these things, white people.

We need to acknowledge that the society we live in was built on the backs of – and at the expense of – black slave laborers. We need to acknowledge how those that came before us intentionally put laws and hindrances in place to keep black people from getting ahead in society – from Jim Crow to redlining to segregation in schools and other public places. Watch this YouTube video for a quick history crash course.

And once we’ve acknowledged the existence of these things, we need to start calling our Senators and House Reps and do what we can to change things. 

We need to end police brutality. How? I don’t know yet – but we need to work together to figure it out.

Yes, we need to listen. But we also need to talk. We did this – we created this mess. Now it’s time for us to whatever it takes to make it right.

 

Black. Lives. Matter.

The last few weeks have been so eye-opening for me. I’ve asked myself and those around me tough questions and having uncomfortable conversations. I’m reading more and making an effort to listen more. 

I am committing to calling my state Senators and Representatives more consistently (which is something I’ve never done before) about issues that pertain to #BLM and in an effort to end police brutality. 

I may be away from home, but I’ve also started to realize I’m not powerless even though I felt like I was. I absolutely can support “Black Lives Matter” as an expat.

I hope you’ll join me in doing what you can – whether you’re an American, a Brit, a Saffa, or hail from anywhere else in our beautiful world. This is important. Let’s do something good together.

 

Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy?

Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy? post graphic by Krissi Driver

With all of the chaos happening in the world at any given time, it’s understandable for people to wonder about their job security. Fortunately, freelance writing is a career that can be done remotely from anywhere in the world, so it’s a business model that has withstood a lot of the turbulence that many industries are facing.

However, with such a saturated job market and so many businesses closing their doors due to Covid-19, is it even possible to make money as a freelance writer in the current economy? 

The answer is yes, and here are 5 reasons why. 

 

1. People are still buying things and spending money. 

Although many businesses are struggling right now, life hasn’t come to a complete halt. People are still shopping, whether for necessities or just for fun! Online shopping is at an all-time high and many online retailers are seeing boosts in their business now that people are staying home.

In addition, the US has been sending stimulus checks to help restart the economy, giving many people the opportunity to invest that money back into their favorite businesses. Because of this, many companies are looking to increase their online presence, and they need freelancers to do it. 

 

2. The demand for online content is higher than ever. 

The internet is now the face of all businesses. Any business without a website in 2020 and beyond doesn’t stand much of a chance for long-term survival with very few exceptions. People are spending more time online than ever before in history: for work, shopping, and everything in between. This has greatly increased the need for solid copy written by talented freelance writers.

Many businesses that could have gotten by without a website in the past are now scrambling to develop their digital footprint and most of them don’t have the budget to hire in-house copywriters to do the job. Freelancers are still the most popular choice for many businesses looking for copywriters, social media managers, bloggers, and more. 

 

3. Many businesses are either unaffected by the economic climate or thriving because of it.

There are certain types of businesses, such as law offices or medical suppliers, whose goods and services are more in-demand now than ever. While many small businesses are suffering due to the current state of the economy, there are other industries that are evergreen due to the necessary services they provide. 

A few examples include:

  • Repair services
  • Law
  • Public works
  • Many types of retailers
  • Information technology
  • Healthcare

While individual companies within these spheres might be feeling the effects of the current crisis, these industries as a whole are a great place to look if you want to find stable freelance work, regardless of the global climate. 

 

Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy? post graphic by Krissi Driver

 

4. There's a need for highly specialized writing. 

With people spending more time online, there's a higher need for writers who specialize in specific forms of writing. This could mean developing a focus on one type of content, such as landing pages, product descriptions, social media captions, or long-form blog posts. 

It can also mean narrowing your focus to a specific niche industry, such as asphalt paving or industrial automation. While it’s hard to break into an entirely new niche, it can be worthwhile to have a specialty that you can consider yourself an expert in – it could be the difference that helps you consistently make money as a freelance writer.

 

5. There is always a need for good freelance writers. 

There are lots of people out there who fancy themselves writers, but they simply don't have the talent for it. Worse, there are people trying to write who have terrible habits – their work is full of grammatical errors, incorrect punctuation, or other mistakes. 

If you’re a detail-oriented freelancer with great time management and communication skills, there are businesses out there who would love to work with you. Good talent is hard to find in any economy, but especially now that more people than ever are looking to make a living online. Set yourself apart by being a joy to work with and you’ll be surprised how far you can go and how much money you can make as a freelancer. 

 

Getting Started and Make Money as a Freelance Writer

If you’re considering a career as a freelance writer, now is a great time to start. You’ll need to have writing samples prepared when you apply to freelance jobs, so be sure to have some on hand that are relevant to your chosen niche. 

It helps to create a website in order to organize your portfolio and show clients you know your stuff. I have a whole blog post about how to make your own blog or website

Not sure where to start or even how to be a freelance writer? Check out my Start Freelance Writing self-study course. I’ll teach you how to get started and at the end of 6 weeks, you’ll be ready to sprout your own wings and fly off into the freelancing sunset.

 

Overall, freelance writing is a great way to build a skill set that you can utilize from anywhere in the world, whether you’re writing for a local business or a client halfway across the globe. No matter how the economy shifts, you’ll have an adaptable career that can grow and change along with you. 

 

5 (Free) Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer

5 (Free) Ways to Market Yourself as a Writer with Krissi Driver

This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

As a business owner, you have to market yourself as a freelance writer and be your own advocate if you want to see success. With so many qualified professionals across a variety of industries, the best way to find new clients is to put yourself out there and stand out from the crowd. 

It can be intimidating to market yourself when you have no budget, but it can be done! Here are 5 great ways to promote your writing and secure new clients – and best of all, they’re all completely free. 

 

1. Have a Professional Email Signature

Whether you’re pitching articles or corresponding with contacts in your industry, the life of a writer involves a lot of emails. Having a professional email signature is a low-stakes way to boost your image and promote your online presence. 

Whether you want to link to your social media profiles, plug your website, or add a line advertising your skills, taking the time to craft an attractive signature will show that you know what you’re doing and that you’re serious about your services. 

Make a point to include your picture, too, to further personalize your message. People like being able to put a face with a name.

 

2. Create a Website 

A website is the best way to showcase your work, tell potential clients a little about yourself, and boost your search engine optimization through site content and blog posts. A professional-looking website builds trust between you and your client and gives them a taste of what you can do. 

(I wrote a bit about why you should have a personal website here if you still need convincing.) 

While a custom domain and hosting services cost money, there are plenty of free website builders out there to help you get started no matter your skill level. That said, I recommend you set up shop with WordPress.com as a beginner. While there is a free option, I recommend purchasing your own domain for $18 USD annually (this looks more professional than the free option which includes “.wordpress.com” in your URL) and choosing one of the paid packages, either the Personal or Professional options. 

 

Get Fancier

While WordPress.com is a great place for beginners, your capabilities are very limited. For example, you can’t add “plugins” (apps that give you more robust functions like collecting email addresses or checking your SEO strength) unless you pay for WordPress’s Business option, which is quite expensive.

What does it take to be a freelance writer? post graphic by krissi driverIf you’re looking for more functionality, I recommend hosting a WordPress website with SiteGround and creating your site with the very user-friendly Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. Divi is a drag-and-drop theme that is incredibly versatile and easy to use. You don’t need any experience building websites or need to know any code. There are lots of informative video tutorials to help you learn the system and make the different templates your own.

You’ll also want to create a portfolio, whether it lives on your site or on an external platform like Contently. Clients almost always want to see an example of your writing before they agree to work with you, so make sure this space is organized and easy to find. 

All that said, if you do choose to start out with WordPress.com, once you start seeing more success as a writer, I do recommend that you make the switch and pay for your own domain and hosting. At that point, you might even want to invest in a custom logo or web design to help curate your client’s experience. For your very first website, however, a site with WordPress.com is more than enough to make a difference. 

I teach newbie freelance writers how to set up their own websites – both on WordPress and via SiteGround hosting with the Divi Theme – in my Start Freelance Writing course. If you’re feeling apprehensive about getting started, sign up to get help and support. 

 

3. Get Published on Other Sites

Guest posting for high-traffic websites is a great way to get your name out there and help build your reputation. You can pitch guest post ideas to big names in your niche or offer to swap posts with another writer to put your work in front of new eyes. 

If you don’t yet have any connections in your niche of choice, no worries! Websites like Medium allow writers to post blogs and maintain an author profile while occasionally promoting articles within the platform, potentially netting a lot of views. 

LinkedIn is another great place to market yourself as a freelance writer and posting your content. If the right person shares your post, you could be looking at a significant boost in views. Not to mention, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to network with other writers and potential clients. 

 

4. Be Present on Social Media 

Social media is one of the best marketing tools to have in your arsenal. A consistent social media presence is free to maintain and allows you to meet potential clients and other writers alike. You never know what social media friendships will turn into business opportunities later down the line.

When it comes to social media success, there are two things to remember: Consistency and engagement. You need to post regularly in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the social media algorithms and you need to interact with other users in order to forge meaningful connections. 

Most people can tell when someone is only on social media to promote their own agenda and it’s not interesting to follow someone who only talks about themselves. By making your posts meaningful, liking and commenting on other profiles, and delivering consistent, relevant content, you’ll have a social media presence that others will want to keep up with. 

 

5. Nail Your Pitch

As a writer, your pitch is often your first impression with a potential client. You might have the best website out there but no one will visit it if your pitch letter is underwhelming. 

If you have writer friends, ask them to look over your pitch letter before sending it out. Look at examples of real pitch letters online that have seen success. Plenty of writers are willing to share what worked for them in order to help others in their industry. 

 

Trying to market yourself as a freelance writer can feel scary, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to find new clients. By using these free tips, you’ll be well on your way to reaching new heights in your freelance writing career. 

 

5 Ways to Build an Audience

5 Ways to Build an Audience Online

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur selling a physical product or service, a blogger, or hoping to become an internet influencer sensation, you’ve got to build an audience. 

There’s no question that it takes time to develop an engaged following and there’s more than one way to do it, but the fact remains: it’s a crucial part of earning money online.

Without followers, no one will buy from you because you have no one to sell to. 

It’s that simple. Seems simple, right?

In theory, it is. But building an audience online takes a lot of work and consistency. The beginning stages are oftentimes the hardest because you may not see much return for all the elbow grease you’re putting into the work. But with time and dedication, you’ll soon have your systems running practically on autopilot and bringing in more and more fans to your audience.

So, how do you do it? 

 

5 Ways to Build an Audience

Like I said, there’s more than one way to build an audience. If you want to maximize your reach, your best bet is to utilize a mix of social media, email newsletters, and online content.

No matter how you go about it, you’ll have to do a little research to see what will get your people to engage with you. This might mean testing a few things at once (not everything at once!) or trying one thing at a time for a few weeks to see what works well and what doesn’t.

The main ingredient here is to determine who your ideal audience actually is and where they spend the most time online. If you can figure that out, then you’ll know where you focus your efforts.

Here are the X main areas to focus on when building your audience.

 

1. The Social Media “Big 4”: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Social media is a huge, HUGE part of building an audience – there’s no doubt about it. As of 2019, people around the globe spend an average of nearly 2.5 hours scrolling through their social feeds every day. That’s a lot of social time.

It makes sense that every business and brand wants to have a strong social media presence. But, like everything else, it doesn’t make sense for every brand to have a profile on every platform available. 

Sure, massive companies like Nike, Apple, Starbucks, and others probably have social media accounts and followers on every conceivable platform out there, but they also have massive staff and advertising budgets that allow them to give multiple people the responsibility of keeping those profiles updated consistently.

As a solopreneur (meaning you’re doing everything yourself, girl!), you don’t have that luxury. Instead, you need to focus on where your ideal buyers are spending the most time. 

The safest bets are Facebook, Instagram, and maybe Twitter.

 

Facebook 

Facebook is a no-brainer. Since its debut all the way back in 2004, it’s remained the largest social media platform on the internet. Everyone who is anyone (ahem, all the peoples) spend at least some time on Facebook every week if not every day.

Facebook has created some great ways to communicate with your followers. While Facebook pages have lost their luster over the years, Facebook groups are a fantastic way to offer value to your fans and build trust so they’ll eventually buy from you.  

Build your Facebook audience by engaging in other groups, inviting friends from your personal circle of relationships and acquaintances, and talking up your page or group when you’re engaging with new people both on and off the internet.

 

Instagram

Instagram isn’t technically in the “top 3” most popular social media sites, but when we hear the term “social media,” tell me Instagram isn’t one of the main platforms you think of. (It ranks in your head with Facebook, doesn’t it?)

Instagram is, obviously, image-driven. Increasingly, videos are becoming more popular on the platform, too, but it remains a mostly still image site. It’s harder to share links here (you can only do that well in your profile bio) and there’s no such thing as “Instagram groups,” but as humans, we love looking at pretty, interesting photos. 

Instagram isn’t the best place to focus for everyone and it can be tougher to engage with your audience on this platform. On the flip side, it’s a great place to be for many entrepreneurs. 

Build an Instagram following by researching hashtags that correlate to what you do or who you’re trying to reach. Start small here – look for hashtags that have 1,000 or fewer images linked to them. It’s easier to be found with these by new followers who are also searching the same hashtags; it’s a lot harder to be found as a newbie entrepreneur with a still-small following using hashtags that have hundreds of thousands of images linked to them.

 

Twitter

Twitter, in my personal opinion, is a dying breed. Yes, the US president likes to air his grievances there at all hours of the day and night and yes, there are plenty of celebs that have great Twitter accounts that are very entertaining… but it’s a hard place to gather a following that will buy from you.

Twitter can, however, be a good place to interact with fans. In that sense, it’s not fair to completely shut it out of the “social media for business” running. After all, if we look at some big brands like Wendy’s (a US-based fast food restaurant) or Netflix, it’s clear that a dash of humor can go a long way in attracting an audience and engaging with them.

Build your Twitter following by following like-minded and -centered brands and influencers, big and small. Search for and use relevant hashtags in your tweets. Engage with others who have similar interests by commenting or retweeting their tweets. To make the most of Twitter, you’ll need to spend a significantly larger amount of time there than you might on Facebook or Instagram – you should be tweeting an average of 7-10 times in a single day.

 

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is different than the other social platforms because it’s specifically a place for professional social relationships. It’s not a “bad” place, per se, for Twitter-like funny quips every now and then, but the tone is quite different than all the other social platforms. 

This is a better place to be if you’re selling a “professional” product or service. In fact, professional services do the best here. LinkedIn gives its users some special tools, like groups, that are reminiscent of Facebook, but it also has some extra tricks up its sleeve. 

LinkedIn is a great place to show the world you’re an expert at what you do because you can create a sort of mini-blog there. Writing and publishing articles on topics of interest to your ideal audience is a great way to help yourself stand out from the crowd and gain a following or potential customers or clients.

Build your LinkedIn audience by seeking out others in your field or similarly-aligned fields and connect with them. Search and use hashtags like you would on Instagram or Twitter and engage with folks often on their posts. Write articles to publish on your LinkedIn account that are native only to LinkedIn and not on your website.

 

Other Social Platforms to Consider

While the “big 4” should be on your radar, there are a few others you might not want to ignore.

For example, TikTok has become all the rage in the last year or so. In my mind, it’s the new Snapchat. Both of these platforms are places where a mostly younger crowd spends time. In essence, unless your ideal audience or client is under the age of 25, it’s likely not worth worrying about these platforms.

That said, if you enjoy them and think they may be beneficial to your business, by all means, use them!

 

2. YouTube

Technically, YouTube could be classified as both a social media platform and a search engine. 

As videos are open to consumption for anyone surfing the web (assuming the account owner has left them open), viewers can leave comments and interact with the person who uploaded the videos. This makes the platform social. YouTube also gives channels with large subscriber followings the option to do “stories,” something that originated on Facebook and Instagram.

As it’s owned and operated by Google, the search engine side of it makes a lot of sense. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you type a search question into Google that the results will come back with a few video options on YouTube? It’s pretty cool, right?

YouTube is a powerful tool and if you’re comfortable being in front of the camera, it can be an awesome place to build a following.

Build your YouTube following by using a few strategic keywords in your video titles. Also, make a point to comment on your own video and ask questions to engage viewers to respond. Make sure to invite viewers to subscribe to your channel often.

 

3. Your Blog

Your blog is a major place for you to build a following for a few reasons: 

  • It plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.
  • It gives you a place to demonstrate and showcase your expertise.
  • It shows your audience that your business is alive and kicking.
  • It offers a place for your audience to gain free value and ultimately helps you build trust with your followers.

Personally, as a content creator and marketer, I think every business should have a blog. I’m not kidding. Every. Freaking. Business. Needs a blog.

To make the most of your blog and grow your following, you need to write articles that

A) Are on topics that your audience finds interesting or answers frequent questions they may have, and 

B) Are consistently offering value.

Here’s the thing, buttercup: No one wants to read a blog article about how you added a new team member to your company. Or about how you’ve gained a new customer. Or spotlighting something that’s about only you or your company.

 

Blog Content Strategy Planning Spreadsheet from KrissiDriver.com

 

People will come to your blog because you have something of value to offer them – information, tutorials, tips and suggestions, and so on. Don’t make it about you because ain’t nobody care about you. We’re all selfish (and that’s okay sometimes!), so make it a point to keep your topics focused on your followers’ interest.

 

4. Online Advertisements

You certainly can “pay to play” on social media or search engines and drive traffic to your website. While I don’t recommend this for entrepreneurs just starting to build an audience and are still getting the swing of things, paid advertising can be a powerful tool.

If this is something you want to start considering, I would recommend beginning with Facebook/Instagram or LinkedIn advertising. All of these platforms are very affordable and have robust options to set up ads that, with research and practice, are fairly easy to use.

I would also recommend that you drive traffic to a landing page to download a free tool or product, like an ebook or Trello board or spreadsheet you’ve designed. This way, you can add those folks to your email list, which brings us to my last point…

 

5. Email Newsletters

Unlike social media, email newsletters are the only guaranteed way you have to connect with your audience. Why?

Because you don’t own your social profiles, social media platforms do. You could get locked out of your Facebook or LinkedIn group at any time and if you don’t have a backup list of all those people in your group (because let’s face it, who does that?!), then you’re screwed. How are you going to connect with your people?

Also, none of us have control over social media algorithms. We simply can’t compete and “organic reach” – meaning the number of people who see your posts in their news feeds without you paying advertising dollars to get your posts front and center – isn’t what it used to be.

By sending consistent email newsletters, though, we can be certain all our followers have an opportunity to hear what we have to say. Sure, we can’t guarantee that all those people will open our emails, but we can be sure it lands in their inbox and they at least see it there.

Build your email list by offering freebies like I mentioned above – ebooks, spreadsheets or worksheets you create, Trello boards, or other tools you can develop or set up and share. Set up shop with an email service provider like Mailerlite to keep everything under one proverbial roof and stay organized.

 

Building an audience takes work, yes. But it can also be a ton of fun and as time wears on, it’s well worth the effort you put in. If you’re hoping to make money online in any capacity, you need a flock of fans who are excited about what you have to offer. 

 

Pin It on Pinterest